EPT10 Barcelona: Middleton over a million, leads to end Day 3

The story turned serious today at EPT Barcelona. After the light-hearted introductions and generally joyous early levels, today's Day 3 saw most of the field depart, and with the money bubble bursting earlier today just 79 players remain to continue sparring in Spain. Leading that group to start play tomorrow will be the Englishman, Tom Middleton, with a hefty stack of 1.03 million.

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Tom Middleton

Late on Day 2 it was the Argentinian Pablo Tavitian who emerged to lead the remaining 235 to start play today. Tavitian had already grabbed our attention before, though, but not strictly because of his win in the LAPT6 Chile Main Event a few short months ago. A story of his having won his EPT Barcelona entry from a slot machine had already reached us, and by the time he'd grabbed the chip lead everyone was taking his picture.

Alas for Tavitian, his run would eventually end today with a cash in 127th.

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Pablo Tavitian's EPT10 Barcelona run ends

Tavitian had been looking to be the first player ever to win both an LAPT and an EPT. That prospect got us thinking early on about the history of the EPT, something the landmark of this being the tour's 10th year has inspired a lot of here lately.

The tourney powered forward, the handy Duracell Powermats keeping everyone's phones freshly charged. By the day's second level the money bubble approached -- prompting dramatic plot turns at every table -- then burst in somewhat unique fashion.

Many of us recalled instances of absent players being blinded and anted out of events, although none could recall a case in which such a player was eliminated on the stone cold bubble. Today we all witnessed such a rarity, as the Portuguese player Nuno Da Camara never arrived for Day 3, and when his stack finally ground down he had finished in 184th, one off the cash.

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Nuno Da Camara's empty chair

Dermot Blain and David Benefield were among those who made the money, with Blain finishing the night still with chips while Benefield would go out in 110th.

Another who cashed today was online qualifier Tom Gallagher, who after going out in 146th had turned a €20 deposit into an €8,680 cash and family holiday.

Big stacks soon distinguished themselves as the field was whittled below 100 players. By the night's final level Thomas Middleton had emerged as a leader, with Alejandro Perez Torres, Kevin Vandersmussen, Michel Pechex, and Niall Ferrell also challenging for the top spot.

As play wound down we made note of who was falling and who kept their seats, noting that a few former EPT champs were still around at the end. One of them, Alexander Stevic, would fall just before the conclusion of play.

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The dream of a second EPT Barcelona title today ended for Alex Stevic (left)

However, three former champs -- Kent Lundmark, Mikolai Pobol, and Dmitar Danchev -- would make it through.

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Kent Lundmark (left) and Dimitar Danchev (right)

Lone remaining Team PokerStars Pro Christophe de Meulder survived the day as well and will be returning to a stack just below the average.

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Team PokerStars Pro Christophe de Meulder

Jamila Von Perger will be returning as well to a stack placing her just inside the top 20.

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Jamila Von Perger

All will be chasing Tom "hitthehole" Middleton, however, who in this, his eighth EPT, is enjoying his first cash. Part of the Jake Cody-led crew full of players with many successes to their credit already, Middleton was asked if he thought perhaps he was due.

"I don't think 'due' is really a thing," he responded. "But I'd like to catch up with them. It will take quite a lot of catching up, though!"

But there's still three more long days to see how far Middleton goes. For now we bid you good evening, off to mark this 15th anniversary of Rounders by playing a media tournament where we expect to splash a pot or two.

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Click through to live coverage of the EPT Barcelona Main Event. Check out all the festival results here or take a look at what happened in the EPT Barcelona Super High Roller. Follow the @PokerStarsBlog Twitter account to keep up-to-date with all the EPT action and check out the EPTLive webcast.

Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

Martin Harris
@hardboiledpoker in European Poker Tour