EPT9 Berlin Day 3: Flying Finn Aku Joentausta keeps lead with style
Sometimes you see things for the first time and know also that it will be for the last time. A dealer, for instance, spotted earlier, standing at a urinal, brushing his teeth. And yet there he was, double fisting.
Then there are things that you see for the first time and know that it's the first of many times you'll see the same thing, such as a Finnish poker player crushing the opposition. Specifically we mean Aku Joentausta.
Chip leader Aku Joentausta
The young Finn leads with 1,039,000 chips tonight, ahead of the only other player to have breached seven figures Emil Ohlsson with 1,011,000. Those two set the pace going into Day 4.
It was not the number of Joentausta's chips that impressed most today, but his relentless capacity to keep on building his stack. It's not unusual for a chip leader coming into Day 3 to slip back a little by the close of play, but Joentausta proved unstoppable.
Stack 'em up
Then again we should hardly be surprised. This is not the first time we've seen the 21-year-old. That was in the first event of the season in Barcelona, where Joentausta led after day one and went on to finish in 14th place, forced to watch from the rail as his compatriots Ilari Sahamies and Joni Jouhkimainen finish in second and third.
Now, with 55 players left, he may start to think in terms of beating their Barcelona result, although there is plenty of play to come before that. The line-up of Saturday's final will depend on events before then, and much can go wrong for the leaders, with a strong field jockeying for position behind them.
Matias Kesanen finished well on 936,000, while Pascal Voss, on 792,000, also poses a major threat. Joentausta will be familiar with his challengers, one of whom also ran deep in that influential Barcelona main event.
Finishing fourth in Spain was Anaras Alekberovas from Lithuania who, with a persuasive stare, matched that performance for most of the day before slipping down the chip counts at the close. He still bagged up a potent 805,000 tonight.
There are also four former champions still in contention, including Thang Duc Nguyen travelling all the way from Season 3 with 774,000; Kevin Stani with 680,000, Liv Boeree on 279,000 and Sandra Naujoks with 202,000.
Thang Duc Nguyen
Some players you're never surprised to see at this stage, such as Olivier Busquet (719,000), and Calvin Andersen (744,000), not to mention good days for the local heroes Natalie Hof (199,000) and Boris Becker (196,000) who has locked up a career-best EPT cash - off the tennis court at least.
Boom boom: Boris Becker
In contrast there will be no place for a number of high profile players who departed today. They include Juha Helppi, Theo Jorgensen, Barny Boatman, Dominik Nitsche, Jan Bendik, Kitty Kuo, John Eames, last year's winner Davidi Kitai, Mickey Petersen and Jan Heitmann.
Martin Hruby's departure after after an extended bubble ensured everyone else finished in the money. The names of all of those players can be found on the pay-out page, along with the prize money still up for grabs.
Bubble boy Martin Hruby
We're seeing the bloom of some brand new talent on the Tour, developments you can see for yourself when play continues tomorrow at 12 noon. As for the ambidextrous barbarian in the gents, enough said about him the better.
You can also watch via the live stream on EPT Live which goes live as play begins. James Hartigan and Joe Stapleton, plus guests, will be watching every hand from start to finish, so join them on Pokerstars.tv.
In the meantime you can catch up on all the news from today on our live coverage page, where you'll also find all the chip counts, pay-outs and results so far. The widget in the top right of this page also features a link to all the side event results from Berlin.
It's just how they roll around here
As well as that you can read the features from today's play. Read about how Norway have overtaken Lebanon in the race to be Country of the Year, as well as the, what sounds like, vaudeville story of Lybaert and Hall.
There's also our attempt at a "Fantasy EPT Live Table" using Boris Becker in the Big Blind as an example. Then there was the efforts of Ali Azabdaftar to survive longer than the first 15 minutes of the day, which was introduced here.
For now though that's the lot. Good night from Berlin.
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.