EPT9 Grand Final Day 4: Andrew Pantling leads Team Pros and champions in main event thriller
There's an argument that says we shouldn't even talk about the Main Event, in case we ruin it. By talking about it we run the risk of ruining what could potentially be the best final table in EPT history, a Grand Final. And we don't mean this in one of those exaggerated ways we've been guilty of using before to cover up mediocrity. We mean properly brilliant. But then we've probably ruined it now, haven't we.
The reason is obvious. The quality of players in the last 16 is outrageously good. It was good at the start of the day with 34 players and it's still so, led by Andrew Pantling at the close tonight, with 2,248,000 chips, a lead of nearly one million.
Pantling took the lead in a hand that was largely missed by everyone as the TV people switched from the main to the high roller event.
If it hadn't taken place the story of the day would have been Johnny Lodden, but for his tweet:
The result of that was a drop to 1,352,000, but all things considered it was a good day for the Norwegian, one of five Team PokerStars Pros who survived the day, along with the top draw of those in the red spade livery, Daniel Negreanu, Jason Mercier, Victor Ramdin and Jake Cody.
Here's how things closed today.
Andrew Pantling, Canada, 2,248,000
John Juanda, Indonesia, 1,395,000
Jonny Lodden, Norway, 1,352,000
Daniel Negreanu, Canada, 1,257,000
Freddy Deeb, United States, 1,207,000
Victor Ramdin, United States, 1,090,000
Noah Schwartz, United States, 1,087,000
Jason Mercier, United States, 1,008,000
Goran Mandic, Croatia, 995,000
Steve O'Dwyer, United States, 942,000
Grany Levy, Australia, 712,000
Andrew Lichtenberger, United States, 699,000
Clyde Tjauw Foe, Netherlands, 647,000
Mateusz Moolhuizen, Netherlands, 596,000
Vasili Firsau, Belarus, 358,000
Jake Cody, United Kingdom, 266,000
It's some list, with only the likes of Goran Mandic, Vasili Firsau and the two Dutch players Clyde Tjauw Foe and Mateusz Moolhuizen able to claim any degree of anonymity.
Behind Pantling is John Juanda, a former EPT runner-up, who leads the chase pack, alongside Lodden, Negreanu and Freddy Deeb, who guarantees his best EPT finish. Victor Ramdin remains well and truly in the zone while Noah Schwartz and Jason Mercier also have more than a million chips.
EPT anoraks will also have noticed that the presence of Mercier, and the short stack Jake Cody, keep alive the chances of a first double winner. With a superlative line-up almost guaranteed it seems almost greedy to wish for such an historic dénouement, but it's simply too delicious to ignore.
It could have been four former champs but for the departure of Noah Boeken and Team Online's Mickey Petersen in the closing stages of the day. Former Snowfest runner-up Kevin Vandersmissen also fell short, while Ville Wahlbeck made his long overdue debut in the pay-out list, a first EPT main event cash for the tour veteran.
Mickey Petersen (left) with Johnny Lodden
A full list of pay-outs can be found on the live coverage page, which after a day like today is well worth poring through for all the small print of the day. You can also find the stories of the day at the links below.
With the high roller event starting today, as well as a low key charity event, there was plenty of background scenery to the main event. There were also side events galore, two of which were won by Team PokerStars Pros Chris Moneymaker and Marcin Horecki.
We featured the rubber-faced Patrick Naxache and looked at the latest technology from the poker app world.
So taken were we with the deep runs by various Team PokerStars Pros that we looked deeper into their progress this week, while we also examined another of poker's breeds, the German high roller, all of which seemed to be seated around one table, while Antonio Esfandiari transcended all of them, almost literally.
You can find continued coverage from the first day of the high roller event on our live coverage page. The main event meanwhile will resume tomorrow at 12 noon (CET) when 16 players will become eight.
You can also follow the action on EPT Live tomorrow, which should be a memorable day, the type that gets people hooked on poker in the first place. Don't miss it.
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.
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