EPT9 London Day 3: A day of champions in London, but a Finn named Sormunen leading them
Nothing surprises seasoned EPT watchers. We've seen massive chip leaders knocked out within an orbit and short stacks cling on and take the whole thing down. We've seen peanut stands and heard rubber bands and we've seen an elephant fly.
But something we've never seen is a two-time EPT champion. It remains the most elusive accolade in the European game. These days it seems so improbable that we've almost given up hoping for it; let's just wait until we've had 100 EPT main events, get them all together and play a big sit and go. The last player standing wins the EPT.
It is time once again to be disparaging about the notion of a repeat champion because so many people have begun chatting about its possibility over the past couple of days in London. Approximately ten per cent of the returning day three field (ten from 113) was a former champion, and now we have trimmed the field to its final 32, we still have reason to talk it up.
Among those players heading into day five are Jason Mercier, Mike McDonald and Nicolas Chouity. We're down to 9.4 per cent, but they are three players of the very highest calibre.
And even if this isn't the week to end the most durable of hoodoos (and I'm still betting it won't be), we also have Chris Moorman, Ruben Visser, Theo Jorgensen, Adam Levy, Russell Carson, Annette Obrestad, Steve O'Dwyer and Rory Matthews in the mix.
This is still one of the most compelling tournament fields assembled in years.
Experience will have been crucial today. The Grosvenor Victoria Casino was no place for the faint hearted. We endured a 60-minute bubble period, during which there were at least three bubble-ups and an awful lot of hair pulled out. Jeff Sarwer was one of a few players who survived with fewer than five big blinds, folding, folding, folding until Matthew Ashton could cling on no longer. He was the unfortunate martyr to end everyone else's misery.
And after that, all bets were off as to what might happen next. Viktor Blom went on a tear knocking out Marcel Luske with kings against aces, flying up the leader board, then plummeting off of it and on to the high stakes online tables.
Philipp Gruissem and Nick Abou Risk showed those two were mortal. Even Sergio Aido couldn't get aces to stand up. It meant that when the bagging process began at the end of the day, there were four players requiring sacks big enough to hold more than a million chips:
Pasi Sormunen - 1,578,000
Niall Farrell - 1,510,000
Nicolas Chouity - 1,143,000
Christopher Frank - 1,098,000
The man at the top of the pile -- Pasi Sormunen -- is a Finn cut from the same cloth as Ilari Sahamies and Jens Kyllonen. He is a player who demonstrated that terrifying combination of fearlessness, fight and good fortune. No matter how you play in your home game (and they play pretty hard in Helsinki), you don't get a stack like that from a field like this without hitting your A-game at the right time.
The full counts of all the other players, plus the payouts so far, can be seen in the panel at the top of the main EPT London page.
So tomorrow will be another belter, when we'll see whether Sormunen can lead from the front. We will play down to 16 players -- two tables -- by which time we should be closer to knowing whether we're heading for an all-time final table, or another octet of the unheralded. Either way, we win.
Here's what happened today:
Amazing tables, bubble imminent, thrilling day afoot
Marcin Horecki on bubbles big and small
Team PokerStars Pro plays the Vertical Rush
Matthew Ashton the fall guy as long bubble bursts
How Jason Mercier won an iPhone. And others
Nick Abou Risk leads the UKIPT-EPT transition
Spotlight interview with Jake Cody
Looking at the contenders
An ode to Salvatore Bonavena
See you tomorrow.