EPT9 London Day 4: Steve O'Dwyer leads all-star cast into penultimate day
Few end of day reports come tinged with as much anticipation as perhaps today's does. It was never going to be a long day. The starting field of 32 needed only to be cut in half to 16. But it was the line-up of those cuts that intrigued most, as thoughts turned to how many notable players might make the final eight.
"Notable" is such a weak word when used to describe players. What we really mean is "players we've heard of" or "players who have shown obvious talent in the past."
Tonight, with 15 left - for it was a double elimination that closed play - most of those remaining fit either one of those descriptions. We even have a former winner.
The full counts are below:
Steve O'Dwyer, United States, 2,279,000 chips
Nicolas Chouity, Lebanon, 2,124,000
Tamer Kamel, United Kingdom, 2,115,000
Pasi Sormunen, Finland, 1,834,000
Niall Farrell, United Kingdom, 1,581,000
Theo Jorgensen, Team PokerStars Pro, Denmark, 1,474,000
Mikhail Korotkikh, Russia, 1,372,000
David Colin, France, 1,088,000
Chris Moorman, United Kingdom, 1,061,000
Mantas Visockis, Lithuania, 915,000
Ruben Visser, Netherlands, 827,000
Christopher Frank, Germany, 821,000
Daniel Erlandsson, Sweden, 700,000
Bassel Moussa, Lebanon, 685,000
Olof Haglund, Sweden, 453,000
Is it Chouity's name that stands out most, or is it that of O'Dwyer?
Chouity is the former EPT Grand Final winner from Season 6, a WCOOP and SCOOP winner, who has clocked up vast winnings since that day in Monte Carlo, including four more cashes on the EPT and $2.7 million in earnings. He even chopped a turbo event here five days ago. Now he's two days away from finally putting the saga of the first double EPT winner debate to bed.
But perhaps the section of the poker community who cares least about such records are those players still seeking win number one.
Steve O'Dwyer knows what it's like to reach these stages of an EPT main event, and to go close to winning the whole thing. Last season he finished second in London, runner-up to Benny Spindler. It's a memory that was worth £465,000 to the American, who now lives in Ireland, but one that will be made better with a win on Saturday.
Chip leader: Steve O'Dwyer
To get there however, both face some of the toughest opposition in the game, starting with Theo Jorgensen.
Jorgensen is making his first EPT since a well-publicised incident a few weeks ago, a story by Howard Swains which you can read about at length on the Blog tomorrow. He had an undoubted pedigree in such situations and would relish another run at his first EPT title.
Chris Moorman is the most celebrated of the home grown trio. A colossus of the game online he still hankers after that first live title which, doing nothing to add to his stature, would still be the highlight of his live tournament palmares.
The others could cause some equally surprising results tomorrow when play restarts at 12 noon. Ruben Visser, Niall Farrell, Olof Haglund and Christopher Frank each have "previous" and could hardly be described as dark horses should they find themselves holding aloft £700,000 on Saturday.
One last hat tip goes to the Lebanese, whose comparatively small poker community has two players in the last 16, with Bassel Moussa joining countryman Chouity.
Seat 2. Steve O'Dwyer, United States, 2,279,000
Seat 3. Mantas Visockis, Lithuania, 915,000
Seat 4. Tamer Kamel, United Kingdom, 2,115,000
Seat 5. Christopher Frank, Germany, PokerStars qualifier, 821,000
Seat 6. Mikhail Korotkikh, Russia, 1,372,000
Seat 7. Theo Jorgensen, Denmark, Team PokerStars Pro, 1,474,000
Seat 8. Niall Farrell, United Kingdom, 1,581,000
Seat 1. Bassel Moussa, Lebanon, PokerStars qualifier, 685,000
Seat 2. Nicolas Chouity, Lebanon, PokerStars qualifier, 2,124,000
Seat 3. Olof Haglund, Sweden, 453,000
Seat 4. Daniel Erlandsson, Sweden, 700,000
Seat 5. Pasi Sormunen, Finland, 1,834,000
Seat 6. Chris Moorman, United Kingdom, 1,061,000
Seat 7. Ruben Visser, Netherlands, PokerStars qualifier, 827,000
Seat 8. David Colin, France, 1,088,000
They will each make for a splendid fifth day of play. It could have been even more splendid. Busting today were the likes of Steven Silverman, John O'Shea, Annette Obrestad, Kitty Kuo and Rory Matthews, not to mention former EPT winners Jason Mercier and Mike McDonald.
See you tomorrow.
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter