EPT10 Deauville: Sotirios Koutoupas leads final 16, including Kelly and Katchalov
Day 4 is done at the EPT10 Deauville Main Event, and after four 90-minute levels and a few hands more just 16 are left from the 671 who started the event. Sotirios Koutoupas of Greece ended the night atop the counts, positioned well in his quest to equal or improve upon a runner-up finish in the EPT9 Prague Main Event.
After a celebratory night at the Global Poker Index European Poker Awards -- at which trophies were won, then glasses were raised -- play resumed at noon today.
The action was très rapidement to start with 10 knockouts during the first 90-minute level, among them start-of-day-3 chip leader Dario Sammartino in 38th (€14,010) and Ludovic Geilich in 34th (both earning €14,010). Active from the start today, Geilich left an impression despite his short Day 4 tenure, and after final tabling EPT London last fall will likely have more chances in future EPTs.
Speaking of other one-time leaders, Ekrem Sanioglu had begun today atop the counts with 41 left. But not long after the day's first break he'd be hitting the rail in 28th (€15,950) after tumbling down the counts then having pocket deuces fail to improve against Florian Ribouchon's pair of jacks.
Meanwhile the first couple of levels saw most of the chip leaders gathering at the feature table, where some such as Tatu Maenpaa saw their big stacks grow bigger.
Another feature table player continuing to collect to remain high in the counts was Team PokerStars Pro Eugene Katchalov, who started the day in second position and remained among the leaders throughout. With WPT and WSOP wins previously, Katchalov only needs an EPT title to complete poker's elusive Triple Crown.
The pace of eliminations would slow as the afternoon turned to evening, with Koutoupas moving to the top of the counts with the Brit Alex Goulder close behind, both having cracked the 2 million-chip mark.
The field was whittled down further, and after battling gamely throughout the day Zimnan Ziyard finally fell in 22nd (€21,220) after a couple of hands in which the EPT8 Loutraki Main Event champion found himself up against opponents holding pocket aces. His exit meant the streak would continue of no repeat champions thus far during the EPT's nine-and-a-half seasons.
Following Ziyard to the rail was Javed Abrahams in 21st (also for €21,220). At that point we considered the previous career tourney bests in terms of cashes for the remaining 20, realizing nearly everyone was here chasing a career high.
Kamel Boukhalfa (20th), Mustapha Amaouche (19th), and Andrew Sweeney (18th) were next to fall, each earning €24,450, and it looked at one moment as though a severely-short Iranian Bahram Chobineh would be the one to go next and end play for the night.
We'd spoken to Chobineh earlier about his lack of experience and improbable path to play in his first EPT event, and about a big fold he'd made during the afternoon, letting go of pocket queens preflop then seeing an opponent show aces.
"I don't know what I'm doing," insisted Chobineh to us, but nonetheless he persevered, and after surviving a late all-in versus Eli Heath was positioned to make it through to Day 5 when Konstantin Tolonko fell to Chun Ho Law in the last hand of the night to finish 17th (€27,680).
Like Chobineh, Law also is not a tourney player. Yet while Chobineh will come back tomorrow 16th of 16 in the counts, Law has a big stack of more than 2.6 million.
That places Law just a touch behind leader Koutoupas with Maenpaa and JP Kelly not far behind.
News reporter Alexandre Amiel is yet another still here for whom poker isn't a primary occupation. But by making the last two tables here, now others are reporting on him.
Here's how things stacked up at night's end:
1. Sotirious Koutoupas (Greece) -- 2,695,000
2. Chun Ho Law (United Kingdom) -- 2,579,000
3. Tatu Maenpaa (Finland) -- 1,921,000
4. JP Kelly (United Kingdom) -- 1,801,000
5. Florian Ribouchon (France) -- 1,719,000
6. Alex Goulder (United Kingdom) -- 1,365,000
7. Oliver Price (United Kingdom) -- 1,275,000
8. Eli Heath (United Kingdom) -- 1,191,000
9. Alexandre Amiel (France) -- 1,174,000
10. Eugene Katchalov (Ukraine) -- 1,002,000
11. Anthony Lerust (France) -- 839,000
12. Dimitri Holdeew (Germany) -- 637,000
13. Rustem Muratow (Russia) -- 548,000
14. Jean-Yves Malherbe (Belgium) -- 476,000
15. Carlo De Benedittis (Italy) -- 417,000
16. Bahram Chobineh (Iran) -- 327,000
Play resumes at noon on Friday when they'll play down to a final eight-handed table. We'll be here then as well with reports and live updates, as will the crew at EPT Live. And don't forget to stop by the High Roller section as well to follow how that event is proceeding.
There are no more awards to be given out, but the final 16 will hopefully be rewarding themselves by heading out for an entertaining evening nonetheless. As will we.
Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.