EPT10 Sanremo: The dwindling options of the short stacks

Towards the end of level 24, Jorma Nuutinen lost an enormous pot. He had kings to Bruno Stefanelli's jacks and after they got a bit cute pre-flop, they got the chips in with three cards exposed in the middle. There was a jack among them. Nuutinen lost.

That left the Finnish player with the smallest stack in the room, and he seemed pretty angry about it. Nuutinen had survived some of the very toughest tables in this tournament all week, and yet had managed to build a commanding stack. Then one pretty bad beat and it was all almost over.

jorma_nuutinen_ept10_sanremo_day5.jpg

Jorma Nuutinen: Tough break

However Nuutinen is from that determined Finnish stock -- see also Aku Joentausta, Joni Jouhkimainen, Ilari Sahamies -- who can marry tenacity with fearlessness and technical ability. There's really only one decision you have to make when you get as low as him: do you want simply to try to ladder up, or do you want to get back and challenge? For a Finn, there's really only one choice.

So it was that almost immediately after Nuutinen lost that huge pot, he moved all in time and time and time again, three-bet shoving Ariel Celestino, open-shoving when folded to in the cut-off, then doing again the next hand.

He might have had aces every time, but it seems as unlikely as it is irrelevant. It's not even certain he had looked at his cards.

All of a sudden, Nuutinen had built his stack to be the second smallest in the room. Jeff Hakim had slipped below him. Hakim still tried a min-raise from early position a couple of hands later and Stephen Chidwick, to his left, put in a three-bet to 111,000. That allowed Nuutinen to fold and Hakim followed suit, slipping back further.

Victoria Coren-Mitchell also now had a short stack, but her approach to the situation was slightly less combustible. Although clearly not exactly thrilled to be left without a workable stack, the Team PokerStars Pro folded most of the hands she was dealt. She did shove over the top of a Jordan Westmorland raise, and got the chip-leader to let his hand go, but otherwise there wasn't much she could do.

vicky_coren_ept10_sanremo_day5.jpg

Victoria Coren-Mitchell: Preparing for a long stay

Soon there was vindication, however. Alex Kravchenko and Hakim were eliminated on the same hand, and then Chidwick went broke too. All of a sudden, Coren-Mitchell could tell her Twitter followers that she was in the last 12. And that's very very close to the final.

Update: Coren-Mitchell has now shoved three times over Raul Mestre's open-raises and has got them all through. She is opening up. Nuutinen is also still breathing, with 320,000 approx.

Full coverage of EPT Sanremo is on the main EPT Sanremo page. There's hand-by-hand coverage in the panel at the top and feature pieces below. The €10,000 High Roller is also under way. Coverage of that is on the High Roller page.

Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour