EPT10 Vienna: Timo Pfützenreuter snatches lead with 17 left

If, while seated in the tournament room, you were to look upwards at the ceiling, your eyes would be met by a heavenly scene. In three great paintings, the Hapsburg dynasty, one that spanned centuries, is presented in majestic glory, a family depicted as ruling over Europe.

For a long time that family did just that, and the people looked up to them as somehow divine, a guide and shining light in the darkness. Flash forward from that time and, if while seated in the tournament room, you were to look towards the Main Event field, you'd have trouble picking out much of a glow.

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The Festsaal in full bloom

While the Emperors and their heirs adorn the ceiling, poker's leading figures are strangely absent back at ground level. In fact the purist might complain that all the big names had been removed. At least they might think that until they saw Johnny Lodden.

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Johnny Lodden

The Team Pro bags up 1,130,000 tonight. But while he remains a beacon of familiarity he sits some way off the lead. Instead, that is held by Timo Pfutzenreuter, who moved into top spot very late on, ousting Pablo Gordillo, who had led almost from the start of play. Pfutzenreuter, from Austria, has 3,837,000. Gordillo finished with 3,582,000.

Pfutzenreuter is on course for the best EPT finish, not to mention the biggest payday of his career should he reach the last eight. His day was not without some luck, rivering a a third jack to dethrone Greek player Miltiadis Kyriakides's pocket queens.

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Timo Pfützenreuter (left) with Jude Ainsworth

Gordillo also keeps up the theme of the week, that of new faces taking the reins to lead at the close. He does so though after a convincing day in the saddle, reaching the penultimate day in second place. Often hard to fathom, the Spaniard will permit his countrymen to entertain the idea of a first Spanish winner.

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Pablo Gordillo

On his heels is a shortlist of pretenders eager to ensure this will also be their last event during which they'll described as "relatively obscure".

Table 1
Seat 1. Marko Neumann - 1,096,000
Seat 2. Empty
Seat 3. Sebastian Panny - 498,000
Seat 4. Anthony Ghamrawi - 2,790,000
Seat 5. Empty
Seat 6. Andras Kovacs - 903,000
Seat 7. Empty
Seat 8. Timo Pfutzenreuter - 3,837,000

Table 2
Seat 1. Dan Murariu - 1,660,000
Seat 2. Simeon Naydenov - 2,324,000
Seat 3. Empty
Seat 4. Frei Dilling - 2,280,000
Seat 5. Empty
Seat 6. Oleksii Khoroshenin - 437,000
Seat 7. Pablo Gordillo - 3,582,000
Seat 8. Johnny Lodden - 1,130,000

Table 3
Seat 1. Empty
Seat 2. Rumen Nanev - 1,003,000
Seat 3. Patrick Fasching - 560,000
Seat 4. Umberto Vitagliano - 1,653,000
Seat 5. Mike Adamo - 494,000
Seat 6. Empty
Seat 7. Roman Korenev - 967,000
Seat 8. Gavin O'Rourke - 2,071,000

So who did we lose to leave this event so wide open? There were several big names in the running as play restarted with 50 left this afternoon.

Jonathan Roy was the first to go, shortly before Jason Lavallee. Veterans Michel Abecassis and Marcel Luske would be on the rail later in the day, soon followed by Jan Bendik. Young pros Stephen Chidwick and Jude Ainsworth, usually counted on to provide the obvious flair, were dismissed in order.

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Marcel Luske

Of course it's not all set to become a meeting of Poker Anonymous.

Simeon Naydenov has a bracelet to his name and has shown a confident streak this week, proving himself a good pick for the title. Rumen Nanev could easily conjure up a few surprises, so too Dan Marariu and old hand Italian player Umberto Vitaglio.

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Rumen Nanev (left) Umberto Vitagliano (right), the Hapsburgs (up)

So before you consider your pick you can look for clues amid the coverage today.

As the high roller event began, players enjoying a moment's peace were asked to consider whether they would choose music or TV if forced to jettison one for the other.

We spoke to Swedish pro Adrian Bussman about his lucky kebab hat, and considered the number of times state visits have coincided with EPTs.

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Things getting weird outside tonight

Before he was summarily dismissed we enjoyed a round with Jude Ainsworth, and examined Steven Lewzey's tanking. Meanwhile Bulgaria's best poker expert Dimitar Danchev got stuck into the high rollers.

The Main Event plays on tomorrow, down to a final table of eight ahead of the finale on Saturday. Join us tomorrow at 12 noon CET for more.

Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.