EPT11 Barcelona: The door to the double winners club is closing, but for how long?

We're not ones to obsess here at the PokerStars Blog. Ok, we can't keep a straight face on that one. We obsess about many things, but mostly poker. It's our job after all. We obsess over optimal calling ranges against a maniac, and why the hyper-aggressive Michael Mizrachi is called The Grinder. But mostly over the years we've obsessed about the search for a double EPT winner.


Coren broke the curse

As we all know that search ended on last April, with Victoria Coren-Mitchell's second EPT win. So now the obsession becomes the search for the second double winner. We on the Blog suspect the chaise longue that currently resides in the 'Double Winners Club' might need to be replaced with sofa by the end of Season 11. Leather upholstery of course.

So imagine our delight when we scoured the player list at the start of day and found there were seven EPT champions left in the field. We were as giddy as a kid full of E-numbers. However, by the time that field had been cut from 103 to 432, five former champs had been vanquished. So whilst the door is still ajar, in Barcelona at least, it's rapidly closing. Here's a closer look at what's happened to the past winners so far today.

Kevin Stani, Norway, EPT7 Tallinn Champion: Out - 91st.
Despite coming into the day comfortably stacked Stani's day was the shortest of the seven remaining champions. His fate rested on a race. He got it in good with jacks but lost out to Pawel Brzeski's A♥K♥ when the Pole flopped a king.

Mikalai Pobal, Belarus, EPT9 Barcelona Champion: Out - 85th.
The last remaining EPT Barcelona Champion was also flipped out of here in a race situation. This time he was the player with the ace-king and found himself up against Samuel Phillips, who held pocket fours. The A♠K♣2♠ flop was perfect, the 4♥ turn less so and he was done in 85th place.

Mike McDonald, Canada, EPT4 Dortmund Champion: Out - 79th.
Timex hand a luckless day in the Main Event and was finally put out of his misery when he shoved with sevens and ran into the aces of Bram Haenraets. Just for good measure his opponent flopped an ace. McDonald reinvested most of his €13,900 winnings, buying into the record-breaking High Roller.

Davidi Kitai, Belgium, EPT8 Berlin Champion: Out - 50th
Kitai was coolered out of this tournament. On the very last hand before the third break of the day the Belgian tangled with Bram Haenraets, and the Dutchman, who qualified for just €82, scored his second EPT Champion scalp of the day. Haenraets six-bet jammed with aces and Kitai re-checked his cards before calling all-in with A♠K♦. The T♦T♣J♥ flop gave Kitai some outs but he missed them all.

Kitai made the slow walk to the payout desk, completed his business there and then turned to exit the room. As he neared the exit he was stopped by three gentleman who requested a photo. Despite his exit only having occurred minutes before he was only too happy to pose for the picture. With that he was on his way, perhaps a short break before entering the high roller?

Martin Finger, Germany, EPT8 Prague Champion: Out - 44th
The German, who also has an EPT Super High Roller title to his name, lost his chips in a unavoidable cooler against Kiryl Radzivonau. The latter found pocket aces, when Finger had queens. No help on the board and Finger was out.


Finger - gone


Kitai - prayers went unanswered

Dominik Panka, Poland, PCA10 Champion: Current Chip Count: 1,500,000
I really should be telling you that a sixth EPT Champion has fallen by the wayside. The Pole was one card away from elimination before hitting an overcard on the river to overtake Andrey Shatilov's pair. He's since been on a roll, winning a big pot with a full house against a smaller full house. And then whilst on the feature table on EPTLive he scooped a huge three-way pot with aces against against ace-king and jacks. He's since lost some back, but still has a well above average stack.

Robin Ylitalo, Sweden, EPT10 London Champion: Current Chip Count: 770,000
According to PokerStars Blog's Swedish Correspondent Lina Olofsson, her compatriot has had a rollercoaster of a day. He started with just 338,000 but got up to as high as 1,300,000, before dropping back down to 770,000 when he made a big laydown that he now regrets.

Follow all the action from the tournament floor on the main EPT Barcelona page. There's hand-by-hand coverage in the panel at the top, including chip counts, and feature pieces below. There's also EPT Live, which is streaming action from Day 4 of the Main Event.

Nick Wright
@PokerStars in European Poker Tour