EPT11 London: Pauli leads final, but it's Cody and MacPhee looking for the double
There's a game played in the idle moments of Day 5 of an EPT. With 16 left you select the eight players that you would like to see reach the final table - factoring in nothing more than the potential for a good story should they meet success. Then you take this list, set fire to it, and scatter the ashes from the nearest window. Taking the eight names you have left, you now know exactly who will feature on the final table the next day.
Yet somehow this traditionally fool proof system failed spectacularly today. Because let's face it, we wanted Jake Cody, the Team PokerStars Pro and Triple Crown winner, to make a run on a second title.
"Having been there before gives me an advantage," said Cody. "It's a big thing to make an EPT final table. Some of the players are going to be feeling a lot of pressure, it's their first time. It's different, it's not like playing online or making another final table. This is the EPT it's the crème de la crème."
We wanted Kevin MacPhee, the former EPT Berlin winner, who looks like he has put every sinew of his lanky being into amassing enough chips to clear each hurdle sent his way.
"I've just been trying to play with a pretty high level of intensity," said MacPhee. "I mean it's a tough field and I don't want to make any mistakes. I'm just trying not to screw it up."
And we wanted Pablo Gordillo, a finalist in Vienna, and the man who two week ago actually lost the capacity to lose (a rare condition), after winning three online tournaments in a single day (read our interview with the Spaniard here).
"I'm really happy," said Gordillo. "It's my second EPT and my second final table." And did it feel like he couldn't lose these days? "It's seems like that!"
Ladies and gentlemen, we got them all.
It means we're all set for thriller of a clash tomorrow when play restarts at 1pm. Here's how they'll line up.
Seat 1: Jonathan Bensadoun, France, 2,340,000
Seat 2: Jake Cody, Great Britain, 2,156,000
Seat 3: Kevin MacPhee, USA, 2,430,000
Seat 4: Artur Koren, Germany, 2,420,000
Seat 5: Kevin Killeen, Ireland, 2,470,000
Seat 6: Pablo Gordillo, Spain, 975,000
Seat 7: Sebastian Pauli, Germany, 6,130,000
Seat 8: Jakub Mroczek, Poland, 1,325,000
And while we're at it let have Kevin Killeen, the Irishman in the woollen hat, and the most highly rated member of The Firm, who will look to repeat a win on the UKIPT with success on the EPT in front of friends and family who right now are boarding planes, trains and automobiles to watch from the rail.
As Dara O'Kearney put it: "Kevin is so good that given the choice between staking, let's say, 10 low to mid-stakes grinders or staking Kevin, it's better for us to stake Kevin, even though he plays higher than any of us do."
It would be unfair to dismiss Sebastian Pauli, who let's not forget, despite standing alone on the feature table as players left for the night, will be the chip leader tomorrow, in the form of his career.
"I think I played well during the tournament," said Pauli. "I don't think anyone has forgotten about me but obviously those players (Cody and MacPhee) have much more success in the past. I can't even recall all the players now, I'm quite overwhelmed."
Pauli's friend Artur Koren, as well as Jakub Mroczek who doubled up through Cody at the bell, have also had a terrific week. Both could easily spark a few surprises.
So in short what we're saying is this --whatever the outcome, and however long it takes, tomorrow's final is not to be missed.
Of course, we would have liked to have Benny Spindler also. The German, who seemed indestructible today despite the efforts of everyone, finally succumbed to a short stack to bring the day to a close.
No chance of a second title for him, but plenty in store when play starts at 1pm tomorrow, with the EPT Live coverage, and that on the blog, starting at 2pm.
We strongly advise you don't miss it.
Follow the action from the EPT London Main Event this week on the PokerStars. You can also watch live coverage on the EPT Live webcast between October 14-18 on PokerStars.tv.
Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.