EPT11 Malta: Ten big blinds and a dream
When Ismail Kalkan went to bed last night you suspect he was dreaming of more than just making the money here in Malta. The 41-year-old from Germany bagged up a hefty 426,900 and when told at the end of day that he might be chip leader he was astonished at that prospect. As it was he had the fourth biggest stack at the end of play but it would still be a disaster should he not make the money, 127 of the 186 players who return today will do just that.
Despite this being only Kalkan's third EPT the business owner already has experience of what it's like to make the money on the tour having finished 114th in Barcelona earlier this season. At the end of play yesterday he told the PokerStars Blog. "I play for a little more than fun."
You can't imagine last night was very fun for some of the players who returned with short stacks today. Shortest of them all was Pablo Fernandez who had just 27,900 to his name and with blinds at 1,500/3000 ante 400 that equated to fewer than 10 big blinds. It still took the Spaniard, who lives in Bournemouth, a decent amount of time to unbag and stack his chips as he'd craftily clung to two and a half towers of black T100 chips.
He'd had a bit of good fortune as the button started in seat seven and he was seat six, he had time therefore to wait to pick up a decent holding. The wait though ended on the first hand, Yannick Bonnet opened to 6,500 and Fernandez raised, not all-in though. He used all his big chips, leaving the towers of T100 chips where they were for now. It folded back to Bonnet and after getting a count of the bet (21,000) he just called. The flop fell 9♦2♣6♥, Fernandez moved all-in for his shrapnel and Bonnet made the obligatory call:
It was domination nation for Fernandez, but he did have a crumb of comfort in the shape of a backdoor flush draw as well as three direct outs. The 8♥ turn card turned those crumbs into something more substantial and the Q♥ river kept his dream alive. Bonnet, who only started play with 52,100 was now the table short stack.
Whilst Fernandez had got lucky, both in that hand and with the random button draw, the same can't be said for Pascal Hartmann. The German began the day with 38,100 but was under-the-gun first hand and had Jake Cody, Jonathan Duhamel and Vladimir Troyanovskiy for company.
Followers of the UKIPT will know the name Brett Angell, he won UKIPT London in October of 2014 and nearly defended his title three months later when he finished seventh. Despite this success Angell has a full-time job and thus this is only his second EPT. With just 13 big blinds at the start of play he was odds against to make the money but has had a remarkable start to the day. "I got a three-bet shove through, I'm on fire now!" he joked to the PokerStars Blog when we checked in on his progress.
If he was joking then he wasn't a short time later as he won a huge three-way pot to build his stack to 170,000 - which is right around average. In the hand in question Angell held A♦K♣ and was all-in for 56,000, Ran Illani also had ace-king and slightly less chips, whilst Stefan Ivanov had both players covered and pocket queens. A 8♦2♣J♦T♦3♦ board meant Angell was the recipient of some divine intervention and a lot of chips.
A couple of tables over Jeffrey Hakim (35,700) and Andreas Christoforou (39,700) were locked in a personal battle for the status of the shortest stack at their table. Hakim decided he'd had enough of holding that dubious honour and shoved from under-the-gun for 34,900. One by one they folded until action reached Sorel Mizzi in the big blind. The Canadian looked at one card at a time before showing Hakim, and then the table, that he had 9♠2♥. On the next hand Hakim got a nice gift as he got a walk.
A few hands later Christoforou three-bet all-in for just over 30,000, Moritz Dietrich - who was second in chips overnight - got a count but surrendered his initial bet of 7,000 as he folded.
So far the improbable was happening as all the short stacks were surviving, but you can defy the odds for only so long and Alexey Andreev, who won his seat to this event in a live satellite was the first short stack to have his dream crushed.
He'd started Day 3 with 30,600 but had dwindled down to around 24,000 by the time he three-bet all-in with A♥6♠ over the top of Stefan Schillhabel's open raise. Holding A♦K♠, the German called instantly and held on the T♥9♠J♦4♠K♥ board.
For him the dream is over, for 150 others the dream is still alive.
Follow all the action from EPT Malta on the main EPT Malta page. There's action from the Main Event on the Main Event page, and information from the Italian Poker Tour event on the IPT page. It's also about time you downloaded the EPT App, available on both Android or IOS.