EPT12 Barcelona: Olekseii Khoroshenin heads the hunt for €1.4m

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Oleksii Khoreshenin: Leading the way

Day 3 of the Main Event on the European Poker Tour is the favourite of pretty much all the people involved. For one thing, it's always when the bubble bursts, guaranteeing heartache and elation in equal measure, and it's also when players begin building the kind of stacks that can possibly win them a tournament.

After two days faffing around, it all suddenly gets real.

In these circumstances, it also pays to have some major tournament experience, which is why it also often seems the day that the big-name players tend to make their move. There are hefty stacks this evening in front of players such as Dong Kim, John Juanda, Jude Ainsworth, Anthony Zinno, Andre Akkari, Tom Hall, Nacho Barbero and Nick Petrangelo, while there's a world champion and six former EPT winners also still among the remaining 110 (tbc) players.

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Andre Akkari: Another fine day

One of those is at the very top of the charts. Oleksii Khoroshenin, the last man to triumph at EPT Vienna, in Season 10, spent his bubble period this afternoon joking with Fatima Moreira de Melo, sitting next to him. But there was nothing funny about the way he accumulated chips throughout the day. He was the first to build a seven-figure stack and ended with 1,708,000.

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Olekseii Khoroshenin and Fatima Moreira de Melo, besties

That puts him in pole position for a €1,420,500 pay-day, the figure confirmed today for the winner. Such a mammoth field meant it took significantly longer than usual to calculate all the headline figures, but it was eventually established that there had been 1,694 players, creating a prize-pool of close to €8.5 million and that whacking great wedge for the last one standing.

Among the familiar faces to make the money, but to go no further, are the following: Roberto Romanello (244th), Moreira de Melo (240th), Mike Watson (233rd), Dara O'Kearney (170th), Jussi Nevanlinna (150th), Jani Sointula (149th), Natalie Hof (135rd), Aku Joentausta (128th) and Johnny Lodden (111th).

But here are the highlights of the list of those still battling:

Oleksii Khoroshenin, 1708000
Dmitry Yurasov, 1214000
Rodney Ramalho, 1138000
Denys Shafikov, 1110000
Diego Casco Del Riego, 1091000
Mikalai Vaskaboinikau, 1042000
Roman Voronin, 1017000
Shyam Srinivasan, 975000
John Juanda, 914000
Steven Warburton, 910000
Peter Eichhardt, 770000
Joep van den Bijgaart, 768000
Jude Ainsworth, 564000
Mike McDonald, 549000
Steven Watts, 491000
Tom Hall, 471000
Daniel Dvoress, 402000
Nick Petrangelo, 400000
Frederick Jensen, 380000
Jason Les, 323000
Matthias De Meulder, 300000
Kitty Kuo, 288000
Jens Kyllonen, 227000
Alexander Ivarsson, 217000
Jeremy Ausmus, 197000
Michael Eiler, 191000
Patrick Antonius, 199000
Ryan Riess, 182000
Imad Derwiche, 123000

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A welcome return for Patrik Antonius

There's no place on either list for Anastasios Vrakas, whose key contribution to the proceedings of EPT12 Barcelona has been to get knocked out on the bubble. Vrakas had A♣Q♠ but lost to Dmitry Yurasov's A♠K♣ and allowed everyone else to breathe a sigh of relief.

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Anastasios Vrakas, centre, at the eye of the bubble storm

There had been an epidemic of tanking as the bubble approached, but then a flurry of eliminations -- five all ins at once during hand-for-hand play -- that served as appetiser to Vrakas's moment of horror.

There will likely be a lot more of the same tomorrow, as we look to cull the field even further. Poker remains a tough way to make an easy living, and we'll watch them all sweat it out again from noon.

You can follow all the action from the various tournament floors on PokerStars Blog. The Main Event action will be on the Main Event page. And everything from the side events is on the side events page. It will be busy over there today. There's also EPT Live for your video-based needs.

You can also begin plotting your own bid for EPT glory by downloading the PokerStars client and having a crack. Follow this EPT event via the EPT app. There you will get all the latest news, chip counts and payouts. You can download it on Android or IOS.

Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour