EPT12 Malta: Pahuja maintains lead as High Roller final table set

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The official final table

There were periods of play on Day 2 where not a lot happened. That meant a bigger number of players returned for the final day than was expected. The structure of a poker tournament is generally king in these situations though and you know that it'll get back on track with the maths.

It took a little while to get going today - Sean Winter the only player to bust in the first hour of play. But traction was finally found and a string of eliminations followed, leaving 11 remaining by the time the first break was taken. A final table of eight was reached just over a level later, with start of day chip leader Mukul Pahuja still in the lead.

Winter's day came to an end when he three-bet all in for around 25 big blinds with ace-seven, only for Byron Kaverman to have opened with pocket kings. He called and improved to a set.

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A case of what could've been for Peters

David Peters looked particularly disappointed when he busted in 16th place. That came as no surprise given that he was looking to make history by defending the title he won back in here in March. It was down to a bad beat at the hands of Roberto Romanello. Both had fewer than 15 big blinds and big pairs; Romanello's jacks spiked a set to crack the queens owned by Peters.

Igor Yaroshevskyy made a move with six-three from the small blind but Patrick Uzan called in the big blind with king-nine and held. Leslie Packer, who final tabled UKIPT Bristol in August, busted to Dominik Nitsche, after his ace-deuce failed to find the three-outer needed to beat the German's sevens.

Before those three went in a very short period of time, Mikita Badziakouski and Seng Ung went in 18th and 17th place respectively. Badziakouski king-queen couldn't come from behind to beat Nitsche's ace-jack and Ung fell to fellow Brit Packer when his queen-nine stayed ahead of his opponent's ace-seven.

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Yan flushed away

Martin Finger, looking for a full house of High Roller titles on the EPT, passed a million chips and moved into serious contention, when he eliminated Argentinian player Ezequiel Kleinman. He moved all in with ace-four suited before Finger moved all in to isolate behind. He successfully got his opponent heads up and his pocket jacks stayed firm. That was a player from one corner of the planet gone and the other one followed at the end of Level 21. David Yan, from New Zealand, raised and then four-bet shoved with ace-king. Kaverman had three-bet with the same hand and made the call. The latter's hand was suited in hearts though and he duly went on to make a flush to lay a bad beat on his young opponent.

That hand put Kaverman into a dominant position with 2.8 million, 1.3 million more than his closest opponent - Pahuja. The latter had a quiet first couple of levels but his tournament came alive after the break thanks to a huge hand versus Finger. He opened to 55,000 and then four-bet all in for (an effective) 750,000 after Finger three-bet 135,000. Finger double-checked that he actually had K♦K♣ and called all in. Pahuja opened A♥Q♦ and got there on a T♦J♦8♣2♣A♠ board. "Good game," directed Finger at Pahuja. ""Good game everyone," followed to the rest of the table.

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Finger broken

The unofficial final table of nine was reached when Patrick Uzan was sent to the rail. He three-bet all in with ace-seven for fewer than ten big blinds after Romanello had opened with big slick. The board ran blank and only one table remained. The official final table was set after Nitsche suffered a bad beat to bust. He opened with pocket queens and called all in for around 500,000 after Mikalai Vaskaboinikau set him in with A♦Q♦. The board ran 4♦2♦9♥J♠6♦ to make Vaskaboinikau a flush. Nitsche hung his head as he was led away to the payout desk.

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Dominik left disappointed

The final eight had their picture taken and then settled back down in the following formation:

SeatNameCountryStatusEntry infoChips
1Mukul PahujaUnited StatesLive satellite winner 2650000
2Vladimir DobrovolskiyRussia  1203000
3Mikalai VaskaboinikauBelarusLive satellite winner 1180000
4Roberto RomanelloUnited Kingdon  775000
5Byron KavermanUnited States Re-Entered on Day 12990000
6Bryn KenneyUnited States  385000
7Kevin MacPheeUnited States Re-Entered on Day 1380000
8Ihar SoikaBelarusLive satellite winner 1390000

You can watch #EPTLive coverage here, whilst everything about EPT Malta is on the main EPT Malta page. More specifically, all the side event coverage can be found here.

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Marc Convey
@The_Conv in European Poker Tour