EPT12 Dublin: Alex Goulder looking golden, ends Main Event Day 3 on top
It was another cool, crisp day in Dublin, though inside the Royal Dublin Society the EPT12 Dublin Main Event is just starting to heat up. Day 3 of the tournament saw the money bubble burst, the field narrow down to just 45 hopefuls, and the UK's Alex Goulder emerge from five levels' worth of hold'em with the most chips of anyone, bagging 1,020,000 to claim the overnight chip lead.
A former poker dealer before becoming a live cash game pro, Goulder cut his teeth in Nottingham before moving to London. He's notched some impressive tourney results as well including an 11th-place showing in the EPT10 Deauville Main Event, a finish he'll keep trying to better here.
From a field of 605 just 127 had survived through the tournament's first two days, and with only 87 making the money that meant a number would be exiting without earning a share of the more than €2.9 million prize pool.
Ivan Banic began the day with the chip lead, and would remain near the top most of the day while others accumulated and the top spot changed hands. Tudor Purice would enjoy a short spell in first position, with Christopher Kruk and Frank Williams taking turns surging in front thereafter.
Meanwhile the field shrunk down with Jonathan Concepcion, Pratyush Buddiga, Ofer Zvi Stern, Ismael Bojang, Ben Heath, Diego Ventura, Steve O'Dwyer, Chris Moorman, Jude Ainsworth, and EPT11 Deauville champion Ognyan Dimov among those not lasting long enough to make the cash.
The bubble finally arrived partway into the day's third 90-minute level, and in the first hand of hand-for-hand play Sven Magirius became the unfortunate 88th-place finisher after his ace-king failed to outrun Alexandre Rivero's pocket tens.
By then earlier leader Tudor Purice had become short-stacked, and he'd begin the march to the cashier as the first of the min-cashers finishing in 87th. He was soon followed by Christoph Vogelsang (84th), EPT7 London champion David Vamplew (82nd), and EPT6 Sanremo winner and Team PokerStars Pro Liv Boeree (74th), all of whom also took away bottom-rung bounties of €9,100.
Fabrice Soulier (71st), LAPT4 Uruguay champion Alex Komaromi (69th), and Anthony Zinno (62nd) were part of the next wave of knockouts, with EPT4 Dortmand winner Mike McDonald soon following in 60th and like them cashing for €10,270.
Two players remembered for deep runs and hands against one another in the 2012 WSOP Main Event were among those next to fall -- Andras Koroknai (56th, €10,270) and Gaelle Baumann (55th, €11,440). And as the last level concluded Timothy Adams (51st, €11,440) and Alex Difelice (49th, €11,440) were among the last to go.
Looking at some of those who claimed the eliminated players' stacks, Frank Williams (881,000), Christopher Kruk (812,000), Ivan Banic (715,000), and Gilles Bernies (657,000) finished near the top. James Akenhead (626,000), Nick Petrangelo (326,000), Antoine Saout (325,000), and Dzmitry Urbanovich (164,000) also bagged up tonight.
Three former EPT champions remain in the field -- EPT11 Monte Carlo Grand Final winner Adrian Mateos (631,000), 2014 PCA champ Dominik Panka (91,000), and EPT6 Copenhagen titlist Anton Wigg (345,000).
Also returning for Thursday's Day 4 are a couple of red spade-sporters. Jaime Staples of Team PokerStars Pro Online bagged 241,000 and will continue what for him will ultimately represent a best career live score, no matter where he lands.
Like Staples, longtime EPT fave and Team PokerStars Pro Luca Pagano also endured a swingy day that ultimately ended well enough for him to bag an even 480,000. While Staples is earning his first career EPT cash, Pagano -- who has been making the money in EPT events since the first season -- is enjoying his 21st career cash in EPT Main Events.
For start-to-finish coverage of the action from Day 2, check the live updates, and click here for chip counts for all those who remain.
It's back out, then, into the chilly Dublin night, although there may be a pub or three between the RDS and the hotel to help keep warm on the way back. We'll be back at the crack of noon tomorrow, though, to see who from the remaining group of players can continue the quest to become the next EPT champion.
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Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.