EPT12 Dublin: The one and only Mustapha Kanit takes €25K High Roller lead to final day

As players bagged up to conclude Day 2 of the €25K High Roller at the EPT Dublin festival tonight, we recalled the scene about 24 hours before at the end of Day 1.

Mustapha "lasagnaaammm" Kanit was in a bit of a hurry, and once the bags were produced he grabbed one and hastily began scribbling his name. The dealer called out to him, asking him please to write legibly, as he was soon to be tasked with the duty of transcribing the Italian's name and count. Kanit looked up.

"There is only one Mustapha, and there is only one Kanit!" he said, and the table broke up in laughter.

Kanit did more to distinguish himself during today's second day of play, grabbing the chip lead during the early evening and keeping it all of the way to tonight's bagging and tagging. With just eight players left, Kanit will carry the chip lead to tomorrow's final table after finishing with a healthy 5,460,000.


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Mustapha Kanit

Anton Bertilsson of Sweden will start tomorrow as Kanit's nearest challenger after finishing with 3,850,000.


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Anton Bertilsson

Meanwhile Charlie Carrel, Chance Kornuth, Ivan Luca, Jeffrey Rossiter, Keith Johnson, and Nick Petrangelo round out what will be a star-studded final table tomorrow.

Late registration extended to the start of play today, and after the latest of the latecomers came (as well as the last to re-enter), the total settled at 70 entries with 58 uniques. That meant a total prize pool of €1,715,000 to be divided by the top nine finishers, with a cool €501,640 scheduled for the winner.

Bertilsson began the day as the chip leader, and he continued to maintain a big stack throughout the afternoon as the field winnowed down to the final few tables. Others would eventually battle Bertilsson for the lead, with Nick Petrangelo the most significant challenger as he and Bertilsson traded the top spot back and forth until Petrangelo carried it to the dinner break.


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Nick Petrangelo

By then just 21 players remained, with Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier, Niall Farrell, Rocco Palumbo, Max Silver, Ariel Celestino, and Mike McDonald among the most recently eliminated.

Post-dinner, the pace of eliminations kept steady as Mike Watson, Paul Newey, Ben Heath, Kevin MacPhee, and Daniel Dvoress were knocked out. Meanwhile Keith Johnson -- who only satellited into the event yesterday and began at the start of Day 2 -- surged into the chip lead with 16 left.

Christoph Vogelsang was the next out, then came a big hand between Kanit and Anton Bertilsson in which the latter shoved with pocket eights and Kanit found a call with pocket queens. Kanit catapulted up over 3 million with that hand, grabbing the chip lead he'd carry all of the way to night's end.

After the eliminations of Timothy Adams, Winfred Yu, Davidi Kitai, and Kim Wittendorff, Bertilsson would be involved in another dramatic hand on the money bubble with 10 left. Dario Sammartino check-shoved the turn with two pair and Bertilsson called with a flush draw and gutshot, and the straight draw came through for Bertilsson to knock Sammartino out in 10th.


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Dario Sammartino

They played on another 40 minutes or so and into the start of Level 19, then finally Ivan Luca took the last of Martin Jacobson's stack to send the 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event champion out in ninth for a €49,730 cash.


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Martin Jacobson

Here's how the stacks will look to start tomorrow's final day of play:

Mustapha Kanit (Italy) -- 5,460,000
Anton Bertilsson (Sweden) -- 3,850,000
Charlie Carrel (United Kingdom) -- 2,755,000
Chance Kornuth (United States) -- 1,310,000
Ivan Luca (Argentina) -- 1,265,000
Jeffrey Rossiter (Australia) -- 1,120,000
Keith Johnson (United Kingdom) -- 1,150,000
Nick Petrangelo (United States) -- 570,000

And good news! You'll be able to watch the one and only Mustapha Kanit try to hold off this talented group tomorrow on the EPT Live stream. Play begins at 12:30pm local time on Sunday, and the stream will start at 1:30pm with start-to-finish coverage with hole cards. Meanwhile, check the Day 2 live updates to review the full story of what happened here today.


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Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

Martin Harris
@hardboiledpoker in European Poker Tour