EPT11 Prague: Simon Mattsson leads after late surge, Vanessa Selbst near summit
Day 3 of the EPT Prague Poker Festival Main Event started with George Danzer sitting alone on the stage waiting for the arrival of his Team PokerStars Pro colleague Vanessa Selbst. Selbst was due to take the seat two to Danzer's left, and he said, "She can take my chips."
By the end of the day, Danzer's prediction had been proven half right. Danzer was still involved, among the 60 who made it through the five levels of play, but Selbst had certainly been accumulating. After knocking out Mustapha Kanit late in the day, Selbst finished with 1,007,000 chips, more than double anyone else at the feature table. (Danzer has 156,000.)
She might not have been too impressed with her own performance -- "Summary of day: play very bad, get there!" she tweeted -- but Selbst is once again in contention for a major title, and nobody will relish seeing her come to the table tomorrow (with the possible exception of those watching on EPT Live).
Selbst is not quite at the summit of the day-end chip counts, however, because a couple of other folk down in the main arena of play also had Selbst-ian days.
Round about the time Selbst was accounting for Kanit, Stephen Graner was ending the party for Reto Locher and Philipp Teipel when his slow-played aces bettered queens and a king-high flush draw. The huge pot sent Graner, who made the final table of the Millionaire Maker at the World Series of Poker this summer, up to 1,713,000, where he finished the day.
That wasn't even enough to take top spot, however, because Simon Mattsson went on an enormous late tear. The Swedish player, who is a close friend of the EPT London champion Robin Ylitalo, finished with 1,790,000 -- and left everybody in the press room arguing as to how he got them. The arguments were never quite resolved, but suffice to say his count is bigger than any others.
Davidi Kitai, the Triple Crown winner, is closest in those two players' wing-mirrors. On a day of mixed fortunes for EPT champions -- Liv Boeree, Mikey Petersen, Kent Lundmark and Jannick Wrang were eliminated; Remi Castaignon battles on alongside Kitai -- the former EPT Berlin winner from Belgium amassed 1,360,000 chips. Kitai too has been here before and his presence will make for an intriguing Day 4.
Other players heading into tomorrow include:
Petr Jelinek, 1,191,000
Miltiadis Kyriakides, 1,178,000
Pablo Sanz Quiles 1,075,000
Francesco Grieco, 1,054,000
Tamer Kamel, 893,000
Sam Grafton, 859,000
Balasz Botond, 682,000
Remi Castaignon, 511,000
Tatiana Barausova 372,000
Alexander Roumeliotis, 189,000
Another player notable by his absence is Eugene Katchalov. The Team Pro lost his last chips on the penultimate hand when he couldn't get ace-queen to beat jacks. Sad face.
All focus at the start of the day was on the bubble, which duly arrived in double quick time. However, once they went hand-for-hand, meaning only one player needed to bust before they were all in the money, it slowed to a painful grind.
About a dozen players were all in and called at the crucial time, but all survived. And then Team PokerStars Online's Christian Favali didn't believe the aforementioned Kanit could have his ace-king beaten. He was wrong. Kanit's aces held and Favali went home with nothing. It led to the usual free-for-all as the field shrank by two thirds.
They will play another five levels tomorrow, during which time we will get down to around 16 players. After that, it's the chase to the final and that near €1 million payday.