EPT9 Sanremo: Jason Lavallee leads Ludovic Lacay into final table
EPT9 Sanremo has reached its final table, the eight players who will return tomorrow to decide the winner of the €800,000 first prize.
The tone for the day was set early, when the life-force of Inge Forsmo, vivid before today, was finally snuffed out in a massive couple of hands. But even after he had departed in spectacular fashion - second in chips overnight, bust in 23rd - players did not shy away from potentially tournament-ending confrontation.
The player who won the most of all these huge pots was Jason Lavallee, a 26-year-old PokerStars qualifier from Montreal, Canada, who will carry the chip lead to the final. Lavallee's biggest result to date was for $795,150, but he is now in pole position to overhaul that. He could get himself an exclusive Slyde watch to boot.
This is no forgone conclusion, however. For every big name who crashed out today, another remains. Yevgeniy Timoshenko couldn't make it through, but Ludovic Lacay could - and with a mighty chip stack as well.
Matt Salsberg busted, but Jason Tompkins stays - the Irish dream remains alive.
The EPT's own Artem Litvinov proved yet again that there is a shrewd mind beneath all the idosyncracies. He is at another final table, looking to better his fifth place in the Grand Final High Roller in April.
Micah Raskin is a pretty handy player as well. He has amassed more than a million in live tournament earnings, and is now sitting on the first EPT final table of his career as he searches for a breakthrough title. He has been on a roller coaster ride for three days, going from leader to short-stack to close to leader again. Now he is safely in the last eight.
We round off the final table with a German, a Pole and a solitary Italian. The burden of a nation's expectation now rests on the shoulders of Angelo Recchia. He could bring home Italy's second EPT title - and how they would dearly love it on home soil.
The complete final table line up, in seat order, is as below. Once again, the full international flavour of the European Poker Tour is in evidence. We have eight players from eight different countries.
1 - Ludovic Lacay (France) 5,366,000
2 - Jason Tompkins (Ireland) 3,605,000
3 - Adrian Piasecki (Poland) 2,045,000
4 - Micah Raskin (USA) 1,550,000
5 - Jason Lavallee (Canada) 5,545,000
6 - Ismael Bojang (Germany) 2,845,000
7 - Angelo Recchia (Italy) 1,755,000
8 - Artem Litvinov (Russia) 800,000
Final table play commences at 3pm local time, but broadcast restrictions mean we will not be publishing any updates until 4pm. The hour delay is because the final table is being screened "as live" on EPT Live, with hole cards up. So tune in then - there and here.
Today's PokerStars Blog coverage is live already, of course. You don't need to wait an extra hour to read about how the stage was set for penultimate day heroics; how Micah Raskin was railed by his rock-star brothers; and about the unfinished story of Ismail Bojang.
The High Roller event is still playing out. You can follow coverage on the dedicated High Roller page.
Until tomorrow, and another day in the theatre, goodnight.