When play began today Adalsteinn Karlsson was right in the middle of the pack, in twelfth spot of the 24 remaining players. After a quick fire Day 3 in the UKIPT Main Event he tops the lot. In no small part that's thanks to eliminating Adam Owen, who was the overnight chip leader. The king is dead, long live the king!
That pot played out with 16 players remaining, all the chips went in on a A♦5♠4♠ flop with Karlsson holding A♠K♣ and Owen the superior A♥4♠. A king on the turn gave Karlsson a pot worth over 5,300,000 and left Owen a little shocked. Given that Karlsson starts the final table with less than that pot was worth, it shows just how crucial that hand was.
It's incredibly tight at the top of the chip counts, with Karlsson's lead from David Pollock under 1.5 big blinds and the top four separated by fewer than five big blinds. When they resume on Monday they'll be 20 minutes and 24 seconds left in the 30,000 - 60,000 (ante 10,000) level.
|Seat 1||Mark Reilly||Ireland||845,000|
|Seat 2||David Pollock||Ireland||PokerStars qualifier||4,335,000|
|Seat 3||Adalsteinn Karlsson||Iceland||PokerStars player||4,420,000|
|Seat 4||Jelcides Monteiro||Luxembourg||1,025,000|
|Seat 5||Vladas Tamasauskas||Lithuania||PokerStars player||4,255,000|
|Seat 6||Marc Foggin||UK||2,220,000|
|Seat 7||Quentin Dellis||Belgium||4,150,000|
|Seat 8||Samuel Vousden||Finland||PokerStars player||3,675,000|
Our chip leader is 28 and became the Icelandic Poker Champion in November 2015, beating a field of 140 players to win more than £9,000. This money enabled him to take his game on the road, he competed at UKIPT5 Edinburgh and came third in the Edinburgh Cup for £5,225. He might be going further afield if he takes this one down for €176,900.
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The man who'll start second when play resumes at 12.30pm on Monday, looked for much of the day like he'd be the one bagging up the biggest stack. Back to back hands against Benjamin Saada propelled him towards the chip lead just 30 minutes into the day.
The Irish PokerStars qualifier has shown throughout that he's not afraid to play big pots and was often the one putting other players to the big decisions and he also made a royal flush today! He and Karlsson clashed in a few pots late on, it's a rivalry to keep an eye on when the final table starts, especially as they're in adjacent seats.
In contrast to Pollock, Vladas Tamasauskas didn't show his hand to late on, very late on. He eliminated Christophe Bouziane on the final hand of the day to ascend to third in the chip counts. He's no stranger to success on PokerStars' regional tours having finished 11th in Eureka Prague in December 2015. Not bad for a 21-year-old who's only played a handful of live tournaments.
The Lithuanian isn't the only player at the final table who had some success in Prague in December. Quentin Dellis cashed four times for a combined €26,293. Dellis's day basically came down to two big hands where he had big pairs. He doubled through David Pollock with jacks against ace-king and knocked Patrick Rooney out in tenth with queens against eights.
Another player who had some success in Prague is Samuel Vousden. The professional poker player was born in Salo, south Finland and finished 14th in the EPT Main Event in the Czech capital. He has played only a few live tournaments, however, he's arguably one of the most experienced players among the final eight, he has a Sunday Million title as well as a SCOOP title under his belt, to name just a few of his numerous online achievements.
Apart from when he eliminated James Akenhead with kings against jacks, Vousden seemed to run fairly bad in all-in situations today, but each time he got knocked down he built back up again, winning many pots without going to showdown. If that trend continues on Monday he may well be the one posing for the winner's photos.
There's some drop off between the chip stacks of the top five and the other three players at the final table. Leading the charge for the 'have nots' is Marc Foggin. He was supposed to be on a plane home tomorrow, not back to England, but to to Las Vegas for his friend's birthday and some deep-stack tournaments.
Those plans have been cancelled and it continues what's already been some year for Foggin. He came second in a $2,000 side event at The PCA - winning over $45,000 - and finished seventh in a £1,000 event in London at the end of January, good for another $37,000.
Only two players are in what could be deemed short stack territory, Jelcides Monteiro will start the final table with 17 big blinds and it's hard to know if he'll be happy or down in the dumps. He had far more at one stage and far less at another. In the end he's ended up somewhere in the middle. The player from Luxembourg, who's fluent in six languages, is still in with a shot at the title and that's what really matters though.
Mark Reilly is the second player from Ireland at the final table and whilst he'll start as the shortest stack he's shown he's got the patience to wait for a spot and turn that stack into something more workable. Throughout today he played a patient game and players seemed to respect his all ins when he was forced to put his tournament life on the line.
We've had the final table short stack come back to win before (Nicolau Villa-Lobos did it in Edinburgh) so don't count Reilly out.
Twenty-four into eight doesn't go of course and as well as James Akenhead and Adam Owen, more fine players found their journey to the UKIPT final table derailed today. Thomas Finneran was looking to win a second UKIPT Main Event title but he had to settle for 17th place whilst Jeffrey Brouwer was looking to make a second UKIPT final table. He fell short in 12th place.
To see who finished where and to catch up on all today's action click on the links below. We'll be back from 13.30pm on Monday for the final table. You can watch that on EPTLive.com, YouTube, Facebook and right here on the blog. They'll be another live final table before then though as the €25,000 High Roller final table plays out tomorrow on EPTLive.com. You can follow updates from that one right here.
All photos are copyright of Mickey May.