When players reconvened this afternoon tournament organisers were undecided about how many levels to play. Thomas Kremser ultimately opted for playing down to 32, regardless of how long that took. But it soon became apparent that “long” was the wrong word. In less than five hours 124 players became 32. We didn’t even have a dinner break.
It was like this from the off. As the bubble approached, the unfortunates – those who had played this long, falling within a table of the money but leaving empty handed – began to make themselves known. Bill Chen was one of them, calling an all-in with ace-queen only for his opponent’s nine-seven to make a straight.
Then the bubble.
As Pierre Neuville moved in, getting called on one table, Joakin Hill did the same across the room. After pauses for all hands to finish Hill’s pocket kings looked likely to double him up until his vocal Italian foe, armed with a killer ace, hit a second on the river, sending the room into thunderous rapture. Hill’s last hope was for the shorter stacked Neuville to bust too. But the Frenchman’s pocket tens were good, casting the role of bubble boy on to the Swede.
That opened the floodgates. Tom McEvoy had clung on long enough, managing to cash along with Team PokerStars Pro Alex Kravchenko. Marcin Horecki, who looked like a player with a mission yesterday, couldn’t turn around the mis-fortune he’d crashed into and exited soon after.
Team PokerStars Pro Marcin Horecki
Amid the carnage there were still records to be set. EPT Warsaw winner Joao Barbosa added a seventh cash to his season five, an astonishing record despite his reluctant admission that he had no choice but to be blinded away in those tense few hands before the bubble.
But as some players hung on the big stacks began to dominate like poker goliaths.
Chief among them was Dragan Galic. Chip leader since day one, the Croatian enjoyed a golden run of cards at times, not simply catching them himself but capitalising when opponents were cursed with the second best hand. His play was solid though, solid enough to finish the day with the lead on a massive 1,386,000. As far as we can recall the EPT has never had a pillar to post winner. Could Galic be the first?
Heading the pursuit was American Steve Silverman, who saw off several rivals on his way to a stack of 865,000 at the close. David Eldar finished third on 829,000 while Holland’s Constant Rijkenberg, who confesses to never playing online, bludgeoned his way to a stack measuring up to his eyeballs – 814,000 worth of firepower that for much of the day almost blocked out the sun. There is talent left in this field – Ben Kang on 363,000, Malte Strothmann on 228,000 and Finland’s Sami Kelopuro on 173,000, but they will each have to cross these giants if they are to lift EPT silverware.
Last to go before dinner was PokerStars qualifier Dominik Palte of Germany. His departure closed off the day, leaving just four tables.
Those remaining will return tomorrow to play down to eight. That’s when the excitement is ratcheted up even more as the first prize €1.5 million comes into view.
That’s for tomorrow. Until then you can catch up on all the day’s action by visiting the links below.
Day three begins
Tale of two champions
Kravchenko survives bubble, then busts
Before and after
Horecki heads home
Among the chip leaders
Italian passion and Swedes out in the cold
Galic develops stack envy
And with that, we’re done
It goes without saying that all this is available in other languages, among them Swedish, German and Italian. Our colleagues from these lands certainly looked busy this afternoon so why not check out what they had to say.
Tomorrow EPT Live will be back to bring you every angle of the closing stages. You can tune in by visiting PokerStars.tv where you’ll also find an archive of today’s video blogs and all those that came before.
Chip leader for the third day, Dragan Galic
You can visit the chip count page for a complete run down of the scores at the end of day three.
That’s it for today though. All photos are (c) Neil Stoddart and more of those and some words to go with them will be back tomorrow afternoon at 2pm. See you then.