Up until the last minutes today the news from EPT Vienna was straightforward. Daniel Negreanu had arrived with the chip lead and would leave tonight with the chip lead. The only question left to be answered was: for how long the Team PokerStars Pro would keep it?
As it turned out that question would be answered a lot sooner than we thought, because at the post Negreanu’s lead was snatched away by Greek PokerStars qualifier Konstantinos Nanos in a last minute pot that catapulted him into the lead with 2,007,000.
Snatching the chip lead at the post, Konstantinos Nanos
It happend moments before the hand that brought the day to a close, Nanos sending Ville Mattila to the rail when his pocket queens were topped by Nanos’s ace-king, and inheriting the Finn’s 675,000.
Nanos’ finishing stack, a difference of four big blinds and some antes ahead of Negreanu, puts the breaks on an otherwise easy headline. But any retrospective look on the day will judge Negreanu to be the favourite tomorrow, with the Canadian tapping into a seam of top form.
It’s a point not lost on Negreanu himself. The Team PokerStars Pro has joked about his lack of EPT cashes before, and today quipped that his performance in Austria was down to not shaving. But make no mistake about his seriousness, particularly when it comes to what Negreanu has in mind for his legacy.
Not long ago he was overtaken on the All-Time Money List by Phil Ivey, an event that had a far greater effect on his desire to win than any cash prize could. A win in Vienna this week would rectify that. There’s also the prospect of a Triple Crown in his sights. For poker lovers everywhere this weekend could be one to savour.
Daniel Negreanu, so nearly the leader, with his bag of chips
So Nanos leads with 2,007,000, Negreanu is behind him on 1,954,000. Those two sit way ahead of the pack. Challengers to their lead will have to act fast when play resumes on Saturday. Umberto Vitagliano is leading that chase with 1,558,000, ahead of Martin Hruby on 1,403,000 and Michael Eiler on 1,299,000.
But right now they’re fighting over third and fourth place. The details of those battling for fifth and sixth can be found on the chip count page.
For the story of Negreanu’s dominance today right up until the last minute, check out the links below:
The first of the prize winners at EPT Vienna are detailed on our prize winners page, and chip counts of those remaining are on the, yes, chip count page. Videos from today, including the visible transition of Daniel Negreanu from having lots of chips to even more chips, are all available on PokerStars.tv.
Our thanks to our foreign blogging colleagues, each of whom have a reason to come back tomorrow. Six Germans and a Greek are among the last 24, and while there are no Dutch we’ll still need someone to fetch us drinks. A last thanks to photographer Neil Stoddart, who used his left eye today.
Daniel Negreanu in post-match interview mode
If you like your poker coverage with both summer and winter backdrops, check out the ANZPT Darwin Grand Final, particularly the news that Team PokerStars Pro Tony Hachem has been named the tour’s Player of the Year for a second consecutive season. He’s also on course for a second title going into the closing stages.
Until tomorrow then we’re heading back to the Schnitzel place for another plate of meat. Goodnight from Vienna.
Photography (c) Neil Stoddart.