What with the near-thousand-strong field and barrage of side events, it has been a frantic crush in the Grand Ballroom here all week. Today, however, was always scheduled to be the biggest squeeze of all, when we needed to compress 124 players into the 24 chairs of the final three EPT tables.
We needn’t have worried unduly. Sure, there was some jostling and a few elbows jabbed into ribs, but it really didn’t last very long. All it took was a jiffy longer than six levels of play – plus a handful of wrecking balls – before we identified our biggest-earning men.
As you take a look at their identities on the list of the final 24, doff your cap to the four men at the top. It’s difficult to remember precisely how many rivals Kevin MacPhee, Theo Jorgensen, Marc Inizan and Ketul Nathwani personally eliminated, but they went neck and neck and neck and neck through a million, then two million chips, scattering unfortunates in their wake.
MacPhee, known as “ImaLuckSac” online, is a perennial PokerStars qualifier for the major events, but he has never before translated his impeccable internet game to the live environment with such devastating results. This has been the season of the online phenom. Can MacPhee be the latest champion?
It takes us back to the early days of the EPT to see Jorgensen up there and crushing. He was always deep on seasons one through three, and now after a break from the tournament scene, he has been rolling back the years.
Inizan led almost pillar-to-post in a huge recent tournament in Belgium, making the final table after leading from day one. And he’s on track for a repeat here. The Frenchman has been in the top handful every day and rode some early storms to bounce back late today. He is right back in this one.
As for Nathwani, he too has been a huge bully, thundering through anyone foolish enough to stand in his way. One of those players was the Team PokerStars Pro Julian Thew, who almost cracked his fellow Brit’s aces. But almost wasn’t good enough.
Thew was joined on the prizewinner’s page by his Team PokerStars Pro colleagues William Thorson, Marcel Luske, Ben Kang and Vlad Zguba, the latter enjoying his first major result in the familiar livery before falling late on.
Johannes Strassman (515,000) and Jude Ainsworth (539,000) continue to fly the flag on the final three tables.
Full details of how everything went down today can be found throughout these links below.
All pictures are ©Neil Stoddart.