The day began with 32 hopefuls returning to the ultramodern confines of Dortmund's Casino Hohensyburg having already secured at least €12,650 in prize money but with every man dreaming of much, much more. Even with a €933,600 first prize on the line, however, the combination of rapidly rising blinds and the security of an assured payday meant that the poker action more closely resembled a Kindergarten scramble for the last Corny Big bar than a civilized high-stakes gambling match in the buttoned-up European tradition.
With chip leader Diego Perez Marco and runner-up Mike McDonald leading the charge, the action began at 3 p.m. local time at Hohensyburg's forested location in the heart of the North Rhine-Westphalia district in Germany. Thirty-five minutes were left in the tournament's 16th level. By the end of that 35 minutes only 26 of the day's 32 players remained, with the likes of Manfred Bass, Steve Jelinek and Chabot Cyrille having been eliminated almost before PokerListings.com could digest those first glorious bites of complimentary German chocolate.
Brandon Schaefer, Mario Kuhl and Bernard Damnik rounded out the first unlucky six, with their numbers quickly augmented by Sebastian Till and Andreas Sarling immediately after the start of Level 17. Schaefer had started the day seventh in chips but very quickly lost a $200,000 pot and was then forced all-in with A-3 against Andreas Gulunay's K-9. The flop brought a deadly king and after turn and river bricked the pride of Seattle was rendered eliminated. He and his early-elimination compatriots each earned €12,650 for their time.
The eliminations didn't stop there, with Marcel Luske among the next crop of unlucky busticatees. The Flying Dutchman found himself short-stacked and was forced to ship his last $20,000 into the middle with K♦ 5♦ against an opponent with A♠ T♦. The flop brought a five but it also brought an ace, and after turn and river bricked out Luske was headed to the rail and a €17,400 payday.
By the end of Level 17 only 18 players remained, and after Peyman Mohammadzadeh succumbed, Raul Paez Corral got all-in for $50,500 and saw a bidding war erupt on top between Andreas Gülünay and Johannes Strassmann for the rights to eliminate the Spaniard. Strassmann eventually won the honors, turning up jacks to Corral's pocket sevens, and after the board brought no help the field was reduced to two tables and every man was guaranteed €22,150 or better.
Marco Liesy would bust when Gülünay turned a flush with K-9 to beat his A-7 and then it was dinnertime. After the hour-long buffet break the action continued with characteristic speed, with Alio "Escape From" Alcaraz the next to go when he tried to make a move on Christian Harder and saw the American Internet pro turn up A-Q to his own 10-3 off-suit.
With 12 players remaining, Dans Ryan and Carter got into a trans-Atlantic Daniel-on-Daniel debacle that saw the American (Ryan) all-in with A♣ 2♣ against his British counterpart's pocket queens. Carter looked primed to eliminate his Yankee foe as the board came J-5-3-J, but the river card was a dagger ace and Carter was left crippled while Ryan earned a new lease on life to the tune of a $317,000 double-up. A few hands later, Carter was collecting €41,100 after his A4 failed to suck-out against Gülünay's A-8.
Eleventh place went to Tyler Friederich, who saw an A♣ T♠ 4♣ flop with Diego Perez Marcos and check-called Marcos' $31,000 bet with J♦ T♦. The turn was the J♠ and this time Friederich check-raised all-in, pinning his tournament life on his two pair but seeing Marcos insta-call with K♥ Q♥ for the broadway straight. The river was a brick and Friederich was flattened. He took €41,100 for his efforts.
Dan Ryan couldn't parlay his status as sole surviving Daniel into much more than a few more rounds at the final two tables. Ryan got all-in sparkling good with pocket jacks against Johannes Strassmann's A♠ J♦ but from the look on his face seemed to anticipate the nuclear A♣ that fell on the turn, and after the river was a brick the young American was out in 10th place for a tidy €52,200 payday.
That left nine players remaining, but with only eight allowed to continue on into tomorrow's action the field consolidated into one table to play out the final elimination. It wouldn't take long before a short-stacked Alexandar Milanov open-shoved for his last $88,000 and saw Diego Perez Marcos call before Johannes Strassmann chased him out of the pot with a raise. Marcos folded and Milanov found his pocket fours far behind Strassmann's pocket jacks, and after the board came K-Q-9-5-5 only eight players remained and the day was over.
Those eight will return tomorrow at 3 p.m. for the final day of the German Open, led by chip leader and PokerListings.com interview subject Mike "Timex" McDonald and the aforementioned Strassmann, who played Day 3 as though he was trying to win the tournament a day early. PokerListings will have comprehensive coverage throughout tomorrow's proceedings, so tune in early and tune in often as we bring you the thrilling conclusion to this epic event.