The construction company owner qualified for the event through a PokerStars satellite that cost him naught but a few Frequent Player Points and while he came into the day ninth in chips out of 39 players, it didn't take long before he earned his way to the top of the leaderboard.
Vance's good fortune began when Allan Baekke made a huge mistake, calling an all-in shove from the American. Baekke may have thought top pair was good, but Vance's bottom set was better and he raked a massive pot. Just a few hands later Vance busted Baekke and his stack was up into the $300,000 range.
While his stellar play continued throughout the day, it was not until the biggest hand of the tournament so far that everyone really saw the kind of poker chops Vance has. He got himself into a $700k pot, facing a $160k all-in raise from Kristian Pederson on a Q♥ J♠ 5♣ flop with pocket nines in the hole.
Based on the betting patterns pre- and post-flop, the vocal Vance said out loud he could only put Pedersen on big slick and while it took a good five minutes before he finally did it, Vance went with his read, making the call and slamming down his underpair to the board on the felt.
Sure enough, Pedersen held A-K and couldn't catch an ace, king or ten. The sick call put Vance over the $1 million chip mark and he'll be the only player who can claim that honor when the final eight begins tomorrow.
Day 3 did not start with a roster full of marquee names and many of those who had earned some previous pub and still had chips made early exits. Scandie hopes were pinned on Scandinavian Poker Awards Rookie of the Year winner Trond Eidsvig. But Eidsvig couldn't make his third EPT final table this season in Copenhagen after the uber-aggressive Scandie got it in on a draw and failed to suck out.
Local Danish player Peter Eastgate was the Day 1 chip leader, but he busted without much fanfare and the last player carrying the Team PokerStars Pro label, Luca Pagano, will have to settle for his record eighth EPT cash instead of a final-table appearance in Copenhagen. Well known Dutch poker pro and writer Rolf Slotboom also hit the rail, getting it in bad and not finding a way out of it.
The day did end up with at least one local Danish player within shouting distance of Vance. Rasmus Nielsen will come into the elite eight with close to $800,000 in chips and a solid chance to make good here at home. Another Dane, Soren Jensen, who cashed at the WSOP Main Event in 2006, will have over half a million when play begins at 2 p.m. local time Saturday. Plus, yet another Dane, Magnus Hansen, earned a spot in the final with just under $500k.
The most disappointed player of the entire 460 who entered the event will go down as Sweden's Johan Lund. He became the final-table bubble boy in the dirtiest of ways, getting his aces cracked by a Daniel Ryan river flush. Ryan, who is no stranger to the TV bubble, having ducked out 10th at EPT Dortmund just a few weeks back, will come into the final eight with over $500,000 thanks to his good fortune in the hand.
The guys looking to double up or go home early tomorrow are Sweden's Patrik Andersson, Denmark's Simon Dorslund and France's Nicolas Dervaux, who will all bring around $300,000 to the party.
The final counts of the night have Vance with $1.4 million, nearly twice his nearest competitor's holdings. But, as we've learned from covering the odd poker tournament across the globe, it ain't over till the last donkey calls.
For all the action, live from Copenhagen, as they fight for a massive 6,220,488 DKK first-place prize, be sure to hit up PL.com throughout the day tomorrow. From the call to shuffle up and deal until the big money is handed out, PokerListings.com will be here.