While the term fast and furious is used entirely too much to describe the pace of action in poker, today we exceeded it and reached the rarely seen Andy Black whose day got off to a brilliant start with the double elimination of two tough players, Team PokerStars pro Luca Pagano and Kristian Kjondal. Pagano came into the day short on chips and shipped it in from early-middle position with the action folding around to Black in the small blind.
The Irishman looked down at a monster but opted to just call, a decision that ended up paying off. Kjondal woke up with a premium hand of his own and moved all-in from the big blind. Pocket sixes for Pagano were trailing Kjondal's pocket queens and Black was in commanding position with pocket kings. When the dust had cleared, the pot was being pushed to Black and the table had two new empty seats.
From then on players continued to hit the rail as quickly as we could scribble the details down on our notepads, with the deceased's chips finding there way to the stacks of those who soldiered on to a possible final table.
One of those players was the aforementioned Annette Obrestad whose stack continued to grow with the considerable help of one big pot gifted to her by then-big stack Simon Munoz, a player who bears a striking resemblance to actor Freddy Prinze Jr. Munoz doubled up Obrestad when the money went in with Annette holding top pair aces against her opponent's middle pair tens. The hand held up and she found herself in contention for a share of the chip lead, second to Andy Black along with France's Ludovic Lacay.
Of this trio of monster-stacks, only Obrestad would remain standing when the final table had been decided. While Lacay's downfall was somewhat gradual, Black's was anything but.
Just one hour before the end of the day Andy Black was sitting with close to $700,000, more than one fifth of the chips in play, but would turn out to be the 10th place finisher when player after player laid waste to his once glorious stack. Black doubled up three different opponents consecutively, getting in ahead each time, with one exception, but failing to make his hands hold up, before making a last ditch effort on what became the last hand of his tournament.
For those of you who don't remember, this isn't the first time Andy Black has seen a huge chip lead slip through his fingers late in big events. In 2005 he was crushing the WSOP Main Event and at one time during the final table had laid claim to more than one third of the chips in play. Despite this advantage he finished fifth. In 2006 he led the final table of the Tournament of Champions at the WSOP but again went out in fifth.
Black was in great shape to make a run at this final table and had the cards cooperated this evening, he would be joining us tomorrow afternoon. He will be missed though as a table with Andy Black is certainly a table worth watching.
Instead we will have to make do with watching Annette Obrestad tear apart another final table and make a group of grown men cry like small girls, which is funny to us because it will be a small girl making it all happen.
The more observant among you may have noticed a difference between this final table and others on the European Poker Tour. While most contain only eight players, there were nine seats available here in Dublin. This is because this final table will not be taped and will not appear on television screens along with the rest of the tour. We have not been informed of the reasons for this decision but whatever the case may be, you have no reason to worry. Watching the action on PL.com is just as good as watching it on television, better actually since you can get up and go to the washroom without worrying about missing a thing, it'll all be here waiting for you when you get back.
In preparation for tomorrow's final table we suggest you peruse our live updates from today and acquaint yourselves with the chip counts for our final nine players, all with Eye of the Tiger playing at full blast of course.