The day began with Slovak Poker Federation president Dag Palovic leading the charge, his $357,000 putting him $12,000 ahead of runner-up Adrian Koy and $14,000 ahead of the Swedish maniac Mikael Norinder. Also in contention were the likes of Kristian Kjondal, Arnauld Mattern, Marc Karam, Christer Johansson and young Canadian online specialists Mike McDonald and Tommy Pavlicek.
Luis Sevilla entered the day fifth in chips, but that head start failed to compute into anything higher than a 31st-place finish as the Spaniard was eliminated in a huge hand minutes into the day's first level.
Sevilla found himself facing a $55,000 wager from Norinder on a 7-6-2-K-3 board and after tanking for a few minutes eventually moved all-in for his substantial stack. Norinder professed that he had to call, and turned up A-K for top pair. Amazingly, Sevilla had but A-9 for ace-high and with that false move was quickly put out of the tournament.
The eliminations continued fast and furious, with sole surviving Brit Anthony Phillips at the receiving end of a magical display from The Conjurer, Iliodoros Kamatakis, who called Phillips' all-in with pocket queens to the satellite qualifier's pocket nines. Kamatakis immediately began hollering for a queen and wouldn't quit until a lady had turned up on the flop and on the river, giving him quads and sending Phillips home in 25th place for a €10,100 score.
With the field down to three tables, Norway's Kristian Kjondal would win a huge pot, crippling the second Spanish player in the field when he got all-in on a K♠ Q♣ T♣ flop for $193,500 with pocket queens and was called by Jose Navarro, who showed J♦ T♦. The board bricked out for Navarro and just like that the fourth-place finisher in the EPT3 Grand Final was holding his share of the chip leaderboard.
A few hands later, Edmonton's Tommy Pavlicek would find himself consigned to the rail after an enormous hand that saw the young online qualifier and Finland's Juha Lauttamus both all-in on a 9♣ 8♣ 7♣ 9♥ board with Mikael Norinder having both players covered and holding Q♠ 9♠ for trip nines.
Pavlicek was in good shape with 9♦ 7♦ for the boat, until Lauttamus revealed a legitimate monster in the form of his 6♣ 5♣. That left both players drawing dead, and while Lauttamus more than doubled Pavlicek was out in 22nd place for a €12,650 haul.
Adrian Koy had been cruising throughout the day but the German player's fortunes took a turn for the worse after a hand with Austria's Markus Golser. Heads-up on a 6♠ 5♠ 4♥ board, Golser bet out $42,000 and Koy went into the tank so long that the clock had to be called. Eventually the eccentric-haired pro made the call and the turn was the A♦. Golser checked and Koy again went into the tank, finally betting out $50,000. Golser made the call and the river was the A♠, prompting an $80,000 bullet from Golser and an immediate all-in from Koy.
Now it was Golser's turn to tank and he did, ruminating for a good five minutes while Koy sat beside him trembling like the proverbial leaf. Eventually the man in the satin jacket called off his last $340,000, turning up A♥ Q♣ for trips, while Koy could only muster a pocket pair of jacks. He'd find himself reduced to his last $50,000 and would be eliminated in 16th place shortly afterwards, taking home €15,200 for his efforts.
Jose Navarro would hit the bricks around the same time, his pocket kings cracked by Kristian Kjondal's A♦ Q♥ after the Norwegian pro spiked an ace on the river. The field would also get a lot less Canadian, as a short-stacked Marc Karam would see his final table hopes dissipate when he got all-in with A♠ T♣ and ran into pocket tens.
Then Mike McDonald would hit the road, out in 14th place after a tenacious short-stacked effort that finally reached its end when Timex open-shoved for his last $75,000 from the hijack with T♠ 9♠. He was looked up by Mikael Norinder, who tabled A♣ K♠.
The flop came K♥ 6♠ 3♠ but after the turn was the A♠, McDonald had the lead with an ace-high flush. The river was a cruel Q♠, however, giving Norinder the better flush and busting Young McDonald in 14th place for a €20,200 score.
Thierry Labat would bust in 13th and Nikolas Laikos in 12th, and after Sebastian Zink ran into Arnaud Mattern's pocket kings whilst all-in with pocket nines the field was left 10 strong and waiting for one last elimination to determine the final table.
That elimination would occur rather quickly, with Christer Johansson the unlucky busticatee after a few rounds of hand-for-hand play. Johansson got all-in pre-flop with Q♣ Q♥ and was called by Mikael Norinder, who tabled A♥ Q♠. The flop brought a dagger ace and Johansson couldn't recover, watching his final-table dreams evaporate as the turn and river bricked out, consigning him to the rail and a €39,200 check in return for his troubles.
That left the final table determined and ready for action, which will resume tomorrow at 3 p.m. Central European Time. As always, PokerListings.com will be on hand to provide comprehensive coverage of the action, so tune in for the thrilling conclusion to the first-ever PokerStars EPT tournament in the Czech Republic.
Chip counts and seating positions are as follows:
|Seat 1||Juha Lauttamus||$567,000|
|Seat 2||Kristian Kjondal||$740,000|
|Seat 3||Gino Alacqua||$660,000|
|Seat 4||Markus Golser||$352,000|
|Seat 5||Mikael Norrinder||$1,036,000|
|Seat 6||Nedzib Suman||$216,000|
|Seat 7||Dag Palovic||$759,000|
|Seat 8||Johannes Strassmann||$245,000|
|Seat 9||Arnaud Mattern||$980,000|