Just 16 players remain in the 2014 EPT London Main Event and three of them - Jake Cody, Kevin MacPhee and Benny Spindler - have a shot at earning their second EPT title.
Neither will be the first to do it (that honor belongs to Vicky Coren-Mitchell) but the feat is no less desirable with £499,700 awaiting the winner on Saturday.
UK native Cody, who won his previous title at EPT Deauville, has the upper hand on the other former champs as he bagged 2,291,000 to end the day second overall behind leader Sebastian Pauli.
MacPhee and Spindler will have more work to do with 869,000 and 195,000, respectively. Spindler is the short stack heading into Day 5.
Gordillo, Deadman Make EPT London Sweat
Chip leader Pauli from Dortmund, Germany, will be looking to make his first big splash on the tournament circuit with a major win.
He's coming off a side event win at EPT Barcelona and a final table at the WSOP in Vegas this summer but has yet to bag a big tour victory.
Other intriguing names in the mix include Portugal's Joao Vieira, Spain's Pablo Gordillo and Brit Simon Deadman.
Former EPT Berlin champ MacPhee sits just outside the Top 10. Current chip counts:
- 1 Sebastian Pauli 2,674,000
- 2 Jake Cody 2,291,000
- 3 Raffaele Sorrentino 1,968,000
- 4 Artur Koren 1,865,000
- 5 Jakub Mroczek 1,623,000
- 6 Jonathan Bensadoun 1,465,000
- 7 Gino Gabriel 1,265,000
- 8 Joao Vieira 1,117,000
- 9 Pablo Gordillo 1,077,000
- 10 Kevin Killeen 906,000
Day 5 action starts up at Noon local time and will play down to a final table of eight. Tune in here on PokerListings for the feature-table live stream plus interviews and updates from the floor.
One Orbit, One Champion
In today's edition of One Orbit, One Champion we follow Benny Spindler, who won the EPT London in 2011.
Spindler started the day 5th in chips with 36 left, but then fell to 147,000 within only three hours. When we arrived at his table, this was the current situation:
- Seat 1: Joao Vieira (POR) - 1,456,000 chips
- Seat 2: Ognyan Dimov (BUL) - 354,000
- Seat 3: Jakub Mroczek (POL) - 2,053,000
- Seat 4: Benny Spindler (GER) - 283,000
- Seat 5: Pablo Gordillo (ESP) - 723,000
- Seat 6: William Chattaway (UK) - 337,000
- Seat 7: Artur Koren (GER) - 2,281,000
- Seat 8: Raffaele Sorrentino (ITA) - 1,209,000
Hand 1: Spindler is on the button and the shortstack at the table. With an M of less than 10 he's in push or fold mode.
Artur Koren raised to 34k from middle position. Sorrentino called behind him and Dimov 3-bets to 90,000.
“Psychobenny” – that’s his Full Tilt Poker nickname – thinks about it a little bit and pushes all-in. Koren and Sammartino quickly fold but Dimov has a decision.
He then open folds 8♣ 9♣, which was almost certainly behind Spindler’s range. Squeeze jam.
Hand 2: Koren is moved away from the table. It is folded to Spindler in the Cut-Off. He min-raises to 32,000 and then quickly folds to Gordillo’s 3-bet to 83,000.
Hands 3-5: Spindler folds his hands from early and middle positions without further ado.
Hand 6: Spindler doesn’t defend his big blind. Local hero Chattaway only raised 2x, but Benny doesn’t bite.
Hand 7: Almost the same action. There's a raise to 38,000 from middle position. Spindler stays cautious and folds his hand. At this stage of the tournament, Spindler doesn’t have any room to manoeuver.
Any raise that he announces or calls has him pretty much pot-committed. After all Spindler is not Phil Hellmuth, who still plays raise-fold with less than 10 big blinds.
You can also tell that Spindler has become a lot more careful than in earlier years. There were times when he would have either doubled up at least once in this situation or he would have left the area before the day was over.
With his nice squeeze play he was also able to make his hand look very strong -- plus he got lucky that the hand of the Bulgarian wasn’t good enough to call.
When Even the Floor Can’t Help
We were speaking to one of the dealers about a situation that occurred in the early stages of the main event. We're leaving out the names to not compromise anybody.
“A rather old player at the table kept scorning a Spanish player and repeatedly called him an idiot. There was nothing I could do to stop him. Of course, it’s insulting, but technically it’s not against the rules.
"Eventually a floor came over and addressed the older player, saying 'please stop using bad language at the table.' That helped for a little while but then the tirade went on.
"Then another player was moved to my table. He and the Spanish guy recognized each other but couldn’t remember the other’s name. They decided to make a prop bet. Ten GBP for the guy who remembered the name first.
"‘I can tell you the guy’s name,' chimed in the old man. ‘It starts with an I. Idiot. I win.’”
There is only so much a floorman can do.