Play took off like a hare on Day 3 of the Partouche Poker Tour Cannes Main Event, with multiple eliminations within the first hour, but slowed to a tortoise-like plod as the field grew short before the final table of eight was finally set with the shocking elimination of Gus Hansen in the wee hours of the morning. Hansen joined fellow poker superstars Scotty Nguyen, Robert and Michael Mizrachi and Noah Schwartz in Day 3 bustouts, while Stephane Bazin stormed to the top of the leader board heading into the final table.
Play started off extremely fast, with Arnaud Corvisier busting on the very first hand of the day. He picked up $15,693 for his 48th-place finish, and opened the floodgates for a plethora of early eliminations. Joining Corvisier in the payout line early were Romain Constantini, Stephane Fanego and Scotty Nguyen. Arnaud Mattern avoided the initial rush of eliminations, but finished in 37th place ($15,693) when he ran into pocket jacks in back-to-back hands to bust out. In the first hand, Mattern and Pierre Ayme got all the money in preflop, and Mattern's A-K couldn't win a race against Ayme's jacks, and he was left crippled. He moved all in on the next hand with 7-6 and found one caller in Sebastian Austy, who tabled the hand Mattern least wanted to see – pocket jacks. History repeated itself, and Mattern was eliminated.
Other early eliminations included Day 2 chip leader Patrice Sitbon and young gun Noah Schwartz. Sitbon never got on track on Day 3, and bled chips until he moved the last of his chips in with K-8. He was dominated by his opponent's K-10, didn't improve, and headed to the rail. Noah Schwartz tangled with Gus Hansen in a big pot that became his undoing, as he re-raised preflop with A-J. Hansen moved all in with , and sent the young phenom to the rail when the board ran out . Schwartz picked up $22,113 for his 28th-place finish.
Fabrice Gouget made a deeper run than he could have expected when he started Day 3 with a tiny stack. Gouget made it all the way to 18th place ($35,953) before falling to Michael Abecassis in a coin flip. Abecassis raised from the button with , and Gouget moved all in with pocket eights. Abecassis called and the flop came down . Gouget's luck ran out as the turn and river came down to send him packing.
The international star power of the tournament was reduced significantly when the remaining Mizrachi brothers were eliminated in consecutive slots. Robert was first to head to the rail when he busted in 15th place ($34,953). Gus Hansen was the villain in the hand as he cracked Mizrachi's pocket aces. On a flop of 3-4-7 with one club, Mizrachi moved all in over the top of Hansen's bet, and Hansen made the call with for the backdoor club and straight draws. The turn and river both came down clubs, and Mizrachi the elder was eliminated.
Michael Mizrachi also saw a big pocket pair cracked to end his tournament, as Stephane Bazin cracked his pocket kings soon after brother Robert busted. Mizrachi raised preflop with kings, and Bazin re-raised with . Mizrachi made the easy call, and the flop came down . The on the turn was no help, but the on the river ended the Main Event for "The Grinder," the last remaining Poker Battle Warrior in the event.
Pierre Yves Ayme ended two-table play late in the night when he busted in 10th place ($54,213). Ayme moved most of his chips in preflop after a raise from Phillipe Narboni. Narboni made a big enough re-raise to put the last of Ayme's chips in the middle, and the players showed down a coin flip as Ayme tabled to Narboni's . Narboni made a set on the flop and improved to quads on the turn as the board ran out , sending Ayme to the payout line just short of the final table.
The final nine players consolidated to one table to play down to a final television table of eight, and play continued nine-handed for several hours before Stephane Bazin and Gus Hansen tangled in the pot of the tournament to date. Bazin raised preflop from the cutoff, and Hansen put in a significant re-raise from the big blind. Bazin thought for just a few seconds before moving all his chips in the middle, putting Hansen to the test.
Hansen went deep into the tank as he chatted to Bazin while debating his call. For several minutes Hansen talked about the "crazy" call he was contemplating, and the lack of strength his hand held. He eventually decided that "I have a piece of sh*t... but I think you have a piece of sh*t, too," and made the call. Bazin quickly tabled , significantly stronger than Hansen's .
The flop came down , giving Hansen a flush draw as the sun came up over Cannes and the pivotalpot of the day. The turn was no help for Hansen, and the Dane was looking for one of twelve outs to bust Bazin and go into the final table as the dominant chip leader. The river was not one of Hansen's outs, and he was left crippled as Bazin moved into position as the dominant chip leader. Hansen got the last of his chips in on the next hand with again, and this time ran into Alan Roy's . The same unpleasant result unfolded for Hansen, and he was eliminated in ninth place ($82,745) as the board ran out .
The weary eight final-table players headed off to bed after 15 hours of Day 3 play, as the chip stacks looked like this after Hansen's shocking fall:
Stephane Bazin — 2,387,000
Alain Roy — 2,225,000
Philippe Narboni — 1,456,000
Brice Cournut — 1,102,000
Jean Philippe Rohr — 750,000
Claudio Rinaldi — 749,000
Anthonin Teisseire — 541,000
Michel Abecassis — 375,000
Join PokerNews at 4PM Cannes local time for all the final-table updates and action as the first Partouche Poker Tour Grand Champion is crowned.