Eight remain to battle at Saturday's final table at Casino Hohensyburg in Dortmund, Germany in the PokerStars.com European Poker Tour Dortmund Main Event. Sweden's Johan Storakers will begin with a sizable chip lead, with Italian Luca Pagano, fellow Swede William Thorson, and last year's champ, Canadian Mike McDonald, his nearest competitors.
There were 34 players to start Day 3 on Friday. Marco Noll of Germany, the overall chip leader after Day 1, was among the first to fall, going out in 32nd when Cengizcan Ulusu of Turkey used pocket queens to outrace Noll's ace-king. Brandon Hall, the lone remaining American in the field, was ousted shortly afterwards in 30th place.
Meanwhile, reigning champ Mike McDonald began charging up the leaderboard, knocking out German Amir Sarughieh (in 19th) and Swede Johan Percivall (in 16th) to challenge for the chip lead. Then, with 13 players remaining, a big hand arose between Storakers and 2007 EPT Dortmund champion Andreas Hoivold (Norway) in which Storakers' pocket nines held up against Hoivold's ace-king, eliminating Hoivold in 13th.
Storakers used those chips to propel himself further up the leaderboard, and by the time German Florian Langmann was eliminated in ninth place, Storakers had assumed the chip lead with over 1.6 million. Meanwhile, Sandra Naujoks, currently in sixth, hopes to become the second-ever female EPT champion, following in the footsteps of Vicky Coren, winner of EPT London in 2006.
Action will resume Saturday in the middle of Level 24, with the blinds at 15,000/30,000 plus a 3,000 ante. Here are the chip counts heading into Saturday's final table, where the winner will receive €917,000:
Johan Storakers (Sweden) — 1,615,000
Luca Pagano (Italy) — 1,115,000
William Thorson (Sweden) — 829,000
Mike McDonald (Canada) — 746,000
Holger Kanisch (Germany) — 661,000
Sandra Naujoks (Germany) — 586,000
Marc Gork (Germany) — 540,000
Cengizcan Ulusu (Turkey) — 537,000