Day 3 of the PokerStars.net EPT Kyiv was a quick one, as it required playing from 68 players down to the final 32. Max Lykov began the day with the chip lead, and he would finish the evening in the same position after just over four levels of play.
The original plan was to keep going until we hit our final three tables (24 players), but the staff elected to shorten the day a bit based on the speedy pace at which the action has progressed. Players shot out of the starting gate at full gallop today, the eliminations coming one after another. After doubling up his short stack on the first hand, Arnaud Mattern became one of the early casualties, running his pocket jacks into Sergey Antonenko's pocket queens. That was the end of the day for the gregarious French pro, and he would be followed just a few minutes later by the also-jovial “Miami” John Cernuto. The last woman standing, Lika Gerasimova, was the next one out, her pocket sevens causing no trouble for her opponent's pocket eights in another pair-vs.-pair showdown.
By the time the first 75-minute level had come and gone, 17 of the starters had already been shown the exit despite a plethora of short-stack double-ups during that same period.
The 51 remaining players returned from the first break for a more passive and calculated level of poker. Raoul Refos was next to depart, leaving the hopes for a third-straight EPT title for the Dutch in the hands of Ad Schaap and online qualifier Menno Mulder, both of whom would ultimately survive to make the money. A short time later, a battle of the blinds saw Francesco Ciriani's fall to Vadim Markushevski's in an untimely outdraw. When the board ran , Ciriani could only shrug his shoulders and wish his table luck as he headed to the exit just a few places shy of a payday.
The pace continued to slow as the bubble drew closer, the pre-money period drawn out even further by several more all-in survivals. The superstitious Artem Litvinov was the trend setter in that regard, his winning the race against on a board that showed up . Fellow Russian Ilya Gorodetskiy earned a simultaneous double up across the room when his held up against Michele Limongi's .
There would be several more failed knockout attempts before Ruslan Prydryk got it all in with against Gorodetskiy's . Prydryk thought he'd managed to chop the pot as the board ran , but the matter of kickers was eventually settled by the dealer. Gorodetskiy's jack played, and it was enough to send Prydryk out in 42nd place and put the rest of the field squarely on the bubble.
Hand-for-hand play would linger around for about a half hour as the majority of the players shut down their engines in an attempt to coast into the money. Finally, there were two near-unison shouts of, “All in and a call,” from opposite sides of the room. The first hand was played out with the short stack once again doubling up, and a hoard of media and spectators rushed over to crowd around Table 1 just as the hands were about to be revealed. Serguei Pomerantsev was all in with , and he had been called down by big stack Jonas Kronwitter and his . Pomerantsev began to pack up his gear when a third jack hit the flop, and he was unable to come from behind to stay alive, earning him the unwanted title of EPT Bubble Boy.
With everyone now guaranteed a payout, the remainder of the Day 3 eliminations came in relatively quick succession thereafter. Jorg Preisert (Germany) was the first elimination in the money, his 40th-place finish being worth €7,610. Vyacheslav Rotach (Russia) took 39th place, followed immediately by fellow countryman David Aslanyan in 38th. Ukrainian Mihaylo Demidenko was next to exit, his no match for Lucasz Plichta's when the other two aces also appeared on board. It's hard to beat quads, and that loss meant a 37th-place finish for the Day 1A chip leader. Volodyhyr Sendetskiy (Ukraine), Viktor Ivanov (Russia), and Luca Falaschi (Italy) would be sent off over the next few minutes in places 36, 35, and 34, respectively.
That put Day 3 just one elimination from its conclusion, and Russian Albert Sungatallin was kind enough to give everyone an early night, though he certainly didn't intend to. On a flop of , Sungatallin committed the rest of his chips with , but the formidable Dutchman Ad Schaap was right there to look him up with . No further help for the at risk player meant his elimination in 33rd place and the conclusion of Day 3.
When the chips were counted down and bagged up at the end of play, it was the familiar face of Max Lykov once again atop the leader board with his stack of 636,000. As was the case yesterday though, there is a chip-hungry pack of players right on his tail, including Vadim Markushevski (631,500), Vitaly Tolokonnikov (613,500), and Jonas Kronwitter (550,000). Play resumes tomorrow at high noon local time for the run to the final table of eight.
As for the €20,000 High Roller event, Shaun Deeb, Nikolay Evdakov, and Andrew Feldman duked it out today in three-handed action. Evdakov never got anything going, and he would be the first man to exit after just a few short levels. Deeb would come out of the short heads-up battle with all of Feldman's chips, picking up the €60,000 prize pool.