World Series of Poker Europe

European Poker Tour Vilamoura, Day 4: Wild Day Sets Up Tomorrow's Final Table

European Poker Tour Vilamoura, Day 4: Wild Day Sets Up Tomorrow's Final Table 0001

With rain clouds lingering along the Portuguese coast, the remaining 24 players were back inside the cozy confines of the casino Saturday for Day 4 of the European Poker Tour Vilamoura. And did they ever come to play. With each already guaranteed a payday of some measure, they showed no indications of trying to limp toward the final table.

Table 2 was certifiably insane as the day opened. In the first orbit, pocket aces were shown down three times, resulting in two knockouts! Mohamed Razab (24th) was the first casualty, his big slick coolered by Skampa's rockets. Just a few deals later, it was Matt Johns running headlong into aces with his pocket kings, the ultimate cooler. That encounter took him down to just 70,000, which went all-in on the next hand when he looked down at pocket sevens. Ricardo Sousa was the last man Johns needed to fade, but Sousa called from the big blind with — what else? — pocket aces, and a board full of blanks sent Johns home in 23rd.

The pace did not let up. Jim "Mr_BigQueso" Collopy (22nd) was looking for a double-up when his ace-king was challenged by Ryan Franklin's queen-jack. The first four cards were just fine for Collopy, but an untimely jack on the river sent him off to the far corner of the room to stare at the ceiling. Guillaume Da Silva (21st) was the victim of another big-pair cooler when he and his pocket jacks met Santiago Terrazas' two queens.

The madness peaked just moments later when the start-of-day chip leader got involved in the largest pot up to that point. After being overtaken by Antonio Matias, Antony Lellouche tangled with him in a pot worth about 1.5 million chips. Matias check-raised a flop of {2-Clubs} {8-Diamonds} {J-Clubs} before check-calling a bet on the {Q-Spades} turn card. When the river came the {2-Diamonds}, Lellouche shoved his second-place stack all-in. Matias thought it over before calling with {A-Hearts} {2-Hearts} for trips, and Lellouche (20th) was caught red-handed with {7-Diamonds} {9-Diamonds} — a gunshot-straight-draw turned river-bluff. Less than an hour into play, the big stack was felled.

The pace began to slow just a bit as Joao Barbosa (19th), Ricardo Sousa {18th}, and Javier Garcia (17th) were eliminated over the next hour. A redraw down to two tables followed, and the players finally settled a bit, jabbing at each other two-and-a-half hours before the next elimination. It was pocket aces that struck again, topping Hugo Felix's {J-Diamonds} {7-Clubs} to send him home in 16th. Aurelien Guiglini (15th) followed him right out the door, and the up-and-down Ruben Visser (14th) couldn't survive his final stand either. Team PokerStars Pro Jude Ainsworth's 13th-place exit marked the fourth knockout in a half hour, and another hour-long dry spell followed.

Gino Gabriel got the knockout ball rolling once again when Franklin made an all-in reraise with pocket tens. Gabriel snap-called for his tournament life with ace-ten, but a board full of blanks sent him off in 12th place. Seconds later, Tome Moreira busted with ace-ten as well, unable to hold up against Jeff Sarwer’s king-nine. A nine flopped and Moreira could not improve to dodge an 11th-place finish. Just after that, Terrazas ran his pocket nines into Franklin’s two kings, and his 10th-place knockout cued a redraw for the unofficial final table of nine.

About a half hour after the last table convened, Claudio Coelho got it in with {A-Clubs} {6-Hearts} against Sarwer’s {A-Hearts} {7-Hearts}. Looking for at least a chop to stay afloat, Coelho’s fate was immediately sealed when the flop came out {K-Hearts} {2-Hearts} {4-Hearts}. He was out in 9th place, setting up the final table and marking the close of Day 4.

This penultimate day belonged to Matias and no one else. After that early KO of Lellouche, Matias continued to batter his table with ruthless aggression and confounding plays. Despite being an amateur on the poker felt, the field could not get a handle on his play. As a result, he victimized more than a few players in large pots. His ending stack of 3.003 million represents about 30 percent of the chips in play with eight remaining.

Sunday’s final table is slated for noon local time. Matias and the other seven players will all be looking for their first EPT title, though a few have been in this spot before. Sarwer might well be the betting favorite tomorrow, bagging just shy of two million chips to put himself comfortably in second place. Sarwer has already improved upon his 10th-place showing at the last EPT stop in Warsaw, and he’ll be looking to parlay his back-to-back deep runs into a victory this time around. His opponents will have something to say about that, though, and it won’t be an easy day for anybody with players like Jan Skampa, Michel Abecassis, and Pierre Neuville still in contention.

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