Day 4 of the PokerStars.net European Poker Tour Berlin was not your average day on the tournament circuit. The top 24 players in the €5,000 main event returned to battle down to the final table of eight. They were down to 20 players when things took a turn for the unusual. Armed robbers entered the tournament registration area at the Hyatt Hotel. In a panic, the hundreds of players in the room, most of whom were involved in side events, bolted for the exits, overturning tables and knocking down chip stacks in the process. Read more about the incident here.
No one was seriously injured in the robbery, and after a break of several hours to sort out the mess, the main event players agreed to continue with approximately the same chips they had before the shake up. Back at the felt, Kevin "ImaLuckSac" MacPhee continued his domination from Day 3. After another solid day at work, he heads to the final table as chip leader with a stack over 6 million. British pro Ketul Nathwani is second in chips with 4.7 million. Nathwani rebuilt impressively in the last two levels after running two failed bluffs that left him under 1 million.
Ilari Tahkokallio also brings a substantial stack to the final table. Luca Cainelli was all in with against Tahkokallio's when the robbery occurred. The flop and turn had been dealt, and Tahkokallio was down to three outs with one card to come when play was suspended. Despite the chaos, the board remained on the table. Tournament director Thomas Kremser told both players that if either one requested it, the hand would be declared dead and the pot chopped. Rather than saving the quarter of his stack that was at risk, Tahkokallio said that he'd made the call, and it was only fair to play out the hand. Cainelli did double through him, but after that, Tahkokallio turned into a chip-accumulating machine and moved into third place in the chip counts by the end of the night.
The top three players heading into Day 5 already have experience playing each other at a final table. Kevin MacPhee, Ketul Nathwani, and Ilari Tahkokallio all final tabled the £1,000 PLH/PLO side event at last year's EPT London. Nathwani finished in sixth place while Tahkokallio defeated MacPhee heads up to take first.
Several Team PokerStars Pros had a shot at the inaugural EPT Berlin final table but were eliminated fairly early on Day 4. Johannes Strassmann finished in 23rd and Jude Ainsworth in 19th, both earning €23,500. Portuguese pro Joao Barbosa went home in between them in 22nd place. Ilya Gorodetskiy, an editor of PokerNews UK & Europe Magazine, was three-outed to hit the rail in 16th, picking up €25,000. WSOP bracelet winner Carsten Joh made the next pay jump, €30,000, but not the final table he wanted, when he was eliminated in 14th place.
While the final table is not likely to have the same kind of drama as Day 4, the action on the felt promises to be as intense as you can get without needing to involve the police. The PokerNews Live Reporting Team will be on hand to bring you all the excitement from the very international final table. Coverage begins right here at noon CET on Sunday.
Here are the starting chip counts at the final table:
Seat 1: Marko Neumann (Germany) - 2,185,000
Seat 2: Marc Inizan (France) - 3,655,000
Seat 3: Kevin MacPhee (United States) - 6,070,000
Seat 4: Artur Wasek (Poland) -3,530,000
Seat 5: Marcel Koller (Switzerland) - 3,590,000
Seat 6: Nico Behling (Germany) - 960,000
Seat 7: Ketul Nathwani (United Kingdom) - 4,685,000
Seat 8: Ilari Tahkokallio (Finland) - 3,940,000