If Day 2 of the PokerStars European Poker Tour Grand Final had been the day for quick-fire nonstop action, then Day 3 was when things began to take a serious turn. Returning to the felt were 116 players who were assured of taking home a sizable amount of Euros. The only question was whether it would be a five-, six- or seven-figure check being handed to them by the European Poker Tour.
With the tournament levels being played rapidly, there was no time for a dinner break as players battled to make into the final 24 and guarantee themselves €50,000.
American Kevin Eyster will go into the final day as the chip leader with 2,768,000 chips just ahead of the U.K.’s Matt Perrins with 2,618,000. Eyster spent the latter half of the day with the chip lead after he won a big pot eliminating Mikhail Smirnov when holding ace-six against Smirnov’s queen-jack after all the money went in on the turn of an ace-six-jack-queen-king board for a 1,300,000 pot.
It was Perrins who played out the biggest pot of the day in a huge cooler that might have been enough to help send him to the final table. Kenny Hallert had raised it up to 38,000 before Domenico Iannone made it 98,000 behind. Perrins then made it 220,000 to go with a cold 4-bet. Hallert tanked before reraising yet again to 350,000 and Iannone folded in between. Perrins rechecked his cards and announced all-in for around 1,400,000 but was instantly called by his Dutch opponent. Perrins showed to Hallert’s and Iannone confessed he folded ace-king leaving the English youngster drawing to just the case king. The rail increased exponentially as the Dutch flocked in the hope of seeing their player win a huge coup, but they had reckoned without the fickle nature of the poker gods and the case king hit the turn causing gasps from the crowd. With no ace on the river Perrins picked up a 2.6 million chip pot eliminating an incredibly disappointed Hallert as a result.
Other players who managed to make it through included Ramzi Jelassi and nosebleed stakes regular Sami “LarsLuzak” Kelopuro, the latter no doubt hoping to produce a live tournament result to match his online cash winnings. Salvatore Bonavena will be the only EPT winner going through to Day 4. The Italian is the last remaining after former winners Vicky Coren and Moritz Kranich were eliminated. Coren had been all-in with on a against Herve Costa’s . The board bricked out and the columnist and poker pro went out in 26th place, just shy of €10,000.
Chris Moneymaker had been one of the big stacks at the start of the day with people wondering whether the man who started the biggest poker boom in history could make his way to a final table to complete a remarkable double. His hopes were dashed, though, when a re-steal with jack-four ran straight into pocket eights and he became just one more casualty during the day.
Led by Eyster, the remaining 24 players will play down to the final table on Day 4, each with their eyes on the €1,700,000 for first place. With the payout jumps getting bigger and bigger, and the TV cameras rolling, as well, tension will no doubt be rising as the sixth season of the European Poker Tour draws to a close.
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