World Series of Poker Europe

European Poker Tour Snowfest Day 3: Maisto Leads the Remaining 24

Giacomo Maisto

When Day 3 of the European Poker Tour Snowfest got under way, 81 players filled the room and Philip Meulyzer from Belgium had a convincing chip lead - 623,500. His nearest rival, Giacomo Maisto, was more than 100,000 chips behind. By day's end, however, Maisto had snatched the lead, bagging 1,548,000, and will go into Day 4 as the man to beat.

Only 72 players made the money in this event, so Day 3 started out with the money-bubble looming.

Two former EPT champions made Day 3, but before the money bubble had burst, only one remained. Michael Tureniec, who recently won EPT Copenhagen, outlasted the 2008 EPT Barcelona winner, Team PokerStars Pro's Sebastian Ruthenberg. Ruthenberg made his exit just before the money bubble when his jacks failed to hold against Morten Mortensen's {a-}{k-}.

Tureniec had a good start to the day, eliminating Tim Finne six places off the money. In the hand, Tureniec spiked an ace, and his {a-}{k-} defeated Finne's {k-}{k-}. It was not an entirely good day, Michael Tureniec, who recently won EPT Copenhagen outlasted 2008 EPT Barcelona winner, because he found himself short-stacked after an ill-timed all-in push with {j-}{8-} against the super-aggressive Vladimir Geshkenbein's {a-}{k-}. "There you go, back to Sweden," Geshkenbein told him, before asking the EPT champion, "Is it your first time playing live?" Tureniec made it into the money but not into Day 4 — he was eliminated in 65th place and took home a min-cash of €5,250.

Curiously, the actual bubble boy was not the unluckiest man in the room. That award went to Sander Benjamins, whose pocket queens were outdrawn by Martins Adeniya's {a-}{q-}, leaving the field squarely on the bubble. Benjamins left with absolutely nothing, which was not the case for the actual bubble boy, Pontus Khosravi. Khosravi's {a-}{j-} was no good against Kevin Vandersmissen's {5-}{4-} when the first card out of the deck was a five. Although he didn't make any money, the proprietors of the Alpine Palace awarded him a consolation prize of a helicopter ride piloted by Alpine Palace–owner Thomas Wolf, in the mountains surrounding Saalbach-Hinterglemm.

Other notable players who made it into the money but no further were Team PokerStars SportStar Fatima Moreira de Melo in 56th (her first EPT Main Event cash), 2010 WSOP $2,500 NLH bracelet winner Tomer Berda in 41st place, last year's Snowfest runner-up Russell Carson in 31st place, and Jack "Doctor Fun" Powell in 29th.

Another one to bite the Day 3 dust was serial EPT finalist Luca Pagano. His pocket nines failed to hold against Pieter Druif's {a-}{9-}, and he was reduced to short-stack status. Although Pagano doubled up a little later in the day, he couldn't fully recover, and exited in 51st place. Pagano will have to wait at least a few weeks to attempt to make his seventh EPT final table, but he has once again raised the bar for anyone wishing to challenge his EPT cash record — it now stands at 18.

Giacomo Maisto lurched into the top spot on the chip leaderboard when he made a runner-runner flush against Denis Murphy. Maisto doubled his stack then, and then added more chips to his stack with another flush against Domantas Klimciauskas. Maisto bagged over 1.5 million in chips at the end of Day 3. His closest competitor is Iulian Ruxandescu, who occupies the second spot on the chip leaderboard with 1,281,000 in chips.

Other players who bagged big stacks include Cristian Dragomir with 895,000, APPT Macau High Roller champion Vladimir Geshkenbein with 889,000 and a heavy Flemish contingent made up of Kevin Vandersmissen (803,000), Koen de Visscher (768,000) and Philip Meulyzer (762,000). A little lower in chip counts, but also still in the running, is Martins Adeniya (402,000), Friend of PokerStars Pierre Neuville (335,000) and Team PokerStars Pro Alex Kravchenko (379,000).

The PokerNews Live Reporting Team will be back at the Alpine Palace on Thursday from 2 p.m. CET (1:00 p.m. GMT) to bring you all the action as the remaining 24 players play down to a final table.

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