It was bubble day at the Casino San Remo for Day 3 of the PokerStars European Poker Tour San Remo. When the day began 164 players filled the tables, but not all of them would walk away with money, as 144 was the magic bubble number.
By the end first level, 145 players were left. Thomas Kremser brushed all media personnel to the sides of the hall and the anxious wait for the unveiling of the bubble boy began. The first table to generate that familiar bubble boy boom was the one where Team Pokerstars Pro Ruben Visser was plying his trade. Visser used all of his tournament experience to pile the pressure on Roberto Spada, by giving him a river decision for all of his chips. What a crucial moment this would be for Spada. He not only passed the test Visser had given him, by making the correct call on the bubble, but he would later eliminate Visser on the way to having one of the greatest poker days of his life.
The next pair to play the bubble game was Kevin Vandersmissen and Maurizio Baisi. Vandersmissen won that contest with a higher two pair leaving Baisi with only 35,000. Somebody neglected to tell one of our former champions that Baisi only had 35,000 chips or maybe he just didn't care? Nicolas Chouity playing a half a million-pot preflop with against Alessandro Fasolis holding . A few community cards later and Chouity was given a standing ovation as he was crowned the EPT San Remo bubble boy.
After the first break, and with everyone now in the money, there was a slightly more relaxed atmosphere around the place and people started dropping like flies. One man acting like a human fly swatter was Gianluca Benvenuto. He had been moved to the table chock full of Americans and started to pick them off one-by-one.
Vanessa Selbst was his first target and he eliminated her after flopping trips on a board. The next American to feel the wrath of Benvenuto was Carter Phillips in a hand that really riled the American. Phillips called a river bet by Benvenuto for an 800,000 pot with a bluff catcher. Carter was spot on with his read but the Benvenuto bluff had a little bit more equity than Carter had bargained for - bottom pair doing the job for Benvenuto. That left just former World Champion Joe Cada, and a few short hands later it seemed as though Benvenuto had eliminated him until a jack on the river rescued Cada in his versus battle.
Roberto Romanello became the second EPT champion to be eliminated in Level 17. This left David Vamplew, Max Lykov and Carter Phillips as the three remaining former champions left in the field. Phillips was nursing the short-stack after the Benvenuto hand and Vamplew was moving along nicely; but it was Lykov who seemed to have found some chip seeds, planted them in the table in front of him and sat back and watched them grow.
In the second-to-last level of the day, Max Lykov eliminated Joe Coraci and the hand launched him into the number one spot with a whopping 1.8 million chips. Things stayed that way until the last level of today’s play. In that final level we lost Kevin Vandersmissen and Carter Phillips. The elimination of Phillips meant that David Vamplew ended the day as the sole former EPT Champion to make it through to Day 4. At the top end of the leader board Roberto Spada, Paulo Rigano and Nicolas Yunis exchanged the top stop a few times until eventually the day came to a close. The chips were counted, bagged and tagged and it was Roberto Spada who just managed to take the chip lead at the death with 1,441,000 chips.
Join the Pokernews Team at 1200 CEST (0300 PDT) for the start of Day 4 where 60 players will begin with hopes of making it through to the final 24. Among those in the field will be Team Pokerstars Pros Joe Cada, Max Lykov and Richard Toth.