Day 3 of the PokerStars.com European Poker Tour Grand Final began with 104 players, each guaranteed €15,000, but each hoping to take a prize home 100 times greater.
When the dust settled, 24 players remained and Eugene Yanayt finished up as the chip leader with 2,374,000 after he won a big pot from Day 2 chip leader Ole Kristian Nergard. Nergard ran a huge bluff on a board raising Yanayt's turn bet and then making a massive river shove. Yanayt called with after a moment in the tank, besting Nergard's . Yanayt will start Wednesday just ahead of Torsten Brinkmann (1,959,000).
The sumptuous €1.5 million first-place prize was the carrot for all the players who returned to Gran Casino Madrid on Tuesday, while the stick was merely the ever-increasing blinds, which dictated that those still in the tournament should hit the ground running. Obligingly, the flat payout structure had everyone moving from the start, and the first level alone saw 31 players eliminated, nearly 40 percent of what was needed from the day. Among those first few casualties included PokerStar Team SportStar Fatima Moreira de Melo, who, after cashing at both Snowfest and Berlin (and a near miss in San Remo), collected another €15,000 for yet another great run. Xuan Liu who finished third in San Remo was another early bust out, as was Team Pro Raymond Wu and WSOPE Champion James Bord, the latter cruelly outdrawn when holding against Daniel Weinman's when a queen hit the flop.
Ole Kristian Nergard, who looks as though he's fresh from primary school but plays as fearlessly as any seasoned pro, began the day as he had finished the night before - three-betting from the big blind against the button to take down the pot. Meanwhile, second placed Kristoffer Thorsson saw his stack go backwards, losing a big chunk of chips in a three-way hand that also eliminated WPT Champion McLean Karr. Thorsson had Karr dominated with over but Torsten Brinkmann decided to come along for the ride with . Brinkmann rivered a king to send Karr to the rail and cut Thorsson's stack in half while boosting his own stack to one million.
When Ben Wilinofsky ran into Gerardo Godinez's , it left EPT Deauville winner Lucien Cohen as the final former champion still in the tournament. Although Cohen survived several double-ups, he was eventually eliminated when he was all-in with against Andrew Li's which back-doored into a straight on a board.
Meanwhile, five Team PokerStars Pros are making it into the last three tables. Juan Maceiras from Spain leads the way, but Alex Gomes, Dag Palovic, and Victor Ramdin all still have a chance of making the final table. Gomes, especially could prove a big story, he already has both a WPT title and WSOP bracelet, could he add the final part of the triple crown?
This question and the identity of the eight finalists will be solved Wednesday as play continues to the final table. Play will resume at 1200 CEST (0300 PDT) Wednesday, and you can be sure that the PokerNews Live Reporting Team will be there covering all the action.
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