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2011 EPT Barcelona Day 3: Romero Leads, Katchalov and De Meulder Lurking

Eugene Katchalov

The 2011 European Poker Tour Barcelona Main Event is on to Day 4. A long day of play on Tuesday saw the remaining field of 141 players reduced to 24. This means only three tables of competitors are left vying for the €850,000 first-place prize. Bartolome Gomila Romero, with 2.547 million in chips, is leading the pack into Wednesday.

When the day began, you could feel the tension in the room as the money bubble loomed. After a handful of eliminations, the field was down to 121 players and it was time for that one last payer to go home empty-handed.

When action folded to Mario Adinolfi on the button, he raised to 12,000 with the blinds at 2,500/5,000 with a 500 ante. After Boris Becker folded in the small blind, Jeff Hakim moved all-in from the big blind for 84,000. Adinolfi made the call and the two then went through the long, several-minute process of waiting to expose their hands while all of the other tables finished. After all of the other hands were complete, the cards were revealed. Adinolfi showed down the powerhouse {8-Spades}{4-Diamonds}. Hakim was all-in holding {A-Hearts}{J-Spades} and was ahead, but Adinolfi's hand was plenty live.

As the media, cameras and other players swarmed the table to get a glimpse of the action, the dealer spread the {10-Clubs}{8-Clubs}{3-Clubs} flop and Adinolfi took the lead with a pair of eights. Neither player held a club so that didn't matter unless the board ran out all clubs and caused a chopped pot. The turn paired the board with the {3-Diamonds} and now Hakim was left needing just an ace or a jack on the river to stay alive.

The river landed with the {7-Diamonds} and Hakim struck out, missing the flop, turn and river. He failed to best Adinolfi's measly eight-four offsuit and was sent to the rail in 121st place, earning the title of “EPT Barcelona Bubble Boy.”

Following Hakim's elimination, that sent the rest of the field into the money, plenty of players began to hit the rail in a hurry. Included in the bunch that left the tournament field with a minimum payday were Benny Spindler, Mickey Petersen, Tobias Reinkemeier, Ronald Lee and Dimitry Gromov. Boris Becker, who also hit the rail, had to be satisfied with a min-cash worth €8,000 when he went out in 97th place.

Becker was down to his last 30,500 when he moved all-in from the hijack seat with {K-Hearts}{4-Hearts}. Benjamin Juhasz made the call from the button with {6-Hearts}{6-Clubs} and had the former tennis superstar on the ropes. After a flop, turn and river of {J-Hearts}{6-Diamonds}{2-Spades}{A-Hearts}{7-Clubs}, Becker’s serve was broken and he had lost the match.

Some of the other notable players that were eliminated in the money on Day 3 included Team PokerStars Pros Vanessa Selbst, Rino Mathis, Juan Manuel Pastor, Victor Ramdin, Alex Kravchenko and Andre Akkari.

Both Selbst and Akkari took two brutal beats to bring an end to their tournament play. First, Selbst’s {A-}{K-} was out-flopped by Juan Navarrete’s {A-}{J-} after all of the money went in preflop. Then, Akkari’s two tens were cracked by fellow Team Pro Matthias De Meulder who held pocket nines. In that hand, the money went in preflop with De Meulder spiking a nine on the turn.

The most notable player returning for Day 4 is Team PokerStars’ Eugene Katchalov. He’ll return with 1.452 million in chips thanks largely in part to a big-time double up late in the night.

First into the pot from middle position, Katchalov raised to 45,000 with the blinds 10,000/20,000 with a 3,000 ante, and Rumen Nanev three-bet to 140,000 on the button. When it folded back to Katchalov, he spent a couple of minutes soaking in the tank before announcing an all-in for 748,000. Nanev needed some tank time of his own, considering the call for nearly all of his own chips. Finally, he mustered the gumption and committed the chips to the pot. Katchalov was at risk, and the news was not good.

Katchalov: {8-Clubs}{8-Spades}
Nanev: {10-Diamonds}{10-Hearts}

Katchalov barely reacted as the dealer dropped a {K-Diamonds}{8-Diamonds}{7-Clubs} flop, giving him the come-from-behind set and putting him two cards from a big double. The turn {5-Clubs} was a blank for Nanev, now needing to catch one of his own two-outers for the knockout. The river was the {5-Spades}, though, and Katchalov took the pot. Finally, he reacted with just a small shake of his head, while the dealer counted out his double to move him all the way up to 1.545 million at the time.

The chip leader, Romero, was the beneficiary of a big three-way all-in confrontation just before the night ended where he eliminated two players; Simon Charette and Jose Angel Latorre Marina.

The action folded to Romero on the button and he put in a raise to 46,000 before Marina snap-shoved for 602,000 from the small blind. The action was now on Charette and he asked for a count of the all-in bet. The dealer gave him a count and he had very little time to think before Romero called the clock on him. The floor man in attendance ruled against the clock calling.

This seemed to affect the tired-looking Charrette and very soon after he re-shoved for around 680,000 and Romero was in waiting to make an instant call.

Romero: {k-Spades}{k-Hearts}
Marina: {k-Diamonds}{q-Spades}
Charette: {8-Hearts}{8-Clubs}

The board ran out {4-Spades}{j-Hearts}{a-Spades}{4-Clubs}{3-Spades} to hand the monster pot to the Romero, who was then mobbed by his supporters in congratulations.

Play will resume with Day 4 on Wednesday at 1200 CEST (0300 PDT). The remaining 24 players will return and play down to the official EPT final table of eight, however long that may take. As it stands right now, everyone is earning at least €20,000, but they’re hungry for a lot more. It’s going to be a great day of poker on Wednesday, so be sure to stay tuned to PokerNews for all of the action.

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