Day 4 of the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo® Casino EPT Grand Final was fast and furious. With just 16 players remaining, Matchbook CEO Andrew Pantling has the lead with 2,248,000 in chips. His chip advantage is massive, and his nearest competitor, John Juanda, has nearly a million fewer chips heading into the penultimate day.
The fourth day of play began with 34 players, but right from the start, they were busting out left and right. Belgian player Guy Goossens was the first to bust when he lost a coin flip to Team PokerStars Pro Victor Ramdin. Laurent Lagreve followed when he did not improve with king-jack suited versus Vasili Firsau's ace-queen. Still, in the first level, we also saw Patrick Naxache bust out as he ran queen-jack into Grant Levy's ace-queen.
Soon after, Didier Pitcho was knocked out by Ramdin it was Goran Mandic who took the chip lead. Andreas Eiler didn't believe the aggressive Croatian player and five-bet all in with pocket sevens. Mandic was not bluffing this time and called with two queens, which held up.
Team PokerStars Pro Ville Wahlbeck recorded his first ever EPT Main Event cash but his run was halted in 29th place (€25,000) by Andrew Lichtenberger. Wahlbeck ended up all in with two fives and failed to hold up against ace-five. Two-time WSOP bracelet winner Oleksii Kovalchuk was unlucky just moments later on the feature table. The Ukrainian pro was in great shape with ace-king versus Freddy Deeb's ace-queen, but a queen on the flop ended Kovalchuk's tournament.
German Dansker from Argentina followed in Naxache's footsteps, also eliminated by Levy. Levy's jacks held against ace-queen suited to bring the field down to 26.
One of the three remaining former EPT winners was eliminated next: Season 1 EPT Copenhagen winner Noah Boeken lost all his chips to Kevin Vandersmissen. Boeken finished in 26th place for €25,000, his best EPT result since October 2007 when he finished 14th in EPT Dublin. Gerard Gardelli busted next, followed by Conte Francesco Paolo.
One of the biggest pots of the day was played at the feature table between Vandersmissen, Ramdin and Lodden. The last Belgian player remaining ended up busting as his ace-queen was not enough against Lodden's ace-king on a king high flop. This pot sky-rocketed Lodden about a million chips in front of his nearest rivals. Luke Schwartz, one of the most outspoken players left in the tournament, was the next to go. Schwartz ran ace-eight into Paul Volpe's ace-jack and did not improve.
Ismael Bojang will not go down as the best Austrian finisher ever in the EPT Grand Final, he was knocked out in 21st place. In 2010, it was Josef Klinger who finished runner-up to Nicolas Chouity for a cool million.
As we said before, the action was fast and furious and the final level proved that even more. Volpe was knocked out by Clyde Tjauw Foe in 20th; Noah Schwartz hit a one-outer to double up; Dario Sammartino busted to Ramdin; and the final two players busted within five minutes of each other. PokerStars Team Online and EPT Copenhagen winner Mickey Petersen was knocked out in 18th place by Schwartz when he ran ace-king suited in aces. Kevin Iacofano ended up being Levy's third elimination as his queens were no match for the Australian's nines. Levy made a flush and ended the fourth day of play.
The biggest pot of the day happened not too long before the end of the day as Pantling and Lodden clashed. There are no details about what happened, because the hand was not shown on the live stream. Only Lodden's Tweet gave us a little information on what happened.
Bad last level.. Did a really, really bad call that was soooooooo bad! 1.352 for tomorrow. #EPTGrandFinal #eptnorFollow @johnnylodden
There are a lot of big-name pros left as we head into the fifth day of play. Two former EPT champions, Jake Cody and Jason Mercier, remain, and are looking to become the first to win twice. The British pro will start Day 5 with the shortest stack and he has an uphill battle waiting for him, while Mercier sits eighth in chips. It's safe to say that at least 13 of the final 16 players are very well respected pros and there are also still five Team PokerStars Pros alive and kicking.
Make sure you don't miss any of our coverage on Saturday; Day 5 promises to be an amazing one! Play resumes at 12:00 noon local time and PokerNews.com will bring you all the live updates as the EPT Grand Final reaches its final eight!