Fresh off signing a sponsorship deal with Everest Poker, Sam Trickett is climbing a whole new mountain in Italy this week. The Englishman is second in chips heading into the six-handed final table of the €3,000 Gioco Digitale World Poker Tour Venice Carnival, where the eventual winner will take home $145,859 on Saturday.
Trickett is five eliminations away from winning the first World Poker Tour title of career, but he'll need to overcome the big stack of Andrea Dato, a three-time final tablist of this event. Also in contention is Alessio Isaia, who won the WPT Venice event back in Season IX.
Final Table Chip Counts
Day 4 began with 18 players returning to the felt, and it didn't take long for the chips to fly. Victor Nikolaevich was eliminated on the first hand when he ran his into the of Lasse Frost, and a short while later Italian poker legend Max Pescatori was sent to the rail in 17th place after his pocket queens came up short against Sotirios Koutoupas' pocket aces.
They were followed out the door by Ferdinando Lo Cascio (16th - $6,947), Steve Watts (15th - $7,781), Eros Mossali (14th - $7,781), Sveva Libralesso (13th - $7,791), Frost (12th - $9,949), and Antonio Bernaudo (11th - $9,449).
Isai held the chip lead when the final 10 players combined to form the "unofficial" final table, with Trickett in second, but Koutoupas took command by eliminating Ivan Gabrieli in 10th place. According to the WPT Live Updates, Dato min-raised to 20,000 from the hijack, Koutoupas three-bet to 51,000 from the button, and Gabrieli moved all in from the big blind for 124,000 with pocket nines. Dato folded, and Koutoupas called with pocket kings. The board came up empty for Gabrieli, who exited in 10th place for $9,449. With that hand, Koutoupas became the first player to cross the 1 million mark.
In the next level, Diego Zeiter moved all in for 139,000 (12.5 BB) preflop with the and Mario Vojvoda called with the . Zeiter was at risk, and the board provided no help. He exited in ninth place for $12,986.
Vojvoda sent another player home just moments later, this time Jan Sjavik. Vojvoda raised to 25,000 from the hijack, Sjavik three-bet to 75,000 from the button, and Vojvoda called to see a flop of . Vojvoda checked, Sjavik moved all in for 207,000, and Vojvoda called off about half of his stack.
Sjavik's bluff with king-high was actually in front, but the on the turn gave Vojvoda a pair and the lead. The river changed nothing, and Sjavik walked away with $17,226 for his eighth-place finish.
That left seven players attempting to reach the six-handed final table. Trickett quickly found himself among the short stacks and eventually three-bet shoved with ove the top of a Vojvoda raise. Vojvoda called with , and the board rang true for the Brit as he doubled up to 760,000.
A few hands later, Dato send Sigoli to the rail to end play for the day. Dato min-raised to 40,000 from under the gun, and Sigoli moved all in for 161,000. Dato called, and the cards were turned up.
Sigoli was in excellent shape to survive, but the dealer rolled out a flop, leaving Sigoli needing a two-outer for the win. The on the turn improved Dato's hand to trips, and the river secured Sigoli's exit. He collected $21,811 for seventh place, and the other six players bagged up their chips for the night.
The final table will begin at 2:30 p.m. local time on Saturday. You can find a full recap here at PokerNews.com upon the completion of play.
*Photos and data courtesy of the WPT Live Blog.