Day 3 of the 2014 PokerStars and Monte-Carlo® Casino European Poker Tour Grand Final €10,600 Main Event saw the levels increased from 75 minutes to 90 minutes as the number of players involved decreased from 123 to just 41. It was an action-packed day for the EPT as the bubble burst and numerous stars were sent to the rail, while others were able to amass huge stacks with a €1.24 million first-place prize on offer.
Malte Moennig finished as the chip leader with 1.15 million. Moennig, a 27-year-old player from Cologne, Germany, won his seat in a qualifier online on PokerStars.com. After the end of play, he briefly spoke to PokerNews about how he'd finished at the top.
"At the early tables I had a really tough setup with tough competition, but it was quite easy going," Moennig said. "I chipped up constantly. I won a big one with ace king, but that was without showdown. And I won one with ace-queen suited against ace-jack right after I moved; he hit a jack on the turn, but I hit a queen on the river.”
Elsewhere, Ville Wahlbeck (283,000) and David Williams (253,000) are the last two players flying the flag for Team PokerStars Pro. Williams hit crucial double ups against both Philipp Gruissem ( against ) and then later when he flopped a draw against Talal Shakerchi's top pair and managed to turn a straight. Wahlbeck was not involved in as much open action, he instead gradually chipped up throughout the day.
They did fare better than their fellow pro Andre Akkari, who had queens cracked early on and was unable to recover, while both Angel Guillen (86th) and Johnny Lodden (73rd) had to remain content with the min-cash of €19,200. Lodden was surprisingly the only player from last year's final table to make it into Day 3.
The bubble itself went on for around 45 minutes, and while there were two players in the tournament with just a single big blind left, both would survive the bubble as on two different tables much bigger stacks clashed. On one of them, a player would bust, and it wasn't pretty. Kenny Hicks shoved all in on the turn of a board reading and Aghsin Rasulov called all in for less.
Rasulov could only hit an ace on the river to survive, but a king arrived instead. Rasulov was eliminated as the bubble boy and everyone else went into the money.
With the bursting of the bubble, the exits came quickly and a multitude of big names were making their way to the payouts desk. They included Salvatore Bonavena, Stephen Chidwick, Niall Farrell, Jason Duval, Sam Trickett, JC Alvarado, Nick Maimone, Igor Kurganov and Johannes Strassmann.
EPT10 Player of the Year Ole Schemion was also knocked out, eliminated in one of the last hands of the night.
Notables who did make it through included David Yan (599,000) on yet another deep EPT run; the experienced Dani Stern (454,000); and Scott Clements (797,000), who is looking for the title to complete poker's Triple Crown. Meanwhile, Noah Boeken (200,000) and Mark Teltscher (350,000) are the only former EPT champions still in the hunt.
On Wednesday, the tournament will either play down to the final 16 players or five levels, whichever comes first. The €25,000 High Roller will also be in action with another big field expected for that high buy-in three-day event. The PokerNews Live Reporting team will be on hand to cover both events as the EPT Grand Final continues. The Main Event will begin at 12 p.m. local time and the High Roller will start at 1 p.m. We'll see you then.