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2014 PokerStars EPT Grand Final Main Event Day 4: Hicks Leads Final 17; Salter Third

Kenny Hicks & Jack Salter

The plan for Day 4 of the 2014 PokerStars and Monte-Carlo® Casino European Poker Tour Grand Final Main Event was to play down from the 41 remaining players to the final two tables. That didn’t happen, though, and after five 90-minute levels of play, action was halted with 17 left.

Leading the way at the end of play was Kenny Hicks, the man responsible for bursting the money bubble back on Day 3. Hicks’ rise to the top came late in the night and was due in no small part to a lucky flop against Conor Shelly. Hicks’ {j-Diamonds}{j-Hearts} found a third fish hook to crack his opponent’s pocket kings, and he went on to bag the lead with 2,499,000 while Shelly finished 18th for €49,350.

Top 10 Chip Counts

1Kenny Hicks2,499,000
2Martins Seilis1,767,000
3Jack Salter1,750,000
4Antonio Buonanno1,623,000
5Mayu Roca1,500,000
6Sebastian von Toperczer1,456,000
7Malte Moennig1,450,000
8Nikita Nikolaev1,083,000
9Sebastian Bredthauer1,065,000
10Vasili Firsau1,002,000

Hicks’ climb to the top was impressive, but another intriguing story unfolded on Day 4. Jack Salter, who was recently the subject of a PokerNews feature, began the day as the second shortest stack. Thanks to some early doubles, he managed to work his way back into contention. He even took over the chip lead at one point.

2014 PokerStars EPT Grand Final Main Event Day 4: Hicks Leads Final 17; Salter Third 101
Jack Salter

“I didn’t think about how many chips I may be bagging up, but I really go for the positive thinking. I honestly thought I was going to spin it up. I really believed it was going to happen,” Salter said after play concluded for the night and he bagged up 1,750,000. When asked if it was his time, he responded: “I hope so, why not? Why not me? I have chips, there’s 17 people left, I don’t see any reason it can’t be me.”

Salter earned a good portion of his chips early on in Level 20 (5,000/10,000/1,000) in a pot against the Day 2 chip leader, Vladimir Troyanovskiy. It began when the Russian opened for 21,000 under the gun and was met by a three-bet to 50,000 from Salter. The blinds both folded and Troyanovskiy raised back to 120,000. Salter moved all in for 376,000 total and Troyanovskiy made the call.

Salter: {a-Clubs}{a-Spades}
Troyanovskiy: {a-Hearts}{10-Spades}

Salter had the goods, but Troyanovskiy picked up a sweat when the flop came down {2-Hearts}{5-Clubs}{10-Hearts}. Much to Salter's relief, neither the {Q-Diamonds} turn nor {4-Spades} river proved harmful, and he doubled yet again. Meanwhile, Troyanovskiy would fall in 37th place on the very next hand.

Others who exited on Day 4 were Grzegorz Wyraz (35th - €28,300), Noah Boeken (33rd - €28,300), Yulius Sepman (30th - €32,200), Emil Patel (28th - €32,200), Ville Wahlbeck (26th - €36,700), Christoph “Tight-Man1” Vogelsang (25th - €36,700), and David Williams (24th - €36,700).

2014 PokerStars EPT Grand Final Main Event Day 4: Hicks Leads Final 17; Salter Third 102
David Williams

Williams was the last Team PokerStars Pro in the field, but he never could get much going as he nursed a short stack all afternoon long. In Level 23 (10,000/20,000/3,000), Williams got his stack of 285,000 all in preflop and received a call from Dani Stern.

Williams: {a-Hearts}{j-Spades}
Stern: {9-Hearts}{9-Clubs}

It was a classic flip, but not after the flop came down {9-Spades}{k-Spades}{3-Hearts}. Stern flopped a set and became a massive favorite. When the {5-Clubs} appeared on the turn, Williams was drawing dead. The Team Pro immediately exited the stage and didn't even stick around to see the river.

Stern would eventually fall in 21st place for €42,850, and then Scott Clements and David Yan followed him out the door in 20th and 19th place, respectively, both good for €49,350.

While 24 players fell, 17 survived including Martins Seilis (1,767,000), Antonio Buonanno (1,623,000), Mayu Roca (1,500,000), Malte Moennig (1,450,000), and Vasili Firsau (1,002,000). Also joining them is the last former EPT champ remaining in the field, Mark Teltscher (802,000); EPT10 Prague High Roller winner Ivan Soshnikov (731,000), TV Stars Miroslav Alilovic; and inaugural World Poker Tour Alpha8 champ Steven Silverman (436,000).

The final 17 players, who are each guaranteed a payday of at least €55,850, will return at 12 p.m. local time on Thursday to play down to the final table of eight.

Who will make a run at the €1,240,000 first-place prize? Be sure to check the PokerNews Live Reporting pages to find out.

Click here to see the Day 5 seat draw.

In the meantime, check out this video where Jennifer Robles catches up with the first two-time EPT champ, Victoria Coren Mitchell:

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