There were 102 players returning for Day 4 of the record-breaking European Poker Tour Barcelona €5,300 Main Event, but after six levels and 12 long hours, just 25 competitors remain going into the penultimate day of the first EPT event of Season 11.
The chip leader to close out the day was Bram Haenraets of the Netherlands, and he is remarkably playing his first-ever live tournament, but hasn't been afraid to show a lot of aggression. At one point, Haenraets was just one card and three outs away from elimination in a massive pot against Nick Rampone. Haenraets made a huge check-raise shove on the turn of a board with the but Rampone called with the . The pot was worth over four million in chips and over 160 big blinds at that point, but somehow Haenraets found the on the river to survive. Rampone was left with just one million in chips yet managed to make it through the day, albeit as the shortest stack.
Top 10 Chip Counts
Team PokerStars Pro's hopes rested squarely on the shoulders of Jan Heitmann. The German came in with one of the larger stacks, but he ended up suffering two horrible beats. The first being that he lost with the to Mark Wagstaff's after the board came , and the second one in the fact he was left with just over a big blind and had to wait until after the 75-minute dinner break to play his next hand — the one that proved to be his elimination.
Heitmann wasn't the only big name to fall, as five of the six remaining former EPT winners were all eliminated. Kevin Stani was knocked out very early with Mikalai Pobal, Martin Finger, and Mike McDonald following him out of the door. Davidi Kitai lost with ace-king to Haeraets' aces, and former EPT London winner Robin Ylitalo was the last to go, busted by Rampone.
The only former winner left now is PokerStars sponsored player Dominik Panka, winner of the 2013 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. The Polish youngster finished the day with 1,705,000, which was enough to put him squarely in the middle of the pack. Panka had briefly flirted with the chip lead, but at one stage he was just a single card from elimination but managed to win a race with king-queen against Andrey Shatilov's jacks by hitting a king on the river. After knocking out Johan Soderberg with kings against eights on an board, Panka then also picked up aces against Diogo Miranda's jacks and Karin Bruteig's ace-king in the same hand. The bullets held and many in the media wondered if Panka was going to repeat his PCA dominance from January. However, a few moves didn't quite work in the later stages of the day and he'll start with an above-average stack tomorrow.
Others to make it through included Maximilian Senft (1,795,000) Kiryl Radzivonau (1,860,000), and Andrea Dato (2,290,000). They did considerably better than Josh Prager, Ryan Fee, Emil Patel, Kimmo Kurko, and Vojtech Ruzicka, all of whom were casualties at some point on Day 4.
Day 5 will take place on Tuesday, and the tournament will play down to the final table of eight. The expectation is that it will take six or seven levels to complete this task, but the PokerNews Live Reporting team will be there to bring you all the action starting at 12 p.m. local time.
While you wait for the action to return, enjoy the following video with Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier discussing his early years on the scene: