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2015 PokerStars EPT Grand Final Main Event Day 3: Jose Carlos Garcia Leads Final 34

Jose Carlos Garcia

Day 3 of the 2015 PokerStars and Monte-Carlo® Casino EPT Grand Final €10,600 Main Event saw 114 players from a 564-player field return for five 90-minute levels of play. By the time the last second ticked off the clock, just 34 remained in contention for the €1,082,000 first-place prize.

Jose Carlos Garcia, who was the overall Day 1 chip leader, is best positioned to make a run at the top prize as the chip leader with 1.71 million, but he faces some stiff competition that includes the only other player over a million, Connor Drinan (1.065 million); two-time World Poker Tour champ and last year's 20th-place finisher Scott Clements (909,000); and Global Poker Index Player of the Year Ole Schemion (823,000), just to name a few.

Garcia not only played well, he ran well and picked up quality hands in big spots. For instance, in Level 18 (3,000/6,000/1,000) there was 409,000 in the pot and a flop of {7-Diamonds}{5-Hearts}{3-Clubs} when Bulgaria's Nikolay Tsanev got his last 217,000 all in against Garcia.

Tsanev: {q-Diamonds}{q-Clubs}
Garcia: {a-Spades}{a-Clubs}

It was a cooler for Tsanev, and no miracle lady would appear as the {J-Clubs} blanked on the turn followed by the {2-Clubs} on the river. Tsanev exited in 58th place for €20,900, though not everyone was fortunate enough to cash. Toss in a big one in the last hand of the night, and Garcia bagged up a hefty lead.

Notable Day 3 Chip Counts

1Jose Carlos Garcia1,710,000
2Connor Drinan1,065,000
3Anatoly Chen987,000
4Scott Clements909,000
5Hady El Asmar890,000
6Dario Sammartino827,000
7Ole Schemion823,000
8Johnny Lodden728,000
9Andre Akkari574,000
10Anton Astapau561,000

The day began with everyone intent on making the money at the top 79, but 35 players fell short of accomplishing that goal. Among those to fall in the first few levels and leave empty handed were Dan Heimiller, Randal Flowers, Mayu Roca, Charlie Carrel, Nick Petrangelo, Bryan Paris, Giuliano Bendinelli, Scott Davies, Vanessa Selbst, Ami Barer, David Peters, and Eric Sfez, who earned the unfortunate distinction as bubble boy.

It happened in Level 17 (2,500/5,000/5000 when Sfez, who had dwindled to just three big blinds, got his stack all in preflop and was at risk against Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier.

Sfez: {k-Hearts}{k-Diamonds}
Mercier: {2-Hearts}{2-Spades}

The {5-Hearts}{3-Spades}{a-Clubs} flop gave Mercier a wheel draw, but it'd be the {2-Diamonds} turn that would give him the best hand. The {6-Spades} river failed to save Sfez, and he made the long walk out of the room while the remaining players each locked up €19,175.

From there, the in-the-money finishes came at a rapid place and included former EPT Grand Final champs Nicolas Chouity (78th - €19,175) and Steve O'Dwyer (74th - €19,175); Lasse Frost, who collapsed on Day 1b and was rushed to the hospital only to return before he was blinded off (72nd - €19,175); Americans Maria Ho (69th - €20,900) and Jason Wheeler (63rd - €20,900); Team PokerStars Pro Eugene Katchalov (64th - €20,900); and Jean Montury (43rd - €23,125), who won the EPT Malta last month for €687,400.

Montury had the chance to become the first-ever back-to-back EPT champ, but any hope of that happening came to a halt in the last level of the night. Montury got his last 79,000 all in under the gun and watched as Muhyedine Fares, who had 81,000, moved all in a couple spots over. The rest of the players folded and the cards were turned up.

Montury: {a-Spades}{j-Clubs}
Fares: {j-Hearts}{j-Spades}

Montury's best chance at surviving was to catch an ace, but he failed to do so on the {2-Spades}{3-Clubs}{k-Clubs} flop. The {5-Hearts} turn gave Montury a wheel draw, but it didn't materialize as the {6-Hearts} blanked on the river.

Speaking of the EPT Malta, the man that set that stop on fire, Poland's Dzmitry Urbanovich, exited a short time later in 40th place after his opponent made a bigger two pair on the river. It was an ugly exit for Urbanovich, but the silver lining is that he earned some coveted EPT 11 Player of the Year points, a title he is expected to win.

While many fell, plenty of big names punched their ticket to Day 4 including Team PokerStars Pros Johnny Lodden (728,000), Andre Akkari (574,000), Mercier (539,000) and Isaac Haxton (112,000); EPT regular Tom Hall (539,000); German wunderkind Christopher Frank (435,000); the UK's Stephen Chidwick (383,000); former World Series of Poker Europe champ Adrian Mateos (376,000); the €50,000 Super High Roller champ Mustapha Kanit (213,000); and online star Liviu "0Human0" Ignat (211,000)

Day 4 will kick off at Noon local time on Wednesday, and the plan is to play down to either the final 16 players or the end of Level 24, whichever comes first. In addition, the three-day €25,000 High Roller event will commence at 12:30 p.m. PokerNews will be providing live updates from both events.

Until then, check out this video of Jeremy Ausmus talking about America vs. Europe:

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