Day 3 of the European Poker Tour Malta Main Event – a tournament that attracted 651 players and created a prize pool of €3,157,350 – saw 131 hopefuls return to battle for five 90-minute levels. By the end of that time, the money bubble had burst, and just 40 players bagged and tagged chips.
Leading the pack with 1.457 million is Poland's Jaroslaw Sikora, though he faces some stiff competition that includes Alexander Ivarsson (1.306 million), Faraz Jaka (1.2 million), Niall Farrell (1.16 million), and Sam Greenwood (1.16 million), who are the only other players over a million in chips. Also in contention with 689,000 in chips is Mike "Timex" McDonald, who is just days removed from winning the €25K High Roller, is the last remaining EPT champ in the field.
In regards to Sikora, his good run started with a bit of luck. In the first level of the day, Sikora opened for 6,000 and received a call from Charles Chattha on the button. Alfie Adam then three-bet to 21,000 from the big blind, and Sikora pushed back with a four-bet to 47,000. Chattha got out of the way, Adam five-bet shoved for roughly 220,000, and Sikora snap-called.
It was a cooler for Sikora, but his fortune turned around when the flop delivered him a set. The turn have Adam some Broadway outs, but he was left wanting as the paired the board on the river. With that, Sikora began his ascent of the counts.
Top 10 Day 3 Chip Counts
The day started out with money on everybody's mind. With 95 players slated to make the money, 36 were destined to leave empty handed. Among those to fall early were Adrian Mateos, Ilan Boujenah, Lauri Varonen, Dylan Linde, Farid Jattin, and 2013 PokerStars UKIPT Marbella Main Event champ Ludovic Geilich, who had his aces cracked to fall in 97th place.
Prior to Geilich's elimination, tournament officials were forced to instituted hand-for-hand play earlier than usual. That's because of a stalling epidemic that unfolded when numerous players were taking extreme amounts of time to act on their hand. One of these players was Christopher Andler, who was hit with a reduced clock for his actions.
Unfortunately for him, his tactics didn't work as he ultimately finished as the bubble boy when he was all in from the big blind for his last 1,500. Giulio Spampinato and Daniel Dvoress created a side pot, and when the dust settled Dvoress was pushed the pot after flopping a pair of aces.
From there the in-the-money finishes came quick. Among those to make their way to the payout desk were Team PokerStars Pro Matthias De Meulder (79th - €9,320), Australia's Jeff Rossiter (75th - €9,320), Team Online's Ike Haxton (67th - €10,580), Christoph "Tight-Man1" Vogelsang (59th - €10,580), Dominik Nitsche (58th - €10,580), and the EPT's all-time money winner Steve O'Dwyer (57th - €10,580), who was just two days removed from winning the €10K High Roller.
While dozens fell, many punched their ticket to Day 4 including Kitty Kuo (574,000), Alen Bilic (745,000), Shannon Shorr (407,000), the last Team PokerStars Pro standing Johnny Lodden (399,000), Ivan Luca (349,000), Natasha Barbour (280,000), and Bryn Kenney (172,000).
Day 4 will kick off at Noon local time on Thursday with the plan to play five more 90-minute levels. In addition, the €10,000 High Roller will kick off at 12:30 p.m. local time. Of course the PokerNews Live Reporting Team will bring you updates from both events. Until then, check out this video where Shorr gives his take on the stalling situation that occurred near the bubble: