The curtain has been pulled up and the stage is set. The final six players of the 2016 PokerStars.com EPT Malta Main Event are known. They'll duke it out on Saturday in Casino Portomaso for one of the last chances to capture EPT glory and will play for a massive first prize of €355,700.
It took slightly more than three levels of play to get down from 14 to six. Sweden's Mats Karlsson, who started the day as chipleader, kept ruling with an iron fist and extended his chip lead to a massive 3,795,000 (78 big blinds). Karlsson instantly got on the phone with loved ones to tell them the good news.
Behind Karlsson, Russia's Dmitry Yurasov sits in second place with 2,845,000 (58 big blinds). Among others, Yurasov eliminated 2014 PCA champion Dominik Panka on the penultimate day of the Main Event.
Britain's Peter Ockenden, who qualified via a $27 qualifier on PokerStars, rounds out the top three with 2,300,000 (46 big blinds) after a late-day surge. Ockenden eliminated Xixiang Luo with pocket aces versus ace-king to take a big jump up the leaderboard.
Lebanon's Elie Saad is in fourth with 2,065,000 (41 big blinds). Saad survived a crucial coin flip with ace-king versus pocket jacks in the later stages to get to the final six. Britain's Tomas Macnamara has the fifth stack with 1,835,000 (37 big blinds). Macnamara tripled up in the final hand of the day, winning jack-eight suited versus ace-king and pocket sevens.
Aliaksei Boika of Belarus will return tomorrow as the short stack (960,000 - 19 big blinds). Boika held ace-king in the hand versus Macnamara, which dropped him to the bottom of the barrel. All six remaining players are guaranteed at least €76,790 for surviving five grueling days of play.
The day started off with 14 players, but the field was quickly whittled down to 10. Benjamin Pollak was the first one to go. The Frenchman was left crippled when he doubled up Luo in the first hand of the day. Pollak's pocket eights failed to hold against Luo's ace-king. The next hand, he lost his last chips with king-seven against Luo's ace-ten.
Start-of-the-day short stack Ole Schemion found his much-needed double up in the second hand of the day, when he rivered a flush with ace-four against Boika's pocket nines. The German got it in again moments later, this time against Karlsson. The Swede, who earned the moniker "Schemion Slayer" on the live stream, finished what he began yesterday and eliminated the German with king-ten versus ace-king when he rivered a straight.
Daniele Colautti moved all in with pocket nines and was up against Yurasov's pocket sixes. The Russian flopped a set and Colautti hit the rail in 12th place. Shortly after, Marco Bartolini followed the same route. He ran his tens into Luo's queens and became the 11th-place finisher.
The second level of the day had just one player hit the rail. It was the level of the short stacks surviving with the worst of it. Both Macnamara and Ockenden survived all-in situations. Someone had to go eventually. It was Germany's Louis Cartarius who fell in 10th place. Cartarius shoved pocket sevens into Boika's pocket aces and couldn't catch up.
With nine players left, the unofficial final table was set. One more player needed to go before the final table was official, and it was 2014 PCA winner and EPT11 Malta finalist Panka who finished in the dreaded ninth place. Panka reshoved pocket sixes all in after Yurasov had opened. Yurasov called with pocket kings and held up to send Panka to the rail.
In the last hand of the third level of the day, Luo ran his ace-king into Ockenden's pocket aces. It was a cooler for the Chinese pro and he failed to improve, sending him packing in eighth place.
Directly after the break, short stack Bastian Dohler got involved in a three-way all in. Dohler held pocket sevens against Boika's ace-king and Macnamara's jack-eight suited. The sevens weren't lucky for Dohler, as Macnamara found both a jack and an eight to send the German €10 Spin & Go qualifier to the rail in seventh place.
With one hour and twenty minutes left in the level 25,000/50,000 with a 5,000-chip ante, play was suspended for the day. Saturday at 1:00 p.m. CEST, the six remaining players will resume their quest to capture the EPT gold. The final table will be streamed with hole cards and will be on an hour delay. Follow hand-for-hand coverage live on PokerNews.com as we play down to a winner.
Seating and Chip Counts Final Table
|3||Peter Ockenden||United Kingdom||2,300,000||46|
|6||Tomas Macnamara||United Kingdom||1,835,000||37|