On Day 3 of the 2016 PokerStars.com EPT Malta Main Event, a field of 90 were narrowed down to just 30 hopefuls. All the remaining players are guaranteed a share of €15,540 out of the total prize pool of €2,269,800, but they have their sights set on the massive payday of €355,700, which will be handed out this Saturday in Casino Portomaso.
Five levels of 90 minutes were scheduled to be played, but only four of them were needed to get down to 30. It was decided to move the last level of the day to Day 4.
Britain's Tomas Macnamara bagged the overall chip lead. Macnamara was the only player to bag more than a million chips, and will return tomorrow with 1,028,000. Dmitry Yurasov (844,000), Sarah Herzali (769,000),Aliaksei Boika (688,000) and Benjamin Pollak (665,000) rounded out a star-studded top five.
Macnamara's previous best result on the EPT was a 13th place at the EPT12 Dublin Main Event for a payday of €32,870. The Brit chipped up a lot during the first level of the day while the bubble had not burst yet, and continued to build his stack throughout the next levels. Among others, he sent Yung Hwang to the rail with pocket tens versus pocket fives.
Three former EPT champions are still in contention for a second title: EPT8 Berlin champion Davidi Kitai (627,000), EPT8 Madrid winner Frederik Jensen (481,000) and PCA 2014 champion Dominik Panka (368,000). Panka already reached the final table of the IPT8 Malta Main Event at the Casino Portomaso a few days ago.
Other notables who will return to the tables include German poker prodigy Ole Schemion (613,000), start-of-the-day chip leader Guillaume Diaz (560,000), Malta's Konrad Abela (367,000), Walter Treccarichi (182,000) and IPT8 Malta Main Event champion Ismael Bojang (147,000).
Day 3 of the EPT Malta Main Event started off near the bubble, as three poor souls needed to be shed before the money was reached. The first to go was Jerry Odeen, whose pocket kings got cracked by Mikita Badziakouski's ace-seven when the latter flopped an ace. Alain Fluri ran ace-queen drawing dead in Yurasov's nut flush and left with nothing as well.
The dubious honor of bubble boy went to Benjamin Philipps, who attempted to squeeze into the money with a severe short stack. Eventually, Philipps was basically forced in from the big blind with queen-deuce, which was no match for Macnamara's pocket sevens. The remaining 87 players were all guaranteed at least €8,070.
Right after the bubble had burst, a flurry of short stacks were eliminated from the tournament. American superstar Maria Ho, EPT 7 Prague winner Roberto Romanello, €10,300 High Roller winner Dietrich Fast, Dutch demolishers Paul Gresel and Kees van Brugge, former November Niner James Akenhead and Nicaraguan hopeful Armando Collado Lanuza all fell in the early stages.
Gianfranco Visalli saw his run in the Main Event come to a screeching halt after losing most of his chips to Frederik Jensen. Visalli, who topped the leaderboard throughout the tournament, moved in with pocket sevens on an eight-high board. Jensen, holding just eight-six, called it off and took most of Visalli's chips in the process.
Two hands later, Visalli got the rest of his stack in with queen-six of clubs on a board containing a queen and two clubs. Xixiang Luo held ace-queen and dodged Visalli's outs to send the Italian packing in 47th place.
Jean Montury, who won the EPT 11 Malta Main Event back in March last year, saw his dreams of winning a second title come to an end. The Frenchman moved in with ace-queen, but needed to hit versus Aliaksei Boika's pocket queens. The board failed to provide help for Montury. Together with Niall Farrell's bust on Day 1, a new winner will be crowned on Saturday.
The second to last bust out of the day was Miguel Riera Suarez, who tried to hit a pay jump with his short stack. Riera stalled multiple times, but his tablemates and floor staff quickly acted to halt Riera's antics. When Riera had all but 5,000 of his stack in the middle, the Spaniard immediately got the clock called on him and had just thirty seconds to act. Riera was forced to commit the rest of his chips with queen-jack suited earlier that he'd liked, and failed to improve versus Armin Mette's ace-queen, missing out on the pay jump.
American hedge fund manager Dan Shak was the last to go. Shak shoved 130,000 with the optional nine-trey suited and Yury Gulyy called with ace-king suited.
"It is my son's birthday on Friday; I am actually rooting for you," said Shak, who could book his plane ticket home after Gulyy's hand held up. With Shak gone, 30 players remain after three days of play.
Day 4 will restart at 12 p.m. local time with blinds of 5,000/10,000 and an ante of 1,000. Five levels of 90 minutes have been scheduled, but with three days still to play, a level will probably get cut. Follow all the action live on PokerNews.com throughout the day.
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