Today’s specific task in Casino Barcelona was to turn 72 players into 24 or to die in the attempt. But like so many days on the European Poker Tour, eliminating players was outrageously simple. Hitting our target was no problem at all.
Deeper stacks? Longer levels? An extra day for all the extra play? Overrated. Boom or bust is the new mantra, and by the time a 15-minute break was due at the end of level 19 — the fifth of the day — we were already down to 25. Why bother to go on the break at all? We could make a final table tonight, surely.
The answer to that impatient quibble, though, was also simple. We needed time to take stock, count chips and figure out what all this bluster meant. And once all that number-crunching was completed, we discovered that there’s a four-way, top-heavy duel going into the penultimate day of this event: Georgios Kapalas (1,724,000), Matt Lapossie (1,664,000), Marc Goodwin (1,545,000) and Patrick Bueno (1,467,000) all have more than double the chips of any other player in the field.
Kapalas, who came to the poker world’s attention at the World Series this summer, translated some sumptuous play to the EPT. He started the day with only a little more than 100,000 in chips, but ended it with a significant chance of becoming the first Greek winner on the tour. He was personally responsible for the elimination of Constantin Cirstea and Samer Rahman, two massive stacks throughout this event. Rahman in particular was a superstar today, nailed on for the final table it seemed, until Kapalas wiped him out at the dying of the day.
Lapossie and Bueno shared a table for long portions of the afternoon, and although Bueno seemed to get the better of their personal duels, Lapossie’s stack continued to climb. He was our overnight leader and only Kapalas overtook him; he is still right in the groove. Goodwin leads an unusually fine showing from British players on the EPT — four of only 16 who entered remain in the last 23.
Twenty-three? Yep, that’s another point. Two players, both Swedish, bust at the same time to end day three. Rahman and Pontus Kers were the last names added to the prizewinners page this evening, leaving all those on the chip-counts page to return as we play to a final table tomorrow.
There are five former EPT champions there — Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, Jan Boubli, Roland de Wolfe, Mike McDonald and Jens Kyllonen — meaning we could even be on our way to breaking the strange hoodoo of no one ever winning two of these things.
Tomorrow, if it’s anything like today, will be a belter. Follow all the action here.
Take a look back at what you missed with these links. Or, better, read the coverage again; it matures like a fine wine.
The peerless EPT Live starts tomorrow, and as ever we’ll be joined here on PokerStars blog by the photography of (c) Neil Stoddart.
Good night – and dream of a big comedy cardboard cheque. I know I will be.