It started 11 hours ago. I remember something about fog in the trees but everything else since is just a blur. Such was the pace of eliminations today that in that relatively short time the hopes of 216 players were wiped away, a ruthless period of pain and suffering that left only 35 to return tomorrow for a day predicted to be no less forgiving on the nerves.
Back in season three, Dortmund’s first EPT was won by a crazy-haired and chatty Norwegian by the name of Andreas Hoivold, who took home €672,000. The following year an 18-year-old with gap teeth and the quirky handle “Timex” crushed a tough field to become the youngest ever EPT winner and €933,600 richer. Flash forward to now and both seem in the mood for another pop, returning tomorrow with chips, chairs and EPT history on their minds.
A second title is not just within the reach of Hoivold (223,000 overnight) and McDonald (336,500). Also in the mix is the recent Deauville winner Moritz Kranich. He sat with a stack the size of a wedding cake for most of the day, amassed almost unnoticed, and finished on around 200,000.
It was so nearly four champions up for the double. Down to 36 players, the EPT Warsaw winner Joao Barbosa moved all-in with A-2, called by an opponent with K-5. The five hit the board causing Barbosa to wince slightly before leaving with a simple handshake, not being the kind to mourn publicly.
Nevertheless, having been down to 35,000 before rallying well, Barbosa records his sixth cash in season five alone, beating the previous record set by Trond Eidsvig last year and bringing his combined EPT winnings to $552,067.
Not to be forgotten are the current chip leaders.
Holger Kanisch ended on top with 526,500 after multiple skirmishes. Behind him are the likes of Marc Gork (441,000), PokerStars ShootingStar Sandra Naujoks (410,000) and Steve Jelinek, the latter’s day starting with only 20,000 but ending with 347,000.
Who else has something to shout about? Well, Luca Pagano.
The Team PokerStars Pro inked in his tenth career EPT cash, ending the day on 175,000, and could easily make it a fourth final table if he carries the momentum into tomorrow. One man in his way will be fellow Team PokerStars Pro William Thorson. One of the chip leaders coming into the day, Thorson continued his relentless assault, watching others crash and burn but coming through safely himself, despite a day alongside Max Pescatori and later Pagano. Just as he did yesterday, Thorson moved all-in on the last hand, adding a few thousand more to his closing stack of 192,500.
In their wake lies the likes of Pescatori, the Team PokerStars Pro Alex Kravchenko, Malte Strothmann, Petter Petersson, Oscar Silow, Jan Heitmann, Julian Thew and George Danzer among others. We will remember them.
So to tomorrow. Not only will the last 35 play down to a last eight but it will all be performed in front of the EPT Live cameras, allowing you to watch the day’s events from the comfort of your own home/office, in your pyjamas if you want – although clear that with the boss first.
For a warm up, to get up to speed or just to re-live happy memories, click on any or all of the links below for the events of the day:
From out of the fog
Sharkey by name, sharky by nature
Flops and flaps
Percivall holding his own
A tale of two champions
Chips for dinner
No place for the feint-hearted
Pressure begins to show
On a tear
The Beach Boys walk into a bar: “Get a round…”
Boom and bust
Pop goes the bubble
Movers and shakers
All the fours
Step through the looking glass and catch up on the action in Swedish, German and Dutch and as always videos with glorious sound are available at PokerStars.tv, as will the EPT Live broadcast, beamed live once play gets underway. The full counts are now available on the chip count page. You can also catch up on what prizes have already been won on the updated prizes page.
Play begins at 3pm and ends with a final eight. Will it include a former champion? Or maybe more than one? Will William Thorson or Luca Pagano close in on that first EPT title? Only tomorrow will tell. Join us then.