It’s fair to say that at the start of day three there were a few players expected to make it to the latter stages of today. Big chip stacks can be hard to shift and without a double up or two anything less than an average stack can quickly become fodder for the mammoths lurking in every hand.
Annette Obrestad was one such player most expected to see at the final after her burst of speed late last night. Andy Black too arrived this afternoon with a distinct advantage as chip leader. But whilst Annette makes her first EPT final table appearance tomorrow, it’s Andy Black who this week has peddled in on his bike from home to play, that is left out in the cold – tenth place, missing out on what would have been his second EPT final.
Going into the day Team PokerStars Pros Noah Boeken and Luca Pagano both had their sights on the prize. For Luca it would be the chance to better his third place finish back in Barcelona in season one; for Noah the chance to become the first player to win two EPT titles.
But it would not to be so for either player. Luca was out first today in 24th place, remarkably the third time he’s finished in that position, whilst Noah lasted longer but fell in 14th place, eliminated by Andy Black who at that time was dominating the table with a stack big enough to jeopardise the integrity of the table legs.
There were extremes, from Black’s lead to Finnish PokerStars qualifier Reijo Manninen’s heroic battle to hold on with his fingernails, spending what appeared to be the whole day as the short stack. In between were PokerStars qualifiers like Thierry van den Berg and Casper Hansen. Both had flirted with the chip lead this week but were now neither out front or lagging behind.
Along the way we lost PokerStars qualifiers Kenneth Hicks Jr., Zaid Kaady, Martin Green and Jan Veit. Arshad Hussein also suffered, eliminated in what was his best EPT performance since the EPT Grand Final in season two, where he finished second to Jeff Williams.
But it was Annette Obrestad, who must be most people favourite to win EPT Dublin tomorrow, who maintained her dominance on 788k, safely amassing a chip lead that will be hard work to defeat tomorrow. Daan Ruiter, almost flying under the radar today, would finish the day in second place with 646k whilst Reijo Manninen, in a late run that started with polite humour, finished the day third in chips on 480k.
A full run down of tomorrow’s final looks like this:
Seat 1 – Thierry van den Berg – Holland – PokerStars qualifier – 274k
Seat 2 – Daan Ruiter – Holland – 646k
Seat 3 – Reuben Peters – USA – PokerStars qualifier — 176k
Seat 4 – Annette Obrestad – Norway – 788k
Seat 5 – Anders Pettersson – Sweden – PokerStars qualifier – 166k
Seat 6 – Casper Hansen – Denmark – PokerStars qualifier – 360k
Seat 7 – Tronde Eidsvig – Norway – 184k
Seat 8 – Michael Durrer – Germany – PokerStars qualifier – 247k
Seat 9 – Reijo Manninen – Finland – PokerStars qualifier – 480k
It makes for six PokerStars qualifiers in the final nine and the distinct possibility that for only the second time the EPT will have a female winner.
As for Andy Black he proves yet again that he is one of the best tournament players in the world, but his collapse leaves him waiting a little longer to beat his 7th place finish at the Monte Carlo Grand Final earlier this year.
It all starts at 4pm tomorrow.
To catch up on the action of the day: