It seems contrary to what you might expect, but the penultimate day of an EPT Main Event tends to be less raucous than the days that precede it, and that which follow. Perhaps it’s down to what’s at stake – a seat at the final table and a shot at one of the richest prizes in poker. Maybe it’s down to the simple fact that there are fewer people here to stand along the rail and watch. Or maybe it’s that reducing 17 to eight just doesn’t take very long.
That process took less than four hours today, resulting in a final table of seven PokerStars qualifiers led by British player Jack Salter, who bagged up 5,170,000 chips before the field clocked off early.
Salter is one of this season’s poster boys, breaking through by posting results at EPT London, Vienna and now here, not to mention a $5K six-max win at the Aussie Millions. Salter has an obvious talent, not to mention a flair for showmanship in front of television cameras. But most importantly he had a hunch before he even got here.
Off to play the EPT Grand Final for the first time. Feel i am one of those lucky guys that will somehow bink it. GL everyone else playing
— Jack Salter (@jackziyang) April 27, 2014
It will be a final of relative newcomers to the EPT spotlight, at least to the eyes of headline writers. But one of them is destined to become extremely familiar at some point tomorrow night.
Seat 1. Kenneth Hicks, United States – 1,875,000
Seat 2. Jack Salter, United Kingdom – 5,170,000
Seat 3. Sebastian Bredthauer, Germany – 755,000
Seat 4. Mayu Roca, Colombia – 4,625,000
Seat 5. Magnus Karlsson, Sweden – 1,150,000
Seat 6. Malte Moennig, Germany – 1,150,000
Seat 7. Antonio Buonanno, Italy – 2,065,000
Seat 8. Sebastian von Toperczer, Germany – 1,240,000
There may not be the notable names but there certainly are the stories, notably that of Sebastian Bredthauer who we featured this week.
The 23-year-old student from Hannover won his seat to the Grand Final for 100 FPPs. Not only is this his first EPT, it’s his first live tournament. It’s remarkable story for a young man enjoying every minute. As our colleague Howard Swains of PokerStars Blog put it as he watched him leave the tournament room today: “I’ve never seen anyone look happier about anything, ever. He was glowing.” He’ll be the short stack tomorrow, but one suspects he doesn’t really care.
Mayu Roca is Salter’s nearest challenger. The Colombian was a man in demand today, and could well wind up as Colombia’s first EPT champion. He is already number one on the Colombian all-time money list, and holds a WCOOP title and $1.9m in online cashes at PokerStars, under the name “marocca5”.
Kenneth Hicks reaches his first final table after several seasons as a regular on the tour, while Italian Antonio Buonanno, the non-qualifier, who had eight EPT cashes to his name before this week, also records a first final table appearance.
Then there is Sweden’s Magnus Karlsson, a former runner up at APPT Cebu, poised for the biggest win of his career. The same goes for German player Sebastian Toperczer.
As the final eight now enjoy a beautiful spring evening on the Riviera, there are nine players not far from here who may well be looking back on what might have been.
Steven Silverman was first out just minutes after the wiring up process prior to the start. It was a deep run for the American, although he may well have rued the timing, coming too late to jump into the adjacent High Roller event to defend his title of last year.
After Matias Ruzzi in 16th (€55,850), the two Russian players Nikita Nikolaev and Ivan Soshnikov, would depart in 15th (€62,350) and 13th (€69,000) respectively, separated by Nicholas Petrangelo in 14th (€62,350) Following them to the rail was British player Mark Teltscher in 12th (€69,000), whose cash finish was the first since Barcelona in Season 4, but which was not exactly what he was hoping for, as the production team discovered.
Perhaps most notable among the departed though was Vasili Firsau who finished tenth in the Grand Final Main Event for the second consecutive year, collecting €83,200, prompting a change of heart among some of us watching on the rail. Last year he was an obstacle to an all-star final. This year he nearly got his revenge.
Martins Seillis brought the day to an end, when his ace-queen was flushed away on the river by Salter’s ace-jack. That gave Salter the lead and stopped play for now. They return tomorrow at noon and play down to a winner.
You can follow all the action yourself on the PokerStars Blog and on EPTLive, which will begin broadcasting on a one hour delay at 1pm local time.
In the meantime catch up on all the detail from today by clicking through to our live coverage page, which has details of all the key hands and eliminations.
Until tomorrow, when we will crown a new Grand Final champion.