Sometimes it’s not easy to pick out what happened in a day to leave it in the state it is in at the close of play. Today there is no such difficulty.
Day 5 boiled down to just a few hands. Most of them involved Georgious Karakousis. But while he was winning crucial pots against Ludovic Geilich, a duel that provided an interesting vignette, it was Jeff Rossiter who stole the show, and the lead, denying Karakousis his advantage to claim it as his own, bagging up 5,205,000 tonight.
That Rossiter leads is hardly surprising. The Australian has won millions in a so far short career, and few would doubt he had what it takes to add EPT gold to his sparkling resume.
Behind him sits today’s surprise package Karakousis. Quiet and unassuming, he had been a menace to more than just Geilich this afternoon, who he check raised out of a big pot and then out-setted him in another. So while Rossiter has the advantage and the experience, Karakousis cannot be written off as a potential winner.
The final table is perhaps without the familiar faces, but not short on quality. As has been proven time and again, nobody flukes a final table appearance, and tomorrow’s finale should prove that yet again.
Geilich, while being beaten up at times, has an obvious talent (he won UKIPT Marbella earlier this year) and has been among the leaders since the bubble, when he took the lead almost unnoticed. He returns tomorrow bruised, but with enough chips to mount a challenge.
Norwegian Jan Sjavik will be remembered by anyone whose interest in the EPT dates back to Season 3. Sjavik is still on course to replace memories from that final table, in which he was unlucky not to double through eventual winner Vicky Coren. Instead he finished third. A chance to put that right has been seven years in the making for Sjavik, but he gets his shot tomorrow.
Robin Ylitalo has been towards the top of the chip counts for most of the week, and could easily surprise a few people tomorrow. Stefan Vagner meanwhile looks to become the first Slovak to win an EPT title, his chances kept alive by his elimination of Martin Kozlov in ninth place to end the day.
English players Leo McLean and Kully Sidhu, who started as the short stacks nine-handed, will take advantage of their good fortune and press on for a title on home soil. Both were all-in nine-handed, securing crucial double ups.
In McLean’s case, he is exceeding even his own expectations. Earlier today he made it clear that he would need to work hard to make the final table. That effort certainly paid off.
Here’s how they’ll start tomorrow.
Seat 1. Georgios Karakousis (Greece) – 4,390,000
Seat 2. Jeff Rossiter (Australia) – 5,205,000
Seat 3. Ludovic Geilich (Germany) – 805,000
Seat 4. Robin Ylitalo (Sweden) – 2,795,000
Seat 5. Kully Sidhu (United Kingdom) – 560,000
Seat 6. Stefan Vagner (Slovakia) – 2,525,000
Seat 7. Jan Olav Sjavik (Norway) – 870,000
Seat 8. Leo McClean (United Kingdom) – 980,000
And here’s what’s at stake:
1st place. £560,980
2nd place. £349,200
3rd place. £249,850
4th place. £193,340
5th place. £152,320
6th place. £119,225
7th place. £88,175
8th place. £60,640
Of the 16 who returned this morning David Yan looked most likely to reach the final. The New Zealander plays with a natural flair that seems to acquire chips from thin air. On closer inspection it’s down to a sharp poker brain.
But added to that was required some good fortune, which deserted him this afternoon, busting him in 12th place. The 20-year-old had been entertaining to watch this week. We can only hope he makes frequent trips to this tour from the other side of the world.
Nicolau Villa-Lobos would also have graced the final were it not for a pair of kings in the hands of Senh Ung. Villa-Lobos, who has a SCOOP Main Event and a UKIPT title under his belt, had tens which faded quickly, leaving him with just two big blinds. An immediate double up made him smile but served only to delay the inevitable. He preceded Yan in reaching the rail, out in 13th place.
Ung himself departed before the end of the day. After Etayo was eliminated in 11th place, running jacks into the flopped aces of Rossiter, Ung shoved with ace-five. Rossiter, who was still in the ascendant, called with ace-jack, sending Ung home in tenth.
It took longer than most people expected to go from nine to eight, and while the English were favourites to depart it was instead Kozlov who brought play to an end.
The final table begins tomorrow at 1pm, with the EPT Live broadcast on a one hour delay, starting at 2pm UK time (3pm CET). In the meantime you can catch up on a few things that happened today, including the view from the outer table, as well as following the High Roller event which continues into the night on our coverage page.
Tomorrow a new EPT champion will be crowned. See you then.
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.