In the face of a raging tempest, you could do a lot worse than hunker down behind an army of Scandinavians, a Russian and a Turk. Such was the moral to be gleaned from another preposterous day at EPT San Remo, a day that began with 194 players, ended with 66, and broke new ground again in the rapidity of its eliminations, even though players were at one point penalised for stalling.
It was madness for sure, but what makes it all the more remarkable is that some of the names at the top of the leaderboard tonight are the very same as were there last night. The top six at the end of today are as follows: Jakob Karlsson (1,800,000), Kadir Karabulut (1,577,000), Alan Baekke (1,485,000), Dmitry Stelmak (1,443,000), Jens Thorson (1,322,000) and Per Linde (1,193,000).
That little group includes three Swedes (Karlsson, Thorson and Linde) who rediscovered some of the EPT season two form, when Sweden dominated the later stages of all tournaments. They’re a focused bunch up there in Scandinavia and even as the whole of Italy seemed to descend on Casino San Remo to bellow their approval for their countrymen, it was the icy operators from the Nordics who prospered most efficiently.
Karabulut, from Turkey, started his day by cutting ElkY down to size and only grew silently from there. Stelmak was the chip leader yesterday and never far from it today. He was also the epitome of unflustered and ruthless calm. Like Europe’s fleet of airlines, you had to fly low today, way under the radar, else risk being grounded for good.
The first task after we reconvened at noon was to burst the bubble. That would happen when player 185 was eliminated, and judging by the opening days of this tournament, that should have taken about 11 minutes tops. But several short-stacked players had also taken note of the suicidal tendencies of their brethren and decided to cling on for dear life, taking their maximum allotted time to make their decisions (inevitably a fold) in the hope that others would do the busting around them.
It only worked for so long – until the tournament director Thomas Kremser announced that we’d go hand-for-hand – and that prompted the all in fest that would define the remainder of the day. Brian Jensen got a shocker and had pocket jacks out-flopped by J♥5♥ to send him to the rail. Then Vittorio Fiume looked certain to follow, but for a miracle rivered one-outer.
And then there were three called all ins on three different tables: Cole Robinson had run two pair into Michael Piper’s flopped set of aces and went out the wrong side of the bubble. By the narrowest of membranes, Rainer Meyer made the money; he bust on the same hand but got the cash.
The rest of today’s tale is best told on the prizewinners page, which became increasingly populated minute-on-minute. There was very little attention paid to reputations today as the Team PokerStars Pros Jude Ainsworth, Nacho Barbero, Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, Sebastian Ruthenberg, Arnaud Mattern, Jason Mercier and Thomas Bichon were among the hundreds of fallen.
Alfio Battisti, Pierpaolo Fabretti and Matthias De Meulder fly the flag into tomorrow. They finished with 419,000, 281,000 and 259,000 respectively.
It’s also worth keeping tabs on Thang Duc Nguyen, Harrison Gimbel and Baekke. Those former champions remain in the mix and could finally give us our first double champion. (Baekke-to-Baekke, of course, could set an almost insurmountable new mark.)
Take a look back at the day’s five levels of insanity with any of these links:
Photographs are ©Neil Stoddart and moving images are at PokerStars.tv.
Tomorrow we play from 66 to 24 in what could take anything from an hour to about three levels. See how they will line up on the seat draw page. Join us for all the action then.
Ah, that appears to be my pizza arriving now. Good night….Hey! Come back!