The penultimate day of action in the Main Event at the Casino Barcelona resumed today with 25 players across three tables. The plan was to play down to an official final table of eight before the close of play and that goal was reached just after 1 a.m. in the morning.
Hossein Ensan from Germany will be the man to beat tomorrow as he had gathered 10,300,000 chips to put him in pole position. Just behind him in second position is Samuel Phillips with 9,035,000 and Ji Zhang, another German player, lies in third with 6,480,000.
In contrast to with the hectic bust outs of yesterday there was more of a steady stream of exits as play got down to two tables by the middle of level 26 at which stage online qualifier Bram Haenraets from Holland, playing in reportedly his first live tournament, was top of the pile.
Just before the dinner break It was Samuel Phillips who topped the leader when he three-bet an unusually large open from Ji Zhang and called a shove holding . If Phillips won that he would have had a huge lead over the rest of the field. Zhang showed him though and held to take the lead himself. That was the second time Zhang had aces and got full value.
At that time Hossein Ensan was in second and Dominik Panka was third placed thanks, in large part, to cracking Mikkel Nielsen’s , turning a flush with , and then beating Gerald Karlic’s with hitting the on the river. Panka’s Luck would eventually run out when he three-bet shoved with and got called by Andrey Shatilov holding meaning Panka exited in 11th place for €77,600.
Once they reached the unofficial final table of nine there were a series of improbable double ups. First short stack Haenraets doubled up when he three-bet shoved eight big blinds with and beat Slaven Popov’s on a final board of .It was then short stack Popov who beat Andrey Shatilov’s with spiking the ace on the flop.
As the blinds climbed steadily higher flops were few and far between as it became a series of preflop shoves or uncontested raises. Finally it fell to qualifier Haenraets to be the official final table bubble boy. He jammed over an open from Hossein Ensan who had and the fairy tale for the qualifier was ended with a consolation prize of €92,800.
It was a thoroughly entertaining day of poker filled with remarkable comebacks, tenacity and stoicism. First place is within the grasp of any of the final eight and they will have trouble sleeping knowing they are so close to claiming the enormous first place prize of €121,300 and the glory of being crowned EPT Barcelona Champion 2014.
Play resumes tomorrow at 1 p.m. but coverage will be brought to you one hour later as the final table is on a delayed stream with hole cards so you can see exactly what strategy each player is employing.
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