It’s not only the final nine for the World Series of Poker (WSOP)’s main event that are known as Day 3 of the Slovenia stop on the World Poker Tour (WPT) Season X calendar at the Grand Casino Portorož saw the field reduced by 17 to give us a final table for today.
Of course, the big difference between the WSOP’s $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Championship and this event in Slovenia is we’ll know the winner by tomorrow morning – if all goes to plan – rather than having to wait until early November for a decisive result.
It took 13 hours of play yesterday to get to the WPT Slovenia €3,000+€300 (£2,645/$4,252+£264.50/$425.20) main event’s final table, with Sweden’s Johannes Korsar the only player to break through the one million chip barrier on 1,135,000.
Slovenian Miha Travnik (638,000), Italians Marcello Marigliano (635,000) and Vincenzo Natale (422,000), and Ferdi Ciorabai (385,000), of Romania, complete the top five heading into Day 4.
The average chip stack is approximately 470,000, so just three players have managed to move beyond that mark after Day 3.
There was a constant succession of eliminations from the off on the second leg of the schedule following May’s WPT Spanish Championship in Barcelona, but play did slow down noticeably as the money bubble approached – with the top 14 being paid – and players began to seriously eye up the winner’s cheque for $144,399 (£89,300/€101,540) from a prize pool of $655,100 (£407,384/€462,000).
However, table five was the exception as Britain’s John Eames crashed out in 18th place while taking part in the then-largest pot of the event.
Italy’s Gianluca Speranza opened with a raise, only for Johan Patrik Hirvonen, of Finland, to move all-in for 116,000. Eames was next to act and quickly re-shoved for 135,000 as start-of-day chip leader Speranza – who would eventually exit out of the money in 17th – also called.
Eames showed J♣ J♦ to be ahead of Speranza’s A♦ Q♦ and the A♥ 10♥ of Hirvonen – and the Englishman improved to a 96% favourite with trip jacks on a flop of J♠ 6♣ 5♥.
However, his tournament came to a sudden and shocking end as the turn produced the 3♥ and the 7♥ arrived on the river to give Hirvonen an ace-high flush.
Eames was obviously disappointed to have finished out of the money to a runner-runner loss, but the most upset player was probably Lithuanian Domantas Klimciauskas, who became the tournament bubble boy when finishing in 15th during level 19 when the blinds were set at 5,000/10,000 with a 1,000 ante.
Klimciauskas must surely have felt confident when seeing K♣ K♠ as his hole cards. But, following a pre-flop raising battle with Manuel Blaschke, Klimciauskas was certainly not thrilled to discover his kings were massively dominated by the Austrian’s A♦ A♣.
Klimciauskas was a 4 to 1 underdog, although he still had some outs. But his chances of success dropped to almost zero when the dealer revealed a flop of A♥ 8♣ J to give Blaschke trip aces.
The Lithuanian was left drawing dead when the 9♥ turn came, with the 4h on the river unimportant as the bubble burst to ensure that the remaining 14 competitors were guaranteed at least $10,553 (£6,520/€7,411).
The first player to cash was another Englishman, Thomas Macdonald, who exited in 14th – to soon be joined at the rail by Romanian duo Dan Hila in 13th for $12,242 (£7,565/€8,597) and Valentin Stroiescu in 12th for $13,930 (£8,607/€9,782).
About 30 minutes later, Russian Ilya Nikiforov was eliminated in 11th place for $15,900 (£9,825/€11,166). Thereafter, play again slowed dramatically with a place at the final table at stake.
Two hours of play at two five-handed tables ensued before we were to witness the exit of another Romanian in Ionut Florin Pandilica.
Pandilica shoved all-in with A♠ J♥ and was called by Sweden’s Korsar, who held 10♠ 10♣. The board showed K♣ 2♣ 5♣ 10♥ 2♥ to give Korsar a full house and Pandilica was out in 10th for $17,307 (£10,695/€12,150).
The eventual winner will leave with a prize package worth about $144,399, which includes a buy-in to the WPT Championship at The Bellagio in Las Vegas valued at €25,000 (£22,057/$35,463).
Final nine after Day 3 of the WPT Slovenia:
1. Johannes Korsar (Sweden) – 1,135,000
2. Miha Travnik (Slovenia) – 638,000
3. Marcello Marigliano (Italy) – 635,000
4. Vincenzo Natale (Italy) – 422,000
5. Ferdi Ciorabai (Romania) – 385,000
6. Manuel Blaschke (Austria) – 302,000
7. Gaetano Fortugno (Italy) – 294,000
8. Johan Patrik Hirvonen (Finland) – 266,000
9. Hugh Cohen (Australia) – 232,000
Placings 10-14 with payouts from the WPT Slovenia:
10. Ionut Florin Pandilica (Romania) – $17,307 (£10,695/€12,150)
11. Ilya Nikiforov (Russia) – $15,900 (£9,825/€11,166)
12. Valetin Stroiescu (Romania) – $13,930 (£8,607/€9,782)
13. Dan Hila (Romania) – $12,242 (£7,565/€8,597)
14. Thomas Macdonald (UK) – $10,553 (£6,520/€7,411)