Englishman Marc Wright leads the 24 survivors from Day 3 of the PokerStars European Poker Tour (EPT) Berlin €5,000+€300 buy-in main at the Grand Hyatt Hotel on 2,400,000 chips.
Cornwall’s Wright has already guaranteed himself his biggest ever live tournament pay day as the players who line up at the three tables today are all assured of making at least €20,000 from the €3,725,000 prize pool after Sweden’s Simon Persson exited in 25th place for €17,500 to bring the day to a close.
Wright’s previous best cash came just a few weeks ago in Dublin’s Burlington Hotel when he picked up $20,288 for finishing 13th in the €3,200 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Irish Open main event.
So it appears that the English pro is on the up after eliminating the likes of Austrian Jan Bendik (50th for €13,000), German PokerStars qualifier Gereon Sowa (44th for €13,000) and American Kenny Hicks (30th for €17,500) on the way to the top of the leaderboard in Germany’s capital city.
Chip Leader Makes Early Moves
He also prised the lead from Russian Day 1a leader Vladimir Geshkenbein and Swede Anton Wigg – who topped the field after Day 2 – during yesterday’s second level, before then charging clear to hold an 89,000-chip lead over second placed Thomas Cibak, from the Czech Republic, when the chips were bagged up.
Canadian Andrew Chen sits on 1,827,000 in third place, while German Florian Dohnert begins Day 4 in fourth with 1,270,000 and Spanish PokerStars qualifier Jordi Riba Corrons is fifth on 1,265,000.
But maybe Wright should be most wary of the challenge likely to come from American Kevin MacPhee, who sits on 430,000 chips in 17th place.
The Idaho native is aiming for a historic double in Berlin after taking down the season six main event for $1,356,429 – and will surely be eyeing up a double to add to his 2010 success.
Former EPT Champions Still In Contention
Then again, there are other definite dangers with Stockholm’s Wigg (11th on 973,000 chips) and Geshkenbein (10th on 1,053,000), of Regensdove, also having EPT crowns in the bag after the former won $672,818 for securing the 2010 Copenhagen title and the latter pocketed $552,901 when taking down the SnowFest main event in Hinterglemm, Austria, back in March of last year.
Greek Andreas Vlachos (sixth on 1,140,000), home player Bahadir Kilickeser (seventh on 1,114,000), American Pratyush Buddiga (eighth on 1,110,000), Spanish PokerStars player Cesar Garcia Domínguez (ninth on 1,099,000) and Geshkenbein completed the top 10 as 78 players hit the rail during Day 3.
However, it was Englishman Wright who made the biggest moves of the day, taking his starting stack from 585,000 to well above the chip average of 931,500 – with his only lapse arriving close to the end of Day 3, when his flush draw failed to materialise against Corrons.
Wright Sees Huge Chip Lead Cut Late On Day 3
All-in plays were taking place regularly during level 22 – when the blinds were at 8,000/16,000 with a 2,000 ante – as we neared the final 24, and Wright faced up to another from the Spaniard that resulted in the Englishman dropping back 770,000 as Corrons doubled-up to finish the day in fifth spot.
The Spanish player called a raise of 35,000 from Wright to see a flop of 9♦ 5♦ 8♣, ensuring that all the chips hit the middle. Corrons showed 10♥ 10♠ for top pair, while Wright was on a flush draw with his A♦ 6♦ hole cards.
However, the Q♠ turn and 9♥ river were no good to Wright and Corrons survived to fight another day.
Thomas Cibak Makes Belated Charge
Second placed Cibak was another competitor to make a late charge up the rankings after sending Persson to the rail in 24th to end the day.
The Swede’s final hand saw the Czech make it 32,000 to go, only for Persson to re-raise that to 76,000. Cibak then made it 161,000, with Persson shoving all-in for about 650,000.
Cibak snap-called to show the dominating Q♣ Q♥ as Persson revealed his 10♠ 10♣. The flop came A♦ 9♥ 2♠ to keep the Czech ahead, while the 4♠ turn and 6♠ river ensured that Persson’s challenge ended somewhat earlier then he would have hoped.
Team PokerStars Pros Suffer Bad Day
However, it wasn’t a good day for Team PokerStars Pro, with the remaining trio of Vanessa Selbst, Jan Heitmann and Ana Marquez crashing out yesterday to complete a miserable tournament for the stars of the world’s biggest poker room.
Brooklyn’s Selbst – a one-time World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner – exited in 48th for €13,000 at the hands of Canadian Chen.
The American bet 80,000 on a flop of Q♣ J♥ 2♦, before Ontario’s Chen called to see the 8♦ arrive on the turn.
Selbst then bet 150,000 with Chen again making the call ahead of the dealer producing the 7♦ on the river to ensure that a backdoor flush was on. The 27-year-old American seemed confident when moving all-in for about 280,000, only for Chen to snap-call with the nut flush, after completing the winning hand with runner-runner, to send Selbst off to the rail.
Meanwhile, Germany’s Heitmann lasted longer to take 29th place for €17,500, while Spaniard Marquez was an early Day 3 casualty when exiting in 97th for €7,500.
JP Kelly Among Casualties
Among the other big-name pros to fall yesterday were Sweden’s William Thorson (28th for €17,500), Canada’s Will Molson (42nd for €13,000), German PokerStars qualifier Philipp Gruissem (45th for €13,000), Belgian Koen De Visscher (55th for €13,000), Kevin Iacofano (58th for €11,000), Swedish PokerStars qualifier Martin Jacobson (60th for €11,000), American Scott Baumstein (64th for €11,000), Friend of PokerStars Charlotte Van Brabander (69th for €11,000), of Belgium, Englishman JP Kelly (70th for €11,000), Canadian duo Dan Smith (90th for €7,500) and Jeff Sarwer (107th for €7,500) and American Bill Chen (112th for €7,500).
However, some other well-known faces made it into Day 4, including Belgian Davidi Kitai (13th on 946,000) and Russian PokerStars qualifier Andrey Zaichenko (22nd on 278,000).
Today will see the last 24 competitors reduced to just eight for tomorrow’s final table – which will be broadcast on PokerStars.tv on a one-hour delay with hole cards shown – as the €825,000 top prize is awarded to the eventual champion.
Poker fans should also note that the broadcast will be available in several languages, including English, Spanish, Russian, Italian and, of course, German.
EPT Berlin Main Event Day 3 – Top 10 Placings
1. Marc Wright (UK) – 2,400,000
2. Thomas Cibak (Czech Republic) – 2,311,000
3. Andrew Chen (Canada) – 1,827,000
4. Florian Dohnert (Germany) – 1,270,000
5. Jordi Riba Corrons (Spain) – 1,265,000
6. Andreas Vlachos (Greece) – 1,140,000
7. Bahadir Kilickeser (Germany) – 1,114,000
8. Pratyush Buddiga (USA) – 1,110,000
9. Cesar Garcia Domínguez (Spain) – 1,099,000
10. Vladimir Geshkenbein (Russia) – 1,053,000