In a stunning turn of events, both Day Five chip leader Chris McClung and Mike McDonald have been eliminated from the latest tournament stop for the European Poker Tour in San Remo, Italy.
With 24 players left, Chris had come into Wednesday’s action with a sizeable chip advantage. Holding 3.148 million in chips, Chris’ closest competitor was Australia’s Daniel Neilson, who “only” had slightly more than two million chips in front of him. It was already going to be a tough day for Mike, as he was the second shortest stack in the Casino San Remo with 292,000 in chips that beat only Eli Bohbot.
Mike was able to bolster his stack by eliminating the reigning World Series of Poker Europe champion Elio Fox. With his short stack, he pushed all in and, after Fox asked for a count, Elio put his chips to the center also. Mike was slightly behind with his suited K-Q of clubs against the pocket Jacks of Fox and the flop and turn did nothing to change that. The river, however, slapped the felt with a Queen that allowed “Timex” to trump Fox’s Jacks and take the hand. Once the congratulatory handshakes were completed, Mike had moved up to 703K in chips and Elio Fox was out in 23rd place.
Chris would take the next blood with a double elimination to add to his largess. Joni Mattila and Bohbot put their chips at risk, with Mattila holding K-Q of hearts and Bohbot the A-10 of diamonds against Chris’ pocket nines. A King on the flop gave Mattila the lead and the turn made his hand even better with a second King. Once again, the river proved to be the undoing of players as it came with a nine, vaulting Chris’ two pair into a boat and eliminating Bohbot (21st) and Mattila (20th) from the proceedings.
After these fine starts, the wheels would come off for our Canadian duo, however. After a raise by Yorane Kerignard and a reraise from Barny Boatman, “Timex” dropped the remainder of his chips in the pot. Kerignard folded to the move, but Boatman quickly made the call and tabled his pocket Kings against Mike’s pocket tens. Once the board came eight high, Mike McDonald was out of the tournament in eighteenth place (€19,000) and Boatman cracked the two million chip mark.
While that was a tough cooler for Mike to go out on, the fall was even more precipitous for Chris. Still maintaining the lead with sixteen players to go, Chris made a couple of plays that would put him down the leaderboard. First, he would double up Angelo Tarallo when Tarallo’s Big Slick outlasted Chris’ Dog Hand (K-9), then he would lose the lead in a hand with Kevin MacPhee.
MacPhee pushed his last 1.7 million into the pot and was called by Chris, who was on the short end of the odds with his A-Q against MacPhee’s A-K. The 10-J-3 flop made for an interesting start to the board, but blanks on the turn and river didn’t help Chris, who saw his chip stack plummet to 1.6 million following the battle. Within 45 minutes of this hand, Chris would be on his way out of the Casino San Remo.
First, Jan Bendik moved all in on a K-9-6 flop, which was called by Chris. Bendik held the edge with his A-K against Chris’ K-Q and, once again, Chris could not catch a saving card on the turn or river. Down to 250,000 in chips after that hand, Chris would make a move by shoving his final chips in against Rocco Palumbo. It turned out to be an ill-timed move; Chris’ 6-3 off suit was dominated by Palumbo’s A-K and, once an Ace came on the river, Chris McClung had fallen from the poker heavens to earth in fourteenth place (€27,000).
At this moment, there are twelve players remaining in the tournament, with Neilson adding to his start-of-day second place stack to move into first with 4.22 million. The remainder of the leaderboard looks like this:
1. Daniel Neilson (Australia), 4.22 million
2. Kevin MacPhee (United States), 3.275 million
3. Jan Bendik (Slovakia), 2.935 million
4. Johnny Lodden (Norway), 2.845 million
5. Andrey Pateychuk (Russia), 2.325 million
6. Barny Boatman (United Kingdom), 2.285 million
7. Dimitar Danchev (Bulgaria), 2.035 million
8. Angelo Tarallo (Italy), 1.42 million
9. Rocco Palumbo (Italy), 1.22 million
10. Yorane Kerignard (France), 1.045 million
11. Patrick Gastaldi (France), 840,000
12. Alessi Isaia (Italy), 705,000
With only twelve players remaining, it may be a quick day of work for the remaining players to get down to the EPT eight handed final table. There is a chance at history in this event, as MacPhee is looking to become the first ever two-time EPT champion. There is a good payday for whoever wins the tournament (€800,000) but, after a day that began with high hopes for two of Canada’s sons, the end has come in this event.