63 players began action on Friday, with Sweden’s Nikolas Liakos leading the way. His 460K chip stack wouldn’t run over his table on Friday, however, as second place Lari Sihvo was sat not only at the same table but right next to each other. Beside this duel, several top pros were also a part of the mix at the beginning of the day, with Praz Bansi, Stefan Jedlicka, Sami Kelopuro, Roberto Romanello, Jani Sointula, Day 1A chip leader Maksim Kolosov and Fernando Brito all still in the hunt for the title.
With only 40 players being paid from the 282 player field, there would be some players who left Tallinn empty handed. Sointula and Oscar Lima, who were atop the leader board from Day 1B action, continued to battle each other through the early levels on Friday. Lima was able to get the remainder of his chips to the center against Sointula, with Lima holding pocket fours to lead against Sointula’s A-10 of spades. The flop brought an innocent J-8-5, but with the eight on the turn and the five on the river, Lima’s pair was counterfeited and Sointula surged to the chip lead.
After a lengthy heads up period, the money bubble finally burst with the elimination of Eric Friedmann. He called all in after Jedlicka pushed a big bet in from the button, only to see that he was in a race with his Big Slick against Jedlicka’s pocket Jacks. Once the board ran dry for Friedmann’s A-K, the final forty players were able to celebrate the fact that they would at least leave Estonia with €6500 in their pockets.
Over the next three hours, the players would continue to drop as the field was winnowed down. In total, sixteen players would depart the poker battlefield, with Irene Baroni the final casualty of the evening. After turning trip eights with her suited K-8 all in against Kjartan Jonsson’s pocket threes, Baroni would unfortunately see a fourth diamond come up on the river. One of the three’s in Jonsson’s hand was a diamond, trumping Baroni’s trips and sending her home in 25th place.
With Day Three complete, another Swedish player has come to the forefront. Ronny Kaiser used an aggressive style of play throughout the action on Friday and was able to grow his stack from around 270K in chips to a whopping 1.194 million, good for the chip lead. He is the only player over that mark, with Poland’s Grzegorz Cichocki currently his closest competitor with 867K in chips.
There is a considerable amount of danger for the two chip leaders as you check out the leaderboard. Sitting in third and fifth place, respectively, are two of Finland’s best players, Jani Sointula and Sami Kelopuro. Sointula rode his knockout of Lima to the third slot on the leaderboard with 640K in chips, while Kelopuro steadily rose up the ladder to land in the fifth place slot with 575K in chips.
There are two other dangerous pros in the mix, with Jeff Sarwer and Praz Bansi down at this moment on the leaderboard. These two are quite capable, however, of making the necessary moves to move up and challenge the leaders. The PokerStars online qualifiers are also making a respectable showing, with Michael Graydon, Stuart Fox and Oleg Epp carrying the banner for PokerStars’ online qualifier’s force.
The next two days will determine the first champion for the EPT’s eighth season. On Saturday, the players will work their way to the eight handed EPT final table, with the championship determined on Sunday. At stake for the players is the remainder of the €1.071 million prize pool, with the eventual champion taking home €275,000 for their efforts.