Day Four play at the EPT San Remo in Italy has concluded for the day, with the final 24 players led by Canada’s Chris McClung.
McClung didn’t just come by the lead through today’s action, although that did help tremendously. Play wrapped up on Monday with 64 players remaining and Chris was at the head of the field following Day Three’s action. In fact, with his 1.2 million in chips, Chris was the only player over the one million chip mark at the start of action on Tuesday. He would face some serious challenges from down the leaderboard, however.
2010 World Series of Poker November Niner Joseph “subiime” Cheong was in the mix at the start of the day holding 833,000 in chips, good enough for fourth place. Team PokerStars Pro was represented by Norway’s Johnny Lodden (793K), Holland’s Lex Veldhuis (687K), the United States’ Vanessa Selbst (400K) and the United Kingdom’s John Duthie (319K), while Canada had a second representative among the 64 final players in Mike “Timex” McDonald (648K). By the end of action this evening in San Remo, a few of these challengers would find the door.
Chris would double up Johan Christopher Williamsson to start the day, but that would prove to be about the only hiccup along the way. He was at a highly difficult table alongside Lodden, Veldhuis, Duthie and David Bach, but it didn’t seem to slow Chris down. Lodden also seemed to like the table draw as he would crack the million chip mark early on Tuesday afternoon.
McClung knocked out Bach to extend his lead, although the outcome could have been much different. After Bach raised all in, John Duthie pushed it up to 125K only to see Chris kick in his own all in bet. Duthie deduced that he was behind pre-flop and, while showing his pocket sevens, said to the dealer, “Don’t put a seven up there.” Chris was in the lead with his pocket Kings against Bach’s A-10 and, as Duthie had thought, the J-7-2 flop brought the seven that would have given him the hand. After blanks on the turn and river, Chris climbed even closer to the two million mark.
“Timex,” for his part, stayed back in the shadows through Tuesday’s play, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t add any chips. He busted Aleksandar Kostadinovic when his K-2 of diamonds turned a flush against the Serbian’s A-10, moving up to 750K in chips. He dropped back a bit from that as the evening in Italy wore on, but he will be part of the action on Wednesday.
Chris kept the pedal down throughout the day, knocking out Cheong in stunning fashion. With both players holding over one million in chips, McClung put Cheong to the test by attempting to bully him with the big stack all in move. Cheong made the call, showing pocket Kings to catch Chris with his hand in the cookie jar with a Q-7 of hearts. Dramatically, the flop came with two hearts and then turned with the King of hearts to provide even more drama. When the river failed to hit any of the board cards, Chris McClung had eliminated Joseph Cheong in brutal fashion.
At this point, Chris held 3.65 million of the slightly more than 25 million chips in play. He would ride that stack to hold the chip lead for a second consecutive day as play concluded for the night with the elimination of Denys Drobyna in 25th place.
1. Chris McClung (Canada), 3.148 million
2. Alessio Isaia (Italy), 2.24 million
3. Daniel Neilson (Australia), 1.43 million
4. Mustapha Kanit (Italy), 1.33 million
5. Jan Bendik (Slovakia), 1.3 million
6. Johnny Lodden (Norway), 1.227 million
7. Barny Boatman (United Kingdom), 1.22 million
8. Dimitar Danchev (Bulgaria), 1.125 million
9. Kevin MacPhee (United States), 1.02 million
10. Angelo Tarallo (Italy), 890,000
Mike McDonald will have his work cut out for him on Wednesday as he holds 608,000 in chips, but he is better off than several other Day Four contenders. Along with Cheong, Vanessa Selbst and John Duthie were also eliminated.
Tomorrow is the big day when the eight handed final table will be determined. Can Chris McClurg continue his surge and become the next Canadian EPT champion?