Three days of play are in the books – with the fourth currently in action – at the European Poker Tour stop at the Hilton Metropole Hotel in London, the United Kingdom, with a triumvirate of British players atop the leaderboard and two Canadians still alive in the event.
The tournament, a £5000 buy in event, has exceeded expectations as to its field size. After the two Day Ones were completed over the weekend, the final total on player numbers was 691 players; while it pales in comparison to the 848 that turned out last year, considering the current state of online poker in the United States, it is an impressive field. A prize pool of £3.35 million is up for grabs among the top 104 players, with £750,000 going to the eventual champion.
The money bubble burst yesterday in grand fashion, as Steve Warburton moved his stack to the center holding A-K. Unfortunately for Warburton, Kyle Cheong woke up with pocket Aces, eliminating Warburton on the money bubble. Once the hand was completed, the remaining 104 players would walk away from London with a minimum of £7500 in their pockets.
There were a few notable names that walked away on Monday after excellent performances. Making his first ever visit to an EPT tournament, the legendary Doyle Brunson was knocked out of the event in 77th place, good for a £9000 payout. Besting the two-time World Champion, however, was Canada’s Andrew Chen, who pulled the same £9K payday for his 65th place finish. Other notables dismissed from the tournament on Monday include Day One chip leader Lukasz Golczyk, American pro Jeff Sarwer, Germany’s Sebastian Ruthenberg and British pro Andrew Feldman.
Monday’s action finished with a trio of Brits atop the leaderboard. 2010 Irish Poker Open champion James Mitchell held the pole position as play resumed Tuesday afternoon (London time), holding the distinction of being the only player over the one million chip mark with his 1.071 million stack among the 62 remaining players. Countrymen Sam MacDonald (860K) and Martins Adeniya (786K) were in pursuit, with Day Two chip leader Benny Spindler (570K) and former EPT champion Roberto Romanello (293K) still in contention.
As Day Four play has transpired, the two remaining Canadians in the field have made surges up the leaderboard. Starting the day with 133,000 in chips, Christopher McClung made a move early on to bolster his stack. After calling Sebastian Blom’s hijack raise, Adeniya pushed in a three-bet from the big blind. Although Blom dropped his hand, McClung decided to make his stand for his remaining chips. Adeniya quickly folded and Christopher took the hand down.
McClung then made an impact on Jamie Rosen’s stack. After Christopher reraised Rosen, the duo got into a raising battle that found Christopher’s chips all in. He was in difficult shape with his A-Q versus Rosen’s Big Slick, but a Queen on the flop changed everything. Once the turn and river blanked, Christopher surged up to 555K in chips. He has see-sawed a bit since then, but Christopher continues on the upswing with 690,000 in chips, good for fifteenth place.
The other Canadian remaining in the field, Aadam Daya, has made a much more stunning recovery. Starting the day with 103,000 in chips (good for 55th place), Aadam has, without arousing much suspicion, over tripled his stack to 360K (although he just lost 235K from his stack). At the moment, that puts Aadam in 26th place among the 32 remaining players.
As the players head off to Level 21, PokerStars online qualifier Pascal Hartmann has accumulated 1.611 million in chips to move ahead of Spindler (1.31 million) and Mitchell (1.28 million). With 32 players remaining, it could be a short day as the plan is to play down to the final 24 players. The action continues on Wednesday as the tournament determines its traditional EPT eight handed final table. The champion of the event will be crowned on Thursday, with the winner walking off with the latest EPT championship and a £750,000 bankroll boost.