€4,900 Main Event

Raul Mestre Leads as 39 Players Advance from Day 3; Three Former EPT Champs Remain

• Taso 19: 4,000-8,000, 1,000 ante
Raul Mestre

On Thursday, the remaining 115 players from a 556-player field returned to the Casino Sanremo nestled on the Italian Riviera for Day 3 of the 2014 PokerStars.it European Poker Tour Sanremo Main Event. After five 90-minute levels of play, the field was whittled down to the final 39 with Spain’s Raul Mestre and his stack of 885,000 leading the way.

Others who are in good position to make a run at the €476,100 first-place prize are Andrija Martic (885,000), Lukas Berglund (867,000), Jorma Nuutinen (852,000), and Olivier Busquet (806,000).

The money bubble loomed large at the start of the day as only 79 players would earn a piece of the €2,480,872 prize pool. That meant 36 players would leave empty handed, and they included Muhamet Perati, Pierluigi Giglio, Matteo Taddia, Team Online's Mickey Petersen, Fabio Sperling, Darie Vlad, Paul Berende, 2011 World Series of Poker Main Event champ Pius Heinz, former EPT Grand Final winner Nicolas Chouity, and Mark James.

James actually finished as the bubble boy in Level 16 (2,000/4,000/500) when Mitch Johnson opened under the gun with a min-raise. Action quickly folded to James, who was one of the shortest players still in the tournament. He shoved from the button for 30,500 total and both blinds quickly folded. Johnson made the call.

James: {A-Clubs}{Q-Hearts}
Johnson: {9-Diamonds}{9-Spades}

What started out as a fair fight would soon turn sour for James, as Johnson hit his set on the {K-Hearts}{9-Hearts}{4-Diamonds} flop. James needed runner-runner something but was left drawing dead when the {4-Hearts} appeared on the turn. The {J-Spades} was run out on the river and James exited the tournament empty handed in 80th place.

From there the in-the-money eliminations came fast and included Dmitry Ponomarev (78th - €8,434), Jan Sjavik (77th - €8,434), Team PokerStars Pro Victor Ramdin (73rd - €8,434), Roberto Romanello (64th - €9,180), Team PokerStars Pro Johnny Lodden (61st - €9,180), Day 1b chip leader [Removed:17] (57th - €9,180), Alex Lindop (51st - €10,170), Alex Bilokur (48th - €10,170), and Dominik Nitsche (46th - €10,170).

The two Team PokerStars Pros mentioned both had interesting journeys in the EPT10 Sanremo. Ramdin finished his starting flight with a mere 9,200 in chips, but returned on Day 2 to work it up. By the end of the night he’d grown short again, but that didn’t stop him from finding his way to the money today. Oppositely, Lodden has had chips to work with most of the tournament, but today just didn’t go his way.

Lodden’s demise came in Level 17 (2,500/5,000/500) when he got his chips all in preflop against Thomas Miller. They both had very similar stack sizes of about 70,000. Lodden held the {a-Diamonds}{q-Clubs} and was ahead of the {9-Hearts}{7-Hearts} of Miller.

The board ran out {6-Diamonds}{4-Spades}{10-Hearts}{8-Spades}{8-Clubs} with the turn delivering Miller a straight. Lodden was left with 10,000, but a comeback was not in store as the Team Pro fell a couple hands later.

While many fell, a select few were able to punch their ticket to Day 4 including Jeff Hakim (651,000), Jordan Westmorland (638,000), Shyam Srinivasan (590,000), Ariel Celestino (480,000), and Stephen Chidwick (429,000). Likewise, two Team PokerStars Pros are still in contention in Alex Kravchenko (390,000) and Vicky Coren (455,000). Coren is actually one of three former EPT champs looking to become the first two-time champ. The others being Dimitar Danchev (302,000) and Michael Tureniec (213,000).

Day 4 action is set to kick off at Noon local time, which is also when the €10,000 High Roller will get underway. Of course the PokerNews Live Reporting Team will be on hand in Sanremo to bring you updates from both. Join us then, but while you wait be sure to check out this video where Vanessa Selbst and Sorel Mizzi will give you some advice on pot-limit Omaha:

Tagit: Raul Mestre