The penultimate day of action in the European Poker Tour Barcelona €5,300 Main Event at Casino Barcelona resumed on Day 5 with 25 players across three tables. The plan was to play down to an official final table of eight before the close of play and that goal was reached just after 1 a.m. in the morning.
Hossein Ensan from Germany will be the man to beat, as he had gathered 10,300,000 chips to put him in pole position. Just behind him in second position is American Samuel Phillips with 9,035,000, and then Ji Zhang, another German player, lies in third with 6,480,000.
In contrast to with the hectic bust outs of on Day 4, there was more of a steady stream of exits as play got down to two tables by the middle of Level 26, at which stage online qualifier Bram Haenraets from Holland, playing in reportedly his first live tournament, was top of the pile.
Just before the dinner break It was Phillips who topped the leader when he three-bet an unusually large open from Zhang and called a shove holding the . If Phillips won that he would have had a huge lead over the rest of the field. Zhang showed him the though and held to take the lead himself. That was the second time Zhang had aces and got full value.
At that time, Ensan was in second and Dominik Panka was in third place thanks, in large part, to cracking Mikkel Nielsen’s , turning a flush with the , and then beating Gerald Karlic’s with the by hitting the on the river. Panka’s luck would eventually ran out when he three-bet shoved with the and got called by Andrey Shatilov holding the , meaning Panka exited in 11th place for €77,600.
Once they reached the unofficial final table of nine there were a series of improbable double ups. First, short stack Haenraets doubled up when he three-bet shoved eight big blinds with the and beat Slaven Popov’s on a final board of . It was then short stack Popov who beat Shatilov’s with the , spiking the ace on the flop.
As the blinds climbed steadily, flops were few and far between as it became a series of preflop shoves or uncontested raises. Finally, it fell to qualifier Haenraets to be the official final-table bubble boy. He jammed the over an open from Ensan who had the and the fairytale for the qualifier ended with a consolation prize of €92,800.
It was a thoroughly entertaining day of poker filled with remarkable comebacks, tenacity, and stoicism. First place is within the grasp of any of the final eight and they will have trouble sleeping knowing they are so close to claiming the enormous first prize of €1,261,000 and the glory of being crowned EPT Barcelona champion.
Play resumes at 1 p.m., but coverage will be brought to you one hour later as the final table is on a delayed stream with hole cards so you can see exactly what strategy each player is employing.
Join the PokerNews Live Reporting team as we bring you all the excitement and drama that only poker can deliver on the road to crowning the first EPT champion of the season.