At the start of Day 4, only 56 players remained in the European Poker Tour Malta Main Event, but after five 90-minute levels of play, the field was cut down to the final 23. The man best positioned to make a run at the €810,400 first-place prize is Antonin Duda, who bagged up the chip lead with 3,476,000.
The 28-year-old poker pro hails from the Czech town Jablonec and Nisou. To date, his biggest cash was €125,950 for a seventh-place finish in the EPT Barcelona Main Event in Season 9. Duda, who qualified for EPT Malta on PokerStars, has had a decent March so far having won two major tournaments on Full Tilt for over $62,000 combined.
Duda vaulted to the chip lead thanks to the last hand of the night. It happened when Duda raised to 52,000 was called by Alexander Ivarsson in the cutoff seat and Sergio Aido in the small blind. The flop came and Duda continued for 105,000. Only Ivarsson called, and Duda slowed to a check on the turn. Ivarsson bet 130,000, Duda called, and the completed the board on the river.
Duda checked, Ivarsson quickly went all in for his last 500,000, and Duda flicked in one chip to call. Ivarsson opened the for a king-high bluff and was quickly out of his seat with a look of despair on his face. Duda opened the and raked in the pot that confirmed his status of overnight chip leader.
Others who've navigated the 895-player field to make it through to the penultimate day are 2014 WCOOP Main Event champ Fedor "CrownUpGuy" Holz (3,146,000), EPT London champ Robin Ylitalo (972,000), and 2014 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure winner and PokerStars-sponsored player Dominik Panka (391,000).
The plan for the day was to play down to the final 16 players, but action didn't allow for it. Still, plenty of players saw their hopes of becoming the first-ever EPT Malta champion come to an end including Steven Watts (€14,750), Mortiz Dietrich (46th - €14,750), Yann Dion (43rd - €14,750), JC Alvarado (38th - €17,100), and Liviu "0Human0" Ignat, who was the centre of a great name debate at the beginning of the day.
Another player to fall was Sam Chartier, who fell in the last level of the night when Mateusz Moolhuizen, who qualified via the very last EPT Malta Main Event satellite, opened for 55,000 under the gun and was met by a three-bet to 120,000 from Valentin Messina, who was to his direct left. Chartier then four-bet jammed for 358,000 from the hijack. Moolhuizen looked him up and Messina got out of the way.
It was a cooler of a hand, but Chartier was on the good end. The tables were turned when the flop delivered Moolhuizen a set, though Chartier at least picked up a flush draw. The turn was no help to Chartier, and neither was the river. With that, Chartier bowed out in 26th place while Moolhuizen chipped up to 1.2 million.
Others joining Moolhuizen on Day 5 are Hossein Ensan (2,639,000), Aido (1,187,000), and Jorma Nuutinen (870,000), just to name a few. Here's a look at the remaining players:
|1||3||Javier Gomez Zapatero||1,877,000|
|2||2||Rudolf Wilhelm Zintel||780,000|
|2||8||Dennis Kaj Smit||342,000|
Action will recommence at 12 p.m. local time on Friday, and the plan is to play down to the final six players. Of course the PokerNews Live Reporting Team will be there every step of the way. While you wait, check out this comprehensive video of the 14th Annual European Poker Awards: