Day 4 of the2016 PokerStars.com EPT Malta Main Event is on the books. Thirty players returned to Casino Portomaso; only 14 will return on Friday for Day 5. Mats Karlsson tops the leaderboard after winning multiple big pots off German superstar Ole Schemion during the final level of the day. With 2,033,000 in chips, he's in pole position for the €355,700 first prize, which will be handed out on Saturday.
Behind the Swede, Russian's Dmitry Yurasov (1,709,000) and PCA 2014 champion Dominik Panka (1,411,000) from Poland round out the top three. The top five also contains Belarusian Aliaksei Boika (1,1195,000) and Elie Saad (1,089,000) for Lebanon, making it an international affair. Start-of-the-day chipleader Tomas Macnamara sits in eight position with 943,000.
On his way to the chiplead, Karlsson clashed with Schemion on multiple occasions. In his first of several big confrontations with Schemion, Karlsson took down a big pot with ace-king where top two pair was good. After winning some more from the German, the two clashed for a fourth time near the end of the day. Karlsson bet ace-eight on a board that contained a king, a ten and an eight, and got a call from worse to win another pot.
Schemion, who entered the last level as chipleader, barely managed to survive the day. The German juggernaut has his work cut out for him, as he will return with just nine big blinds tomorrow.
The day started with several bust outs in quick succession. Walter Treccarichi was the first to go when he ran pocket tens into Karlsson's pocket queens. Dong Zhao also left the building after a hand with pocket tens; he couldn't crack Martin Nikolov's aces.
Ismael Bojang, Guillaume Valle and Usman Siddique busted before the end of the first level. Sarah Herzali did survive the first 90 minutes, but was left with only one big blind after losing ace-queen against Frederik Jensen's ace-king.
The last woman standing busted in 25th place just a few minutes into the second level of the day. The last hope for Maltese, Konrad Abela, followed her to the rail shortly after. Chi Zhang ended in 23rd place. He became the third man of the day to bust out of the tournament with pocket tens. Bastian Dohler had ace-queen and flopped a queen to send Zhang to the rail.
Davidi Kitai, one of the three former EPT champions left in the field, was the next one to bust. It was a brutal exit as Louis Cartarius rivered an ace with his ace-ten to beat Kitai's queens. Short-stacked Brian Altman busted a couple of hands later and Sergey Sergeev followed.
The action slowed down after that, as Armin Mette and Diaz were the only ones to bust in level 21. Meanwhile, PCA 2014 winner Panka fought himself back into contention for the title. He gained a lot of chips, while he was left with only four big blinds earlier in the day.
Panka became the last former EPT champion left in the field when Frederik Jensen busted in 17th place. The Dane's ace-seven fell short against Xixiang Luo's king-ten. Yury Gulyy had been a short stack since the bubble and saw his adventure come to an end in 16th place. Martin Nikolov was the last to leave the tournament on Day 4 and the fourth one to bust with pocket tens. Peter Ockenden had ace-queen and flopped an ace to send Nikolov to the rail.
The fourteen survivors will return tomorrow at 12 p.m. local time to play down to six players. The blinds will be 12,000/24,000 with an ante of 4,000. Follow all the action live on PokerNews.com throughout the day as we reach the final table of the EPT13 Malta Main Event.