The European Poker Tour Madrid Main Event has seen its 477 entrants whittled down to just 24 players and they will return to their seats inside the Gran Casino Madrid at 12:00 CET for the penultimate day's play. By the time the curtain comes down on another day of intense and high quality poker action only the eight-handed final table members will remain.
The man who is in pole position going into Day 4 is Brazilian pro Joao Paulo Simao who will start his day by unbagging then having to stack up 1,973,000 chips, 820,000 more than his nearest rival. Simao is not a regular on the EPT circuit but after this performance he may just be, especially as it seems Lady Luck has taken a shine to him. He was already in a relatively healthy position as Day 3 was drawing to a close but he won a gigantic pot right at the death that saw him climb to the top of the chip counts and left two shell shocked players heading for the rail.
The blinds were 6,000/12,000/1,000a and from the UTG+1 seat Andries Swart opened to 26,000. In the very next seat was Konstantinos Nanos and he looked down at 7c-7s and took several minutes before deciding his best move was to move all in for 270,000. The action then rather unsurprisingly folded around to Simao in the big blind and after discover he had been dealt As-Kh moved all in, covering both players. Amazingly Swart made the call for his tournament life and showed Qd-Qh! The dealer put out the 10d-9s-4c flop as a crowd gathered around the perimeter of the table. The audience swelled as the 2d landed on the turn and everyone was left open-mouthed as the Kc made an appearance on the river to bust out both Swart and Nanos and to boost Simao's stack close to 2,000,000 chips!
Simao's closest opponent, in terms of chips, is Ilan Boujenah. The Israeli has some impressive results to his name including a third place finish in the 2010 WPT Amneville Main Event and more recently a fourth place finish in the Partouche Poker Tour Main Event, that last result netting him a career-best €300,000. Boujenah starts the day with 1,153,000 chips.
Also past the 1,000,000 barrier is Bruno “Kool Shen” Lopes with a stack of 1,103,000. Lopes is better known in some circles as “Kool Shen” a French rapper with Portuguese origins who is also a break dancer and graffiti artist; we kid you not. When he's not busting some moves he is actually a talented poker player who has over $380,000 in live tournament winnings, helped in part by him winnings the €5,000 No Limit Hold'em Diamond Championships in January for €100,000.
Other notables still left in the field include Mike “Timex” McDonald with 883,000 chips, the young Canadian looking to become the first-ever double EPT champion having won EPT Dortmund back in 2007, the online tournament specialist Taylor “ambiguosity” Paur (734,000), Nicolas Levi (526,000) and two Brits in the shape of Fraser Macintyre (717,000) and Ben Spraggons (245,000).
Play resumes at 12:00 CET and will continue until the eight-handed final table has been reached. At present each player has locked up at least €13,000 for their efforts so far but by the time play comes to an end later today, or perhaps in the early hours of tomorrow, they will each be guaranteed €48,000 and be one step closer to the €545,000 first place prize.
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