It has been a record-breaking stay in the “City of Lights” for the European Poker Tour. The €5000 Main Event has become one of the biggest in the history of the circuit and the tournament has brought some new names to light and reignited the competitive spirit in some veterans. Day Three is now complete, with Greece’s Panagiotis Mavritsakis holding down the top slot on the leaderboard with Eric Afriat and Tom Middleton in pursuit.

Record Breaking Field for EPT Paris Main Event

Officials with the EPT might have anticipated a large turnout for the first EPT event of 2024, but did they see it being this big? A record-setting 1747 entries were received for the EPT Paris Main Event, through the two-Day Ones that started the tournament earlier this week. By the time Thursday had rolled around, only 222 players were left from that massive field, with Peter Jorgne and 2023 EPT Prague champion Padraig O’Neill (which was the final event before Paris) atop the standings.

Everyone was in the money when the cards hit the air on Thursday, but that did not prevent some players from doing the “double up or go home” dance. Some of those who came out on the “go home” side of the equation at the start included Rolando Carrera, Simon Wiciak, and Alexandre Reard. Some players made their charges from shorter stacks, including the man who would end up being the Day Three chip leader.

Mavritsakis earned his first sizable chunk of chips by check-raising a player, Sergi Reixach, who normally does not back down from a challenge. On an A-4-J-2-A board, Reixach tried to put an inkling of fear into Mavritsakis by letting his “shot clock” dwindle to nearly zero before firing a bet. Mavritsakis wasn’t fazed, however, instead firing in a massive check-raise that would have seen most of Reixach’s remaining chips hit the center if he called. Reixach instead immediately folded and Mavritsakis scooped up a nice pile of chips.

Mavritsakis would continue his charge up the leaderboard after this clash with Reixach. On a 7-4-9-A-7 board, Mavritsakis would end up putting all his chips on the line against Francisco Perez. Perez pondered his decision for the entirety of his shot clock, eventually letting it run out. Because he didn’t have any extension chips left at this time, Perez’s hand was declared dead and the pot went to Mavritsakis, who broke the two million chip mark in winning the hand.

Final Hand Clash Results in Bad Mojo

One of the last hands of the evening resulted in a player departing and some bad mojo that will extend into Day Four on Friday. On a 9-7-7 flop, Eric Sfez and Eric Afriat locked up with each other. The betting reached the point where Sfez had all his chips in the center, and the cards went to their backs:

Eric Sfez: A-A
Eric Afriat: 7-6

Afriat had miraculously flopped trips against Sfez’s rockets, which stood up as a five came on the turn and a Queen came on the river. Once the hand was complete, Afriat uttered that he had “smashed” Sfez, who took offense to the statement as he was ushered away from the table. After a discussion with the tournament director, it was determined that Afriat would start the day on Friday by sitting out the opening round of action in the tournament.

This will not devastate Afriat’s stack, as he has landed in second place to continue play on Friday, but it might allow for other players to catch up with him and challenge Mavritsakis:

1. Panagiotis Mavritsakis (Greece), 2.93 million
2. Eric Afriat (Canada), 2.3 million
3. Tom Middleton (United Kingdom), 2.19 million
4. Lorenzo Arduini (Italy), 2.05 million
5. Mathias Siljander (Finland), 1.75 million
6. David Kaufmann (Germany), 1.645 million
7. Sindre Hansen (Norway), 1.59 million
8. Hans Erlandsson (Sweden), 1.55 million
9. Peter Jorgne (Sweden), 1.475 million
10. Florian Duta (Romania), 1.305 million

Play resumes tomorrow at noon at Le Palais des Congres in Paris, with the EPT Live Stream picking up a half hour afterward. The players will play through six more levels of the tournament, which could also be shortened should the 57 players have a bit of gamble to them. The final table is scheduled for Sunday, where the eventual champion will take home the monstrous €1,287,800 first-place check and be crowned the latest champion on the European Poker Tour.

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