EPT Deauville Day 5: Sotirios Koutoupas Remains in Lead at Final Table, Eugene Katchalov Lurking

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It was a quick Day 5 in Deauville, France as the European Poker Tour determined its final table on Friday. Heading into tomorrow’s action, Sotirios Koutoupas holds the lead for a second consecutive day while Eugene Katchalov looks to make poker history.

Sixteen men stepped to the felt on Friday afternoon in Deauville and, almost from the start, Koutoupas asserted his dominance on the proceedings. After the short stack of Bahram Chobineh was eliminated by Chun Ho Law in sixteenth place, Koutoupas jumped over the three million chip threshold in knocking out Jean-Yves Malherbe. Holding pocket Queens, Koutoupas only had to fade a slight sweat against Malherbe’s A-Q when the flop and turn came up 9-8-K-10. When the river brought a second eight, Koutoupas was good as Malherbe headed for the exit.

Katchalov, at the start at least, headed in the opposite direction. Katchalov would open the betting on an early hand only to see JP Kelly three bet the action. Katchalov made the call and the twosome went to a 3-5-8 flop. Katchalov would check-call another bet out of Kelly and, after an Ace fell on the turn, did the same on another Kelly bet. A King on the river slowed both players down with the approximately 800K pot and, after Katchalov showed pocket nines, Kelly would show an A-10 to take the big pot down. Kelly would move over the 2.5 million chip mark while Katchalov dropped to under 850K.

That was the last misstep for Katchalov as, on the next hand, he got a few of those chips back from Kelly. What pushed Katchalov back into contention, though, was his huge clash against Tatu Maenpaa. The duo would bet back and forth, with Katchalov eventually getting all his chips to the center as the leader with his pocket Kings against Maenpaa’s Big Slick. A trio of ladies came on the flop, Q-Q-Q, which actually improved Maenpaa’s outs to four rather than three. A deuce on the turn and a river nine were no help and, as Maenpaa left in fourteenth place, Katchalov had reestablished his stack over 2.2 million.

While this was occurring, Koutoupas continued to steamroll his table. He chopped almost 400K in chips out of Dimitri Holdeew’s stack to jump over the four million mark before he knocked out Holdeew to extend his lead. Once Kelly was dispatched by Eli Heath in tenth place, the final nine convened with Koutoupas sitting on nearly a two million chip lead.

The final table bubble lasted all of 45 minutes and it was Koutoupas who brought the festivities for Friday to an end. After opening the betting, Koutoupas saw Harry Law make a call. The action wasn’t over yet, however, as Florian Ribouchon decided to take a stand with his 620K chip stack. Koutoupas didn’t even blink in making the call (considering his stack size) and, after some deliberation, Law reluctantly laid his hand down.

As it turned out, Koutoupas had yet again made the right decision. His pocket eights were a huge favorite over Ribouchon’s pocket sixes and the 7-A-K flop didn’t change anything. A ten on the turn left Ribouchon drawing to the two remaining sixes in the deck, which didn’t come as another Ace hit the baize. With Ribouchon leaving in ninth place (for a nice payday of €50,530), the final table was set with a dominant Koutoupas solidly in the lead:

1. Sotirios Koutoupas, 6.4 million
2. Eugene Katchalov, 3.28 million
3. Harry Law, 3.13 million
4. Eli Heath, 2.475 million
5. Oliver Price, 1.735 million
6. Anthony Lerust, 1.295 million
7. Rustem Muratov, 1.07 million
8. Carlo de Benedittis, 685,000

Stopping the irresistible force that has been Koutoupas is going to be tough, but Katchalov has incentive to do so. With a WPT championship and a WSOP bracelet under his belt, Katchalov is looking to join the exclusive “Triple Crown” of poker champions. Only Gavin Griffin, Roland de Wolfe, Jake Cody, Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier and Davidi Kitai have accomplished that feat, with Kitai finishing his Triple Crown run just last year.

If France is looking for another countryman to take home the EPT Deauville title (France’s Remi Castaignon won in 2013), it will rest on the shoulders of Lerust. Great Britain has three competitors at the final table (Law, Heath and Price), while Greece, the Ukraine (Katchalov was born there but now calls the United States home), Russia and Italy claim the final slots.

The final table of the EPT Deauville will kick off at 1PM local time (7AM Eastern Time) and PokerStars.tv will be broadcasting the final table live on a one-hour delay. The eventual champion of the latest stop for Season Ten on the EPT will pocket €614,000.

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