EPT Deauville, Day Five: Remi Castaignon Seizes Dominant Lead For Final Table On Saturday

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The European Poker Tour stop in Deauville, France has reached its penultimate day, with local product Remi Castaignon seizing a huge chip lead for the final table action on Saturday.

The 23 players who returned to the felt on Friday, in a stark contrast to the Day Four action the previous day, decided to take their time in working their way down to the final eight players. Although Eric Sfez would head for the exits a few hands into yesterday’s action (at the hands of Castaignon), it would take over five hours before a mere six players were eliminated. Chip leader Cyril Andre was using the power of his stack to influence the game, forcing three other players out of a hand with a massive four-bet before showing a bluff with only a K-7.

Glen Cymbaluk continued on a nice run at the EPT Deauville in a fight against the U. K.’s James Mitchell. A mid-afternoon clash between the two created a million chip pot on a 4-Q-5-J-4 board, with Mitchell starting the river action with a bet of 125K and Cymbaluk pushing it up to 300K. Mitchell would make the call – and just as quickly muck his cards – when Cymbaluk turned up pocket Aces, raising Cymbaluk’s stack over 1.5 million and knocking Mitchell down to 825K.

Castaignon continued to move up the leaderboard, but he would also have his share of adversity as the sun set on the French countryside. After taking over the lead from Andre, Castaignon would double up Noel Gaens to drop under the three million chip mark, but would get those chips (and more) back in eliminating Hugo Pingray in 21st place in a pocket Aces/pocket Kings battle that saw Castaignon’s Kings catch on the turn.

By the time the tournament took a late break for dinner, there were only thirteen players remaining in the EPT Deauville Main Event. Castaignon continued to maintain his lead, but Enrico Rudelitz lurked only 700K chips back and Jean Pierre Petroli, Gaens and Andre completed the Top Five. One of the more impressive moves to that point in the Day Five play had come from Walid Bou Habib, who wasn’t even in the upper half of the leaderboard at the start of play but came back from the dinner break in the sixth place slot.

Habib would make the first elimination following the dinner hour, knocking out Pascal Aznar in 13th place in a classic pair (Jacks) versus Big Slick showdown. This seemed to accelerate the pace of play, with Gaens sending Mitchell away from the felt and Castaignon knocking off Andre soon afterwards. Castaignon had built his lead to nearly 2.5 million by this point, but it wouldn’t be the end of his aggression.

Still playing on two tables, Castaignon bullied his tablemates, four-betting the action at one point to push Petroli out of a pot to increase his lead. He then would knock off Petroli after Petroli pushed all in with only a J-9 against Castaignon’s K-Q. A 2-6-Q flop would further Castaignon’s lead, but the ten on the turn opened the door for Petroli to potentially double up. The river was paint, but it was a Jack, eliminating Petroli in tenth place.

With the unofficial final table determined and only one more elimination to go for the night, Castaignon kept his foot on the gas. He flopped Jacks up against Cymbaluk to move over the eight million chip mark, then would administer the coup de grace to Cymbaluk. After a Castaignon raise, Cymbaluk made his stand for over a million in chips. Castaignon, after some careful deliberation, made the call and tabled his A-7 against the pocket nines of Cymbaluk. A monochrome A 2 J put Castaignon in the lead, but the three diamonds gave Cymbaluk a chance at a redraw for the flush. A black six on the turn was no help, but the river was red. Unfortunately for Cymbaluk, it was the 6, ending his tournament in ninth place and setting up the final table for today.

1. Remi Castaignon, 9.9 million
2. Walid Bou Habib, 3.835 million
3. Enrico Rudelitz, 2.69 million
4. Noel Gaens, 1.72 million
5. Joseph El Khoury, 1.71 million
6. Robert Romeo, 1.44 million
7. Franck Kalfon, 1.195 million
8. Jeffrey Hakim, 895,000

The final table sets up with three countries having multiple players. Habib, Khoury and Hakim represent Lebanon, Gaens and Romeo carry the banner for Belgium and Castaignon and Kalfon look to keep the Deauville championship in its French home. Only Rudelitz, from Germany, doesn’t have a countryman to look across the felt at.

The championship should be determined by some point this afternoon (U. S. time), with the victor taking down the €770,000 first place prize.

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