EPT Deauville, Day Four: Tough Day For Leaders As Field Down To 23 Players

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It was not a good Thursday to be one of the leaders of the European Poker Tour stop in Deauville, France, as those at the top of the pack at the start of play yesterday found themselves outside looking in for today’s action.

The 51 players who came back to action at the Casino Barriere yesterday were headed by Shahaf Hadaya and his 1.237 million in chips. Matthieu Herve was the only other player over the million chip mark, but lurking closely were two British pros, Samuel Grafton and James Mitchell. By the end of the quick Thursday action, however, only two of those men would make it through.

The quick drop down the leaderboard was accentuated by the demise of Hadaya. After about an hour of play into Day Four, Hadaya challenged Enrico Rudelitz on a 2♣ Q 10♣ flop, putting out a 214K bet. Rudelitz responded with an all-in move and a confident Hadaya made the call. He had reason to be confident; his pocket Kings had an edge on Rudelitz’ A♣ Q♣, but Rudelitz had a host of draws that were available. The turn was all Rudelitz needed as the Q hit the felt, giving Rudelitz leading trips over Hadaya’s Kings up. To add insult to injury, the river 6♣ improved Rudelitz even further to the nut flush to take the 1.5 million pot and push Hadaya down to less than 500K in chips.

Hadaya would fight back a bit from that devastating beat, actually getting his chip stack up over the $750K mark, before suffering a bit of a “Groundhog Day” moment. With a J-2-Q on the board, Gordon Huntly pushed his remaining stack of around 350K into the center. Hadaya nearly beat him into the pot and tabled his pocket Kings once again. This time, Huntly had the cooler…pocket Aces. As the turn and river blanked, Huntly scooped up the chips while Hadaya sunk to only 225K.

Mercifully, the end would come for Hadaya soon after that. He would get his chips to the center with A♠ J♠, only to see Yury Gulyy come along with his A Q. A Queen on the flop was nice, but the two spades there gave Gulyy a bit of concern. The turn King would give Hadaya even more outs to a straight draw, but the nine on the river ended the day for the start of day chip leader and gives a perfect example of “easy come, easy go.”

The other gentleman to have a difficult day was Grafton. His stack had dropped down to “only” 683K in chips with 29 players remaining and he would make a slight comeback before disaster. On a 9-7-5 flop, Grafton went to battle against Glen Cymbaluk, with both men committing 88K in chips to the pot. An Ace on the turn brought another bet from Grafton, this time for 117K, and Cymbaluk quickly made the call. On the three river, Cymbaluk check-called another bet from Grafton and, as the Englishman showed pocket sevens for a flopped set, shot his cards to the muck.

That hand would push Grafton up to 1.4 million in chips, but they would be gone as the night ended. Entering the final hand of the night, Grafton had been reduced to only 246K in chips, which he pushed to the center battling Cymbaluk once again. This time, however, Cymbaluk had the edge with his A-9 off suit over Grafton’s K-6. A six would come on the flop to temporarily give Grafton the edge, but the Ace on the turn switched the fortunes back to Cymbaluk. The nine on the river simply added to Cymbaluk’s edge, knocking off Grafton in 24th place.

When the players come back today to determine the final table for Saturday’s play, the Top Ten will line up as such:

1. Cyril Andre, 2.108 million
2. Remi Castaignon, 1.997 million
3. Hugo Pingray, 1.864 million
4. Aurelien Guiglini, 1.671 million
5. Matthieu Herve, 1.194 million
6. Glen Cymbaluk, 1.1 million
7. Enrico Rudelitz, 1.1 million
8. Gordon Huntly, 1.015 million
9. Eilert Eilertsen, 1.0 million
10. James Mitchell, 990,000

The French are dominating the top of the leaderboard as the first five places are all from that country. There are two Brits (Huntly and Mitchell) and one player each from Canada, Germany and Norway.

Play today will continue until the final table is determined at the Casino Barriere in Deauville. It is looking as though someone will have their biggest payday of their poker career come tomorrow, with that player taking home the €770,000 for being the EPT Deauville champion.

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