The action in Paris has been brisk, so much so that Day Three for the European Poker Tour’s stop in the City of Lights has been completed. The massive field was in the money for the start of Day Three, with each of the 174 players left receiving a piece of the €7.7 million-plus prize pool. After the Day Three festivities, Germany’s Konstantin Held holds the lead with his 2.935 million in chips, but three other players are joining Held over the two million mark.

We’re In the Money!

It was a rather relaxed Day Three for some players as they were coming back safe in the knowledge they were going to receive some cash. The minimum payout for the EPT Paris was more than double the €5000 buy-in (€10,650, to be precise), but some players had their eyes on the €1,170,000 top prize. In particular, Ukraine’s Rostyslav Sabishchenko had the best sight of the top prize but, with only 900K in chips, there was still a great deal of work to do.

As typical, once the money bubble pops there was a flurry of bust outs to start the Day Three action. Sam Greenwood, Day 1A chip leader Omar Gonzales, Matas Cimbolas, and Orpen Kisacikoglu were all out the doors within the first hours of action. But there were some stunning moments amongst the day’s action.

One particular hand was very interesting and it would eliminate the start of day chi8p leader Sabishchenko. After Ercan Atmaca shoved in his remaining 100K in chips, Sabishchenko went over the top of Atmaca with about 175K chips to his name (yes, the Ukrainian had bled off some chips). This woke up Andreas Klatt in the big blind, who made the call and the cards went to their backs:

Atmaca: Q J
Sabishchenko: pocket Kings
Klatt: A K

Seeing one of his Kings in Klatt’s pocket wasn’t a good thing for Sabishchenko and it would get worse. The 6-9-A flop brought no diamonds but paired Klatt. At this point in the hand, Klatt was a monstrous statistical favorite at 92%. Sabishchenko could still hit the case King to pull out the hand, but both he (3.99%) and Atmaca (3.88%) were massive underdogs in the hand.

As they say, that’s why they play the game. A Q came on the turn to improve Atmaca’s chances to nearly 12%, but he was still a huge underdog. When the Q♠ finished off the board, Atmaca had hit the unlikely trip Queens and tripled up, while Klatt took the side pot. Sabishchenko, instead of having dreams of an EPT title dancing through his head, picked up his pay slip and headed for the cage, eliminated from the tournament.

Held Charges After Dinner Break

For the most part, Held was quiet through the early action on Day Three at the EPT Paris. After dinner, however, the German began his charge. His first assault was on a board of 2-2-7-2-4 when he showed down a Q-4 for a rivered boat against Saar Wilf to scoop up a 325K pot.

The big hand of the day for Held was when he eliminated Pedro Pereira Fonseca from the tournament. After a flop of 8-J-7, Held would check-raise Fonseca to 175K, sending Fonseca scrambling to his Time Bank chips. After some thought, Fonseca stated “call,” but Held thought he had moved all in and casually flipped a chip to the center, indicating the call of the all-in.

This caused a major issue on the felt. The dealer allowed Held to pull back the chip, as Fonseca had only called Held’s bet, but on a Queen turn, Held went ahead with his all-in action. Fonseca would burn through his remaining Time Bank chips before ruefully making the call. Held turned up pocket sevens for the flopped set, but Fonseca still had a chance with his Q-J (flopped top pair, turned two pair). Alas, the ten on the river didn’t help him and Held shot over the two million mark in chips while Fonseca took the long walk.

Held would ride that stack through the remainder of the evening and will rest well tonight knowing he is in the driver’s seat for the EPT Paris Main Event:

1. Konstantin Held (Germany), 2.935 million
2. Fabrice Bigot (France), 2.235 million
3. Brian Delaney (United Kingdom), 2.18 million
4. Denzel Spekman (Netherlands), 2.075 million
5. Niklas Astedt (Sweden), 1.795 million
6. Harry Lodge (United Kingdom), 1.775 million
7. Manig Loeser (Germany), 1.67 million
8. Miroslav Alilovic (France), 1.61 million
9. Daniel Wilson (Ireland), 1.55 million
(tie) Arthur Conan (France)

47 players are remaining in the EPT Paris, including such notables as Kenny Hallaert, but Wilf and Teun Mulder both have a difficult climb from their short stacks.

The pace of play might slow over the next couple of days, but there will still be some intensity to the battles. Championship Day is scheduled for February 26 (Sunday), but with only 47 players left EPT officials might have to make a couple of adjustments. Either way, by the end of this weekend we will have a champion for the inaugural stop by the European Poker Tour in Paris.

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