Four days are in the books for the 2023 European Poker Tour Paris Main Event and we’ve come down to crunch time. Only fifteen players remain in the field, including Day Three chip leader Konstantin Held and World Series of Poker bracelet winner Harry Lodge. They will be looking up at the chip leader Razvan Belea, however, who is the only player to crack the seven million chip plateau ahead of Saturday’s action.
Playing Down to Final Two Tables
Plans on Friday were for the final 47 players to play down to the final two tables for Saturday’s action. With everyone assured of a minimum €21,450, the mood was a bit lighter than on Thursday right after the money bubble popped. There were still some tensions, however, as the remaining players all eyed the million-plus Euro payday that would be handed to the champion on Sunday night.
Held was atop the standings at the start of the Friday festivities and he did nothing to damage his chances at the EPT Paris Main Event championship. One of four players over the two million chip mark, Held had to feel comfortable about his chances as he has been in control of his game throughout the tournament. He would take a back seat in the early going, though, as Belea exploded from the pack on the very first hand of the day.
Belea made it 45K to go and was looked up by Malo Latinois on the button. With a bet and a call in front of him, Karim Abdelmoumene felt rather good about his holdings and moved his more than half a million chips to the center of the felt. Belea quickly called that bet and, after Latinois got out of the way, the cards went to their backs:
Abdelmoumene: A-J off suit
Belea: pocket tens
The flop hit both players, coming down J-10-9, but Belea remained in the lead with his set of tens over Abdelmoumene’s top pair/top kicker. Looking for a runner-runner straight or some other magic to occur, Abdelmoumene instead saw a five come on the turn and the case ten come on the river. It “only took quads” to beat him, but Belea had eliminated Abdelmoumene with quad tens and rocketed over the 1.5 million mark in chips and into contention.
Held and Belea Continue to Rise
Both Held and Belea continued to be the driving forces on the tables as the numbers went down. They were able to watch such notables as WSOP bracelet winner Stefan Schillhabel, Teun Mulder, and the final two ladies in the tournament, Hala Karam and Giselle Baumann, all walk out of the Hyatt Regency Paris Etoile much earlier than they desired. As this was occurring, Held and Belea continued their attack on the remaining field.
Belea cracked the three million mark in chips in eliminating Guy Taylor from the tournament, his A-9 playing against Taylor’s A-6 on a Q-7-5-2-8 board. Held, however, wasn’t sitting on his laurels; he masterfully bluffed Mehdi Chaoui out of a pot when, on a 10-10-5-J-7 board, Chaoui couldn’t find a call of a million chip bet from Held. Held would continue to run roughshod over the pack, knocking out Ireland’s Daniel Wilson in a classic race (Held’s pocket eights versus Wilson’s A-K) to shatter the five million chip mirror.
Down to three tables, Held was still in command, but he could not hold off Belea. Belea would bust Manig Loeser from the field in eighteenth place, using pocket nines to do the job against Loeser’s A-8. That would put Belea over the seven million mark in chips and give him the stack to sit atop the standings with fifteen players left in the EPT Paris Main Event.
1. Razvan Belea (Romania), 7.285 million
2. Johan Schulz-Pedersen (Denmark), 6.62 million
3. Denzel Spekman (Netherlands), 5.44 million
4. Peter Jorgne (Sweden), 4.815 million
5. Henri Kasper (Estonia), 4.79 million
6. Konstantin Held (Germany), 2.64 million
7. Brian Delaney (United Kingdom), 2.355 million
8. Harry Lodge (United Kingdom), 2.325 million
9. Sven Stok (Netherlands), 2.1 million
10. Mathieu Di Meglio (France), two million
Action for Day Five has already resumed in France, looking to play down to the final six players who will determine the champion of the EPT Paris Main Event. You can check out the penultimate day of action on the PokerStars Twitch channel, which will carry the action complete with hole cards today and for Championship Sunday.
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