It was the penultimate day of the World Series of Poker Europe €10,400 Main Event, deep in the heart of the Hotel Majestic Barriere. The day started with 25 players and needed to establish the eight stars for the final table. It started slow, but ended in a jet-powered haze of madness in a flurry of hands in Level 24.
Tony G (24th), Erik Seidel (21st), John Eames (20th) and John Duthie (18th) were a group of stars who faded in the early part of the day and once 16 players remained, the tournament moved locations. Majestic Room #3 is a place any poker player in the world would want to play. The main feature table where the final will be played looks like it has been lifted from a James Bond movie -- a simply stunning setting.
Two tables of eight were set up and the players went about their business, clashing with one another like battering rams. After a series of short-stack double ups, the first elimination occurred. Brian Roberts ended the hopes of Michael Drummond in 16th place. Drummond moved all in on the river with the board reading holding the . Roberts picked him off with the for top two pair to end his tournament.
Amir Lehavot, Steven Moreau and Andrew Moseley followed Drummond out of the competition and then a 20-minute break came about before an insane 15-minute spell of action was experienced on both tables.
First, Thibaud Guenegou was all in preflop with the against Elio Fox's . After a board of fell, Guenegou headed out the door in 12th place.
Then, Fox, Alex Dovzhenko and Arnaud Mattern were all in preflop in a pot worth three million chips.
"I have them," said Mattern, and we all knew what that meant. When the cards were turned, Mattern had aces. Fox had pocket tens and Dovzhenko had ace-king. The flop was to give Fox took an unlikely lead. It stayed that way after the turn and river to ship Fox's two opponents out the door.
With his finish in 10th place, Mattern earned his best-ever run in the WSOP Europe Main Event. In a feat that shouldn't go unnoticed, Mattern has cashed three years in a row in this elite event. In 2009, Mattern came 23rd for £25,918. In 2010, he placed 12th for £54,114. Clearly, the WSOP Europe Main Event is the French pro's home playoff game.
Meanwhile, over at the feature table someone else was about to get lucky. Moorman four-bet his entire stack (940,000) in reaction to a Patrik Antonius three-bet. Antonius called and Moorman saw the bad news as he was dominated. Moorman showed the and Antonius the . The flop was , but then an on the turn created a split pot. At this point, Antonius looked visibly annoyed, but that was nothing compared to his face when the hit the river to hand Moorman a miracle and put Antonius on life support. That beat left Antonius with 80,000 in chips and Moorman put him out of his misery a few hands later to set the final table.
The final table will commence at 13:45 (CET) Thursday so make sure you join us at Pokernews for all of the action.