Mukul Pahuja Leads 19 Survivors Into Day 3 of the High Roller Event
The second tournament day of the PokerStars.com European Poker Tour Season 12 Malta €10,300 High Roller Event saw 99 hopefuls out of a 201-entry strong field return to the tables of the Casino Portomaso. Another nine players took advantage of the late registration and reentry period before the first card was dealt, which increased the field size to 210 entries in total, generating a prize pool of €2,037,000.
The top 31 spots were paid at least €17,930 when the money was reached, however due to a two-hour long bubble it was decided to only play nine full levels and finish for the night around 1 a.m. local time. Ultimately, only 19 players bagged up chips and Mukul Pahuja claimed the overnight lead with 1,488,000 chips.
Pahuja is followed by Vladimir Dobrovolskiy (1,389,000) and Byron Kaverman (1,147,000), while other notables such as Bryn Kenney (690,000), Martin Finger (506,000), Kevin MacPhee (332,000), Roberto Romanello (316,000), [Removed:17] (265,000), Dominik Nitsche (258,000) and David Peters (216,000) will be among the short stacks for the final day.
EPT11 player of the year Dzmitry Urbanovich registered before the start of Day 2 and hit the rail early on. The same applied for €10,000 Single-Day High Roller runner-up Ilari Sahamies and other familiar faces of the international poker circuit such as Marvin Rettenmaier, Benny Spindler, Davidi Kitai, PokerStars Team Pro Ivan Demidov, Team online's Isaac Haxton and Jason Wheeler. The American tournament grinder had final tabled both previous High Roller events of the festival on Maltese soil but his hot streak ended before the money.
Start-of-the-day chip leader and Spanish pro Adrian Mateos didn't cash either after losing a flip to Kenney. The endurance challenge on the bubble saw the stack of Brian Roberts reduced to less than one big blind before ultimately losing a flip to Romanello. Once in the money, half a dozen players including PokerStars Team Pro Jason Mercier, Dan Smith, Nick Petrangelo and Sylvain Loosli were eliminated in quick succession.
2014 World Series of Poker Main Event runner-up Felix Stephensen and PokerStars Team Pro Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier made the last three tables but hit the rail before the end of Level 19. The last casualty of the day was Vladimir Troyanovskiy after he got it in with a straight draw against Mikita Badziakouski only to see his opponent claim the pot with the higher straight draw. Meanwhile, Badziakouski lost a big pot to the aces of Pahuja to crown the latter as overnight chip leader.
Action resumes Saturday at 12.30 p.m. local time with level 20 at blinds 8,000-16,000 and a running ante of 2,000. The tournament will play down to a winner with redraws taking place at 16 and nine participants remaining. Everyone is already guaranteed €24,040 for their efforts while all eyes are set on the EPT High Roller trophy and first-place payout of €430,800. The PokerNews Live Reporting Team will be there to bring you all news from the tables, so make sure to tune in when the cards are back in the air.