With Jorma Nuutinen’s departure from the stage, at speed and in pain, play in the Main Event came to a swift end this afternoon. The Finn had been crippled with jacks against Emmanuel Pariset’s shove with pocket aces, a hand that left the former with just four big blinds. He found an ace on the next hand and got his chips in. Looking at 100,000 more to call Victoria Coren-Mitchell did so with six-four. Nuutinen looked on, apparently safe until the river brought a six, ending his title hopes and the day’s play. It had all been completed in less than four and a half hours.
From the 16 players who started play today purists might have had eight in mind who they’d like to have seen reach the final table. Each would have been considered part of that breed of player interested only in winning titles. They approach the game accordingly but sometimes depart in the process, a cold hard truth that would sum up Day 5 of the EPT Sanremo Main Event.
In the theatre at Casino Sanremo
This is without wishing to appear uncharitable. Each finalist earned their place at the final the hard way, and will make events tomorrow worth tuning in for from the very start, led as they are by Jordan “JWPRODIGY” Westmorland.
Travelling well: chip leader Jordan Westmorland
Westmorland bucked the trend today, arriving as chip leader and departing in the same position. A Black Friday refugee, Westmorland, who we featured earlier this week, has put together a string of results in Asia and Australia (which he now calls home). This though is his first foray into the European poker scene. So far it’s proving an excellent decision. He’ll return as the favourite tomorrow with 3,330,000 chips.
The line-up will look like this:
Seat 1. Jordan Westmorland (United States), 3,330,000
Seat 2. Giacomo Fundaro (Italy), 3,100,000
Seat 3. Emmanuel Pariset (France), 1,940,000
Seat 4. Bruno Stefanelli (Italy), 1,335,000
Seat 5. Andreas Goeller (Italy), 2,320,000
Seat 6. Andrea Benelli (Italy), 2,085,000
Seat 7. Victoria Coren-Mitchell (United Kingdom) Team PokerStars Pro, 910,000
Seat 8. Andrija Martic (Croatia), 1,660,000
The other name that stands out from the line-up is Coren-Mitchell, who is on the brink of a historic second EPT title. That Coren-Mitchell reached the final was down to her flair with the short stack for much of today, as her Twitter followers will be all too aware.
Will there be a historic double for Coren-Mitchell?
Coren-Mitchell began the day with 22 big blinds and for the first few hours was left looking for the right moment to act. None became obvious, but she marshalled what she had left well. Then Lukas Berglund moved all-in.
For his part Berglund was enduring a difficult end to his tournament. For so long one of the chip leaders, the Swede, who we profiled this week, proved to be an immaculate player, both at the table and in appearance. But as his stack got shorter he was left with few options, eventually shoving with queen-nine. Coren-Mitchell saw her chance and called with ace-five, dismissing Berglund in 11th place while turning her own fortunes around.
Lukas Berglund went close
While Coren-Mitchell turned a difficult day around, others were not so fortunate.
Vincenzo Scarcella’s departure was not exactly mourned by many, but Jeff Hakim will rue his chances after busting in 15th place, unable to reach a second career EPT final. At times this week Alex Kravchenko had been among the leaders, but the Team Pro also suffered today, busting in 14th place, one place ahead of Stephen Chidwick.
Alex Kravchenko busted in 14th place
Chidwick, head shaved and a look of menacing indifference, sought a second final table appearance of the season. Rather than wait until he had no choice but to shove, Chidwick got involved in a big hand that ultimately led to his chips going into the middle with pocket fours against Giacomo Fundaro’s queens.
Stephen Chidwick fell short of a second final table this season
The ending was predictable. As Chidwick will now look ahead to Monte Carlo next week, Fundaro will look down giddily at the 3,100,000 he bagged-up tonight and wonder how on earth it all went so well.
With Hakim, Kravchenko and Chidwick gone, Ariel Celestino of Brazil followed in 12th place, ahead of Berglund. Then Raul Mestre ran into trouble.
First the Spaniard (the best hope of a first Spanish winner since he reached the Barcelona final table two seasons ago), suffered in a hand against Croatian Andrija Martic. For his part Martic, a SuperNova who won a TCOOP title last year, was enjoying a profitable day, and would reach the end of play with a stack of 1,660,000 by the close. But now he would out-flop Mestre’s ace-ten with king-eight.
Then Mestre found his own king-eight, and shoved with what little he had left, which Andreas Goeller called with pocket deuces.
Andrija Martic flies the flag for Croatia
Raul Mestre’s departure means the wait for a Spanish winner continues
Goeller had been something of a miracle man today. Returning as one of the short stacks, he was forced to move all-in himself several times, doubling up each time. Now he was sending Mestre to the rail when his deuces held up. Mestre was out in tenth place. Earlier this week he admitted that the only thing he enjoys more than playing poker is talking about it. He left with a story, but he’ll be missed at the final.
So when play restarts tomorrow at noon – with the EPTLive broadcast beginning an hour later on a cards up delay – it will be the home nation who are best represented with four players. Fundaro is their best chance, although Goeller is not far behind.
Into second place Giacomo Fundaro
Andrea Benelli, who many would consider to be the most talented of the quartet with an EPT pedigree, returns with a mid-range stack, while Bruno Stefanelli, whose previous biggest cash came in a Stud tournament 14 years ago, will play one of the shorter.
Andrea Benelli (centre) Italy’s best hope?
A last word should be reserved for Frenchman Emmanuel Pariset. Pariset has had several last words this week, ever since we talked to him prior to the bubble. At that point he had just 12 big blinds and was eyeing a crucial min-cash that would go some way to paying for his seat in the Grand Final.
Before he knew it he’d covered his entry and was deep into the money. Always the short stack this didn’t seem to deter Pariset who will return to the final tomorrow having far exceeded what he’d initially dreamed of achieving. He’s unbustable, and there may, in short, be no stopping him.
Don’t forget you can follow the action from the High Roller event that will play on into the evening, on our live coverage page.
Full coverage of EPT Sanremo is on the main EPT Sanremo page. There’s hand-by-hand coverage in the panel at the top and feature pieces below.
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.