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European Poker Tour -- Grand Final Day 2

Grand Final Main Event Reaches Money; Nineteen-Year-Old Leads

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Ole Kristian NergardThe sun was shining on 384 players as they made their way into Madrid’s Gran Casino for day 2 of the PokerStars European Poker Tour Grand Final main event. Play would finish once the bubble was reached and there were 104 players remaining.

The player the sun shone on the most was day 1B’s chip leader Ole Kristian Nergard. Last year Negard bought into the Grand Final High Roller on his 18th birthday as he was too young (literally by hours) to play the main event. This time around he’s playing and determined to make his mark. When the survivors of both starting days combined, Nergard was not the chip leader, he was however in the top 10 and hungry to do more damage. He continued up the chip counts bit by bit until he was king of the castle and ended the night with 726,000.

Nergard is followed very closely by Swede Kristoffer Thorsson. Thorsson shot up the chip counts in a huge hand just before dinner break. The player on the button bet out, his next-door neighbour, who just happened to be Sami Kelopuro, three-bet from the small blind, and Thorsson made it 32,000 from the big blind. The original bettor folded and Kelopuro moved all in for 230,000. Thorsson called and flipped over pocket tens while the Finn tabled ASpade Suit QSpade Suit. The board came 8Heart Suit 7Spade Suit 6Heart Suit 2Spade Suit KClub Suit and Thorsson moved up to 470,000 while the beautiful mild evening outside was likely to be of no consolation to Kelopuro who was sent packing.

Another chip explosion occurred surrounding the Swede when he later opened from the cut-off for 6,500 and was called by the button. The flop came 9Club Suit 8Spade Suit 5Diamond Suit and Thorsson bet 11,000. His opponent called and the two saw the AClub Suit turn. Thorsson bet out again, this time for 25,000, and was faced with an all-in raise of 125,000. Thorsson insta-called flipping over pocket eights for the set. His opponent showed KHeart Suit JDiamond Suit and the river made no difference. Thorsson was then up to 670,000 and appeared to be unstoppable. He ended the day on 701,500.

Melanie WeisnerAlso up in the heady heights of the chip leader board is Melanie Weisner. The American was very active throughout the day and caused a lot of trouble for many of her opponents including Pieter de Korver. When the Team PokerStars pro three-bet his short stack all in, she made the call and it was pocket queens versus pocket sixes respectively, but Weisner made a straight to the seven and sent the Dutch Grand Final champ to the rail.

She later took a chunk of chips from WSOPE main event champion James Bord to bring her over the 400,000 mark. Bord bet out from under the gun and Weisner called from the button. The flop came 9Club Suit 7Heart Suit 5Club Suit and Bord bet 10,500. Weisner made it 23,800 and Bord called. The 8Heart Suit turn was dealt and Bord slowed down to a check. Weisner bet out 38,800 and Bord folded. She ended the day fifth in chips with 543,500.

The top 10 is a colourful lot featuring Hugo Lemaire, William Renolds, recent EPT winner Ben Wilinofsky, Victor Ramdin, Alex Gomes, and Shander de Vries who doubled his stack very late in the day after flopping quad nines.

Here is the official top 10 going into day 3:

Ole Kristian Nergard (Norway) 726,000
Kristoffer Thorsson (Sweden) 701,500
Daniel Weinman (USA) 676,000
Hugo Lemaire (France) 658,000
Melanie Weisner (USA) 543,500
William Reynolds (USA) 541,500
Jose Nadal (Mexico) 533,500
Ben Wilinofsky (Canada) 533,000
Simon Higgins (UK) 517,500
Victor Ramdin (USA) 494,500

It was bad news for many throughout day 2 as the field lost 280 players. Arnaud Matterm was one of the early casualties. He made his final stand with pocket threes versus his opponent’s A-10. The board fell K-Q-7-K-Q and was good to put the Frenchman on the other side of the rail. Jason Mercier went early enough in the day also when his set was no good against his opponent’s full house.

Liv BoereeEPT London champion David Vamplew came into the day around the 20,000 mark and after just a couple of levels he had improved that by another 100,000. It was swings and roundabouts for the Scot who soon plummeted back to 12,000 after losing with A-K versus pocket queens. He finally made his exit when his 10-7 lost to A-8.

Many others fell by the wayside today in various circumstances of disappointment including Ruben Visser, Kenny Hallaert, Lucien Cohen, Christer Johansson, Liv Boeree, Cathy Hong, Santiago Terrazas, William Thorson, and Johannes Strassmann who left late-session at the hands of Victor Ramdin. Strassmann three-bet shoved with kings, Ramdin called with A-Q and caught an ace. Ramdin also eliminated Maria Maceiras and is in the top 10 at end of play.

Day 3 will see 104 players drop drown to 24 as the Grand Final 2011 endeavours to seek out its champion, who will indeed take home the healthy sum of €1,500,000. Check out the live blog feed along the way and stay tuned to CardPlayer.com for more interviews and recaps as the Grand Final delves further.

Photographs courtesy of Neil Stoddart.