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Team India has got off to a rollicking start at the 2019 European Poker Tour (EPT) Barcelona that is now well underway at Casino Barcelona. A large group of Indian players has flown in to take part in the series, and many of them were seen playing the €1,100 EPT National event. While five Indians made it past the money line, the most impressive finish of them all came from the young PokerStars India qualifier Jai ‘Joey’ Saha. He was the only one from the team to advance to Day 3 among 46 survivors and ultimately finished seventh for a career-best €95,100 (₹76.44 Lakhs) late Saturday night!
Saha has enjoyed an enviable run this year, both on the virtual and live felts and he entered Day 3 placed 14th in chips among the 46 remaining players. He got off to a shaky start but picked up momentum after eliminating Michael Soyza in 32nd place. At one time Saha was holding the second largest stack in the field, but a series of blows saw him lose his chip advantage. He even made it to the final table and was all but a shoo-in to sail into the final day, but eventually became the last player to the hit the rail on Day 3. The budding talent collected a hefty €95,100 (~₹76.44 Lakhs) for his exemplary performance – his best ever score to-date!
With this Saha has become the top performing Indian to-date at the EPT Barcelona, surpassing PokerStars India Team Pro Aditya Agarwal who had finished 15th in the 2007 EPT Barcelona Main Event for ₹20.17 Lakhs (*based on current currency conversion rates)!
The first of many marquee events at the ongoing stop, the €1,100 EPT National registered a record-breaking field of 4,682 entries that helped generate a massive €4,541,540 prize pool.
Leading the six remaining players heading into the final day of play is Markku Koplimaa (39,025,000 – 78 BBs) with Eldaras Rafijevas (38,475,000 – 77 BBs) a close second. Adam Hendrix is the third top stack (9,650,000 – 59 BBs).
Running along the sidelines of the EPT National was Day 1 of the €100,000 EPT Super High Roller that registered 57 entries yesterday. There is also the EPT Cup that hit the ground running yesterday and saw several Indian players in the mix. On the tap for today is the €2,200 EPT National High Roller that has two starting flights on the schedule along with the €25,000 NLHE Six-Plus.
Day 3 Recap
Forty-six players all guaranteed €9,710 (~₹7.80 Lakhs) came back to play Day 3 yesterday. Part of this trimmed down field was India’s Jai Saha who had brought in a stack of 3,765,000 (47 BBs) and had what can best be described as a wild and swingy ride. He started the day on a positive note before chipping down after losing a big pot to Pasquale Braco. He recovered after eliminating the popular Malaysian pro Michael Soyza in 32nd place. Saha`s pocket queens took out Soyza’s ace-jack, making him third in chips with 9.755 Million. Saha played it cautiously for a while after that.
In Level 31, Saha took out another player, this time Gisle Olsen (20th for €26,020) after his ace-king flopped two-pair on the board to run down Olsen’s king-three. Saha also dug into Jakub Grzegorzek’s stack making him one of the top stacks once the final two tables were redrawn.
Saha kept himself in contention and was placed sixth in chips holding 8,5,25,000 (28 BBs) once the nine-handed final table was formed. He became the last player to hit the rail on Day 3 and was eliminated by Barry McGovern in seventh place, taking home €95,100 (~₹76.44 Lakhs).
Other notables who fell out during the day were Gisle Oslen (20th for €26,020), Vojtech Ruzicka (24th for €17,580), Michael Soyza (32nd for €12,190), and Pete Chen (35th for €12,190).
Former November Niner Fernando Pons’ (10th for €44,370) elimination set the final table in position.
Final Table Chip Counts
Final Table Recap
Early into the final table, Jose Prieto Pulido ran his ace-king into Lawrence Whyte’s pocket aces that further improved by flopping a set, eliminating Pulido in ninth place for €54,670.
Lawrence Whyte himself did last much longer himself and was eliminated next in eighth place after his ace-five was rundown by Eldaras Rafijevas’ pocket sevens. Whyte did pair his ace on the flop, but Rafijevas’s flopped set was enough to send Whyte packing.
It took nearly 90 minutes before the next elimination and unfortunately for the Indian railing it was Jai Saha`s turn to hit the rail. The young Indian was on slippery ground and despite a few valiant efforts to climb up, he just couldn`t. On his final hand of the tournament, Saha opened from the button for 1.2 Million and big blind Barry McGovern called. The flop was checked through to the turn where McGovern checked once more. Saha led out 1.2 Million, and McGovern moved all-in for 6.2 Million. Saha tank-called for his last 6.075 Million.
Saha’s flopped middle pair was trailing to McGovern’s top pair. The on the river sent the pot McGovern’s way, and with that, Saha`s blistering run came to an end in seventh place. Saha did take home a personal-best €95,100 (₹76.44 Lakhs) for his efforts these past few days.
With Saha’s elimination, the play was halted mid-way through Level 36, and so when the players return at 12 PM (local time) on August 25, the blinds will continue at 250,000/500,000.
Leading the remaining six players will be Markku Koplimaa who holds 39,025,000 (78 BBs) while Eldaras Rafijevas (38,475,000 – 77 BBs) and Adam Hendrix (29,650,000 -59 BBs) comprise the top half of the field.
All the finalists are assured to take home at least €129,100, but they will all be fighting over the EPT title and the hefty €585,500 (~₹4.72 Crores) cash prize reserved for the winner.
Final Day Chip Counts
Content & Images Courtesy: PokerNews
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