EPT Tom Middleton
Former EPT Barcelona 2013 winner Tom Middleton is in a great position to win again in Paris this weekend.

Day 3 of the EPT Paris Main Event saw three former EPT champions survive on a day of drama in the French capital. Tom Middleton, Anton Wigg and Dimitar Danchev made it through a tumultuous Day 3 that began with 222 players and ended with just 57 still in the hunt. Along with former winners on the EPT, stars such as Eric Afriat, Florian Duta and the two-time WSOP bracelet winner Barny Boatman all made the cut.

Middleton Leads Trio of Champions

On a day where players fell like cards from the deck, three EPT champions survived the cull. While other champions such as the newest member of Team PokerStars Pro Simon Wiciak, Aliaksei Bokia, Arsenii Karmatckii, Robin Ylitalo and the most recent winner Padriag O’Neill all fell by the wayside, a trio of former EPT Main Event winners performed superbly to give themselves a chance of becoming the fourth player to win two Main Events on the European Poker Tour.

Tom Middleton was the star of the three, bagging up 2.19 million chips, good for third on the leaderboard out of 57 survivors. That equates to 110 big blinds and Middleton will be a real threat on Day 4 as he looks to play his way into the business end of the tournament. Anton Wigg totalled 1.25 million at the close of play, the Swede in a great position to push for a final table stack over the next 48 hours.

Finally, Bulgarian professional Dimitar Danchev ended Day 3 with chips too, albeit a much shorter stack of 285,000. Danchev will still be a big threat, with his vast experience and nothing to lose a dangerous combination when play resumes at 12.20 local time in the French capital on Friday.

Mavritsakis Leads the Field

“Yes, I smashed him!”

With 57 players remaining, it is the Greek player Panagiotis Mavritsakis who leads them all into play on a massive stack of 2.93 million, the equivalent of 147 big blinds. Mavritsakis is followed directly in the chipcounts by Eric Afriat on 2.3 million.

Afriat, a former World Poker Tour Main Event winner and nine-time ranking event winner according to The Hendon Mob, caused controversy on Day 3 when he busted his opponent Eric Sfez. The latter was all-in and at risk with AsAd, only for Afriat to bust him with the ‘ace cracker’ of 7s6s. All the money went in on a flop of 9h7h7d and after a 5h turn and Qs river, Afriat leapt to his feet and declared: “Yes, I smashed him!”

Sfez, perhaps understandably, wasn’t happy at all with the reaction from Afriat, and following discussions between both men and the tournament director, Global Poker Award nominated Toby Stone, Afriat received a one round penalty for the start of Day 4, which he’ll serve upon arrival in the Le Palais des Congrès de Paris on Friday.

Others to make the top five included the Italian player Lorenzo Arduini (2.05m) and Mathias Siljander from Finalnd, who bagged up 1.75 million chips. Also present in the top 10 chipcounts were Swedish player Peter Jorgne (1.47m) and Romanian player Florian Duta. Duta’s record on the EPT is impressive, with his biggest cash outside the United States coming at the 2019 PCA, as well as two side event wins on the EPT in Prague and Barcelona.

Jorgne came so close to victory in EPT Paris last year he could almost smell victory, but in the end lost heads-up to Razvan Belea, also from Romania. Jorgne’s career earnings of $887,057 are almost all down to that runner-up finish in this City a year ago. Can he seal victory 12 months on in a tournament that clearly means the world to him? He’s 56 players away from doing just that.

Other Big Names Rise… and Fall

Just seven tables of poker players remain in the EPT Paris cardroom, so who else is still in the running? One Team PokerStars Pro who won’t be involved is Ben ‘Spraggy’ Spragg. He got it in bad with ace-seven against Olivier Rebello’s pocket sevens on a flop containing both an ace and a seven and that ended his event in the early stages of Day 3.

Swedish WSOP bracelet winner Jerry Ödeen (186th for €9,900), Canadian superstar Sam Greenwood (111th for €15,000) and British WSOP crusher Benny Glaser (69th for €19,850) and 888poker champion Dave McConachie (63rd for €19,850) all busted too, but other big names survived to fight another day.

Latvian WSOP bracelet winner Aleks Ponakovs (975,000) sits just above the hallway point in the leaderboard, while Day 1b chip leader Greg Fournier (785,000) is nestled in 30th place. WSOP two-time winner and The Hendon Mob co-creator Barny Boatman (635,000) will be a big threat from 38th place in the counts, while Day 2 leader Eliot Hudon sits on the same number of chips. Bryan Paris (505,000), Byron Kaverman (290,000) and Alex Tkatschew (225,000) all have the poker chops to spin up their stacks then put in a day of recovery to reignite their chances.

2024 European Poker Tour Paris Main Event End of Day 3 Top 10 Chipcounts:
Place Player Country Chips Big Blinds
1st Panagiotis Mavritsakis Greece 2,930,000 147
2nd Eric Afriat Canada 2,300,000 115
3rd Tom Middleton United Kingdom 2,190,000 110
4th Lorenzo Arduini Italy 2,050,000 103
5th Mathias Siljander Finland 1,750,000 88
6th David Kaufmann Germany 1,645,000 82
7th Sindre Hansen Norway 1,590,000 80
8th Hans Erlandsson Sweden 1,550,000 78
9th Peter Jorgne Sweden 1,475,000 74
10th Florian Duta Romania 1,305,000 65

Headline photograph courtesy of PokerStars, the home of the 2024 European Poker Tour. Watch all the action from Day 4 until the winner is crowned on the PokerStars Twitch channel here.