The PartyPoker Million VI final begins 1pm local time on Thursday 

By Simon Young

People who know far more about statistics than I do assure me that 20% of starters for the PartyPoker Million VI were from Germany. It’s no huge surprise, therefore, to find two of them almost neck-and-neck for the chip lead – and a third, day two chip leader Johannes Strassmann, joining them on the final table.

Only a grey 1,000 chip separates Dominik Stopka and Alexander Jung, and both are a healthy 90,000 ahead of the next man, Finland’s Mika Paasonen, who played a patient game throughout day three before building just at the right time, thanks mainly to winning two important races with medium pairs.

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Dominik Stopka takes a breather from stacking chips

All of these three are seasoned players used to the cut and thrust of tournament poker, whereas fourth-placed Raymond Estall, from the UK, is playing in the biggest and first proper event of his life. That’s the great thing about being able to qualify online.

Estall, a chemical engineer from Solihull, is by far the elder statesmen on the final table – which begins at 1pm local time on Thursday. He will be the first to admit he is lucky to have made it to the last nine from the 171 starters. Shortly before the last card of the night was dealt, he had the escape of his life when he found himself all in against Denmark’s Kenneth Gregersen.

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Raymond Estall

Estall had 3-3, a mile behind the Dane’s 9-9. The flop was 7-A-K, and when the turn produced a 10 Estall was out of his seat and putting on his jacket. The river, as you would have guessed by now, was a 3, giving the Englishman a set. He shook his head in disbelief, while poor old Gregersen turned away and took a little of his disappointment out on a nearby plant.

The plant survived, as did Gregersen, but only just. He was down to 30,000 or so chips, while Estall soared to more than 150,000. A short while later, Gregersen got all in against Estall again, this time as the underdog with Q-9 against 10-10. The poker gods must have wanted to right a wrong, because the board came 5-3-2-4-A for a split pot.

“I had to call with the 3-3 as I was getting short stacked,” said Estall. No need to explain, sir – it’s these twists that win tournaments.

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Gregersen will have nightmares about a set of threes

Gregersen made it to the final table as the short stack with 44,000, while American Cory Albertson, the only surviving non-European, sits in eighth place with 90,000.

Final table bubble boy was Sweden’s Mikael Erixon, out in tenth place when his 10-10 failed to improve against Alexander Jung’s Q-Q. Jung had been up and down in chips all day, but his timing at the end was just right to give him a great shot at the PartyPoker Million VI title and the $358,000 first prize.

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Alexander Jung

Dominik Stopka had been quietly creeping up on the rails towards the end of day two and much of today before whizzing into the chip lead about two levels from the end of play. His decisive moment was a handy double up against then chip leader Johannes Strassmann when his Q-Q was enough on a ten-high board.

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Johannes Strassmann eyes up top spot

He never really looked back – doing away with Irishman Matthew Dobbins a short while later, and then seeing off England’s Alan Forsyth in brutal fashion. Forsyth had 10-10 and was chuffed to see the flop Q-10-8 – but he gave Stopka a free card, and the turn came a nine, filling up the German’s straight – twice, as it happened, because he had pocket jacks.

Stopka’s last big scalp of the night was Sweden’s Samir Shakhtoor, albeit in curious fashion. On a flop of 9-5-6 – all diamonds – all the money went in. Shakhtoor had J-9, with no diamonds, while Stopka had 3-4, one a small diamond. The turn was an ace and the river a 7, making Stopka’s straight.

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Andreas Jorbeck

PartyPoker Late Night Poker winner Andreas Jorbeck, from Sweden, had been toying with the chip lead throughout the evening session, but fell away a little, finishing with a still healthy 182,000.

But how he may come to regret calling light to Austria’s Peter Steinlesberger’s all in, which cost him a fair chunk of his stack, as did a sizeable pot with Cory Albertson.

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Steinlesberger, left, and Albertson

All the players have a day off tomorrow (Wednesday) to enjoy the sights of Istanbul in Turkey, before playing out the final during a day at sea on Thursday.

The MSC Poesia is proving to be an excellent venue for the PPM VI event, and all players have agreed the card room, the Moulin Rouge on the seventh deck, has been a great success.

Please see below for the final table chips counts and payouts so far.

Final Table Chip Counts:
1 Dominik Stopka, Germany, 327,000
2 Alexander Jung, Germany, 326,000
3 Mika Paasonen, Finland, 236,000
4 Raymond Estall, UK, 187,000
5= Andreas Jorbeck, Sweden, 182,000
5 = Johannes Strassmann, Germany, 182,000
7 Peter Steinlesberger, Austria, 132,000
8 Cory Albertson, USA, 90,000
9 Kenneth Gregersen, Denmark, 44,000

Other results:
10 Mikael Erixon, $21,230
11 Fredrik Keitel, $17,250
12 Samir Shakhtoor, $17,250
13 Victor Sazonkin, $17,250
14 Paul Testud, $13,270
15 Florian Langmann, $13,270
16 Alexey Yuzikov, $13,270
17 Marcel Finnema, $11,280
18 Julian Lenz, $11,280
19 Allan Forsyth, $11,280
20 Matthew Dobbins, $11,280
21 Joseph Myles, $11,280
22 Christoph Haller, $11,280
23 Heinrich Mayr, $11, 280
24 Nicholas Bower, $11,280

25 Keith McGrath
26 Simon Munz
27 Christoph Niesert
28 Thomas Bihl
29 Epifanio Armando Licon
30 Ralph Rudd
31 Christian Schafer
32 George Dunst
33 Philip Hulse

Final Table Payouts:
1 $358,280
2 $285,583
3 $159,235
4 $119,425
5 $92, 883
6 $67,675
7 $47,770
8 $31,845
9 $21,230

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