For the 31 players who started Day 3 of the World Poker Tour (WPT) Bratislava there were two main goals in their minds. The first goal was to get into the money and the second goal was to make the final table. 27 players were going to put some green in their pocket and 9 of them were going to return for the final table.
One man must have thought he was a shoe-in for a final table berth. Marek Blasko started the day with an incredible 903,500 chips. When you consider that the chip average at the end of the Day 3 was 703,333 you can see why he was such a hot favourite.
On Day 2 Blasko literally used his brute chip strength to decimate the competition. Day 3 was not about raw power – day 3 was about guile and cunning. If you are going into the final table as the chip leader then you must have weaved some magic, cast some spells and been touched by the hands of luck itself. We had one such person seated amongst the 31 players – the Welsh wizard Roberto Romanello.
But before we shower the Welshman with plaudits, lets spare a thought for our bubble boy, Matthieu Sustrac. Sustrac told us that he had bubbled his last three WPT events and today he maintained his unlucky streak. He got his money in good but Mayu Roca hit a flush on the turn and Sustrac went back to France penniless.
As we headed full-speed towards the final table we still had two siblings in the competition. Alessandro and Gianluca Speranza are brothers and they both made it deep just running out of steam towards the end. Alessandro going out just before his brother Gianluca also joined him on the rail.
WPT Venice winner and WPT Vienna final tablist Alessio Isaia was going for an incredible 3rd final table in succession. Isaia has played some fantastic poker in the past few weeks but today his luck and skill both deserted him and he was never at the races. In the end he became another one of the long list of Blasko casualties.
The first few people to challenge Blasko’s dominance were Simon Charette, Roberto Romanello and Mayu Roca. Out of the three of them it was Roca who first emerged as the real contender. Roca had traveled all the way from Colombia to play in this event and he was going to make sure he stayed as long as possible.
Then we had a hand that seemed insignificant at the time but had embedded itself in our chip leaders mind. Marek Blasko raised to 10,600 and Roberto Romanello three-bet to 50,500. Blasko was counting up his chips in readiness for a four-bet when Romanello burst into life.
“Did he just say all-in?” Romanello asked deliberately.
It was a move designed to wind Blasko up and put him on edge.
“Next time.” Said Blasko before folding his hand.
At the time we had no idea if it would work but Romanello continued to wind up the chip leader whenever they were seated on the same table. Then as we approached 19:00 we had a critical hand. Simon Charette was motoring along just fine until he bumped into the Welsh Wizard. Romanello had conjured up a spell of luck and cast it on Charette. Charette raised with and Romanello three bet with . Charette responded by four-betting and Romanello moved all-in for 400,000 chips and Charette called. The board of gave Romanello the straight and Charette was eliminated not long after.
At the dinner break it was Mayu Roca who was our chip leader but Romanello and Blasko were not too far behind. Some big eliminations pushed Party Poker online qualifier Alexander Jager and Jesper Hoog towards the top of the leader board but the day belonged to Romanello. In a pot against Jager he over bet the river for 131,000 to represent a busted draw and Jager fell for it. This pushed Romanello over the 1 million mark for the first time. Then we moved to one table of ten and we had the hand of the night:
Marek Blasko raised to 28,000 and Romanello, remembering their altercations throughout the day, made a huge three-bet when he made it 150,000 to play. Blasko looked confused and disorientated. He was playing with his chips and you could feel the anger simmering from around the table. He must have been hearing those words “next time” in his mind because Blasko moved all-in and Romanello snap-called. The wizard had planted the spell so early in the day and he was just about to reap the rewards. His stood the test of time against the of Blasko and we not only had our final table but a new chip leader – the Welsh Wizard Roberto Romanello and 1,803,000 chips.
Final Table Chip Counts and Seat Draw
Roberto Romanello 1,803,000 Seat 2
Jesper Hoog 1,042,000 Seat 6
Mayu Roca 899,000 Seat 8
Alexander Jager 594,000 Seat 5
Bodo Sbrzesny 594,000 Seat 7
Christopher Williamsson 564,000 Seat 9
Frank Dollinger 549,000 Seat 4
Lubomir Kudlicka 406,000 Seat 3
Marek Tatar 105,000 Seat 1
WPT Bratislava Day 3 picture gallery