The EPT Madrid Main Event is down to just 24 players, following four days of play in the Spanish capital. Chip leader is online qualifier João Paulo Simão, who finished Day 3 with 1,973,000 chips.
The European Poker Tour is getting increasingly closer to crowning a new champion as the EPT Madrid €5,300 Main Event enters Day 4. Just 24 runners from the starting 477 are still alive at the tables.
Day 3 yesterday saw the bubble burst at 72 players, followed by an intense round of eliminations until the tournament director put an end to the day with three eight-player tables left.
Once that happened, online qualifier João Paulo Simão had snatched the chip lead with a 1,973,000 stack following a hectic last level, which among other things saw him eliminate two opponents in a three-way all-in.
"It was a perfect day," the 23-year-old Brazilian said when play came to an end last night.
"I started with a good stack, I went up, lost flips, won flips. Then at the end of day I won a triple all-in. Sleep now then come back tomorrow to take it down," he added.
Simão will not be the only player with his eyes on a deep run, as he is followed closely by French-Israeli pro Ilan Boujenah in second place with 1,153,000 chips.
Also still in are players like Day 3 chip leader Mike "Timex" McDonald with 1,112,000, Tristan Clemencon with 395,000 and local hope and Team PokerStars Online member Javier Dominguez with 250,000.
Meanwhile, Barny Boatman, Johnny Lodden, James Sudworth, Toby Lewis, Dermot Blain, Henrique Pinho, Dmitry Vitkind, Kevin MacPhee, Alex Kravchenko and Oliver Busquet were all among the players who failed to make the cut into Day 4.
Today's play went underway less than an hour ago at the Gran Casino in Madrid, and will continue until the final table is set later tonight.
For more updates and running chip count, see the PokerStars Blog