The Englishman was out of sorts for a lot of his third round but had battled brilliantly to hang onto the coat-tails of his playing partner Lee Westwood and the turbo-charged Phil Mickelson before being undone by a poor lie in the bunker at Augusta's par three 12th hole.
"I put myself in trouble off the tee a few times and got out of trouble with a few shots. I was hanging in there but then I got a poor lie in the bunker on 12 and that was the only disappointing thing of the day," said Poulter, who will begin the final round six shots behind Westwood after a 74 left him on six under par.
"There was no sand at the front of the bunker, I was on a downslope and I had no shot. Consequently I made double bogey and that is a big blow.
"That wasn't what I was after today obviously. I am not pleased, I am a few shots adrift of where I wanted to be and I am not overly happy right now, but I still have a chance. You saw that what happened on the golf course today, there were roars all over the place, eagles all over the place and second shots being holed.
"This course can give up eagles quite easily and I now have to go out and try and do that tomorrow by playing well."