So when Panka, who finished third in the Main Event here in Season 11, got involved in a big hand in which he moved all-in on the river and received a bunk triangle, he must’ve feared the worst! To get to that point though let’s rewind to the beginning of the hand.
It looked for all the world as if the hand was going to nondescript, it folded to Panka on the button and he min-raised to 1,600. So far, so standard. Matias Jansson then called from the small blind only for Abdelkarim El Haddouti to raise to 6,000 from the big blind. Suddenly we had a pot.
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Action was now back on Panka, although the only way to tell was because El Haddouti and Jansson had turned their attention to the Pole. He was, as usual, perfectly still as he considered his options. The PCA 2014 champion had started the day with 81,400 but had slipped to around 53,500 by the start of this hand, the option he elected to choose was call and after he did so Jansson folded to make the hand heads-up.
The flop fell 10♣K♥2♦ and somewhat surprisingly El Haddouti seceded the lead in the hand as he checked it over to Panka. With robotic efficiency Panka dropped a bet of 6,500 into the pot and El Haddouti, who like Panka qualified online to this tournament, smooth called.
It was a similar story on the 7♠ turn. The Spaniard once more rapped the table, Panka bet 13,000 and El Haddouti gave him a quick glance before making the call. This pot was bubbling nicely now and there was over 53,000 in the pot as the 9♣ hit the river.
For his part, Panka was sitting perfectly still with his hands steepled over his hole cards, which were half over the betting line and half behind. The hand had now been going on for around 10 minutes and one of the other players decided that enough was enough and called the clock.
A member of floor staff arrived at the table and read El Haddouti his rights and the Spaniard didn’t respond. “Do you speak English,” asked the tournament official.
“I understand,” replied El Haddouti.
As the time ticked down he was still starring mostly at the board, not Panka although the Pole was giving little away as he was still sat in the same position. Finally with one second left on the countdown El Haddouti mucked his cards face down and a few seconds later Panka followed suit. The EPT champion is now back up to where he started the day with about 80,000.
There was no post hand discussion between the pair but El Haddouti wore a rueful smile that suggested he really wanted to call and more importantly really wanted to know what Panka had. Sadly we’ll never know.
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