EPT13 Prague: Hecklen bags first Main Event lead in Prague

December 13, 2016

Henrik Hecklen bags up lead on Day 1A

This Day 1A was much like any other Day 1A. Some highlights, as well as the overriding feeling that nothing would be decided. Which meant it felt like there was a long day ahead at the start, but that it all went by so quickly by the close.

Whether Henrik Hecklen thinks that is not clear, but the lead he bagged-up tonight will have made this day a good one regardless. The Dane closed on 221,800, with 124 players remaining, some way ahead of the familiar looking opposition. He’ll hold top spot for at least 24 hours.

henrik_hecklen_prague_13dec16.jpgChip leader tonight Henrik Hecklen

It may be that nothing was really decided today, but there were a few performances worth mentioning. Charlie Carrel finished second in the Super High Roller this afternoon (full report here) and then jumped immediately into the Main Event, where he finished up on the day. Team PokerStars Pro Johnny Lodden closed with 132,700, and the chip count page (published on the Blog as soon as we have it tonight) is riddled with names that will set to work on Hecklen’s lead when they return for Day 2 on Thursday.

For now though that was the first day of the last EPT Main Event. We come back tomorrow for Day 1B at 12 noon where another flight will do all of this again.

By which time the Eureka Main Event final may or may not have concluded. As we write it plays on, with an average stack of less than 15 big blinds, and the possibility of str craziness on the rail. You can follow updates, to the death, by clicking here.

That’s all from the Main Event. We’ll be back tomorrow. — SB

12:05am: That’s a wrap
Level 8 – Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

Day 1A is done. Henrik Hecklen has bagged the overnight chip lead with a stack of 221,800. A short report of the day’s action is on the way. –NW

11:50pm: Final five
Level 8 – Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

The clock has been paused and each table will play five more hands before play is done for the day. –NW

11:45pm: The very best of Mario Adinolfi
Level 8 – Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

There are a few things about Mario Adinolfi that stand out after years on the European Poker Tour. He’s a big man, in stature and in reputation (he’s a journalist and politician by day), and not hard to miss. But it’s more his actions at the table that stick in the mind.

Arguably the most memorable came in Berlin one year. Adinolfi got into a raising battle with a young opponent, who capped off his all-in with some rosary beads. Adinolfi, a Roman Catholic, called, tossing in a small Jean Paul II notebook which he used to protect his cards. If there was ever a time to say “touché”, this was it.

mario_adinolfi_prague_13dec16.jpgMario Adinolfi

Then there’s his playing style. He once explained that his playing style was one that favoured building a big stack quickly. He’d rather do that than patiently grind through the early levels. Just as in his political career, where Adinolfi has doesn’t tolerated any compromise to his principles, nether would his style of poker change to suit someone else’s orthodoxy.

Which is just about how you’d sum up his performance today.

He’s had more than 240,000 earlier today (see entry at 9:55pm), a massive lead that was typical Adinolfi, and looked set to remain good for the lead at the close of play tonight. But as much as he understands the rewards he knows the risks. Now that same stack is down to just 30,000.

You’d be a fool to write him off, and the theoretical graph charting his chip count today is as likely to bounce back up as continue its downward freefall. But in many ways this is textbook Adinolfi, as familiar to the EPT as to the world of Italian politics. If Adinolfi, one of the EPTs most memorable players, does bust before the end of play today, he’ll have done so in a typically brilliant way. – SB

11:40pm: Farwell to…
Level 8 – Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

The likes of Milan Topoly, Dmitrii Panteleev, Kai Herold, Vladimir Geshkenbein, Ihor Polukarov and Jon Christensen have just failed to make Day 2 as they’ve all been eliminated during the last level of the day. –NW

11:25pm: Dunst doubles
Level 8 – Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

A fun hand just played out between Martin Kabrhel and Tony Dunst with lots of chat – well from Kabrhel at least – and a decent denouement for you the reader.

Kabrhel has been in a chatty mood and playing a lot of pots this evening. He was still stacking chips from the previous hand when he raised to 2,000 from the cutoff. Dunst three-bet to 6,000 from the button and Kabrhel was the only caller.

On the 10♠4♥A♠ flop Dunst c-bet 4,500 and the Kabrhel monologue began. “Why don’t you talk to me? Do you not like me?” Dunst remained silent. “I should snap call,” continued Kabrhel before adding. “Now I haven’t it’s probably going to be a tank fold.”

A few more seconds passed and he called the bet which took the pair to a A♣ turn. Again Kabrhel checked and once more Dunst bet. This time it was 8,500 to Kabrhel. “This time I snap call,” he said and that’s what he did.

The river was the 2♠ and after Kabrhel had completed a hat-trick of checks, Dunst moved all-in for 29,600. There was a bit of chat from Kabrhel but once he realised that he wasn’t going to get anything out of Dunst he was quiet. He cut out the calling chips from his stack of 65,000 and began to think. He thought for so long that the clock was called and as the countdown reached the final few seconds he called.

Dunst showed A♥K♥ for trip aces which had Kabrhel’s Q♣10♦ soundly beaten. –NW

11:10pm: Lebor out
Level 8 – Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

Benjamin Lebor’s Main Event has come to an end. He ran kings into aces, and that was that. Nothing much to learn from that hand. Juha Helppi arrived from another table moments later to fill his seat. – SB

11pm: Nobody departs a Main Event like Ole Schemion
Level 8 – Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

When you bust the Main Event in the EPT the usual instinct is to get the heck out of Dodge as quickly as possible. No hanging around in your own private shame. If anything 13 seasons have proven that the prudent thing to do is grieve in private, away from those who frankly are, technically speaking, glad to see you go.

Not so Ole Schemion.

We knew Schemion was a little different. He’s no special snowflake, but nobody would ever accuse him of not bringing style to proceedings, even if it is his own peculiar brand of it.

As opposed to everyone else Schemion takes his time leaving. To him busting seems more like a moment to absorb, and to experience, rather than run away from. And so after busting a few minutes ago he exited in his usual fashion. He stood up and slowly gathered his things, placing them into his bag one item at a time. Then he put on his jacket, being careful to zip it up properly as it’s cold outside. That left time for one last look at those still playing around him. Only then did he begin to leave.

Go ahead and try to copy Schemion’s playing style, but leave his elimination style to the man himself. The rest of us, we mere mortals, should stick to running away as fast as we can. – SB

10:55pm: Last level of the night
Level 8 – Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

The final 75-minute level of the day has begun with 140 of the 246 players who’ve entered remaining. Unfortunately for fans of Andrej Punka, Ole Schemion, Tobias Revenas, Antal Roth, Davide Ferrari, Issac Haxton, Ping Liu, Jeffrey Cormier, Pavel Plesuv, Arturo Pobo, Maxim Klopotok, Timothy Adams, Breixo Pena, Vladimir Troyanovskiy, Keith Christie, David Hoeffer, Davidi Kitai they’re all out. –NW


Ike Haxton

10:45pm: Back in the pack
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (100 ante)

Mario Adinolfi did have a huge chip lead but he’s lost around 100,000 and his advantage as a result. He’s down to around 160,000 and now trails both David Sierra Merino (172,000) and Thomas Muehloecker (185,000). –NW

10:40pm: The High Roller Game
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (100 ante)

The biggest event on the schedule tomorrow is the One Day €25K High Roller. It’s an event beloved by the players as it offers the opportunity to win a large amount of money in a short amount of time. It’s usually a stacked field made up of the biggest names in the game. Because they don’t want to miss that fun event, they all play Day 1A of the Main Event. So, which table in the room currently has the most €25K candidates around it?

By our estimation there are five tables that fit the bill and they line up like this:

Table A: Rocco Palumbo, Charlie Carrel and Dario Sammartino
Table B: David Yan, Orpen Kisacikoglu and Sergey Lebedev
Table C: Ike Haxton, Juha Helppi and Oleksii Khoroshenin
Table D: Martin Kabrhel, Igor Yaroshevskyy and Daniel Dvoress
Table E: Pascal Lelfrancois, Koray Aldemir, Jani Sointula and Luuk Gieles

While Table E contains more names we think there’s a chance that one of that quartet don’t enter, whereas we’re almost certain that everyone at Table A-D will be taking part. –NW

10:30pm: Honesty might actually be the best policy
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (100 ante)

Benjamin Lebor is nothing if not honest. After earlier admitting to a mistake in a hand against Rifat Palevic, he admitted the same in a hand against Henrik Hecklen of Denmark.

Lebor opened for 1,800 in late position which was called by Hecklen in the big blind. The flop came J♣Q♣10♦. Hecklen, holding A♣10♠ checked to Lebor who was playing K♠9♥. He checked too for the 10♣ turn card.

Another check from Hecklen. Lebor bet his straight, making it 3,500 which Hecklen called for the J♠ on the river. This gave Hecklen the full house, which he bet, making it 8,000 to play. Lebor paused for a few moments before calling, only then realising he was beat.
Lebor has a refreshingly honest demeanour in his post hand analysis, often talking to others about his decisions.

“On the turn I should have bet 10,000,” he said to the player next to him, who said he didn’t think it would matter as Hecklen would have called.

“It was a mistake,” added Lebor. “I played it badly.”

Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t. But if you’re looking for advice you could do a lot worse than asking fellow EPT players, something of which Lebor seems aware. – SB

10:20pm: Carrel in tune
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (100 ante)

Charlie Carrel finished second in the Super High Roller earlier today before jumping straight into the Main Event. He’s continuing in the same fashion, just scoring a double up against Rocco Palumbo.

On a board of 4♦4♣8♣9♦5♦ the chips were in the middle, Carrel all in with pocket eights against Palumbo’s ace-four. That was good for Carrel whose stack us up to 40,000. Palumbo drops back to around 30,000. – SB

10:10pm: Gone
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (100 ante)

The following players Main Event hopes have hit the skids: Ali Reza Fatehi, Davide Suriano, Kenny Hallaert, Julian Stuer, Francisco Arce, Konstantin Maslak, Stanislvav Shmal, Peter Siemund, Quentin Lecomte and Beiyan Yu. –NW

10:05pm: ElkY gone
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (100 ante)

Joining Thorel on the rail is Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier. Elky shoved with pocket eights against the pocket nines of Kyosti Isberg. The board ran 5♦6♣Q♦3♣7♦ to send ElkY, a former winner, out of his last EPT Main Event. — SB

10pm: Set for Thorel. Out.
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (100 ante)

Jean-Noel Thorel joins the list of eliminations so far today. He was all-in with ace-four. He flopped a pair and then rivered a set. He’d been standing, but sat down again, only to have his chips taken off him. Dealer pointed at the board, and his opponents cards.
“Ah flush, I didn’t see,” said Thorel, before standing up again and leaving. – SB

9:55pm: Calling it!
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (100 ante)

Although there are still nearly two full levels to go tonight we’re calling the end of day chip leader already. That’s because Mario Adinolfi has a gargantuan stack of 242,000. For reference last year’s Day 1A chip leader finished on ‘only’ 196,000.

The Italian got his latest boost by eliminating Jorma Nuutinen, a man who has had two deep runs in this very event. In his exit hand there was a raise to 1,500 from Jean-Noel Thorel, two players – including Adinolfi – smooth called and Nuutinen then raised to 8,000. Adinolfi was the only caller.

On the 2♥8♠4♦ flop Adinolfi slid out enough to set Nuutinen all-in and the Finnish pro called off his final 30,000 or so and showed A♣K♠. He’d been outflopped by the A♠4♠ of Adinolfi and didn’t catch up on the 2♣ turn or 8♦ river. –NW


Can anyone catch this man?

9:40pm: Also playing today

As we said at the start of the day the EPT Main Event is not the only show in town today. Earlier on the Super High Roller event concluded, which you can read about here. Meanwhile the Eureka Main Event final table plays on. You can follow live updates of that one by clicking here. — SB

9:30pm: Play continues
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (100 ante)

Play restarts after the dinner break. The plan is to play two more 75 minute levels tonight before we bag up. — SB

8:10pm: Dinner break for…
Level 6 – Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

That’s the end of level six and players have been sent out to forage for food. They, and we, will be back in 75 minutes. –NW

8:05pm: Early dinner break for…
Level 6 – Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

The players are scheduled to take a 75-minute dinner break at the end of this level but for some of them it’s started ahead of schedule. That’s because Jean Luc Adam, Jack Salter, Vincent Gabel, Christophe Larquemin, Nick Petrangelo, Andrei Makarov, Iliodoros Kamatakis, Nicola Grieco, Martin Kozlov, and Alexandru Papazian are among the players who’ve been eliminated during level six.

168 of 242 players remain. –NW

7:55pm: Zui Quan poker
Level 6 – Blinds 250/500 (75 ante)

Masterful stuff by Dario Sammartino, who not only displays Zen-like levels concentration but an almost Shaolin understanding that poker is about more than mere cards.

It’s no secret that concentration forms a vital part of a poker player’s armoury, the ability to absorb the information directly and indirectly from your opponents. This Sammartino does even while getting his buttocks massaged, a procedure which ordinarily would both humble and incapacitate the mortal male.

Then Sammartino used the poker equivalent of Zui Quan Kung Fu, that branch of martial art that imitates the drunkard*, and relies on hollow body, wine belly, and presumably supple buttocks. All of which must have unsettled the hell out of Aleksei Smirnov.

Smirnov (the relevance of the name just now occurring to us) had opened to 1,200 which Sammartino then three bet to 3,800. Sammartino was in the seat immediately next to Smirnov cast an almost drunken stare on Smirnov. With head tipped back and to the right, his eyes seemed heavy, longing almost, as well as uncomfortably close.

Either not capable of looking back, or not daring to, Smirnov folded, and showed A♦5♦ in the process. The Shaolin trick had worked for Sammartino, who sat up, feeling no reason to show.

* Not the same as a drunkard attempting martial arts. You’re not Jackie Chan.

7:45pm: The big names keep rolling in
Level 6 – Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

The field continues to swell here but it’s not getting any easier that’s for sure. That’s because Juha Helppi,Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, Ali Reza Fatehi, Andrey Pateychuk and Sergio Aido are amongst the newcomers. –NW

7:30pm: Big hands, big pot
Level 6 – Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

A flurry of pre-flop raises ended with Enzo Del Piero all-in for his final 17,500 and Jon Christensen the man looking to eliminate him. When the cards were turned over it soon became clear why. Christensen showed K♠K♥ and was ahead of Del Piero’s J♣J♠. It stayed that was as the board ran 7♣5♦10♦3♣K♣. After that hand Christensen is up to 66,000. –NW

7:20pm: Carrel can’t get enough
Level 6 – Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

Not long after finishing second in the EPT €50K Super High Roller, Charlie Carrel entered the Main Event. He’s got another High Roller to play tomorrow (the €25K) so it’ no surprise that’s he hopped in this one today. –NW

7:15pm: The departed
Level 6 – Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

As the blinds rise so do the number of exits. Vojtech Ruzicka, Michal Rudnik, Mikhail Semin, Mikita Badziakouski, Zorlu Er, Petr Vrbicky, Thomas Gabriel, Philippe Souki, Mark Walsh, George Meitanis, Martin Kury, Kamel Mokhammad, Ghassan Bitar, Berthold Winz, Ben Heath, Kamil Pas, Kristian Aksnes, Jonathan Bensadoun, Rainer Kempe, Alexander Ziskin, Conor Beresford, Josef Snejberg and Ilkin Amirov are all out. –NW


Heath has hit the rail

6:55pm: Last hands at the fun table
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

The best table in the Main Event field is the next to be broken. It features Martin Kabrhel, Andrei Makarov (still to make a name for himself – see 12.30pm and 5.05pm), new arrival Ramin Hajiyev, Kenny Hallaert, Mikhail Semin, Adrian Mateos, Louis Linard, and Jan-Eric Schwippert, who was in Bellagio a couple of days ago winning $1.4 million in the WPT Five Diamond.

Kabrhel might not have the most chips, but he’s done the most talking, his voice being a regular source of mezzo-soprano noise.
He took on Schwippert in a hand, on a board of J♣10♣3♥6♥. With the action checked Kabrhel asked how much Schwippert had before betting 1,625. Schwippert asked Kabrhel how much he had in reply, and then called.

Kabhrel figured he was now in trouble. “Houston, we have a problem.”

The A♥ on the river never really made it clear whether he was telling the truth or not. Instead if became one of those hateful hands that leaves everyone with questions. Both players checked, but Schwippert immediately folded. Not obliged to show, Kabrhel passed his cards to the dealer unseen.

“He bluff called me and I didn’t get my ten,” laughed Kabhrel. It’s been a fun table, but it doesn’t have much time left. – SB

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6:35pm: Anger management needed for Divkovic
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

Ladies and gentleman we’ve had a chip throwing incident and it wasn’t pretty. This is what happened. Dejan Divkovic had bet 11,525 on the river of a Q♠J♥3♠3♣J♣ board and Alessio Di Cesare was his lone opponent. The Italian was in seat two and Divkovic seat ten. Di Cesare picked up the calling chips and whilst holding them in his hand moved them forward over the betting line as if he was calling. However, he didn’t release them, but instead took them back towards his stack.

He was clearly trying to get a reaction from Divkovic and it was pretty blatant angle shoot. The dealer called him on it and called the floor to the table. They ruled, rightly, that Di Cesare would be made to call. Divkovic’s problem with this is that he was bluffing with 10♠7♠. “It’s not a rule,” he explained to the floor staff, who’d now multiplied from one to two as the situation had escalated.

They explained to Divkovic that it was a rule and even the other players at the table seemed to agree that the ruling was correct and that Divkovic was only so angry because he’d been bluffing. It should be noted that Divkovic still hadn’t shown his cards at this point but sensing the floor weren’t going to change their minds he turned his cards over and Di Cesare then showed A♣K♣ to win the pot.

At this stage Divkovic started to get really worked up, he flung two 5k chips hard into the felt and they bounced across the table. He then stood up and started yelling and shouting at the floor staff in his native tongue. It was a fruitless exercise, he could’ve been explaining the recipe for apple crumble for all the floor staff knew, as they didn’t understand the language he was talking in.

He finished ranting and then, like a man who’d made a professional foul in soccer, walked off before his punishment was dished out. He got a one round penalty, as did Di Cesare and play continued. Both players now have around 67,000. –NW

6:15pm: You believe me, right?
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

“You believe me, don’t you?”

This was Benjamin Lebor, a British player who was looking at a board of Q♦5♣7♠2♦ and his own bet of 20,000. The thing is the bet was a mistake. Or at least that’s what Lebor told Rifat Palevic who was still in the hand.

“Sorry, I made a mistake,” said Lebor. This got everyone’s attention.

“What should I do with my top set now?” said Palevic, and everyone laughed. Was Palevic telling the truth too? Was anyone?
Palevic folded.

“I’ll show the hand,” said Lebor. “I was terrified.”

“Did you have nines or tens?” asked Palevic. Jack Salter, on the right of Lebor said jacks.

Hearing this Lebor had a change of heart. Instead of showing he folded, realising, and explaining, that he was probably giving away too much. Palevic wasn’t done though. He wanted to know if Lebor would have called if he’d shoved.

Lebor nodded. “Pot committed,” he said. By now Lebor was looking for anyone who believed he’d made a mistake. “I’m just saying I wasn’t intending to bet 20, that’s all.”

“I believe you,” said Salter, before looking at Palevic opposite. “Unless you folded top set. They you’ve got a lot to worry about”. – SB

6:10pm: Straight not so great
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

I arrived at the table to see a 9♠5♣6♦7♦ board on the felt and four players still in the hand. Adrej Kostka was first to act and he checked the action to Jeffrey Cormier. The Canadian bet 1,700, Stanislav Shmal called and it was now Roman Papacek’s turn to act. He got out some raising chips and popped it to 5,100. The raising wasn’t over though as Kostka then check-raised all-in for 10,150. Cormier had a big decision, but folded, Shmal also got out of the way and Papacek snap called.

Kostka: J♠8♣ – for a nine high straight
Papacek: 10♣8♥ – for a ten high straight

The 6♣ river paired the board and eliminated Kostka, after the hand, Cormier said he’d folded an eight. If he did it was a very nice fold indeed. –NW

5:55pm: The best event
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

We’ve often wondered which is the better start day when playing an EPT Main Event. Whilst that question may never be conclusively answered we suspect that the balance has, at least for now, tipped towards Day 1B.

That’s because of the Single Day High Roller, which always takes place on Day 1B of the Main Event. It has the knock-on effect of ensuring that anyone who wants to play that event usually enters the Main Event on Day 1A. The players who populate that event are usually pretty darn good so it makes for a tough Day 1A if you’re a qualifier or mere mortal when it comes to poker.

Two of those who’ll be playing that €25,000 event tomorrow are Ramin Hajiyev and Martin Kabrhel. The former is two seats to the left of the latter and they were talking about that event and confirmed to each other that they’ll be playing. “It’s the best event,” said Kabrhel and Hajiyev nodded in agreement. –NW

5:45pm: “Through the looking glass”, or, “It’s not all fireworks on Day 1A”
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

Mateusz Moolhuizen has taken his seat in the main event. Curiously he bears a passing resemblance to Ole Schemion. Curiouser still is that he sits to the immediate right of Ole Schemion.

ole_schemion_prague_13dec16.jpgIt’s possible looki-likey is in the eye of the beholder. Ole Schemion (left) and Mateusz Moolhuizen (right)

Moolhuizen wears a scarf, which he pulls up over his face, perhaps aware of the resemblance. Schemion has a scarf too, perhaps thinking the same thing. – SB

5:25pm: Time for a breather
Level 4 – Blinds 150/300 (50 ante)

We’ve reached the halfway point of the day and the players are now on a 20 minute break. –NW

5:20pm: Sent to the rail
Level 4 – Blinds 150/300 (50 ante)

We’re up to 230 entrants on this first starting flight, of whom 200 remain. Some big names have fallen however as Sam Greenwood, Aliaksei Boika, Konstantinos Nanos and Brian Senie are all out. –NW

5:05pm: Loopholes, logic, and checking the nuts
Level 4 – Blinds 150/300 (50 ante)

So what if Andrei Makarov hadn’t made a name for himself yet on the EPT (see entry at 12.30pm). Maybe he just doesn’t care about that sort of thing.

We got a hint of this thanks to the “checking the nuts” rule. In short it’s not allowed. We like our players to be cut throat on their way to smiling for the cameras. But Makarov, who spent all the following oblivious (he speaks only Russian) and eating a chocolate muffin, stood (sat) accused of not being cut throat enough.

It all started because players wanted to know the rule.

When the first floorman was called and heard what had happened his instinct was to issue a one round penalty. Kenny Hallaert had explained things. There was a king, a queen a jack and a ten on the board, and Makarov had checked with an ace.

“You’re always going to play for the maximum,” was the faultless logic.

The floorman approached Makarov and asked him if he understood English. As everyone knows, this is the only English expression non-English speakers understand. He shook his head.

The floorman turned to Mikhail Semin, a native Russian, and asked him to translate. But Semin, feeling something wasn’t quite right here, said he could translate, but was this based only on the word of Kenny Halleart (who had explained the situation) or the tournament director? Was a penalty really necessary?

There was some back and forth between players and the floor. This is a common rule in tournament poker but it’s also one of its most grey, and is normally considered in degrees.

But players wanted a loophole explained. After all, isn’t there a legitimate reason to check? When you know an opponent won’t call and instead you want information? The floor’s response was simple: surely winning chips is always more important?

Senior staff members were called over, and went to great lengths explaining things, some of which was accepted, other bits not.

“So if I only call with the nuts I get a penalty?” asked Kabhrel, the most incredulous at the table.

“Depends,” replied the floor.

All the while Makarov ate his muffin, not at all interested in the discussion about his fate. Kabrhel finally turned to Makarov.

“But I’m happy you didn’t get a penalty”, he said.

Makarov hadn’t understood the explanation, and didn’t understand this either. He looked towards Semin and, cheeks bulging, asked for answers. Semin duly explained. Makarov replied with a word that sounded like “Informatz”. I’m only guessing, but maybe he was seeking information after all.

No penalty then. Although if the floor had been called immediately, and not a hand or two later, he would have suffered one – if suffering is something Makarov really bothers with. – SB

4:50pm: Super Mario
Level 4 – Blinds 150/300 (50 ante)

The players fastest out of the traps looks to be Mario Adinolfi. The Italian player is up to around 98,000 and is seated at table eight, to the direct left of Alexandros Kolonias. If you remember that’s the table that featured the first two bust outs, so there’s likely a lot of chips on that table. –NW

4:30pm: Chip counts
Level 4 – Blinds 150/300 (50 ante)

As we approach the halfway point of the day here’s how some of the names and notables are getting on. Johnny Lodden, in particular, is off to a great start.

Name Country Chips
Johnny Lodden Norway 76,000
Martin Kabrhel Czech Republic 47,775
Adrian Mateos Spain 47,000
Orpen Kisacikoglu Turkey 46,000
Conor Beresford UK 43,300
Dominik Nitsche Germany 41,000
Dario Sammartino Italy 40,400
Pascal Lefrancois Canada 38,700
Koray Aldemir Austria 37,000
Vladimir Geshkenbein Switzerland 34,500
Steven van Zadelhoff Netherlands 34,500
Julian Stuer Austria 34,000
Igor Yaroshevskyy Ukraine 33,000
Anthony Zinno United States 32,000
Vojtech Ruzicka Czech Republic 30,800
Daniel Dvoress Canada 30,300
Luuk Gieles Netherlands 29,400
Rocco Palumbo Italy 28,800
Aliaksei Boika Belarus 28,500
Steve O’Dwyer Ireland 27,400
Isaac Haxton USA 27,150
Alexandros Kolonias Greece 26,300
Mikita Badziakouski Belarus 26,000
Ben Heath UK 25,825
Preben Stokkan Norway 24,700
Uri Reichenstein Germany 24,000
Davidi Kitai Belgium 24,000
Kenny Hallaert Belgium 22,000
Steffen Sontheimer United Kingdom 21,500
Martin Kozlov Australia 21,000
Konstantin Uspenskiy Russia 20,200
Sam Greenwood Canada 15,400
Nick Petrangelo USA 8,300


Good start for J.Lo

4:20pm: Exits
Level 4 – Blinds 150/300 (50 ante)

It was one of those days at the office for Olli Autio, as he just couldn’t catch a break. He shoved for his final 3,400 with pocket nines and Cortes Marciano gave him a spin from the big blind with A♣5♣. A A♠2♥6♠Q♦J♥ board sent him to the rail.

He’s joined there by Kevin Andriamahefa, Albert Mykhaylyuta, Gil Atzlan, Lukas Sasky, Parker Talbot and Armando Collado Lanuza. –NW

4pm: Tough crowd
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

The field continues to grow and is now up to 218 players. Some of the notables who’ve bought in recently include: Davidi Kitai, Rocco Palumbo, Dario Sammartino, Timothy Adams, Vladimir Troyanovskiy, Sam Greenwood, Steve O’Dwyer, Jack Salter and Jani Sointula. –NW

3:45pm: Newey out then in then out again
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

A short time ago Paul Newey busted out of the Super High Roller in fifth place. That performance earned him €200,000 and he immediately reinvested €5,300 of that cash by entering the Main Event. His stay in this tournament was very brief though as he’s out. As are: Justin Bonomo, Zorlucan Er, Viachos Lampros and Vladimir Alekseev. –NW

3:25pm: Arce so close to a great fold
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Francisco Arce was so close to finding the fold button but just couldn’t quite do it. With 6,300 in the pot he’d bet 4,800 on the river of a K♥Q♠2♣8♣10♣ board and Nino Ullmann then re-raised all-in for what looked to bet 23,700 in total.

Arce spent an absolute age in the tank, leaning forward with a mostly confused stoic look on his face as he did so. It took him over four minutes to reach a decision and when he did it was to call. Ullmann rolled over K♣3♣ for the king high flush and although Arce went to muck, it was an all-in pot so the dealer revealed that Arce held J♣9♣.

That hand drops Arce to 15,600 and boosts Ullmann to 51,500. –NW

3:10pm: Still time to make a name for yourself
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Backing into the nut straight is one thing. Doing so while pulling off a look of total ambivalence is something only few players will even attempt. One such player is Ilkin Amirov.

It happened as if pre-ordained. Inside he might have been yelling yippee. Externally he was all Amirov. Aggressively uninterested. Grace under pressure.

Kamil Pas meanwhile was perfecting the no-show “for crying out loud” expression as he watched Amirov show his hand. He had it down pretty well. It involved one inaudible exhalation, some head wobbling, and then the immediate payment of the ante for the next hand, an act intended to bury the past and create the future as quickly as possible.

then Amirov laughed. Easy. — SB

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2:35pm: Break time
Level 2 – Blinds 75/150

The players are now on a 20 minute break. –NW

2:25pm: All out
Level 2 – Blinds 75/150

We’ve lost about half-a-dozen players so far in the opening two levels. Peter Zamiska, Simon Deadman, Michelin Massey and Robert Kristensen have all seen their tournament come to an end early on Day 1A. –NW

2:10pm: All in, but not all over
Level 2 – Blinds 75/150

Nobody ever said you couldn’t move all-in in level two of a Main Event, and two players just set out to prove it.

In the first instance the pot was opened by Berthold Winz of Germany. Johnny Lodden called from the small blind before Viatcheslav Ortynskiy raised to 1,525 in the big. Winz didn’t flinch. Instead he four-bet 6,425 and Ortynskiy shoved for about 6,000 more. Winz called.

Ortynskiy: J♦J♣
Winz: A♠K♦

The board missed everyone, running 6♥Q♠7♣2♣5♣. Ortynskiy didn’t really look relieved. He said a few things in Russian to a player a few seats along (who I assume understood him) and stacked his chips, up to around 22,000.

On the table next to them Pedro Lamarca was all in on the button, with the board already dealt A♣J♣9♥10♠9♦.

In hindsight you wonder how a player can contain himself when his 9♣9♠ has become quads on the river, but Lamarca did a fine job. Nicholas Di Paolo, also in the hand, was a bundle full of questions. He had J♠10♦, good for two pairs but not much else. He tried his own, slightly cheeky bluff, moving his hand forward containing the 15,000 required call, but pulling it back. No one seemed to notice, including Lamarca.

But if he “bluffed” a call once, he didn’t’ the second time, his curiosity getting the better of him. He paid up. – SB

2:05pm: Jedlicka busts in huge three-way all-in
Level 2 – Blinds 75/150

The pre-flop action is unknown but 14,000 had made its way into the middle pre-flop and there were three players still with cards. A 6♣7♠9♥ flop was on the felt and Alexandros Kolonias (small blind) and Nikolaos Iliakis (middle position) had checked the action to Stefan Jedlicka (button).

The Austrian, who’s won back to back €2K High Rollers on the tour this season, bet 6,000. Kolonias went into the tank and then slid out a bet of 40,000, which was enough to set both of his opponents all-in. Iliakis didn’t think for too long before his committed his remaining 16,000 and Jedlicka then followed him into the pot too! He was all-in for 26,000. The players then revealed:

Kolonias: K♥K♦ – for an overpair
Iliakis: 9♠9♦ – for top set
Jedlicka: 8♠8♣ – for an open ended straight draw

The Q♦Q♥ turn and river meant Iliakis improved to a full house, Kolonias took the side pot with his pair of kings and Jedlicka was eliminated. So far there have only been two eliminations in the tournament and they’ve both happened at the same table. What are the odds of that? –NW


It was a short day for Jedlicka

1:40pm: Good players, bad news
Level 2 – Blinds 75/150

The bad news for anyone planning on entering this event is that the number of big names in this event, with reputations to match, continues to grow. As well as the aforementioned Stefan Jedlicka we’ve spotted Simon Deadman, Mikita Badziakouski and Mr Johnny Lodden.

Lodden holds the record for Main Event cashes with 22 to his name but despite making three final tables he’s not yet managed to win a title. It’d be a fitting end to the EPT if he changed that here in Prague. –NW

1:25pm: Sarwer the first to fall
Level 2 – Blinds 75/150

Jeff Sarwer is the first player out of the Main Event. We didn’t catch the hand live but Stefan Jedlicka gave us the important details. Sarwer held 6♣5♣ and the K♣7♣2♣ flop connected rather nicely with his hand. Trouble is Alexandros Kolonias had flopped the nut flush and that was that for Sarwer. –NW

1:15pm: Level up
Level 2 – Blinds 75/150

Into level two now and 168 players have entered the fray so far. –NW


1pm: More familiar faces
Level 1 – Blinds 50/100

If you draw seat one at table one it’s a safe bet that you won’t have to move seat all day, well unless you lose all your chips and get evicted that is. Occupying that seat today is Dominik Nitsche. The German pro was smiling and busy chatting away to his table mates as I walked past his table.

A renowned ‘flag collector’ he’s third on the all-time list of ‘cashed in different countries’ with in the money finishes in no less than 24 countries. This year has, in terms of money cashed for, been his best to date with the $1,491,914 he’s accumulated so far besting his 2015 total of $1,299,398. He’s got another 19 days to add to that total.

It’s also been a good year for Preben Stokkan. He took down the recent Norwegian championships for a tasty $172,896, which is his largest cash to date. He stone bubbled the €10,000 re-entry event at the start of the festival and will be hoping for better luck in the Main Event.

One player who’s had success in the Main Event is Uri Reichenstein. Back in August he was runner-up to Sebastian Malec at EPT13Barcelona. Can he go one better here? Dany Parlafes – runner-up at EPT11 Deauville – will be hoping to do the same. Elsewhere Tony Dunst and Igor Yaroshevsky are getting acquainted and Justin Bonomo has made the line-up at the Mateos/Kabrhel/Hallaert table even more ridiculous. –NW

12:30pm: Name making on the EPT
Level 1 – Blinds 50/100

It’s the start of Tuesday for most, but for one man roaming the tournament room it’s most definitely still Monday night. He staggers a little, carries a plastic cup of not-water and wears a glazed look. In some ways he’s the happiest man in town, but that’ll change soon.

He was watching the fun table, full of big name players, but realistically he just needed something to let his eyes rest on for a few minutes. He’d picked a good table though. There were five players at it, four of them with a right to say the EPT had launched their career.

Martin Kabrhel was in the one seat, chips guarded by a plastic hippopotamus, winner of EPT side events and close runs in the Main. Kenny Hallaert was opposite in the four seat, perhaps known now for his November Nine appearance, but a player who cut his teeth working on and then playing the EPT. Along from him was Mikhail Semin, who can also claim a deep run in the WSOP Main Event, but who is one of the voices of Russian EPT commentary. Then at the far end sits Adrian Mateos, who didn’t take long to etch his name into the about-to-be-closed EPT history books by winning the EPT Grand Final a few years ago (admittedly after making his name at the WSOP Europe).

That’s a lot of names made.

Then there is Andrei Makarov in the two seat, who hasn’t yet made his name.

He’s set about trying early though, raising a queen high pot against Kabrhel who then re-raised. Makarov, with an eye for the dramatic, combined his chips into one tower in a show of strength. Kabrhel wasn’t fooled. Neither was Makarov, who tossed his cards into the middle.
A good start for Kabrhel. The man still stuck in Monday night meanwhile stumbled off towards morning. – SB


One of many names made on the EPT

12:20pm: One last chance to win
Level 1 – Blinds 50/100

The last EPT Main Event is under way but before it kicked off there was a short introductory video with a look back at some of the faces and moments from EPT history. Victoria Coren-Mitchell, Jake Cody, Liv Boeree, Daniel Negreanu and Vanessa Selbst were just some of the players who explained what the EPT has meant to them.

The video ended with the line ‘one last chance to win’ and just over 130 players have, thus far, elected to take their last shot at an EPT title today. An early contender for ‘table of death’ features Adrian Mateos, Martin Kabrhel and Kenny Hallaert. Elsewhere Alexandros Kolonias and Orpen Kisacikoglu, two players who fired the €50,000 Super High Roller, find themselves at the same table.


Mateos is at a tough table

Other notables who arrived for the shuffle up and deal include: Ike Haxton, Ben Heath, Nick Petrangelo and Steven van Zadelhoff. Lastly hats off to table eight where six players, including Sergey Lebedev, were dealt in on the first hand. That’s practically full ring for level one of the Main Event. –NW

treats_prague.jpgJust some of the treats available during the EPT Prague festival

11:50am: Not one event but three!

The Main Event is not the only show in town today. There are two final tables taking place. One is the Eureka Main Event final, coverage of which you can follow here, and the other being the €50K Super High Roller, which you can read updates of here. Not only that you can watch the action for yourself on EPT Live. Hiding all this on your work computer when the boss walks by is going to be tough. Do what you can. — SB

11:40am: Main Event on the way

We’re 20 minutes away from the start of the EPT PRague Main Event. The plan today is for eight levels of 75 minutes, with a 75 minute dinner break after level 6. That means you’ll have something to refresh all the way through to about midnight tonight. — SB

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PokerStars Blog reporting team on the EPT13 Prague Main Event: Stephen Bartley, Nick Wright. Photography by Neil Stoddart, Tomas Stacha and Mickey May. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog.


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