• PLAYERS: 1 (108 unique entries; 25 re-entries)

Click for a full recap of today’s action.

12:55am: Cooler seals it for Schillhabel, winning him €248,046
Sergio Aido wins €177,965 for second

Level 28 – Blinds 50,000-100,000 (10,000 ante)

It’s all over in Prague–and a real sickener for Sergio Aido to end things. Stefan Schillabel had the best hand pre-flop, but saw it outdrawn on the flop. But then he spiked the river and got full value.

Here’s what happened. Aido opened to 230,000 and Schillhabel three-bet to 700,000. Aido called and they went to a flop of 9♦5♠9♠.

Schillhabel bet 275,000 and Aido called. Then they went to the 8♣ on the turn. Schillhabel bet 550,000 and Aido called.

The K♠ came on the river and Schillhabel moved all-in, covering Aido’s stack of round about a million. Aido checked his hand again, shrugged, and then called. Schillhabel punched the air as he turned over his K♥K♦ and knew he had won.

Aido needed pocket nines to beat him, and he didn’t have that. He had 10♥9♥ for flopped trips, which were second best at the end.

That too is the fate of Aido, who takes €177,965 as per the earlier deal. Schillhabel gets the spare €25,000 to bring his total prize to €248,046.

12:55am: The comeback starts again as Aido doubles
Level 28 – Blinds 50,000-100,000 (10,000 ante)

The by now well lubricated rail are certainly getting their fair share of entertainemnt during this heads-up battle as Sergio Aido just doubled again. This hand didn’t continue the pre-flop shoveathon, with the money going in down the streets.

It started, as many pots have done this level, with a limp. Aido provided it and Stefan Schillhabel knuckled the table to indicate to the dealer that a flop was required. It came 8♦5♦7♥, Schillhabel decided to lead for 125,000. Call from Aido. The pattern repeated on the K♦ turn. Bet of 325,000 from Schillhabel. Call from Aido.

The J♥ fell on fifth street and Schillhabel set Aido all-in. The Spaniard didn’t take too long to call off his final 915,000 with J♦4♦ and Schillhabel couldn’t beat it as his 8♥7♠ – for flopped two pair – had been flushed on the turn.

That pot boosts Aido to 2,950,000 and drops Schillhabel to 3,700,000. –NW

12:50am: Shove, shove, shove, shove
Level 28 – Blinds 50,000-100,000 (10,000 ante)

Sergio Aido has shoved three times without getting a call in the past few minutes. Stefan Schillhabel has shoved once on Aido, and that didn’t get called either. Aido has about 13 big blinds now. — HS

12:45am: Aido flushed
Level 28 – Blinds 50,000-100,000 (10,000 ante)

Sergio Aido is again perilously short, especially as a big blind is now 100,000, but can count himself distinctly unlucky to lose a recent sizeable pot.

Aido checked his option after Stefan Schillabel completed from the small blind. That brought the flop of 10♣Q♣7♥ and Aido fired 140,000. Schillhabel called.

The 3♣ came on the turn and Aido bet 325,000. Schillhabel called again.

The 6♣ made it a very club-dominated board and both players checked. Aido had Q♠7♦ and had flopped two pair. But Schillhabel had 4♠7♣ and that lone club played.

Schillhabel had 4.9 million at the end of that hand, while Aido has about 1.5 million. — HS

12:35am: Vamos! Aido gets a double
Level 27 – Blinds 40,000-80,000 (10,000 ante)

Sergio Aido refuses to be beaten and has just doubled up to get back in the game. The hand started innocently enough with Aido limping and Stefan Schillhabel checking his option. Aido bet 110,000 on the flop, 275,000 on the turn and was all-in for 760,000 on the river of a 4♦6♦8♣Q♠10♣ board.

Schillhabel had called the flop and turn bets reasonably quickly but he understandably needed a bit more time on the river. His action was the same though, he called! Aido showed K♦K♠ for a sneakily limped pair of kings, while Schillhabel had looked him up with a bluff cathcher, 9♦6♥ to be precise.

With that big pot Aido is up to 2,470,000, while Schillhabel drops to 4,180,000. –NW

12:30am: Aido in the danger zone
Level 27 – Blinds 40,000-80,000 (10,000 ante)

He is, you know. Sergio Aido is down to 15 big blinds after Stefan Schillhabel has continued his dominance.

12:25am: Schillhabel past 5 million
Level 27 – Blinds 40,000-80,000 (10,000 ante)

Stefan Schillhabel is now back in the commanding lead — 5 million to about 1.4 million — and we may soon be crowning a champion. He has won all the significant pots in the past 10 minutes, including this one, which pushed him beyond that magic 5 million.

Sergio Aido opened, making it 175,000 to play, and Schillhabel called. They both checked the 9♠J♣K♥ flop, and also checked the 10♠ turn. After the 8♠ came on the river, Schillhabel checked and drew a bet of 200,000 from Aido.

But Schillhabel raised to 725,000–the river check-raise had been Aido’s trick to this point. Aido shrugged, shook his head and folded. — HS

12:10am: Another lead change
Level 27 – Blinds 40,000-80,000 (10,000 ante)

This heads-up battle continues to swing back and forth with Stefan Schillhabel back in the lead after winning two pots in a row.

In the first he opened to 175,000 and Sergio Aido called. The flop fell 10♣8♣7♥, there was a bet of 200,000 from Schillhabel and a call from Aido. Neither player bet on the 2♠ turn or 3♠ river and Schillhabel’s 9♥8♥ bested Aido’s K♥7♣ at showdown.

A couple of hands later Schillhabel elected to limp the button and he called after Aido had made it 280,000 to play. Aido decided against a continuation bet on the 9♠J♦K♥ flop and checked the action to Schillhabel. He bet 325,000 and Aido called. On the 3♣ turn Schillhabel fired a further 500,000 and Aido was quick to release his hand. –NW

12:05am: Back to even
Level 27 – Blinds 40,000-80,000 (10,000 ante)

And all of a sudden, the stacks are almost even after Sergio Aido won a chunk.

Aido raised to 180,000 and Stefan Schillhabel called. They both then checked the 10♥Q♣6♣ flop and then Schillhabel check-called Aido’s bet of 150,000 on the 10♣ turn.

The river brought the 9♥ and it went check-call again, this time Aido firing 550,000. Aido tabled 9♠9♦ and Schillhabel groaned. “What a river,” he said. He then told his rail, in German, that he rivered the straight when Aido hit his full house. They were less than sympathetic, with Steffan Sondtheimer telling him that if there was a full house out there, he could have folded the straight.

The pot left Schillhabel with 3.4 million to Aido’s 3.1 million. And a couple of small pots later, Aido was back in the lead. — HS

12am: Momentum back with Schillhabel
Level 27 – Blinds 40,000-80,000 (10,000 ante)

Neither player can seem to hold onto a lead and Stefan Schillhabel is now the player with the advantage. A series of decent sized pots, that have all gone his way, have seen him open up a near 2:1 advantage over Sergio Aido.

The biggest of those pots started with a raise to 180,000 from Aido and a call from the German. Neither player bet the 8♥8♦10♠ flop but Aido bet 150,000 on the K♣ turn. Call from Schillhabel. On the K♥ river Aido bet again, this time 500,000 was the size of the bet. Schillhabel wasn’t calling this time though and he raised to 1,300,000, which was enough to take the pot.

It’s now roughly 4,300,000 plays 2,300,000 in Schillhabel’s favour. –NW

11:50pm: More for Aido
Level 27 – Blinds 40,000-80,000 (10,000 ante)

The momentum is well and truly back with Sergio Aido and he just won another two decent-sized pots.

The first came when he raised to 180,000 (we’re in a new blind level, by the way) and Stefan Schillhabel called taking them to the flop of 10♦J♥9♥. Schillhabel checked and Aido bet 225,000. Schillhabel called.

The 4♥ appeared on the turn and Schillhabel checked again. Aido bet 550,000 this time and Schillhabel called. The river was a fourth heart. It was the ace. Both players checked.


Heads up through the looking glass

Schillhabel had 10♣5♥, but was always behind Aido’s J♣10♥.

Not long afterwards, Aido limped from the small blind, then called when Schillhabel raised to 250,000. They both checked the K♠K♣7♦ flop and then Schillhabel led 215,000 at the 6♥ turn. Aido called.

They both checked the 8♦ river and Schillhabel tabled A♦6♦. It couldn’t beat Aido’s Q♥7♥. — HS

11:40pm: More for Aido
Level 26 – Blinds 30,000-60,000 (10,000 ante)

The stacks are almost level now as Sergio Aido just took another chunky pot to close the gap on Stefan Schillhabel. The Spaniard raised to 140,000 from the button and Schillhabel stuck around. That took them to a 5♥4♥3♣ flop on which Aido bet 175,000 and Schillhabel called.

The German called a further 450,000 on the 2♥ turn and both players checked the 8♥ river. Schillhabel showed 7♦3♥ for a flush, but Aido had a better one with 10♥7♣ and he was awarded the pot. It’s now roughly 3,500,000 for Schillhabel and 3,100,000 for Aido. –NW

11:35pm: Aido doubles up
Level 26 – Blinds 30,000-60,000 (10,000 ante)

It was Sergio Aido’s turn to come back from the brink as this fascinating heads-up battle continues to swing back and forth.

Aido limped from the button, Stefan Schillhabel raised to 175,000, Aido then moved all-in for 1,185,000 and Schillhabel said. “We can do this,” before calling.

Aido: A♣3♣
Schillhabel: A♥4♥

It looked like a chop was on the cards but the 7♣6♠3♦3♠2♠ board made trips for Aido and he doubled up to 2,390,000. Schillhabel is down to 3,640,000. –NW

11:15pm: Schillhabel now with a big lead
Level 26 – Blinds 30,000-60,000 (10,000 ante)

Stefan Schillhabel has continued his resurgence and it’s Sergio Aido now who is left on the ropes.

Two hands in particular are of note, both played to the same pattern and both ending with two pair for Schillhabel.

On the first Aido raised to 150,000 and Schillhabel called. The flop came A♣9♠2♥ and Schillhabel check-called Aido’s bet of 110,000.

The turn was the 6♦ and it went check-call again, this time for 540,000.

The K♥ came on the river and both players checked. Schillhabel’s 6♣2♣ was good.

Not long later, Aido raised to 135,000 from the small blind and Schillhabel called. The flop came J♦5♠K♥ and Schillhabel check-called Aido’s bet of 125,000. Anyone seen this pattern before?

The 9♥ came o the turn and Schillhabel check-called Aido’s bet of 325,000. Then they both checked the 3♥ river. This time Schillhabel’s J♣3♦ forced a muck from Aido. — HS

11:15pm: Schillhabel doubles through Aido
Level 26 – Blinds 30,000-60,000 (10,000 ante)

The stacks are now almost even after Stefan Schillhabel got a full double up. The hand started with a raise to 140,000 from Aido. Schillhabel called and te two players saw a A♦9♦K♦ flop. Schillhabel check-called a bet of 100,000 and that took them to the 8♠ turn.

Both players checked and the 7♣ completed the board. This is where the pot exploded, Schillhabel checked and Aido overbet the pot as he pushed out 620,000. Schillhabel announced that he was all-in and the dealer cut his chips down to reveal the all-in bet was 1,490,000 so another 770,000 to Aido. The Spaniard duly called and Schillhabel revealed Q♦5♦ for the flopped nut flush. Aido clearly couldn’t beat that hand, but as it was an all-in the dealer was duty bound to reveal his hand, which was K♣7♦ for two-pair.

After that hand Schillhabel has 3,480,000 and Aido 3,170,000. –NW

11:05pm: Aido takes stranglehold
Level 26 – Blinds 30,000-60,000 (10,000 ante)

What a great start to heads-up play for Sergio Aido, who won a huge pot on the first hand back and may have taken a stranglehold on this tournament now.

It started in innocuous fashion, with Stefan Schillhabel limping from the small blind and Aido checking his option. They saw a flop of 7♦3♥6♣ and Aido checked. Schillhabel bet 60,000 and Aido called, leading to the J♣ on the turn. Aido checked again and Schillhabel bet again, this time 180,000. Aido called once more.

The river was the 4♥ and Aido took a peek at his cards. He checked again and then saw Schillhabel empty the clip with a third barrel bet. It was 280,000. Aido did a very good job of looking like he was pondering a fold, but actually opted to raise. He moved out 725,000.

Schillhabel was committed to the hand and called. Aido turned over 5♣6♥ for the straight and Schillhabel mucked. Aido is getting a lot of value from his monsters.

Schillhabel now has only about 1.6 million. — HS

10:45pm: Charlie Carrel eliminated in third place (€159,548)
Level 26 – Blinds 30,000-60,000 (10,000 ante)

Two hands in a row did for Charlie Carrel, with the first proving most significant. He three-bet all-in from the small blind and Stefan Schillhabel, who was the original raiser, instantly called all-in.

“Bad read,” said Carrel as he opened Q♠10♥, indeed it was as he was dominated by Schillhabel’s K♦Q♣. “Are we all-in?” asked one of Carrel’s friends. He wasn’t but it was most of his stack at risk and the 6♦5♣3♣2♦7♦ board meant Schillhabel’s hand held and he doubled from 1,170,000 to a little over 2,400,000.

Carrel was left with just 220,000 and it went in on the next hand with Q♠8♥. Schillhabel called from the big blind with pocket kings and Carrel was in deep trouble. He’d sucked out a lot today but couldn’t repeat the trick as the 3♠A♣6♠6♦10♥ board meant the cowboys held up. Carrel collets €159,548 as per the earlier four-way deal.

The two remaining players are now taking a 20 minute break. –NW


Carrel – out in third

10:35pm: Carrel gets some back
Level 26 – Blinds 30,000-60,000 (10,000 ante)

We’re starting to see more limped pots now but from small acorns giant trees grow and a limped pot between Stefan Schillhabel and Charlie Carrel just developed into something a little more significant.

On the A♠4♠5♥ flop Schillhabel bet 60,000 and Carrel smooth called in position. On the 3♥ turn Schillhabel relinquished the betting lead, but called Carrel’s bet of 60,000. On the 7♠ river Carrel bet 275,000 and Schillhabel again check-called. Carrel rolled over J♣2♠ for the rivered straight and Schillhabel mucked.


Stefan Schillhabel and Charlie Carrel

That pot means Carrel climbs to 1.5 million, Schillhabel drops to 1.3 million and both still trail Sergio Aido, who has 3.875 million by some distance. –NW

10:10pm: Schillhabel shoves the river
Level 25 – Blinds 25,000-50,000 (10,000 ante)

Having dropped to around 20 big blinds Stefan Schillhabel just bet every street in a pot against Sergio Aido. The German opened on the button and Aido called out of the big blind. He then fired out bets of 125,000 on the flop, 215,000 on the turn and a 545,000 all-in shove on the river of a K♦3♣10♦4♦4♠ board. Aido called the first two bets but the third was too rich for his blood.

“Show one card, it’s nearly the end of the tournament,” pleaded Charlie Carrel to Schillhabel and the German obliged and flipped the Q♦ as he took the pot. –NW

10:05pm: Aido continues to build
Level 25 – Blinds 25,000-50,000 (10,000 ante)

Sergio Aido is now beyond 4 million having consolidated his chip lead in a pot against Stefan Schillhabel.

Schillhabel opened to 100,000 from the button and Aido called in the big blind. They then saw a flop of 4♠2♣10♣ and Aido check-called Schillhabel’s continuation bet of 95,000.

The K♦ came on the turn and both players checked. Then the 10♦ appeared on the river and Aido bet 375,000. Schillhabel quickly called, but mucked even more quickly when Aido tabled the 10♥2♥. It’s not quite the World Series of the 1970s, but Aido profited anyway with Doyle Brunson’s favourite hand.

Charlie Carrel offered his appreciation for Aido’s check on the flop, which set up the call on the river. Schillhabel is now down to about 730,000.– HS


Stefan Schillhabel: Low point

10:05pm: Big pot for Aido takes him into the chip lead
Level 25 – Blinds 25,000-50,000 (10,000 ante)

Since play became three-handed Sergio Aido has noticeably ramped up the aggression. He’d three bet three times without meeting any resistance and then played a big pot against Charlie Carrel. The Spaniard opened to 110,000 from under-the-gun and Carrel defended from the big blind.

On the 4♦7♦10♦ flop Aido bet 135,000, Carrel check-raised to 325,000 and Aido made the call. The Q♠ hit the turn, Aido called a further 375,000 and Carrel then checked the action to him on the J♦ river. The UKIPT3 London champion took out one headphone and said, “Did he check?” Carrel nodded and Aido then pushed out a bet of 600,000.

“You’re never bluffing,” said Carrel and after about 20 seconds thought he mucked. After that hand Aido is up to 3,200,000, Carrel drops to 2,300,000 and Stefan Schillhabel has 1,300,000. –NW

9:50pm: Boika out in fourth, takes €218,944
Level 25 – Blinds 25,000-50,000 (10,000 ante)

Aliaksei Boika is out, unable to add €10,000 glory to the EPT Main Event title he won in Malta in October. Officially, Sergio Aido knocked him out, but it was Charlie Carrel who did the lion’s share of the damage.

Boika opened to 100,000 from under the gun and Carrel three bet his small blind. He made it 300,000 to play. Boika took a little while to call, but did indeed push out the extra and bought himself a peek at the 2♠3♣8♠ flop.

Carrel immediately led for 215,000 and Boika, after another pause, moved all-in over the top. The stacks were near even, but Carrel didn’t want a count. He called instantly and showed J♥J♣.

Boika’s 6♣8♣ never caught up after the 10♦ turn and 2♦ river.

“Do you cover me?” Boika said.

“I think so,” Carrel replied. But he was wrong. Boika actually had 200,000 behind, which is four big blinds.


Boika no more

He got one of them in on the very next hand, a forced bet as Carrel now had the button. Action passed to Sergio Aido in the small blind and he shoved. Boika duly committed his last three blinds.

Aido: A♠10♣
Boika: A♦2♠

The board offered no hope and Boika heads home. He takes €218,944, as agreed by the deal earlier. — HS

9:45pm: Carrel takes the chip lead
Level 25 – Blinds 25,000-50,000 (10,000 ante)

We noted below how the stacks of the four remaining players are not only getting shallower, but closer together. As if to illustrate that point Charlie Carrel just won a pot of around 17.5 big blinds and as a result he’s taken the chip lead.

In the hand in question Stefan Schillhabel opened to 110,000 from the button and Carrel called from the small blind. The action was checked all the way to the river of a 2♥J♣K♣A♦K♠ board. At this point Carrel bet 300,000 and Schillhabel snap called. Carrel showed K♥10♣ to win the pot.

On the next hand Aliaksei Boika took a small pot from Sergio Aido and the players now stack up like this:

Charlie Carrel: 1.825 million
Aliaksei Boika: 1.77 million
Stefan Schillhabel: 1.6 million
Sergio Aido: 1.45 million

It’s anyone’s tournament at this stage. –NW

9:35pm: Evening and shallowing
Level 25 – Blinds 25,000-50,000 (10,000 ante)

Stefan Schillhabel has retaken the chip lead in a contest that is evening out, even as it is shallowing. At this stage the approximate counts are as follows:

Stefan Schillhabel: 1.9 million
Sergio Aido: 1.7 million
Aliaksei Boika: 1.650 million
Charlie Carrel: 1.420 million

The latest boost to Schillhabel’s stack came courtesy of Boika. Boika raised to 100,000 from under the gun/cutoff and Schillhabel three bet the button, making it 265,000. The blinds folded and Boika called.

The flop brought the 8♠K♠A♥ and Boika check-called Schillhabel’s continuation bet of 115,000. The 4♥ appeared on the turn and Boika checked again. This time Schillhabel bet 315,000 and Boika folded.

One previous small pots was won by Carrel, through Boika, when Carrel rivered a king and won with K♥5♥. There was no betting through flop, turn and river after Carrel had defended his big blind. Aido also won a small one from Schillhabel when he defended his big blind to a button raise with 7♠3♠ and rivered a seven. There was no betting on that board either. — HS

9:30pm: Carrel climbing
Level 25 – Blinds 25,000-50,000 (10,000 ante)

With just over 13 big blinds to his name at the start of this level Charlie Carrel was the clear short stack. While he’s still occupies the basement in the chip counts, he has at least gone someway to working his way out of the danger zone.

He got his biggest boost by winning a pot against Sergio Aido, in which the Spaniard opened from under-the-gun and Carrel called from the big blind. Neither player bet the 7♣2♦Q♣ flop, but on the 8♦ turn Carrel wagered 125,000 and Aido called. The 9♣ completed the board and Carrel fired out a bet of 300,000. Although Aido double checked his cards twice while thinking about what to do a fold always looked on the cards and that’s what happened.

After a good opening quarter of the level Carrel is up to 1,150,000 (23 big blinds) while Aido has dropped to 1,650,000. –NW

9:17pm: Carrel returns
Level 25 – Blinds 25,000-50,000 (5,000 ante)

Charlie Carrel is back, duly apologetic, and off they go again. On the first hand back, Aliaksei Boika raised and Carrel jammed. That’s not very polite. Boika folded. — HS

9:15pm: Grace and favour
Level 25 – Blinds 25,000-50,000 (5,000 ante)

It is now due to start playing again, but Charlie Carrel is not in his seat. The tournament director explained to the other players that he would allow Carrel another three minutes to return, after which they were free to play on without him.

The three minutes ticked past and still no sign of Carrel, so the TD said that they could indeed restart. However, Aliaksei Boika said, “We don’t mind waiting” and Stefan Schillhabel added, “I think he would do the same.” Sergio Aido nodded his assent.

With that they agreed to wait for Carrel to get back to the table from whichever place he could find in Prague to suit his dietary requirements. It’s not that easy in Central Europe to find suitable places, so it’s a real act of kindness from the remaining three to wait for Carrel. — HS

8:10pm: Dinner counts
Level 24 – Blinds 20,000-40,000 (5,000 ante)

Off to dinner. Here’s how they stack up:

Aliaksei Boika: 2.065 million
Sergio Aido: 2.05 million
Stefan Schillhabel: 1.855 million
Charlie Carrel: 665,000

They’ll be back in one hour.

8pm: Bold Aido profits with junk
Level 24 – Blinds 20,000-40,000 (5,000 ante)

Aliaksei Boika opened to 80,000 from under the gun and Sergio Aido three-bet from the big blind. He made it 255,000 to go. Boika called.

There was no betting, however, on the flop of 2♠7♥5♣ nor the A♠ turn nor the A♥ river. Aido turned over 7♦3♦ and among the worst pre-flop hands was now the best. Boika mucked. — HS

7:55pm: Two flushes for Aido
Level 24 – Blinds 20,000-40,000 (5,000 ante)

Since play restarted the two major pots have both invloved Stefan Schillhabel and Sergio Aido. Both pots went the way of the Spaniard thanks to diamond flushes.

In the first Schillhabel raised to 80,000 and Aido called from the big blind. The Q♣A♥3♦ flop was checked through and the 9♦ landed on the turn. At this point Aido bet 100,000 and Schillhabel called. On the 4♦ river Schillhabel check-called a further 200,000 but mucked when Aido showed Q♦8♦.

Soon after they were at it again with the same pre-flop betting occuring. This time they were greeted with a 8♥10♦Q♦ flop and Aido check-called a bet of 125,000. The 4♦ turn and A♥ river went check-check and Aido’s 7♦6♦ proved the winner. Charlie Carrel gave Schillhabel a good natured needle by saying. “The dream of that trophy is slipping away.”

After those two knocks Schillhabel is down to 1,900,000 while Aido is back up to 1,650,000. –NW

7:45pm: Deal agreed
Level 24 – Blinds 20,000-40,000 (5,000 ante)

Well, that took longer than it probably should have, but the four remaining players have struck a deal. They’re leaving €25,000 for the winner, who will of course also be taking the trophy, but here’s what they have locked up:

Stefan Schillhabel: €223,046
Aliaksei Boika: €218,944
Sergio Aido: €177,965
Charlie Carrel: €159,548


Deal negotiations in Prague

7:15pm: Looking at the numbers
Level 24 – Blinds 20,000-40,000 (5,000 ante)

The four remaining players are looking at the numbers ahead of a possible deal. Here’s how they stand at the moment:

Name Country Chips Big blinds
Stefan Schillhabel Germany 2,465,000 62
Aliaksei Boika Belarus 2,305,000 58
Sergio Aido Spain 1,130,000 28
Charlie Carrel UK 750,000 19

7:10pm: Aido hits the river to double
Level 24 – Blinds 20,000-40,000 (5,000 ante)

Stefan Schillhabel has taken the first knock to his stack in a long while after he doubled up Sergio Aido.

Aido was under the gun and moved all-in for 490,000. Schillhabel was in the small blind, got a count, thought for 45 seconds and then moved all-in as well. Charlie Carrel folded from the big blind.

Schillhabel: A♥9♦
Aido: K♣J♦

The board ran 6♠Q♣7♠7♦J♥. Aido was out of his seat after the turn was dealt, but broke out into a smile and sat back down after spiking the river. Schillhabel dropped back to 2.65 million. –MC

7pm: Brian Senie eliminated in fifth place (€95,200)
Level 24 – Blinds 20,000-40,000 (5,000 ante)

It was only a matter of time before one of the numerous all-ins turned into more than a pre-flop blinds grab. So it proved. From the button Aliaksei Boika opened to 80,000, Brian Senie shoved from the small blind for exactly 800,000 and, after getting a count, Boika called.

Senie: J♣8♣
Boika: A♥J♦


Aliaksei Boika: On the up

Boika had Senie dominated and the man from the United States didn’t get there as the board ran K♦7♠J♠3♥Q♠ to boost Boika to around 2,300,000. –NW


Brian Senie loses it all

6:55pm: Three shoves no call
Level 24 – Blinds 20,000-40,000 (5,000 ante)

Lots of pre-flop action, but that’s where it’s ending as a plethora of all-ins are, for now, going uncalled.

In the past three hands Charlie Carrel has shoved twice and Sergio Aido once. It was the Spaniard’s call that looked the most likely to find a customer. He three-bet all-in for 445,000 but Aliaksei Boika, who’d raised to 80,000, elected to fold.

Along with Carrel and Aido, former chip leader Brian Senie completes a triumvirate of players who are in the danger zone. –NW

6:45pm: More for Schillhabel
Level 24 – Blinds 20,000-40,000 (5,000 ante)

Stefan Schillhabel has nearly half the chips in play now after he won yet anther pot.

He opened to 80,000 from the button and Sergio Aido defended his big blind to see a 3♥2♣3♠ flop appear. Schillhabel continued for 60,000 and Aido check-called to the 8♠ turn where he called another 185,000. The river was the K♥ and both players checked.

Aido opened A♥7♣ but lost out to Schillhabel’s 8♥9♣. Aido dropped to 470,000, the shortest stack of the five. –MC

6:40pm: Three in a row for Schillhabel
Level 24 – Blinds 20,000-40,000 (5,000 ante)

It’s pedal to the metal for Stefan Schillhabel at the moment. He is utilising his big stack to stunning effect. Three pots in a row went his way, the first two were simple raise and takes but the third went all the way to showdown.

It started with a raise to 80,000 from Aliaksei Boika, which Schillhabel called from the big blind. He called a further 80,000 on the 10♥J♥Q♣ flop and both players then checked down the 2♠ turn and 3♥ river. The chip leader turned over 10♦8♥ and Boika mucked. –NW

6:35: New level
Level 24 – Blinds 20,000-40,000 (5,000 ante)

Here are the counts as they go into Level 24.

Name Country Chips Big blinds
Stefan Schillhabel Germany 2,460,000 62
Aliaksei Boika Belarus 1,450,000 36
Brian Senie USA 880,000 22
Sergio Aido Spain 830,000 21
Charlie Carrel UK 715,000 18

6:30pm: Senie and Carrel all-in
Level 23 – Blinds 15,000-30,000 (5,000 ante)

The Brian Senie and Charlie Carrel duel erupted into a pre-flop all-in showdown. They both had big hands though, and it ended in a chop.

Senie raised into Carrel’s big blind again (for 70k) and then made a casual looking call after Carrel three-bet all-in for around 715,000.

Carrel: A♣K♦
Senie: A♥Q♠

The board ran 5♣3♠2♠5♠3♥ make both two pair with an ace kicker.

“I wasn’t hoping for a queen,” Senie said. “I’m okay with the chop.”

Carrel said he didn’t deserve to win it either. Friendship back on, folks. –MC

6:25pm: Schillhabel in charge
Level 23 – Blinds 15,000-30,000 (5,000 ante)

Stefan Schillhabel is streaking away at the top of the chip counts. The German is closing in on the 2.5 million mark after winning a big pot against Brian Senie.

Senie started the action with a raise to 70,000 from under the gun. Schillhabel called on his immediate left. On the 10♠10♥2♥ flop Senie check-called a bet of 85,000 and the 7♣ hit the turn. Once more Senie checked and again Schillhabel bet, this time 175,000.


Stefan Schillhabel: Dominant

There would be no calling from Senie on this street. Instead he raised to 415,000. Schillhabel called.

After all the excitement of the turn the 4♠ river was checked through and Schillhabel’s 5♥5♠ proved the winner at showdown. He’s up to 2.475 million while Senie drops to 1.05 million. –NW

6:10pm: Carrel bombs river to oust Senie
Level 23 – Blinds 15,000-30,000 (5,000 ante)

Charlie Carrel and Brian Senie have been going after each other’s big blind in the last couple of orbits. I don’t think a different kind of “thing” is developing; it’s probably just because play is five-handed. Maybe.

Carrel opened from the cutoff and Senie defended his big blind. The flop spread Q♠5♠5♣ and Carrel had a c-bet check-called before the 3♣ turn was checked through. The river came as A♥ and Senie check-tank-folded to a 165,000 bet from Carrel.

Two hands later Senie raised into Carrel’s big blind and the Brit made a quick fold. Senie pumped his right fist, an action Carrel missed. –MC

5:55pm: Aido bounces back
Level 23 – Blinds 15,000-30,000 (5,000 ante)

Although he lost a small amount of his remaining chips in a hand to Brian Senie immediately after doubling up Aliaksei Boika, Sergio Aido bounced straight back into contention with a double up of his own through Stefan Schillhabel.

This one started with a raise to 65,000 from Schillhabel and a three-bet jam to 550,000 from Aido in the small blind. Schillhabel called.

Aido: K♣K♦
Schillhabel: A♦8♦

The flop brought a big sweat for Aido. It came 10♦5♦3♣. The K♠ on the turn didn’t seem to change an enormous amount, but it was actually crucial, especially when the river brought the 3♦.


Up and down with Sergio Aido

Schillhabel thus filled his flush, but Aido now made a full house. He moves north of 1 million again. Schillhabel still has 1.7 million.

5:55pm: Boika doubles through Aido
Level 23 – Blinds 15,000-30,000 (5,000 ante)

The action folded to Charlie Carrel on the button and he elected to open to 60,000 from his stack of around 450,000. Next to act was Sergio Aido and it seemed the Spaniard had a decent hand as he re-raised all-in. That raise was for an effective 765,000 as that was the stack size of Aliaksei Boika, who was in the big blind.

Boika paused for around 20 seconds before he announced he too was all-in and Carrel got out the way. Aido opened 7♠7♥ and had picked a bad time to shove and he’d run into the K♦K♣ of Boika. The cowboys held up as the 5♣3♦Q♠J♥6♥ board didn’t improve Aido’s hand. He’s down to 680,000 as a result of that loss. –NW

5:25pm: Blossoming friendship over?
Level 23 – Blinds 15,000-30,000 (5,000 ante)

Charlie Carrel and Brian Senie have tangled a lot in this event and seem to have built up a mutual respect. A friendship was blossoming but that may not be the case any more. Carrel was involved in a big pot against Stefan Schillhabel and Senie called the clock on him; something that Carrel thought was dubious.

Anyway, the hand from the beginning: Schillhabel completed from the small blind and Carrel checked his option. The flop fanned 3♦K♣9♠ and Schillhabel led for 40,000. Call. The turn was the 10♠ and Schillhabel led for 125,000. Call again. The board completed with the 8♥ and Schillhabel emptied the clip with a 300,000 bet.

Carrel went in the tank but not a quiet one. “If you’re going for thin value you have the best hand sir – congratulations,” he said. “Feels like you’re going for thin value though.”

“Can we get a clock?” Senie asked after around two minutes.

“Ah, Brian!” said a disappointed Carrel. “Thought we had a thing. That’s dubious, it’s such a big moment.”


Charlie Carrel in the tank

The tournament supervisor had been watching and agreed with Carrel. He gave him two more minutes and then put him on the clock. “Seems reasonable,” Carrel agreed.

The tournament supervisor was about to countdown from 10 when Carrel called. Schillhabel opened A♠A♥ and Carrel mucked saying nice hand. He dropped to around 400,000 and Schillhabel rose to 2 million. –MC

5:15pm: Schillhabel wins first one back
Level 23 – Blinds 15,000-30,000 (5,000 ante)

They’re back from the break, and Stefan Schillhabel won the first hand. He opened from the cutoff, making it 65,000, and Sergio Aido called in the small blind. Aido checked the flop of Q♣Q♠6♦ and called Schillhabel’s 55,000 bet. That took them to the 2♥ on the turn.

Aido checked again and Schillhabel bet 80,000. The chips were barely over the line before Aido folded. — HS

5:15pm: Chip counts
Level 23 – Blinds 15,000-30,000 (5,000 ante)

The 1,000 denomination chips are gone as the final five now need to pay a 5,000 ante to continue into Level 23. Here’s how they stack up:

Name Country Chips
Brian Senie USA 1,755,000
Sergio Aido Spain 1,485,000
Charlie Carrel UK 1,380,000
Stefan Schillhabel Germany 1,310,000
Aliaksei Boika Belarus 725,000

5:05pm: Senie can’t break 2 million glass ceiling
Level 22 – Blinds 12,000-24,000 (4,000 ante)

Players are going off on a 20-minute break. Charlie Carrel won the final hand in a small pot against Brian Senie.

Senie opened his button, making it 50,000 to play. Carrel said, “How much are you playing? Two million?”

Senie said that it was a little less than that. “One point nine.”

“How does it feel?” Carrel said.

“Good,” Senie said, before adding that he was trying to get over the two million mark.

“I’ll help you,” Carrel said as he called.


Brian Senie: Pushing 2 million

The flop came K♠5♥Q♠ and Carrel check-called Senie’s bet of 70,000. They both then checked the 2♣ turn to bring the 9♣ on the river.

Carrel bet 150,000 and Senie folded. “I was too ambitious,” he said.

We’ll get the full counts in a moment beofre the begin Level 23. — HS

5pm: Bouchard bounced by Carrel
Level 22 – Blinds 12,000-24,000 (4,000 ante)

Francis-Nicolas Bouchard got his chips in dominated by Charlie Carrel and said, “Against you I’m drawing dead.” Carrel tried to respond but he could only laugh along with the rest of the table.

Bouchard’s shove was for 368,000 and from the cutoff. Carrel was in the small blind and moved all-in to successfully isolate.

Carrel: A♦J♥
Bouchard: K♠J♣

The board ran Q♦Q♠2♥9♦5♣ and Bouchard went in sixth for €75,090.


Francis Nicolas-Bouchard: Out in sixth

“That’s what I thought,” were Bouchard’s departing words.
“God, so true!” Carrel said. He moved up to 1.2 million. –MC

4:50pm: Konstantin Uspenskiy eliminated in seventh place (€57,400)
Level 22 – Blinds 12,000-24,000 (4,000 ante)

Konstantin Uspenskiy moved all-in for 390,000 from UTG+1 and Francis-Nicolas Bouchard requested a count. He folded but Charlie Carrel re-raised all-in from the button for around 470,000 and everyone else folded.

Carrel: Q♦Q♥
Uspenskiy: K♣Q♠

The 4♠10♦6♣9♦A♦ board kept Carrel’s hand in front and reduces the field to six players. –NW


Konstantin Uspenskiy, seated left: Survived this earlier all-in, but was knocked out in seventh

4:35pm: Carrel not aiming too high
Level 22 – Blinds 12,000-24,000 (4,000 ante)

While Francis-Nicolas Bouchard was check-raising all-in on a 6♣2♦Q♣ flop to get Stefan Schillhabel off a hand, Charlie Carrel was having a conversation with Aliaksei Boika. Well, when we say conversation we really mean that Carrel was talking at his Belarusian opponent.

“What position you aiming for? Carrel asked Boika. The latter giggled and looked up at the clock but before he could reply Carrel added, “Don’t be greedy! I’m aiming for fourth – six figures look good on the Hendon Mob!”


Charlie Carrel, taking every measure to avoid staring at the sun

He continued: “When you look at the Hendon Mob you always skip past the five-figure scores.”

We never found out what finishing position Boika was aiming for. –MC

4:30pm: Francois Billard eliminated in eighth place (€43,220)
Level 22 – Blinds 12,000-24,000 (4,000 ante)

Sometimes it’s just not your day, and Francois Billard will probably believe exactly that. None of the big pots he played today went his way. He is now out.

In his exit hand he raised to 52,000 from under the gun and Stefan Schillhabel moved all-in from the small blind for 660,000 total. He had Billard covered, although not by much, and Billard threw up his hands up as if to say, “What am I supposed to do here?” He didn’t seem to like the situation, nor could he see anyway out of it.


Francois Billard, in happier times yesterday

There were a couple of shorter stacks than he at the table and he glanced at the payouts up on the tournament screen a few times before he decided to call all-in. He showed A♣K♠ and was racing for his tournament life against Schillhabel’s J♠J♦.

The Q♦9♠8♥6♥7♠ board favoured Schillhabel and Billard wished the other players at the table good luck as he left. –NW

4:20pm: Small one for Boika
Level 22 – Blinds 12,000-24,000 (4,000 ante)

Aliaksei Boika played it safe with pocket eights after a board run out that didn’t suit his hand. He did still get one street of value to move up to 830,000.

Boika opened to 50,000 from the button and was called by Konstantin Uspenskiy in the big blind. Boika had a 45,000 c-bet check-called on the 3♦J♥3♥ flop before both players checked the K♥10♠ turn and river down.

Uspenskiy dropped to 470,000 after A♠2♣ proved to be behind his opponent’s 8♣8♦. –MC

4:10pm: Carrel doubles through Billard
Level 21 – Blinds 10,000-20,000 (3,000 ante)

There’s no let up in the action here as big hand follows big hand. In this headline pot it was Stefan Schillhabel who started the action. He opened to 45,000 from the button and despite having fewer chips, Charlie Carrel seemed keen to know how much the German had back. It was around 540,000 and once that was established Carrel moved all-in for 332,000. Francois Billard was in the big blind and he re-raised all-in to isolate, which got rid of Schillhabel in short order.

Carrel showed K♠Q♦ and he was dominated by Billard’s A♣K♦. But it mattered not as he hit the Q♣J♥6♣3♥J♦ board to survive. After that hand Billard drops to 610,000 while Carrel leapfrogs him. He is up to around 725,000. –NW


Final table in Prague

4pm: Muehloecker busts; official final table set
Level 21 – Blinds 10,000-20,000 (3,000 ante)

Ace-jack came to Thomas Muehloecker’s rescue not so long ago, but he busted in ninth place (for €32,250) after it did not help him a second time.

Sergio Aido raised to 42,000 from UTG+1 and called after Muehloecker three-bet all-in for 174,000 from the small blind.

Muehloecker: A♠J♥
Aido: 10♣10♥

The board ran a blank 5♦K♣7♦8♥9♠. Aido was one of the shortest stacks on the bubble and now has 1.525 million for an amazing turnaround. –MC

3:50pm: One for Senie, one for Aido
Level 21 – Blinds 10,000-20,000 (3,000 ante)

Two showdowns to tell you about and both involved Brian Senie. The chip-leader is driving the action early on at this final table.

In the first hand he raised from under the gun and Aliaksei Boika called from the big blind. On the 9♦6♥Q♠ flop, Senie c-bet 50,000 and Boika made the call. The 8♣ turn checked through and the A♣ completed the board. The action was checked to Senie who bet 75,000, a bet that Boika called. Senie rolled over A♣3♣ and took the pot.

His opponent in the second hand was Sergio Aido. Aido raised to 45,000 from the button and Senie called from the big blind. The American took over the betting lead on the 7♠2♥4♥ flop, he led for 80,000 and Aido called.

This pattern was repeated on the 3♣ turn with Senie betting 180,000 and Aido calling. The Q♠ river was checked through and Aido’s A♠9♥ bested Senie’s K♥5♠ at showdown.

After that hand Aido climbs to 1,150,000 while Senie drops to 1,550,000. –NW

3:45pm: Last table
Level 21 – Blinds 10,000-20,000 (3,000 ante)

Here’s how they line up with nine players left:

Seat 1: Brian Senie, 1.6 million
Seat 2: Konstantin Uspenskiy, 750,000
Seat 3: Francis-Nicolas Bouchard, 610,000
Seat 4: Stefan Schillhabel, 540,000
Seat 5: Thomas Muehloecker, 230,000
Seat 6: Charlie Carrel, 348,000
Seat 7: Francois Billard, 1,050,000
Seat 8: Sergio Aido, 880,000
Seat 9: Aliaksei Boika, 915,000

3:40pm: Loosli leaves one table of players behind
Level 21 – Blinds 10,000-20,000 (3,000 ante)

The unofficial final table has been reached after Sylvain Loosli was eliminated in 10th place. Konstantin Uspenskiy had just been balanced to table two and immediately did the damage.

There was no small blind in play and Loosli’s 224,000 button shove was called by Uspenskiy in the big blind.

Uspenskiy: A♣5♣
Loosli: K♦Q♠

The board ran 6♣K♣7♣Q♦7♠ to make Uspenskiy a flush. –MC

3:35pm: Anton Bertilsson eliminated in 11th place (€26,450)
Level 21 – Blinds 10,000-20,000 (3,000 ante)

How quickly fortunes can change in a poker tournament. Sergio Aido was clinging on during the protracted bubble period but he’s now closing in on the million chip mark after eliminating Anton Bertilsson.

In the hand in question the action passed to Aido on the button and as he’d done the last couple of orbits he shoved all-in. It was for an effective 400,000 as that was the biggest stack behind him. Sylvain Loosli folded from the small blind but Anton Bertilsson took a look at his cards and then called all-in for almost bang on 400,000.

Aido: J♥9♥
Bertilsson: 8♠8♣

The 3♥6♠10♥ flop meant Aido flop a flush draw to go with his over-cards and you sensed Bertilsson feared the worst as he took off his sunglasses. The 3♦ turn kept the Swede in front but the 5♥ river sent Aido from worst to first and eliminated Bertilsson. After that hand Aido is up to around 950,000. –NW

3:30pm: Schillhabel doubles through Bouchard
Level 21 – Blinds 10,000-20,000 (3,000 ante)

Stefan Schillhabel made a move in the blinds versus Francis-Nicolas Bouchard but travelled down a cul-de-sac out of which he could not reverse.

The action folded around to him and he raised to an amount where he was priced in after Bouchard shoved for 256,000.

Schillhabel: J♣3♦
Bouchard: A♣3♠

The board ran 9♣6♥7♦6♣4♦ meaning Bouchard’s Ace was enough to scoop the pot. Schillhabel dropped to 608,000. –MC

3:25pm: Playing poker!
Level 21 – Blinds 10,000-20,000 (3,000 ante)

It’s not all all-ins and calls. Admittedly, it is mostly that, but Brian Senie and Aliaksei Boika just played a pot that didn’t result in a shove.

It was a battle of the blinds with Senie opening to 50,000 from the small blind and Boika defending his big blind. They then saw the flop fall 5♣7♦Q♦.

Senie bet 30,000. Boika raised to 95,000. But Senie three-bet to 245,000. That was enough to persuade Boika out of it before it got really costly.

Boika is still left with 945,000. Senie now has about 1.55 million. — HS

3:22pm: Uspenskiy doubles through Muehloecker
Level 21 – Blinds 10,000-20,000 (3,000 ante)

It was role reversal over on Table 1 as it was Konstantin Uspenskiy’s turn to double through Thomas Muehloecker. The latter raised to 43,000 on the button with Q♣9♠ and called after Uspenskiy shoved from the small blind for 153,000 holding 3♦3♠.

This race went the way of the pair as the 10♣2♠A♦A♣8♣ board kept Uspenskiy in front. He’s up to around 340,000 now while Muehloecker drops to 287,000. –NW

3:20pm: Another blow for Uspenskiy
Level 21 – Blinds 10,000-20,000 (3,000 ante)

Konstantin Uspenskiy has doubled up another player at his table to drop even further, to 196,000. But you would hardly know it bothered him as he showed very little emotion.

Uspenskiy raised to 47,000 from under the gun and called after Thomas Muehloecker three-bet all-in for 227,000 from the big blind.

Muehloecker: A♥J♣
Uspenskiy: 8♥8♦

The board ran 3♠4♥10♣3♦J♥ to pair the Muehloecker’s jack on the river. –MC

3:15pm: Carrel and Bouchard’s turn to double
Level 21 – Blinds 10,000-20,000 (3,000 ante)

It’s raining double ups here in Prague.

Over on table two Stefan Schillhabel open shoved from the small blind with 8♥3♥ and Francis-Nicolas Bouchard called off his final 123,000 with A♣2♥. A K♠K♣7♠6♦4♦ run out later and he’d survived.

Meanwhile on table one Charlie Carrel had moved all-in from under-the-gun for 192,000 holding 10♦9♦ and Konstantin Uspenskiy had re-raised all-in with A♦K♠. On this occasion the best hand didn’t hold though as the J♣8♥5♥J♠Q♣ run out meant Carrel rivered a straight.

He and Uspenskiy now have very similar stacks as the Russian is down to 421,000. –NW

3:10pm: Kanit shoves into Aido, busts
Level 21 – Blinds 10,000-20,000 (3,000 ante)

Sergio Aido now sits with about 450,000–his high point for the day. He knocked out Mustapha Kanit, who goes looking for €23,220 for his 12th place finish.

Kanit open-shoved from the hijack and Aido re-shoved from one seat to his left. Anton Bertilsson thought about calling both of them, but opted to fold. It left Aido in a great spot with Q♥J♣ to Kanit’s Q♦10♠.

The board blanked out. Actually, that’s not quite true. Both players hit a queen. But Aido’s kicker paid and Kanit headed out the door.

3pm: Pleasure in defeat for Neuville
Level 21 – Blinds 10,000-20,000 (3,000 ante)

“Gentlemen, it was a pleasure!” Pierre Neuville said after he was eliminated.

Neuville was down to 19,000 and in the big blind. Therefore he was all-in. Sylvain Loosli raised from under the gun and all other opponents folded.

Neuville: K♥10♥
Loosli: 10♠10♦

The board ran 4♦A♦Q♠4♣A♥ and the tens held up. Twelve players remain now. –MC


Pierre Neuville: Always a pleasure

All of this happened before the break. It was mad for a few minutes:

2:50pm: Mikita Badziakouski eliminated in 15th place; Alexandros Kolonias out in 14th
Level 20 – Blinds 8,000-16,000 (2,000 ante)

It’s all gone a bit crazy with multiple all-ins all over the place. As the Dimitar Danchev hand was playing out on Table 2 there was another all-in on Table 1. It all went in pre-flop with Mikita Badziakouski all-in for 108,000, Alexandros Kolonias all-in for 123,000 and Brian Senie covering both and looking to score a double knockout.

Senie: A♠Q♥
Kolonias: A♣J♠
Badziakouski: A♥8♦

The 2♥3♥K♦4♦9♥ board kept the best hand in front and by virtue of having more chips Kolonias received the higher finishing position. –NW

2:45pm: Dimitar Danchev eliminated in 16th place (€20,250)
Level 20 – Blinds 8,000-16,000 (2,000 ante)

We’ve lost count of the number of times Dimitar Danchev doubled up (or more) as a short stack, but as the saying goes: “It works every time until the last time.”

Having been left with only 4,000 he was all-in the next hand and Sergio Aido joined him in the all-in club by shoving for 54,000. Mustapha Kanit was in the big blind and he got a count of Aido’s shove and then called to create a three-way all-in.

Kanit: A♥7♣
Aido: 8♦8♠
Danchev: Q♥10♣

The 7♥Q♦9♥6♠Q♠ board meant no one was eliminated. Danchev climbed to 32,000 by winning the main pot and Aido doubled to 104,000.

Still Danchev was still short on chips and he was soon all-in again for 30,000, Anton Bertilsson raised to 50,000, Aido then shoved for 102,000 and Bertilsson called the extra.

Aido: A♣J♥
Bertilsson: A♦10♥
Danchev: Q♦J♦

The Q♠7♦9♥ flop meant Danchev looked likely to survive again, the 6♥ turn kept him in the lead but the A♥ river eliminated him in 16th place and gave the pot to Aido. –NW

3pm: Counts as Level 21 begins
Level 21 – Blinds 10,000-20,000 (3,000 ante)

Level 21 is about to begin, even though the crazy end to Level 20 has not yet been fully written up. Nick Wright is currently busy catching up.

However, here are the stacks of the remaining 13 players.

Name Country Chips
Brian Senie USA 1,300,000
Francois Billard Canada 1,050,000
Aliaksei Boika Belarus 1,000,000
Stefan Schillhabel Germany 970,000
Konstantin Uspenskiy Russia 630,000
Anton Bertilsson Sweden 328,000
Sylvain Loosli France 301,000
Sergio Aido Spain 258,000
Thomas Muehloecker Austria 230,000
Charlie Carrel UK 160,000
Francis-Nicolas Bouchard Canada 148,000
Mustapha Kanit Italy 138,000
Pierre Neuville Belgium 22,000

2:45pm: Doubles for Danchev and Badziakouski
Level 20 – Blinds 8,000-16,000 (2,000 ante)

Two hands on two different tables, but there were connected as you’ll see.

Over on Table 1 Mikita Badziakouski limped from early position. He had only 8,000 back after limping so he was effectively all-in. Francois Billard then raised to 32,000 and Aliaksei Boika then four bet to 105,000.

Action got back to Badziakouski and although everyone knew what he was going to do he didn’t act immediately because there was a hand in progress on Table 2 and there was a pay jump between 16th and 15th place.

That hand involved Dimitar Danchev, who was all-in for 74,000 and Francis-Nicolas Bouchard. Bouchard was in the big blind and he had slightly less than Danchev, 68,000 to be precise.

He was contemplating his decision, which is what was causing Badziakouski to tank. Brian Senie didn’t like this and called the clock on Badziakouski and as he did so Bouchard decided he had enough of a hand to go with. He called Danchev’s shove and that hand played out first. Danchev had A♠10♣ to Bouchard’s Q♥9♦. The J♠10♥3♦6♦K♦ board meant Bouchard rivered a straight to survive and Danchev was left with 6,000.

With that hand over Badziakouski put the rest of his chips in, Billard folded and we had another all-in showdown. Boika held 7♥7♣ and Badziakouski needed help as he had Q♦3♦. He got it as the J♦8♥K♠2♦Q♣ board meant he survived. –NW

2:40pm: Another double for Danchev
Level 20 – Blinds 8,000-16,000 (2,000 ante)

Dimitar Danchev will feel blessed to have made the money after being down to less than one big blind at one stage. He scraped past the bubble thanks to three double ups and secured a fourth one at his new table just now.

The action folded around to him in the small blind and he moved all-in with A♠7♣. Anton Bertilsson was waiting in the big blind with A♣K♣, made the call, but couldn’t survive a 10♠7♠3♣2♠3♥ board. That put Danchev up to 79,000. –MC

2:40pm: Final two table redraw
Level 20 – Blinds 8,000-16,000 (2,000 ante)

The final 16 players were drawn on to the last two tables. Here’s how they line up:

Table 1 Table 2
Seat 1 Charlie Carrel Anton Bertilsson
Seat 2 Alexandros Kolonias Stefan Schillhabel
Seat 3 Thomas Muehloecker Francis-Nicolas Bouchard
Seat 4 Mikita Badziakouski Mustapha Kanit
Seat 5 Konstantin Uspenskiy Sergio Aido
Seat 6 Francois Billard Pierre Neuville
Seat 7 Brian Senie Sylvain Loosli
Seat 8 Aliaksei Boika Dimitar Danchev

There’s only a couple of minutes left in Level 20, so we’ll have counts of these 16 soon.

2:30pm: Post bubble counts
Level 20 – Blinds 8,000-16,000 (2,000 ante)

No fewer than five players made the money in this event with the equivalent or less than their starting stack. We are a little shallow, it’s safe to say. Here are the stacks after Preban Stokkan’s elimination. Aliaksei Boika rose to the top thanks to some superlative bubble abuse. He raised and took it on at least six consecutive hands pre-bubble.

Name Country Chips
Aliaksei Boika Belarus 1,850,000
Francois Billard Canada 1,000,000
Stefan Schillhabel Germany 990,000
Brian Senie USA 985,000
Konstantin Uspenskiy Russia 760,000
Anton Bertilsson Sweden 440,000
Sylvain Loosli France 321,000
Charlie Carrel UK 215,000
Mustapha Kanit Italy 206,000
Thomas Muehloecker Austria 180,000
Alexandros Kolonias Greece 129,000
Francis-Nicolas Bouchard Canada 89,000
Dimitar Danchev Bulgaria 50,000
Sergio Aido Spain 45,000
Viacheslav Buldygin Russia 41,000
Pierre Neuville Belgium 34,000
Mikita Badziakouski Belarus 30,000

Viacheslav Buldygin was knocked out on the first hand after the bubble, so add his chips to Thomas Muehloecker’s total (see below). — HS

2:25pm: Viacheslav Buldygin eliminated in 17th place (€20,250)
Level 20 – Blinds 8,000-16,000 (2,000 ante)

Not surprisingly with so many short stacks it didn’t take long for the first bust out once the bubble had burst. It took just one hand in fact. Thomas Muehloecker open shoved for just over 200,000 and Viacheslav Buldygin, who had 16,000 of his 41,000 stack already invested in the big blind, called all-in.

Buldygin: 9♥7♠
Muehloecker: A♥2♥

“Not bad,” said Buldygin when he saw that he at least had live cards. The 2♠6♣Q♥4♥8♠ board kept Muehloecker in front though and there will now be a complete re-draw of the final 16 players. –NW


Viacheslav Buldygin (pictured on Day 2)

2:23pm: Stokkan busts, bursts bubble
Level 20 – Blinds 8,000-16,000 (2,000 ante)

Preben Stokkan is out, finally bursting this long protracted bubble. He was all-in in the big blind, and offered a plaintive “GG” even before the hands were dealt.

The hand played out as follows: Mustapha Kanit raised to 37,000 from the hijack and Francois Billard called from the cutoff. They were going to play a side pot with Stokkan already all-in.

The flop came A♥Q♣7♣ and Stokkan said, “I haven’t looked at my hand.” Kanit checked and Billard bet 24,000. Kanit called.


Preben Stokkan bursts the wrong side of the bubble

The 4♠ came on the turn and Kanit checked again. Billard bet 78,000 and Kanit folded.

Now they did have to show. Billard turned over K♦10♥. He only had a draw. But it was ahead of Stokkan’s J♦2♦ and the 5♦ on the river was a blank.

Stokkan, the recent winner of the Norwegian Championships, goes out on the stone bubble. It’s worth noting that despite two hours of play this afternoon and countless double-ups, the two shortest stacks overnight went out first today. — HS


Preban Stokkan bids farewell

2:20pm: Uspenskiy on the up
Level 20 – Blinds 8,000-16,000 (2,000 ante)

Konstantin Uspenskiy moved up to 765,000 after winning a small pot of Francois Billard.

The action folded around to him on the button and he put in a raise. Billard was in the big blind and peeled. The board ran out 6♣3♠8♠Q♦7♣ with no chips going in until the river where Billard led for 59,000. Uspenskiy tank-called with K♥7♠ and it was good as Billard mucked. –MC

2:10pm: Schillhabel takes from Senie
Level 20 – Blinds 8,000-16,000 (2,000 ante)

Another pot involving Brian Senie just went to showdown with Stefan Schillhabel the American’s opponent in this one. The two of them saw a 9♥2♥Q♥ flop, Senie (under-the-gun) bet 33,000 and Schillhabel (big blind) check-called the bet. On the 3♠ turn Schillhabel check-called a further 92,000 before both players checked the 3♦ river. Schillhabel’s Q♦8♠ proved best and he took the spoils. –NW

2pm: Diamonds are Senie’s best friend
Level 20 – Blinds 8,000-16,000 (2,000 ante)

“How do you not go broke there?” said Brian Senie to Charlie Carrel after the former had won a big pot from the latter. It was Senie who was the aggressor throughout, the American raised from early position and Carrel called from the button. The Englishman then called bets of 55,000 and 145,000 respectively on the flop and turn of a 10♦9♦4♠6♣ board, before both players checked the 5♣ river. Senie showed A♦8♦ and Carrel flashed Q♦J♦ as he mucked. Had another diamond come you suspect Carrel may well have gone broke, well unless it was the K♦ of course!

“I think I’m calling the river,” said Senie to Carrel after the hand had finished. “I’m never shoving,” replied Carrel. After that hand Carrel has dropped to around 250,000. –NW

1:55pm: Boika takes some from Bertilsson
Level 20 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

As Francois Billard and Konstantin Uspenskiy were playing out that previous hand, Anton Bertilsson and Aliaksei Boika, both deep stacked, were going to battle on the neighbouring table.

Boika opened the cutoff, making it 40,000, and Bertilsson three-bet the button to 100,000. Boika called.

Boika checked the flop of 9♦2♠7♠ but then called after Bertilsson bet 100,000. That left him 350,000 behind.

It actually completed the betting. They checked the 8♣ turn and the 6♣ river. Boika opened A♦7♦ and Bertilsson mucked.

Bertilsson still has about 580,000 even after that mis-step. — HS

1:50pm: Uspenskiy’s double ends Billard’s profitable blind-stealing operation
Level 20 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Francois Billard has had the best seat in the house today. He has had three short stacks to his left: Mikita Badziakouski, Sergio Aido and Preben Stokkan and has been able to open-shove lots and lots of pots knowing that they can only call with premium hands.

He got away with it several times, but the plundering operation just hit the skids when Konstantin Uspenskiy, sitting to the right of all those short stacks, found a hand and called all-in.

The players were forced to delay showing their cards as another hand was playing out on the neighbouring table (of which more to follow). But when that one was done, they flipped them over:

Billard: A♣J♠
Uspenskiy: K♦K♣

The flop brought some insurance for Uspenskiy. It came K♠5♦4♠. And he needed it because the turn was the A♥. The Q♦ completed the board and Uspenskiy’s 323,000 was doubled. He now has more than 650,000.

Billard is cut down to 610,000. — HS

1:45pm: Anton Bertilsson doubles through Sylvain Loosli
Level 19 – Blinds 6,000-12,000 (2,000 ante)

Another all-in on table two and for once it didn’t involve Dimitar Danchev. The action folded to Sylvain Loosli, who was on the button, he raised to 28,000 and Anton Bertilsson called from the big blind.

On the J♠4♥5♣ flop Loosli c-bet 30,000 and Bertilsson stuck around to see the Q♠ land on the turn. The Swede checked the action to his opponent again and once more Loosli would fire out a bet. The Frenchman bet 72,000, Bertilsson check-raised all-in for 292,000 in total and Loosli thought for a while before calling.

Loosli: A♥A♦
Bertilsson: 4♠4♦

Bertilsson had flopped a set of fours and he had just two outs to dodge to double up, the 10♠ river kept him in front and the bubble continues. After that hand, Loosli drops to 365,000 while Bertilsson is up to 725,000. –NW

1:40pm: Pagano out in 19th
Level 19 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

The dam has broken here in Prague as Luca Pagano leaves the tournament area in 19th place. While every called all-in before now has resulted in a double up, Pagano managed only one shove, got one call, and is out.

Pagano moved all-in for his last 99,000 from under the gun and Brian Senie re-shoved to get Pierre Neuville out of the way. Pagano’s 10♠6♣ was at least live against Senie’s A♦Q♣ but he couldn’t find help on the board of 4♣8♠9♦4♦3♣.

We are now on the stone bubble after the last Team PokerStars Pro has departed. We’re also now into Level 20, where blinds are 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000). — HS

1:37pm: Give Carrel credit for trying
Level 19 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

“You win,” said Charlie Carrel to Stefan Schillhabel after the latter called off most of his stack (correctly) on the river. “Gotta try!” he continued.

The hand started with a 25,000 button raise from Carrel and a big blind defend from Schillhabel. The board rolled out 10♣Q♠A♥3♦8♥ with Schillhabel checking to face bets of 25,000, 77,000 and 150,000 on each street. He check-called all the way and took the pot with A♣J♦ after Carrel mucked to drop to 390,000. –MC

1:35pm: Danchev doubles once more
Level 19 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Yet another double up for Dimitar Danchev, who called all-in from the big blind after Francis-Nicolas Bouchard open shoved the small blind. Danchev was behind this time with J♣10♥ to Bouchard’s A♠3♦.

The board soon kept Danchev alive. It came 7♥K♥10♦5♥J♦. Danchev now has 120,000. Bouchard has 165,000. — HS

1:25pm: At risk of bubbling
Level 19 – Blinds 6,000-12,000 (2,000 ante)

Still 19 players left and a lot of them are now drifting into what could be termed short stack territory. The following players are most at risk of leaving empty handed:

Dimitar Danchev – 60,000
Mikita Badziakouski – 95,000
Preben Stokkan – 117,000
Luca Pagano – 120,000
Sergio Aido – 145,000
Pierre Neuville – 155,000
Viacheslav Buldygin – 165,000
Alexandros Kolonias – 168,000

1:20pm: Danchev still clinging on
Level 19 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Dimitar Danchev isn’t going down without a fight. He has just doubled up again, this time through Aliaksei Boika, to keep his flame burning in this tournament.


Dimitar Danchev pulls off one double

He open-shoved for 46,000 from the cutoff and Boika looked him up in the big blind. Danchev had A♥K♣ to Boika’s 6♦6♠ and the K♦ on the flop was Danchev’s friend and salvation.

He now has more than 100,000 to play with. He may yet still make the money here. — HS

1:15pm: Danchev down but not out
Level 19 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

A cooler in the blinds cost Dimitar Danchev most of his stack. He managed to more than triple up the next hand, but he’s still massively in the danger zone.

The action folded around to Niko Soininen in the small blind and he moved all-in for 130,000. Danchev had 8,000 more and snapped him off.

Soininen: K♦Q♥
Danchev: A♠Q♣

“I’m good at these!” said Soininen.

That statement was soon proved correct as the board ran out 5♥J♥A♥9♠4♥ to make him a flush.

The very next hand Anton Bertilsson raised to 24,000. Danchev called all-in and Alexandros Kolonias called as well. The latter check-folded on a 2♦2♠K♠ flop though as the two remaining players flipped up their cards.

Danchev was smiling when he opened Q♠2♥ for trips but soon saw he had to try and fade a flush draw again when Bertilsson opened A♠J♠. He managed to do so as the board ran out 3♣9♦. –MC

1:10pm: Carrel value-bets small straight
Level 19 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

They saw a flop on two of the three tables in play, hands resulting in a small win for Sylvain Loosli on one of them, and slightly more for Charlie Carrel on another.

In the first Loosli opened to 28,000 from the cutoff and Aliaksei Boika called on the button. The blinds got out the way and the flop fell J♦A♠2♥. Loosli’s continuation bet of 34,000 got things done.

Over on the other table, Brian Senie opened to 30,000 from the cutoff and Carrel called in the big blind. They both checked the flop of 10♥J♣A♣ but then Carrel bet 40,000 on the 9♦ turn. Senie called.

The river was the Q♠ and Carrel now bet 55,000. Senie took a few moments, but then called. He mucked when shown 8♣9♥, the bottom end of the straight. –HS

1:05pm: Two drum kits and a violin
Level 19 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

There’s a game within a game going on at the moment. Tables one and three are generally finishing their hands reasonably quickly, with little post-flop poker, whereas the hands on table two are taking more time. The pots there are regularly reaching the turn and it’s small pot poker for the most part. Nothing untoward about this by the way it’s just the way it is right now. –NW

1pm: Schillhabel pushes against Senie
Level 19 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Stefan Schillhabel isn’t afraid of going broke. At least, it didn’t seem that way when he four-bet shoved over Brian Senie’s three-bet and forced a fold.

Schillhabel opened from the button, making it 30,000 to go. Senie three-bet to 63,000 from the small blind and, after Pierre Neuville folded his big blind, Schillhabel jammed for 238,000. Senie got a count, but folded to preserve his stack of more than 700,000. — HS

12:55pm: Billard the bully
Level 19 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

One is allowed to be a bully in poker, it’s player’s right if he/she builds up a big stack – especially with a bubble looming.

Francois Billard has a big stack and three short stacks to his left. If they action folds around to him, what should he do? You’ve guessed it – move all-in. One-by-one Mikita Badziakouski, Thomas Muehloecker and Sergio Aido folded, powerless to do anything else. –MC

12:50pm: Loosli’s Aces keep him alive
Level 19 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

There’s never a bad time to find Aces, but it’s especially grand during hand-for-hand play on the bubble of a high buy-in event. Sylvain Loosli was the lucky man this time, and he has doubled right back into contention.

Loosli opened to 28,000 from the hijack and then Anton Bertilsson three-bet the button, making it about 400,000, which he knew covered both players in the blinds and Loosli, the original raiser.

The blinds duly folded, but Loosli snap-called and turned over A♠A♥. Bertilsson wasn’t making his move with air, but his A♣Q♥ was still way behind.

The flop came 8♣J♠7♥ and the 10♦ turn brought possibilities for the inferior hand. But the Q♠ river was too little, too late and Loosli began looking forward to collecting some money from this tournament. “It’s never easy,” he added.

Loosli’s shove was for 269,000 so he now has about 550,000. Bertilsson has just short of 300,000 now. — HS

12:48pm: Time for hand-for-hand
Level 19 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

It’s been pretty obvious from the start that play has not been moving along as swiftly as it would if there was no bubble looming. There’s no obvious stalling going on by any player in particular but some of the players mentioned to floor man Thomas that it might be best to employ hand-for-hand from now rather than wait for one more player to bust.

Charlie Carrel was worried about players stalling at other tables and asked Thomas if he was allowed to call the clock on a player from another table, and apparently you can! We won’t see that happen though as hand-for-hand play is in progress. –MC

12:40pm: Carrel picks up blinds, slowly
Level 19 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

It was, as Charlie Carrel observed, the “slowest raise and take it” he’s seen.

It was the first hand of the day and Carrel, with the fourth biggest stack of the 19 remaining players, opened from under the gun to 28,000. Action folded slowly to Pierre Neuville in the small blind, who tank-folded, then to Luca Pagano in the big blind. He tank-folded too.

Carrel took blinds and antes, but the others all still survive, which seemed to be the principal objective. — HS

12:38pm: Good start for Stokken
Level 19 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

It didn’t take long for the first double up of the day and it’s Preben Stokkan who can now breathe a little easier. He three-bet all-in for 69,000 with Q♦Q♥ and Mustapaha Kanit, who’d opened to 24,000 from under the gun, called the extra with 6♦6♠.

The board came J♣3♥2♣9♦8♥ and Stokken survived. “Good start,” he said with a smile as he took the pot. Kanit dips below 300,000. –NW

12:35pm: Cards in the air
Level 19 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Bags are torn open and chips are stacked. Cards are now in the air. –HS

12:25pm: Relocation
Level 19 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Owing to the vast size of the Eureka Main Event Day 1B, the conclusion of this €10,000 event has been relocated upstairs in the room behind the Hilton bar. It’s actually a fine spot. We have natural light, a snack bar, and relative peace and quiet.


Our new locale

Players are settling in for what they will hope to be a long day at the coal-face. –HS

12pm: Playing to a winner
Level 19 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Good afternoon everybody and welcome back to Prague for what could be a long day in search of this festival’s first major title winner. Of the 108 players who sat down in this one, “only” 19 remain. However, they are not yet even in the money, much less at a final table, and this tournament needs to wrap up today. Nobody ever said winning €324,600 was supposed to be easy.

Ready to embark on your own poker adventure? Sign up for PokerStars and begin your journey. Click here to get an account.

Canada’s Francois Billard heads the field, but the likes of Anton Bertilsson, Charlie Carrel and Mustapha Kanit are in the chasing pack. Team PokerStars Pro Luca Pagano is also still sticking around despite some ill fortune late yesterday. Two people need to be eliminated before the bubble bursts, and Pagano has the second shortest stack at this stage. Take a look back at how it played out yesterday.


Luca Pagano: Needing some Red Spade run-good

Here’s how they line up going into the final day:

Name Country Chips
Francois Billard Canada 854,000
Brian Senie USA 807,000
Anton Bertilsson Sweden 654,000
Charlie Carrel UK 570,000
Aliaksei Boika Belarus 513,000
Konstantin Uspenskiy Russia 415,000
Mustapha Kanit Italy 375,000
Sylvain Loosli France 275,000
Thomas Muehloecker Austria 254,000
Francis-Nicolas Bouchard Canada 249,000
Stefan Schillhabel Germany 243,000
Alexandros Kolonias Greece 243,000
Vladimir Buldygin Russia 229,000
Pierre Neuville Belgium 208,000
Sergio Aido Spain 176,000
Dimitar Danchev Bulgaria 174,000
Mikita Badziakouski Belarus 164,000
Luca Pagano Italy 154,000
Preben Stokkan Norway 71,000

Play commences at noon and we go all the way to a winner.

PokerStars Blog reporting team on the €10K NLHE: Marc Convey, Howard Swains and Nick Wright. Photography by Tomas Stacha and Mickey May. Follow PokerStars Blog on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog


Next Story!!