Billard bagged up the biggest stack

Today was all about busting the bubble, except it wasn’t. By the time late registration closed, a field of 108 unique entries and 25 re-entries meant that 17 players would get paid. At a little past 11pm, 21 players returned to play the final two levels of the night and with six players having a sub-20 big blind stack, it seemed a formality that we’d lose the four players required to burst the bubble.

It seemed even more of a lock when Alexandr Komarov and Pasha Khanghah busted out during the ninth of today’s allotted 10 levels. But the final 19 were made of stern stuff and the final level ticked down with not a single bustout.

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It wasn’t even one of those madcap bubble periods where there’s short stack double up upon double up, with only Sylvain Loosli at risk during the final level of the evening. But that didn’t mean there wasn’t plenty of action and Francois Billard was the player who prospered most during the final two hours of play. The Canadian went from middle of the pack to top of the tree and he leads a talented field that still includes Anton Bertilsson, Charlie Carrel, Mustapha Kanit and Luca Pagano. Play resumes at 12.30pm tomorrow.

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

With the tournament so close to the bubble, the players were given the option to play one more level today, but were told that if one or more players objected then play would stop as per the schedule. Although most players wanted to continue, Mustapha Kanit wasn’t shy about saying he wanted to stop. Kanit had taken a 15-hour flight to get here and was operating on little to no sleep.


Kanit – needed some sleep

At least he was still around at that point to be part of the conversation. Sam Greenwood, Max Silver, Dario Sammartino, Connor Drinan, Daniel Dvoress and Dietrich Fast – who won this event in Malta – were among those who had long since disappeared.

You can see a blow by blow account of today’s play by scrolling down the page and you can also click through for the entire payout structure. There’s €324,600 for the winner, but first there’s that pesky business of securing a min-cash of €20,250 to sort out. We’ll be back from 12:30pm to cover the tournament to its conclusion, but for now goodnight.

Day two coverage:

01:05am: Done for the day
Level 18 – Blinds 5,000-10,000 (1,000 ante)

We reached the end of level 18 with 19 players still remaining, as such the tournament staff offered the players a vote to see if they wanted to have a break and then play one more level. If one player was against this then the day would end as planned and that’s what happened. The vote was conducted via a secret ballot, the players were given one red card and one black card and asked to push one to the dealer, with red meaning stop and black meaning continue.

The secret ballot was to protect the players, but Mustapha Kanit was vocal about the fact he wished play to stop, he’d had a 15 hour flight to get here and hadn’t slept so understandably wanted to stop and that was that. We’ll bring you overnight chip counts and a short wrap of the day’s play shortly. –NW

12:55am: Badziakouski getting short
Level 18 – Blinds 5,000-10,000 (1,000 ante)

Mikita Badziakouski is down to just 15 big blinds after losing another pot to Francois Billard. It was another blind on blind pot (see 11:57pm post) and again it was the river where Badziakouski faced his big decision.

We picked up the action on the 3♥2♦6♦K♠ turn and Billard bet 86,000 and Badziakouski smooth called, leaving 150,000 behind. The river was the Q♠ and Billard bet enough to set Badziakouski all-in. He tanked for a few minutes but ultimately folded his hand. –NW

12:50am: Carrel lets one go
Level 18 – Blinds 5,000-10,000 (1,000 ante)

Charlie Carrel continues to be at the centre of the action on table 1 even when he’s folding. Brian Senie was the player to get him off a hand and Carrel asked his name a short while after, informing him that he plans to stay away from him in future.

He opened to 22,000 from the cutoff, receiving calls from Stefan Schillhabel and Senie in the blinds. All three checked the 9♣5♠K♥ flop before Schillhabel led for 55,000 on the 2♥ turn. Senie then raised to 131,000 and Carrel called. That was enough to scare Schillhabel off his holding.

The river was the K♠ and Senie led for 140,000. “I thought you were going to check the river!” said Carrel before he ran through all the hands his opponent could have. Then he folded. –MC

12:30am: To stop or not to stop? That is the question
Level 18 – Blinds 5,000-10,000 (1,000 ante)

There are 19 players remaining and the end of the day’s scheduled levels (ten) is coming close. Floor man Thomas has informed the players that they level will run down to the end without the clock pausing to draw for how many hands to play. At that point a vote will be held to see if the players want to continue to burst the bubble, or finish as planned and come back tomorrow. The decision has to be unanimous so if only one player wants to finish at the end of the level, then that’s what will happen. –MC

12:20am: The fun and games betwen Carrel and Buldygin continues
Level 18 – Blinds 5,000-10,000 (1,000 ante)

Charlie Carrel and Viacheslav Buldygin have been having some good natured banter mostly during hands against each other and it continued all the way through another big pot.

There was already 121,000 in the middle by the time the 4♣8♣2♦ flop hit the felt, Carrel checked and Buldygin took his time, as he seems apt to do. “How much is in the pot?” asked Carrel as he watched Buldygin’s mental cogs turning. “Do you need to count it again?”

“No, I know how much is in the pot,” replied Buldygin and he bet 38,000, call from Carrel. On the 7♦ turn Carrel checked again and Buldygin once more went into the tank. “Shall we just get a permanant clock for this guy,” said Carrel before laughing, there was zero malice involved. Carrel certainly wasn’t trying to match Will Kassouf for speech-wizardry, put it that way. A short time passed and Buldygin, who doesn’t hide his facial expressions, checked behind and the Q♦ completed the board.

Again Carrel quickly checked and once more Buldygin took his time. Carrel may have been joking about the clock, but Brian Senie wasn’t and he called the clock on Buldygin. The floor was summoned and Buldygin was given the usual instructions. The Russian player then bet 90,000, Carrel thought for about 30 seconds before moving all-in for around 310,000 and Buldygin folded.

“Show the bluff,” pleaded Pierre Neuville and Carrel obliged, he’d made the move with A♥4♥. –NW

12:10am: Double up for Loosli
Level 18 – Blinds 5,000-10,000 (1,000 ante)

The short stacks keep on surviving with Sylvain Loosli the latest player to get a double up. From under-the-gun Aliaksei Boika raised to 20,000, Loosli shoved for 123,000 from the big blind and Boika called the extra to put the Frenchman at risk.

Boika: A♥Q♦
Loosli: A♣J♥

The 10♥Q♣8♦ flop paired Boika but also gave Loosli a gutshot straight draw. The 6♦ turn was a blank but the 9♣ river was the complete opposite as it completed Loosli’s straight and he got a much needed double up. –NW

11:57pm: Badziakouski takes tanking to the next level
Level 17 – Blinds 4,000-8,000 (1,000 ante)

Mikita Badziakouski just tanked for at least six minutes before calling a river bet. We can be sure of this because his tank started in level 17, extended into level 18 and ended six minutes into the new level.

It was a blind on blind pot in which Francois Billard limped from the small blind and Badziakouski checked his option from the big. On the A♥5♥4♥ flop Billard bet 8,000, Badziakouski raised to 25,000 and Billard called. The 8♥ turn was checked through and the J♦ fell on the river. Billard led for 54,000 and this is where the great Badziakouski tank began. Eventually he elected to call and saw the bad news when Billard opened J♥3♥. After that hand Badziakouski drops to 250,000 while Billard is up to 552,000. –NW

12:05am: Pasha kicked out of the club
Level 17 – Blinds 4,000-8,000 (1,000 ante)

Pasha Khanghah seemed to have more fun than anyone playing today. We say more as he didn’t make it to the end of the level despite starting it fifth in chips. He doubled up Charlie Carrel in one hand, and then busted the following one.

Carrel opened to 16,000 from UTG+1 and was called by Khanghah on the button and Pierre Neuville in the big blind. The flop spread 7♥A♣Q♣ and the action was checked to Khanghah who bet 30,000. Carrel was the only caller to the 10♣ where he checked to hear Khanghah snap-announce he was all-in.

“Sh&t, I turned something good!” said a shocked sounding Carrel. “I turned two pair,” he continued.
“The good two pair or the weak two pair?” asked Khanghah.
“Medium!” responded a laughing Carrel.
“Then statistically speaking you have to call,” was Khanghah’s advice.
“I’m not taking your word for it!” said Carrel before he called after finishing with, “I have to call, right? I called with one pair on the flop and now I have two pair.”

Carrel opened Q♥10♥ for what he said, and he was ahead of Khanghah weaker two pair with Q♦7♦. The river was the 5♣.


Pasha’s days quickly turned sour

The very next hand, Khanghah moved all-in for around 150,000 from UTG+1 and Brian Senie followed him in for a little more from the next seat. All others folded.

Khanghah: A♥Q♠
Senie: A♠A♣

The board ran 8♥K♠A♦2♦10♦. Khanghah wished everyone luck and made his exit. –MC

11:45pm: More chips for the short stacks
Level 17 – Blinds 4,000-8,000 (1,000 ante)

A couple of the short stacks at table one now have more chips, but are still looking up at most of the field:

Hand one: Charlie Carrel limped from the small blind and Vladimir Buldygin checked his option. On the A♥5♦3♥ flop Carrel bet 12,000 and jokingly said to Buldygin, “my range, not yours.” That action didn’t deter Buldygin from calling he called a further 20,000 on the 10♠ turn.

The river was the 6♣ and Carrel bet a further 55,000, which was about half his remaining stack. “If you’ve got four-two this is a very bad day,” he said. “You shove an ace pre-flop right?” continued Carrel. “Maybe,” replied Buldygin. “Oh man, if you don’t then this bet is very bad,” he laughed.

After thinking for about 20 seconds Buldygin made the ‘reluctant fold’ face and did just that. “I’ll tell you after,” said Carrel to him. He’s up to around 190,000 now while Buldygin drops to 555,000.

Hand two: Brian Senie opened to 20,000 from under-the-gun and Pasha Khanghah called out of the big blind. On the 4♦4♠7♥ flop Khanghah led for 30,000 but tank-folded to Senie’s shove of 116,000. –NW

11:30pm: C- minus for Carrel’s reading skills
Level 17 – Blinds 4,000-8,000 (1,000 ante)

“Bad read!” said Charlie Carrel after he doubled up the short-stacked Pierre Neuville.

The British starlet opened to 17,000 from the hijack and was called by Pasha Khanghah on the button and Neuville in the big blind. The flop fanned 6♠4♠A♥ and Carrel continued for 18,000. Khanghah made a quick call and Neuville called after leaning forward to get a closer look at the flop. The turn was the Q♦ and Carrel bet 41,000. Khanghah folded but Neuville check-raised all-in for 57,000. Carrel uttered the line from above and called the extra.

Neuville: A♦7♦ for top pair.
Carrel: K♣10♣ for an open-ended straight draw.

The river was the 2♣ and Carrel dropped to 130,000. –MC

11:15pm: Three off the bubble as Komarov busts
Level 17 – Blinds 4,000-8,000 (1,000 ante)

The bubble is inching ever closer as Alexandr Komarov has just busted out in 21st place. He shoved for 54,000 over the top of Pasha Khanghah’s 20,000 open. The latter got a count and after tanking for a bit made the call.

Khanghah: 2♥2♦
Komarov: A♦3♦

“Weird flip,” said Charlie Carrel when he saw the cards. The flop fell 10♣9♣10♦. “Still a weird flip,” commented Carrel. The K♦ turn meant Komarov still had 19 outs to win the pot but the 10♥ wasn’t one of them as it made Khanghah a full-house to win the pot. –NW

11:05pm: Chip counts heading into last two levels
Level 17 – Blinds 4,000-8,000 (1,000 ante)

Name Country Chips
Anton Bertilsson Sweden 846000
Vladimir Buldygin Russia 640000
Mikita Badziakouski Belarus 601000
Mustapha Kanit Italy 594000
Pasha Khanghah Azerbaijan 460000
Stefan Schillhabel Germany 400000
Aliaksei Boika Belarus 354000
Luca Pagano Italy 340000
Alexandros Kolonias Greece 314000
Francois Billard Canada 288000
Thomas Muehloecker Austria 271000
Sylvain Loosli France 230000
Dimitar Danchev Bulgaria 223000
Konstantin Uspenskiy Russia 214000
Sergio Aido Spain 183000
Preben Stokkan Norway 160000
Charlie Carrel UK 154000
Francis-Nicolas Bouchard Canada 131000
Brian Senie USA 130000
Alexandr Komarov Russia 71000
Pierre Neuville Belgium 54000

10:40pm: McEathron & Petrangelo bust just before the last break
Level 16 – Blinds 3,000-6,000 (1,000 ante)

Ryan McEathron tried the old limp-shove line but ran into a monster belonging to Pasha Khanghah.

He limped in from UTG+1 and picked up Charlie Carrel on the button before Khanghah raised to 15,000 from the big blind. McEathron then came back with an all-in move for 106,000 and was called by Khanghah after Carrel folded.

Khanghah: K♣K♠
McEathron: 9♣9♥

The board ran K♦2♣6♠3♣4♥ meaning it was all over by the turn. Khanghah had chunks after the hand and we’ll be bring you his, and all the other counts, during the last break of the night.

Nick Petrangelo also busted at this time, meaning we’re just five places off the money when we return. –MC

10:35pm: Pagano doubles through Khanghah
Level 16 – Blinds 3,000-6,000 (1,000 ante)

With over 50,000 in the pot already Luca Pagano committed his final 58,000 on a 9♠8♣10♦ flop and Pasha Khanghah was willing to put him at risk. The Team PokerStars Pro held K♥J♦, but was behind to Khanghah’s A♣Q♥. The Q♠ turn hit both players but it gave Pagano a straight and Khanghah now needed a jack on the river for a chop. It didn’t arrive and Pagano doubled up to around 175,000. –NW


Nice turn of events for Pagano

10:30pm: Kolonias likes his new table
Level 16 – Blinds 3,000-6,000 (1,000 ante)

Why wouldn’t you like a new table if you immediately double up there? Just ask Alexandros Kolonias.

He opened from the button and then snap-called all-in for 131,500 after Aliaksei Boika three-bet all-in from the big blind.

Boika: 4♥4♦
Kolonias: 10♣10♠

The board ran 5♠7♦5♥8♥K♣ to see the tens hold. Boika dropped to 217,000. –MC

10:25pm: Final 24 redraw
Level 16 – Blinds 3,000-6,000 (1,000 ante)

Table 1 Table 2 Table 3
Seat 1 Pasha Khanghah Francis-Nicolas Bouchard Sergio Aido
Seat 2 Brian Senie Preben Stokkan Nick Petrangelo
Seat 3 Pierre Neuville Dimitar Danchev Niko Soininen
Seat 4 Ryan McEathron Stefan Schillhabel Konstantin Uspenskiy
Seat 5 Luca Pagano Alexandros Kolonias Mustapha Kanit
Seat 6 Alexandr Komarov Sylvain Loosli Francois Billard
Seat 7 Charlie Carrel Aliaksei Boika Mikita Badziakouski
Seat 8 Viacheslav Buldygin Anton Bertilsson Thomas Muehloecker

10:15pm: Aldemir’s aces cracked
Level 16 – Blinds 3,000-6,000 (1,000 ante)

After a raise from late position to 13,000 from Preben Stokkan, action passed to Koray Aldemir in the small blind and he moved all-in for 117,500. After getting a count of the shove the Norwegian said, “Let’s go for it,” and called the extra, he just had Aldemir covered. The latter had two black aces and Stokkan, who held 9♣9♦, needed some help. He sure got it as a 10♥8♠7♦J♥3♦ board meant he made a straight and eliminated Aldemir.

They’ll now be a short break while the tournament staff do a complete redraw of the final 24 players. –NW

10pm: Banic banished
Level 16 – Blinds 3,000-6,000 (1,000 ante)

Ivan Banic was sent to the rail just ten spots off the money after he lost a race to Aliaksei Boika.

The latter was on the button and the former in the small blind, with all the chips going in preflop. Banic was the all-in player with around 150,000.

Banic: 5♠5♦
Boika: A♥K♣

The board ran J♥K♦7♠2♦3♣ to pair the Belarusian’s king. He moved up to 520,000. –MC

EPT13_Prague_day 2_Ivan_Banic.jpg

Banic raced his last race

9:50pm: Pagano pain continues
Level 16 – Blinds 3,000-6,000 (1,000 ante)

We didn’t get to see what Luca Pagano had in this hand, but the pain of his face for there for all to see.

He was battling with Alexandros Kolonias and the two players made it to the river where a 2♥10♦8♠7♣A♠ board rested. Around 60,000 waited in the middle to be claimed. Pagano checked from the big blind and Kolonias asked to see his opponent’s 49,000 stack before setting him all-in.

The Team PokerStars Pro tanked for a minute, and then took off his stylish red-framed spectacles before he thought for another couple of minutes. He eventually folded to hand Kolonias a 190,000 stack. — MC

9:40pm: What a game
Level 15 – Blinds 2,500-5,000 (500 ante)

Pasha Khanghah seems to be the one driving the action at table one and he was involved in yet another big pot when we passed by the table. He’d bet 30,000 on a A♥J♣10♦ flop only for Anton Bertilsson to check-raise to 80,000 total. “Forty more to me?” asked Khanghah to the dealer who informed him it was 50,000 more to call. That didn’t deter him though and he put enough in and the two players headed to the turn. It was the 4♠, Bertilsson bet 120,000 and Khanghah decided to match the bet.

The 9♠ completed the board, Bertilsson paused a couple of beats before betting 235,000, which caused Khanghah to put his head in his hands, it appeared he had a tough decision on his hands. He had roughly 250,000 back so the bet was for the vast majority of his stack. After thinking for under a minute he folded and said to Bertilsson. “Would you have beaten a low straight?” The Swede didn’t give a definitive answer but his face didn’t exactly suggest he’d flopped the nuts either. “What a game, if you bluffed me off of that one then well done,” added Khanghah.

After that hand Bertilsson climbs to 780,000 and is among the chip leaders. –NW


B is for Bertilsson

9:35pm: Chemaly swept away
Level 15 – Blinds 2,500-5,000 (500 ante)

Joseph Chemaly went in 28th place after losing a race to Pasha Khanghah. He had shoved the last time he was under the gun but received no callers, but when he tried it an orbit later (for 30,500), he was called by Khanghah on the button.

Chemaly: 6♠6♣
Khanghah: 9♠8♥

The board ran 2♠Q♣K♥8♦7♥ to pair Khanghah’s eight. He moved back up to 470,000. –MC

9:30pm: Pagano makes a set against an overpair and still loses
Level 15 – Blinds 2,500-5,000 (500 ante)

Luca Pagano has dropped to 65,000 chips after one of those hands where you need to hit your opponent’s cards and not your own.

He and Dimitar Danchev went to war preflop, getting all the chips in with the latter being the all-in player with 168,000 chips.

Danchev: K♣K♦
Pagano: J♣J♦

Pagano was looking for a jack until the flop came 10♥Q♦9♠, then his focus turned to a king. Unfortunately for him he made a set as the board ran out 6♣J♠, but it also made his Bulgarian opponent a winning straight. –MC

9:20pm: A biggie and two small ones from table 4
Level 15 – Blinds 2,500-5,000 (500 ante)

The atmosphere in the tournament feels more tense post dinner break and it’s no wonder seeing as the bubble is on the horizon for the players. Three hands played out on table 4 and not a word was muttered.

The first hand was pretty big and saw Brian Senie take a six-figure pot off Mikita Badziakouski. Over 100k had made it into the middle by the time the turn was dealt. Senie was under the gun and checked before tank-calling his opponent’s 45,000 bet. The river was dealt to leave a J♣2♠Q♠2♠4♠ board and Senie tanked for two minutes before checking. Badziakouski after having a think of his own and then mucked upon seeing Senie’s A♣Q♣. Badziakouski dropped to 258,000 and Senie moved up to 285,000.

The next hand saw Senie in the action again. He called an UTG+1 raise from Pierre Neuville. The flop spread 10♣2♠A♥ and the Belgian took the pot down with a 14,000 c-bet.

Neuville was at it the very next hand as well. He opened to 12,500 and called after Viacheslav Buldygin three-bet to 28,000 from the cutoff. The flop came J♦J♠6♣ and it was not to Neuville’s liking ad he check-folded to a 22,000 c-bet from Buldygin. –MC

9:10pm: Greenwood busts, Schillhabel trebles up
Level 15 – Blinds 2,500-5,000 (500 ante)

There was three-way all-in over at Mustapha Kanit’s table and the Italian was one of those players involved. The cards were already on their backs by the time I arrived and this was the scene:

Kanit: A♣A♦
Greenwood: Q♣Q♥
Schillhabel: K♦10♥

A 6♥3♦K♠3♥K♥ run out meant Schillhabel – who was all-in for 53,000 – trebled up and Kanit won the side pot to eliminate Greenwood. It looked as if Kanit made a slight profit on the hand meaning Greenwood started the hand with somewhere in the region of 120,000. –NW


Only Kanit could have aces cracked and still win!

9pm: Khanghah and Banic clash again
Level 15 – Blinds 2,500-5,000 (500 ante)

Pasha Khanghah and Ivan Banic have clashed repeatedly over the last couple of levels and they just played another chunky pot. It started when Khanghah limped from under-the-gun, Banic then raised it up to 15,000 and when it got back to Khangah he re-raised to 40,000. Trouble is he kind of string bet when he re-raised as he had all the chips in one hand but dropped 10,000 into call and then the 25,000 raise, without saying anything.

Banic asked the dealer to call the floor and Khanghah said: “I don’t mind removing it (the raise), it’s fine.” By this point, the tournament director had arrived and asked the dealer and two active players what had occurred. He then asked the dealer exactly how Khanghah had placed the raise and the dealer showed the TD how it had happened. The TD ruled that as the bet was all in one motion – albeit in two separate parts – then the raise stood as it was a ‘natural’ motion. Once that was established Banic called the extra and it was time for a flop, which fell 3♦A♣6♣.

Fairly quickly Khanghah checked to Banic, he bet 22,000 and Khanghah made the call. That was all the betting they’d be as both players checked the Q♠ turn and 4♥ river. “I think you got it,” said Khanghah as he opened J♥J♠, Banic couldn’t beat it though and mucked. He slips to 80,000, while Khanghah is up to 660,000. –NW

EPT13_prague_high_roller_day2_pasha_khanghah .jpg

Khanghah continues to battle with Banic

8:50pm: Khanghah’s luck runs out
Level 15 – Blinds 2,500-5,000 (500 ante)

“I really should fold, I’m feeling really lucky though!” said Pasha Khanghah after Ivan Banic squeezed all-in preflop.

The hand had started with a raise to 10,000 from Francois Billard and a flat from Khanghah in the next seat. Banic was in the big blind and made his move for his last 55,500. Billard folded and you know what happened after that.

Banic: K♥K♠
Banic: 10♠9♠

The board ran A♦7♣5♦2♣2♥ to see the kings safely home. –MC

7:45pm: Chip counts

Thirty players are still involved at the dinner break. Remember, only 17 get paid. Here’s the top 10 chip stacks at this stage. The full list is on the chip-count page.

Name Country Entry info Chips
Viacheslav Buldygin Russia   765000
Pasha Ahadpour Khanghah Azerbaijan Re-Entered 700000
Anton Bertilsson Sweden   500500
Charlie Carrel UK   435000
Mustapha Kanit Italy   323000
Ryan McEathron Canada   315000
Mikita Badziakouski Belarus Re-Entered 260000
Koray Aldemir Austria   259500
Aliaksei Boika Belarus Re-Entered 250000
Konstantin Uspenskiy Russia   242500

7:25pm: Break time
Level 14 – Blinds 2,000-4,000 (500 ante)

The remaining 30 players are heading to dinner. We’ll have their full chip counts here shortly. Live coverage will resume at about 8:35pm.

7:20pm: Petrangelo gets dinner-break treble
Level 14 – Blinds 2,000-4,000 (500 ante)

A nice dinner-break sweetener for Nick Petrangelo, who took the worst hand of three into an all-in pre-flop skirmish and ended up coming out with a near treble up. Michael Rocco, who was actually the shortest stack of the three, is out.

Rocco had very little and invested it all with A♣6♠. Petrangelo had slightly more and got it in with A♦2♦. Mikita Badziakouski, who had both opponents covered, had 8♥8♦.

The flop brought hope for Petrangelo. It came 10♦9♦K♥. The 3♥ turn didn’t help, but the 7♦ river was delayed gratification. Petrangelo will return to about 100,000 chips, while Rocco won’t return at all.

7:15pm: Senie doubles
Level 14 – Blinds 2,000-4,000 (500 ante)

Brian Senie has doubled after he tank-called when Jaroslaw Sikora made him call off all his chips.

The turn was out and the board read 4♠2♠10♠8♥. Senie led for 23,000 from the big blind and then tank-called all-in for 84,000 when Sikora shove from middle position.

Senie: Q♣9♠ for a straight and flush draw.
Sikora: Q♥10♦ for top pair.

Senie had to hit and did so as the river came as the 7♠ to make his flush. Sikora was left with just 27,000. –MC

7:05pm: From the darkness comes light chips
Level 14 – Blinds 2,000-4,000 (500 ante)

One thing you don’t see in high roller tournaments very often is checking in the dark. It’s a bit 2006, a bit ‘Dog and Duck’. Pasha Khanghah was the man who gave us a rare sighting of this tactic when he utilised it in a hand against Ivan Banic.

The Croat had bet 16,000 on the turn of a 3♣5♠6♠J♣ board, Khanghah min-raised to 32,000 and Banic put in the extra. “I check it to you,” said Khanghah before the dealer put the 9♦ river on the felt, Banic checked behind and it was time for a showdown. Khanghah rolled over K♠J♥, it was good and he’s up to around 650,000, while Banic drops to 90,000. –NW

7pm: Khanghah riding high
Level 14 – Blinds 2,000-4,000 (500 ante)

There’s no stopping Pasha Khanghah, who may have only bought in this morning but now has about 620,000 chips. It’s difficult to count precisely as his stacks are slightly uneven, belying perhaps relative inexperience in the live poker realm.

Certainly it’s hard to find results for Khanghah–his Hendon Mob shows only one cash, in the EPT Barcelona Main Event this summer. But he’s looking at a big score here if things continue to go his way.

Jaroslaw Sikora is his latest victim. Khanghah spiked an ace on the river in a pot worth more than 250,000.

It started when Sikora opened from early position to 10,000 and Khanghah three-bet to 30,000 a few seats along. Sikora called.

The flop brought the 8♦6♦5♦ and a check from Sikora. Khanghah bet 40,000 and Sikora moved all-in for 107,500.

Khanghah seemed angry with himself for his bet, but then called anyway and showed A♣K♦. It was behind Sikora’s 9♣9♦.

The J♥ on the turn was a blank, but the A♦ on the river hit Khanghah hard. That was the end of the road for Sikora.

6:50pm: Billard sinks the king for a double up
Level 14 – Blinds 2,000-4,000 (500 ante)

“Back in the saddle!” said Pasha Khanghah to Francois Billard after he doubled up his short stack.

Stefan Huber had opened the action with an UTG+1 raise and he called after Billard three-bat all-in for 39,000 from the big blind.

Billard: A♠K♥
Huber: Q♣J♠

The board ran 4♦5♣K♦J♥6♠ to see the big-slick hold up. Huber dropped to 163,000. –MC

6:45pm: Carrel a problem for Muehloecker
Level 14 – Blinds 2,000-4,000 (500 ante)

Charlie Carrel is a menace, particularly with a big stack and particularly on the button. Thomas Muehloecker will likely agree.

In a recent pot, Muehloecker opened to 9,000 from mid-position and Carrel made it 32,000 from the button. Everyone else left them to it. Muehloecker called and they saw a flop of K♣2♥8♠. Muehloecker checked and Carrel bet 25,000. Muehloecker called.

The 5♥ came on the turn and Muehloecker checked quickly again. Carrel this time bet 50,000 and Muehloecker took his time over his decision. After a couple of minutes thought he released his hand and said, “Sometimes you can have it.”

“That’s the problem,” Carrel said, essentially just describing himself.


Charlie Carrel: The problem

Carrel now has 475,000 while Muehloecker has 220,000. — HS

6:40pm: Aido calls 999, gets help
Level 14 – Blinds 2,000-4,000 (500 ante)

A timely double up for Sergio Aido, who was getting into the danger zone with a sub 30,000 stack. He got it all in on a flop of 9♦9♥J♦ against Alexandros Kolonias. Aido’s 9♠6♠ stayed good against Kolonias’s K♦7♦ when the flush draw did not fill. The turn and river came A♣ and 7♠.

Aido’s shove was for 29,500 and there had been some action pre-flop too. So he now has around 75,000 to play with. — HS

6:35pm: Stokkan restocks his stack
Level 14 – Blinds 2,000-4,000 (500 ante)

Preben Stokkan opened to 9,000 from the hijack but was made to work a little harder after Stefan Schillhabel three-bet his button to 24,000. Stokkan called and they drank in a flop of K♥6♥10♥.

Stokkan checked and Schillhabel bet 14,500. Stokkan called. Then they both checked the 5♣ turn. After the 6♠ appeared on the river, Stokkan rediscovered his aggressive line. His bet of 70,000 got a quick fold from Schillhabel.

6:30pm: Fallers
Level 14 – Blinds 2,000-4,000 (500 ante)

Just 33 players remain in contention now 17 of whom will get paid. With a dinner break at the end of this level it’s highly unlikely the bubble will burst before then. However the following players can all take an extended dinner break as they’ve all been eliminated: Pavel Plesuv, Nicola D’Anselmo, Pascal Lefrancois, Daniel Dvoress, Andrey Andreev, Simon Mattsson, Dario Sammartino and Oleksii Khoroshenin. –NW

6:25pm: Khangah flush with chips
Level 14 – Blinds 2,000-4,000 (500 ante)

“He called?” asked a slightly worried Pasha Khanghah after Francois Billard threw in a single chip to indicate that he’d called the all-in shove of his neighbor. It was a big shove too with Khanghah all-in for around 200,000 on the turn of a 4♣3♣A♥K♣ board. Khanghah had J♣9♣ for the third nuts and Billard could only shake his head as he showed 8♣7♣ for an inferior flush. The K♦ river card changed nothing and Khanghah dragged a pot worth some 580,000. Billard isn’t out, but that loss accounted for the vast majority of his chips as he’s now down to just 35,000. –NW

6:20pm: Two small losses for Muehloecker
Level 13 – Blinds 1,500-3,000 (500 ante)

Thomas Muehloecker lost two pots on the bounce. Neither of them were huge though so he only suffered small losses to drop to 235,000.

The first hand saw him complete from the small blind and Dimitar Danchev check his option from the big. The flop fanned 3♥A♠10♥ and Muehloecker led for 3,500. Call. He had another 8,500 called on the 2♦ turn before both players checked the A♥ river. Muehloecker opened 6♣6♠ but lost out to Danchev’s 10♠3♣.

The very next hand, Muehloecker raised from the button and Charlie Carrel peeled from the big blind to see a 4♣8♠Q♦ flop appear. The action was checked to the 6♦ turn where Carrel led for 11,000. Call. Carrel checked the 5♠ river over to Muehloecker who tank-checked behind. The Brit opened 9♣7♥ for a straight and Muehloecker mucked. Carrel moved up to 420,00. –MC

6:15pm: Buldygin felts Plesuv
Level 13 – Blinds 1,500-3,000 (500 ante)

Viacheslav Buldygin’s blessed existence continues. Already the chip leader, he is now chip leader and then some, after knocking out Pavel Plesuv in another cooler. Nobody did anything wrong, it’s just that some hands are better than others.

Buldygin opened to 7,000 from under the gun and Niko Soininen called from the cutoff. Pierre Neuville also called from the button and then Plesuv looked at his cards in the small blind. He raised to 32,000.

Michael Rocco gave up his big blind, but Buldygin wasn’t done. He four-bet to 79,000.

Soininen and Neuville weren’t interested, but Plesuv then moved all-in, for about 130,000 more. Buldygin instantly called.

Plesuv: Q♦Q♥
Buldygin: K♦K♠

The dealer didn’t delay unnecessarily. She turned over the 3♣A♦10♠2♣5♠ and Plesuv headed away from the table. Buldygin, who came second in the equivalent tournament in Malta a couple of months ago, was then charged with stacking 775,000 chips.

6:10pm: Win some, lose some for Stokkan
Level 13 – Blinds 1,500-3,000 (500 ante)

Two big pots in a row that both involved Preben Stokkan to tell you about now. In the first Mustapha Kanit opened to 6,500 from the button, Stokkan three-bet to 18,500 out of the small blind and Konstantin Uspenskiy then upped the action to 40,000 from the big blind. That re-raise got rid of Kanit, but Stokkan called the bet and the two of them saw a Q♥8♥5♠ flop hit the felt. Neither player opted to bet though, the 4♠ fell on the turn and a bet of 35,000 from Stokkan meant he dragged the pot.

On the very next hand Olli Autio made it 7,000 to play from middle position, Kanit smooth called, Stokkan raised to 24,000 and Kanit was the only caller. The flop fell J♦A♣7♠ and Kanit check-called a bet of 25,000. The 2♣ hit the turn and Stokkan didn’t slow down, when Kanit checked to him again he bet 40,000 and the Italian, who had roughly 135,000 back, announced he was all-in. There was no Hollywooding on Stokkan’s part as the Norwegian was quick to muck his cards. He drops to 126,000 as a result of that loss to Kanit, who’s now up to somewhere in the region of 285,000 –NW

6pm: Petrangelo doubles Senie
Level 13 – Blinds 1,500-3,000 (500 ante)

A pretty standard hand just played out between Nick Petrangelo and Brian Senie where the latter doubled through the former.

Petrangelo – a man no stranger to high buy in final tables – opened to 6,000 from the hijack and then called after Senie three-bet all-in for 36,000 from the next seat.

Petrangelo: K♣Q♦
Senie: A♣Q♠

The board ran A♥9♣A♠6♣6♥ to make Senie a full house. Petrangelo dropped to 90,000. –MC

5:50pm: Lefrancois loses sickener to Billard
Level 13 – Blinds 1,500-3,000 (500 ante)

Pascal Lefrancois and Pasha Khanghah struck up quite a friendship this afternoon. They were sharing their life histories in between hands, idling the time away in pleasant conversation.

Khanghah’s additional role, unspoken, was to act as barrier between Lefrancois and Francois Billard. Although I think Billard and Lefrancois are friends away from the table (and both come from the French speaking region of Canada), they just played two pots against one another that turned ugly. Only Khanghah’s genial presence between them blocked some withering looks along the table edge.

In the first pot, Billard opened to 7,000 from the button and Lefrancois called in the big blind. The flop came 7♦7♣5♦ and Lefrancois check-called Billard’s bet of 6,000. Then the Q♦ came on the turn and Lefrancois check-folded when Billard bet 23,000.

On to the next hand. This time, Billard raised to 7,000 again in the cutoff and Lefrancois called from the small blind and was joined by Ivan Banic in the big blind too.

Three of them saw a flop of 4♥3♦9♦ and both blinds checked. They then both also called Billard’s bet of 7,500.

The 8♥ came on the turn and both Lefrancois and Banic checked again. Billard bet 15,000 and now Lefrancois snapped into action. He moved all-in–a check-raise jam for 111,500. Banic quickly folded.

Billard, however, counted out his own stack–it was about 160,000–and then made a call. Lefrancois had flopped a set with his 4♣4♦ and Billard’s top pair with 9♥7♥ also had a flush draw.

Neither player seemed especially happy with what they now saw, but it was Lefrancois left wincing the hardest after the K♥ completed the board, and the flush.

Lefrancois rose from the table. Khanghah, who might fancy a role with the UN Peacekeeping Force if poker doesn’t work for him, also rose to shake Lefrancois’ hand, give him a hug and tell him that it “Was great playing with you. Safe flight home.”

That’s the end of Lefrancois’ tournament, while Billard’s is just getting interesting. He now has about 360,000 and is carrying the flag for French-Canada. –HS


Francoid Billard

5:40pm: Huge pot sends Buldygin into the chip lead
Level 13 – Blinds 1,500-3,000 (500 ante)

A huge pot, in which Viacheslav Buldygin eliminated two players, means the Russian is the first player to cross the 500,000 chip mark in this tournament.

The pre-flop action is unknown but our thanks to Daniel Dvoress on filling in the gaps we had on the huge flop action that occured. On a 10♦6♥5♥ flop Andrey Andreev open-shoved for 67,500, Simon Mattsson smooth called only for Buldygin to then move all-in for 187,500 total. He just had Mattsson covered and the Swedish player tanked for an age before putting a big stack of 5K chips over the line to signify a call.

Andreev: 10♠6♠
Mattsson: K♦K♠
Buldygin: 5♦5♣


Viacheslav Buldygin: Chip leader

Something for everyone, but Buldygin had flopped best with a set of fives. The J♠ turn and 8♣ river kept him in the lead and eliminated his two opponents. Buldygin was runner-up to Dietrich Fast in this event in Malta and with his stack of roughly 520,000, he looks primed for another deep run. –NW

5:35pm: Four-bet good; ace-nine good
Level 13 – Blinds 1,500-3,000 (500 ante)

“I’ll need a precise count please,” said Ramin Hajiyev to the dealer after he faced a three-bet all-in. The count came back as 51,500 and was from Nicola D’Anselmo in the big blind.

The hand had started with a Mikita Badziakouski cutoff raise to 6,000 before Hajiyev – who came fifth in this tournament at EPT Malta – three-bet to 17,500 from the next seat. Hajiyev snap-folded to the four-bet shove and Hajiyev ultimately did the same.

After this hand finished, another hand was coming to an end nearby. Sylvain Loosli led out for 8,500 from the big blind and was called by Nick Petrangelo from under the gun. That bet was on the turn and the river fell to leave a 7♣5♠6♠6♦9♦ board. Loosli opened A♠9♥ and Petrangelo mucked. –MC

5:20pm: Big stacks
Level 13 – Blinds 1,500-3,000 (500 ante)

The tournament dealers wrote down the biggest stacks at their tables during the last break. This is far from a complete list, but all the of the following are plodding along nicely at this stage:

Name Country  
Anton Bertilsson Sweden 520,000
Charlie Carrel UK 410,000
Thomas Muehloecker Austria 375,000
Stefan Huber Switzerland 330,000
Konstantin Uspenskiy Russia 270,000
Ryan McEathron Canada 260,000
Mustapha Kanit Italy 220,000
Paul Newey UK 220,000
Sam Greenwood Canada 200,000
Simon Mattsson Sweden 200,000
Koray Aldemir Austria 190,000
Viacheslav Buldygin Russia 190,000
Aliaksei Boika Belarus 180,000
Preben Stokkan Norway 180,000
Pasha Ahadpour Khanghah Azerbaijan 175,000
Francois Billard Canada 150,000
Joseph Chemaly Libya 145,000
Luca Pagano Italy 115,500

We have two more levels and then it’ll be a dinner break.

5:10pm: Not coming back from the break…
Level 13 – Blinds 1,500-3,000 (500 ante)

The last bunch of players to bust are: Orpen Kisacikoglu, Brian Roberts, Felix Bleiker, Steffen Sontheimer, Connor Drinan, Gleb Tremzin, Stefan Huber, Eduards Kudrjavcevs, Akin Tuna and Patrick Leonard. — MC

4:55pm: Vousden vanquished just before the break
Level 12 – Blinds 1,200-2,400 (400 ante)

“Good game,” said Samuel Vousden as he left the table. He’d lost the last of his chips with Q♠J♠ against Oleksii Khoroshenin’s A♦Q♣. There are now 44 players remaining and they are all on a 20 minute break. — NW

3:55pm: News in brief
Level 12 – Blinds 1,200-2,400 (400 ante)

– A new champion will be crowned in this event. “I can’t win everytime!” said EPT Malta champion Dietrich Fast as he was leaving the tournament area after busting.

– Andrey Andreev tried a three-bet from the big blind, but unlike the others we wrote above before, he didn’t get the original raiser to fold. Pavel Plesuv had opened from the cutoff and then four-bet all-in for 80,100 after Adreev had bumped it up to 17,500. Fold.

– Another player folding was Mustapha Kanit, but he waited until the river to do so. He was in the big blind also and defended after Andrei Boghean had opened to 5,500 from middle position. He also check-called another 5,500 on the 4♠10♥A♥ flop before the J♥ turn was checked through. The river was the Q♥ and Kanit check-folded to a 35,000 bet. –MC

4:45pm: Kitai’s vigil upended by Uspenskiy
Level 12 – Blinds 1,200-2,400 (400 ante)

Davidi Kitai did well to treble up his two big-blind stack earlier, but it was all to come to nought. He is now out, becoming the latest victim of Konstantin Uspenskiy.

It was pretty straightforward actually: a shove from the cutoff for about 10,000 from Kitai and a call from Uspenskiy on the button. Kitai’s J♥8♦ couldn’t out-run Uspenskiy’s A♥5♦ on a board of 10♣Q♥4♥7♠4♦.

Uspenskiy now sits with about 360,000 poorly-stacked chips, the meat in a doorstep sandwich. Anton Bertilsson is one flank of thickly-sliced bread: he has 340,000. Thomas Muehloecker is the other. He has 345,000.

4:35pm: Not your average all-in
Level 12 – Blinds 1,200-2,400 (400 ante)

This was an all-in with a twist, the side pot was bigger than the main pot and the player everyone expected to get eliminated survived.

Brian Roberts was the player who started it all, the American raised to 5,400 from under-the-gun and action passed to Thomas Muehloecker, who was in the small blind. He paused for quite some time, riffling chips as the cogs turned, before raising to 17,000 total. Next to act was Davidi Kitai, the Triple-Crown winner was very short on chips, he had near 50% of his stack already in the pot and committed the rest. His all-in was for 4,900 total, so less than Robert’s opening raise.

There was now one of those ‘he knows that I know that he knows,’ situations as Kitai being so short, and both players knowing this, added a wrinkle to the hand. Anyway, Roberts called to create a bigger side pot that the main pot and a 3♥8♦10♦ flop hit the felt. After a brief think Muehloecker bet 16,000 but Roberts was not so quick to act, he thought for a decent amount of time, enough for a crowd of players – who were on break from the Eureka Main Event – to gather near to the table. After a couple of minutes, Roberts moved all-in for what looked like a little under 100,000 and Muehloecker didn’t even ask for a count before calling and creating a three-way all-in.

Kitai: 8♥3♠
Roberts: A♦Q♦
Muehloecker: A♠A♣

Amazingly Kitai was in the lead having flopped two-pair with his big blind special, Muehloecker no doubt cared more about the side pot and had to dodge the flush outs that Roberts had to win the bigger chunk of change. He did just that as the 7♠ turn and 5♣ river kept him in front and eliminated Roberts. After that hand, Kitai is still short on chips, while Muehloecker shoots up to 380,000. –NW

4:35pm: Plesuv gets aces to hold
Level 12 – Blinds 1,200-2,400 (400 ante)

Niko Soininen opened to 5,500 from the cutoff and Pierre Neuville wanted to give him a spin from the button. Neuville called. However Pavel Plesuv waded into the cosy arrangement with a three-bet to 18,500.

Soininen was undeterred. He moved all-in, which was the covering stack by a long way. Neuville quickly folded but Plesuv called for his last 61,800 and turned over A♠A♦.

Soininen’s 5♠5♣ were tiny in comparison and the board did not produce anything weird. Plesuv doubles with his aces. “Got to win with them sometimes,” Neuville said, referencing his own accident with the same hands about an hour ago.

4:30pm: Stay away from my big blind!
Level 12 – Blinds 1,200-2,400 (400 ante)

Big blinds aren’t easy pickings these days, especially in big buy-in events. Three layers just found that out, and all had to make folds after raising.

Bryan Piccioli opened to 6,000 and then got the stare down from Paul Newey in the big blind. The British businessman then three-bet to 17,500 and Piccioli folded while tapping the table.

Just as that hand was ending, Daniel Dvoress was raising to 5,500 from one table along. He had around 70,000 behind and was soon put to test for all of it as Simon Mattsson shoved from the big blind. The Canadian tank-folded.

Back to the original table, where the very next hand saw the action fold around to Ramin Hajiyev on the button. He raised to 5,500 but folded when Sam Greenwood three-bet to 20,000 from the big blind.

Newey – 245,000
Piccioli – 49,500
Mattsson – 190,000
Dvoress – 70,000
Greenwood – 210,000
Hajiyev – 88,000

4:25pm: Hiding in plain sight
Level 12 – Blinds 1,200-2,400 (400 ante)

Ivan Banic is at least two metres tall. That’s 6’5″ in old money, and it’s probably actually an underestimation. Yet for some reason I missed him on the most recent sweep of the room looking for big stacks, and that’s doubly ridiculous. He also has one of the biggest stacks in the room, with about 320,000.

4:20pm: Prizes, prizes, prizes!
Level 12 – Blinds 1,200-2,400 (400 ante)

Tournament administrators have come out of their concave with full details of the prize-pool for this event. There were 108 players and 25 re-entries, producing a prize pool of €1,290,100.

The winner will get €324,600 and 17 places will pay. The top eight prizes are as below, and head to the payouts page for full details.

1     €324,600
2     €219,300
3     €142,550
4     €118,050
5     €95,200
6     €75,090
7     €57,400
8     €43,220

4:15pm: Neuville versus the online stars
Level 12 – Blinds 1,200-2,400 (400 ante)

Pierre Neuville had a stab at knocking out two top-ranking players in consecutive hands as first Daniel Dvoress and then Connor Drinan had their all-in shoves called. Neuville will chalk up a 50 percent success rate.

Firsly, Neuville was in great shape with aces against Dvoress’s J♦J♥. Neuville was on the button and Dvoress in the big blind. But the board of J♣6♦3♠4♣7♦ earned a double for Dvoress. His 34,100 now looks twice as big.

On the very next hand, Drinan jammed for 21,100 and Neuville called. Drinan’s 10♥9♥ couldn’t beat Neuville’s A♣Q♠ when nobody hit a pair.

4:10pm: Great time to bust!
Level 11 – Blinds 1,000-2,000 (300 ante)

To bust any time before the money is not good, but you really don’t want to bust just as the prize pool information is being announced to the field. Details of all the payouts are coming right up, but for now feel for Andre Boghean, Niklas Astedt, Abbas Moradi and Julian Stuer. –MC

4pm: Folds for Khanghah and Fast
Level 11 – Blinds 1,000-2,000 (300 ante)

Two very different pots to tell you about on adjacent tables, both involving all-ins.
The bigger – and more interesting – of the two started when Jaroslaw Sikora opened to 4,000 from the cutoff, Francois Billard then smooth called out of the small blind, only for Pasha Khanghah to three-bet to 10,000 from the big.

The pre-flop raising war wasn’t done here though, Sikora made it 24,000 to go, Billard let his hand go, but Khangah stuck around. The flop fell 8♣6♠2♠ and Khangah near instantly shoved for his remaining 69,100. His Polish opponent wanted a count but ultimately elected to fold and Khangah took the spoils.

Whilst all this was happening Dietrich Fast was being put through the wringer by Aliaksei Boika. The German had shoved for 16,900 and Boika, who was in the big blind, took a few minutes to come to a decision about what to do about this near nine big blind shove. Long after the Khangah hand had finished Boika mucked his cards and the pot went to Fast. –NW

3:45pm: Pouya, got ya!
Level 11 – Blinds 1,000-2,000 (300 ante)

A lot of times, top pair will be good against Charlie Carrel. Unfortunately for Ahadpour Pouya, not the time he moved all-in on the flop against him.

Carrel had raised preflop and picked up Pouya en route to a 3♠A♠5♠ flop. Carrel c-bet, was min-raised so clicked it back, then shoved when Pouya three-bet. Call all-in. “I thought you were bluffing!” said Pouya while opening A♦9♦.

Carrel wasn’t and opened the nut-flushing K♠9♠. The board ran out 10♣Q♣ and Carrel moved up to huge 390,000. –MC

3:25pm: Two Nordics, one Italian
Level 11 – Blinds 1,000-2,000 (300 ante)

Overnight chip leader Niko Soininen’s stack has grown to around 275,000 after he won a pot off Niklas Astedt in an early position battle. The latter entered today with a six-figure stack also but he sits with around 60,000 after the loss.

By the time we reached the table, a K♠8♣5♠7♣Q♠ board was at rest and around 65,000 lay in the middle. Soininen was first to act from under the gun, and slid a tower of blue 5k chips forward. It was enough to set his Swedish opponent all-in, and enough to make him think hard. His (assumed) girlfriend wandered over to the table while he was thinking and no man wants to bust in front of his better half. He folded for what was (most probably) other reasons entirely.

Just after that hand happened, Dario Sammartino was doubling up to around 70,000 on a nearby table. His A♠Q♣ got there on the river to defeat an opponent’s J♣J♠. The board read 3♥3♣9♠2♥Q♥. –MC

3:15pm: Mattsson gathers more chips
Level 11 – Blinds 1,000-2,000 (300 ante)

Pierre Neuville and Simon Mattsson had reached the river of a Q♣K♥9♦K♠5♥ board by the time I picked up the action. There was roughly 23,000 in the pot and Neuville (big blind) had bet 13,000. Action was on Mattsson (button) and he was in the tank.

He stayed there for a short time before plonking a raise over the betting line, it almost landed on the actual button in fact. The dealer separated out the 5k and 1k chips and Neuville saw that he was facing a bet of 32,000 total. Now it was the Belgian’s turn to tank, he sat back in his chair before leaning forward for another look at the community cards. Both the players in the hand had big stacks, Neuville had about 200,000 back at this point and Mattsson a similar amount. Eventually Neuville called, Mattsson showed K♣6♦ and Neuville mucked.

After that hand Mattsson is up to 288,000. –NW

3:10pm: Great flop, better turn
Level 11 – Blinds 1,000-2,000 (300 ante)

Pasha Khanghah said he liked the flop. Not surprising. He had 10♣9♠ and the flop was K♦Q♠J♥. However Pascal Lefrancois rightly pointed out that it was actually the turn that made Khanghah all his money. That was the 6♦ and Lefrancois had 6♣6♠.

Khanghah check-raised all-in on the turn, for 64,000, and Lefrancois called. After the 4♠ river failed to hit any of Lefrancois’ full-house outs, Khanghah sat proudly with about 140,000, while Lefrancois is down to 25,000.

3:05pm: Newcomers
Level 11 – Blinds 1,000-2,000 (300 ante)

Connor Drinan is back in action, having re-entered at the earliest opportunity. Viacheslav Buldygin, who finished second to Dietrich Fast in the equivalent tournament in Malta in October, was one of the last players to buy in afresh.

3pm: Back to it
Level 11 – Blinds 1,000-2,000 (300 ante)

Players are now back in the room and we’ll find out soon who sneaked in at the death.

2:40pm: Break time
Level 10 – Blinds 800-1,600 (200 ante)

That’s the end of Level 10 and registration will close before players return to their seats for Level 11. After that, we’ll know full numbers and then have a prize-pool.

Here are some selected counts:

Charlie Carrel: 340,000
Simon Mattsson: 260,000
Niko Soininen: 235,000
Pierre Neuville: 210,000
Michael Rocco: 200,000
Alexandros Kolonias: 185,000
Thomas Muehloecker: 170,000
Paul Newey: 165,000
Brian Senie: 145,000
Mikita Badziakouski: 145,000
Jean-Noel Thorel: 120,000
Sylvain Loosli: 120,000
Marc-Olivier Perrault: 110,000

2:30pm: Carrel accounts for Silver
Level 10 – Blinds 800-1,600 (200 ante)

As if there was any doubt who owned that last level, Charlie Carrel knocked out Max Silver on the very last hand and vaulted to about 340,000 in chips as a result. This was grim for Silver, who moved all-in on the turn, looking at a board of Q♣6♦8♦J♠. He had 8♥8♠ and figured that was worth all of his 60,500 stack.

Carrel clearly didn’t like it, and even said, “Bleugh!” at one point as he thought about calling. But then he did call and showed Q♠9♠. But when you’re running well, you’re running well and the 10♥ on the river hit Carrel’s middle-pin.

Silver hit the rail–although may yet buy back in.

2:20pm: Pollak canned for final time
Level 10 – Blinds 800-1,600 (200 ante)

Benjamin Pollak’s tournament is over as he lost a big pot to Simon Mattsson and cannot re-enter. Mattsson is now among the leaders with about 260,000 in his stack.

Mattsson opened to 4,000 from under the gun and Pierre Neuville called from two seats to his left. Pollak then raised to 15,200 on the button and the blinds got out of the way.

Mattsson, however, was going nowhere. He four-bet to 35,000 and Neuville had seen enough. Pollak then took some thinking time. After a good few minutes of pondering, he moved all-in for about 93,000 and Mattsson called after about three nanoseconds.

Mattsson: A♠K♣
Pollak: A♦Q♦

The flop brought a king and there was nothing the dealer could do to help Pollak after that.

2:05pm: Drinan loses last of short stack
Level 10 – Blinds 800-1,600 (200 ante)

Connor Drinan is also out, losing his last 9,600 chips to his countryman Bryan Piccioli. This was all fairly standard: Drinan open-jammed for six big blinds with K♥8♥. Piccioli picked him off with K♣8♦ and there were no drams through a board of 7♠9♦9♠J♥6♦.

2pm: More for Carrel as Kisacikoglu busts
Level 10 – Blinds 800-1,600 (200 ante)

Charlie Carrel is on a roll and has built his stack to about 230,000 now, dispatching Orpen Kisacikoglu in the process.

Carrel opened to 4,000 from under the gun and Kisacikoglu, in the small blind, raised to 12,400. Carrel clicked it back, making it 25,000 and then Kisacikoglu paused for thought.

After a minute or so, Kisacikoglu moved all-in for about 65,000 and Carrel snap-called. Kisacikoglu’s A♥K♥ never caught up against Carrel’s K♠K♣, even though the board gradually brought a few flutters as it ran 3♦10♦9♠Q♣2♥.

Kisacikoglu can still re-enter if he wants. There’s about 30 minutes in Level 10 still to play, plus the break.

1:55pm: Carrel wins big in blind battle against Aido
Level 10 – Blinds 800-1,600 (200 ante)

Charlie Carrel is another man in form. He made the final table of all three flagship tournaments at the recent Master Classic of Poker in Amsterdam–the Super High Roller, the High Roller and the Main Event. That’s a feat of scheduling as much as it is poker playing.

Carrel is beginning to purr here in Prague too, building his stack to around 175,000 at this stage. He just profited in a blind-on-blind skirmish with Sergio Aido, in which Carrel’s speech play may have worked in his favour too.

It looked to have gone raise-call pre-flop, between Carrel (SB) and Aido (BB), and they saw a flop of K♠4♥10♥. Carrel bet 2,400 and Aido raised to 8,000. Carrel called.


Charlie Carrel, right, with Ben Heath before play on Day 2

They both checked the 2♣ turn. Then, after the 8♣ appeared on the river, Carrel muttered something about queen-jack, apparently vocalising that he thought that was what Aido was raising with on the flop. Carrel bet 20,000 and Aido snap-called.

The haste of Aido’s call may have represented something bigger than queen-jack, but not big enough to beat Carrel’s K♥8♠. Aido mucked upon seeing the rivered two-pair.

Aido has around 40,500 now.

1:45pm: Rocco going to war with Tuna
Level 10 – Blinds 800-1,600 (200 ante)

The most surprising part about the following hand is not that they got it all-in, but that they took so long to do so. It was an aces-versus-kings cooler, which ended up giving Michael Rocco about 130,000 and putting a serious dent in Akin Tuna’s prospects, which had been resurgent after firing his second bullet yesterday.

When I arrived, there was 40,000 in the pot and four cards exposed: 3♣8♥Q♦Q♠. Tuna checked and Rocco moved all-in for 45,400. Tuna announced a call and then seemed exasperated when Rocco showed A♥A♣. Tuna wearily exposed his K♥K♦.

This was probably going all-in whichever way one looks at it, and so Tuna can only really curse the poker gods for his ill fortune.

Not long after, the two of them were at it again. This tie, there was about 65,000 in the pot and a board dealt all the way. It read Q♣J♠4♣8♦Q♠. Rocco moved 80,000 into the middle, which covered Tuna’s stack of 50,000. Tuna this time folded.

1:25pm: Lefrancois doubles
Level 9 – Blinds 600-1,200 (200 ante)

Pascal Lefrancois had a decision for his tournament life but, after um-ing and err-ing for a little while, he made the call that really he couldn’t avoid making. And he was good.

The situation came about after Samuel Vousden moved all-in on the river with the board reading 9♥9♠2♠K♠8♣. Vousden had been in the small blind pre-flop and there was about 32,000 in the middle. LeFrancois had been in the hijack.

Lefrancois took a few seconds to determine whether he wanted to call for his last 22,000. But he did, and Vousden rewarded him by turning over a bluff. His Q♦J♠ was no match for Lefrancois’ 10♦9♦. The pot puts Lefrancois up to around 95,000.

1:15pm: Newey on the charge
Level 9 – Blinds 600-1,200 (200 ante)

It’s a very simple formula for success if you can get it to work: find a massive hand and watch others get slightly smaller hands in front of you. The latest boost to Paul Newey’s stack is thanks to precisely this kind of coup. Thank you very much.

Juha Helppi started it with an open-shove for his last 13,900. One seat to his left, Vlad Darie called. Action then got to Newey in the small blind and he cut out a big chunk of blue 5,000 chips, comfortably covering Darie’s total stack.

Darie called. He had what looked like 30,500, but they didn’t count it just yet, especially given what cards the three of them exposed.

Helppi: K♥9♥
Darie: Q♠Q♣
Newey: A♠A♦

The board ran 8♠K♣10♠6♥3♥ and there was not enough help for Helppi, Darie was done, and a new stack of about 235,000 for Newey.

That’s the biggest stack at that table, as you would expect, but not by a great deal. Pierre Neuville, one seat to Newey’s left, has also amassed a stack of about 215,000 now. Those two are on fire.


Paul Newey and Pierre Neuville

1:05pm: Brief stay for Engel
Level 9 – Blinds 600-1,200 (200 ante)

Ari Engel’s tournament is over before it really got started (at least his first bullet is; he could re-enter still if he wanted).

I’m not totally certain how we got to the position in which I found the table, but Andrey Andreev had 6,000 out in front of him, under the gun, as did Paul Newey, a couple of seats around, and Engel had 28,200 pushed forward, which was all of his remaining chips.

Both players in the blinds still had cards too, so perhaps Andreev had made a surprisingly big pre-flop raise, but it wasn’t really clear. Anyhow, Andreev folded but Newey called and Engel’s A♦10♦ was behind Newey’s A♥K♦.

The board was blank. It ran 5♣7♥Q♦3♠9♥ and Engel headed out of the door.

12:55pm: Double for Loosli
Level 9 – Blinds 600-1,200 (200 ante)

Sylvain Loosli was the shortest stack of the remaining players overnight, but he has just found a double-up, plus a little, in a four-way pot. They were at the turn with the Q♠K♥10♥9♦ exposed and Loosli moved all-in for 9,800. Julian Stuer folded but then Thomas Muehloecker made what looked like a bit of a crying call. Ilkin Amirov, also involved at this stage, quickly folded.

Loosli had J♦3♦ for the straight but Muehloecker had outs with his 9♣9♥. The 4♦ river was not one of them, so Loosli continues with close to 30,000 now. Muehloecker, meanwhile, still has about 120,000.

12:45pm: Bertilsson v Tuna
Level 9 – Blinds 600-1,200 (200 ante)

Already at least one incendiary clash is developing in this tournament featuring Akin Tuna and Anton Bertilsson. I’m sure both of them have folded hands to a single bet in their lives, but neither particularly likes to. Here’s evidence.

Action folded to Brian Senie on the button and he opened to 3,000. Tuna called in the small blind, but Bertilsson three-bet to 12,000 from the big blind. Senie folded, but Tuna called.


Anton Bertilsson: Aggression 1

The flop brought two sevens and a four: 7♦4♠7♥. That smothered Bertilsson’s big-blind three-betting range and after Tuna checked, Bertilsson bet 12,000 and won.

But they locked horns again on the next hand too. Action folded this time to Tuna on the button and he raised to 3,000. Bertilsson three-bet from the small blind, pushing 9,000 forward, and Tuna looked at the chips as though they were the droppings of a seagull on a dinner table. He four-bet to 23,000 and Bertilsson folded.


Akin Tuna: Aggression 2

Pity Senie, who is playing into both of them.

12:40pm: New arrivals
Level 9 – Blinds 600-1,200 (200 ante)

Six players have peeled the wrapping from a fresh set of chips this afternoon. They are Nariman Yaghmai, Ari Engel, Ilkin Amirov, Yang Zhang and Ben Pollak. The first five a fresh buy-ins; Pollak has been here before.

12:30pm: Day 2 under way
Level 9 – Blinds 600-1,200 (100 ante)

That’s it. They’re off for Day 2. A few new faces have arrived and we’ll have details of late buy-ins as we know them. Remember, registration is still open for another two hours.

12pm: Day 2 of the €10K

Play gets under way at 12:30pm on Day 2 of the first major tournament of the EPT13 Prague festival. This is the €10,000 single re-entry hold’em. Over the course of eight 45-minute levels on Day 1, 96 players joined the action and 15 re-entered after being eliminated. There were 77 players still with chips at the end of the day.

Registration remains open until the start of Level 11 and at that stage your 50,000 starting stack will be worth 25 big blinds. Right now, just heading into Level 9, it’s 42 big blinds, so there’s plenty of play even for the newcomers.

Niko Soininen bagged up most last night. Here’s how the top ten looked at around 12:45am:

Name Country Chips
Niko Soininen Finland 230100
Ivan Banic Croatia 180200
Paul Newey UK 158300
Thomas Muehloecker Austria 157200
Brian Senie USA 146600
Akin Tuna Germany 131200
Steffen Sontheimer UK 128300
Alexandr Komarov Russia 127100
Charlie Carrel UK 118900
Konstantin Uspenskiy Russia 118600

Click through to the chip-count page for the full list. With registration still open, tournament officials have not published a seat draw. But players will find their table allocation on arrival to the tournament room today.

Stick with us all day. Levels are 60-minutes long and we’re scheduled to play ten of them, with a 75-minute dinner break at the end of Level 14.

Take a look at the official website of the EPT, with tournament schedule, news, results and accommodation details for EPT13 Prague.

Also all the schedule information is on the EPT App, which is available on both Android or IOS.

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



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