EPT13 Prague: Nicholas Chouity leads final 231 as bubble bursts to end Day 2

December 15, 2016

Headline out of the way first. Day 2 is done at the European Poker Tour Prague Main Event, and with 231 players left, EPT6 Grand Final champion Nicolas Chouity rose up the counts to take the chip lead heading to tomorrow with a huge stack of 644,000. 

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Nicolas Chouity, chip leader

Right then. That’s covered. Now… what’s in a name? 

Billy Shakespeare asked that one, right? You know, the word guy.

As this last ever European Poker Tour Main Event careens toward a finish early next week, we know the PokerStars Championships to come primarily represent just a name change. Even so, as today’s Day 2 neared the money bubble and the last payouts of the last EPT Main Event were growing closer, we couldn’t help but have the idea of this being the last “EPT” foremost in our thoughts.

With the start of play today came the last chance to enter the last European Poker Tour Main Event, with 1,192 players collectively helping mark the occasion with a largest ever field for EPT Prague.

That’s a record that’s gonna last.

That meant a prize pool of €5,781,200 to be divided among the top 231, with a €774,600 first prize going to the player who lasts longer than anyone to be the last one standing.

Right then. That’ll be the last time tonight we’ll say “last.” 

There were 600-plus playing at the start today, but as the day turned to night there was a steady march railward made by the eliminated. Near the end it became apparent the money might be reached. While bloggers bet with each other on whether the bubble would be bursting late tonight or early tomorrow — strictly for grins and schnitzels — they did get down to one off the cash, and so the decision was made to reach the money tonight.

There were multiple to-be-or-not-to-be situations for all-in players (see the updates below), but everywhere we looked it was double, double, so the toil and trouble of the stubborn bubble continued. Finally Attila Valentai was the unfortunate 232nd-place finisher (again, see below), and the remaining 231 all left knowing they’d secured one final EPT Main Event cash.

Other big stacks behind Chouity include Eduards Kudrjavcevs (547,000), Nandor Solyom (526,500), Matas Cimbolas (481,500), Pedro Lamarca (480,000), Apostolos Bechrakis (478,500), Ludovic Lacay (438,000), Thomas Muehloecker (430,000), Samuel Vousden (428,500), Artur Rudziankov (415,500), Benjamin Pollak (407,500), and Oleksii Liashenko (402,500). 

Meanwhile Red Spade sporters Felipe Ramos (106,500) and Vanessa Selbst (69,000) will be part of the mix as well with much shorter stacks, but a chance at the trophy just like anyone else. After all, there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

Join us again tomorrow starting at 12 noon, for Day 3 of the EPT Prague Main Event, where all will be chasing a man named Nicolas. 

But what’s in a name? That which we call a leader by any other name would be just as Chouity. –MH

Day 2 coverage

9:15pm: Valentai bubbles EPT Prague
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

After eight double-ups the bubble burst at the ninth time of asking. Attila Valentai was all-in for 40,200 with A♠K♥ and looking to win a flip against the pocket eight of Mike Brandau. The flop fell 6♥9♥K♣ and Brandau banged the table when he saw he’d been outdrawn.

The J♣ turn meant Valentai had just two outs to dodge. But, the 8♥ hit the river meaning the remaining 231 players are all in the money and play is done for the day.

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Eight survived, then Attila Valentai bubbled

Back in a bit with a final report on the day. –NW

9:05pm: Bubble go pop
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (500 ante)

After no less than eight all-in players surviving, the bubble has burst!

On yet another hand-for-hand hand featuring multiple all-ins, both Mikhail Sokolvskiy and Renjun Yang survived with pocket aces. But the third player wasn’t so lucky — details coming! –MH

8:50pm: Tough bubble
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (500 ante)

It’s the last EPT Main Event bubble ever, and it has proven one of the more difficult ones to burst.

Following those earlier doubles — by Anton Petrov, and also Zvi Stern and Mykailo Gutyi — there have been three more double-ups since then, including one by Jason Wheeler whose pocket kings held versus jacks. Adrien Allain also survived an all-in versus Martin Kabrhel, a hand that ended in a chopped pot.

Onward they play into the night. –MH

8:30pm: Petrov doubles; nothing’s burst yet!
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (500 ante)

On the turn on a 6♠8♥3♠J♠ board, Anton Petrov bet 11,000, was raised to 41,000 by Pedro Lamarca, and then shoved for 156,200. The action was on Lamarca, and it remained so for quite some time.

While the floor were going around seeing how many all-in-and-call hands there had been, Lamarca was stuck in the tank. He’d been thinking about his decision for quite some time by the time Ari Engel called the clock.

It ticked right down to one second, and somewhere between that final second and zero Lamarca tossed a few chips in the middle indicating a call. Petrov looked disappointed and actually started putting his coat on, suggesting he might have been bluffing, or just expect Lamarca to have a flush.

But, of course, the hand couldn’t be played out just yet. Two others went first, but both ended in double-ups rather than eliminations. Could this be the bubble hand? Finally the holdings were revealed:

Lamarca – 6♦3♦
Petrov – J♣8♣

Both had two pair but Petrov’s was bigger. The river was the 7♣ and that gave Petrov the double to more than 330,000, while Lamarca dropped to 480,000.

The next hand has started — we’ll keep on going until that bubble is burst. –JS

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Play goes on

8:20pm: Solaas busts so the Main Event will reach the money today
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (500 ante)

Espen Solaas busted in 233rd place on the first hand of hand-for-hand play, meaning today won’t end until the money is reached.

The Norwegian three-bet all-in for 94,100 after an opening raise from Apostolos Bechrakis. Call.

Bechrakis: A♠K♦
Solaas: A♦8♦

The board ran 3♠6♠K♠9♣6♥ to hand the pot to Bechrakis. The tournament has reached the stone bubble. –MC

8:10pm: Specific plans for the end of play
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (500 ante)

We have very specific plans for this, the pre-bubble period of play.

There are presently 233 players with chips and 22 minutes on the clock before the scheduled end of play. Tournament organisers are now instigating hand-for-hand play.

If the clock runs down to its conclusion and nobody has been eliminated, then we will come back tomorrow still two off the money. However, if one player is eliminated in the coming 22 minutes then we will play until another bust out, which will burst the bubble. Then everybody coming back tomorrow will have cashed.

Niko Koop has 8,500 and is in the big blind for the first hand of hand-for-hand play. “Do you think I am the shortest in the tournament?” he said.

Anton Wigg is short on the feature table. Philipp Gruissem is short one table along. I also saw Piotr Franczak three-bet jam after Benjamin Pollak’s open and then show J♣10♣ when everyone folded. Franczak is far from short, but if he’s prepared to do that then we could well burst the bubble tonight. — HS

8:05pm: Dvoress has more, but really it’s less
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (500 ante)

Daniel Dvoress has been elected the 100-chip buyer on his table, which means all the players are selling him their 100-value chips ahead of the chip race. That also means he now has tons of chips in front of him, but it looks like a whole lot more than it is.

In fact, after the hand he just played against Benjamin Richardson, it’s less than he had before. He called a 7,000 button open from the big blind and then checked a 2♣5♣J♦ flop. Richardson continued for 8,500 and Dvoress came along to see the 9♠ turn. He checked once more, then called a 17,500 second bullet.

The river was the 8♠ and this time both checked it down. “Nine,” said Richardson, showing his K♥9♦. Dvoress mucked and now has 88,000 (although it fills three chip racks), and Richardson is up to 270,000. –JS

8pm: Muehloecker too good, or is he?
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (500 ante)

It’s been three years since Ludovic Lacay played an EPT. The former EPT champion stepped away from the table earlier to talk, and one of the things he said was that he doesn’t miss playing with players of the calibre of Thomas Muehloecker.

The two players are dominating their table in terms of chips and Muehloecker has position on Lacay. Not when the Frenchman has the button though. Lacay opened from the button and Muehloecker defended his big blind. The board rolled out J♠Q♣K♥4♦A♦ and was checked to the river where Lacay bet 12,000. Muehloecker tank-folded (while smiling) showing an ace.

Lacay commented, “That’s why you’re the best!” before he showed the 4♥. Both players are hovering in the 380K-390K range. –MC

7:58pm: The crowded rail
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (500 ante)

Catching up on just some of mid-to-late day bustouts, Oleksii Khoroshenin, Anton Bertilsson, Gabriel Nassif, Ismael Bojang, Sergio Aido, Nick Palma, Arnaud Mattern, Orpen Kisacikoglu, Igor Yaroshevskyy, Jens Lakemeier, and Eureka Prague High Roller champ Tom Hall are all on the rail now. –MH

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The feature table

7:55pm: Vousden takes out Kyriakides
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (500 ante)

We’re now three off the money as Miltiadis Kyriakides has just been eliminated in 235th place. He got the last of his chips in with A♣8♦ on the turn of a 10♥2♣4♦8♥ board. Unfortunately for him he was drawing dead against the 4♣4♠ of Samuel Vousden, for whom the quads-making 4♥ river was just overkill. –NW

7:50pm: Lamarcable!
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (500 ante)

Pedro Lamarca just did it again. He sent two players to the rail, increasing his lead with a stack now up to 680,000.

Steffen Sondheimer and Jens Lakemeier might not have seen what Lamarca did earlier to take the lead. Had they done so they might have known how well he handles three way all-ins. 

Lamarca: Q♠Q♥
Lakemeier: A♠J♥
Sontheimer: A♣Q♣

The board delivered their fate quickly, coming as it did K♣10♣4♠9♠9♥. Everyone did a kind of double-take to be sure of what they were seeing. But it was all true. Lamarca had just busted two more players. Again. – SB

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Looking for a favorite? Vote Pedro

7:45pm: Wheeler survives
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (500 ante)

Jason Wheeler has been nursing a short stack for the last level and a half and he just got another much needed double.

He was all-in for 29,800 with K♠Q♠ and needed to win a race against Jonathan Abdellatif’s pocket sevens. The 8♣A♥K♦3♦2♣ board meant he survived.

235 players remain. –NW

7:40pm: Rocci rolling out the tanks
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (500 ante)

Poker is a democratic game — you pay your money and you can play your cards how you want. However, the antics of Andrea Rocci are beginning to grate on his tablemates and it’s easy to understand why.

The Italian has a decent stack of 206,000 (the average is just 146,000), and so is in no danger of bubbling. Even so, he is stalling some eight places off the money. He’s not even trying to disguise it either. In the hand we saw he was under the gun and thus not facing a raise or a decision. The clock was called and as the floor was reading him his rights he looked at his phone and seemed even less interested in them than he was in the pot.

He then leaned back in his chair and didn’t for one nanosecond look as if he was going to put a chip in the pot. Indeed, he was twiddling his thumbs as the 10-second countdown began. “Sir if you continue to do this we will give you less time to act,” was the stern warning from the floor staff. –NW

7:35pm: Selbst back from the dead
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Vanessa Selbst looked doomed. She was gathering her belongings and getting up from her seat. Then she was all smiles as she sat back down.

Aleksey Ponakov had opened from under the gun and was called in two spots, one being the Team PokerStars Pro in the big blind. The flop came Q♠6♣7♠ and Ponakov continued for 9,000. He was called by the player in the hijack before Selbst check-raised all-in for 24,700. Ponakov raised again and that ousted the third party.

Selbst: Q♣7♣ for top two pair.
Pomakov: Q♥Q♦ for top set.

It was a cooler all right and, as Selbst was getting up, said rather hopefully, “Clubs?” Well, that’s exactly what she got as the board ran out 8♣9♣. Pomakov dropped to 205,000. –MC

7:30pm: Pollak up. Ladny no more
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (500 ante)

Benjamin Pollak is up to 330,000 after sending Jacek Ladny to the rail within sight of the money bubble. 
On a flop of K♦3♦Q♠ Ladny shoved with what he had left holding A♦10♦ and Pollak called with Q-3. The turn came 5♥ and the river 2♠ to dispatch Ladny. – SB

7:25pm: Francois Frejdles was fishing, or so says Cimbolas
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Matas Cimbolas opened and was called by Francois Frejdles on the button and Vlado Banicevic (big blind) to see the 5♣J♦6♥ flop. It checked to Cimbolas and he continued for 8,000, which both called again.

The turn came the 5♠ and when Banjcevic checked so did Cimbolas. Frejdles leaned out and got a look at Banjcevic’s remaining stack — 22,000 — and then bet exactly that amount to put him all in. Banjcevic quickly called, and Cimbolas quickly folded.

Frejdles could only muster the K♣Q♥ for king-high when the cards were flipped, while Banjcevic had him drawing dead with the Q♠5♦. Therefore, the river didn’t matter.

“You were fishing!” said Cimbolas to Frejdles. “Fishing on the flop. Fishing on the turn. You had nothing and were fishing all the way.”

It was all in good spirits, as Frejdles still has a healthy 137,000, while Cimbolas has 378,000 and Banjcevic 94,000.

“I had a better hand than you did!” Cimbolas told Frejdles, before he was willing to let the hand go. –JS

7:20pm: Lamarca into the lead
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (500 ante)

Asking a player his name, or in this case to turn his player ID card over to reveal his player number, can be a delicate business. Need to identify a losing player, and you’re likely to get the cold shoulder. Get him winning and he’ll do it gladly. 

Then if you get them after they win a hand that puts them into the chip lead they’ll hold it up to your face with a smile and tell you their name while doing it. 

“My name is Pedro Lamarca,” said Pedro Lamarca, “and I have 600,000.”

He does, too.

It came in a three way all-in in which he busted two players, Christian Thiry and Epstathios Kavoukis, both of whom turned over ace-king. Lamarca had 10♥10♠ and braced himself for the board which came 3♦J♠5♦5♥8♠.
There were some noises from some, just happiness from Lamarca who set about stacking his chips — 600,000 of them — which right now is good for the lead. – SB

7:18pm: Last level begins
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (500 ante)

It’s a shorter day today with only six levels, and they’ve entered the last one already. Seventy-five more minutes of poker tonight, then the bags. –MH

7:17pm: Soulier knocks out two
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (400 ante)

Fabrice Soulier described the following as the “biggest pot of my life”, but given this is pre-money in an EPT Main Event, he was almost certainly exaggerating. Soulier has more than $6 million in tournament winnings, you see.

It was a bit of a weird one. There had obviously been some betting and three-betting before I got there because the carnage on the table must have been some time in the making. Alexandros Kolonias (UTG) had 29,300 over the line in front of him, as well as an “All-In” triangle. Marjan Milanovic (BB) had 51,100 over the line in front of him, and the second “All-In” triangle was also deployed.

Soulier was pondering the call, which he quickly realised he had little choice but to make. He had already invested 24,200. As I say, a bit of a weird one.

Anyway, Soulier’s call meant we would see all three hands:

Soulier: 10♥10♦
Kolonias: 7♦7♠
Milanovic: 8♥8♠

The flop vaulted the worst hand into the lead, but gave re-draw outs to both of the others. It was 9♥7♥4♥. The lead changed hands but everyone was also still alive after the 5♥ turn. However the 5♠ on the river sealed it for Soulier and he raked in a pot that took him to 205,000. Kolonias and Milanovic were out.

The most important thing after the dust settled was the post mortem of the hand, a discussion in which everybody still with chips wanted to participate.  They wondered aloud who could have folded and whether or not either player should have jammed, and whether or not Soulier had to call.

Soulier was obviously vocal on all of these points, and kept missing the dealer’s polite request that he put an ante in for the next hand — an ante that had actually just gone up, unnoticed by those at the table.

“What do you want from me?” Soulier said, after a couple of requests. “I just won the biggest pot of my life.” — HS

NEIL7766_Fabrice_Soulier_EPT13PRA_Neil Stoddart.jpg

“What I’m saying is, the hand was très très grande…”

7:16pm: Someone call Doyle!
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (400 ante)

There was already 28,500 in the pot pre-flop and three cards exposed that had Doyle Brunson’s fingerprints all over them. The flop was 10♠2♠10♣.

The two players involved in this particular coup were Aleksey Ponakov, in the big blind, and Friedrich Meyer, on the button–neither of whom, I suspect, has ever played in a Texas road game. They both checked.

The 10♦ appeared on the turn to further make this a Brunson tribute hand and Ponakov had a stab at it. He bet 9,500. Meyer called.

The river was the 2♦ — was Brunson actually dealing these cards? — and Ponakov bet again. It was 30,000–a full starting stack.

Meyer took a little while to think about this. But eventually, from a stack of about 130,000, he called.

Ponakov didn’t have a ten. He didn’t have a deuce either. Somehow he had conspired to get involved in a 28,500 pot pre-flop with 7♥4♣. Meyer’s A♦5♦ didn’t win it outright either, but they were now chopping it up.

“That’s how good I run,” Ponakov said.

It’s a stacked table over there. Pablo Gordillo is there with 200,000. Ponakov has nearly 300,000. Artur Rudziankov has 400,000. And Vanessa Selbst is there as well, with 165,000. –HS

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Ready, set, Gordillo

7:15pm: News in brief
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (400 ante)

Some updates from the end of Level 13 to share:

– Babis Lappas ordered himself a beer saying he needed it to get himself into shoving mode. Moments later he moved all-in from under the gun with A♠10♣ and was accommodated by Kent Roed in the next seat. He had a dominating A♣K♣ but the pot was chopped as it ran 6♣3♦3♠6♦9♥.

– Demosthenes Kiriopoulos has a big stack on the next table along. He moved up to 340,000 after winning a small pot off Dermot Blain. The Irishman opened to 5,000 from under the gun and Kiriopoulos defended his big blind. Blain continued for 5,500 on the 10♠3♦K♦ flop and was check-called before the J♣9♥ turn and river were checked through. Kiriopoulos opened 10♥2♦ and Blain mucked.

– Khabat Jahany likes to agonise over decisions. To be fair to the Swiss player though, he was put in a tricky spot by Andrew Hulme just now. The two players had made it to the river where a K♣10♦3♦6♣10♣ board rested. Around 70,000 lay in the middle and Jahany bet 29,900 from the button before Hulme raised all-in for 87,800. Jahany said he had a ten and didn’t know what to do. Eventually he folded showing the 10♥. –MC

7:12pm: Delahunty doubles
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (400 ante)

While Aleksey Ponakov was still stacking chips from his previous win (see just below), he made a raise to 5,000. Darren Delahunty was sat to his immediate left and he moved all-in for 31,900. When it got back to Ponakov he said: “Let’s gamble,” and made the call.

Delahunty: 3♥3♠
Ponakov: A♠9♠

This was the opposite of a classic race (whatever that’s called), but it was still a race. It was one the pair would win as the board ran 2♠2♥8♣4♠2♣. Ponakov still has plenty of chips as he’s still got 320,000. –NW

7:08pm: Ponakov takes one from Gordillo
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (400 ante)

It takes a brave player to three-bet Vanessa Selbst, but Aleksey Ponakov did just that in a recent hand. Selbst opened to 5,500 from middle position, Ponakov made it 14,500 from the hijack and both Pablo Gordillo (button) and Selbst called.

The 8♦10♦Q♠ flop seemed like it should create some action. When it was checked to Ponakov he bet 18,000 and Gordillo was the only caller. That took the two combatants to a J♥ turn and the pattern repeated. Bet of 33,000 from Ponakov, call from Gordillo. The 9♥ river meant that there was now a straight on board, but it didn’t slow down Ponakov. He bet 57,000 and Gordillo now wanted to look at the remaining stack of the Latvian. He had about 140,000 behind and Gordillo elected to fold and preserve his stack of 200,000.

As he took the pot Ponakov showed just the 10♠. –NW

7:05pm: Muehloecker splashing chips
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Thomas Muehloecker has had a tough couple of hands in which he’s lost around 15% of his stack. First he opened to 6,000 and was shoved on by Vojtech Cervinka for 27,700. He called with the A♥K♣ and was flipping against pocket eights, and the pair held up.

Then he was in a pot with Ludovic Lacay, and on a K♣K♥9♦4♣ board he check-called 13,800. Both checked the 7♥ river and Muehloecker showed pocket fives, but Lacay had rivered a pair with his jack seven to take it down.

Muehloecker has around 320,000 now, while Lacay has 370,000. –JS

7:02pm: Gierse sends Brammer home
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (400 ante)

Vojtech Horut opened to 5,500 from under the gun and could only watch as some players with heavyweight stacks called behind him. Marius Gierse, with the best part of 360,000, called UTG+1, then Alexey Romanov called in the hijack with 200,000 behind, then Charalampos Lappas called in the small blind and Chris Brammer called in the big blind. Brammer only had 35,000 in his stack, but rarely puts a foot wrong in tournaments.

So, there were five players who surveyed the flop of 2♣3♠8♥ and after a check from Lappas, Brammer moved his stack all-in. This, if I’m not mistaken, was a “stop and go”.

The first person to fold was Romanov, even if this was a fold out of turn, earning him a silent ticking off from the dealer. Gierse, who was actually next to act, let his hand go, but Gierse’s call persuaded all others out, too.

Brammer turned over 6♦5♦. He was not dead, even though he was in trouble against Gierse’s 9♥9♠.

However, nails were duly hammered into Brammer’s coffin when both the turn and river were picture cards. He packed up his things and knocked off for the night. That left Gierse with more than 410,000. –HS

7pm: Top five chip counts
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (400 ante)

Nandor Solyom 500,000
Eduards Kudrjavcevs 480,000
Nicolas Chouity 400,000
Thomas Muehloecker 390,000
Adrian Allain 375,000

For more notable counts check out the chip count page.

6:50pm: Kabrhel on the up, two former champs downed
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Martin Kabrhel’s stack has doubled to 115,000 after he check-called all-in on the river versus Adrien Allain.

Allain, who was so close to winning the EPT Grand Final earlier this year (losing heads-up to Jan Bendik), moved all-in on the river of a A♣9♦K♣7♠4♠ board from under the gun. Kabrhel was in the big blind and check-called all-in for 58,100 holding K♥9♥ for two pair. It was good as Allain opened A♦J♠ and dropped to around 300,000.

Meanwhile Jake Cody and Martin Finger won’t be winning a second EPT title. The Team PokerStars Pro’s seat is now occupied by Kitty Kuo, and Finger — champion here five seasons ago — was seen taking the walk of shame out of the room. –MC

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Finger falls

6:45pm: Tedeschi wheels in Wheeler
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Normally the bet sizes get bigger the more chips there are in the pot. But in this hand between Jason Wheeler and Paul Tedeschi, the bets got smaller on every street.

Wheeler kicked it off with an open to 5,300 from middle position and it folded to Tedeschi in the big blind, who defended. Three cards were placed in the centre of the table and here’s how they looked: J♣10♥9♦. Both checked.

The turn came the 7♥ and now Tedeschi took the betting lead for 3,500, which Wheeler called quickly. When the 10♠ river completed the board Tedeschi went even smaller, this just one big blind (2,400). Wheeler must have felt priced in to call and did, but mucked when the Frenchman showed him his J♥5♠ for two pair.

Wheeler is in the danger zone having dipped to 22,000, while things are looking good for Tedeschi; he’s up to 180,000. –JS

6:42pm: Wei wins
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (400 ante)

A good old classic race this with Aleksander Spadijer three-betting all-in for 31,300 with A♠K♦ and Qinnan Wei raise/calling with J♣J♠.

Wei would go on to make three pair on the 4♣3♥5♠8♦5♥ board. Three is better than two and it was good game for Spadijer. –NW

6:40pm: Almost a no-go for Kuo
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Late Tuesday evening (or early Wednesday morning) Kitty Kuo announced on her Twitter that due to medical reasons she had to skip playing Day 1A.

The good news is that Kuo not only came back to win her Main Event seat in a satellite and sit down to play here on Day 1B, but she’s still in, currently nursing a stack of around 60,000. –JS

6:35pm: Red or dead
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (400 ante)

Perhaps people do love chopped pots after all? Benjamin Pollak and Konstantinos Meliopoulos certainly seemed equally happy about getting their chips back after they clashed in a pot.

Pollak was the opener, he made it 5,600 to go, Meliopoulos shoved for 54,400 and action was on Pollak. He referenced an earlier hand and because of that he was calling. Meliopoulos showed A♠J♠ and Pollak had A♦J♥.

The 3♠A♣A♥ flop meant Meliopoulos was free rolling the hand. “Red, red,” pleaded Pollak. He didn’t get his wish but the 6♣ turn did ensure he’d win 50% of the pot and the 5♦ rounded things off. –NW

6:30pm: Philbort says hello!
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Philipp Gruissem has moved up to around 90,000 after he made an easy call to eliminate Jose Ortiz.

The action folded around to Ortiz on the button and he moved all-in for 24,700. Gruissem moved all-in from the small blind and the cards were flipped up.

Gruissem: A♥K♠
Ortiz: 5♣5♥

The flop came 2♣K♥8♦ and Gruissem went, “Oh hello! The dealer is on my side.” The board ran out 10♠7♦ and Ortiz was sent on his way. –MC

8G2A6928_Philipp_Gruissem_EPT13PRA_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Gruissem growing his stack

6:25pm: Top five chip counts
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (400 ante)

Nicolas Chouity 450,000
Eduards Kudrjavcevs 440,000
Marius Gierse 440,000
Matas Cimbolas 360,000
Nandor Solyom 350,000
Ludovic Lacay 340,000

For more notable counts check out the chip count page.

NEIL7652_Piotr_Franczak_Chips_EPT13PRA_Neil Stoddart.jpg

6:23pm: Ramos has a pair
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (400 ante)

Felipe Ramos had about 120,000 when he came back from the break, which is enough to have designs on an ITM finish. But he was also slightly disappointed by the speed of play on his current table, particularly after being moved from one on which they were seeing plenty of hands earlier in the day.

No matter. He is still building when he gets the chance.

In a recent pot, he opened to 5,500 from the hijack and picked up only one caller: Oleg Titov (don’t laugh) in the big blind. Titov (stop sniggering) checked after the 4♣A♣K♠ flop, but called when Ramos bet 6,700.

Both players checked the 4♥ turn to see the 9♥ on the river. Titov (how old are you?) bet 18,000 and Ramos quickly called.

Titov bared his 10♣6♣. Ramos’s 6♦6♠ was best. — HS

6:20pm: Pehlivanlar keeps up with Margerersen
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

It’s only been a short while since Scott Margeresen secured himself a big stack and he’s doing what you’d expect a big stack to do: try and bully the shorter ones. Unfortunately for him, Hulya Pehlivanlar ain’t fallin’ for it.

It folded to her in the small blind and she just limped, before Margeresen raised it up from the big blind to 8,000. She called.

The dealer spread a 7♣2♣A♣ flop and Pehlivanlar checked, letting Margeresen in for a 7,000 c-bet. She called again.

When the 9♠ landed on the turn it checked to Margeresen once again. This time he chose a bigger sizing and went for 23,000. Pehlivanlar didn’t budge.

Finally the Q♦ completed the board and when Pehlivanlar checked a third time Margeresen gave up, checking it back. She then turned over her K♦J♣ like she knew it was good, and it was. Margeresen mucked.

Pehlivanlar’s play with just king high brought her stack up to 127,000, while Margeresen has lost a little and finds himself with 253,000. –JS

6:15pm: Cody all-in
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (400 ante)

Jake Cody will hang around for a while longer after his all-in wasn’t called by either of his opponents.

Daniel Wilson had opened from under the gun and was called by Michiel Broskij (SB) and the Team PokerStars Pro (BB). The flop fell 6♦7♥8♣ and Cody moved all-in for 35,500. Wilson tanked for two minutes before relinquishing his hand, and Broskij did likewise despite saying he had a pair. Cody moved up to around 55,000. –MC

NEIL7193_Jake_Cody_EPT13PRA_Neil Stoddart.jpg

They couldn’t crack the Cody

6:10pm: Old Kent Roed heading to Mayfair?
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (400 ante)

Kent Roed is up to about 260,000 now after knocking out Alexandr Komarov. He has a name that recalls the cheapest property square on the British version of Monopoly (and a pretty grotty street in South London), but he’ll be heading around the board towards the dark blue properties if he keeps this up.

There must have been some betting before I arrived because Komarov had 14,000 in front of him in the cutoff and Roed had 31,200 in the small blind. Action was back on Roed, which makes me think there had been another player with an opening raise before this three-bet and four-bet went on.

Anyhow, Komarov then moved all-in and Roed wanted a precise count. He learned that it was 58,400 total — or 27,200 more on him — and then called.

It was the right play. Roed’s Q♠Q♦ had Komarov’s J♦J♠ in bad shape.

That went double after the flop fell Q♥9♥5♥ and treble when the Q♣ river followed the 10♦ turn.

“What’s your number to fold Queens?” Anton Wigg said from across the table. Roed muttered something back to his fellow Scandinavian, but Wigg continued to press as to how much would a bet need to be for Roed to be unwilling to play. I don’t think he got an answer. — HS

6:05pm: Wheeler’s steel
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (400 ante)

Jason Wheeler stuck his final 16,800 in the middle and Josip Vidovic decided to join him in the pot. Wheeler rolled over K♦K♥ and was ahead of Vidovic’s A♦Q♥. The 5♣J♣7♦ flop kept him in front, the K♠ gave Wheeler a lock on the hand and it’s a good job he hit it as the A♥ fell on the river. — NW

8G2A7038_Jason_Wheeler_EPT13PRA_Neil Stoddart.jpg

“Clowns to the left of me… jokers to the right…”

6pm: Flopped quads for Philipps
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (400 ante)

Ben Philipps, who bubbled the official final table at last season’s Grand Final, has seen his stack grow to 215,000 after he flopped quads and got paid.

We picked up the action on the turn with a board reading J♠4♥4♣9♠ and Philipps checked from under the gun. Khabat Jahany was his heads up opponent and bet 8,900 from the hijack before he was raised to 19,000. Call. The river was the 9♣ and Philipps led for 45,000.

“Forty-five?” asked Jahany. “F%*k my life!” he continued while getting up from his seat and knocking his neighbour’s phone to the floor. He apologised and then went back to agonizing over his decision. Eventually he called with 10♠10♣ but was shown 4♠4♦ by Philipps.

He did manage to get some chips back off Philipps the very next hand. He opened to 4,500 and was called in two spots, including Philipps in the big blind. The board rolled out A♦4♠J♥J♦2♠ with no chips going in until the river where Philipps led for 3,000. Jahany called with K♥K♦ and Philipps mucked. –MC

5:50pm: Back to business
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (400 ante)

With just over 300 players left — and only 231 of them due to make the money — play has resumed in the EPT Prague Main Event. There will be just two more 75-minute levels today before they’ll wrap up Day 2. –MH

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

5:30pm: Top five chip counts
Level 12 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

There are two former champions and one former UKIPT winner in the top five counts here in Prague:

Nicolas Chouity 450,000
Eduards Kudrjavcevs 410,000
Max Lykov 355,000
Matas Cimbolas 350,000
Nandor Solyom 350,000

For more notable counts check out the chip count page.

5:25pm: Last break of the day
Level 12 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

That’s the end of Level 12 and players are taking their final break of the day. They will return and play two more 75-minute levels.

The chances are that we’ll get pretty close to bursting the bubble, but it’s not guranteed at all. — HS

5:22pm: Smirnov eliminated in photo finish
Level 12 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

Aleksei Smirnov was already standing by his chair, all-in for a short stack while Kyosti Isberg and Hulya Pehlivanlar continued vying for the hand. The Q♥7♣5♠ prompted a side pot bet from Isberg, and Pehlivanlar decided to get out of the way.

Smirnov turned over his A♦J♦ and saw he was leading Isberg’s 8♦6♦ for an open-ender. The 7♥ kept Smirnov in front, but the river 9♣ made that straight for Isberg and Smirnov is done.

“Stop!” said Smirnov to the dealer before she could wipe away the board, and he retrieved his phone to snap a photo so as to remember the occasion.

Pehlivanlar keeps her 120,000 or so, while Isberg is up to 323,000 after that hand. –MH

5:21pm: Out, out brief candle
Level 12 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

If any of the following wanted to petition the tournament staff for a new €5 re-buy, they are free to do so. They’re out of the Main Event after all:

Connor Drinan, Mustapha Kanit, Johnny Lodden, Mario Fionda, Glib Kovtunov, Elie El Feghali, Jerome Zerbib, Vyacheslav Stoyanov, Mihai Niste, Oleksii Liashenko, Steven van Zadelhoff, Michael Howard, Ashley Mullard, Peter Akery, Dong Kim, Tomasz Chmiel, Marc Macdonnell, Tomasz Pajak, Preben Stokkan, Alin Grasu, Kully Sidhu, Rudolf Krafcak, Jan Krejci, Teemu Alanen and Gilles Huet.

5:20pm: Gruissem doubles
Level 12 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

We’re not sure if the money went in pre-flop or on the flop, but either way Philipp Gruissem was all-in on a Q♦9♦10♦ flop and looking to hold against the A♥J♣ of Cristinel Dumitru.

The 3♦ turn and J♥ river kept him in front and those looking to get a game of table tennis in can breathe a sigh of relief. Gruissem is still short though. That double means he’s up to 53,000. –NW

5:15pm: Margeresen catapults up the leader board
Level 12 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Was Aggro Santos just being aggro? Or did he actually have it?

These thoughts must have been running through the head of Rumen Nanev just now. The pot was around 80,000 and the board was completed, showing the 10♦8♦Q♠K♣K♦. Scott “Aggro Santos” Margeresen checked the river and Nanev bet 62,000. But then Margeresen moved all-in for 124,500 total. Nanev called, and with good reason.

Nanev had flopped a set and rivered a full house with his 8♣8♠, but that was no good. Margeresen had the K♠10♠, and had hit running cards to make a bigger boat.

Margeresen is up to roughly 330,000 and near the top of the chip counts, while Nanev drops down to 50,000. –JS

5:10pm: Pustoslemsek wins flip
Level 12 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

Following a Dejan Pustoslemsek open, Benjamin Pollak made a small re-raise to 9,500, then it folded back to Pustoslemsek who re-raised big to commit most of his stack. Pollak pushed, Pustoslemsek called, and Pollak showed 10♣10♥ while Pustoslemsek had K♦J♣.

The 7♥3♠K♠ flop hit Pustoslemsek’s king, and the J♠ turn gave him a second pair. The river was the 4♣, and Pustoslemsek jumps up to 165,000 while Pollak is now at 145,000. –MH

5:05pm: 20 usual faces in the €25k

The hastily arranged single day €25k, an idea that Steve O’Dwyer put to the event organisers last night after he busted yesterday’s instalment of the same tournament, started at 2pm and has proven to be a success. Sylvain Loosli just entered taking the total number of entries up to 20, creating a prize pool close to half a million.

Ike Haxton took down the same tournament in the early hours of this morning, and he’s back in the field today, along with fellow finalists O’Dwyer, Paul Newey and Charlie Carrel. It will come as no surprise to read that the latter of these is the current chip leader. He’s being chased by Timothy Adams and O’Dwyer himself. –MC

5:02pm: Delahunty dispatches one
Level 12 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

A big pot between Alain Carron-Abdoud and Darren Delahunty reached the river and the clock was called on the former.

There was a 4♦3♥A♦4♣9♣ board on the felt and Delahunty pushed all-in. Carron-Abdoud was covered and pondering a decision for his final 35,000 or so. The floor staff conversed with the dealer and it was ruled that Carron-Abdoud hadn’t yet had a reasonable amount of time to make the decision and that he would not be put on the clock.

It mattered not as while all this was being discussed Carron-Abdoud callled. He had A♣J♠ but was behind to Delahunty’s A♥K♣ and was eliminated. –NW

5:05pm: Pesta passes test
Level 12 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

There was 20,000 in the middle and a board showing 9♠Q♥10♦, and it appeared as though Nikolaus Teichert had pushed all-in for 46,200. As Teichert sat with the all-in triangle before him, Viteszlav Pesta considered the situation for a short while, then called the push.

Teichert had A♣J♣ for an open-ender while Pesta had flopped a set of nines with 9♥9♦. The turn was the Q♦ to improve Pesta to a full house, which meant the straight-making K♥ river was no good anymore for Teichert and he’s out. Pesta has about 275,000 now. –MH

5pm: Top five chip counts
Level 12 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

At time of writing, here are the biggest five stacks in the room. There are more, all smaller, on the chip-count page.

Eduards Kudrjavcevs 410,000
Max Lykov 380,000
Thomas Muehloecker 340,000
Nicolas Chouity 330,000
Pablo Gordillo 280,000

For more notable counts check out the chip count page.

4:55pm: Akenhead strong after downing Smirnov
Level 12 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

A healthy pot had developed between James Akenhead and Aleksei Smirnov, and we picked up the action on the K♠8♦4♠ flop. Akenhead led for 10,000 but was then raised to 27,500. After around a minute Akenhead moved all-in for 44,600 total and Smirnov snapped it off.

Akenhead – 7♠6♠
Smirnov – 8♥8♣

It was a set vs the flush and straight draw of Akenhead, and the Brit took the lead pretty quickly on the 5♠ turn – his absolute gin card, as it completed both the draws. The A♣ river didn’t pair the board to improve Smirnov and he dropped down to 22,500, while Akenhead is up to 102,000.

Before the dealer could bring all the cards in for her next shuffle, Smirnov asked her to wait while he took a photo of the board on his phone. Looks like someone has a bad beat story to cover them for the next year. –JS

4:50pm: Kudrjavcevs collects more
Level 12 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

Tomasz Chmiel’s Main Event run has ended, his Q♠Q♦ unable to hold up versus the big-stacked Eduards Kudrjavcevs’s A♣J♣. An Ace fell on the flop, the turn and river didn’t change anything, and Chmiel headed to the exits.

Kudrjavcevs is now way up to 410,000, a presumptive leader at present. –MH

4:45pm: Lucky break for Spadijer
Level 12 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

“Oh my… I’m the worst!” Simon Charette said after he and Aleksander Spadijer opened their hands on showdown. Spadijer sat there smiling, verging on giggling, as he knew he could well have been out of the tournament if Charette had made different decisions.

Spadijer raised to 4,500 from under the gun and Charette called in the next seat. The flop fanned 3♣8♣Q♣ and Spadijer continued for 5,200. Call. The turn was the J♦ and Spadijer slowed to a check. Charette bet 13,000 and was called before both players checked the Q♠ river. Spadijer opened K♦K♣ and Charette showed A♠A♣.

Charette could’ve got the lot but what he did win helped him up to 170,000. Spadijer dropped to 71,000. –MC

4:40pm: Barbarez busts
Level 11 – Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

Former professional footballer Sergej Barbarez just lost a huge pot to Maxim Lykov to but from this tournament. Pre-flop Lykov raised from the cutoff and the former captain of the Bosnia & Herzegovina national team made the call.

On the Q♠6♠J♣ flop Lykov bet 5,500 and Barbarez, who was the joint top scorer in the Bundesliga in the 2000-2001 season, made the call. The 2♥ fell on the turn and Lykov checked the action to Barbarez. He bet 6,600, Lykov check-raised to 20,000, Barbarez shoved for 105,000 and Lykov tank-called.

Lykov: A♣Q♣
Barbarez: A♦J♠

Barbarez had just two outs to survive and he didn’t hit the 7♥ river. “Great call,” said Andy Black to Lykov after the hand was over. That call has taken Lykov all the way up to 320,000. –NW

4:35pm: No good
Level 12 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

Jonas Jorgensen, Denis Timofeev, Bart Kuiper, Koray Aldemir, Michael Sklenicka, Ronald Morandini, Johan van Til, Vladislav Donchev, Igor Kurganov and Stephan Fajg are all now out.

4:30pm: Reach, mister
Level 12 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

During poker’s Old West days, seeing a player at the table with his hands up generally followed the drawing of weapons. Today such a sight is more likely the response to another, more benign physical gesture — a player’s pointing at an obscured stack of chips, asking non-verbally, “How much ya got?”

Just now Netanel Amedi opened for 3,600 from the button, Dermot Blain three-bet to 12,600 from the small blind, and Amedi called. The flop came 3♣A♦4♠, Blain led for 8,500, and Amedi called. The turn then brought the 10♣ and a bet of 17,500 from Blain, and Amedi thought a short while about what to do next.


Dermot Blain: Hands up!

Out came the finger gun, and Blain quickly raised his hands to show the 100,000 or so he had left behind more or less matched what Amedi had.

Amedi decided to stand down, returning his cards to the dealer and choosing to duel another day. He keeps his 100,000 or so, while Blain is up to 168,000. –MH

4:25pm: Can Mattern end EPT Prague as he started it?
Level 11 – Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

The first ever EPT Prague champion was crowned nine years and one day ago. His name was Arnaud Mattern, and even though he doesn’t play much on the circuit anymore, he was never going to miss the chance to win again this year and create a beautiful bookend of titles.


Arnaud Mattern: Bookend?

His cause was helped by a recent double up. He opened from the hijack and was called by Tomasz Chmiel in the big blind. The flop came 2♠9♥2♥ and Mattern continued for 7,000 and then called all-in for 26,400 after Chmiel check-raised him all-in.

Chmiel: 9♠6♠
Mattern: 10♣10♦

The board ran out 6♣3♦ and Mattern’s hand held up. He would have been grateful for those two little deuces on the flop seeing as a six came on the turn. –MC

4:20pm: Hall Wigging out
Level 11 – Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Eureka high roller champ Tom Hall just played a tricky little blind vs blind pot with Anton Wigg. Hall limped the small blind after it folded around to him, and Wigg just checked it. They saw a J♣A♦9♥ flop and Hall immediately led out for one big blind (1,600) and Wigg called.

That took them to the 7♣ turn and Hall doubled his bet. Two big blinds meant 3,200 and Wigg came along to the 4♣ river. Hall made another quick bet, this time for 5,000, but Wigg raised it up to 13,400.

Hall grimaced and scrunched his face up in confusion. He tanked for about a minute but eventually called, only to muck straight away when Wigg showed the A♣4♥ for two pair. He’s up top 83,000 now, while Hall drops to 17,500. –JS

4:15pm: Vamos Ramos
Level 11 – Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

Checking in on Team PokerStars Pro Felipe “Mojave” Ramos, we saw him just claim another pot following an uncalled river bet, pushing his stack up around 180,000.

Ramos is seeking to better his best ever EPT Main Event performance from early last year when he took 18th at the 2015 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, just a few spots better than the 22nd place he achieved in the same event there in 2009.

Indeed, this would be the Brazilian’s first cash at an EPT here in Prague. –MH

4:10pm: Ace from space saves Rudziankov
Level 11 – Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

Artur Rudziankov was all-in for 57,000 holding A♣Q♦ and needed to get something going to beat the 8♥8♦ of Jerome Zerbib. He didn’t have to wait long as the K♦A♦J♦ board smashed him. Not only did it give him the lead but he also had a royal flush draw to boot.

The 10♠ turn and 3♠ river didn’t give him the holy grail of hands, but he held none the less. He doubled to a more than playable 115,000, whereas Zerbib was knocked down to just 16,000. –NW

4:05pm: Two winners, one runner up, all out
Level 11 – Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

The latest list of eliminated players includes two former champions, one former runner up and a Team PokerStars Pro with seven final table appearances under his belt.

Yingui Li, Ka Kwan Lau, Jean-Philippe Rohr, Ronny Kaiser, Victor Podofedenko, Paul Corrigan, Mihaita Croitoru, Sergio Castelluccio, Anton Kraus, Luca Pagano, Alessandro Borsa, Pierre Morin, Uri Reichenstein, Daniel Needleman, Sonny Franco, Vladimir Malak, Sebastian Langrock, Zoran Mitic, Aleks Dimitrov, Eshkar Eyal, Gintaras Simaitis, Dietrich Fast, Jaroslaw Lipien, Souheil Mansour, Andrey Bondar, Roberto Romanello, Paul Leckey, Christopher Frank, Maciej Kondraszuk, Sylvain Loosli, Igor Dubinskyy, Eric Joss, Ricardo Graells, Amir Saeid, Vedat Levi, Ladislav Cerveny, Divkovic Dejan. — HS

4pm: Okhotskyi doubles through Koop
Level 11 – Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

Niko Koop has dropped back to 165,000 after he doubled up Oleh Okhotskyi.

Koop opened to 4,000 from under the gun before Okhotskyi three-bet all-in from middle position. Koop asked for a count (24,200) and then made the call.

Koop: 8♥8♣
Okhotskyi: K♠K♦

The board ran 6♣A♣4♥2♥2♠ and the kings held. Koop barely noticed the loss as he was busy in a conversation down his end of the table. –MC

3:55pm: One last Pagano passeggiata
Level 11 – Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

It was his ambition to win one, but now, after numerous bids to capture an EPT title, Luca Pagano bows out empty handed.

The Italian, a regular on the Tour since the very early days, was just eliminated from the feature table, closing the book on the EPT phase of his poker career. It did not go unnoticed around the room.

“Pagano is out,” one voice said. “You know he’s made seven EPT final tables?”

There were murmurs of appreciation. But while Pagano might be leaving without the silverware he coveted, it’s unlikely to stop him bidding for the PokerStars Championship kind sometime soon. – SB

3:50pm: Petrov takes out Timofeev
Level 11 – Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

Denis Timofeev was just all-in with a short stack behind A♠9♠, but that hand proved no match versus Anton Petrov’s J♥4♠ after a board ran out 2♣8♦3♣4♥6♣, giving Petrov fours and sending Timofeev railward.

Petrov is stacking 137,000 at present. –MH

3:45pm: May the fours be with you
Level 11 – Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

Some big pots take an age to play out but the one that just occurred between Dmitrii Deviatov and Tsugunari Toma was closer to the speed of online poker than live poker. The Russian player opened to 3,500, Toma three-bet to 10,500 and Deviatov didn’t take that long to call the raise.

On the 5♣6♥4♥ flop Toma quickly fired out a bet of 11,600, Deviatov shoved for 41,500 and Toma all but beat him into the pot. Deviatov flipped 4♦4♠ and was ahead of Toma’s A♠5♦. The A♦ turn kept Toma’s interest in the hand alive but the 7♥ river ensured smooth passage of the pot to Deviatov.

He doubled, while Toma – won won Event #45 yesterday for €17,690 – slips to 76,000. –NW

3:35pm: Top 10 chip stacks? That’s way too difficult
Level 11 – Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Normally we’d bring you a list of 10 of the biggest stacks, but the truth is there are so many players hovering around the 200,000 chip mark that it would be a case of drawing a name out a hat for who got the No. 10 spot.

Instead, here are the nine players who are definitely at the top of the counts:

Thomas Muehloecker – 370,000
Nicolas Chouity – 325,000
Eduards Kudrjavcevs – 320,000
Nandor Solyom – 315,000
Matas Cimbolas – 291,000
Stoyan Obreshkov – 290,000
Pierre Calamusa – 280,000
Marius Gierse – 230,000
Kyosti Isberg – 215,000


Thomas Muehloecker: Top of the pops

We’ve also got a few Team Pros still in. Luca Pagano is on the feature table, but the others I could spot out in the field are below.

Vanessa Selbst – 170,000
Felipe Ramos – 138,000
Jake Cody – 68,000
Johnny Lodden – 40,300 –JS


Jake Cody: Can only dream of the Top 10

3:30pm: Akenhead breaks Levi
Level 11 – Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

James Akenhead of the U.K. has already cashed once here in Prague in the Eureka Prague Main Event, and he’s seeking another one here today in the EPT Main.

Vedat Levi of Turkey open-pushed all in with his last 8,900, then saw Mykhailo Gutyi of Ukraine call his push from the button. Next to act in the small blind, Akenhead raised all-in for 42,000 or so, and after the big blind folded Gutyi tanked for a while before stepping aside, saying he’d let go of king-queen when he did.

Akenhead had A♠9♠ and an edge versus Levi’s A♦8♠. The 9♣7♦A♥ flop gave both aces, but Akenhead had already paired his kicker. The 9♦ turned the case ace into an out for a chop, but the 2♥ completed the board and Levi is out. Akenhead chips up around 64,000 after that one. –MH

3:20pm: Heading for the rail
Level 11 – Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

More recent eliminations include Theo Jorgensen, Jan-Eric Schwippert, Anthony Zinno, Sebastian Malec, Joseph El Khoury, Kimmo Kurko, Dimitar Danchev, Ondrej Vinklarek, and Fatima Moreira de Melo. – SB

3:15pm: Moreira de Melo doesn’t see it
Level 11 – Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

“I thought I had just had to dodge a diamond,” Fatima Moreira de Melo said as she began explaining her exit hand. “I didn’t even see that he had a Queen.”

She told us that an older opponent had raised from a stack of 20 big blinds with A♦Q♣ and she’d called from her stack of 22 big blinds with K♥Q♥. The Q♦[Qx]5♦ flop was checked through and the 3♦ fell on the turn.


Fatima Moreira de Melo: Not long for this world

The remaining chips went in at this point and Moreira de Melo told us, “I just saw the A♦, it didn’t even register that he had a queen.” So when the 7♠ fell on the river she was a little surprised that the dealer was counting down the stacks. “I had him covered,” she said by way of explanation. It was then that she saw the queen and that she was out-kicked.

That dropped her down to just over two big blinds and she was eliminated shortly afterwards. –NW

3:10pm: Up to the nines
Level 11 – Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

Johnny Lodden just lost a pot to Paul Hoefer. Lodden led much of the betting on the 2♦7♥8♣4♦J♥ board but it was Hoefer’s 9♥9♦ that boosted his stack to around 100,000 while Lodden slips back to 43,000. – SB


Johnny Lodden: Will his prayers be answered?

3:05pm: Ben and the bubble
Level 11 – Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Ben Philipps stone bubbled the EPT13 Malta Main Event at the end of October, and you can bet he’ll do all he can to avoid that happening again. Including letting this hand go.

Philipps opened to 3,200 and was called by Alain Carron-Abdoud on the button. They then saw a 10♠K♠A♣ flop and Philipps chose not to c-bet. Carron-Abdoud checked it too and the turn was the 5♠. When Philipps checked this street, Carron-Abdoud saw a chance to bet and made it 9,500, which was enough to get the Brit to fold.

Philipps has 66,500 currently, while Carron-Abdoud is up to 113,000. –JS

3pm: Back at it
Level 11 – Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

We’re back in action in Prague and the tournament staff kicked things off with an announcement of the prize pool. The winner of the final tournament under the EPT branding will get €774,600. It’s not bad. Not bad at all.

There will be 231 places paid and a min-cash is €7,560. Full details will be on the payouts page when we have the breakdown.

2:45pm: Take a break

Players are on the first 20 minute break of the day.

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2:43pm: Surrender, but don’t give yourself away
Level 10 – Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

Daniel Needleman just lost a pot to Dermot Blain sitting to his right, and after the final betting round was counting out the chips he owed his neighbor.

A little earlier Needleman had gotten your humble scribbler’s attention, the Cheap Trick shirt I’m wearing happening to have caught his.

“Love the shirt… I’m singing ‘Surrender’ now,” he said. “It would be ‘I Want You to Want Me,’ but that might sound weird at the table,” he added.

“How much?” he asked, the dealer clarified, and he nodded while surrendering the chips to Blain. He still has 28,000 or so while Blain is up to 120,000, but Needleman won’t be giving his chips away. –MH

2:40pm: Kurganov and Pollak tangle
Level 10 – Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 100)

Picking up the action on a 4♣6♥Q♥ flop, Piotr Franczak, Igor Kurganov, and Jacek Ladny all checked to Benjamin Pollak on the button. He made a bet of 4,600 and Franczak folded, before Kurganov raised it up to 19,500. Ladny got out the way, but Pollak called to see a turn.

The dealer put out the K♣ and Kurganov didn’t continue his aggression. He checked it, and Pollak took over with a 14,500 bet. Kurganov called.

They saw the 3♠ land on the river, and both checked quite quickly. Kurganov showed the 3♦5♦ for a busted straight draw that rivered a pair, but it was trailing Pollak’s 7♦7♣ and he took it down. Kurganov dropped to 39,000, while Pollak is up to 103,000. –JS

2:35pm: Clock calling season
Level 10 – Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

Two adjacent tables both needed floor staff as the clock had been called on players at them at the same time.

On table nine Ronald Morandini – the Day 1 chip leader – had bet 30,500 on the turn of a K♦4♠8♠7♦ board, only for Marius Gierse to check-raise all-in for 95,000. There was already over 60,000 in the pot from previous betting action and, after Morandini had tanked for an age the clock was called and it ran out before he’d made any action so his hand was folded.

Meanwhile table seven could beat that. There had been a raise to 2,500, Andy Black called and then Netanel Amedi three-bet to 10,200.

Matan Krakow, who was in the big blind, began to tank and he stayed there for so long that the clock was called. He then moved all-in for 63,000 and the action folded back round to Amedi. He then tanked for so long that he had the clock called on him. He too had his time run out and his hand was declared dead. –NW

2:30pm: Muehloecker sends another to the rail
Level 10 – Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

Thomas Muehloecker is up to 340,000 after he sent Maciej Kondraszuk to the rail. Muehloecker had A♠Q♥ against Kondraszuk’s K♥J♣ on a board of 6♣8♥10♣8♠3♥. – SB

2:25pm: Peters, Vieira, Urbanovich, and the empty seat
Level 10 – Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 100)

Seat 6 on Table 14 has remained empty for a little while now. The chair, and the 13,500 stack that’s being anted and blinded away, belongs to Oleh Okhotskyi, but he’s nowhere to be seen. Perhaps he turned up earlier, saw that David Peters, Joao Vieira, and Dzmitry Urbanovich were at his table, and thought he could spend his day better elsewhere.

Urbanovich only registered for this event today and has already built a stack of 95,000. He’s got his hood up, his headphones on, and is staring down at his phone where he’s watching someone play a computer game online. He only looks up to look at his cards, and to toss in the antes from his vacant neighbour Okhotskiy’s dwindling stack.

Oh yeah, you need a poker hand right? Well David Peters opened to 3,000 and that was called by Oleksii Kovalchuk on the button. It got to Joao Vieira in the big blind and he three-bet squeezed to 12,100, which got both to fold.

Both Peters and Vieira have similar stacks to Urbanovich: 96,000 and 94,000 respectively. –JS

2:18pm: Time gets called on the clock
Level 10 – Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

With the board showing 5♦4♠2♥10♥ and a largish pot of more than 75,000 having already been created, Maxim Lykov checked, then Netanel Amedi went deep into the tank. So deep, in fact, the clock was called on him, and a floorperson soon arrived at the table to inform Amedi he had a minute more to make a decision.

Kind of an usual spot, actually — the clock being called mid-hand without anyone having pushed all in beforehand, that is. Amedi only took a few seconds more and checked by tapping the table, then the K♥ fell on the river.

Lykov checked again, and as Amedi was about to act the still present floorperson spoke.

“Thirty seconds,” he began, but was interrupted by the dealer who indicated Amedi had already acted after that earlier clock had been called — it was as though the clock itself had been told its time was up.

“Stay here, though,” said Andy Black with a grin while raising an eyebrow. 

There was no need, however, as Amedi acted more quickly this time by checking, then tabling his A♦K♦. That matched Lykov’s A♣K♠ and they split the pot, with Amedi now playing 120,000 and Lykov 175,000 as the first break of the day approaches. –MH

2:10pm: Classic cooler
Level 10 – Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

It might be cold outside but there’s plenty of hot poker action happening inside the confines of The Hilton. However, Table 34 just experienced an arctic blast as Teemu Alanen and Andrea Rocci both found big pairs at the same time.

Rocci raised from under-the-gun, Alanen three-bet to 8,600 from the big blind and Rocci elected to smooth call. The two players saw a low 5♣8♦3♥ flop fall, which was never going to stop them getting their chips in.

Alanen fired the opening salvo of 13,500, Rocci raised to 27,000, Alanen shoved and Rocci called all-in for 80,100. Alanen was first to show, he had the mighty K♠K♥ but Rocci had found the boots as he held A♥A♦. The 4♦10♥ turn and river couldn’t rescue Alanen and he dropped to 52,000. –NW

2:08pm: Ensan out
Level 10 – Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 100)

The details would have been on EPT Live, but Hossein Ensan, last year’s Main Event winner in Prague, is out, sent to the rail by Luca Pagano. — SB

2:04pm: The name’s Bondar, Andrey Bondar
Level 10 – Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 100)

Table tennis’s Phillip Gruissem is taking a breather from beating Olympic medallists with a paddle (not a euphemism) and is instead playing some poker this afternoon. However, he just took a spanking of his own in a pot against Andrey Bondar.

We join it at the flop, with the 3♦4♥9♠ exposed. Bondar bet 8,000 and Gruissem moved all-in, covering the 21,800 more that Bondar had back. Bondar called and tabled A♦A♠. Gruissem had A♣4♣, the hand that looks like Aces but really isn’t Aces at all.


Philipp Gruissem: Still smiling

The 2♥ and the 10♥ completed the board, meaning Bondar got the double up. Gruissem will have to make do with 63,000 now. –HS

2pm: Lacay is good
Level 10 – Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 100)

This update includes nothing more than a stray line of conversation. “You’re good,” somebody said at Table 5.

Whoever said it was talking about Ludovic Lacay, who was doing some gentle topiary on a chip stack of about 160,000, smoothing its sides and bringing everything into order.

Lacay really is good, but he hasn’t been seen on the European Poker Tour very much since he won his EPT title in Sanremo in Season 9. He has moved countries and gone back to college; making something of his life after than near €750,000 cash injection.

The last EPT festival has coaxed him back and, with that stack at the moment, he must be among the favourites to claim the highly coveted second title–even if it is a little early to be thinking about all that.–HS

1:57pm: Laubert’s aggression pays off
Level 10 – Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

As the saying goes, “if you’re the aggressor you got two ways to win the pot,” and it’s a maxim that just served Tobias Laubert well.

He was heads-up against Seyed Homayoun and the two players were looking at a 10♦8♦K♣ flop. Laubert checked and Homayoun bet 2,600. Laubert sprun a check-raise on his opponent, making It 7,500 to play. Call from Homayoun.

The J♠ hit the turn and Laubert didn’t let up. He bet 12,000 and after a longer pause than on the flop, Homayoun called. On the 10♥ river Laubert gave it all he had, shoving for 53,200 in total. Homayoun had him well covered but he elected to preserve his stack of 130,000 and folded. –NW

1:55pm: Calamusa catching cards, then calling cards
Level 10 – Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 100)

Pierre Calamusa’s stack has increased from 158,000 to around 310,000 in the first level of the day, thanks in part to a hand against Israel’s Gaby Livshitz. The Frenchman defended his big blind with the 6♠2♠ and the flop came J♠6♣2♥. Livshitz continued for 3,000, Calamusa raised it to 8,000, and Livshitz shoved for his 30,000 stack. With a big blind special two pair Calamusa called, and was up against pocket kings. The board was completed by the 5♥ and 10♣, eliminating Livshitz.

gabe_nassif_prague_15dec16.jpgGabe Nassif

But he’s not just getting lucky, flopping two pair at will. He’s also reading play well and calling his opponent’s cards. It folded to Calamusa on the button and he came in for a raise. When it got to Gabe Nassif in the big blind he shoved. “Nah, you have ace queen,” Calamusa said as he folded. Nassif stacked up 37,000 and showed he did indeed have ace queen. –JS

1:50pm: Clouds, rainbows, and teddy bears
Level 10 – Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

Nick Palma and Jason Wheeler both enjoy table talk, and the fact that they are at separate tables hasn’t stopped them from engaging in conversation off and on all afternoon thus far.

After Wheeler warded off some good-natured ribbing from Palma, the latter said he was glad he’d caught Wheeler in a good mood.

“I’m always in a good mood now,” explained Wheeler. “It’s been just clouds, rainbows and teddy bears for three months.”


Chip-wise Wheeler’s a little better off than Palma at the moment with about 45,000 to Palma’s 25,000, but mood-wise it appears both are sitting above the average. –MH

1:45pm: The latest eliminations
Level 10 – Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

Gaby Livshitz, Mikhail Rudoy, Balazs Botond, Jean Montury, Andrey Shatilov, Chris Dowling, Kristen Bicknell, Mario Adinolfi, Charlie Carrel, Jonathan Gray, Adam Owen, and Stephen Woodhead are all out. — SB

8G2A6860_Tournament_Room_EPT13PRA_Neil Stoddart-thumb-450x300-305954b.jpg

Day 2 marches on

1:40pm: El Feghali makes the call, collects from Stern
Level 10 – Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

An early-position opening raise to 3,000 from Elie El Feghali got a call from Zvi Stern from a few seats over, then Stefan Fabian made it 7,700 to go from the next seat. It folded back to El Feghali who called as did Stern, and three saw a flop come 6♠A♠9♣.

All checked, then after the 3♦ turn El Feghali bet 5,500 and Stern raised to 17,000, forcing a fold from Fabian who kept his 20,000 or so. El Feghali thought a bit and called the raise, then checked after the 8♥ turn.

Stern paused just a moment, then set forward a big stack of blues — more than the 38,000 or so El Feghali had left. The latter thought for a good while before calling, and Stern had a wry grin as he opened his 10♣3♣ to show he’d bluffed. El Feghali tabled his A♣7♣ with some satisfaction, and collected the big pot.

El Feghali jumps to 135,000 or so, while Stern slips to around 70,000. –MH

1:35pm: Churkov doesn’t love a chopped pot
Level 10 – Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

There must have been some heavy pre-flop action between Bogdan Chyrkov (button) and Arne Kern (small blind) as 32,900 had already found its way into the middle by the time a 2♠10♥10♠ flop had found its way onto the felt.

Kern elected to check and Chyrkov settled on a bet of 10,000. Kern digested this information and then moved all-in. Chyrkov was the poor relation of the two and called all-in for about 46,000 total.

Chyrkov: A♥10♦
Kern: 10♣8♣

The 6♣ turn was a blank but the 2♣ river gave both players the same full house and the pot was chopped, much to Chyrkov’s chagrin. –NW


1:33pm: Bicknell busts to ACA’s AA
Level 10 – Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 100)

Kristen Bicknell’s stack now resides in front of Alain Carron-Abdoud. After Alexander Paygusov opened to 3,000 from under the gun plus one, Bicknell jammed for 10,800 from one seat over. It folded to Carron-Abdoud in the cutoff and he flatted, and when it got back to Paygusov he let his hand go.

Bicknell – A♦10♦
Carron-Abdoud – A♥A♠

Bicknell would need a lot of help, and she got a tiny piece on the 10♣Q♣5♥ flop. A ten would give her the lead, but the turn was the 8♣ and the 3♥ on the river changed nothing. Carron-Abdoud is up to 98,000 now. –JS

1:30pm: New level
Level 10 – Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

As the blinds go up we have details of more eliminations. They include Kaspars Renga, Yury Gulyy, Felix Stephensen, Jani Sointula, Rocco Palumbo, Erwann Pecheux, Vasili Firsau, and Simon Ravnsbaek. — SB

1:30pm: Selbst only happy when she’s betting
Level 9 – Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

After the hand described below, Vincent Van der Fluit moved his stack just beyond 100,000. That’s a similar amount to the most fearful opponent he has at that table this afternoon: Vanessa Selbst. Selbst’s stack has even more small denomination chips to Van der Fluit, which is always indicative of someone playing a lot of pots and plundering blinds and antes.

vanessa_selbst_prague_15dec16.jpgVanessa Selbst

Here’s a small pot she played. Selbst opened to 2,200 from early position and action folded all the way to Jerome Zerbib in the big blind. Zerbib called. The two players watched the dealer deliver the J♥A♠9♥ flop and Zerbib checked. Selbst bet 2,300 and Zerbib called.

The 6♣ came on the turn and Zerbib checked again. Selbst bet 7,400 and, after Zerbib folded, the Team PokerStars Pro from the United States added some more shrapnel to her towers. Zerbib is left with 54,000.

That’s the end of Level 9.–HS

1:25pm: Fishy bets and raises
Level 9 – Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Despite Jack Stanton’s surprise at Mustapha Kanit’s button fold, described below, there’s just something about a button open that looks fishy. And if it looks fishy from a few yards away from the table, it must look more like a blue whale when you’re sitting in the blinds.

In this pot, Ladislav Cerveny opened to 2,200 from the button and clearly Vincent Van der Fluit, in the small blind, wasn’t convinced. He three-bet to 6,300.

But the suspicions only seemed to grow as action moved to Artur Rudziankov in the big blind because he put out a four-bet to 10,400.

Cerveny folded. Of course he did. But Van der Fluit wasn’t to be shifted so easily. He then pushed out a five-bet, covering the 60,000 or so that Rudziankov had behind and Rudziankov quickly folded. –HS

1:20pm: Surely not…Kanit be true?
Level 9 – Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

When Britain voted to leave the EU, I was surprised. When America elected Donald Trump as their next president, I was confused. But now I’ve seen everything.

Mustapha Kanit just folded on the button with no action in front of him. I’ve never felt so shocked and chagrined. –JS

1:15pm: Horak backs down after Chmiel check-raise
Level 9 – Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

Jiri Horak had a funny look, smiling to himself as if to say “Am I really about to do this?”

The river had been dealt, and we’d only just arrived, but a non-involved player helped fill in what we’d missed and why Horak might be looking the way he did.

Before the flop he’d raised, Tomasz Chmiel had three-bet from the small blind, Horak called, and the flop came K♠6♥A♣. Chmiel checked, Horak bet, and Chmiel called (we’re told), then both checked the K♥ turn.

The 3♥ river completed the board, and after Chmiel checked, Horak bet 26,100 into a pot of around 38,000. Chmiel then shoved all in, and that’s when we arrived.

“Do you have aces?” asked Horak, but instead of a response the clock was called. He continued smiling, finally convincing himself to let his hand go. Chmiel then showed one card — the 5♠ — before collecting the pot, and now he was the one doing the smiling.

Chmiel bumps up around 140,000, while Horak still has 128,000. –MH

1:10pm: The Urbanovich enigma
Level 9 – Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

Dzmitry Urbanovich is in today’s field, sitting beneath a black hoodie and headphones and looking every inch the young Padawan who may have already been seduced by the dark side. It’s difficult to figure out anything about Urbanovich–and that includes, this week, how on earth he got into the tournament.


Dzmitry Urbanovich: Enigma

He didn’t play yesterday. He wasn’t on the overnight survivors list. And he also wasn’t on the list of new registrants today. But he’s there, with a stack of 30,000-ish, and the Urbanovich two-time charge is under way.

The full list of new entries is as follows:

Martin Winkler
Ronny Kaiser
Connor Drinan
Matias Knaapinen
Konstantin Norbert Bucherl
Ambrose Ng
Tomasz Panek
Niklas Astedt
Yang Zhang
Ducu Gheorghe Botoaca
Stephen Chidwick
Yingui Li
Tom Hall

Chidwick can be excused his late arrival as he was in Las Vegas making the final table of a couple of nosebleed tournaments. Similarly Tom Hall has been otherwise occupied recently. He won the €2,000 Eureka High Roller last night.

Back to Urbanovich: it seems what happened with the EPT Dublin champion is that he bought in and registered yesterday, but didn’t actually sit down to play. His stack therefore is in use for the first time now. –HS

1:05pm: Bagocious takes Tcyngalev’s stack
Level 9 – Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

Kirill Tcyngalev was shaking his head, the way we all do when seeing something we don’t like very much.

In his case, he’d committed his last 25,000 or so before the flop with A♥K♦, and now had to improve against Mantas Bagocius’s K♣K♥.

The 3♦3♣8♥ flop didn’t stop the back-and-forth movement from Tcyngalev. Nor did the Q♦ turn or 9♥ river stop his head-shaking as he stood to leave.

He’ll shake it off, we’re sure. Meanwhile Bagocius has 105,000 now. –MH

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1:02pm: Chouity flush with chips
Level 9 – Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

Nicolas Chouity won the EPT6 Grand Final for a cool €1,700,000 and he’s probably the front runner of the remaining champions left in the field at the moment. That’s because he’s got around 265,000 after eliminating Joao Ferreira.

I picked up the action on a 2♥4♠J♠ flop and the action had been checked to Nimrod Mualem, who was on the button. He bet 4,100, Ferreira check-raised all-in for 20,800 and Chouity tank called. It was then Mualem’s turn to tank and he thought for about 20 seconds before mucking.

Ferreira turned over J♣2♣ for two-pair and he was looking to hold against Chouity’s 8♠7♠. The 6♥ turn was a blank but the 6♠ river completed Chouity’s flush to send the pot his way. As soon as that hand was over the table was broken and the players dispersed. –NW

1pm: Will the real trapper please stand up
Level 9 – Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Martin Staszko, who was Czech poker’s golden boy before Vojtech Ruzicka came along, is motoring along nicely today–although will be rueing a river card that cost him some value from a flopped set.

Staszko opened to 2,300 from UTG+1 and Sonny Franco called in the small blind. That took the two of them to a flop of 6♣5♠9♥. Franco took over the betting and led for 2,500. Staszko called.

The 4♣ came on the turn and Franco bet again, this time 4,100. Staszko called for a second time.

The 8♦ appeared on the river, which was nothing if not a scare card. Franco was certainly nervous as he checked. But Staszko wasn’t sure if he was being lured into a trap, and he reluctantly opted to check behind.

Franco showed 10♦10♥. It wasn’t a trap, which meant Staszko could turn over a winning 6♠6♦. Staszko had presumably been attempting to lure Franco into a trap of his own, but ended up tangled in his own snare wire. — HS

12:55pm: Carrel’s career highlights (Prague edition, December 8-15 only)
Level 9 – Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

– Third in the €10,000 NL Hold’em Single Re-Entry for €159,548.

– Second in the €50,000 Super High Roller for €535,250.

– Ninth in the €25,000 Single re-entry High Roller for €57,950.

That isn’t a list of Charlie Carrel biggest ever scores. That’s a list of Charlie Carrel’s scores this week.

Carrel has absolutely crushed here in Prague, cashing three for three of the big events he has played, and although he’s short, he’s still in with a chance of cashing this one too.

He just picked up some much needed chips. On a 9♣10♠8♦ flop, Henrik Hecklen checked it and Carrel bet 2,100, leaving himself just 8,500 behind. Hecklen made the call and the turn came the 10♦, which both checked.

When the Q♦ landed on the river, Hecklen checked a final time and Carrel jammed. “I should have shoved the flop,” Hecklen said, as he released his holding. “You were drawing dead on the turn,” replied Carrel, who now has around 16,000. –JS

12:51pm: Attila knocks out Gathy, Cimbolas keeps banana
Level 9 – Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

“I promise a big pot,” said Matas Cimbolas with a grin, reaching past the banana sitting before him and grabbing 2,500 chips to toss out as an opener from middle position.

It folded to an undeterred Michael Gathy who re-raised all-in with his last 17,500, then when the action reached Valentai Attila in the big blind he cold-called the shove. Gathy called as well, and the flop fell 6♠7♠6♣.

First to act, Attila led for 13,500, and Cimbolas talked aloud as he wondered how to react.


Matas Cimbolas: It just doesn’t make any sense

“Doesn’t make any sense,” he said with a bemused look, then finally folded his J♦J♥ face up. At that Attila exhaled in disapointment, saying good fold as he showed his A♥A♣. “Boom!” cried Cimbolas, glad at having escaped without further damage.

Alas for Gathy he had A♦K♦, and after a 2♠ turn and 7♥ he was eliminated.

“I promised a big pot,” chuckled Cimbolas afterwards, who added that if Attila had reraised-shoved his shorter stack he would have called him in a snap. They talked about what Attila would have nowe if that had happend.

“He’d have gotten the banana, too, right?” said someone, and Cimbolas agreed Attila would have earned it.

Attila is up around 110,000 now, while Cimbolas preserves a stack of just over 200,000 (and his banana). –MH

12:50pm: One of those aforementioned eliminations
Level 9 – Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Adrien Delmas was one of the players to be knocked out in the time it took the hand between Thomas Muehloecker and Mikhail Petrov to play out. He flopped a queen with his King-Queen, but Oleg Vasylchenko turned a straight and a flush draw with his 6♦7♦ and made the flush on the river. — HS

12:46pm: Fast forward through this one
Level 9 – Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

The latest fallers include Brian Roberts, Dario Sammartino, Pascal Hartmann, Viacheslav Buldygin, Rifat Palevic and Francisco Oliveira. — SB

12:45pm: Fast forward through this one
Level 9 – Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

On the evidence of the following hand, it could be a slow day over on Table 54. In the time it took Thomas Muelhoecker and Mikhail Petrov to get to the turn, at least three other players were knocked out from neighbouring tables.

The long hand dragged out as follows: Mihaita Croitoru opened to 2,300 from under the gun and Petrov three-bet to 5,400 from the button. Muehloecker was in the big blind and pondered his options for a long while, eventually moving 13,500 chips forward as a four bet.

Croitoru folded fairly quickly, but that was the last action of the hand that took anything less than two minutes. So you should imagine you’re watching the following action in fast forward because it took absolutely ages in real life.

Petrov thought through his decision on the button and eventually called. Then the dealer laid the 6♦7♥K♥ on the table. Muehloecker bet 10,500, Petrov (with 38,000 back) raised to 21,500 and Muehloecker folded.

That last bit will have you double-checking your video recorder, suspecting it was on the blink. It took a long, long time for that fold to come. — HS

12:40pm: Eliminations so far
Level 9 – Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

Players out so far: Claudio Pagano, Andrey Pateychuck, Mark Reilly, Vladas Tamasauskas, Georgios Sotiropoulos, Alex Fitzgerald, and Mikhail Shalamov. — SB

12:35pm: Heading south for the winter
Level 9 – Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

Rumen Nanev and Artur Koren were playing a pot against each other whilst at the same time discussing their plans for poker in 2017. The subject turned to the Aussie Millions, which takes place in January.

Koren was saying that after the tournament was over he was planning to stay in Australia for a few months. “Sod being cold,” he said.

“Do you like cricket or tennis?” asked Nanev.
“I like tennis, I don’t understand cricket,” replied Koren.
“I like cricket,” said Nanev (unlike 10cc) which is sort of odd given he’s Bulgarian and they don’t have a strong track record in the sport. Although Nanev is wearing an Arsenal football club zip up top, so perhaps he has a love of all English sports.

The pot between the two had progressed to the river of a 10♦3♠Q♦9♦K♥ board and Nanev bet 5,000. The conversation ended here as Koren considered his options. He settled on a call but mucked when Nanev opened Q♣J♣. –NW

12:30pm: Mojave deserts some chips
Level 9 – Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Haim Magrilshvili came in for an under-the-raise to 2,200, and after Team PokerStars Pro Felipe ‘Mojave’ Ramos called they went heads-up to the A♥Q♥9♠ flop. Magrilshvili didn’t hesitate in c-betting to 3,500, and likewise Ramos called without too much hesitation.

felipe_ramos_prague_15dec16.jpgFelipe “Mojave” Ramos

But then the 7♦ turn arrived. Magrilshvili increased his bet size up to 8,500, and Ramos had a good think for over a minute. He tossed his hand away eventually, leaving those chips he’d invested behind to settle in their new home on Magrilshvili’s stack. Ramos dips to around 87,000, still a very deep stack at this point in the tournament. –JS

12:30pm: Livshitz 77 takes Nikolaev’s 55
Level 9 – Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

Gaby Livshitz opened from middle position for 2,500, then saw Nikita Nikolaev sitting to his left push all in with his last 14,500. It folded back to Livshitz who tossed in a call, and he turned over 7♥7♣ while Nikolaev had 5♦5♣.

The board came 3♥5♥7♠, hitting both players’ hands. The 2♥ turn and 8♦ river kept Livshitz in front and Nikolaev is out while Livshitz is up to 55,000 now.

Besides both having pocket pairs and hitting sets in the hand, they have more in common than that as Livshitz revealed after Nikolaev departed.

He told the table of how the two of them had been playing in an event once before where they were also seated next to each other. After several hours a reporter came up to them to ask each about their common background — both are in fact chess masters and highly accomplished in that game. Neither had any idea he was sitting next to another chess player, as the subject hadn’t come up.

“So… are you better than him?” asked Pierre Calamusa from across the table. Livshitz replied that his chess rating was a little higher, but that it didn’t really mean anything as neither were playing full-time anymore.

“Are you smarter than him?” was Calamusa’s follow-up, and Livshitz laughed and said he wouldn’t want to say, knowing full well that while in chess everyone can see all the pieces at all times, poker is a partial information game. –MH

12:25pm: Build it and they will come
Level 9 – Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

Such was the success of the €25K Single Day High Roller event that happened yesterday, they’ve decided to add another one to the schedule today. So, if you’ve got a spare €25K down the back of the sofa make your way over to The Hilton in Prague. It starts at 2pm. –NW

12:15pm: First faller
Level 9 – Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

Whilst some players were still trying to find their seat, others were being evicted from theirs. “Seat open,” was the call from table 54 and I arrived in time to see that Andrea Cortellazzi had departed on the first hand of the day. Ryan McEathron was busy stacking chips, he was the man who took him out. –NW

12:10pm: The Romanello down
Level 9 – Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

It was six years ago that Roberto Romanello took down his EPT title here in Prague, and he’s still in with a shot of capturing a second (and final) EPT trophy. However, he’s already faced a bump in the road to glory, who goes by the name of Jozef Bartalos.

Romanello opened to 2,200 and Bartalos was his only caller to see the 5♣Q♣5♥ flop. The Welshman continued for 2,400 but Bartalos instantly shoved for 23,700, and Romanello had to let his hand go. He’s lost a little, then, but it’s very early days. –JS

12.01:38 secs: Three seats open
Level 9 – Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Within 30 seconds of play beginning on Day 2, there were at least three players knocked out. “Seat open!” the chorus began.

Here’s one of them: Elie El Feghali opened to 2,500 from the hijack and Andrey Pateychuk moved all-in for his last 11,900 in the big blind. El Feghali called to put one of the former EPT champions in the field at risk.

El Feghali: A♦K♣
Pateychuk: A♣Q♦

The board ran J♣7♦8♣8♠K♥ and Pateychuk’s last chance to win a second title came to an abrupt halt. — HS

11:45am: The biggest Day 2

After the biggest Day 1B in EPT Prague history, we gather again in the Hilton Conference Centre for the biggest Day 2. The combined survivors of Days 1A and 1B totalled 593, but registration only closes as play gets under way today so there are probably a few more sneaking in at the death.

Not only will we find out precisely how many players are involved today, but how much they will be playing for. The prize pool will be enormous and the first prize a fitting chunk for the last Main Event under this branding.

Players will take their seats at noon and play six 75-minute levels before bagging time. There’s no dinner break today.

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

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 in Prague: Stephen Bartley, Marc Convey, Martin Harris, Jack Stanton, Howard Swains and Nick Wright. Photography by Neil Stoddart. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog



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