3.50pm: Usero out, three remain
And then there were three.
Guillem Usero open shoved four roughtly 1,400,000 and Martin Finger called immediately, turning over K♥K♠ and looking quite pleased with himself. Usero showed A♥8♦.
Finger came to life, even smiling, as Nicolas Levi watched a hand that to him could have been worth an additional €65,000.
The flop came 2♥J♥4♥ and suddenly Usero had outs. The 8♣ on the turn gave him a few more; an ace, and eight or a heart keeping him alive.
Alas no, the 10♦ on the river sending Usero to the rail, and further arming Finger for what looks to be a heads-up clash with David Bonyaciyan.
That’s the end of the level. Players are now on a 15 minute break. – SB
3.54pm: Levi loses out to Finger
Nicolas Levi has dropped back down to 1,500,000 and may be wishing that he’d bet that last flop.
Levi opened to 160,000 from the cut-off and was called by Martin Finger on the button. Both players checked the 10♣6♣6♦ flop before Levi led 160,000 into the J♦ turn. Finger called. The Q♠ river was checked by both players.
Levi back down beneath the 20 big blind mark. — RD
3.55pm: Finger’s got an eight digit stack
Martin finger is the first player to break the ten million chip barrier after taking another pot off David Boyaciyan. Again the two players were in the blinds and Finger raised to 160,000. Boyaciyan called before both players checked the Q♠2♠Q♥ flop.
The turn came A♣ and Finger led for 170,000. Call. The river came 8♣ and it looked as if the German had given up on the pot and he checked to face a 255,000. Finger had other ideas though and came in with a check-raise up to 850,000. Boyaciyan didn’t have the goods and folded to drop to 680,000 chips. — MC
3.50pm: On their feet for Levi
Nicolas Levi just got the crowd on their feet, most of whom are French. After David Bonyaciyan opened for 160,000 Levi moved all0in from the big blind for 1,485,000. The row of Levi’s supporters rose to their feet, except for ElkY. Then even ElkY got to his feet.
Bonyacayin, who had 8,000,000 behind, passed, to the delight of the French. – SB
3.45pm: Split pot
Martin Finger opened from the button for 160,000. Guillem Usero went through the usual motions. He look at his cards, then looked up, the expression on his face suggesting it wasn’t cards he’d seen just then, it was a scene of terror, like a dinosaur or a dark future.
He called regardless for a flop of 9♠4♥4♦ which both players checked. The turn came 8♥ and Usero bet abother 175,000. Finger called for a 4♠ river. Another 350,000 went into he middle, which was called. Both players showed a nine to split the pot. – SB
3.40pm: Levi needing to make a move
Nicolas Levi is the shortest stack at the moment with 1,500,000. Guillem Usero just won a small pot from Martin Finger to create a little breathing space ahead of the Frenchman and is up to 2,000,000. Both players at risk with the next pay ump worth €65,000. Fourth pays €205,000, third €270,000. — RD
3.35pm: Big stacks clash
Martin Finger and David Boyaciyan have been mostly avoiding each other, which is understandable considering they’re the two big stacks. That couldn’t and didn’t continue as the two just clashed in a battle of the blinds.
Finger raised to 160,000 and Boyaciyan defended to see a J♠Q♥6♣ flop. Finger continued for 160,00 and the Dutchman called to the 10♥ turn. Role reversal as it was Boyaciyan who bet, for 280,000, when finger checked to him. The Pokerstars qualifier called and then led for a relatively small 300,000 on the K♦ river.
The Dutchman called and mucked upon seeing Finger’s K♥J♣. A very nice blocking/value bet from the young German. He’s up to 9,825,000 and Boyaciyan dropped to around 8,300,000. — MC
3.30pm: Useful from Usero
Guillem Usero opened on the button for 160,000 which Martin Finger called from the big blind. On the A♠5♣4♥ flop Finger checked to Usero who made it 180,000 to play. Finger called for a J♦ turn card and then bet 150,000. Usero called.
On the 2♦ river Finger, his hair swept forward, like there’s a giant fan behind him, checked to Usero who was quick to go to his chips, betting 500,000. Finger seemed glad to pass. Usero up to 2,200,000. – SB
3.22pm: Levi shoves, Usero tank folds
Nicolas Levi moved all-in from the cut-off and the action folded to Guillem Usero in the big blind. The Spaniard, who is stl in with a shot of become the first ever EPT winner from Spain, sat quietly deciding whether to make the call. He finally opted to fold. Levi and Usero level pegging. — RD
3.19pm: Stacks as they stand
1. Guillem Usero: 1,750,000
2. Nicolas Levi: 1,600,000
3. Martin Finger: 9,300,000
4. David Boyaciyan: 9,200,000
Will Usero or Levi be the next to bust? — RD
3.15pm: Finger extracts chips from Usero
Martin Finger is up to more than 9,500,000 after extracting almost as much value from his hand as he could versus Guillem Usero.
The Spaniard raised to 175,000 from the button and Finger peeled from the big blind to see a 4♣10♣4♦ flop. Usero continued for 185,000 but was check-raised up to 370,000. He called and then checked behind on the 7♦ turn. The river came 8♥ and Finger came out firing with a 500,000 bet.
Usero tank-called and mucked upon seeing Finger’s A♦10♦ to drop to around 1,700,000. — MC
3.05pm: Drobyna busts in fifth
Denys Drobyna moved all in from under the gun for 1,250,000. David Boyaciyan next to him raised to 2,000,000 keeping the others at bay. He then showed A♦K♦ against Drobyna’s A♣7♣.
The board ran K♥9♠5♦J♥8♥ to send Drobyna to the rail in fifth, and leave Boyaciyan with a formidable stack of more than 9,000,000. — SB
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 40,000-80,000, 10,000
2.35pm: Engel departs in sixth
Contrary to Marc Convey’s earlier forecast, Ari Engel is no longer in the game. After folding to a Martin Finger bet on the flop in the hand prior, Engel decided to act when he looked down on the button to find A♠6♠. Finger had made it 125,000 in the cut off and Engel three bet to 850,000.
Finger asked how much Engel had behind, but in the same way he has done throughout these latter stages Engel said and did nothing, leaving it to Finger to work it out. When he did (Engel had 650,000 back) he announced all-in.
Engel didn’t act immediately, perhaps experiencing his last few moments in the event. Then he called only to see Finger’s A♦J♥.
Finger stood up. Engel said “mis-deal,” jokingly referring to an exposed card earlier in the hand.
The board ran 7♣9♣9♥10♦2♠ to send Engel to the rail in sixth place. The remaining five players are now on a short break- SB
2.30pm: Still game, baby
Ari Engel thinks he’s back in the game and we don’t disagree after he was fortunate to double up. He all but moved all-in from under the gun and called off the rest after Denys Drobyna shoved from the next seat.
The board ran 9♣2♣7♣A♠Q♣ to four-flush Engel. He’s up to 1,700,000 whereas Drobyna is down to 1,325,000.
Engel stood up and yelled, “Still game, baby!”– MC
2.20pm: Down to 6
Andreas Wiese will be going no further, eliminated in seventh place by Martin Finger who called his countryman’s all-in with pocket fives, with his own Ace-Six. The ace on the flop sent Wiese to the rail. – SB
2.14pm: Drobyna finds aces, doubles
David Boyaciyan opened under-the-gun for 150,000 and was called by Martin Finger in the cut-off. Denys Drobyna slowly peeked at his cards and then moved all-in for 980,000. Boyaciyan called, Finger passed.
What a spot in which to find aces. The board blanked out seven-high to rocket Drobyna back into contention with 2,000,000. — RD
2.10pm: Engel straight to the red zone
Ari Engel is down to a 900,000 chips now after paying off chip daddy David Boyaciyan, who increased his stack to 8,830,000.
The American raised to 120,000 from early position and was only called by the Dutchman en route to a 9♣3♣4♠ flop. The action was checked to the 5♥ turn where Engel check-called a 220,000 bet. The river brought the 2♥ and Boyaciyan bet 500,000 when the action was checked to him again.
Engel thought for a while and then asked of his opponent, “What’s the story my friend? Trying to bluff me?”
He got no response so asked, “You have a six there?”
He apologised to the table and then called. Boyaciyan didn’t have a six but he did have A♥10♦ for the bottom straight. Engel mucked. — MC
1.55pm: The proverbial
“Michael Martin had one big blind and won a final table,” said Nicolas Levi, talking to Andreas Wiese who had 180,000 left. “You have three. Easy.”
Levi was referring to Martin’s heroic chips and a chair performance at EPT London several years ago. Whether Wiese got any comfort from that we don’t know but he just doubled up, ensuring he remains in the final table for a little longer.
He shoved for 180,000 in late position which Guillem Usero called in the big blind, showing A♠3♦ to Wiese’s J♣10♦.
The board ran 5♣10♥6♦9♠9♥ to help Wiese who now has 400,000. – SB
1.46pm: Wiese down to three big blinds, Usero doubles
Andreas Wiese is down to just 190,000 – three big blinds. Guillem Usero opened for 125,000 from middle position and Wiese moved all-in for 1,300,000. Usero made the call for 1,110,000.
The board ran out A♦K♠3♠Q♦7♠. — RD
1.45pm: Think again
A bet of 125,000 from Martin Finger on the button got Andreas Wiese thinking in the small blind. He raised to 265,000 leaving himself 1,300,000 bhind. With the action back on Finger the Geramn announced all-in. Wiese passed. – SB
1.43pm: Levi’s leverage
Nicolas Levi came in to today with aspirations of playing deep stacked multi-street poker. That plan changed with his big loss earlier and now he is down to three-bet shoving.
His 1,410,000 went over the line in a three-bet from the small blind after his nemesis David Boyaciyan opened to 130,000. The Dutchman tank-folded. — MC
1.37pm: Usero on the up
Guillem Usero has won two pots on the bounce to increase his stack by almost 20%. An under-the-gun shove for 980,000 got through, despite David Boyaciyan thinking long and hard about the call from the big blind.
The Spaniard got a walk the next hand and is up to 1,170,000. — RD
1.30pm: Two shoves and a river card
Ari Engel just moved all-in behind an opening bet of 120,000 by Martin Finger in early position. Finger shook his head and passed. Denys Brobyna tired the same a hand later with similar results.
A few hands after that Nicolas Levi opened for 125,000 in the cut off which Finger called on the button for a flop of 2♣9♠9♥. That was checked for a J♣ turn card. Levi checked to Finger who bet 150,000 which Levi called slowly and deliberately. The river came K♣. Levi checked but was ready to surrender when Figner bet another 325,000. Levi down to 1,450,000. – SB
1.20pm: Into level 28
After a slightly longer break than expected play has resumed with blinds at 30,000-60,000 with a 5,000 ante.
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 30,000-60,000,5,000
First break of the day. Back in 15 minutes.
12.55pm: All-ins aplenty
Two hands, two all-ins.
1) Ari Engel opened from the hijack and Denys Drobyna moved all-in for 1,000,000. Pass.
2) Andreas Wiese opened under-the-gun for 125,000 and was three bet Guillem Usero to 235,000 from the button. Wiese moved all-in and took the pot.
All-in plays are the name of the game at the moment. — RD
12.50pm: Down to seven
Mads Wissing knew he’d have to act quickly today. He got his chips in and a caller in Guillem Usero who re-raised all-in. It was inevitable but not ideal for Wissing who turned over 7♣4♦ to Usero’s 8♦8♥.
The flop came K♠A♥Q♠.
“Mads needs running cards to split the pot,” said Luca Vivaldi, officiating, much to Wissing’s amusement.
The 7♣ helped a little on the turn but the 6♥ river sealed Wissing’s departure.
“Good game guys,” said Wissing.
Usero up to 1,400,000. – SB
12.45pm: Boyaciyan doubles in huge pot
David Boyaciyan from Holland is the new chip leader with more than 7,500,000 after doubling up through Nicolas Levi.
He raised to 140,000 from early position and Levi was the only caller from the cut-off. The flop came K♣7♠10♣ and this is where the fireworks went off.
Boyaciyan continued for 160,000 and was swiftly raised up to 375,000 by Levi. The Dutchman showed more strength by three-betting to 860,000 and called quickly for 3,765,000 when Levi shoved.
Boyaciyan: K♦K♠ for top set.
Levi: 10♥7♥ for bottom two-pair.
The board ran out 8♠9♠ and this final table has a new chip leader. Levi was left with a little less than two million chips. — MC
12.30pm: Usero under a million
Gullem Usero has dropped down to 1,000,000 chips, conceding a pot to Martin Finger.
Finger opened from under the gun, 100,000, which Usero then raised to 150,000 in the small blind which Finger called for a flop of A♣J♦2♥.
Usero bet 155,000 and Finger called for a 6♥ turn card. This time Usero checked to Fingr who bet 255,000, forcing Usero to pass. – SB
Martin Finger opened to 100,000 and Ari Engel three-bet to… 1,100,000 with 600,000 behind. Was it a live misclick? It was suggested to be so by Nic Levi. — RD
12.15pm: Cards in the air
Thomas Lamatsch has made the introductions and play is about to start.
12.05pm: The line-up today
The final table players
Seat 1: Mads Wissing, 29, Copenhagen, Denmark – 420,000
Wissing is a well-respected cash game and tournament player in Denmark. Recent highlights on his live tournament record include last year’s WSOP Main Event where he finished in 25th place. In September Wissing made the final of the Partouche Main Event in Cannes finishing in ninth. He also recently competed in the International Federation of Poker’s World Championships as part of a seven-man Danish team. As well as his live successes, Wissing has also won several online tournaments including two Sunday majors.
Seat 2: Guillem “GabrielMoyaa” Usero, 21, Valencia, Spain – 1,405,000
Usero has been playing poker for two-and-a-half years, the last two as a pro. He mainly plays online cash games – NL $3/$6 to $25/50 levels and occasionally online tournaments, his best result being third in a $100 re-buy tournament on PokerStars for around $100k. He also plays live tourneys and his best live result to date – apart from making the EPT Prague final – was fifth place at WPT Barcelona last May for €40,000. He also cashed in the Estrellas Madrid Main Event in February.
Seat 3: Nicolas Levi, 28, living in London, originally from Paris, France – 5,690,000
Levi came across poker quite by accident seven years ago while studying computer science in the UK. Levi discovered “a totally different game, a mix of psychology and mathematics”.
“From the very first hand, I thought ‘this is the game for me,” he said. “Beating chance seemed a very exciting challenge.”
Since then, Levi has become a regular on the international poker scene. The Season 8 EPT Prague final is not his first; way back in Season 3 Levi made the final of EPT Dortmund, finishing seventh place for € 85,700. He has also achieved numerous other deep runs; his four WSOP finals include fifth in the 2010 WSOPE Main Event for £208,119 and sixth in the $10,000 pot-limit hold’em Championship for $114.525. Levi been based in the UK since 2000 – and in London for the last four years.
Seat 4: Martin Finger, 21, Frankenberg, Germany – PokerStars qualifier – 5,800,000
Business science student Martin Finger has been playing poker for about three years, kicking off in home games with friends before finding his way into online poker. This is where he thrives, and he has already earned Supernova Elite status on Pokerstars. Online he grinds the heads-up sit n gos but he also plays a lot of EPTs.
As well as winning his seat to Prague, Finger qualified for EPT Loutraki a few weeks ago but didn’t cash. He has done well in EPT side events however including runner-up in the EPT Barcelona €1k event for €42,000, third in the EPT Barcelona Heads-up tourney in Season 7 and ninth in a €1k EPT7 Berlin side event. Making the final at EPT Prague – where he’s guaranteed at least €66,700 – is by far his biggest live score to date.
Seat 5: Andreas Wiese, 35, Hannover, Germany – 1,670,000
Wiese has been playing poker for six years, mainly focusing on live games. He’s been playing tournaments for a couple of years – his best result to date being sixth place at EPT Vienna last season. That was his first major event but he also came third in a €1k side event here in Prague last year and was 14th at EPT Snowfest in March. He regularly plays cash games at his local casino in Hannover and considers himself a “semi-professional” although still working as an anaesthetist at Hannover Hospital.
Seat 6: Ari “BodogAri” Engel, 28, Brooklyn, New York – 1,670,000
Back in his college days, Engel used to watch his roommate play online poker, but he didn’t start pursuing the game himself until after graduation. When he finally threw a few bucks on to a poker site it only took ten days of gains to convince him to quit his job and take up the game full-time. Since then, Engel has earned close to $2.5 million online, at one point climbing to the very top of the online player rankings.
He’s also begun to amass a respectable live record that includes two WSOPC rings and more than $500,000 in cashes. Things have gone so well for Engel that he’s recently begun to give lessons on tournament poker (see www.ariengel.com for more info) and his students’ results indicate that “BodogAri” knows how to teach the game. Now based in Canada, Engel won his seat on PokerStars. This is his first ever EPT.
Seat 7: Denys Drobyna, 28, Kyiv, Ukraine – 1,180,000
Drobyna is a full-time poker pro who mainly plays online – no limit cash games at the $5/$10 to $25/$50 levels. Online cash games are his bread-and-butter and he rarely plays online. He made his first EPT appearance at Dortmund in Season 4 and has played around six EPTs so far. His best finish to date was 25th place at EPT San Remo six weeks ago. His best overall live result was 15th place in a 2008 World Series $2k event for $35,843.
He said: “I’ve been playing well here in Prague, and I’ve also been lucky. I won a couple of coin flips but you need to be able to fold right, raise right – and get the right cards at the right time. I feel very focused right now; I need to be – there are a lot of good players still in.”
Seat 8: David Boyaciyan, 32, Amsterdam, Netherlands – 3,770,000
When David Boyaciyan won the Amsterdam Master Classics last month for €382,200, it took the poker world by storm. Not only had a total unknown beaten some of the best players in the world, but he wasn’t even a pro.
Following his Amsterdam victory, Boyaciyan, a banker by trade, decided to play EPT Loutraki and Prague just to see how far his luck would run – and finds himself back on another major final table within the month. But players who think Boyaciyan is only about luck might be chastened to discover that last summer he played two WPTs at the Bellagio and final-tabled both. He comes to tomorrow’s EPT Prague final armed with a lucky chip card protector bearing a photo of his 18-month-old daughter Elina. At the Maser Classics, he had a chip with a photo of his four-year-old son Joel. Both kids are at home being looked after by Boyaciyan’s wife Hilda.
11.55am: Welcome to the final table
Welcome to the final table of the European Poker Tour main event in Prague. A total of 722 players started this event and now only eight remain. Their task, to play the best poker of their lives and win a first EPT title. Hyperbole aside, it’s the most prestigious title in world poker.
Before the final though came the party. PokerStars celebrated its tenth birthday/Christmas/ the final, in typical fashion last night, at the Buddha Bar in down town.
The blur of last night in Prague
Opened by practicing Czech Buddhist monks many years ago as somewhere the monks could have a few drinks and listen to some thumping tunes after a hard day’s meditation, the Buddha Bar was the perfect place for several hundred people to shout at each other trying to be heard while keeping one eye on the free bar, lest it close early.
From the balcony
At the midway point of the loving kindness, a man with a shaved head, surrounded by people trying to chat up one of the massage therapists, performed what would best be described as a “ball dance”, the same ceremony performed daily by monks and new age tourists in the hills around Dharamsala.
A man with balls
Fortunately there are no links to click to find more details of these celebrations. Suffice to say it all went rather well.
Back to today. Eight to one and a new EPT champion. Play starts at 12 noon.* — SB
* It will not start at 12 noon.
PokerStars Blog reporting team in Prague: Stephen Bartley, Rick Dacey and Marc Convey.