EPT Prague: Play closes with tomorrow's final table in place

It took just over five hours but our final table is in place, thanks to the departure of EPT stalwart Christer Johansson who fell at the last hurdle and missed the final table by one place. It was a hand against fellow Swede Mikael Norinder that did it, Norinder raising before Christer pushed all-in. Norinder showed A-Q when he called to Christer’s pocket queens. But when the ace hit the flop it marked the end of Christer’s EPT.

Christer Johansson

So the final table tomorrow looks like this:

Seat 1 – Juha Lauttamus – Finland – 567k
Seat 2 – Kristian Kjondal – Norway – 740k
Seat 3 – Gino Alacqua – Italy – 660k
Seat 4 – Markus Golser – Austria – 352k
Seat 5 – Mikael Norinder – Sweden -- 1,036,000
Seat 6 – Nedzib Suman – Sweden – 216k
Seat 7 – Dagomir Palovic – Slovakia -- 759k
Seat 8 – Johannes Strassmann – PokerStars player – Germany – 245k
Seat 9 – Arnaud Mattern – France – 980k

We’d seen on day two what effect a bad hand could have on the chip lead so no one felt too comfortable going into the day. But to be fair Markus Golser might not have expected so many ups and downs to his passage to the final. First he lost some, then took the chip lead with a massive pot before seemingly spreading his chips evenly between his tablemates.

Marc Karam also suffering for just one bad hand, his chips ultimately fuelling Golser’s cross country ramble. The Canadian's consistent play had served him well over the three days but suffered this afternoon in one half hour period, leaving him with too big a mountain to climb.

PokerStars qualifier Anthony Phillips

PokerStars qualifiers also put in some commendable performances. Anthony Philips was the first to exit in 25th place; Canadian Tommy Pavlicek went out in 22nd and Jose Navarro, who at one stage yesterday seemed unstoppable, would go out in 17th place. English qualifier Mike McDonald went out in 14th place whilst German Sebastian Zink would narrowly miss out on the final table, exiting in 11th.

so, going into tomorrow Mikael Norinder holds the chip lead, one of two Swedes in the last nine. Slovakian player Dagomir Palovic is the closest to a local finalist, whilst Markus Golser, making his first final table after various cashes on the tour, will be looking to land his first EPT crown.

Dagomir Palovic

It leaves Congress Hall at the Prague Hilton a little quieter after a day of hectic crowds pushing closer and closer to the tables; a theatre of tense and relieved faces playing out the penultimate day before them. The same crowds and more will no doubt be back tomorrow for the final of the EPT Prague which starts at the later time of 3pm.

For anyone wanting to recap on today’s action:

Nothing taken for granted on day three

Adrenaline rush for some, nothing short of the nuts for others

Into the first break

The state of play

Closing in on the final table

German qualifier’s classy performance

Don’t forget to check out the EPT video blog for news, features and interviews from day 3.

All photos (c) Neil Stoddart

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in