EPT8 Prague: Day 1B, level 3 & 4 updates (100-200, 25 ante)


4.40pm: Break time
That's the halfway point of the day. Join us in a new post in 15 minutes.

4.38pm: The man that got away
Rumour has it that Dario Minieri got a bit ambitious with a mediocre hand and suffered for it. "Perhaps he over played eight-high," proffered one wag. Regardless of what he did the Italian is now out.

The result of that bad hand was that he was reduced to less than two thousand. When Mikołaj Zawadzki opened for 525 Minieri shoved from the cut off. Alexey Yuzikov then made it 3,500 before Zawadzki raised to 8,150. Yuzikov pushed all in for around 20,000 and Zawadzki called.

To everyone's amusement (except that of Minieri), each player turned over ace-king, and with no drama on the board it was back to where he'd started the hand for Minieri. His expression of ambivalent disappointment unchanged from start to finish.

In the next hand Minieri tried again, shoving from the hijack. Andrey Pateychuk in the cut off raised to 6,500 forcing the others out and turning over T♣T♥. Minieri's J♦8♠ signalled the end for Minieri, the board running 3♣Q♥2♣5♦2♦.

"Good game, good luck everyone," said Minieri managing a smile. The Italian is not the type to stop and announce his departure to friends and countrymen. They come to him. He left the tournament room without saying anything to anyone. - SB

4.37pm: 'One hundred percent queens full'
Team PokerStars Pro Pierre Neuville had to make a tricky decision in folding but he was left with 15,400 chips more that Sandra Naujoks who walked past the table (after busting) as the hand was being played out.

Neuville was up against Rasmus Larsen and was the aggressor all the way to the river where the final board read 5♦3♣2♥3♠Q♥. The Belgian's bets were 4,000 and 6,000 on the flop and turn and Larsen took a long time to call on the turn. He also took a long time to shove on the river after the action was checked to him.

Neuville folded thinking that the Dane had a big hand and Jeffrey Mahmoud Jamil, who was sandwiched between the two, agreed and said, "One hundred percent queens full". -- MC

4.35pm: McCready crushed by Cibak gutshot
Aaron McCready called a Tomas Cibak five-bet shove for all but a few hundred of his 18,000 stack and was in great shape with T♣T♥ over the somewhat light 5♣7♠. McCready had opened the button and four-bet Cibak's re-raise out of the small blind. McCready made a somewhat reluctant call of the ensuing five-bet 17,650 shove and looked clear to double up when the flop dropped K♥2♥3♠.

The 6♥ turn brought the gutshot and the 4♠ completed Cibak's straight. Grim running cards but credit to McCready who took the beat like a man with no table thumping or hissy fits. The Canadian, possibly in shock, quietly took his chair and was sent to the rail a few hands later. -- RD

4.30pm: It's cold in Sweden
Andreas Samuelsson had around 24,000 at the start of the hand that busted him. Fellow Swede Daniel Erlandsson was sat one seat long and was happy to get involved in a pre flop raising war and that was understandable as he had A♣A♦. Samuelsson committed his chips first with A♣K♦ and stayed behind all the way through the T♣6♠Q♣6♠7♦ board. -- MC

4.19pm: Twitter updates
A couple of updates from the world of Twitter tell us that EPT Snowfest winner Vladimir Geskenbein is up back past his starting stack after sucking out with ace-queen through ace-king. Fellow EPT winner Rupert Elder is also close to his starting stack with 33,000 after folding trips (correctly, so he says). Online grinder Jack Ellwood is plodding along with 23,000 but 'playing ok.' -- RD

4.15pm: Distorted figures
It feels as if the eliminations are occurring at a much rate faster today. This is true but the statistics are distorted by the fact that the Day 1B field has dwarfed that of its sibling - Day 1A.

The following players have failed to make to it today's halfway point: Farid Chati, John Eames, Georgios Kapalas, Jean-Marie Vandeborne, Vlado Sevo, Fabrice Soulier, Viliyan Petleshkov, Matan Krakow, Paolo Pellizer, Eric Afriat, Mayu Roca Uribe, David Atrubin, Lukasz Grabowski, Manuel Blaschke and Adria Balaguer (WPT Prague runner-up from yesterday).

John Eames explained his on Twitter with, "Busted. Didn't win a pot. Bluff shoved river w 9Tdd on J75ddKA. Guy beat me into pot with KJ." -- MC

4pm: Understandable lack of focus?
Andrey Pateychuk has had some year. If 15th in the WSOP main event wasn't enough for him, he followed that up by winning EPT San Remo this season. We commented there that we would be seeing a lot more of the talented Russian in the future. He didn't disappoint us as he claimed the WPT Prague title just yesterday!

He's not going so well today as his stack has shrunk to around 8,000. It must be hard for him to concentrate though, to be fair. -- MC

3.48pm: Life-poker balance
Johannes Strassmann and Melanie Wesiner are deeply engrossed in discussion regarding the merits and realities of life-poker balance. Strassmann has been arguing that becoming a successful poker pro opens up many options in life. Weisner argues that the financial freedom doesn't relate to being free of a working life as poker consumes just as much time, if not more, than a nine-to-five job. Most players that she knows, she said, don't take advantage of the time to follow other pursuits or passions. Strassmann, for his part at least, strongly disagreed.

"I think that all the things that I do away from the table allow mw to bring me my A-game. I play less often but more effectively," said Stassmann.

"I'm always thinking about poker and I think most players I know are the same," said Wesiner.

"Then look for something in your life that matters," said Strassmann demonstrating some typical German straight talk.

The discussion continued as I left the table with neither Strassmann nor Weisner gaining much ground in the debate or the tournament. Strassmann on 20,000, Weisner on 35,000. -- RD

3.45pm: Let's call the whole thing off
As a man in a t-shirt and elasticated trousers conducts an argument by telephone on the rail a few feet away, four players see a flop of 7♦K♣9♥.

First to act is Dominik Nitsche in the big blind who checks, as do Miroslav Hurta, Isaac Benhamu and Mike McDonald. The turn comes A♠. Now the man on the rail is using hand gestures, his voice though remains a high pitched mumble. The caller at the other end of the phone clearly isn't listening.

The action is checked through to Benhamu who bets 650. McDonald, who's outfit of t-shirt and shorts gives you some idea of how much time the Canadian plans on spending outdoors today, blinked in that slow way of his and calls before the others fold. The river comes 9♦.

Mike McDonald

The man on the rail is pacing now and possible speaking to someone who has already hung up. Benhamu checked to McDonald who bet 1,025. After a pause Benhamu called, both players showing ace-ten.

They split the pot, McDonald still on around 32,000. - SB

3.35pm: The departed from level three
These poor souls are no longer with us. Well they're alive but chip-less rather than lifeless:

Mathieu Viale, Manuel Blaschke, Ghassan El Hoss, Jacques Der Megreditchian, Peyman Luth, Salvatore Bonavena, Christopher Mcclung, John Gale and Yury Gulyy. -- MC

3.25pm: News from table 27
Table 27 is one of the toughest tables in the room so we checked in on the state of play there.

Anton Wigg is up to 37,000 after making a back door flush against Patryk Slusarek. The PokerStars qualifier called the pot-sized 3,200 bet only to muck when he saw the bad news.

Praz Bansi is going along very well on 52,000. He took a small pot of Melanie Weisner when he raised into her big blind. She peeled but check-folded on a 6♠7♥8♣ flop.

Team PokerStars Pro Johannes Strassmann is the other name of note on the table and he has 24,000 chips. -- MC

3.18pm: Thorson VPIP 100%?
William Thorson is an old hand ofn the European Poker Tour having made four top ten finishes starting with a third place score at EPT Dublin back in 2006 (all of which have contributed to a career total of $3,265,906 in live tournament cashes). A high stakes ring game player as well as fierce tournament pro the thought of Thorson playing over 500 big blinds deep as he is now should be an unpleasant thought for his tablemate. It could possibly be the reason that David Sonelin is looking quite so miserable.

Thorson VPIP is likely to be higher than ever with so much ballast. He played - and won - the last two hands that I saw at his table, firing the reason of a four-flushed board and getting no callers. They say that you can't win a tournament on the first day, is Thorson going to try to prove there is an exception to every rule? -- RD

3.15pm: That certain feeling
On a flop of 3♥8♦2♣ Lex Veldhuis's long face was giving nothing away. Timofey Vekshin had bet 1,100 in early position which Veldhuis had called from the hijack. Illia Kainov also called, as did Paul Simmons on the button. The turn came 8♥. Vekshin checked to Veldhuis who made it 3,500 to play, his headphones on and giving no sign of acknowledging the outside world. Kainov, his gold watch poking through under his sleeve, passed. Simmons meanwhile called and after Vekshin stepped aside got a 9♠ on the river in return.

Sensing trouble Veldhuis checked. Simmons was on the offensive now and asked Veldhuis to move his hand so as to see his chips. If he did move his hand it was very quick. Most likely Veldhuis didn't hear him. Simmons, an imposing figure behind aviator glasses and a handlebar moustache, threw in 6,500. Veldhuis got the point and folded, down to 26,000. - SB

ept prague_day 1b_lex veldhuis.jpg

Lex Veldhuis

3.05pm: Battling through the iron curtain
Evgeny Zaytsev threw his cards into the muck after losing a pot to Eugene Katchalov.
The two were heads-up to the turn where the board read J♣5♥2♥4♣. The Ukrainian checked to the Russian who bet 3,300. Katchalov called and then checked to Zaytsev again on the Q♦ river. Zaystev checked behind and showed K♣K♦. Katchalov opened A♥A♦ and is now up to 66,000 chips. -- MC

3pm: Middle set casualty Macdonald
Sam Macdonald was the middle set meat in the three-of-a-kind sandwich between Jeff Sarwer and William Thorson, according to his Tweet anyway. -- RD

2.50pm: No comeback for Sarwer
Jeff Sarwer didn't make the comeback he was after. He three-bet his remaining chips from the big blind after Christian Grundtvig opened from early position. Call.

Sarwer: 3♣3♠
Grundtvig: K♣K♦

The board ran 2♣2♠J♦9♣T♠ to check-mate the Canadian. -- MC

ept prague_day 1b_jeff sarwer.jpg

Jeff Sarwer

2.42pm: Thorson revealed as the big stack
William Thorson is the player with that 106,000 stack having flopped set over set over set with Jeff Sarwer one of the casualties of the set-up. Sarwer, who held bottom set, still seemed a little irritated coming back from the break that he couldn't find a fold in that spot but is at least trying to look on the bright side: "I've got a few big blinds at least," said the chess prodigy.

Sarwer's remaining 2,500 makes for just over ten big blinds and a chance for a comeback. -- RD

2.36pm: Mystery man busts through 100k
A quick scouring of the tables reveals a number of players attempting to pull away from the peleton. Incredibly we have one player that has bust the six-figure mark already and is sitting pretty on 106,000. Their name isn't down on the player list so I'll catch them as they come back from the break.

Here are some of those burgeoning stacks in no particular order:

Ramez Haddad - 91,800
Rob Akery - 58,300
Cecilia Pescaglini - 48,100
Nicolas Leger - 62,975
Kevin MacPhee - 43,850
Max Silver - 74,000
Nicolas Chouity - 45,000
Jeffrey Jamil - 57,625
Mayer Szabolcs - 59,975
Nikolai Sears - 70,700
Torsten Brinkmann - 63,650
Martin Jacobson - 53,000

Players are returning now. -- RD

2.35pm: Play restarts
After a 20 minute break, to allow for the bump in numbers, cards will be back in the air at 2.35pm.

The tournament room at the Prague Hilton. Or, "Where's Bartley"

PokerStars Blog reporting team in Prague: Stephen Bartley, Rick Dacey and Marc Convey.