EPT8 Prague: Day 2, level 9 & 10 updates (500-1,000, 100 ante)
3pm: Table with no cheer
A tell-tale sign of Andrey Saenko's invincibility may well just have been demonstrated, at the expense of Vladimir Geshkenbein.
Geshkenbein was all in for around 70,000, as was the appropriately named Michel Betting. The only thing they were waiting for was Saenko to pass or call. With no shortage of irritation, as if his time was not being best spent, he announced "call".
Geshkenbein, showing his own brand of confidence, tossed two pink queens into the air face up. That was enough to beat Betting's K♣9♣ but not the A♥A♦ of Saenko.
The board ran 9♠J♥3♣5♥6♥. Geshkenbein had needed a queen. None came.
Betting needed even more, but none of that came either. Saenko saw off another two players and moves up to around 350,000. - SB
2.55pm: Geshkenbein grows, busts to chip leader
EPT Snowfest winner Vladimir Geskenbein had got himself back to a near average 70,000 stack by making Mauri Dorbek pass on a 6♥A♦J♠9♠A♥ board with a 11,600 bet (and 42,000 behind). Then calamity struck.*
*By calamity I mean that he was dealt a big hand and someone else was gifted an even larger one. Details coming up. -- RD
2.50pm: Cry me a river
Team PokerStars Pro Theo Joregensen is out. He just Tweeted, "Out. :( Got it all in on a 367 board where two of them was in spades. i had 46 and he had AJ in spades. The river spiked an Ace." -- MC
2.41pm: The raising game
You're always supposed to have it when you raise for the third time, or so the saying goes. Luke Schwartz did have it the third time but only took the blinds and antes, much to his annoyance.
The fist time his raised, Chris Moorman three-bet him off his hand. The second time he raised, Dumitru Cristinel called on the button to see a A♥6♠8♦ flop. Schwartz checked and folded just as the Romanian reached for chips.
The third time the Brit raised (in-a-row) he had pocket tens but no one was interested. "For f##cks sake, the first hand I've had all day. I would've got a millions blinds in with that!" Schwartz is on 34,000 chips. -- MC
2.39pm: Adneniya dropping, Keiner culled
Martins Adeniya is down to 60,000 marking a drop of close to 100,000 this level. Danilo Donnini has been the most recent recipient of his chips to move up to 165,000.
Overnight chip leader Andrey Saenko is holding steady on 215,000.
Team PokerStars Pro Michael Keiner has bust out after getting in top pair top kicker on the turn against a combo draw. He did not hold. -- RD
2.35pm: Veldhuis chisels away at Mason's stack
Lex Velduis is up to 110,000 after rivering two-pair against Ashley Mason and getting paid.
We reached the table after the river had been dealt to leave a K♣9♦T♥A♣7♣ board. The Team PokerStars Pro led for 13,800 with A♦7♣ and the Brit called. Veldhuis opened his hand and Mason mucked to drop to 35,000 chips. -- MC
2.30pm: Til the money runs out
A crucial double-up for Luca Pagano who has had a low key event so far. The Italian who is in the same seat he spent day one in, got his chips in against Calvin Anderson, all 29,000 of them.
Pagano turned over A♦6♣ to take on Anderson's K♦T♠, then sat back and waited for the board.
Pagano is back in the game, up to more than 60,000. - SB
The tournament is poorer place (for us) after these bunch of talented players departed: Michel Abecassis, Nick Gibson, Olivier Busquet, Ben Martin, Mikka Anttonen. -- MC
2.11pm: All the M's (and an N)
Max Silver, who is up to 209,000, told the PokerStars Blog that David Vamplew lost credit card roulette last night for a wad. Considering the Scotsman was one of the first players out today (failed to catch a nut flush draw against a set) Vamplew hasn't had the best 24 hours of his life.
Mads Wissing is up to 235,000 and had the courtesy of telling me his count as I peered at his chip stack. I've always liked the Danish.
Martins Adeniya and Marcel Bjerkmann played out a strange hand where Bjerkmann, perhaps by accident, min check-raised the turn of a Q♣4♦2♥K♦ board from 9,800 to 19,600. Adeniya, who had fired the flop, made the call but mucked on the checked J♦ river when shown Q♦T♥. Adeniya down to 115,000, William Thorson is sat on his left with 145,000.
Nicolas Chouity cold four-bet shoves for 35,000 over Mayer Szabolcs and takes the pot. He's up to 40,000. -- RD
2.07pm: Team Pro briefs
2.05pm: Invitation to the blues
Before the break it was Ville Wahlbeck chipping up at table 11, now it's Torsten Brinkmann.
As a massage therapist pummelled his lower back Brinkmann got into a raising war with Alexander Nudin who opened. Brinkmann three-bet, 1104 four-bet to 11,300 before Brinkmann five-bet to 18,200. Nudin began looking at Brinkmann for clues, something he'd felt was unnecessary when Brinkmann was merely three-betting.
Whether he saw anything or not he passed.
A table away Nick Gibson was about to go out, getting his chips in with A♥K♦. Marian Murcek had got his chips in with A♥K♦ while Hani El Assad called them both with 9♥9♣.
The board ran K♣7♣A♦6♣3♣ to send a deflated looking Gibson to the rail. - SB
1.57pm: The fall and rise of Panyak
Maxim Panyak had had an eventful few minutes that saw him crippled and almost eliminated before he doubled.
Melanie Weisner took most of his chips after her A♦J♣ bettered his A♥T♥ on a 4♠8♠A♠6♣8♥. We picked up the action on the turn where she bet 5,800 before following it up with 15,100 on the river. Her stack is up to around 160,000 now.
The very next hand Panyak three-bet all-in for 7,500 with A♦7♦ and was isolated by Vineet Pahuja in the big blind with K♦Q♠. An eventful board ran A♠T♠K♠K♣A♥ to double Panyak up. -- MC
1.45pm: Walk Away
For difficult spots there table 11, featuring as it does Ville Wahlbeck, Jonathan Duhamel, Torsten Brinkmann and Dominik Nitsche.
It was Nitsche who opened the hand before the break, making it 1,600 which was called by Giuseppe Mele on the button, Ville Wahlbeck in the small blind and Fabrizio Baldassari in the big.
The flop came 5♣J♦7♥. The action was checked to Mele who bet 3,200. Wahlbeck then raised to 7,500, forcing out Baldassari and Nitsche before Mele shoved all in for 30,000 more. Wahlbeck lumped in the call and turned over 5♥5♠, making Mele's A♦J♠ seem quite limp.
The turn 6♠ and river Q♣ did nothing to change that and as the bell went for the break Mele was out. Wahlbeck meanwhile moves up to 160,000.
Also up is Duhamel. "Pretty good start," said the Canadian, up from his initial 24,000 to 81,000 after the first level. - SB
1.39pm: Two junglemen?
Just before the break a long Tarzan jungle warble pealed out across the Hilton Hotel here in Prague. No, it was not Dan Cates, but German high stakes player Robert Zipf who, I've been told by a member of the floor staff, lets out a roar when he wins a large pot and is given permission by his opponent to do so. Zipf was playing in one of the cash games at the far end of the large conference room.
And now for somethiing completely diffferent: the players are back in their seats. Play on. -- RD
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 500-1,000, ANTE 100
1.25pm: It's all going on (and break)
We started the day with 45 tables in play and with just a few minutes of play left in this first level of play we're already down to 39 tables.
Claus Bek Nielsen and Vadzim Markushevski are two of the most recent circuit players to have fallen.
Jude Ainsworth is sat with 160,000 and looking incredibly tired. Maybe he should sit out a level and have a power nap.
Fatima Moreira de Melo wins a small but vital pot check-calling down with J♠9♥ on a J♥4♥7♦3♠2♣ board. That puts her up to 50,000.
And we're done. Stay with us in this post for the next 75-minute level. Blinds going up, the 105th place bubble still some way away: 351 players remain. Break.-- RD
1.23pm: Tales from Twitter
Rupert Elder Tweeted: "66k lost big 4b pot then lost a6 v aq. still plenty #eptprague."
Team PokerStars Pro Dag Palovic wrote: "Just won against Alain Roy ... 77 vs TT ... 7 on the flop ... Up to 87.800 ..." -- MC
1.20pm: You can't win them all
Andrey Pateychuk is one of the hottest players on the players right now with a deep WSOP run, an EPT and WPT title all to his name in the last few months. Yesterday he was sat with Alexander Dovzhenko for a long period and the two were deep in conversation every time our eyes fell upon them.
The two were not drawn together today but they can carry on their conversation if they so choose as they have both been eliminated. The run good couldn't continue forever.-- MC
1.15pm: Old school way pays off
Ahhh, the old 4.75x open... Peter Krosbak opened for 3,800 from early position and the action folded to Minna Ritakorpi on the button who obviously had a decision on his way but did that old school raise mean a big hand or medium-strength-please-fold hand? Ritakorpi got it all-in... with aces. Krosbak looked distraught with kings. Then a king hit the flop.
"Aiiieeeiieee," cried Krosbak, or something similar, hands aloft. No ace came on the turn or river to send Ritakorpi to the rail. Krosbak just above the 60,000 average stack. -- RD
1.10pm: Eyeball Kid
Furthest from the spectator rail is perhaps one of the weightier contests going on today, that between Eugene Katchalov and Mike McDonald who are sitting side by side. Katchalov has the advantage chip wise but McDonald has position and when the pair of them play a pot everyone watches.
Katchalov opened for 1,700 from the cut off which McDonald then raised to 4,200 from the button, forcing the blinds to fold. Katchalov, looking again at his cards, called.
The flop came 8♠6♣6♥.
Eugene Katchalov (left) and Mike McDonald
Katchalov checked before McDonald bet 3,600. Then he did his thing again, turning his head to look directly at Katchalov. It has to be one of the most unnerving sites in poker (perhaps excluding your opponent revealing a gun), McDonald's eye wide and never flinching. Even his blinking is slow and calculated.
Katchalov is too good to let any psychological pressure get to him and after a moment to think eh called for a Q♣ turn, which he checked.
McDonald did the same again, staring from short range. Then he too checked for a K♥ river card.
Katchalov checked immediately. McDonald, peeled off 11,100 and bet it. Katchalov seemed to move for the first time, talking silently to himself. McDonald stared at him, a look a vague condescension, demanding satisfaction.
"He's pretty scary when he stares," said the Skrill representative who happened to be walking by.
Yes he is. Katchalov passed. He's on 73,000, McDonald up to 42,000. - SB
12.55pm: Ellwood razed, Ziyard shipped
It's been a bad start for British poker with Jack Ellwood and EPT Loutraki champion Zimnan Ziyard joining David Vamplew for an early bath. Probably not an actual bath - we're not here to promote scandal. All three have busted. -- RD
12.50pm: A blast from the past
Bengt Sonnert used to be a permanent fixture on the EPT through the first few seasons but we haven't seen much of him the last couple of seasons. It's good to see him back even if things aren't going too well for him today.
He raised to 1,700 and Niall Farrell defended his big blind to see a 9♥K♦K♣ flop. Sonnert continued for 1,500 and the Irishman check-called. Both players checked the 6♣ turn before the river was revealed as A♣. Farrell checked again and called pretty quickly when the Swede bet 6,000.
Sonnert opened 3♣3♦, losing out to his opponent's A♦T♣. He dropped to 25,000 and Farrell is breathing a little easier with 37,000. -- MC
12.48pm: Rouah among the fallen
Another twenty players have fallen taking us down to 376 players - close to the 361 halfway mark. Ilan Rouah the only name of note to spring out from the player card numbers tossed to us by Luca the chirpy Italian floorman. -- RD
12.45pm: Small change
Fatima Moreira de Melo started today with 37,400 and the hockey star is having to throw everything at her opponents mix to keep it that way.
Forced to pass in a sizeable hand against Czech player Michal Maryska, Moreira de Melo was soon involved in another hand, opening for 1,600 from the cut off only to see Michael Gagliano in the small blind raising to 4,500. Moreira de Melo tanked again before shoving. It worked.
Moreira de Melo scrappy but effective, still on what she started with today. - SB
12.40pm: Tango till they're sore
Word is that Jude Ainsworth has begun tearing pieces out of his table, seeing of Steve O'Dwyer for one and making life uncomfortable for the others. Martin Staszko has tried to put a halt to Ainsworth's rampage, calling Ainsworth raises in early position for a flop of Q♣T♦4♦ which was checked through the turn Q♦ and river 5♣, Staszko's A♥Q♥ topping Ainsworth's J♣T♠.
But that's the exception. Ainsworth was back at it a hand later, relentless, and has taken his stack up from 150,000 to 180,000 within half an hour. - SB
12.35pm: Ace start for ElkY>
If Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier dreamt of how he would like today to start, then he might have thought of someone shoving into him whilst holding pocket aces. Dreams come through for the Frenchman more than the average person.
He opened to 1,700 from cut-off and called all-in for around 17,000 when Ramin Hajiyev shoved on him from the big blind. Snap!
The board ran Q♣2♥9♣7♣6♦.
Hajiyev commented, "Just like the PCA; ElkY no chips, ElkY chip leader."
The Frenchman afforded himself a smile as he stacked up 38,000 worth of chips. -- MC
12.22pm: It's carnage out there
There are 45 tables in this tournament and a whole host of short stacks which is going to make for a lot of early exits. Players we have already lost include Peter Murphy, Sergey Perelygin, Vladislav Neshkov, Matthew Nichol, EPT London winner David Vamplew, Alejandro Fernandez, Victor Sheker and Marc Colome.
News has also reached us that Steve O'Dwyer has been knocked out by Jude Ainsworth. The Irish Team Pro must be on close to 200,000. -- RD
12.15pm: First out
Alexander Perevoruha is our first faller and he's been quickly followed by... --- RD
12.05pm: Play begins, plan revealed
Cards have been shuffled and chips are being riffled, play has begun. Tournament staff have announced the plan for the day and it's six levels, no dinner break. Do remember that from Day 2 onwards levels extend to 75 minutes apiece. -- RD
11.45am: Previously on EPT Prague...
Last night Andrey Saenko bagged up the chip lead in Prague, some 200,800, to return for Day 2 as overall leader. We also learned that at stake is a first prize of €775,000 from a prize pool of €3,501,700. But just as players thought their efforts of Day one were worthy of reward, only 104 of the 407 players returning today will see any of it.
Will Saenko be able to hold on to his lead? Will he cave in the the face of overwhelming pressure from his long list of rivals. And what effect will this have on the President's chances of re-election next autumn after this, the biggest poker tournament ever staged in the Czech Republic?
The answers to these questions, and more, coming right up...
PokerStars Blog reporting team in Prague: Wolf Convey, Larry Dacey and Stephen O'Reilly.