EPT8 Prague: Day 3, level 15 & 16 updates (2,000-4,000, 500 ante)

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3.05pm: Thousands of Dollars rest upon this day
For the second time in recent history (although none of us can remember when), the bubble has burst while most players were out of the room on a break.

When Mads Amot raised to 9,000 on the button it looked like the start of a regulation hand. Eli Heath raised from the small blind to 23,500 and then everyone left. With the action back on Amot there was no sign of an immediate fold. Instead he thought for a minute or so and then moved all-in for about 111,000.

"How much please?" said Heath. Then "I call."

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Bubble boy Mads Amot (seated) awaits his fate

The dealer snapped into action "All in and a call on table 7" perhaps enjoying the drama a little. He was immediately told to turn the cards back over again as a hand was still in progress elsewhere. With that finished we got a look at the cards.

Amot - K♣J♠
Heath - A♦Q♣

Thomas Lamatsch arrived to announce the hand to a deserted tournament room. The board was dealt T♦3♥3♠6♣2♠ to burst the bubble. Amot was out, graciously shaking the hand of the man who had sent him to the rail.

We're in the money, which will be a nice surprise when players return after the break. - SB

2.50pm: Tevosov shows stones, bluffs with the best hand
Garri Tevosov triumphantly slammed down 6♣5♥ on a 2♣A♦Q♣7♥7♦ board showing a six-high all-in bluff which had found an insta-muck from Danilo Donnini.

Tevosov looked more than pleased with himself as he raked in the pot back up to 700,000 but the wind did seem to be taken out of his sails when Donnini shrugged and said he'd had the best hand: Donnini seemed to be pretty genuine in his claim to have been holding 5♣4♣. -- RD

2.45pm: Silver asks to be slow-rolled by the dealer
Max Silver tried his best to burst the bubble. Well, it's not that hard when you pick up aces versus kings. What is hard is to get them to hold up.

Silver raised from under the gun and called when Milan Joksic shoved from the big blind. Silver tabled A♠A♣, ahead of the K♠K♣ of Joksic.

The flop was an uneventful 2♠9♦Q♣ but the turn came T♥ to offer the Austrian straight outs as well.

Before Hugo the dealer revealed the river, Silver asked him to do it really slowly so he could feel the pain if it was a jack or a king. Slowly, slowly the river came the J♠! It made Joksic the straight to keep him alive, and he jumped out of his chair in celebration.

Silver just sat in his chair and laughed out aloud which is fair play as Silver has been in the other chair before and revelled in that too (against yours truly). Good to see he's balanced his range there. -- MC

2.36pm: Bubble time
Dominik Nitsche is out after running ace-jack into pocket kings and that pretty much sets up the bubble. We're hand for hand with €7,500 being literally* waved in the face of the short stacks. -- RD

*I would like to put that idea forward for Season 9. Copyright Rick Dacey.

2.34pm: Bubble bubble
Matias Knaapinen was unlucky to bust just two places off the money. He three-bet shoved for 38,000 from the small blind after Haykel Cherif Vidal had raised from the button. Call.

Knaapinen: T♥T♦
Vidal: K♦4♣

The board ran K♣4♥8♣A♦J♣ to bust the Finnish player. -- MC

2.32pm: Elder on the up
Rupert Elder is steadily chipping up at table that seems to be playing like a Christmas home game. Mike McDonald and Max Silver are discussing 'Words with Friends' and the intricacies of Scrabble while Leonid Bilokur relaxes watching Merlin on his iPad.

"Are you still in the States?" Silver asked McDonald.

"No, Canada," replied McDonald somewhat diplomatically.

*Brief pause*

"He's Canadian," Elder pointed out.

Elder seems to be picking up on everything at the moment betting McDonald (now on 110,000) off one river and value betting thin with Broadway on a flushed board against Bilokur to chip up to 440,000.

Hand for hand on the immediate horizon. -- RD


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American Canadian Mike McDonald


2.30pm: Strange Days
To the continuing story of Joe Serock, whose belligerence has stepped up a gear. Having taken the blinds and antes, raising his arm aloft in quiet celebration, he then found himself on the big blind.

"I don't think you're getting a walk this hand" joked Dennis Bejedal who opened the hand from the hijack, making it 8,000.

The action reached Serock who looked down at his hand, grinned, and kept looking at it for 15 to 20 seconds, and exaggerated length of time, before the dealer spoke: "Floor. Time!"

Serock immediately put his headphones on, fiddling with which track to listen to on his ipod as tournament official Thomas Lamatsch came over, something he was now tiring of.

"You have five seconds to act," he said, half joking as Serock began to protest. "This is the last time I want to come here. Next time you will have a penalty."

Serock began to argue that that wasn't the rule, that he hadn't had enough time. But this was just repetition of what he'd said in earlier hands. Lamatsch said he was invoking rule number one, that his decision was final. Then he declared Serock's hand dead.

"I had a decision," protested Serock half-heartedly (more repetition), as he turned over 2♠2♣.

It's worth noting that Lamatsch was growing more and more tired while Serock grinned through the entire hand. Serock seems to think he has a point to prove, it's just not clear what it is.

A hand later Bejedal opened for 8,000 again. Serock was on the button, looked at his cards and moved all-in for 39,500. Bejedal asked how much as Serock grinned at him. Patrick Renkers said "time," as a joke, which everyone found funny, and then Bejedal called time on himself.

He didn't need the full minute. He called, turning over 6♠5♠ to Serock's A♥K♠.

Serock wished everyone good luck and stood up, gathering his things. The board ran T♣6♥4♥8♣A♦, the river keeping Serock alive who jumped up and down. It could be a long level for table 2. - SB

2.21pm: I just called to say, 'Come down and bubble'
Paul Simmons took his seat, played one hand, moved all-in, and busted. Maybe he should've been left in bed. -- MC

2.17pm: What a great call
Tibor Nagygyorgy just made a great call for almost all of his chips with ace high and was proved right.

He was heads-up with Michael Ruane and they had made it to the turn where the board read 8♣2♣5♦9♣. Ruane was first to act from under the gun and he moved all-in for 51,000. Nagygyorgy was on the button with just 5,000 more chips and took a good while before calling with A♣K♠. Ruane opened K♦Q♣ and failed to find a queen on the 6♥ river. -- MC

2.10pm: Serock around the clock
Joe Serock has nitted up to the extent that he's had the clock called on him three hands on the bounce - and that could continue.

The first hand could have been genuine, Serock with 35,000 was in middle position with the action on him. He sat, a chip covering his hand, staring into the middle of the table. Dennis Bejedal requested a clock and as the tournament director walked towards the table that call was debated by Marek Tatar, who thought that Serock should be given the time given it was a big tournament.

"We're 11 spots away from the money. It's every hand," said Bejedal, who was supported by Jesus Cortes in calling time.

Serock was given a minute and used it all with his hand killed at the end. This pantomime continued for the following two hands with Serock's clock cut from one minute to 30 seconds. Each time Seriock waited until his hand was killed and spent the duration of the third incident arguing he hadn't been given enough time before time had been called in the first place: "You can't call time. That's not appropriate."

Serock, a relatively young online player, would no doubt be arguing from the other side if he was well chipped. A bust, double or penalty to come. -- RD

2.05pm: Chips ahoy
The chip count page has been updated. Click here to see the full list. This is how the top five look as we approach the bubble:

Garri Tevosov, Russia, 744,000
Martin Finger, Germany, 669,000
Dennis Bejedal, Sweden, 525,000
Guillem Cavaller, Spain, 520,000
Mads Wissing, Denmark, 516,000

1.55pm: Runnin' Blue
There's a missing player on table 5. After a level of play Paul Simmons had yet to show up, prompting tournament staff to call his room. They got through. Simmonds said he'd be here in two seconds. We expect to see him dashing in any moment.

Meanwhile at his table Jude Ainsworth and Anton Wigg continue to dictate terms to the others. First Ainsworth raised before Wigg re-raised to take the pot. Then Ainsworth tried again, betting 10,000 which Wigg called before Stefano Demontis moved all-in from the small blind for 62,500. Ainsworth passed but Wigg tanked for a while, eventually folding Ace-Deuce face up.

Note: Simmons has just taken his seat. -- SB


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Jude Ainsworth (left) and Anton Wigg


1.40pm: Lodden luckless again
Johnny Lodden does seem to run very bad in EPTs. We've lost count of the amount of times he's busted just before the money or when the tournament is down to two tables. The Team PokerStars Pro Tweeted:

"out rigth before the bubble once again.. 1010 vs 55 for 210k pot.. f###ing hate poker at the moment!" -- MC

LEVEL UP: BLINDS 2,000-4,000, 500


1.25pm: Break time
Stay with us here as we go into bubble-bursting territory. We'll be back in 15 minutes.

1.23pm: So that's how Kastle does it
Casey Kastle opened for 8,000 and was called in two spots, including Artur Wasek in the big blind. The J♣7♠K♠ flop was shoved by Kastle for around 60,000 and he took the pot. Kastle battling on. -- RD

1.20pm: Cultural excursion into the void
Tournament officials would in no way dissuade players from bringing their mothers along to watch, but they'd rather not have to make it mandatory. In the case of some players it may be the only way to calm their eruptions of petulance and total disrespect to fellow players.

Sebastien Boyard had certainly been unlucky, his kings beaten by Danyel Boyaciyan's Ace-King when an ace hit the river. But it was hardly the most extraordinary set of events.

Boyard banged the table then stood, hands behind his head, which had the unfortunate result of exposing his midriff, the waistband of his trousers lower than Savile Row would permit. More words in followed from the Frenchman, not the type you learn in French class but the ones you ask the French exchange student to teach you.

"You're a nice fish," said Boyard to Boyaciyan. "A really nice fish."

The tournament official told him not to be mean but he wasn't listening, and was gone.

"Congratulations," said Dominik Nitsche to Boyaciyan, who throughout this little tantrum had said nothing. It was a sentiment echoed by several other players at the table. -- SB

11.05pm: Peters receives early Christmas present
David Peters is down to 61,000 but it could have been worse for him, according to a colleague of ours.

Peters raised to 6,300 from the cut-off before Vesa Leikos three-bet to 16,400 from the next seat along. When the action got back to Peters he shoved with pocket eights and was called by the Finn who was holding pocket queens.

The board ran blank and the reports that came back to us was that Peters pulled back his 6,300 so the full amount owed could be cut from his stack. At this point the dealer also pushed Leikos' 16,400 three-bet into Peters' stack and then counted the Finn's stack and took that from Peters.

Basically, Peters was left with 61,000 whereas he should have been left with around 45,000; a full 32,000 swing between the two stacks.

Peters busted soon after.-- MC

1.10pm: Wigg loses one, still going strong
Anton Wigg is sat steady on 350,000 after losing a cagey hand to Pontus Khosravi. The pot had been opened under-the-gun by Khosravi for 7,000 and Wigg had made the call. A 7,500 c-bet into a 3♦2♦K♦ flop was called before Khosravi check-called 15,600 on the 8♣ turn.

The 2♥ river was checked by both players. Wigg showed T♦T♠, Khosravi scooped with J♠J♦. -- RD

1.05pm: Kastle still standing
Casey Kastle is still with close to 100,000. How does the perennial short stack do it? Through careful and tight negotiation it seems. Will Kastle make the money? It seems likely given I can't see him stacking off light now. -- RD

1pm: Go no further
The arrival of Jude Ainsworth on Anton Wigg's table makes it one to keep an eye on and the two of them are quickly duelling in a pot.

On a flop of Q♥9♠K♠ Wigg, in the small blind, checked to Ainsworth on the button who bet 7,800. Wigg called for a Q♦ turn card and check called Ainsworth's bet of 15,000 for a river card T♦.

With this Wigg led the betting, making it 26,800 to play. Ainsworth didn't fold immediately, but he did eventually. Wigg up to around 400,000 while Ainsworth drops slightly to 300,000.

At the other end of the tournament room Daniel Strelitz moved all-in with a board reading 5♥J♦2♥5♠9♠, his stack of 161,500 laid out in front of him like he'd been asked to empty his pockets by the desk officer.

Leonid Bilokur was left to face him. He's been watching medieval costume dramas on his iPad all week and now the Russian had his own drama to face in the shape of the modern looking Strelitz whose hair flops over his eyes. Bilokur crossed his arms.

With around 80,000 more in the middle it was a tough one for Bilokur who had Strelitz covered but not by as much as he'd have liked. After a few minutes pause he folded, showing A♣J♣ as he did. Strelitz showed nothing, and stacks up around 220,000. Bilokur drops to 280,000. - SB

12.51pm: Pastor gets paid
Juan Manuel Pastor is up to around 120,000 after making a huge three-bet shove with aces and finding an opponent willing to make a call all-in with an under pair.

That opponent was Lubor Dedic and he opened to 6,300 from mid position before the Spanish Team PokerStars Pro shoved for 110,000 from the small blind. Local boy Dedic tanked before he called.

Pastor: A♥A♣
Dedic: 9♦9♥

The board ran A♣J♣4♥8♣Q♠. Dedic was drawing dead by the turn. -- MC

12.43pm: Lots of action on table five
I got caught in the slipstream of Jude Ainsworth who, heavily rugged up in a large, puffy winter coat, was moving through the tables to take his new seat on the right of Anton Wigg, who himself had just opened a pot from early position. As Ainsworth placed his racks down Vesa Leikos moved all-in for 60,000 and was called by Pontus Khosravi. Wigg passed.

By the time that the board had delivered a suck out for Leikos on a K♦A♠5♦Q♥J♠ river Ainsworth had his stack arranged and readied - always a giveaway tell of someone used to playing with a big stack.

Moments later Wigg knocked out Stefan Verhage with pocket kings to chip up to 320,000. -- RD

12.40pm: Ainsworth getting ready for the action
Irish Team PokerStars Pro Jude Ainsworth talks to the cameras. Okay, camera.

12.35pm: Lodden takes Fulham into Europe
Sorry, that was in FIFA12 on his iPad, but Johhny Lodden had managed to double-up to 120,000.

Calvin Anderson opened to 6,300 before Lodden shoved for 55,800 from the small blind. Andreas Wiese was in the blind and shoved as well, for about 105,000. Anderson folded to leave it heads-up.

Lodden: A♥T♣
Wiese: K♥K♦

The board ran J♥4♦6♠A♠9♣ to see the Team PokerStars Pro hit his three-outer on the turn. -- MC

12.25pm: Two sugars with the morning controversy, please
There's nothing like a bit of controversy and argument around the table to wake one up in the morning. Table ten was the scene of the scene.

Petru Moraru opened to 8,000 from under the gun and Konstantin Tolokno called from the small blind before Zachary Korik moved all-in for around 70,000 from the big blind. Before Moraru could act Tolokno called and both players in the blinds tabled their cards.

A ruling was asked for and the TD said that both all-ins had to stay, and Moraru was free to make a decision armed with the extra information at his disposal. The Romanian was unhappy at this ruling and insisted that he would have been able to fold out Tolokno if he had the option to act first. He appeal was rejected and the Romanian open folded his ace-king.

Tolokno opened 8♣8♥ and was racing Korik's A♣9♥. The board ran A♦9♥K♥6♥9♥ to make Korik a full-house. It was quite ironic that Moraru would have lost the hand if he had managed to get what he wanted; to be heads-up with the dominated ace of Korik. -- MC

12.15pm: Ace-king versus nines (times two)
We just enjoyed a spot of instant variance with ace-king racing against nines consecutively on neighbouring tables: one winner apiece.

Max Silver had four-bet shoved on Daniel Todorov who tank-called with nines for his 62,600 stack. His pair held against Silver's ace-king. Todorov doubles, Silver drops to 200,000.

Andreas Wiese was at the next table along holding A♠K♦ and he managed to catch Broadway on a 2♦J♠Q♥T♥A♦ board against Calvin Anderson's nines. Wiese, also a short stack, is now on 110,000. -- RD

12pm: This is a changing world
If you thought there was no room left for sporting behaviour in poker, and I'd count myself among them, Kevin MacPhee just put us in our place, approaching chip leader Garri Tevosov to wish him good luck ahead of the start. If you were reading yesterday's coverage it was Tevosov's pocket queens that cracked MacPhee's pocket kings to send him into the lead and MacPhee to the rail. -- SB

11.55am: Like Lazarus...
Contrary to puffed up reports in last night's round-up of the day, Andrey Saenko, chip leader at the start of Day 2, is not out. While we decide who best to blame, and how to punish them, rest assured family Saenko that your boy still has 101,400 chips. -- SB

11.40am: And so to Day 3
Welcome back to Day 3 of the European Poker Tour main event in Prague. From a starting field of 722 just 136 remain, a figure that todays will be put on a medium heat until it's reduced to 24. It may have a tendency to boil over in parts, but on the whole this should affect taste.

Our head chef today is Garri Tevosov, who to the surprise of all of us, including him, leapt out of the frying pan last night and into the chip lead, catching some luck in a big hand at the bell which entitles him to a stack of 764,000 this afternoon.

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The Christmassy bit of Prague

There are others, listed here on the chip count page. Oh and don't forget, we're 32 places off the bubble. That will be our first headland of the day and usually good for a few clichés. Stay tuned. -- SB

PokerStars Blog reporting team in Prague: Rick Dancer, Marc Comet and Stephen Blitzen.