EPT8 Prague: Renkers takes big lead into penultimate day

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Poker is a cruel game. If you didn't already know this from personal experience just ask Anton Wigg. He was one of the last of the 104 players eliminated today to make their way to the rail, the consolation of €15,000 in prize money for 33rd place scant when so much more was at stake.

For Wigg that meant a second EPT title, so much more than a first prize of €775,000. To the casual observer it's easy to think, walking into the tournament room, that as the main event progresses it loses its prestige. Tables are emptied, replaced by side events and players in them who have already forgotten their own main event demise. Four tables in the corner of the room certainly doesn't look like much.

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Anton Wigg

Players like Wigg though demonstrate just how important an EPT title is to any modern day professional. And after the first you want a second. Wigg had spent the day on a difficult table, alongside the impressive Ari Engel and the unpredictable Ignat Liviu. He'd coped ably until the closing stages conspired against him to send him out.

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Ari Engel

He leaves Mike McDonald as the only former winner still on course for poker history. That's perhaps the last we should talk of that for now at least, the oft-referred to statistic yet to become a reality.

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Mike McDonald

McDonald was among the star performers, bagging up 740,000 tonight. But that proved some way behind the chip leader Patrick Renkers from Holland, whose 2,423,000 is streets ahead of the next man after a performance tailored to a day like this - one of few mistakes, being in the right place at the right time and knowing how best handle it.

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Chip leader Patrick Renkers

Behind him is a chase pack at least a million behind.

Martin Finger, gave it his all to close on 1,289,000. Denys Drobyna from Ukraine, who had a swagger in his play that can lead to great things, closed on 1,218,000 ahead of Vojtech Ruzicka from the Czech Republic on 1,128,000. Mads Wissing on 1,059,000 and Engel on 1,053,000 were the players joining seven figure club.

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Vojtech Ruzicka

Others returning tomorrow include the Team PokerStars Pros Jude Ainsworth and Juan Manuel Pastor. Ainsworth, who has played a hard-knock form of poker all week, closes on 929,000 while Pastor, who winced and grimaced his way through the day, bagged-up 742,000.

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Juan Manuel Pastor

But for every player returning tomorrow there are two more on the rail, several of whom deserve a mention.

Petr Jaros could be forgiven for thinking he had a good chance of progressing today, only he didn't count on McDonald, who repeatedly battered the Czech, reducing his stack to dirt as Jaros did all he could to not pull his hair out. His demise was gracious but painful to watch.

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Petr Jaros

But at least he left with cash compensation. Not so Mads Amot, the bubble boy, whose only saving grace was that his elimination took place during a break with the crowds, who would usually cheer such a vital elimination, away on smoke breaks.

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The bubble bursts

As far as other former champions went Nicolas Chouity, Liv Boeree, Kent Lundmark and Rupert Elder got as far as 101st, 83rd, 75th and 62nd place respectively. Notable non champions to depart included Max Silver (99th) and Dag Palovic (74th). A full list of those in the money can be found on the prize winners page.

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Team PokerStars Pro Liv Boeree

That's just a brief account of what was a fraught day at the tables that started with the bubble and was relentless until the bell just before midnight. We'll play down from 31 tomorrow. In the meantime read what happened and when at the links below.

Level 15 and 16 updates
Level 17 and 18 updates
Level 19 to 21 updates

This, and probably more, is all available on the German and French blogs. Their photography, and ours, is all courtesy of Neil Stoddart and his ragtag band of copyright ninjas who are second in power only to Chuck Norris.

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The view of the castle this evening

That's all from Prague. We play down to eight tomorrow. Join us at noon.