EPT9 Prague: Jelassi looking unstoppable, and with good reason
It's never certain that the chip leader will remain so at a final table. The capricious nature of the game can turn an advantage into a shortage in no time, turning final on its head. But not today. So far one player has shown absolute control.
Ramzi Jelassi is the runaway chip leader right now with more than 11 million, which is a two-to-one advantage over second placed David Boyaciyan.
Jelassi has five titles during his career, and plenty more chases. But as far as the European Poker Tour goes none of Jelassi's nine cashes has been higher than 19th place. In fact, three of them were 19th (and one 20th). But this week the Swede has torn down that invisible wall.
Jelassi has been a tour regular since season one and part of that longevity comes down to constantly evolving with the game. General strategy is always changing in poker, and players remain profitable by doing the same. Jelassi has done that. As his friend Jeff Sarwer, talking to us earlier, said, new ways of playing are emerging.
"I just think that times in poker have changed a lot," said Sarwer. "People are a lot more balanced, a lot of the young players, who I guess used to just spew their chips with random seven-bets.
"The game's evolved. Everybody's become better I guess, so people are a lot more balanced. The good players, the very good players like Ramzi, are not going to get it in bad that often anymore. I'm not saying that he used to get it in bad that often, but in general, good online players spew a lot less. That's an American thing, Swedish thing, any country.
Sarwer is railing his friend but recognised the qualities in other players.
"I played against most of these guys," said Sarwer, who at the start picked out Mark Herm as a particularly talented player, one who can put pressure on an opponent, although one who puts his stack at risk. But it's Jelassi who he imagines being able to take the title, although anything can happen on a final table.
"Ramzi's in a great spot to apply pressure," he said. "Most of the players understand the concept of moving up on the ladder, ICM and all that. I think he has a good chance to chip up without taking too many flips, like the one we just saw (Gomez's miracle flush)."
So far Sarwer's predictions have proven true, although Jelassi has dropped a little, calling the all-ins of first Gomez and then Ben Warrington, who just flopped a wheel to topple Jelassi's kings. Lesser plays might panic. Jelassi just smiled.
Follow hand-by-hand coverage, plus latest chip counts, in the panel at the top of the main EPT Prague page.