EPT12 Prague: City gets chilly; Amirov livin' the dream
If you weren't watching EPT Live when it happened, you might want to make sure you're sitting down, because we've just see a five-minute period that turned this tournament on its head. In fact, we're still unsure whether it was all real.
It happened over the course of two hands, both of which had even tournament veterans staring with their mouths agape.
Let's just start with the first one...the one that made us think, "Well that is going to be the sickest hand of the day." Oh, we were so naive.
Shortly after the players returned from a 20-minute break, the two men who came into this day with the top two stacks went to war.
It began when Russia's Gleb Tremzin came in for a raise to 135,000 and Marc Macdonnell three-bet to 330,000 from the button. Macdonnell had Tremzin covered but not by a huge amount. Tremzin gave it a short think before calling out of position.
With Tremzin sitting on 2.4 million and Macdonnell holding nearly 2.6 million, they went heads-up to a A♦5♠9♣ flop.
Remember this moment.
Tremzin checked, and Macdonnell put out 320,000. Tremzin spent a bit of time counting his stack and cutting out chips. Finally, he put in the call, and saw the K♠ on the turn.
Again, Tremzin checked and let Macdonnell do the betting. This time Macdonnell put more thought (and more chips) into it. The bet was 660,000. Again, Tremzin called to make the pot 2.8 million.
With the pot swollen, Tremzin checked for a third time. Macdonnell peeked once at his cards, riffled his chips, and finally announced, "All in."
This time, Tremzin didn't have to think. He called...and broke Macdonnell's heart.
Around the table and in rooms up and down the corridor, everyone winced. It's not every day you see a cooler so cold.
It left Macdonnell, just hours ago the chip leader, with only a few big blinds, and it moved Tremzin up close to the chip lead.
It left us to ask one question.
WHAT'S COOLER THAN COOL? ICE COLD.
Moments later, the UK's Chris Walker pushed all-in from under the gun for 985,000.
Macdonnell, with a pittance left in front of him, took a look at tournament clock and called all-in for his last 165,000.
In a normal world, that was the showdown we would've expected to eventually see. Two players all-in, one short stack knocked out.
That's when things went wiggy.
Play folded over to chip leader Ilkin Amirov who asked for a count of both players' stacks. He counted out the calling chips and put them out in front of him.
Finally, the action got to Javier Gomez who had 2.6 million sitting in front of him, and when he didn't immediately fold, the room started to twist on its own axis. Something was about to happen.
Gomez lifted his chin, looked at the dealer, and announced, "All in."
What he might not have expected...what nobody expected...was Amirov to snap-call.
Fans started running across the room, knocking over drinks and craning to see the board. Players in side events pulled up EPT live on their iPads and watched from their tables. It was the cooler of the day, if not all of Season 12.
The board made it interesting, but when it was done, it was all Amirov's: 6♠A♠9♠A♦6♦.
Amirov, looking almost as if he expected it, said, "Livin' the dream."
Indeed he is. When he stacked up the corpses, he had had nearly 10 million in front of him and only eight players between him and the championship.
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Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging.