EPT12 Prague: Ilkin Amirov rides insane wave to final table lead
At 43 years old, Ilkin Amirov has already made history on the European Poker Tour. He's the first person from the former Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan to make an EPT final table. Wednesday, he could be his nation's first winner.
After slowly working his way to the chip lead early on Day 5, Amirov won one of the most spectacular and memorable hands in the EPT's 12-season history. The four-way all-in pre-flop pot was worth nearly ten million chips. His pocket kings held up against pocket queens, pocket jacks, and 8♦9♦ to give Amirov nearly a full third of the chips in play. (Read about how that hand happened here: City gets chilly; Amirov livin' the dream.)
When the final table resume on Day 6, Amirov will take his chip lead up against five other players who hope to run as well as Amirov ran today. Here's how they stack up.
Ilkin Amirov (Azerbaijan) 9,965,000
Gleb Tremzin (Russia) 7,785,000
Thomas Butzhammer (Germany) 5,490,000
Slaven Popov (Bulgaria) 3,640,000
Hossein Ensan (Germany) 2,725,000
Olivier Ferrero (France) 1,715,000
We've seen Amirov before. This will be the sixth time he has cashed in an EPT Main Event. Just last year, the businessman from Baku finished in 40th place here in Prague. While he has racked up nearly $800,000 in live winnings over the past half-decade, he is on track to crush his prior best result, a €105,336 cash for a third place in the €3k Berlin Cup High Roller back in Season 9.
While Amirov won the most exciting hand of the day, he'll be up against Russia's Gleb Tremzin who dispatched Marc Macdonnell (the man who started the day with the cheap lead) in a massive boat-over-boat cooler that was good enough, for a time, to move Tremzin up to second place in the counts.
Tremzin, 27 and known as Ti0373 online, hails from Arkhangelsk, one of the northernmost cities on the planet. Tremzin is an online monster who has three WCOOP titles to his name. He's looking to be Russia's fourth EPT Main Event champion.
Right now, it's Amirov and Tremzin's tourney to lose, but they're not far enough ahead to count out the others, including Germany's Thomas Butzhammer (who finished 16th here last year) and 51-year-old Hossein Ensan who is enjoying his third Main Event final nine appearance in the last 16 months.
Ensan will have some familiar company at the final table. Bulgaria's Slaven Popov was at Ensan's final table in Season 11's Barcelona event. Ensan finished third to Popov's eighth. Read more about how rare this second table final table meeting is here: Not since the days of Thew and Vaswani...
Finally, none of them should count out France's Olivier Ferrero, the 33-year-old for Marseille who is in the middle of his best-ever live tournament poker run. His winnings have already eclipsed his lifetime total.
Join us then when we'll find out whether Amirov's domination will continue.
Until then, good night from Prague.
To catch up with the rest of our coverage from EPT Prague, check out any of the links below:
Brad Willis is the PokerStars Head of Blogging.
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