EPT12 Prague: Lodden's record safe as Pagano perishes

It's often hard to find the stories that matter on Day 1 of a poker tournament. Even more so on Day 1B of a huge behemoth like this EPT Main Event. Imagine, if you will, opening up 60 tables on PokerStars and trying to follow the action, that's what it's like. Whilst the latter days of a tournament are like a newspaper - they have to appeal to a wide audience and cover lots of different subjects. On the opening day we have to be more like a magazine - cover a small subject matter but drill deep down.

One way of doing this is to focus on the well known players in the field, the past champions, Team PokerStars Pro, superstars from outside of poker on the occasions they partake in a poker tournament. Two superstars of poker were sat a couple of tables apart and both were struggling, an easy spot to pick, if you want to use poker terminology, to wait and see what happened.

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Johnny Lodden

In the red corner was Johnny Lodden, over $2,500,000 in lifetime earnings and with 21 EPT Main Event cashes to his name, the record holder in that field. He'd justbet 3,300 on the river of a 7♥6♥2♠8♠3♦ and his lone opponent was starring him down. Eventually Lodden got a fold and the pot was pushed his way. He needed it, that pot got him up to around 20,000. A 33% reduction on his starting stack.

In the blue corner was Lodden's team mate Luca Pagano. The player who since the dawn of time (ok the dawn of the EPT) had held the record that Lodden claimed in Malta back in October. The past couple of seasons of the EPT have not been kind to Pagano, indeed his last cash in a Main Event was in Deauville during Season 8. He'd drawn an interesting table today with two Irishman to tangle with. Andy Black had busted but Dermot Blain, who was on Pagano's direct right was still there and the two soon set about playing a pot together.

It folded to Blain in the cut off and he made a standard opening raise to 1,200, next to act Pagano reached for raising chips and bumped the price of poker up to 2,800. It folded back round to the flame haired Irishman and he asked to take a look at Pagano's chips and then bet enough to set the Italian all-in.

A brief look at his cards later and Pagano moved all-in and opened A♣Q♣. It was a classic race against Blain's 8♥8♦ and the pair held on the 9♦7♥5♦J♣3♣ board. Pagano politely wished the table good luck and was on his way.

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Dermot Blain and Luca Pagano

Edit: Since this post was written things have continued to go well for Lodden as he's back above starting stack for the first time all day.

You can follow all the Main Event action on this page.

The high roller today is a Single Day €25,000 event, you can follow that on the dedicated Single Day High Roller page.

Nick Wright
@PokerStars in European Poker Tour