EPT10 Prague: David Boyaciyan on three finals in a row and last year's infamous deal
The defending champion Ramzi Jelassi may be out, but last year's third place finisher, and runner-up from the year before that, is still in contention.
David Boyaciyan has had two close calls at EPT Prague, an event that somehow has proven to be his most successful. He's still in the field with two levels to play, so what chance a third deep run in Season 10.
"Actually, minimum," said Boyaciyan, breaking into laughter. "I'm highly motivated and I force myself to stay disciplined, but it's not really going great. I managed to make an average stack but now I'm down to half average. But the important thing is I'm still alive."
Still alive is something and you wouldn't rule out some sort of revival before the close of play today. At the final table last year Boyaciyan proved himself a formidable opponent, not prone to throwing in the towel, even when against the ropes.
Proof of which came when play was three-handed last year. A deal was on the table, but it was not a straightforward affair.
Ramzi Jelassi and Sotirios Koutoupas were level on chips, with Boyaciyan trailing them by half as much. But Boyaciyan believed he had an edge over Koutoupas, and pointed out that he was a double up from reversing the situation. He remained calm, but Koutoupas was getting emotional.
David Boyaciyan at last year's final table
"To me it was just a negotiation," said Boyaciyan, looking back on the events of 12 months ago. "At the end I thought I offered a reasonable deal. I mean, considering the players, the quality of the players, stack sizes, all accumulated I thought it was a reasonable deal I offered.
"I mean, I really wasn't anxious to make a deal. I know I was the short stack, but in my case... I was willing to take the chance."
As tempers frayed Koutoupas had at one point agreed with Boyaciyan, but during a lengthy discussion with friends off stage (the non-deal itself took more than an hour) he returned defiant. "Ramzi says no, so I play," said Koutoupas. "Let's play. Let's gamble."
Boyaciyan did take the chance, but departed in third place soon after the restart. It's a decision he still thinks was the right one.
"It wasn't really dramatic to me," he said. "Koutoupas made a big deal out of it... But it didn't rally both me that we didn't have a deal. I still thought I had a good chance of making the top two."
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.