EPT11 Prague: Mid-day update, down to 26 in double quick time
We're used to play going at a frantic pace here in Prague. Twelve months ago 61 players started Day 4 and after five levels of play the field had been shrunk to 22. That 22 would become eight in a crazy four hours of play on Day 5 as we reached the final table in record time.
Fast forward 12 months and yet again the players have put the pedal to the metal here in Prague. The exact same number of players as last year - 61 - started the day and with three of the planned five levels in the books just 26 players remain. We might not be able to answer the chicken and egg conundrum but in the what comes first stakes it's highly likely that 16 players beats five levels of play.
So 35 players have already gone bust with Petr Jelinek (30th, €22,930) the man who perhaps will be most disappointed. He started the day fifth in chips so is the player with the loftiest start of day stack to bust. His miserable day finally ended when he ran jacks into the pocket kings of Artem Metalidi on a 7♣4♦5♦ flop. We've also said goodbye to: Albert Daher (31st, €22,930), Martin Mulsow (41st, €16,970), Dylan Linde (51st, €16,970), Team PokerStars Pro George Danzer (53rd, €16,970) and Alexander Roumeliotis (60th, €14,230)
As the blinds ticked up to 10,000/20,000 (3,000 ante), the average stack was 1,230,000 but there were, as always, several players who had far more than that and two very familiar faces are at the summit of the chip counts. Leading the way is none other than Vanessa Selbst. She's got a stack of over 3,200,000 and has spent a day and a half on the feature table. It goes with the territory.
She picked up a big pot with A♠Q♠ against Panagiotis Papaisidorou when she called the flop, raised the turn and bet the river on a A♣9♣4♥J♦Q♥ board. The American called the river but mucked his hand when Selbst showed two pair.
Situated just behind Selbst in the chip counts is Davidi Kitai and as reported the Triple Crown winner has been doing what he does best, winning pots. He's got a stack of 2,752,000 at time of writing.
Other players who are currently in possession of big stacks include: Fabio Sperling (2,500,000), Miltiadis Kyriakides (2,000,000) and start of day chip leader Simon Mattsson (2,000,000).
With Sam Grafton (1,839,000), Tamer Kamel (1,400,000), Remi Castaignon (1,100,000), Brian Altman (905,000) and Balazs Botond (428,000) still in the mix it's shaping up to be a fantastic finish to this tournament.
The story of Altman's day is particularly fascinating. The American, who qualified on PokerStars, started the day in 40th place in chips with 294,000 but got as low as 9,000 before mounting a remarkable comeback. He cracked aces with K♠2♣ along the way and as Lee Jones said in the commentary booth: "he's now freerolling this tournament."
Everyone remaining has locked up €27,060 and they'll be a redraw with 24 players left. If Kitai and Selbst get drawn to the same table then there's the possibility of one uber chip leader being created. For now Kitai and Grafton headline the feature table, which you can watch on #EPTLive here.