Eureka3 Bulgaria, Day 1A: Bulgaria - An emerging poker nation

Thirteen months ago I interviewed Petar Zografov in the aftermath of his victory in the main event of Eureka2 Bulgaria. 'To win the trophy in my home country is the perfect situation, I feel great,' said a clearly delighted Zografov.

That victory in his home country was not only the first for a Bulgarian on the Eureka Poker Tour but almost the first major victory for a Bulgarian on any major poker tour. Only Atanas Gueorguiev's victory in the € 2,000 No Limit Hold'em Spanish Championship in June 2009 came before Zografov's triumph. How times change...

eureka3 bulgaria_day 1A_dimitar_danchev.jpg

Dimitar Danchev wins the 2013 PCA

Since then the Bulgarians have become one of the emerging forces in world poker - that or variance is shining kindly on them for once - with many major victories in the last 13 months. Not least Zografov who took down a €630 main event in Romania in March this year.

But of course the two stand out performances belong to two well known Bulgarian players who many in this country think were due a big result. In January this year Dimitar Danchev swept all before him as he won the $10,000 no-limit Hold'em main event at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. He defeated a field of 987 to claim a first prize of $1,859,000. He sits top of the all-time Bulgarian money-winners list, but would've been there without that result as he finished second at EPT San Remo in 2011 a result that saw him bank €600,000.

I'd like to think that playing Eureka3 Croatia was the perfect warm up for the WSOP for Simeon Naydenov. The young Bulgarian became his countries first ever WSOP bracelet winner when he took down event #36 - $1,500 no-limit Hold'em shootout - beating 1,194 players to a first prize of $326,440. Shootouts involve a lot of different poker skills and Naydenov showed he's a player to be reckoned with.

Throw in results such as Ivaylo Peevski's victory in the € 2,000 no limit Hold'em side event at EPT Barcelona in August 2012 and it's clear that Bulgaria is truly on the up when it comes to poker prowess.

Tournament update:

Chip leader: With 85,000 it looks as if George Vranas is the current chip leader. During the dinner break tournament staff will be doing a chip count of the leader at each table so I'll be able to bring you a more accurate picture of how things stand then.

Eliminations: Many eliminations to tell you about as: Dominik Panka, Sebastian Horea- Pop, Roman Duyunov, Alexandr Nagorny, Andrzej Stuchlik, Arturas Randis, Dariusz Paskiewicz, Jakub Groblewski and Iulian Ruxendescu are all out. Roughly 135 of the 185 players remain.

Time is running out in level six, at the end of this level players will be taking a one hour dinner break.

The photo in this post is copyright of Neil Stoddart.

Nick Wright
@PokerStars in Eureka Poker Tour