Eureka3 Bulgaria, Day 1A: The fight for chips on and off the table

The players have just returned from a one hour dinner break and level seven is underway. The mass exodus at the end of level six, which signalled the start of the dinner break was something to behold. It's a bad beat of a different kind to get stuck at the back of the buffet queue, you'll end up with fewer chips than a shortstack has at the table.

I jest of course, there was plenty of potato based products to go round, but as the fight for starch off the felt was going on the casino staff were busy concerning themselves with chips of a different nature on the tournament floor. They very helpfully were, with the help of the dealers, counting the chips of the biggest stack at each table.

And it's about the time that it needs to be done. If you're still sitting on your starting stack of 20,000 then that's 50 big blinds but it'll soon turn to less than 35 if you don't gain traction during level seven. And even those 50 big blinds are vulnerable when you take into account that once you factor in antes it's costing you 1,100 a round just to sit at the table and fold. It's a conundrum that defending champion Petar Zografov, who's on just 18,000 will have to solve in the three remaining levels of the evening.

However, let's take a closer look at the players who, as things stand, are the big stacks.

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Jaroslaw Sikora is chip leader

Jaroslaw Sikora - 89,000, The Polish player bought in directly, but has no live cashes to his name as far as I can tell. He has though played in tournaments as far afield as Macau.

Ital Levy - 73,000, Like Sikora this big stack, who hails from Israel, is yet to make a splash in live poker. If he keeps going like this then that'll soon change.

Atanas Kavrakov - 71,300, The Bulgarian is putting on another strong performance. He has almost $80,000 in live tournament earnings and cashed in EPT San Remo and EPT Prague in 2012. His biggest live cash though is for $20,659 and came when he finished third at IPT San Remo in July 2012.

Richard Larsen - 70,000, The Norwegian has a diverse collection of flags on his Hendon Mob profile despite only cashing three times in live events thus far. He's managed to make the money in events in Ireland, Latvia and Estonia.

George Vranas - 68,000, Rounding off the top five is a Greek player who like Sikora and Levy has yet to have any live cashes as far as I can tell.

Tournament Update:

Eliminations: Poker is a zero sum game so whilst our top five have been foraging successfully for chips others have unfortunately lost all of theirs. Those who've gone from hero to zero include: Yvegeniy Yermakov, Ran Ahronovis, Ciprian Lungu, Aleksandar Todorov, Stanislav Zegal, Gregory Bregy and Eureka3 Croatia runner-up Boris Kuzmanovic.

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Boris Kuzmanovic

Blinds are now up to 300 - 600 ante 75 and 116 remain.

All photos are copyright of Tomas Stacha

Nick Wright
@PokerStars in Eureka Poker Tour