Eureka3 Czech Republic: Czech stars on the world stage come home to play
Tables of death in poker tournaments are not always immediately obvious. For instance, table eight here in the King's Casino Rozvadov is hardly likely to strike fear into most poker players: it looks no more threatening than the average back-room in a North London mini-cab office, where a handful of relaxing drivers are whiling the hours away in a game of snap.
However both Thomas Zurek and Zohar Spivack have already gone broke from that table, not able to make 20,000 chips last until the end of registration. Something like 20 players have now been eliminated, from a Day 1B starting field of 278, but number eight is the only table to have lost two. (Actually, that is no longer true. Table nine has also lost two players: Daniele Nestola and Adrian Oskar Piasecki. But it also doesn't exactly appear to have razor wire surrounding it either. It seems equally as innocuous as its neighbour.)
Table 44, however, is terrifying for more traditional reasons. That's the slab of felt around which some of the late-comers initially assembled, a group including both Tomas Junek and Vojtech Ruzicka.
Those two are arguably the most feared and respected poker players in the Czech Republic. The former is the only player from these shores in possession of a World Series of Poker bracelet, won last June in a $1,500 no limit hold'em tournament. He earned instant celebrity and $661,022 for beating a field of 2,798 players.
Ruzicka is perhaps even better known. After chopping the WCOOP main event in 2011, Ruzicka has become a familiar face on the European Poker Tour, in the very biggest games. He realised great potential in the live environment when he took down the €10,000 High Roller event at EPT Deauville last month, good for €313,000.
Table 44 will break soon, scattering the two of them into the crowd. This event in Rozvadov is not exactly the largest they have ever played, but they will both be focused. And very frightening to come up against.
Latest eliminations: Zohar Spivack, Thomas Zurek, Alexandru Lupu, Daniele Nestola, Bodo Sbrzesny, Jiří Bubeníček, Julian Stuer, Roman Sanarov, Libor Gračka, Oliver Weis, Ralf Grenz, Adrian Oskar Piasecki, Sebastian Dornbracht, Jan Šubík, Radek Stockner.
Sbrzesny's bust was kind of brutal. He lost a massive chunk of his chips when he turned a flush with K♣J♣, up against a flopped set of sevens. But the board paired on the river, meaning he lost to a boat. He then picked up pocket jacks and ran them into pocket kings. That'll do it.