Eureka3 Prague: Stephen 'Stevie444' Chidwick leads final 43 in the Main Event
When the 396 players who had made it to Day 2 reconvened at noon local time we were told that 191 of them would make the money. We fully expected to burst the bubble but I don't think anyone would've expected just 43 players to have survived after 10 levels of play.
They're all still in with a shot of winning the €226,400 first prize and have locked up a minimum of €3,850. You can see the full prize pool and payouts so far right here.
As for the player with the best chance of winning that six-figure sum, he's a well known figure in the poker world and in fact is in Prague thanks to winning a WCOOP event in September. Stephen 'Stevie444' Chidwick, is a man accustomed to winning and he is the man with the most chips tonight, 1,479,000 to be exact.
However he almost didn't make it at all as he got caught up in the airline trouble on Saturday. "Heathrow cancelled my flight on Saturday so i was stuck in London for two days. I got the first flight I could and got here in time to be alternate 92 in this thing on almost no sleep" Tomorrow night there's a presentation for all the WCOOP winners (they've received free accommodation), Chidwick may well miss that it if he's still at the top of the chip charts. As to how he got there, "I kept coolering people," was a modest response for a player with over $1,500,000 in lifetime live tournament earnings.
He's not the only Brit with a big stack tonight, second in chips overnight is Mark Dalimore who has 1,379,000. Dalimore, who lives in the Czech Republic, admitted he was lucky to have finished with that amount. "I made a mistake near the end," he told me. "I 4-bet all-in with pocket queens thinking my opponent only had about 300,000. In fact he had closer to 600,000 and he had kings! But four hearts came on the board and I made a flush."
He'll be flush with chips tomorrow as will: Mario Puccini (1,147,000), Billy Chattaway (1,055,000), Milan Simko (1,040,000) and Asaf Levi (1,032,000). They'll all return to blinds of 8,000/16,000 ante 2,000 with seven-figure stacks.
There were five Team PokerStars Pros in the field at start of the day, two will be back tomorrow a further two made the money and only Henrique Pinho missed out all together. Leading the charge, as he was at the start of the day, is Marcin Horecki. The Pole had a stack for most of the day and will return with an above average 853,000.
"It was a pretty good day, I didn't have too many great spots and there were some good players at my table." Last night when play finished he hopped in a side event and made the money, but they'll be no repeat tonight. "I'm far too tired, I'm going to bed," he said when play finished.
Also in need of an early night is Matti De Meulder, the Belgian's day was in stark contrast to Horecki's in that he never seemed to have an above average stack. The Belgian finished on 486,000. "This stack is pretty much my high point," he told me. "My stacks gone up, but so have the blinds, I'm comfortable with 30 big blinds though and hopefully I can continue to go deep."
His brother, Christophe had an up and down day, dropping as low as 14,000 at one point before spinning it back up. He bust in 83rd place when his pocket fours failed to out race ace-jack. Alex Kravchenko stuck around a little longer before busting in 75th place.
There were a number of EPT Champions in with a shot of adding a Eureka Poker Tour title to their résumé when play resumed, only one will return tomorrow. Kevin MacPhee had one of those days where his chips seemed to come through big pots only. He won more than he lost and ended the day on 769,000. Salvatore Bonavena (91st) and Martin Finger (72nd) made the money but not Day 3.
But MacPhee isn't the only other big name to make the penultimate day of the tournament, Chris Moorman (317,000), Martin Mulsow (891,000) and David Lappin (208,000) all return. "With a little bit of luck I can get back in it," said Lappin on his chances.
Many big names were long gone by the time Jaxi Kiernan ran pocket kings into Thomas Layher's pocket aces to bust the bubble. Jeff Rossiter, Sergio Aido, Michael Tureniec and last year's winner Menikos Panagiotou were all gone before the money kicked in. Whilst Toni Ojala (170th), Marius Pospiech (140th), Kent Lundmark (131st), Ludovic Geilich (100th) and David Peters (67th) all cashed but crashed out
You can catch up on all today's hand for hand coverage here and here. The overnight chip counts can be found by clicking here and the Day 3 seat draw is right here. We'll be back at noon as play continues until the final table of eight is reached.
All photos are copyright of Tomas Stacha