Eureka5 Prague: Playing fast and slow as stacks develop

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Michal Mrakes: Finding aces at the right time

Based on a sample size of two hand--so we're talking pretty-much exhaustive--there's an unmistakeable pattern developing on Day 1A of Eureka5 Prague: If he's playing quickly, he's got nothing. If he's playing slowly, he's stacked to the gills.

This two-hand survey took place towards the end of Level 7, where blinds were 300-600 (75 ante) and I was on the search for players with a big stack.

The first port of call was table Table 24 where Robert Skopalik was sitting with two lots of chips. The first lot, in a bag in his hands, were being shovelled into his mouth via a tiny fork, at a rate that would make you think the dinner break was 800 rather than 90 minutes away.

The second pile of chips were on the table, scattered wide across the felt but totalling something like 120,000. Skopalik wasn't in a hand, but his number of chips set a bar by which to compare some of the others.

A couple of tables along, Michal Mrakes had a decent stack too, something in the neighborhood of 90,000. But he was also in a hand. Mrakes opened to 1,300 from mid-position and picked up a caller in the cut-off, before Jarosław Kosmaty, on the button, slowed things down.

Kosmaty took a little while to get his numbers straight before raising to 4,100 and the decision quickly passed back around the Mrakes. The Czech player also now took his time, pondering for a long while before announcing a four-bet to 7,900. The anguished fellow in the cut-off cried in despair before folding.

That took it back to Kosmaty, who didn't quite know how anguished he was about to become. He took a fair amount of time over this decision too before announcing that he was all in for what amounted to about 30,000-ish.

Mrakes allowed himself a double check of his cards but otherwise didn't much dwell over the decision, calling a flipping A♣A♠. Kosmaty seemed to know it was coming and showed K♥K♠. The board ran dry: 8♥4♦2♠4♣7♦ and Kosmaty was out, before he could hear our friend in the cut off tell the world that he folded jacks.

That hand took a long time to play out, with the two monster hands trying to ensnare one another and, you have to say, succeeding. But it was a far cry from the rapidity of the action a few tables along, where Keith Lystad was the big stack.

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Lystad is Norwegian. You could tell he was from somewhere in Scandinavia from the tin of snus behind an impeccably stacked tower of chips, piles higher than the regulation 20. And if any doubt had remained as to his homeland, it would have been eliminated by the only hand I saw him play.

He opened to 1,300 from early position and picked up a caller, Tien Nguyen. Nguyen is from Sweden, and when it was only the two of them left, this was played at a true Scandi pace.

The flop came 3♠5♥2♦ and Lystad checked. Nguyen bet 2,500. Lystad called. The turn was the J♥ and both players checked. The river was the 3♣ and Lystad bet 5,500. Nguyen called.

"Seven high," Lystad said.
"Seven high?" Nguyen said, seeking confirmation, and saw Lystad's 7♥4♠. Nguyen turned over his A♦Q♠ and ace high was good.

Lystad was left with "about 80" after that, so is still going strong. It was immediately notable that this hand, which took about 55 seconds to play from start to finish, involved two hands full of absolute junk.


A photographic interpretation of the speed of that hand

For all that, the biggest stack in the room right now appears to be in the possession of Hong Kong's Wing Sang Lee. I tried to watch him play a hand, and he seemed happy to oblige, peeling off raising chips from a stack of about 160,000.

But it folded all the way round to the man in the big blind, who said, "I don't want to play against you" and folded.

Lee has amassed close to seven times his starting stack, so you can forgive the reluctance.

Tournament update:

- The final number for today is confirmed at 438.
- Frederik Jensen, Giacomo Fundero, Rhys Jones, Eoghan O'Dea, Ismael Bojang and Simon Ravnsbaek are also among the registrants.

You can find German language coverage with Robin Scherr on All the schedule information is on the EPT App, which is available on both Android or IOS. The Eureka coverage is all handily organized on the Eureka Prague page.

Howard Swains
@howardswains in Eureka Poker Tour