Eureka5 Prague: Simon Persson leads final; home favourite Staszko third
Goodness knows how many hands were dealt on the penultimate day of Eureka Prague Season 5, but it's easily into the thousands. However there were none more spectacular that the very final one, where Simon Persson had pocket queens and Igor Untilov had kings and, after a good deal of to-ing and fro-ing, they eventually got all their chips in.
The thing was that for long periods of the day, both Persson and Untilov had been chip leader as a field of 53 slimmed all the way down to its final. And although Vladas Burneikis had taken over at the very top of the counts by the time that hand emerged, both the Swede and the Moldovan still had plenty.
But neither was backing down by the time they were at the turn. And at that moment, the queens had found another one on the flop and Persson was now in the lead. He knocked out Untilov in ninth place and bagged more than 12 million chips, which he'll take to the final tomorrow.
Untilov was devastated. His ninth-place prize of €24,150 will seem like scant consolation when there's €311,000 on offer to tomorrow's winner. But he wouldn't be the only player to feel hard done by after a day of poker that again reinforced how brutal it can be.
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There were coolers pretty much all day, and the pendulum swung in countless directions. Vladas Tamasauskas had knocked out two players before any reporters had even made their way to the tournament floor (and we're not talking just slovenly English reporters; I'm talking conscientious German reporters too.)
But although Tamasauskas had a huge stack for ages, he too was coolered and sent home, losing a monster to his countryman and namesake Vladas Burneikis. Burneikis is now the only Lithuanian at a final at which there are players from seven countries.
Home eyes will all be on Martin Staszko, who is already the most celebrated player from these parts. The former World Series runner up owes his place at the final--and his third-placed stack--to a beat he put on Finland's Torsti Kettula. Staszko likes to play pre-flop and got his chips in with A♥J♥. But he ran into Kettula's J♣J♠.
It was looking bleak for Staszko until the river, when an ace popped out. Kettula was crestfallen and went out in tenth.
Here's how they line up tomorrow for what will be a tremendous final.
Seat 1 - Gianluca Speranza (Italy) - 4,750,000
Seat 2 - Martin Staszko (Czech Republic) - 6,430,000
Seat 3 - Meir Ben Shimon (Israel) - 1,670,000
Seat 4 - Mihaita Croitoru (Romania) - 3,120,000
Seat 5 - Cosimo Sabatini (Italy) - 1,875,000
Seat 6 - Javier Rojas Mederos (Spain) - 6,145,000
Seat 7 - Simon Persson (Sweden) - 12,565,000
Seat 8 - Vladas Burneikis (Lithuania) - 10,800,000
Persson was the very image of cool and calm today, wearing a Milk Tray-man style polo neck and ruthlessly putting his chips to work. He'll be the man to beat tomorrow. But don't rule out Staszko.
All the payouts to date are on the payouts page. (Where there are gaps it's where people haven't been to collect their prize yet.)