Eureka6 Prague: Jensen hits miracle jack to top huge Day 1A field

While the Hilton Hotel here in Prague is quite a spectacle, the tournament poker room leaves a little to be desired. Not in its appearance, mind; nor from its friendly staff. It's just that when you have as many players playing as we had today, a little more space wouldn't go amiss!

It was a busy Friday on the felt as we kicked off the last ever Eureka Poker Tour Main Event with Day 1A. A total of 602 players turned over the €1,100 buy-in for a shot at becoming the Eureka6 Prague champ, and when all was said and done 168 remained. Leading them all after twelve 45-minute levels was Mathias Jensen of Denmark, who got very fortunate in the last level of the day to end with 311,200.

Eureka Poker Tour 6 Prague day 1a Tomas Stacha_2STB_5638.jpg

Jensen: fortune favours the Dane

Jensen found himself in a huge three-way all-in pot with the A♣J♣ against Q♦Q♠ and A♦A♠ on a J♥3♣5♠ flop. The turn was the 6♦, but the river? Yep -- it came the J♦, giving Jensen trips.

We caught up with the 19-year-old after play had ended. He came to Prague with his friend from Denmark, where they both work in a casino. "We can't play there as the company we work for owns all the casinos in our country!" Jensen explained.

He played yesterday's satellite but failed to qualify as he got two-outed. Eventually, he decided to take a shot and bought in anyway. He's predominantly an online player, telling us: "I won about $5K a few weeks ago and that made this trip possible." So far, it's been a great decision.

Others who had heavy bags filled with chips include Lars Wik with 303,400, Erez Walerstein with 273,800, Ioannis Mantonanakis with 254,300, Matas Cimbolas with 244,100, Rainer Rockenstein with 224,000, and Kaan Okar with 203,200.

There were plenty of big names in the line-up, many of whom hopped in having busted the €10K which started last night and continued today. Benjamin Pollak, Simon Deadman, Jason Wheeler and Sam Grafton all switched their focus over to this tournament, but none could survive the day. It could have been so different for Grafton though; he was all-in for a 220-big blind pot with a flopped flush draw and open-ended straight draw against pocket aces, but couldn't hit to survive.

Thumbnail image for Eureka Poker Tour 6 Prague day 1a Sam Grafton Tomas Stacha_20STB_5314.jpg

Grafton's gone

Of the High Roller turncoats, it seems only Martin Finger (60,800) and the aforementioned Matas Cimbolas made it through, but we had plenty of notables who kicked off their Prague poker fest in this tournament too. Ana Marquez (100,500) and Tom Hall (147,100), for example, will both be returning for Day 2 on Sunday. Click here for a look at all 168 Day 1A survivors' counts

It's Day 1B tomorrow and play kicks off at 12pm. We'll be playing another twelve 45-minute levels, and you can expect the numbers to be even bigger. You know what that means: even less space for us humble reporters to move around.

Nevermind. Get some rest and we'll see you tomorrow here on the PokerStars Blog. Dobrou noc! --JS

Day 1A coverage

11pm: Day 1A concludes

That's it for the first of two Day 1 flights in the Eureka Prague Main Event. It appears Jensen held onto the chip lead to end the night, although Lars Wik has edged up close to challenge him. Back soon with a full recap of the day's action. --MH

10:50pm: Three more hands
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

You know the drill. --MH

10:45pm: Wheeler rolls out
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

Jason Wheeler was one of the bigger stacks earlier today, but now is on the rail after losing the last of his chips in a three-way all-in.

Wheeler had been chipped down to a small stack before committing with K♦2♠ and being up against both Javier Zarco's A♠Q♦ and Davor Mudric's A♣K♥.

The board ran out 5♣J♠5♠Q♥J♦ which enabled Zarco to survive with about 60,000 and Mudric to keep about 190,000, but Wheeler has none and has departed. --MH

10:35pm: River jack gives Jensen huge pot, chip lead
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

A huge three-way hand just completed, with Mathias Jensen of Denmark dramatically emerging as the winner of the biggest pot of the day, catapulting himself into the chip lead as the last Day 1A level starts.

We picked up the proceedings before the flop, where Bartosz Jablonski appeared to have initiated things from middle position, then Anthony Borde looked to have reraised from the button with Jensen calling out of the small blind. Then Jablonski pushed all in for 42,700 total, and both Borde and Jensen called.

The flop fell J♥3♣5♠ and Jensen pushed all in, and Borde who had a little less called the shove. All three tabled their hands:

Jensen: A♣J♣
Jablonski: Q♠Q♦
Borde: A♦A♠

Jensen was a distant third when the chips went in, and stayed behind after the 6♦ turn. But the J♦ fell on fifth street, prompting an "oh, wow!" from Jensen as he saw he'd won the hand to knock out both Jablonski and Borde.

It took a while, but Jensen finally stacked up what looks to be about 360,000, certainly the most of anyone at the moment. --MH

10:30pm: Grafton's gone, in his own words
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

My colleague has just informed us here in the media room that Sam Grafton is out. Sam told him that the money went in preflop, creating a 220 big blind pot. Grafton had pocket jacks with the J♠, and was up against pocket aces. The flop came 8-9-10 with two spades -- giving Grafton a flush draw and open-ended straight draw -- but he bricked the turn and river to bust. --JS

10:25pm: Renaud's Hall pass
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

"All-in," said Tom Hall as I arrived at the table. While his only opponent - Gfeller Renaud - was thinking about what to do, I had to assess the situation: There was 17,000 in the middle pre-flop and the board fell 2♣8♥9♠. Renaud checked, Hall bet 9,500, and Renaud then raised it up to 19,000. Then Hall jammed - essentially putting Renaud all-in with a much bigger stack.

Now we're up to speed. Renaud looked at Hall for information, and the Brit just shrugged with a smile. In the end the man from Switzerland passed and left himself in the dangerzone with 17,500, while Hall is moving along nicely with a 120,000 stack. --JS

10:20pm: Last level
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

Level 12 has begun, the last 45-minute level of Day 1A. --MH


10:15pm: Grasu gets the double
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

Niculina Grasu just doubled up to keep her seat. All in with 5♥5♠ for her last 14,000 versus Joerg Gehrke's K♥T♠, a 2♥5♦A♣ flop gave Grasu a set and a seven on the turn sealed it.

She's back to about 30,000 while Gehrke has 72,000. --MH

Eureka Poker Tour 6 Prague day 1a Tomas Stacha_9STB_5445.jpg

Niculina Grasu

10:05pm: Blind vs. blind, flush vs. flush
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

Any pro will tell you how important blind vs blind pots are in No Limit Hold'em tournaments. You can ask Zdenek Sedlacek and Max Blaum and they'll certainly concur after their last hand together.

Action folded to Sedlacek in the small blind and he limped. Blaum then bumped it up to 4,000, which was called. They saw a 7♣3♣K♠ flop and it checked to Blaum who continued for a rather large 12,000 - more than the pot. Still, Sedlacek called.

The turn came the 5♣ - putting three clubs out there - and the action was identical, bet size and all. That brought us to the K♣ river. It paired the board, and brought four to the flush. Sedlacek immediately moved all-in for 19,900, Blaum called and got the bad news.

Sedlacek - A♣J♣
Blaum - Q♣2♣

Both had flopped flush draws and turned flushes, only Sedlacek's was the biggest available. That sneaky pre-flop limp with the big suited ace paid off big time, as Sedlacek moved up to 98,000, while Blaum was crippled to just 7,000. --JS

9:55pm: River deuce saves Schiffbauer
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

"I thought you were snap-calling... I was about to turn them over."

So said a grinning Robert Schiffbauer just now to Martin Kabrhel. After a Kabrhel raise to 3,500, Schiffbauer had three-bet all in for his last 11,500 and the action returned to Kabrhel who hesitated a moment longer.

"I was tank-calling," quipped Kabrhel who only waited a couple of seconds more before calling and showing K♥7♠. Schiffbauer had Q♥2♠, and after the T♦7♣2♠ flop gave both players pairs Kabrhel asked Schiffbauer what other events he planned to play.

Schiffbauer looked ready to go, and as the 3♦ turn fell he focused on the days to come. Then came the river, which forced him back into the present -- the 2♥! Trips for Schiffbauer, who keeps his seat with about 25,000. Kabhrel is at 60,000 now. --MH

9:45pm: Chip lead for Tseissler?
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

I might have just caught a hand which has given us a new chip leader. Or at least I caught part of it.

There was 38,000 in the middle, a flop of 6♠8♠3♦, and two players: Aleksei Tseissler and Robert Soogea. Tseissler had made a bet which had been raised to 35,000 by Soogea, only to then be re-raised to 87,400.

Soogea was deep in the tank when I turned up, and remained in there for another couple of minutes. The raise was for about half of his remaining chips, but in the end he decided to let it go.

Tseissler took it down and turned over his holding: K♦K♥. Soogea tapped the table as he dipped to 106,000, while Tseissler might very well now have the chip lead with a 190,000 stack. --JS

9:35pm: Stenback climbs back
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

After Alexander Krasuntsev raised from early position, Nils Stenback reraised all in from the button for 11,500 and Krasuntsev called.

Krasuntsev had A♣3♣ while Stenback had picked up K♥K♠. The board came clean for the latter -- 8♥6♦7♦2♣3♠ -- and Stenback is back up around the starting stack of 25,000. Krasuntsev meanwhile has 55,000. --MH

9:30pm: This one goes to eleven
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

Level 11, that is. Actually there are two more levels left to go tonight, which will carry things up until about 11 p.m., in fact.

Right now 250 players remain from the Day 1A starting field. --MH


9:29pm: Grafton loses a few to Straka
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

It folded to Sam Grafton in the hijack and he came in for a raise to 2,500. That got a call from the cutoff, and Oskar Straka defended his big blind. The flop came down J♥7♣8♥ and it checked around to the 2♥ turn, which checked to Grafton. Here the Brit made a delayed c-bet to 7,800 - a pot-sized wager - which shook off the cutoff but gave Straka reason to think.

The Slovakian then put in 14,900, but as it wasn't double Grafton's bet he had to increase it to 15,600. Grafton had already called while the chips were still being counted.

The river was the 5♦ and Straka moved all-in for 34,000 exactly. After a little thinking time Grafton decided to give it up, leaving himself with 60,000, while Straka increased his stack to 73,000. --JS

9:25pm: Dobryakov done
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

Following a mid-position open, Dmitriy Dobryakov pushed from the small blind with his last 15,000 or so, then Ping Liu called from the big blind and the original raiser got out.

Dobryakov had A♥J♥ and was behind Liu's A♣K♦. The board came 8♦J♣3♥, then K♣, then 5♥, and Dobryakov has been eliminated. Liu now has about 105,000. --MH

9:20pm: Gapon stands up to the bully
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

Yuriy Gapon opened to 2,500 and it folded around to Klavs Kukainis in the big blind. He defended to see the 2♣9♦4♦ flop and checked it to the raiser, letting Gapon in for a c-bet worth 5,000. Kukainis then slid in around 35,000 - enough to put Gapon all-in - but the big stack bullying didn't work. Gapon made the call with his A♦K♦ for the nut flush draw, which left Kukainis' K♥Q♦ drawing very thin. The flush came in on the 7♦ turn (river 2♥) and Gapon doubled to 75,000 while Kukainis is still healthy with 125,000. --JS

9:10pm: Who has a big stack?
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

Less than half the starting field remains, which means anyone with more than 50,000 (twice the starting stack) is above average at the moment. Some have done considerably better than that so far, as a post-dinner promenade around the tables reveals.

Klavs Kukanis had been leading in the counts earlier, and he's still doing well with 115,000 although others have passed him. Robert Soogea, Jason Wheeler, and Rainer Rockenstein have been among those rockin' the most so far on Day 1A. Here are those big stacks:

Robert Soogea - 165,000
Jason Wheeler - 160,000
Rainer Rockenstein - 155,000
Piotr Romanczukiewicz - 150,000
Lars Wik - 150,000
Ivan Gabrieli - 145,000
Bart Onsman - 140,000

We'll see how well this group fares over the last couple of hours of play, as well as who comes to challenge them for the end-of-night lead. --MH 

Eureka Poker Tour 6 Prague day 1a Talisman Tomas Stacha_5STA_8040.jpg

Some big stacks are starting to snowball into bigger ones

8:53pm: Grafton grafting, Finger raising, Wheeler fortune
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

We thought we'd check in a few of the more notable names still in the field after dinner.

Sam Grafton just opened a pot from the cutoff to 2,700 but was three-bet to 11,000. He'd then fold, leaving himself with a 75,000 stack.

Martin Finger was getting busy too. With the only action an under-the-gun limp, the German raised it up to 3,800 from the cutoff and got a call from the limper. They saw an 8♣6♥4♥ flop and after it checked to him Finger fired for 5,000 and took it down. He has around 50,000.

Eureka Poker Tour 6 Prague day 1a Tomas Stacha_8STB_5436.jpg

Martin Finger

They're both trailing the big stack of Jason Wheeler though. The American has quietly amassed a fortune of 160,000. --JS

8:50pm: Back at it
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

Players are back and the action has resumed here on Day 1A. Three more 45-minute levels remain before play ends for the night. --MH


7:35pm: Dinner time

There are 310 players remaining and they've all now gone on a 75-minute dinner break, so we will too. See you back here at 8:45pm. --JS

7:20pm: Shalashov shoves
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

With about 30,000 in the middle, Kirill Shalashov pushed the last of his 18,300 forward as an all-in bet and after thinking for a while Eldad Bentov decided to call.

Shalashov showed K♥T♥ for tens and fours, and that turned out to be good enough has Bentov had A♣K♠. Shalashov has about 68,000 now, while Bentov has 27,000. --MH

7:15pm: Alidzanovic KO's Koufakis
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

Alexandros Koufakis was all in and at risk with A♣7♥ versus the A♥J♠ of Damir Alidzanovic, but the 5♠3♦Q♣T♦6♠ board was no help for Koufakis and he's out. Alidzanovic, meanwhile, chips up to 78,000. --MH

7:10pm: More victims
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

They're falling thick and fast now as we approach the dinner break. Even Felix Schlott, who we just wrote about in our last hand, is now out.

Joining him on the rail are Bryan Paris, David Longmate, Yury Gulyy, Thomas Leidecker, Radek Jantos, Bohumil Valenta, Martin Bartos, and about 30 others. --JS

7:05pm: Schlott not falling for Cimbolas speech play
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

Matas Cimbolas is being very vocal here today; in fact, it's unusual to see him in a hand where he's not chatting away to his opponents.

He was at it again in a hand with Felix Schlott. The flop read 4♦8♦K♠ and Cimbolas checked, before calling Schlott's assumed c-bet of 2,500. The turn then came the Q♠.

"I check, then you make it......6K," said Cimbolas, trying to predict the future. Schlott grabbed 6,000 in chips, brought them down to the felt, but then tapped the table to check. "Oooooh, weakness!" laughed Cimbolas.

The river came the 9♥ and that did inspire some more betting. "How much do you want me to bet?" asked the Lithuanian. "Hmmm..." thought Schlott. "13,300."

"What?!" said Cimbolas, surprised at the huge random amount. "It will be easier to call," said Schlott.

Well, he did bet, but it was 6,000 - not 13,300 - from Cimbolas in the end. Schlott then moved all-in for 37,000 and Cimbolas had a decision.

"If you fold I'll show you one card," offered Schlott, and that's exactly what happened. Cimbolas' face down hand hit the muck, and he then picked and turned over the T♣ from Schlott's hand.

Schlott now has 65,000, while Cimbolas is still very healthy with 108,000. --JS

6:55pm: What might have been
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

Erik Cajelais once made it to 43rd in the PCA Main Event (in 2012). He's out. Remi Castaignon won the EPT9 Deauville Main Event. But he's out, too.

Romain Lewis took runner-up in a side event here in Prague a year ago, but he's busted. Georgios Sotiropoulos won the LAPT Bahamas event earlier this year, but he's lost the last of his stack here as well. And Antoine Saout, third-place finisher in the 2009 World Series of Poker Main Event and a final tablist at the EPT12 Grand Final Main Event in Monte Carlo where he finished seventh -- well, he's also on the rail.

But we shouldn't dwell on the past. Onward and upward! --MH


6:50pm: Forss-ing the issue
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

Martin Bartos moved all in before the flop for about 27,000, and after thinking a bit Nils Marcus Forss called the shove. Forss had just a little less than Bartos, so he was the one at risk.

Forss: 9♠9♣
Bartos: A♥K♣

The board ran out nicely for Forss, with 2♠4♥8♥8♠9♥ adding up to both a full house and a full double-up (as they say). Forss has around 52,000 now while Bartos slips to just a few thousand. --MH

6:45pm: Lucky duck for Jantos
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

Radek Jantos must be bowing to the poker Gods right now after that last hand. He was all-in and at risk with the 4♦4♠ against Thomas Taubenschuss' Q♥Q♠ on an 8♦5♥6♥3♦ board. He needed a four for a set or a deuce or seven for a straight.

And he got one. The 2♠ on the river changed everything and doubled Jantos back to the 25,000 starting stack, while Taubenschuss dropped to 9,500. --JS

6:30pm: Yasyuchenya eliminated
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

Elena Yasyuchenya has been eliminated here in Level 8. She lost the last of her chips after her K♠8♠ failed to best Milan Sasek's K♦Q♥.

Sasek has about 43,000 now, with 370 Day 1A players remaining. --MH

6:20pm: Marquez freerolls but can't double
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

Ana Marquez was just in the perfect spot to get a full double up, but unfortunately for her she had to settle for a chop.

The hand began with an 1,800 open from Kirill Shalashov, which was then three-bet to 4,800 by Marc Negron. Action then folded to Marquez and she came in for a cold four-bet to 10,200, which only Negron would match.

The flop then fell J♦8♠Q♦ and it checked to Marquez. She didn't hesitate in making a c-bet of 11,800, but then Negron shoved with the bigger stack. Marquez made the call and their hands were flipped: A♦K♦ for Marquez, and A♣K♣ for Negron.

Marquez was freerolling with the royal flush draw, but the 7♠ turn and A♥ river meant this one would be split. Marquez has 44,000, Negron has 54,000. --JS

Eureka Poker Tour 6 Prague day 1a Ana Marquez Tomas Stacha_3STB_5244.jpg

Ana Marquez

6:10pm: Shakhbazyan sunk
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

We all know poker is a partial information game. So here's a partial information hand, missing details from before the flop and after, but including the most pertinent information. And truly, for the players involved it will be the turn and river that stand out more prominently in their memories.

The board showed 6♣J♠J♣, and Vagan Shakhbazyan was all in holding T♠T♣. That gave him the lead versus Ronan Monfort's A♥6♥, but the turn brought the A♦ and the river rubbed it in with the 6♠, giving Monfort a full house and ending Shakhbazyan's tournament.

Monfort now has about 55,000. --MH

6pm: Gabrieli gets value
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

Arriving on the river with the board showing 3♥Q♥J♥Q♣5♠ and a decent-sized pot already having developed, Ivan Gabrieli bet 20,200 and Asaf Mashiach tanked for a while to decide whether or not he wanted to call a bet representing about two-thirds of what he had behind.

Finally Mashiach did call, and when Gabrieli tabled Q♠J♣ for a full house, Mashiach grimaced before mucking his cards.

Mashiach is down around 10,000 now, while Gabrieli is up to 125,000 after collecting that nice pot. --MH


5:55pm: The departed
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (100 ante)

Just a few of the almost 200 bust-outs we've had so far include:

Dominik Panka, Benjamin Pollak, Ben Heath, Daniel Portiansky, Dinesh Alt, Tony Dunst, Luis Cruz, Thomas Popov, Kevin Killeen, Zoltan Gal, Konstantinos Nanos, Cauf Man Taelly, and Jean-Marc Bellini. --JS

5:45pm: Er grounds Garces
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (100 ante)

Zorlu Er, best known for his fifth-place finish in the EPT13 Barcelona Main Event, just knocked out Jorge Rios Garces.

Others were involved preflop, but eventually only Er and Garces remained with Er playing A♦K♦ and Garces Q♦Q♥. The board ran out 3♥K♥4♠9♣3♠ giving Er the better pair and ending the tournament for Garces. --MH

5:35pm: Pollak gets hooked
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (100 ante)

Farook Hossen Ghafoor's Day 1A just keeps on getting better. He's just busted two players, despite starting with the only unpaired hand.

It started when he limped in under the gun, which also brought limps from Benjamin Pollak, Nicoaos Skiadas, and Pavlos Xanthopoulous. The action was then on big blind Abraham Serrano and he squeezed it up to 5,000. That brought a quick call from Ghafoor, which Pollak then shoved over for 15,200, which got two folds and a call from Serrano. Ghafoor then jammed with the biggest stack and got Serrano to commit all of his chips.

Pollak - J♥J♠
Serrano - 6♦6♣
Ghafoor - A♣Q♣

Two over cards against two pairs. Unfortunately for the two players at risk, the flop came Q♦3♥K♣, giving Ghafoor the lead, which he'd hold onto through the A♠ turn and 2♠ river. Pollak and Serrano made their exit, and Ghafoor increased to 120,000. --JS

Eureka Poker Tour 6 Prague day 1a Marius Enebakk talisman Tomas Stacha_3STA_8037.jpg


5:25pm: A few counts
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (100 ante)

As the new level begins, here's a look at a few chip counts among the folks we've been tracking today, a list topped by Klavs Kukainis who continues to sport a big stack after accumulating rapidly during the early levels.

Klavs Kukainis - 138,000
Sam Grafton - 102,000
Martin Finger - 50,000
Ana Marquez - 42,000
Jason Wheeler - 35,000
Yury Gulyy -- 24,000
Antonina Anapolska - 23,000
Antoine Saout - 20,000
Dominik Panka - 14,000
Georgios Sotiropoulos - 14,000
Benny Spindler - 12,000

Eureka Poker Tour 6 Prague day 1a Sam Grafton Tomas Stacha_20STB_5314.jpg

Squid and chips

5:15pm: Play resumes
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (100 ante)

With the big board showing 470 left from the 602 who started Day 1A, cards are in the air again. They'll be playing three more 45-minute levels, then will come the 75-minute dinner break. --MH


4:55pm: Take 20

Players have gone on another 20-minute break. --JS

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4:51pm: Spatharis still alive
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

A huge heap of chips was crowding the middle of the table - around 60,000 or so - and then I saw why: Alexandr Spatharis was all-in with the 2♥2♦ against Viachos Lampros' K♠K♣ on a J♣Q♣2♣ flop. Flopped set versus the overpaid and flush draw.

The turn was the 3♦, which kept the three ducks in front. Finally the 8♠ floated down on the river and Spatharis have the table a loud tap to show his joy. He raked in the pot, while Lampros falls to just 12,000. --JS

4:45pm: Good flop for Eskelinen
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (75 ante)

Following a J♦5♣5♥ flop, Mathis Wosegien inquired how much Kimmo Eskelinen had behind, saw it was 18,200, and bet all his chips. Eskelinen called to put himself at risk, but he was way ahead with T♦5♦ for trip fives versus Wosegien's Q♣J♥.

Two red aces filled out the board, and Eskelinen bumps up to around 40,000 while Wosegien slips to 11,000. --MH

4:35pm: Going...Goetz...gone
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

Matas Cimbolas has done a great job of increasing his stack over the past level, taking his 25,000 starting chips and turning them into 70,000. Most of those newly-acquired discs came from this hand.

Ondrej Goetz was under the gun and opened to 1,100, which got callers from three players including Cimbolas. They saw a 4♦7♠Q♦ flop and it checked to the Lithuanian, who took the betting lead with a 2,500 stab. Goetz was the only caller to see the 7♥ turn, and he checked it again. Cimbolas fired a second bullet for 5,000 and Goetz called quickly.

Finally the 9♦ completed the board, putting three diamonds out there. Cimbolas started talking while Goetz contemplated his decision. "That can't be your card," Cimbolas said, referring to the river. "You can only check."

Goetz did indeed tap the table and Cimbolas didn't take too long to announce he was all-in for 24,000. Goetz had slightly less and made the call.

"Flush," said Cimbolas as he turned over the 6♦5♦ for a flopped flush and straight draw, which became a flush on the river. Goetz mucked but was forced to show the Q♣T♣ for top pair as he made his exit. --JS

Eureka Poker Tour 6 Prague day 1a Tomas Stacha_30STB_5345.jpg

Cimbolas happiness

4:25pm: Aloric doubles through Suman
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (75 ante)

Nedzib Suman opened from the button, Milan Aloric reraise-pushed for around 9,000 from the small blind, and Suman called.

Suman had the preflop edge with A♦J♦ versus Aloric's Q♠8♠, but the board came 7♣Q♣3♠7♦K♠ to help the at-risk player, and Aloric doubles to around 19,000. Suman slips back to just under the 25,000-chip starting stack. --MH

4:15pm: Gone Gal
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (75 ante)

Zoltan Gal has been eliminated. He committed the last of his chips behind 6♦6♠ and was up against Avraham Arava's K♠J♠. The board ran K♦4♦3♠4♥7♠ to give Arava the better two pair, spelling the end for Gal.

Arava has about 70,000 now. --MH

4:05pm: Onsman busts Susak
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (75 ante)

After Bart Onsman opened for 1,525 from middle position, Almedina Susak three-bet with her last 3,300 or so and when it folded back to Onsman he called.

Susak had K♦Q♥ and needed help versus Onsman's A♦J♦, but the 9♦9♣A♣8♥2♣ runout had her drawing dead by the turn and she is out. Onsman has about 40,000 now. --MH

3:55pm: Talent pool
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (75 ante)

A quick walk around the field (now that entry has closed for the day) has revealed a few big names who managed to take their seats as-yet-unnoticed.

We've got the UK's Sam Grafton, Tom Hall, Jason Wheeler, Senh Ung, and husband and wife team Simon and Shola Deadman. Then there's Germany's Julien Stuer and France's Benjamin Pollak.

Eureka Poker Tour 6 Prague day 1a Jason Wheeler Tomas Stacha_27STB_5503.jpg

Two cards for Wheeler, dealer

Ung was the only one we caught in the action while doing the rounds. Picking up the hand on the turn of a 5♥8♣6♥8♠ board, Ung led for 1,600 against his sole opponent Pavel Sourek, who then raised it to 3,500 and got Ung to fold, bringing him down to 12,000. --JS


3:50pm: Time, time, hear the bells chime
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

Sam Grafton just played two hands that could be described as above-average on the "interesting index." Not to get too abstract, but you could say "time" won both of them.

The first was a more conventional spot. Having raised preflop and gotten a couple of callers, just one opponent called his flop c-bet, then after the turn got checked through his opponent fired a decent-sized river bet.

Grafton tanked a while, then finally covered his watch with one hand, lifted his hand to peek at it, and folded. 

"I call 25% of the time there," he said afterwards, implicitly explaining why he'd checked the second hand on his timepiece.

The next hand was a bit more unusual, though also was one in which the action was also motivated by what a player's watch read.

While the earlier hand was playing out, Daniel Van Aken told the table he was going to have to leave the tournament early to catch a flight. He'd won a satellite seat and couldn't give it to anyone and so started today's Day 1A, but now close to four hours into the tournament he was having to leave.

That meant a blind all-in bet from under the gun for Van Aken for his last 20,000-plus. Grafton reraise-shoved from a couple of seats over to scatter everyone else, then showed K♥J♠. Van Aken had Q♣2♦, and the Q♦6♠K♣ flop paired both players' hands.

"Don't do it, Neil!" pleaded Grafton to the dealer wincingly, and indeed the 3♥ turn and 8♥ river were both okay for him. 

He has about 55,000 now, while Van Aken bid the table good luck before heading to Václav Havel Airport Prague to make that departure time. --MH

3:35pm: The dreaded kings against aces
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

Tough break for the Czech Republic's Ondrej Drozd. A pre-flop betting war saw him all-in (although not at risk) against Bogdan Ionescu. Drozd had the K♦K♠, but Ionescu had one better - the A♠A♦.

The board provided no help for the local lad, meaning he shipped 19,500 over to the Romanian. Ionescu is up to 40,000, while Drozd drops to 22,000. --JS

3:25pm: Some notable names
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

In the last level we had a few familiar faces take their seats. Antoine Saout is in the mix, as are Matas Cimbolas, Louis Salter, and Rasmus Agerskov. --JS

3:20pm: Late registration closes
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

With the end of Level 4, late registration has closed for Day 1A. The big board is showing 597 players made it into today's first of two starting flights for the Eureka Prague Main Event. We'll keep watch to see if that indeed proves the official total of entries for today. --MH

Eureka Poker Tour 6 Prague day 1a Tomas Stacha_6STB_5233.jpg

Another view of the field


3:15pm: Big blind special helps Damian
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (50 ante)

Ben Heath is here, and soon after entering was raising to 650 from middle position, getting two callers in Patrik Ciklamini (small blind) and Paul Damian (big blind). The flop came 4♣9♥3♥, and after Ciklamini checked Damian fired a bet of 1,300. Heath raised to 3,200 to chase Ciklamini, but after thinking a bit Damian pushed all-in for 15,700 total.

Heath went into the tank, and after standing Damian offered to give him other things to think about besides the cards and betting action.

"Not on a draw, if that helps you," nodded Damian, and Heath responded with a nod. "I got my aces busted earlier by nines," Damian continued, and Heath grinned and said he wasn't sure if the information Damian was providing was helping him or making things more difficult.

Ultimately Heath called, and saw that Damian was telling the truth as he'd flopped two pair with 4♥3♣. He was vulnerable, however, as Heath had 9♣7♣ for top pair. The 2♠ turn and Q♦ were both safe for Damian, though, and he bumps up around 40,000. Heath now has about 7,000. --MH

3:10pm: Big pot for Marinelli
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (50 ante)

Yet another big multi-way pot to tell you about. It started with a 700 open from Dario Marinelli under the gun plus one which was called by Antonio Di Benedetto, Violetta Szczerba, Marc Negron, and Ana Marquez in the big blind.

They all went to a J♠8♠9♦ flop and it checked to Marinelli who fired a c-bet worth 1,800. Only Szczerba, Negron and Marquez called to see the 9♣ turn. Marquez checked again letting Marinelli fire again, this time for 3,325. Szczerba then raised it up to 6,800, which got rid of Negron and Marquez, but Marinelli wasn't done. He jammed for 25,000 total.

"I have to call," said Szczerba, but she didn't like what she'd see. Marinelli turned over the J♥J♣, and with the full house he was beating her Q♥9♥. The river was the 5♣ and Marinelli now has over 60,000, while Szczerba drops to 6,500. --JS

3:05pm: Darbellay knocks out Ghirelli
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (50 ante)

Tsymbal Igor raised to 1,500 from middle position, and Edolo Ghirelli reraised all in with his last 3,275 from the button. Demetan Remy Darbellay then called from the big blind, Ghirelli called as well, and the two remaining players checked the 3♣J♥5♣ flop. Darbellay fired a bet at the 5♠ turn, Igor folded, and Darbellay turned over Q♠Q♥.

Ghirelli had already been standing, and quickly mucked his hand as the 2♣ river fell before exiting. Darbellay is now up around 50,000. --MH

2:55pm: An ace for an ace
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (50 ante)

Jonatnan Guetta was under the gun plus one and made a noticeably large open to 1,100 - almost four times there big blind. It folded around to the big blind player - Lars Wik - and he flashed the A♦ as he folded his hand.

Guetta then flashed his A♣ as he picked up the chips. Wik then asked something along the lines of whether Guetta had pocket aces again. "Not this time!" came the reply, but we'll never know for sure. --JS

2:50pm: Lost a Finger
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (50 ante)

Martin Finger just entered the tournament room, chips in hand, on his way to find his seat. PokerStars Blog photographer Tomas Stacha then came over to ask who we needed photos of. "Well, Martin Finger is over there...wait, where did he go?"

He was there one second and gone the next. He's in the field somewhere or other though. --JS

2:45pm: Leja leaves, Avitan ascends
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (50 ante)

Roberts Leja's Eureka Prague Main Event has come to an abrupt conclusion here at the start of Level 4 after losing the last of his short stack to Shai Shalom Avitan. Avitan now has around 55,000.

By the way, the big board is now showing 570 having registered today. This is the last level of late registration. --MH

2:35pm: Back to work
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (50 ante)

More than 540 players have just returned from their break. Let's get back to the action. --JS


2:15pm: Break time

They've reached the end of Level 3 and are now on the first 20-minute break of the day. --MH

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2:10pm: Merheb takes from Dunst
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Not long after sitting down, Tony Dunst lost a small one with pocket aces versus Gilbert Merheb though still has just under 20,000. Merheb is sitting on 42,000 as the first break of the day nears. --MH

2:10pm: Limping's the order of the day
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

After that nine-handed hand we brought you not too long ago, we were a bit disappointed in this one to see just the four players limp before there was a three-bet. Luckily Valentin-Marius Cristea provided the raise, having recovered from his queens v aces beat early on today.

With four limpers he made it 1,150, which was called by two players, including Petr Vesely. The flop came J♥8♦9♠ and it checked to Vesely, who took it down with a 2,500 bet.

Not quite as exciting as before, but with many players seemingly adopting a limping strategy it could make for plenty more interesting pots today. --JS

2:05pm: You'll know him from...
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Tony Dunst is here, ladies and gentlemen.

You'll know him from his hosting duties on...well, let's just say he's on TV, co-presenting a poker show we can't really mention. He's also sponsored by...erm...let's just say he wears a patch when he plays. He recently won his first bracelet at...that big annual poker series where they give out bracelets.

Tony Dunst is here, ladies and gentlemen. Just Google him, yeah? --JS

2pm: Kukainis keeps collecting
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

We're not even to the first break yet, and Klavs Kukainis of Latvia has already established himself as a frontrunner after spinning his starting stack of 25,000 up over 120,000 in less than two hours. --MH

Eureka Poker Tour 6 Prague day 1a Tomas Stacha_1STB_5237.jpg

Klavs Kukainis, early leader

1:55pm: Betting it all, getting no call
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

There were postflop all-ins on adjacent tables just now, one of them involving a short-stacked Jorge Abreu.

Facing multiple opponents on a board of A♦J♠6♥2♠5♦, Abreu pushed and got folds all around, with Maria Duarte De Miranda the last to fold, showing an ace as she did. Abreu showed one card, too -- a jack -- and won the small pot. He's at just under 20,000 now.

Meawhile next door it was Ozgur Arda pushing all-in on a 3♦9♥7♣Q♦T♣ board and forcing Salem Sahed to decide whether or not to call off his stack of around 22,000. The clock was eventually called, but Sahed folded before any staff had come over and Arda won that one, pushing up to around 35,000. --MH

1:45pm: Berger sizzling
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Cyprien Berger of France just enjoyed a double-up after a confrontation with the Canadian Thomas Popov sitting to his right.

Arriving post-fireworks, Popov had Q♣Q♥, meaning the board of Q♠K♠4♦8♠6♠ had given him a set. But Berger's A♠A♥ had made him a flush, and he survived the encounter.

Berger now stacks up over 45,000, while Popov slips to about 7,500. --MH

1:35pm: Field continues to grow
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

They've moved into the day's third level, and already more than 500 players are in action on this first of two Day 1 flights. --MH

Eureka Poker Tour 6 Prague day 1a Tomas Stacha_4STA_6554.jpg

The ever-expanding field


1:30pm: Family pot goes to Ghafoor; Butsan busto
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

It's been a great couple of levels for Farook Hossen Ghafoor. He's just taken down a nice pot which had nine of the table's ten players involved at one point.

It started with a limp from Vitaly Butsan under the gun, which Ghafoor three-bet to 400 from middle position. That got callers from Thomas Leidecker (lojack), Pedro Lamarca (hijack), Kay Schoeb (cutoff), Matous Houzvicek (button), Mikko Turtiainen (small blind), Renee Xie (big blind), and Abraham Serrano (big blind). When the action got back to Butsan he squeezed it up to 2,700, and only Ghafoor and Lamarca called.

The three saw an 8♥2♦7♣ flop and Butsan was first to act. He shoved for his last 6,000 and got a quick call from Ghafoor, while Lamarca folded.

Butsan - A♠J♠
Ghafoor - 9♠9♦

The pocket pair was ahead and Butsan would need to hit something to survive. Instead the board ran 5♣ and 3♥ and the Russian hit the rail. Ghafoor is now playing roughly 62,000. --JS

1:27pm: Arkun's out, Schulz surges
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

We've just clocked our first elimination, and the unfortunate soul is Huseyin Arkun. Well, we say unfortunate, but you be the judge: he got all his chips in the middle with the 9♣3♣ on the two-club flop against Robert Schulz's K♣6♣, and when his flush got there it was still no good. Schulz is up to 60,000 already. - - JS

1:25pm: A river chat
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

We're at the Hilton Prague Hotel, located right near the Vltava River, the longest river in the Czech Republic -- great for walking alongside with friends and enjoying lengthy conversations.

Rivers often provide opportunities for talking in poker, too, as demonstrated just now in a hand between the chatty Ramzi Zuraikat and Martin Zeleznik.

The board showed 4♣5♣K♥K♣3♠, and after Zeleznik checked. "I want to see if I can get anything out of you," said Zuraikat, who then bet 3,500. Zeleznik exhaled in response.

"Can I take it back?" he jokingly asked the dealer while pointing at the chips he'd bet. "I don't want him to hate me!" he added with a grin.

They chatted some more, with Zeraikat guessing jacks or queens for Zeleznik as they did. At last the latter folded. "Because I like you, I'll show, said Zeraikat, who turned over K♦Q♦ and collected the pot.

Zeleznik complimented Zeraikat on the river bet while saying he'd had pocket tens, their river conversation continuing into the next hand. --MH

1:10pm: Ghafoor gets some
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

With the board showing 8♦K♣8♥4♣Q♥ and about 7,500 in the center, Pedro Lamarca (playing from the big blind) checked, then Farook Hossen Ghafoor (playing from the button) bet 5,600. Lamarca thought a short while then called, and Ghafoor tabled Q♣8♠ for a full house to claim the pot.

"Nice flop," said Thomas Leidecker, sitting in the between the pair. Indeed, and not a bad river, either. Ghafoor has 42,000, while Lamarca has 28,000. --MH

1pm: Haanniemi breaks the Sandsgaard
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

There's still plenty of three-betting going on in these early stages. The latest to get involved was Jari Haanniemi who made a three-bet to 2,150 after a 400 open from Tomas Stasek. Borge Sandsgaard made the call, but Stasek gave his hand up.

The dealer put out a 2♣T♦5♥ flop and Haanniemi chose not to continue, check-calling an instant 3,000 bet from Sandsgaard. That took us to the Q♣ turn which both checked, followed by the 6♠ river. Haanniemi put out a very delayed c-bet of 5,000, and that was enough to take it down. --JS

12:50pm: There's no longer a Lakhov Marquez
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

Among the sea of faces playing here on Day 1A so far we haven't been able to spot many recognisable names... until now.

Alexander Lakhov is here. You might remember the Sunday Million, Super Tuesday, and SCOOP winner from the IPT8 Malta final table, in which he got coolered to bust in sixth to eventual champ Ismael Bojang after his flopped set of fours lost to Bojang's rivered set of sevens.

We've also been joined by Ana Marquez. The Spaniard has more than a million in live earnings yet is missing a PokerStars live title. Perhaps she's left her best performance 'til the last ever Eureka/EPT festival. -- JS

12:45pm: 450 and climbing
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

Play continues into Level 2 without a break as new players continue to arrive at a rapid pace. There are now more than 450 registered, with late reg open through Level 4. --MH


12:40pm: King found corrupt, removed
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

"New deck please, table 19!"

So called the dealer, with tournament staff promptly stepping to the table with a fresh 52. Before accepting the new deck, the dealer held aloft the K♦ one last time, showing all how it had bent just a bit too far to remain in the game. --MH

12:35pm: Sourek collects
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

Lots of small pots here in the first level, as might be expected. Just now we spotted one of the blue chips (worth 5,000) being put at risk, but earning a fold in response.

With around 12,000 in the middle and the board showing two pair -- J♦T♥T♠J♠ -- Tsymbal Igor checked from the hijack, Pavel Sourek fired 6,000 from the cutoff, and Igor hemmed, hawed, then folded. Sourek is up around 40,000 here near the end of Level 1. --MH

12:30pm: Massimo decides well
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

From the very start of any poker tournament, players face decisions at every turn. Even the ones made during the first level can start charting a course toward a success or failure.

Just now Anderlini Massimo faced a decision whether or not to play his K♠3♠ from middle position, and he chose to do so. He then found himself involved postflop versus Mathis Wosegien who had position on him, but happily for Massimo a K♦T♦K♣6♥ board had given him trips.

Massimo chose to lead for 425, then when Wosegien raised to 1,225 Massimo made another choice just to call. He then opted to check the 2♦ river, and when Wosegien fired 2,500 into that opening Massimo already had his mind up to call right away.

"Good hand," said Wosegien even before tabling his A♥Q♣, and Massimo's decision-making won him the pot. He's up around 35,000 now and off to a good start, while Wosegien slips to 20,000. --MH

12:20pm: The action starts early
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

A stack of 250 big blinds gives players a comfort blanket, but an early nightmare can soon see that protective cover kicked off. Just ask Valentin-Marius Cristea.

Amit Shaham was the one who kicked off the hand with an open from the lo-jack, which was then three-bet to 750 by Cristea in the cutoff. It folded back to Shaham and wanted to play higher, four-betting to 1,500 which got a call from his only opponent.

It was already a 30+ big blind pot when the 3♣4♠6♣ flop hit the felt. Shaham wasted no continuing for 2,500 which got a quick call, and it was a similar story on the 6♥ turn; Shaham fired again for 6,000 and was called.

This pot, in this first level, was enormous. It was about to get bigger too as when the T♠ river landed it looked at first like Shaham was going to jam, but he instead opted to make it 8,100. Cristea made a fast call but wouldn't be happy when Shaham showed him the goods: A♥A♣. Cristea flipped his losing Q♦Q♣ and dropped right down to 8,000, while Shaham is living the dream. He's up to around 45,000 after just 20 minutes of play. --JS

12:10pm: Miss breakfast, don't miss value
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

Players are starting with deep stacks of 25,000, although one player has already gone through all of it just a few minutes into the first level.

Majid Ejlal Noubarian has already left his seat and is heading for the exit after losing all of his chips in a hand versus Patrik Ciklamini. 

"If I had my breakfast, I wouldn't be sitting here right now," Ciklamini told the table afterwards. Missing a meal means getting value for the Slovenian player, who is now stacking up around 50,000. --MH

12pm: Cards in the air!
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

Let's play some poker. Day 1A has begun! There are about 300 players in their seats already, with late registration lasting through the first four levels. --MH


11:30am: Got it! Eureka Prague Main Event begins today

"Eureka" is an expression often uttered by a person who after some period of struggle at last discovers the answer to a long-nagging problem. As in "a-ha... I've got it!" You know, the kind of thing that happens at the poker table constantly when players "solve" puzzles being presented to them by the cards, the chips, and their opponents.

Today begins the first of two Day 1 flights for the Eureka Prague Main Event here at the Hilton Prague Hotel, a €1,100 buy-in tournament that will continue until a winner is determined next Tuesday.

You say you want updates, hand reports, photos, chip counts, and more? Got it!

Today's schedule calls for 12 levels each lasting 45 minutes, with a 75-minute dinner break coming at the end of Level 9.

Last year this event drew a whopping 1,893 entries, with Spain's Javier Mederos outlasting the Czech Republic's own Martin Staszko heads-up to take the title and a huge €311,000 first prize -- the lion's share of what amounted to a nearly €2 million prize pool.

We'll soon start to see just how big the Eureka6 Prague Main Event turns out to be. And like we say, it won't be such a puzzle for you to figure out where to get your updates. Come back in a half-hour and we'll be bringing the action to you all day and night. --MH


PokerStars EPT Prague live reporting team: Stephen Bartley, Marc Convey, Martin Harris, Jack Stanton, Howard Swains, and Nick Wright. Photography by Mickey May and Tomas Stacha.
Take a look at the official website of the EPT, with tournament schedule, news, results and accommodation details for EPT13 Prague.

Also all the schedule information is on the EPT App, which is available on both Android or IOS.

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