PokerStars Championship Prague: Aldemir's perfect day sends him top of Prague €50K Super High Roller

The €50,000 Super High Roller tournament at the PokerStars Championship Prague is through its first day of play.

There might be snow across Europe, and sub-zero temperatures through almost all of the region, but it's never chilly enough to deny the world's poker players their pre-Christmas jaunt to the Czech Republic.

In all, 26 of them showed up (more will arrive tomorrow) and played eight one-hour levels. And when they bagged for the night, Koray Aldemir had the biggest stack--the result of a near faultless evening of play. He barely seemed to lose a pot.

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Koray Aldemir: Fine day

Aldemir was one of the day's early arrivals, taking a walk through the tournament room close to the 12:30pm start time. But he didn't immediately take a seat, and instead allowed a small starting field to go through the early motions, before sitting down at around 3:30pm.

Aldemir's 250,000 starting stack took a slight dip when he tangled with Timothy Adams, but after that only moved in one direction. He picked on Henrik Hecklen, in particular, and was eventually responsible for Hecklen's elimination, when A♦K♦ made a flush to beat pocket jacks.

Aldemir finished with 812,000 chips, while Hecklen will need to decide whether he wants to find another €50,000 to re-enter before play starts on Day 2.

By the point of Hecklen's departure, Steve O'Dwyer had made the sorry walk out of the tournament arena twice. He was the first player to bust, and then he was the second too. O'Dwyer was wayward with both the bullets he fired today, but may well load up another before play starts at 12:30pm tomorrow.

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Steve O'Dwyer: Two bullets, no chips

It had seemed as though Mikita Badziakouski was a lock to run Aldemir closest tonight, but Badziakouski (and premature report-writers) had not accounted for Erik Seidel.

Seidel was another late arriver. He didn't show up until gone 5pm. But during the last stages of play, he found a full double through Badziakouski after he made a pretty standard all-in call, sitting with a set of aces.

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Erik Seidel: Sitting second

Seidel bagged 629,000 and is top three. Orpen Kisacikoglu also won a huge late hand, cracking John Juanda's pocket aces with pocket jacks, to edge into second.

The full counts for the remaining 20 players are over there on the chip-count page.

Stephen Chidwick is in for two bullets. O'Dwyer, Hecklen, Juha Helppi, Nick Petrangelo, John Juanda and Dominik Nitshe, all of whom also were knocked out today, have until start of play tomorrow to get back into the fray.

Spin through all the coverage below to get up to speed on how it played out. -- HS

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Day 1 coverage archive:


• ENTRIES: 28 (including 2 re-entries)
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9:50pm: Juanda busts at the death
Level 8: Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

John Juanda busted in one of the last hands of the night after his aces were cracked by Orpen Kisacikoglu. All the chips went in preflop with Juanda the shorter stack with 285,000.

Juanda: A♦A♥
Kisacikoglu: J♠J♦

The board ran 4♠J♥4♦Q♥Q♣ to make Kisacikoglu a full house. Juanda indicated he'll be back for another try in the morning. --MC

9:45pm: Bad-luck bust for Nitsche to end night
Level 8: Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

In the last hand of the night on Table 1, Dominik Nitsche opened for 11,000 from middle position and Stanley Choi called him from the big blind.

The flop fell 7♠6♠8♣, and after Choi checked, Nitsche continued for 11,000. Choi then check-raised to 36,000, getting a call from Nitsche.

The turn was the 4♦, and Choi led this time for 45,000. Nitsche then pushed all in for his last 100,000 or so, and Choi called in a flash.

Nitsche had turned an eight-high straight with A♣5♣, but alas for him, Choi already had a nine-high straight with 9♦5♠. The 6♣ completed the board, and Nitsche is out. --MH

9:41pm: Thorel keeps falling
Level 8: Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Jean-Noel Thorel's chip stack has been dwindling ever since the final six hands were announced. First he got unlucky to see his flopped top pair with king-ten be outdrawn by Mikita Badziakouski's five-six, which made two pair on the river. Badziakouski bet 100,000 and got paid off.

Then Thorel lost a few more to Orpen Kisacikoglu, who had three-bet the Frenchman's open to 25,000 pre-flop and got called. They saw a 4♦K♠]3s] flop and Kisacikoglu continued for 15,000. Call. He then fired 25,000 on the 3♥ turn, but by this point Thorel had had enough. He's below 100,000 now. --JS

9:40pm: Kurganov takes from Fast
Level 8: Blinds 2,500,000/5,000 (ante 500)

Day 1 is nearing the end of play and it is evident by some of the beers that have appeared on Table 1. Timothy Adams, Koray Aldemir and Ole Schemion are all enjoying a beverage.

Back to the poker though and on the same table, Stanley Choi, Igor Kurganov and Dietrich Fast, (none of whom appear to have a beer), were in a hand. The flop had been dealt 6♠4♣3♠ and when Choi checked, Kurganov bet 13,000. Fast raised to 38,000 Choi moved out of the way, before Kurganov made the call.

The 7♣ turn brought a four-card straight and both players opted to check. Kurganov used a time-back chip after the T♠ river, then he put what looked to be 125,000 over the line. That effectively put Fast all in.

Fast couldn't make the call and he is now playing around 100,000 going into the day's death throes. -LY

9:35pm: Set of aces catapults Seidel
Level 8: Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Mikita Badziakouski opened from middle position, then Erik Seidel three-bet to 37,500 from the small blind with Badziakouski calling.

The flop came 2♣6♣J♦, and Seidel led for 27,500. Badziakouski called. Seidel then checked the A♥ turn card, and Badziakouski took that as an invitation to fire 70,000. Seidel paused a short while before making the call.

Seidel checked again after the T♥ river, and when Badziakouski announced was all in Seidel called quickly, turning over A♠A♣ for a set of aces. Badziakouski shook his head as he mucked his hand, and after the chips were counted up it was determined he owed Seidel another 231,500.

That plus what was in the middle looks to have pushed Seidel up around 750,000 now, although to be honest he's still stacking. Badziakouski now has 370,000. --MH

9:32pm: Six hands left but Petrangelo's out in one
Level 8: Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

When Stephen Chidwick drew a card to signal six more hands for the night, Nick Petrangelo to his left gave a fist pump. He was nursing just 20,000, and wanted as many opportunities as he could get to get it in good.

It turned out he got it in good on the very first hand of those final six. Julian Thomas opened to 12,000, Petrangelo put his 20,000 in, and Thomas called after everyone else folded.

Petrangelo had the A♠4♠ and Thomas held the K♥J♦. Thomas announced he was going to stare at Petrangelo while the K♣9♦3♦J♣Q♥ board was being dealt, and ultimately it had given him two pair. "It always works!" he said, as Petrangelo made his exit.

We imagine you'll see him back tomorrow though with 250,000 in front of him. --JS

9:31pm: Six more hands
Level 8: Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

The tournament clock has paused and they're playing six hands until wrapping for the day.

9:30pm: 20 minute left, as Juanda pointed out
Level 8: Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

"That's great, thank you," John Juanda said to his massage therapist. She began to sort his bill before Juanda glanced at the clock. "Ah there's only 20 minutes left," he said, and encouraged her to continue until play ends. --JS

9:25pm: Kruk's definition of fun
Level 8: Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

"That was fun!" bemoaned Christopher Kruk to Daniel Dvoress after he folded to Christoph Vogelsang in a multi-way pot. "Priced in almost six different times, fun day."

Vogelsang opened to 11,500 from under the gun and was called in three spots. A 4♠6♣J♠ flop appeared and the action was checked to Luca on the button who bet 12,500.

Kruk was in the big blind and called before Vogelsang came in with a check-raise to 46,000. Kruk was the only caller and he checked across once he saw the 9♦ turn, then snap folded to his German opponent's effective shove for 130,000.

Vogelsang moved up to 260,000. --MC

9:22pm: Thorel pulls some back
Level 8: Blinds 2,500,000/5,000 (ante 500)

No doubt hoping to win back some of the 190,000 he had just lost to John Juanda, Jean-Noel Thorel defended his big blind against Juanda's open of 11,500. With no other takers, the two went heads up to the flop...

3♠3♥5♠.

Juanda continued for 10,000 and Thorel check-called. The 4♦ turn again brought a check from Thorel but he changed his line when facing a 21,500 barrel from Juanda, opting to raise 80,000, which was over half his remaining chips.

It was a snap fold from Juanda and Thorel is now sitting with a little over 200,000 infront. -LY

9:20pm: Nick's very Petrangelow
Level 8: Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Sam Greenwood made it 15,000 on the button and Julian Thomas called from the small blind. Nick Petrangelo was getting a good price to peel the big, but opted to lay it down. An insignificant pot then played out, but it's worth mentioning as Petrangelo only had 45,000 behind.

He was in the small blind the next hand so we stuck around. Action folded to Thomas now on the button and he made it 12,000, which Petrangelo called (leaving himself 32,000). Ivan Luca called the big blind too, but then Thomas put out a c-bet on the 7♥4♠Q♣ flop both folded.

Petrangelo will likely make his move before play ends for the day, so he then has the opportunity to come back tomorrow with a fresh 250,000. In exchange for fifty grand, of course.

Stephen Chidwick, who was knocked out in the past 30 minutes, is back in action now.--JS

9:13pm: Toma doubles through Thorel
Level 8: Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Preflop action between Jean-Noel Thorel and Tsugnunari Toma resulted in the latter being all in from the blinds for his last 134,900 with K♦8♣ and needing some luck to survive against Thorel's A♠K♠.

Toma was standing up, anticipating departing with just over a half-hour of play left in the day, but the 6♦8♠T♠ flop hit his kicker to keep him from making any further exit-like movements. The turn was the 9♦ and river the J♦, and Toma keeps his seat. These shoes ain't going anywhere just yet.

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These shoes not made for walking, yet

Toma, 12th-place finisher in the PokerStars Championship Barcelona Main Event, is up to 275,000 now, while Thorel gets cut back to just 85,000. --MH

9:11pm: Juanda doubles up
Level 8: Blinds 2,500,000/5,000 (ante 500)

The board was already out and it read 2♣A♠2♦5♦A♥ by the time I arrived to see an all in triangle in front of John Juanda. The K♥K♣ was already there, and the hand had held versus Jean-Noel Thorel's J♦J♥.

Thorel's stack just dropped by 190,000, while Juanda is now sitting on around 390,000. -LY

9:10pm: Chidwick busts in short stack battle
Level 8: Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Stephen Chidwick was up out of his seat and halfway to the door before a river was dealt, as the turn card in an all-in showdown hand had him drawing dead.

The Brit was down to 34,000 when he made his move from early position. Dominik Nitsche, far from comfortable himself, made the call from the small blind.

Nitsche: A♠7♠
Chidwick: A♦9♦

The board ran 4♠7♦T♠J♠5♣ to make Nitsche a flush. He moved up 175,000. --MC

9:05pm: More for Dvoress
Level 8: Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Daniel Dvoress opened to 12,500 from the button and got a caller in Christopher Kruk playing from the small blind. The flop came A♠4♠2♣ and Kruk checked. Dvoress continued for 13,500, and Kruk called. Both players then checked the J♥ turn.

The K♣ river drew another check from Kruk, and Dvoress fired again for 25,000. Kruk thought a while before calling, and when Dvoress showed K♦9♣ for a rivered pair of kings, Kruk mucked.

Dvoress is now up to 565,000, while Kruk is hovering around 200,000. --MH

9:01pm: Aldemir extends chip lead
Level 8: Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Koray Aldemir's stack is only moving in one direction. He was chip leader before this hand, and he's got an even bigger lead now after picking up another small pot from Dietrich Fast.

Aldemir opened to 11,000 in the hijack and Fast called the big blind to see a K♦9♦5♣ flop. Fast check-called a 14,000 c-bet, but when the 9♥ turn landed and paired the board Fast led out. He made it 10,000.

Back to Aldemir, he raised it to 45,000 and got a Fast fold. Aldemir is up to 820,000 now, while Fast is down to 160,000. --JS

9pm: Button value for Luca
Level 8: Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Ivan Luca's stack has risen to around 370,000 after he went for some thinnish river value versus Daniel Dvoress. The latter paid him off and dropped to around 460,000.

Luca opened the pot with a button raise and was called by both blinds. After a couple of checks, Luca continued for 6,000 on a K♥6♦2♠ flop and was only called by Dvoress in the small blind.

The K♣ turn was checked through before Luca bet 23,000 on the Q♥ river. Dvoress peeked around the dealer and seemed to see enough in his opponent to call.

Luca opened pocket eights and Dvoress mucked. --MC

8:55pm: Nitsche down to 120,000
Level 7: Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

It was the last hand of the penultimate level today and Dominik Nitsche has lost some chips to Timothy Adams. After limping the small blind, Nitsche called Adams's 15,000 raise.

The flop came 6♥3♣6♦ and it was checked to a Q♦ turn, which Adams bet this time and Nitsche called. There was a 4♦ brick on the river and Nitsche called another 35,000 to see Adams table two pair with Q♥7♠. -LY

8:50pm: Juanda shoves short stack
Level 8: Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

John Juanda only arrived mid-afternoon, and through his first couple of hours saw his starting stack grind down to less than 100,000.

That's where he was to start the last one-hour level of the night, and after some preflop action he reraise-pushed from the button to earn some blinds and a bit of dead money.

"I can't gamble," said Seidel who contributed 10,000 to Juanda's cause in that one. With that pot Juanda's back to about 145,000. --MH

8:45pm: Ferreira's feelin' flush
Level 7: Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Having lost a few hands of late, Jean Ferreira just took a nice pot down to gain some momentum.

He made it 9,000 from the hijack, only for John Juanda to three-bet to 27,000 in the cutoff. Everyone else folded, but Ferreira wasn't going anywhere and made the call. The two then saw a T♣A♠T♠ flop, and Ferreira check-called a 15,500 c-bet.

The turn came the K♠ and both checked it to see the Q♣ river. Ferreira checked once more, and Juanda thought for a moment before checking it back. Ferreira confidently turned over the 6♠7♠ for a turned flush, and Juanda mucked, dropping to 100,000. Ferreira is up to 225,000 now. --JS

8:40pm: Dvoress pushes, Vogelsang bails
Level 7: Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Daniel Dvoress raised to 10,000 from the button and Christopher Kruk called from the small blind. Action was on Christoph Vogelsang, and after pausing about 15 seconds Vogelsang three-bet to 45,000.

Dvoress peered across the table at Vogelsang's stack, then grabbed a column of green 25,000 chips as an all-in reraise. Kruk quickly got out of the way, and Vogelsang didn't take long either before folding.

Dvoress is nearing 500,000 now, while Vogelsang has about 125,000. --MH

8:35pm: Choi oi oi
Level 7: Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Stanley Choi had kicker problems in hand versus Igor Kurganov. But running spades came along to rescue Choi's hand.

A flop was out reading A♥K♠3♠ and we approached the table just as Kurganov (button) was calling a bet from Choi (cutoff). The turn was the T♠ and Choi fired another 22,000. Call. The J♠ filled the board and Kurganov called a final 55,000 holding A♣Q♠ for the second nut flush. It was no good though as Choi opened A♠5♦ for the nut flush. -- MC

8:30pm: Special rules for Vogelsang
Level 7: Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Following that all-in between Sam Greenwood and Christoph Vogelsang, a hand arose in which the cards were dealt, then as the preflop betting began Vogelsang belatedly alerted the dealer he'd only been dealt one card.

"You play too good," said Julian Thomas with a wry look. "You only get one card!"

Christopher Kruk took down the hand with a pre-flop raise, as no one had two cards worth playing against his raise. --MH

8:25pm: Greenwood doubles through Vogelsang
Level 7: Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

It was a blind on blind situation and Christoph Vogelsang and Sam Greenwood got tangled up. It ended with the latter all in (well, bar 1,500 chips).

Vogelsang limped in the small blind and when Greenwood upped it to 14,000, Vogelsang went over him to 47,000. Greenwood peeled and board, checked all the way, came out K♥4♠Q♥9♦7♣.

Vogelsang checked again on the river and then Greenwood moved 156,000 over the line, effectively going all-in. It appeared he made his move a little too late and while Vogelsang was deep in the tank, some of the other players were already questioning the timing of his move.

Nevertheless, Vogelsang made the call and couldn't beat Greenwood's J♦T♦ nuts and while he was counting out his chips, discussion returned to the issue of Greenwood's delayed all in bet and he didn't fancy arguing, throwing in a time bank card to cover it.

Seems like a minor inconvenience compared with the 400,000 stack he is now sitting on. Meanwhile Vogelsang drops to approximately 200,000. -LY

8:20pm: Nothing, nothing, nothing, then something
Level 7: Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

The middle of our three tables has been pretty quiet this level. Erik Seidel got a walk in the big blind. John Juanda got one a few hands later. A whole lot of c-bet-and-take-it-down later, we got ourselves a five-handed pot.

Orpen Kisacikoglu instigated it with a 10,000 under-the-gun open, which was called by Jean Ferreira (cutoff), Juanda (button), Tsugunari Toma (small blind), and Mikita Badziakouski (big blind). The five watched the dealer spread a 2♥7♦T♦ flop, and it checked to the original raiser.

Kisacikoglu then made a c-bet worth 20,000, which got calls from Ferreira and Juanda, while both the blinds folded. The turn then came the Q♥, and action was on Kisacikoglu. What excitement would happen next?

Well, Kisacikoglu didn't disappoint. He fired again, this time for 80,000. But alas, everyone folded and the Turk took it down.

He's up to 390,000 now, while Juanda has 160,000 and Ferreira has 230,000. --JS

8:15pm: The salmon can wait
Level 7: Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Ole Schemion lost a pot just now where he bet-folded the river. We hope his concentration wasn't affected by a very eager waitress who was delivering him salmon dinner and refused to leave until she got the German's attention.

Schemion opened to 10,500 from the button and was called by Ivan Luca in the big blind. The flop fanned K♠3♥Q♦ and Schemion's 9,000 c-bet was check-called.

The turn was the 5♣ and when Luca checked the waitress "incident" happened. Three times she tried to get his attention, with Sam Greenwood trying to inform the waitress at one point that he was in a hand.

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Ole Schemion: Not even a dinner can distract him

Eventually his concentration was broken after he checked and he turned to say thanks for the delivery before turning his head back to see the 2♥ fall on the river.

Luca checked to face a 26,000 bet that he check-raised up to 106,000. Schemion snap folded to drop to 250,000. Luca's stack grew to 280,000. --MC

8:10pm: A few more for Kurganov
Level 7: Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Team PokerStars Pro Igor Kurganov opened for 9,500 from middle position and got a couple of callers behind him in Dietrich Fast and Dominik Nitsche. All three players checked the T♣8♥J♣ flop and K♦ turn, then Kurganov checked again after the 7♣ fell on the river to complete lots of potential draws.

Fast took a stab, betting 16,000, and Nitsche folded. Kurganov then waited about 20 seconds before check-raising to 80,000, and Fast took about one second to fold.

Kurganov is crusing along with about 450,000 now, while Fast has 255,000. --MH

8pm: Thomas takes a seat
Level 7: Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Julian Thomas is the latest player to take a seat.

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Julian Thomas: Newcomer

7:55pm: Kurganov wins a couple
Level 7: Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Igor Kurganov just won a couple of small pots. The first was without showdown and also involved Dietrich Fast and Dominik Nitsche, who peeled from the small and big blinds respectively, to Igor Kurganov's 10,000 button open.

After a flop of 9♥3♥8♦, Kurganov bet 11,000 and was looked up by both players. On the K♣ turn he stepped it up, making it a hefty 50,000 to see the last card. He took it down with little resistance.

A couple of hands later saw Kurganov open again and only Stephen Chidwick wanted in, calling the 9,500 bet from the big blind.

The flop was a paired 8♦9♦2♦ and both players checked. When a 2♦ brought out a flush, Kurganov didn't check it back for a second time, making it 12,000 and after a call from Chidwick the dealer laid out A♠ river.

Chidwick check-called another 30,000 and mucked on seeing Kurganov's A♣9♦. -LY

7:50pm: Meanwhile on Table 3
Level 7: Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

It has been a relatively quiet start to Level 7 for the players at Table 3.

The hour started over there with Ole Schemion winning a small pot after pushing Ivan Luca off a hand with a turn bet. After that Christoph Vogelsang, Nick Petrangelo, and Christopher Kruk each won hands with preflop raises, with Petrangelo's being an all-in open-push with his short stack.

Then came a limped blind-versus-blind hand between Sam Greenwood and Schemion, won by Greenwood after he made three small postflop bets and Schemion chose to call two and fold to the third.

Daniel Dvoress (425,000) and Vogelsang (400,000) remain the big stacks at Table 3, while Petrangelo remains the shortest with about 75,000. --MH

7:45pm: Kisacikoglu's big over-bet gets paid off
Level 7: Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Orpen Kisacikoglu just got full value and then some in a hand against Jean Ferreira.

When it folded to him in the cutoff, Kisacikoglu opened to 10,000 which was called by Ferreira in the big blind. They went to an A♦3♠J♥ flop, and both checked. The turn came the A♥, pairing the board, but it went check check again.

Finally the A♣ landed on the river and Ferreira checked a third and final time.

Kisacikoglu was done checking though. He bet 50,000 into the 26,000 pot, and Ferreira didn't take too long to make the call. He'd muck though when Kisacikoglu revealed his K♣K♠ for aces full of kings.

He's up to 340,000 now, while Ferreira drops to 275,000. --JS

7:40pm: Last two levels
Level 7: Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Players have retaken their seats and they're playing two more levels until calling it a day. The chip-count page has had a spruce up with latest stacks for all of them. Here's the top five:

NameCountryChips
Koray AldemirGermany660,000
Mikita BadziakouskiBelarus650,000
Daniel DvoressCanada490,000
Erik SeidelUSA488,000
Christoph VogelsangGermany380,000

7:25pm: Break time

That's break time. They're going off for 20 minutes, then will return to play the last two hours of the day.

7:25pm: Seidel over half a milly
Level 6: Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

"That's seven and that's 20," said John Juanda from the big blind, providing some poker commentary before folding his hand.

He was referring to the opening raise of 7,000 by Jean-Noel Thorel from the cutoff and three-bet to 20,000 by Erik Seidel on the button. Thorel called, then both checked the 3♦A♠3♥ flop. The deuce on the turn turn saw Seidel check-call for 25,000, then Seidel check-called another bet of 60,000 after a river blank.

Thorel turned over 8♣8♠, but Seidel had that beat with A♦2♦ and collected the pot. Juanda leaned forward to see the hands, then resumed his commentary.

"Lucky," he said, gesturing toward Seidel. "He plays bad," he added, and the table laughed.

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John Juanda: Commentator

Seidel has 515,000 as the next break nears, while Thorel is at 290,000. --MH

7:22pm: Chidwick fires his way out of a corner
Level 6: Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Emptying the clip on an opponent is normally seen as an attacking move, but does it become a defensive one when your last bullet is an all-in shot? Either way, Stephen Chidwick is alive after duelling with Dominik Nitsche.

He raised to 6,500 from the cutoff and was called by Nitsche in the big blind. The board ran out 3♦5♦J♠4♥T♦ with Nitsche checking to face bets of 6,000, 22,000 and all-in for 66,300 on each street. He hung around to river but folded there to drop to 225,000. --MC

7:20pm: Mega action pre-flop between Seidel and Kisacikoglu
Level 6: Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

After an under the gun open to 8,000 and an early position flat, Orpen Kisacikoglu squeezed the cutoff to 28,000. When it came to Erik Seidel on the small blind, he cold four-bet to 70,000. With everyone else at the table moving swiftly out of the way, only Kisacikoglu still had his cards in front of him.

He called and they saw a K♥5♥7♠ flop and despite preflop being so action heavy, a relatively very small 35,000 continuation from Seidel was enough to take it down.

Even so, it was a very tidy 165,000 chips to add to his stack. -LY

7:18pm: Two more
Level 6: Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Stanley Choi and John Juanda are now in the tournament too. So far, there have been 25 entries from 24 unique players. Twenty-one are still seated. -- HS

7:17pm: Another man down
Level 6: Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

We've had Steve O'Dwyer exit twice, plus Juha Helppi hitting the rail, and now Henrik Hecklen has fallen at the hands of Koray Aldemir. Problem was, he thought he'd doubled up instead.

Hecklen kicked off the hand with a 7,500 open with Aldemir three-bet to 23,000. Back to Hecklen, he jammed for around 100,000, Aldemir snap-called, and the hands were flipped:

Hecklen: J♣J♥
Aldemir: A♦K♦

The flop came 6♠3♠T♦ - very safe for the Dane. But the 9♦ turn and Q♦ river gave Aldemir a runner runner flush. Hecklen pushed his stack out, but when he saw it getting pushed to towards Aldemir's he realised what was up.

"Flush," said Aldemir, pointing to the board.

"Ohhh," said Hecklen, finally noticing. "I was like, why was everyone so silent! I was waiting for the dealer to count it out!"

Afraid not Henrik. "Good game boys," he said before making his exit. Aldemir is the chip leader with 550,000 now. --JS

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Koray Aldemir: Leading the way

7:15pm: Kruk doubles through Dvoress
Level 6: Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Ivan Luca opened for 7,500 from under the gun and got a caller in Daniel Dvoress the next seat over. Next to act, Christopher Kruk reraised all-in for 111,000, and when it folded back to Luca he took his time before folding.

Dvoress took no time at all, though, before calling and tabling A♣K♠. It was a race with Kruk's 9♠9♥, and the latter won after the board fell 7♠J♦3♠5♥4♠.

Kruk bumps up to 240,000 thanks to the extra change in the middle, while Dvoress still has 330,000. --MH

7:10pm: Luca scoops a small pot with a big pair
Level 6: Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Nick Petrangelo started off the action with an early position min raise and was called by Ivan Luca on his left and Sam Greenwood in the big blind.

Following a J♣T♠4♥ flop, Greenwood checked and Petrangelo opted not to continue. This left Luca the opportunity to bet in position, which he did, making it 9,500 to see another card. Greenwood made the call but Petrangelo passed and so the two went heads up to the turn.

It was an interesting J♦ turn and with the top card pairing, both players checked this time. Finally a 3♦ brick came on the river and Greenwood lead for 25,000 and it was a call from Luca who turned over pocket rockets A♣A♠ and Greenwood couldn't beat them. -LY

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Ivan Luca: Aces



7:05pm: No Helppi for Juha
Level 6: Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Juha Helppi has hit the rail after he was eliminated by Jean Ferreira.

There were already some chips committed by Jean-Noel Thorel (cutoff) and Ferreira (small blind) before Helppi moved his short stack into the middle. Thorel folded but Ferreira made the call.

Ferreira: 9♣9♦
Helppi: 4♦4♠

The board ran T♠J♠5♠3♣K♥ and neither player improved. --MC

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Juha Helppi: Felted

6:55pm: Brace yourself for the Tsugunari
Level 6: Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

We've only had one new entry of late - Japan's Tsugunari Toma. We've seen Toma a lot on the PokerStars live circuit (he has almost $500,000 in live earnings) but this is his first venture into the Super High Roller world that we know of.

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Tsugunari Toma: Japan's finest

But while he was taking his seat with a brand new stack worth 250,000, Nick Petrangelo's stack was dwindling further.

Christopher Kruk opened to 7,000 under the gun and it folded to Petrangelo on the button. He made the call, the blinds folded, and they went heads up to the 7♥J♥6♠ flop. Check check.

The dealer burned and turned the 5♦ and Kruk continued for 14,000. Petrangelo made the call, but would fold with a sigh when Kruk put him all in on the 7♣ river.

Kruk is up to 100,000 now, while Petrangelo is down to 48,000. --JS

6:50pm: Life in the Vogelsang lane
Level 6: Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Arriving on the 9♠5♠3♦3♥ turn, it appeared Christoph Vogelsang had raised his button preflop, Ole Schemion had defended his big blind (with a call or raise?), then both had checked the flop.

Our need to speculate ends at that point, though, as we can definitively report Schemion bet 14,500 on the turn and Vogelsang called, pushing the pot to about 60,000.

The river was the T♥, and Schemion led for 31,500. Vogelsang -- known as a somewhat methodical player in non-shot clock events -- didn't waste too much time before raising to 100,000.

That forced Schemion to take his time -- had Vogelsang slow played a monster? -- and he'd ultimately spend a time bank chip before folding his hand.

With a grin, Vogelsang said something about players using time bank chips against him as he scooped the pot, inspiring Christopher Kruk to respond.

"Can't all play as fast as you, Christoph," Kruk deadpanned, earning a big laugh all around.

Put Vogelsang on 345,000 now, while Schemion is at 315,000. --MH

6:45pm: Big river action between Dvoress and Vogelsang
Level 6: Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Christoph Vogelsang has dipped back to below 300,000 after a slow-burning pot between himself and Daniel Dvoress flamed in the latter stages.

Dvoress opened with a button raise to 7,500 and Vogelsang peeled from the big blind. Both players checked the 7♣3♠9♠ flop. Looks like we got a pot control hand occurring here. Wrong.

The turn was the Q♥ and Vogelsang check-called his Canadian opponent's delayed 14,000 c-bet. The 7♥ fell on the river and Dvoress bet another 35,000 before being check-raised to 130,000.

Dvoress used up a time bank and then moved all-in for 321,900. Vogelsang asked for a count but ultimately folded. Dvoress is now up to around 500,000. -- MC

6:40pm: Hecklen loses some to Fast
Level 5: Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

After Henrik Hecklen opened to 7,500 under the gun and Dietrich Fast called on the button, it seemed as it no more chips were going in post flop. The board ran out K♠8♣7♥8♥6♣ and nothing was wagered on the flop or the turn.

Hecklen checked the river too but Fast made a very sizeable 40,000 bet. Despite the cost Hecklen didn't seem to find the decision too difficult and quickly made the call.

He mucked his hand so we'll never know what he had but either way it wasn't good enough to beat Fast's boat with 8♠7♠ and he scooped the pot.

Hecklen is down to around 100,000. -LY

6:35pm: Double up for Kruk
Level 6: Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

There's hope for Christopher Kruk's first bullet yet, as he's just managed to double his stack to 62,000.

Ivan Luca opened to 7,500 from early position before Kruk jammed for somewhere between 20,000 and 30,000.

It folded back around and Luca snap-called with the A♦J♥, up against Kruk's Q♠Q♥. The pocket pair held up. --JS

6:28pm: Hits to Helppi's stack
Level 5: Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

The last two hands of Level 5 weren't great for Juha Helppi.

In the first he lost a few chips to Jean-Noel Thorel with pocket eights versus Thorel's pocket queens, only a king and ace on the final board helping minimize the postflop damage.

Then in the next it was Orpen Kisacikoglu raising to 5,100 from late position and Helppi one of the two callers from the blinds. Only Helppi called Kisacikoglu's c-bet of 8,500 on the 8♣K♥2♥ flop, and Helppi check-called again for 25,000 after the 2♠ turn.

The river was the Q♦. Helppi checked a final time, and after a pause Kisacikoglu bet enough to put Helppi all in for his last 60,000. Helppi would spend a time bank chip, but chose not to spend his stack and folded, conceding the pot.

Helppi begins the next level with that 60,000, while Kisacikoglu is on about 195,000. --MH

6:21pm: Seidel versus Thorel
Level 5: Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Erik Seidel and Jean-Noel Thorel are two of the more senior players in the field but neither are afraid to mix it with the kids. Nor do they go easy on one another, and the two just battled with Seidel coming out on top.

Orpen Kisacikoglu raised to 5,100 off the button and was called in the blinds by our two featured players. The flop came 8♦9♦6♠ and Thorel checked. Seidel led out, for 7,500.

Kisacikoglu made a quick fold but Thorel called. He also check-called for another 18,000 on the 4♠ turn. The 4♥ came on fifth street and both players checked. Thorel opened a busted flush draw with A♦3♦, meaning the pot went to Seidel after he showed 7♥8♥. Seidel moved up to 285,000 and Thorel dropped to 350,000. --MC

6:20pm: Petrangelo doubles
Level 5: Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Nick Petrangelo has been nursing a small stack for a while now and, coincidentally, so has Christopher Kruk. Then the inevitable: they clashed.

After Petrangelo opened to 5,000 in middle position, the action folded to Kruk in the small blind and he promptly moved all-in. Petrangelo snap-called and had the best of it. That was good for him as it was his tournament life on the line.

Petrangelo A♥K♠
Kruk A♠Q♦

The board ran 6♠J♣J♠4♠9♣ and the better hand won it. Petrangelo doubled to about 100,000 and still has a lot of work to do. But Kruk really needs some help from the poker gods as he drops to 30,000 or so. -LY

6:15pm: Kurganov climbs
Level 5: Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

PokerStars Team Pro Igor Kurganov is jostling with Mikita Badziakouski for the chip lead. Kurganov recently added to his stack courtesy of Timothy Adams.

Kurganov opened the pot to 6,000 and Adams made the call from the small blind to see an 8♠Q♥2♣ flop. Adams checked-called a 5,000 c-bet taking them to the A♠ turn, which he checked again. Kurganov thought for a bit, and opted to check it back.

The river came the 7♥ and when Adams checked a third time Kurganov made it 18,000. Adams wound up making the call, but mucked when Kurganov showed the A♥J♠.

That check on the turn when he made his hand paid off, bringing his stack up to 460,000. Adams, meanwhile, is playing 340,000 now. --JS

6:10pm: Seidel flops straight, gets value
Level 5: Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Four players saw a 9♥Q♣T♠ flop. It checked to Erik Seidel in the cutoff who bet 7,500. Two called -- Jean Ferreira (button) and Orpen Kisacikoglu (big blind), with Mikita Badziakouski (small blind) folding in between.

The turn was the 5♣ and, when checked to, Seidel bet 25,000 this time. Only Ferreira stayed in.

The 3♦ river looked like a blank. And Seidel's small bet of 20,000 looked like it was for value. Ferreira called, and Seidel showed K♥J♥ to confirm both conjectures. Ferreira mucked, having slipped to 240,000, while Seidel is at 320,000 now. --MH

6:08pm: Thorel the comeback kid
Level 5: Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Jean-Noel Thorel has being enjoying life since the last break, and turned his chip stack trend upside-down. His stack swelled to 380,000 after he hit a flush in a multi-way pot.

Thorel opened from early position and was called in two spots en route to a 2♦5♦K♦ flop. The action was checked to Jean Ferreira in the cutoff, who bet 20,000. Thorel was the only caller before the 6♥ turn and T♦ river was checked through.

Thorel opened A♠Q♦ for a flush and Ferreira mucked to drop to around 215,000. --MC

6:05pm: Two down for O'Dwyer
Level 5: Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

He was the first player eliminated today, and unfortunately for Steve O'Dwyer, he's also the second to bust.

He opened the cutoff to 6,500 and Mikita Badziakouski then three-bet to 21,000 on the button. Jean-Noel Thorel - who was busy tucking in to his second plate of pasta in a matter of minutes, something which several players found rather amusing - called from the big blind, only for O'Dwyer to then four-bet jam for 160,000.

Badziakouski sat back and took a few deep breaths, but he eventually decided to re-shove over the top. Thorel folded his A♥Q♦ face up.

"That's good for me I guess," said Badziakouski as he turned over his J♥J♣. He thought that O'Dwyer might have had a big ace too, but in fact he was well ahead anyway as O'Dwyer turned over the T♦T♠.

The K♠6♦9♠7♦Q♣ runout couldn't help O'Dwyer, who left the room visibly frustrated. This tournament is unlimited re-entries so he does have a chance to get back in if he wants, with registration open until play starts tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Badziakouski is now the big stack with 480,000. --JS

6pm: Time for a big bet, thinks Nitsche
Level 5: Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

There was about 40,000 in the middle and three players still in. It checked around to Dominik Nitsche in late position who bet 20,000, Henrik Hecklen called from the small blind, and Koray Aldemir stepped aside from the big.

Hecklen then quickly checked the J♠ river, and Nitsche took his time, spending a time bank chip and then using almost all his remaining extra time before firing a not-small bet of 80,000. Hecklen thought a short bit before folding.

"You didn't need the time bank chip, that was just Hollywooding, right?" grinned Dietrich Fast sitting on Nitsche's right.

Either way, Nitsche gets the pot and is back around 265,000, while Hecklen falls back to 145,000. --MH

5:55pm: Nitsche wins from Adams
Level 5: Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Timothy Adams made a 6,000 open from under the gun and only Dominik Nitsche wanted to get involved, peeling from the big blind.

The flop came out 5♣J♠6♠ and Nitsche checked. Adams continued in position for 11,000, which was called by Nitsche. On to the T♦ turn and when Nitsche checked, Adams bet a significantly larger 32,000.

Again Nitsche came along with him. Finally it was a 5♥ on the river but Adams didn't have another barrel in him and when both players had checked, Nitsche showed J♣3♣ and his top pair was good.

He is now sitting on around 200,000. -LY

5:50pm: Aldemir catches up with Fast
Level 5: Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Dietrich Fast and Koray Aldemir just tangled in a pot, but neither would make much profit come the end.

On a 4♥T♣6♥5♠ board, Fast led for 22,000, which got a fold from Timothy Adams and a call from Aldemir. The 8♣ river landed and Fast continued for 40,000. Aldemir took his time, but after considering a raise he decided just to call with his A♠7♠ for a rivered straight.

It turned out he'd got pretty lucky to get there; Fast had turned the straight with his 7♣3♣. They chopped it up, leaving Fast with 310,000 and Aldemir 385,000. --JS

5:45pm: Luca over Petrangelo
Level 5: Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

It folded around to the short-stacked Nick Petrangelo in the small blind who limped, Ivan Luca checked his option from the big blind, and the flop came T♣K♥J♥.

Petrangelo took a minimum-stab of 2,400 and Luca called, but after the 9♦ turn Petrangelo checked and folded to Luca's bet of 6,500.

A late arriver, Luca is at 265,000 and just above the starting stack. Meanwhile Petrangelo is still at the bottom of the counts with 70,000. --MH

5:40pm: Kurganov picking off another bluff?
Level 5: Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Igor Kuragov was delivered a PokerStars patch and immediately represented the Red Spade well by taking a pot off Henrik Hecklen to move up to 380,000. The latter dropped to around 165,000.

Hecklen raised to 6,000 from the cutoff and Kurganov called from the big blind. Both players checked the T♣7♣9♥ flop before Kurganov led for 12,000 on the T♥ turn. Call. The Q♠ completed the board and Hecklen bet 23,000 but snap-folded when check-raised to 125,000. --MC

5:35pm: Kings for Koray
Level 5: Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Stephen Chidwick raised to 6,000 from under the gun, and it folded around to Henrik Hecklen who three-bet to 22,000 from the small blind.

Koray Aldemir was next to act in the big blind. He leaned forward to look over his blue-framed sunglasses and get a look at Chidwick's stack before four-betting to 46,000. Chidwick pitched his cards away, then it was Hecklen's turn to lean forward and inspect Aldemir's stack. He called, and the pair saw the flop come K♥A♦7♦.

Both chose to check that flop, then after Hecklen checked the 9♦ turn, Aldemir bet 30,000 and Hecklen called. The river brought the Q♥ and another check from Hecklen, and Aldemir carefully stacked his remaining stack and pushed it forward as an all-in bet.

Hecklen called immediately, then mucked almost as quickly after Aldemir showed K♦K♣ for a set of kings. Aldemir is up over 400,000 after that one, while Hecklen slips to 185,000. --MH

5:25pm: Seidel starts as he means to go on
Level 5: Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

The second-biggest money winner in poker history, Erik Seidel, has entered the field after the break, as has Ivan Luca.

Seidel has got off to a nice start too, taking down the first pot he played. Action folded to him on the button and he made it 5,000 to go, which got a big blind defend from Juha Helppi. They saw a 3♠K♣6♥ flop and both players opted to check. Helppi took the betting lead for 7,000 on the 8♦ turn, and Seidel made the call.

The river was the K♠, pairing the board, and Helppi slowed down with a check. Seidel stared at the board before reaching for chips, putting out a bet worth 18,000. After a little thinking time Helppi gave it up. --JS

5pm: Let's take a break

Level 4 has concluded and players are now off on another 20-minute break. --MH

5pm: Chidwick break bluff fail
Level 4: Blinds 1,000/3,000 (ante 300)

Stephen Chidwick and Igor Kurganov played a big hand that went several minutes into the break. Kurganov ended up with a 340,000 stack after he picked off a bluff from the Brit.

Timothy Adams started the pot with a raise to 5,000 from under the gun and was called by Chidwick on the button before Kurganov squeezed to 23,000 off the button. Only Chidwick called to a 7♣5♣8♥ flop where he check-raised to 40,000 over Kurganov's 17,000 c-bet. The Team PokerStars Pro called the raise and another 50,000 on the 2♣ turn before both players checked the K♠ river.

Chidwick dropped to 150,000 as he J♥T♥ lost out to Kurganov's Q♥Q♠. --MC


NEIL6903_PSC_Prague2017_Igor_Kurganov_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Queens work for Kurganov

5pm: Helppi and Thorel lock horns
Level 4: Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

I arrived at the table to see a 7♦8♥2♦ flop already out and Jean-Noel Thorel and Juha Helppi tangled in a pot.

Helppi checked and Thorel made it 7,000, which Helppi called. Then the dealer put out 4♥ on the turn and Helppi checked again. Thorel made it 25,000 this time only for Helppi to announce his all in. After a quick count, Thorel needed to call almost 110,000 more but it was too much and Helppi scooped the chips. --LY

4:55pm: Ferreira barrels against Kisacikoglu
Level 4: Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

After a middle position open from Jean Ferreira and Orpen Kisacikoglu defended from the big blind.

The board ran out T♣6♠J♦A♠4♥ and the betting went check-bet-call on all three streets. Ferreira bet 5,000 on the flop, 17,000 on the turn and 42,000 on the river, then took down the pot after showing A♣6♦ for two pair. Kisacikoglu looked disappointed as he sent his cards into the muck. --LY

4:50pm: Schemion catches Kruk at it
Level 4: Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Ole Schemion and Christopher Kruk just played a four-bet pot. And with seven high pre-flop, who wouldn't?

It looked like Schemion opened the cutoff and Kruk three-bet the big blind to 22,000. Schemion then four-bet to 50,000 and Kruk called.

Strap in.

The flop fell 7♦T♦3♦ and Kruk checked. Schemion bet 29,000 and Kruk called.

That actually turned out to be the last bet as both players checked the 8♣ turn and J♣ river (although you could see that Schemion was tempted to bet).

"Seven," Kruk said after Schemion's final check. He turned over 7♠6♠. Schemion hadn't been trying anything tricky. His Q♣Q♦ were good all along.

Schemion has 350,000 now. --HS

4:45pm: Petrangelo pays to see Greenwood's straight
Level 4: Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Nick Petrangelo is back down to his last 70,000 after giving some chips back to Sam Greenwood. Petrangelo really wanted to fold on the river and actually almost did. But he made a last-gasp decision to throw chips into the middle instead of his cards. But he lost.

It looked like it had gone raise/call from Petrangelo in early position and Greenwood in the big blind. Greenwood checked the 8♣9♠4♠ flop and Petrangelo bet 8,000. Greenwood called.

They both checked the J♠ turn, then the 5♠ completed the board. Greenwood bet 7,000 and Petrangelo just couldn't resist seeing. Greenwood showed him Q♣T♣ for a straight. Petrangelo couldn't beat it.


NEIL6738_PSC_Prague2017_Sam_Greenwood_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Greenwood's stack grows

Christoph Vogelsang is chip leader at that table, and the tournament as a whole. He has 440,000. --HS

4:40pm: Hecklen getting value from bottom pair
Level 4: Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Henrik Hecklen check-raised with bottom pair, got called, and managed to still have the best hand at showdown.

Igor Kurganov raised to 5,000 and Hecklen defended his big blind. The flop fanned 5♣3♦2♠ and Kurganov continued for 4,000. Hecklen check-raised to 12,500 and the Team PokerStars Pro called. No more chips went into the middle as the 5♦Q♣ turn and river were checked down.

"Deuce," declared Hecklen before opening K♦2♥. It was good as Kurganov mucked to drop to around 200,000. --MC

4:35pm: Badziakouski continues to build
Level 4: Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Mikita Badziakouski was the shortest stack in the tournament a couple of hours ago, but he has been building well since then and he showed no signs of slowing down in a four-bet pot versus Juha Helppi.

It started with a 5,000 open from Helppi on the button, after which Badziakouski raised it up to 22,000 on the big blind. Helppi promptly upped it again to 55,500 and Badzkiakouski made the call, taking the pair to the flop in a very inflated pot.

The first three community cards ran out 3♣J♣J♥ and after Helppi continued for a smaller sized bet of 30,000 he soon faced with an all-in by Badziakouski. That was too much for him and the Finn folded, helping Badziakouski's upward trend to continue. --LY

4:25pm: Petrangelo clinging on
Level 4: Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Stephen Chidwick has joined the fray, and has found a seat between Sam Greenwood and Ole Schemion. The first thing I noticed Chidwick doing was raising from the big blind after Greenwood completed from the small. Greenwood folded.

On the next hand, Nick Petrangelo opened to 4,500 from under the gun and Greenwood asked Petrangelo how much he was playing. It was in the 60s, which was the shortest stack at the table.

Greenwood called from the button and then Chidwick and Ole Schemion also saw a flop in the blinds. That flop? J♥7♣4♣. There were then four checks.

The turn brought the 2♦ and Chidwick and Schemion checked again. Petrangelo bet 15,000. Only Greenwood called.

That 4♠ was the last card out and Petrangelo said, "All in." Greenwood allowed the clock to run all the way down to its last two seconds, then peeked at his cards again and tossed them in the muck.

Petrangelo fights on. --HS


NEIL6829_PSC_Prague2017_Nick_Petrangelo_Neil Stoddart.jpg

"Sure, that was good, but the goal is to get my stack up to here."

4:20pm: Thorel in action again
Level 4: Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Here's a couple of hands featuring pre-flop action and Jean-Noel Thorel. Fair warning: there's not all that much else. But here it is anyway.

In the first hand, Orpen Kisacikoglu opened to 5,000 from under the gun and Thorel three-bet to 11,000 from one seat along. Action then folded around to Mikita Badziakouski and he four-bet to 32,000 and his two opponents shied away.

On the next hand, Thorel opened to 6,000 from under the gun and Steve O'Dwyer put in a three-bet. He was on the button. Thorel called, but checked a flop of Q♣5♠3♦. O'Dwyer also checked.

The 9♣ fell on the turn and Thorel bet 20,000. O'Dwyer called, taking them to the 6♦ on the river.

A couple of checks later and O'Dwyer's J♦J♣ was beating Thorel's A♥K♥.

Despite that, and despite Thorel's all-action style, he's sitting with around 260,000, which is 10,000 more than his starting stack. --HS

4:15pm: Schemion's straight face
Level 4: Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

I'm not going to lie, the smell of all the goulash and schnitzel going around this high rolling room is making my stomach growl. There's still poker to be reported on, though, so food will have to wait.

Christoph Vogelsang opened to 5,500 on the button and Ole Schemion defended his big blind to see a K♥T♦2♦ flop. Schemion checked it, letting Vogelsang come in for an 8,000 c-bet, which was called.

The turn came the 7♣, and both players checked to see the Q♥ on the river. Schemion checked once more, as did Vogelsang after some deliberation. Schemion flipped over the J♦9♥ for a rivered straight, but he couldn't get any more out of Vogelsang, who mucked with a smile.

He's on 410,000, good for the biggest stack right now, while Schemion has 260,000. --JS

4:10pm: Two pair good for Thorel
Level 3: Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Jean-Noel Thorel is getting his stack going in the right direction after he flopped two pair that stayed true until showdown.

He opened from under the gun and was called by Mikita Badziakouski and Orpen Kisacikoglu in the blinds. Thorel continued for 11,000 on a K♦A♠7♦ flop and was check-called by both opponents. Thorel bet 15,000 on the 5♦ turn and Kisacikoglu was the only one to stack around to the J♥ river where they both checked. Kisacikoglu opened A♥9♣ but Thorel scooped after revealing K♣7♣. --MC

4:05pm: Badziakouski building back
Level 3: Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Remember when Mikita Badziakouski had a short stack? There's a memory lingering around of such a time, but it seems like it's in the distant past. The Belorussian crusher is back with around 260,000 now, having just won back-to-back pots from first Orpen Kisacikoglu and then Steve O'Dwyer.

The first was a blind-on-blind skirmish that got to a flop for the minimum investment. It was T♦7♥5♣ and Badziakouski bet 1,700. Kisacikoglu called.

After the 9♠ turn, Badziakouski bet 5,200 and Kisacikoglu paid to see the A♦ river. But he wasn't prepared to invest further, and certainly not the 13,000 Badziakouski put out. That left Kisacikoglu with 230,000 and Badziakouski had 180,000.

On the next hand, O'Dwyer opened to 4,800 from the cutoff and Badziakouski called from the button. Jean-Noel Thorel called in the big blind too.

Thorel checked the 4♦8♦K♦ flop but O'Dwyer bet 10,000. Badziakouski called and Thorel folded.

That took them to the 3♣ on the turn, and O'Dwyer doubled his flop bet. Badziakouski called again.

The K♣ completed the board and now O'Dwyer checked. Badziakouski took over and announced "Fifty thousand" just as his shot-clock dropped to its final seconds.

O'Dwyer took around 20 of his bank to make his last decision, but called. "King," Badziakouski said and proved it, tabling the K♥Q♠. O'Dwyer nodded, mucked and pushed the chips to his neighbour.

Badziakouski is back above his starting stack. O'Dwyer, on his second bullet, now has around 175,000. --HS


NEIL6850_PSC_Prague2017__Neil Stoddart.jpg

Badziakouski scarfs up more chips

4pm: Adams takes from Aldemir
Level 3: Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

On a 7♦5♥T♥Q♠ board, there was a healthy pot in the middle and just two players fighting for it: Timothy Adams and Koray Aldemir. The latter checked it and Adams led for 37,000 which got a call, taking them to the 6♦ river.

When Aldemir checked again, Adams really took his time and ended up using one of his time bank chips before leading again for 102,000. Aldemir gave it up pretty quickly and dipped to 195,000, while Adams is up to 340,000 now. --JS

3:55pm: Lose one, win one
Level 3: Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

When you see a pot slip away, it's always nice to take the very next one down and reclaim some of your lost chips. That's what Orpen Kisacikoglu managed just now.

In the first hand Kisacikoglu opened to 4,000 from UTG+1 and Steve O'Dwyer called from the big blind to see a 3♠Q♥8♣ flop. O'Dwyer check-called a 5,000 c-bet before check-calling 11,500 after the 2♠ turn,.

The A♠ completed the board, and O'Dwyer now took control, leading out for 16,000. Kisacikoglu gave it up quickly, but he would be straight back into the action the next hand opening under the gun to 4,000 again.

This time Jean-Noel Thorel (middle position), Jean Ferreira (cutoff) and Mikita Badziakouski (big blind) made the call to see the T♦6♠4♠ flop. Kisacikoglu continued for 12,000 when it checked to him, and he got folds all around. --JS


8G2A6977_PSC_Prague2017_Orpen_Kisacikoglu_Neil Stoddart.jpg

One step back, one step forward for Kisacikoglu

3:50pm: Fast takes from Hecklen
Level 3: Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Henrik Hecklen and Dietrich Fast were looking at a 5♣8♣K♥7♠J♥ board by the time the blogging team came to the table.

Hecklen bet 30,000 into Fast and when he is called, he turns over A♥K♠ for top pair but it wasn't enough with Fast tabling two pair with J♦8♦. He hasn't been here long, but Fast is already adding to his recently acquired starting stack. --LY

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Dietrich Fast: In the house

3:50pm: Ace-high wins
Level 3: Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Jean-Noel Thorel is another of today's players who really doesn't need a shot clock. He plays very quickly. This latest small pot, which Thorel ended up winning, would likely have played its entirety within the time allotted for one decision.

Orpen Kisacikoglu started it, with a raise to 4,000 from the cutoff. Thorel called on the button and Juha Helppi checked his big blind.

After the 9♦7♦T♣ flop and two checks, Thorel bet 6,000. Only Helppi called.

They both checked the T♥ turn and neither decided to represent anything after the T♠ river either. Helppi turned over his Q♦5♦, a flush draw that missed. It meant that Thorel's A♣3♥ was good. --HS

3:45pm: German only at the table
Level 3: Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

As noted below, Steve O'Dwyer was the first player to bust and his seat was filled by Dominik Nitsche. Not long after, Dietrich Fast -- who took down the ACOP Super High Roller recently -- was drawn to Nitsche's right.

"Wrong table, buddy!" smiled Nitsche to Fast. "I know, right." come the response.

They were referring to how tough the table was and things only got worse when Team PokerStars Pro Igor Kurganov took the seat to the right of Fast.

Fast then asked Henrik Hecklen if he spoke German, which he did. "Tim?" Continued Fast. The whole table erupted when Timothy Adams responded with a loud, German sounding, "YA!"

"Then it's decided," declared Fast. "From now on, we speak German at this table!"

That rule lasted about 30 seconds before normal language rules recommenced. --MC

3:40pm: Pot to Jean-Noel
Level 3: Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Arriving with play on the 4♠6♦6♥ flop, Orpen Kisacikoglu was sat in the small blind, Jean-Noel Thorel in the big and Mikita Badziakouski had the dealer button in front of him.

Two checks saw Badziakouski make it 4,500 to continue and both players called. Then a 3♥ turn saw checks all round and play moved to the river.

It was a 2♥ and when Kisacikoglu checked, Thorel bet 10,000. Once Badziakouski had gotten out of the way, Kisacikoglu made the call but couldn't beat Thorel's straight with 5♥8♣ and threw his cards into the muck. --LY


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Jean-Noel, Jean-Noel, Jean-Noel, Jean-Noel... Chips from this small pot all go to Thorel

3:35pm: Kruk gets caught
Level 3: Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Just before he got moved to the new table, Christopher Kruk was caught with his hand in the cookie jar by Mikita Badziakouski.

Kruk had opened to 4,000 from the UTG+1 seat, and Badziakouski called to his left in the hijack. Jean-Noel Thorel came in as well from the button, and Juha Helppi defended his big blind.

They all went to the J♣2♥T♥ flop and it checked to Kruk who continued for 5,500. Badziakouski would be the only caller, so it was heads up to the J♦ turn. "Thirteen," announced Kruk, who fired again (for 13,000, obviously). Call.

The T♠ river double-paired the board but Kruk fired again. "Twenty seven," was the announced bet, and it didn't take Badziakouski -- who was a little short-stacked by this point -- that long to make the call.

Kruk flipped over the K♣Q♥ for a triple-barrel bluff with his open-ended draw, while Badziakouski's A♦J♠ full house shipped him the pot.

He's up to 150,000 now, while Kruk starts life on the new table with 130,000. --JS

3:30pm: Three tables
Level 3: Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

The sudden influx of players -- including Koray Aldemir, Dietrich Fast, Dominik Nitsche and Igor Kurganov -- plus Steve O'Dwyer's re-entry, means we need another table. Table 3 is now in operation, with its first occupants all harvested from the previous two tables.

Those on the move: Daniel Dvoress, Christopher Kruk, Christoph Vogelsang, Ole Schemion, Nick Petrangelo, and Sam Greenwood. --HS

3:25pm: Full houses all round
Level 3: Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Christoph Vogelsang opened to 4,000 on the cutoff and was looked up by Orpen Kisacikoglu in the big blind.

The paired A♦8♥8♠ flop saw a small continuation by Vogelsang to 2,800, which was called by Kisacikoglu. There was no betting on the 8♦ turn and when 9♥ river came, Kisacikoglu threw a 5,000 chip in, which Vogelsang matched.

It was a full house apiece -- Vogelsang turned over a 9♠, but it wasn't enough as Kisacikoglu showed A♠7♦ and won the chips. --LY

3:20pm: One down, two more up
Level 3: Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Steve O'Dwyer returned from the break to a short stack, and early in Level 3 he lost those last chips to be the first player to be stacked.

We'll keep an eye out for his return. Meanwhile two more players have joined the field, both Germans -- Dietrich Fast and Dominik Nitsche. --MH


8G2A7015_PSC_Prague2017_Julian_Thomas_Dietrich_Fast_Dominik_Nitsche_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Fast (center) and Nitsche (right) arrive, with Julian Thomas (left) accompanying

3:15pm: Lunch time pot for Schemion
Level 3: Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

It seems that short break has made all these high rollers hungry. As the waiter went around jotting down food orders (goulash and hot dogs, if you must know), Ole Schemion took down a pot from Timothy Adams.

He'd opened it to 4,000 under the gun and it folded to Adams on the button who called. Greenwood defended his big blind to see the 2♥8♣Q♦ flop, which Greenwood checked. Schemion opted not to c-bet, checking it to Adams who made it 4,500. That shook off Greenwood but Schemion didn't budge.

The turn came the A♣ and that slowed the action. Both checked to the 8♥ river, and Schemion put out 13,500. Adams let it go, and the wait for lunch officially began.

Schemion's on 225,000, while Adams has 265,000. --JS


NEIL6775_PSC_Prague2017_Ole_Schemion_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Ole has a hunger

3:10pm: JNT tripped up
Level 3: Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Flopped top pair was no good for Jean-Noel Thorel as his opponent -- Jean Ferreira -- made running trips to take the pot away. He dropped to 200,000 and Ferreira rose to 310,000.

Here's how it happened. Thorel opened to 3,000 from the cutoff and was only called by Ferreira on the button. Thorel continued for 3,500 on the 2♣J♥3♠ flop and another 10,500 on the T♦ turn. Ferreira called him both times and then bet 28,000 himself on the T♥ river when Thorel checked to him.

After being called, Ferreira tabled A♥T♣ and scooped as Thorel showed ace-jack before mucking. --MC

3:05pm: Level 3 begins
Level 3: Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

The 14 players registered thus far have returned from the first break and Level 3 has begun. --MH


Ready to embark on your own poker adventure? Sign up for PokerStars and begin your journey. Click here to get an account.

2:45pm: Break time

That's the end of the level. Off they go for a break.

2:40pm: An interesting runout
Level 2: Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

We're coming up the first break of Day 1 and we have just seen a juicy board dealt out.

After it folded round to the button, Henrik Hecklen opened to 4,200 and got one call from Sam Greenwood in small blind.

The board came A♣Q♥T♥K♥K♣, and by the river both players had checked the first two postflop streets. It was an interesting runout indeed, with royal flush, quad and full house possibilities to name a few.

After Greenwood led for 5,500 on the river, Hecklen made a quick raise to 25,000 and Greenwood made the call. Hecklen showed the bluff with 8♥7♦ and Greenwood's straight with Q♦J♠ was good enough. --LY

2:40pm: Poker in one corner, crypto in another
Level 2: Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Action folded to Jean Ferreira in the cutoff and he made it 3,000 to go. Over to Christoph Vogelsang in the small blind, he put in a three-bet to 12,000 and Ferreira made the call.

Heads up to the flop, while the dealer spread the A♥K♠Q♦ flop Vogelsang was pulling up his now trademark "neck hoody" to cover his face up to the eyes. With only five seconds left on his clock the German continued for 5,000, and Ferreira made the call.

Meanwhile, I couldn't help but overhear Chris Kruk and Orpen Kisacikoglu having a chat about cryptocurrencies, notably Bitcoin. It seems the price of it has dipped today, but as Chris Kruk reminded Kisacikoglu, "it's still up like 40 percent on the week!"

Back to the poker, the turn was the 7♠ and Vogelsang left it until two seconds were left before making it 30,000. That would ultimately be enough to get the job done as Ferreira laid it down.

He's down to 230,000 now, while Vogelsang is up to 350,000. --JS


NEIL6823_PSC_Prague2017_Christoph_Vogelsang_Neil Stoddart.jpg

"What's the buy-in again, like 3.92 BTC?"

2:36pm: Adams beckons chips
Level 2: Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Timothy Adams beckoned a small pot his way, and he enjoyed the win, as some of the chips came from friend, Daniel Dvoress. The win put him back up to starting stack.

Dvoress opened to 3,000 from the cutoff and was called by Adams and Henrik Hecklen in the blinds. The board ran out 6♦2♣9♣3♦5♠ with no chips going in until the river, where Adams led for 3,200. Only Dvoress flicked in the call and mucked when Adams opened 8♠8♣. --MC

2:35pm: Badziakouski doubles short stack
Level 2: Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

"You're still covering me," grinned Mikita Badziakouski to Christopher Kruk. "I can double through you one more time," added the player from Belarus, and both chuckled.

The conversation followed a hand in which Badziakouski doubled his short stack (see below for how he was reduced to only 60,000) through Kruk. The hand started with a Kruk hijack open for 3,000, a Badziakouski re-raise to 9,500 from the cutoff, and Kruk calling.

Both checked the 4♠9♥6♥ flop, then after Kruk bet 7,500 on the J♣ turn, Badziakouski called. The river then brought the T♦, and after a brief pause Kruk bet enough to put Badziakouski all-in, and the latter called right away.

Kruk shook his head when showing his A♦J♦ for jacks, knowing he was probably beat, and sure enough Badziakouski turned over the nuts with K♦Q♥ for the king-high straight.

Kruk has about 200,000 now, and indeed still has Badziakouski's 125,000 covered. --MH

2:30pm: Vogelsang wins big from Badziakouski
Level 2: Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Mikita Badziakouski's fortunes have changed dramatically in the past few minutes. Come to that, so have Christoph Vogelsang's. Here's how it all happened...

Badziakouski started the ball rolling with a raise to 2,500 from under the gun and it folded round to Vogelsang who thought for most of his 30 second shot-clock before upping it to 10,400, which Badziakouski called.

The flop was 4♣5♣9♠ and Vogelsang slowed down, checking to Badziakouski who bet a small 7,000, which Vogelsang called.

The T♠ turn was where it started to get really interesting, bringing out a ton of draws. Vogelsang checked again but this time went over Badziakouski's 16,000 barrel to 52,000. Badziakouski didn't appear to have much trouble making the call and so they went to the river.

It was a Q♦ and Vogelsang pushed 92,000 over the line. Badziakouski seemed to be in a tough spot. He used one of his time bank cards and stood up, then sat back down again and didn't sound happy as he threw in a second card 30 seconds later.

He was almost out of time before he made a hesitant call and mucked when Vogelsang turned over 9♦T♦. Vogelsang moves up to around 350,000 and Badziakouski drops to about 60,000. -LY

2:25pm: Who needs a shot clock?
Level 2: Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

He may have 30 seconds to make each decision, but Henrik Hecklen could only have five seconds and he'd still not need all of them.

This guy plays fast. The latest example came when Nick Petrangelo made it 3,000 in the UTG+1 seat, which Hecklen called on the button. Sam Greenwood and Ole Schemion came in from the small and big blinds, and it went four-handed to the 7♠2♦7♦ flop.


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The fast moving Henrik Hecklen

It checked around to Hecklen and he made it 4,000 to go, only for Greenwood to bump it up to 15,000. Schemion and Petrangelo folded, but Hecklen called instantly.

The turn was the A♣ and Greenwood let some time run down before continuing his aggression for 26,000. Hecklen called within a millisecond of Greenwood's chips hitting the felt.


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Sam Greenwood: Slowing down Hecklen

They saw the 4♥ complete the board, and Greenwood began counting out another bet. He had what looked like 75,000 in his hand, and as he began to motion Hecklen's hand was already in the muck.

Greenwood raked it in without even officially betting and increases to 170,000, while Hecklen's fast start sees him with 300,000 even after that loss. --JS

2:20pm: Hecklen collectin' more
Level 2: Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Henrik Hecklen's stack is closing in on 400,000 after he got tricky before hitting in a pot versus Sam Greenwood.

We picked up the action on a 9♣5♥5♠ flop where Hecklen (hijack) led for 4,500. Greenwood (cutoff) raised to 13,000 and called after Hecklen three-bet to 30,000.

The Q♣ turn was checked through to the A♣ river where Hecklen led for 11,000. Greenwood made the call and dropped to 230,000 upon seeing the Dane's A♠3♠. --MC

2:16pm: Badziakouski vs Kruk II
Level 2: Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

A big pot just played out between Mikita Badziakouski and Chris Kruk, in which almost 60 big blinds changed hands.

We picked up the action on a T♣J♥7♦ flop, and with a pot of 20,000 out there you could tell there had been a three-bet pre. Kruk checked it and Badkiakouski checked behind, bringing the 7♣ on the turn. This time Kruk led for 7,500 (at least I think it was that amount; he put out 8,000 worth of chips but announced a different amount).

It soon wouldn't matter as Badziakouski raised it up to 25,000. Kruk took his bet back and put out a single green chip for the call.

The river came the A♠ and Kruk checked yet again. Badziakouski thought for a moment before checking, and saw Kruk turn over the J♠J♣ for a flopped set that turned a boat.

"Tens!" Badziakouski joked as he mucked his hand. "I just put you on aces."


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Christophen Kruk" Flopped set, turned boat

Badziakouski is down to 190,000 now, while Kruk is still around starting stack. --JS

2:15pm: Big river bet earns Ferreira pot
Level 2: Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Jean Ferreira opened for 3,000 from middle position, then Christopher Kruk raised to 9,000 from the button and Ferreira called.

The flop came Q♣8♣5♦ and Ferreira checked, and after Kruk bet 11,000 Ferreira called. Both players then checked the 2♥ turn.


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Newcomer Jean Ferreira

The river was the K♠, and Ferreira bombed with a big bet of 60,000. Kruk tossed his hand away. Ferreira has 270,000, while Kruk is on 210,000. --MH

2:10pm: First big pot goes the way of Dvoress
Level 2: Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

It didn't take too long this afternoon for the first huge encounter to occur. It ended in (more than) a double up for Daniel Dvoress.

Timothy Adams kicked off the action with an under-the-gun raise. Dvoress flatted on the button before Nick Petrangelo squeezed to 15,500 from the small blind. Steve O'Dwyer was in the big blind and four-bet to 42,000. Adams folded but Dvoress made a surprise 171,300 move all-in.

Petrangelo folded before O'Dwyer tank-called.

O'Dwyer: 9♣9♦
Dvoress: J♠J♥

The board ran A♦4♥A♥8♦5♣ and the jacks held.

O'Dwyer, who dropped to around 80,000, said nice play to Dvoress, who thanked him. O'Dwyer was always in bad shape as Petrangelo admitted he folded pocket nines. --MC

2:05pm: Hecklen collectin'
Level 2: Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Henrik Hecklen opened to 3,500 from under the gun, then Nick Petrangelo reraised to 15,000 from the button. "How much?" asked Hecklen, and Petrangelo said he had about 240,000 behind.

As it woud happen, Petrangelo would be committing a quarter of that before the hand ended.

Hecklen called the three-bet, then check-called a continuation bet of 15,000 from Petrangelo following the K♦J♦8♣ flop. Hecklen check-called again after the 7♦, with Petrangelo betting 45,000 that time. Hecklen checked once more following the board-pairing J♥ river, and Petrangelo checked as well.

"Full house," said Hecklen, showing his K♣J♣, earning a nod and a muck from Petrangelo -- and a nice pot, too.

Hecklen is up to 325,000, while Petrangelo slips to 180,000. --MH


8G2A6993_PSC_Prague2017_Henrik_Hecklen_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Hand to Hecklen

2pm: Club Badziaskouski
Level 2: Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

No, that's not the name of a hip bar here in Prague, but rather what Chris Kruk felt Mikita Badziakouski held in this last pot.

Badziakouski opened it under the gun to 2,500 which got a call from Jean-Noel Thorel two seats over. It folded to Kruk in the big blind and he defended the big blind to see a 7♠6♣3♣ flop, which was checked around.

The dealer burned and turned the 9♣ and Kruk led out for 3,000. Badziakouski made the call, while Thorel left proceedings before the T♣ river.


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Mikita Badziakouski: Clubs?

Kruk slowed down with four clubs out there, checking it over. Badziakouski quickly glanced at his hand and let some time tick down before placing a bet of 6,000 over the line.

Kruk folded instantly. --JS

1:55pm: The last hand of Level 1
Level 1: Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

As Level 1 drew to a close, both tables played their final hand before the blinds went up.

First Timothy Adams opened in middle position to 2,500 and was called by Nick Petrangelo who was sat in the big blind.

It was a 5♦6♦9♥ flop and Petrangelo checked to Adams who put 4,500 over the line. This was swifly upped to 16,500 by Petrangelo, pushing Adams away.

Over on the other table, Juha Helppi also raised 2,500 preflop in early position this time. He found himself facing a three-bet from Mikita Badziakouski on the cutoff, who made it 8,000 to play and Helppi called.

On to the 9♦7♥5♣ flop and it was checked by both players. When the T♦ turn came out, Helppi decided to lead for 10,000 and Badziakouski matched it.

With a Q♠ showing on the river, Helppi led again. Facing a bet of 23,500, Badziakouski had a quick look at his cards one last time, before opting to fold. -LY

1:50pm: Vogelsang loses two in a row
Level 1: Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Christoph Vogelsang has dropped down to around 200,000 after he lost a pot to Open Kisacikoglu and then one to Jean Ferreira the very next hand. (Although we're in Level 2 now, these hands happened in Level 1.)

Vogelsang opened to 2,500 and Kisacikoglu peeled from the big blind. Vogelsang continued for 3,500 on a T♠J♥9♦ flop but folded when check-raised to 12,000.

Ferreira opened to 2,500 from the under the gun the next hand and was called by Vogelsang from two seats along, and by Jean-Noel Thorel in the big blind.

The flop fell 4♦A♣5♣ and Ferreira's 3,000 c-bet was raised up to 14,000 by Vogelsang. Thorel moved out of the way and Ferreira called to the J♣ turn where he called another 10,000.

The 2♦ completed the board and both players checked. Ferreira opened A♥J♥ for two pair and Vogelsang mucked. -- MC

1:45pm: It's just a jump to the left
Level 2: Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 100)

Jean-Noel Thorel just arrived to join the group at Table 2. Thorel drew Seat 7, however in order to faciltate his ability to see the board, Seat 8 (next to the dealer) is better suited for the Frenchman.

The tournament director asked the short-handed table if they might all shift one seat to the left in order to accommodate, thereby placing Thorel in his correctly drawn seat relative to everyone else. All readily agreed to the elegant solution.

"I like this seat better, anyway," said Orpen Kisacikoglu to Thorel on his left. --MH

1:40pm: Hecklen straddles to 50,000
Level 2: Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Henrik Hecklen may not be as familiar a face as others in this tournament, but the Danish online high stakes player isn't to be messed with.

As soon as he took his seat he found himself under the gun and tossed in two green 25,000 chips, straddling to 50,000 in the dark!

Of course, it was a simple chip mistake with him thinking he was putting in his 200 ante, but still; he's raised the bar for action without even being dealt a hand yet. --JS

1:38pm: Orpen bet moves Mikita off his hand
Level 1: Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

The board showed T♣A♦K♦2♥3♥ with about 45,000 in the middle, and after Mikita Badziakouski checked, Orpen Kisacikoglu fired a bet of 32,000.

Badziakouski gathered calling chips and shook them in his hand for exactly 29 seconds, then spent the last second of his allotted time pushing away his cards to concede another pot to Kisacikoglu.

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Shot clock keeping the action moving

Put Kisacikoglu on 315,000 now, while Badziakouski has 255,000. --MH

1:35pm: Kruk flops the nuts
Level 1: Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Anyone who saw Chris Kruk's recent live-streamed cash game performance knows this guy is a no limit hold'em beast who didn't seem to put a single foot wrong. Combine the skill with some run-good and he's a dangerous player, as Christoph Vogelsang just found out.

With a pot of 8,000 out there beside a 4♠2♦5♣6♦ board, Vogelsang checked and Kruk made it 2,700. Mikita Badziakouski let his hand go, but Vogelsang called and the dealer put out the T♥ river. Vogelsang checked to Kruk, who announced "sixty seven" for a 6,700 bet. Vogelsang made a pretty quick call.

Kruk turned over the A♥3♣ for a flopped wheel that turned six-high straight. "That's good," said Vogelsang as he saw his chips slide Kruk's way. --JS

1:32pm: Adams scoops a small pot
Level 1: Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

There had been a couple of very tiny pots beforehand on this table and then Daniel Dvoress opened to 2,500 from under the gun. Timothy Adams had position with the dealer button in front of him and he was the only one to call, taking the two of them heads up to the flop.

It was a flushing board with 2♣A♣9♣ and Dvoress continued for 3,000. Adams wasn't content to leave the betting there and raised it up to 9,700. It didn't take Dvoress long to give up and the pot goes to Adams. -LY

1:30pm: Kisacikoglu keeps collecting
Level 1: Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Both Christoph Vogelsang and table newcomer Mikita Badziakouski are trying to get involved over at Table 2, but Orpen Kisacikoglu is making it difficult for both.

Just now Vogelsang raised to 2,500 from under the gun and Badziakouski decided to come along from the button. Then Kisacikoglu made it 11,500 to go from the small blind, and when it folded back to Vogelsang he tossed his hand away.

Badziakouski decided to stay with a call, though, but after the 9♥T♠6♦ flop Badziakouski had to check-fold to a Kisacikoglu continuation bet of 13,000. --MH

1:26pm: Another squeeze from Kisacikoglu
Level 1: Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Orpen Kisacikoglu is in the mood to swell pots today and apply pressure. The last time he tried a squeeze though, he didn't win the pot.

Christoph Vogelsang opened to 2,500 from the cutoff and was called by Mikita Badziakouski in the small blind, before Kisacikoglu bumped it up to 11,500 from the big blind.

Both opponents called to a K♦6♦2♥ flop where Kisacikoglu continued for 13,000. Only Badziakouski called and he took over the initiative with bets of 13,000 and 50,000 on the K♠ 6♥ turn and river.

Kisacikoglu called the turn bet but admitted defeat on the river. --MC

1:25pm: Dvorless
Level 1: Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

I'd say it's not been the best orbit for Daniel Dvoress, but then again an orbit is just four hands and at this early and deep-stacked stage the pots are pretty small. Basically, he just lost two hands in a row.

The first one he opened to 2,500 in the UTG/cut-off and both Sam Greenwood (small blind) and Ole Schemion (big blind) made the call. The flop came K♣6♠3♦ and it checked to Dvoress, who made a continuation bet worth 3,000. Greenwood took his time, and with just a few seconds left on his shot-clock bumped it up to 12,000.

Schemion looked intrigued, but would eventually get out of the way. Dvoress laid it down too.

The next hand saw Timothy Adams do the UTG/cut-off opening to 2,500. Only Dvoress called from the big blind and the two saw a Q♠4♠6♠ flop. It went check-2,000-call, leading to the 7♥ turn. Dvoress checked again, but folded when Adams made a pot-size bet of 9,000. --JS

1:20pm: The bank is Orpen
Level 1: Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Christoph Vogelsang had just joined Table 2, and on his first hand tried his luck with a 2,600 opening raise from under the gun. But Orpen Kisacikoglu three-bet to 10,000 from the small blind, shutting out the blinds and Vogelsang, too.

On the next hand Christopher Kruk was the one raising from UTG, in his case to 2,500, and Kisacikoglu came along with a button call. The T♥7♥3♠ flop saw Kruk check-call a bet of 5,000 from Kisacikoglu, then both players checked through the 2♥ turn and 5♥ river.

Kruk tabled 8♦8♠, and while his pair was better than Kisacikoglu's 4♦4♥, the latter had rivered a flush to earn the pot. Kisacikoglu is hovering around 300,000 now in the early going. --MH

1:15pm: Greenwood wins at showdown
Level 1: Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

As the following hand was being dealt, play was still three-handed but there were a few players trickling in to change all that.

Daniel Dvoress made a button raise of 2,500 and Sam Greenwood came along from the big blind.

The flop read Q♠9♥6♦ and after a check from Greenwood, Dvoress continued for 5,000, which Greenwood called.

The 5♥ turn saw another check from Greenwood and this time Dvoress made it 18,500 to see the river. Greenwood wasn't going anywhere just yet and called once more.

Finally a bricky 2♦ came to complete the board and after Greenwood checked, Dvoress thought for a moment and checked it back. Greenwood tabled K♥Q♦ and it was good, with Dvoress mucking.

Greenwood adds a little over 25,000 to his stack. -- LY

1:10pm: Canadian home game crushers
Level 1: Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Timothy Adams, Daniel Dvoress, and Sam Greenwood were three of the aforementioned Canadians in the field and at the start of proceedings were the only players at one of three tables. It was like a home game for the good friends who travel the earth together crushing high stakes live MTTS.

As 2017 draws close to an end, how have these three fared on the circuit this year?

2017Number of cashesBest resultTotal earned
Timothy Adams222017 ACOP Super High Roller $995,635$3,033,846
Sam Greenwood13Punta Cana CPP $1,000,000$2,262,024
Daniel Dvoress19PSC Monte Carlo Super High Roller $908,595$3,874,454

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A "terrible" year for Daniel Dvoress

As you can see it's been a terrible year for all three and they'll surely have a terrible festive season of that form continues here in Prague. They won't have it all their own way at their table though as familiar faces start to file into the room, looking to take some of those impressive 2017 winnings off the three of them. --MC

1:05pm: Time for four-handed
Level 1: Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Both tables have just played their last three-handed hands, as two new entries just took their seats.

Daniel Dvoress managed to pick up a small pot just before though. Picking up the action on a Q♦J♣6♦A♠ board, Sam Greenwood check-called a 1,100 bet from Dvoress (Adams was out), leading to a 5♥ river.

Greenwood checked once more, and Dvoress made it 3,500. Greenwood instantly picked up calling chips, and a few seconds later laid them down in the middle. He quickly pushed them Dvoress's way though after he turned over the A♣4♥ for top pair. Greenwood mucked.

Ole Schemion then pulled up a chair in between those two, while on the other table Christoph Vogelsang has sat between Chris Kruk and Jean Ferreira. --JS

1pm: Small stuff
Level 1: Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

The pots remain small in the first half-hour of play. Mostly just small talk, too.

With the board showing 5♦9♦2♥, there was a check-bet-raise-call sequence between Timothy Adams (small blind) and Sam Greenwood (big blind), building the pot to 12,000. The J♦ turn card wasn't as exciting, though, after a bet of 8,500 from Adams chased Greenwood from the pot.

"Tell me one of your cards and I'll tell you one of mine," said Daniel Dvoress afterwards, and when Greenwood said "king of clubs" it was clear he was referring back to a previous hand. Dvoress winced, saying "jack of clubs" in return as the next hand was dealt. --MH

12:55pm: Early squeeze from Kisacikoglu
Level 1: Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

We are slowly getting properly up and running with players continuing to arrive. Here's a small hand from one of the first tables to start play.

After Jean Ferreira opened 2,500 on the button, Christopher Kruk called from the small blind, Orpen Kisacikoglu, in the big, made it 10,000 to continue. Both players made the call.


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Orpen Kisacikoglu: Early squeeze

The flop was A♣9♥9♣ and with checks all round, the dealer laid out a K♣ on the turn. Kisacikoglu made a delayed continuation bet for 12,500 and it was enough to take down the pot. -- LY

12:45pm: Two blinds and a button
Level 1: Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

They're three-handed at the corner table to start today's first level, where Jean Ferreira, Orpen Kisacikoglu, and Christopher Kruk are doing more chatting than battling in the early going.

Just now, Kisacikoglu won the blinds with a button raise, got a walk, then Ferreira enjoyed a walk to complete an uneventful early orbit. Players continue to appear, though, so those empty seats will be filled soon enough. --MH

12:40pm: Drawing seats
Level 1: Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Play was due to begin at 12:30pm but it hasn't yet got under way. There's a small posse of players standing by the wash table, drawing their seating allocation, so it'll get under way pretty soon. The Canadian quartet Timothy Adams, Daniel Dvoress, Christopher Kruk and Sam Greenwood are there, as well as Orpen Kisacikoglu. Jean Ferreira, a fifth Canadian, is also seated. Play will start imminently. -- HS


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The Super High Rollers arrive

12pm: The annual return to the Czech Republic

Good afternoon all and welcome back to Prague, the bewitching capital of the Czech Republic, for our regular pre-Christmas rendezvous beneath the spires. Alongside everyone in this picture-book city, we'll no doubt spend some time over the coming two weeks supping mulled wine and eating trdelnik, gazing upward at mediaeval towers as the snowflakes fall. But not right now. Right now, we're getting ready for the start of the €50,000 Super High Roller tournament at the PokerStars Championship event at the Hilton Prague.

This is the biggest buy-in tournament this week, and will likely have a first prize into seven figures. They'll play for three days: eight one-hour levels today, ten tomorrow and then to a winner on Tuesday.

Starting stacks are 250,000 and blinds in Level 1 are 500/1,000 (ante 100). There are unlimited re-entries allowed up to the start of Level 9 (ie, the beginning of Day 2). There's a 30-second shot-clock in play.

We have exclusive live updates here, so bookmark this page and enjoy all the action from start to finish.

Download the PokerStars LIVE! app with all tournament information. Available for IOS and Android.

PokerStars Blog reporting team on the €50,000 Super High Roller: Marc Convey, Martin Harris, Jack Stanton, Howard Swains and Lisa Yiasemides. Photography by Neil Stoddart.

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Live reporting team
@PokerStars in Prague