PokerStars Championship Prague: Michal Mrakes makes most of Main Event Day 1A to lead

The first step of the PokerStars Championship Prague Main Event has come to an end. Day 1A attracted 193 players and after eight 75-minute levels, Michal Mrakes bagged up a top stack of 202,700 after leading for the majority of the day, and he will enjoy a nice rest day tomorrow before returning for Day 2 on Thursday.


PSCH Prague 2017 Main Event day 1A Michal Mrakes chip leader.jpg

Mrakes ends the night bagging big

A total of 77 players made it through, with 2017 World Series of Poker Champion Marti Roca bagging the second-most chips with 170,900 followed by Akin Tuna (155,600), Mikhail Rudoy (142,400), and Anton Yakuba (139,800).

Martin Staszko also ended Day 1A in good fashion with 133,100. Some of the other big names to progress include Super High Roller champion Timothy Adams and SHR bubble boy Dietrich Fast, Adrian Mateos, Martin Staszko, Stephen Chidwick, Ryan Riess, Liviu Ignat, and Steve O'Dwyer. Click here for a full list of all 77 survivors and their counts.

There were a whole bunch of talented players who failed to make a mark today, though. Team PokerStars Pro Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier was one of them, and he'll hope for better luck in one of the numerous side events on offer this week, as will the likes of Christopher Kruk, Orpen Kisacikoglu, Felix Stephensen, Quan Zhou, Nick Petrangelo, Sam Greenwood, David Peters, and Vladimir Troyanovskiy.

Day 1B starts at midday CET on Wednesday and it's about doing it all over again but with fresh faces. Registration will remain open all day tomorrow and stay open until the beginning of play on Day 2. It won't be until after that point that we'll know how much they'll all be playing for.

Until tomorrow, it's goodnight from the Hilton Prague. --MC


Day 1A coverage archive


• DAY 1A PLAYERS: 77 of 193
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12:05am: Day 1A concludes

Players are now counting their chips and filling their bags, with Michael Mrakes and Marti Roca both ending the night with big stacks. Back in just a few to tie a bow on this first day of play in the PokerStars Championship Prague Main Event. --MH

11:50pm: Three more hands
Level 8: Blinds 400/800 (ante 100)

You read the headline. The end is nigh. --MH

11:45pm: End of day chip lead loss?
Level 8: Blinds 400/800 (ante 100)

Michal Mrakes was favourite to end the day as chip leader but that lofty position in under threat after he lost a pot to Gab Yong Kim to drop back to 200,000.

Mrakes raised from under the gun and picked up two callers en route to a 6♠5♣K♦ flop. He continued for 2,300 and was raised to 5,300 from Kim in middle position. The third party folded before Mrakes made the call and checked over the A♠ turn. Kim bet 6,600 and Mrakes tank-folded. --MC

11:25pm: Roca scores big double through O'Dwyer
Level 8: Blinds 400/800 (ante 100)

Recent WSOP Europe Main Event winner Marti Roca took a seat on Steve O'Dwyer's right not too long ago, meaning O'Dwyer now has WSOP Main Event champions on either side of him as Ryan Riess (2013 WSOP ME champ) has been on his left for much of the afternoon and evening.

Not long after Roca arrived he opened a pot for 1,600 from the cutoff, and O'Dwyer three-bet him to 6,400. Boris Kuzmanovic cold-called the reraise from the big blind and Roca called, too, and the flop fell 3♦J♦9♥.

It checked around to O'Dwyer who bet 7,800, and Kuzmanovic quickly got out. Roca took a while before acting, though, finally check-raising to 25,900. O'Dwyer had to think about that for a bit before he called, and the 2♠ fell on the turn.

Roca wasted little time before going all in with his last 61,300, and O'Dwyer smiled a little as he slowly went into the tank to decide what to do.

It was a puzzle, all right. O'Dwyer rubbed his beard in thought, ultimately taking about three minutes before finally setting forward a stack to call.

Roca swiftly tabled he'd flopped two pair with J♠9♠, and O'Dwyer tabled T♦T♣ to show he was behind. The river was the A♠, and O'Dwyer is back down to about 58,000.

Roca's still stacking, though a little bit of back-of-the-notepad math tells us he's around 200,000 now and has moved up to become one of the challengers for the end-of-night chip lead. --MH

11:15pm: Fatehi raises into a monster
Level 8: Blinds 400/800 (ante 100)

The look on Ali Reza Fatehi's face and the reaction from his table mates told all that he'd been caught at it.

The action was three-way to a 3♥8♣3♦ flop and Philippe Feron, the assumed preflop aggressor, checked from first position. Goran Mandic was in the hijack and bet 6,000 and then Fatehi raised to 14,800 off the button. Feron only had 21,700 and sat there for several minutes before moving all-in. Mandic folded before Fatehi smiled and asked how such it was. He knew he was in trouble but how could he fold?

Feron: 8♦8♠ for a flopped full house.
Fatehi: A♠9♠ for not a lot.

The board ran out K♥2♣ and Fatehi dropped to 35,000. --MC

10:55pm: Nice hand, sir, it was a pleasure
Level 8: Blinds 400/800 (ante 100)

With the board showing 6♦2♥3♦A♦, John Mooney checked from early position, watched Martin Staszko bet 4,100, and after a pause called the bet.

The river then paired the board with the A♣ and Mooney checked again. Staszko took his time, eventually setting out a bet of 12,000. Mooney called it right away.

Staszko quickly turned over his cards -- A♥A♠!

"Ahhhhh," Mooney involuntarily exhaled as he showed he'd had a flush with J♦8♦.

"Niiiice hand, sir," he added. "It's a pleasure to lose to quad aces."

Staszko nodded and grinned the grin of a person who'd made quad aces. It's a pleasure to win with them, too.

Put Staszko on about 70,000, while Mooney still has 120,000. --MH


PSCH Prague 2017 Main Event day 1A Martin Staszko Tomas Stacha_2.jpg

Everyone smiles at quad aces

10:45pm: Vieira heads into the last level a hero
Level 7: Blinds 300/600 (ante 100)

Joao Vieira picked off a bluff in the last hand of the penultimate level of the day, and has 55,000 to play with for the last 75 minutes.

He opened to 1,500 from under the gun and was only called by Fidan Zahiti in the small blind. The 6♣T♥6♥ flop was checked before Zahiti led for 2,100 and 5,200 on the 7♦9♣ turn and river. Vieira made a quick call on the turn but took longer to call the river bet. Zahiti mucked and Vieira opened A♣K♠. One for the blog!

In other news, Fabrice Soulier has departed. --MC

10:40pm: Full value for Wirth
Level 7: Blinds 300/600 (ante 100)

Pocket aces are the best starting hand in hold'em, and they proved their value to Robert Wirth just now after he managed to double his stack with the hand near the end of Level 7.

Preflop back-and-forthing between Jerry Odeen and Wirth resulted in the latter being all in with A♥A♦ versus Odeen's K♥Q♠. The board came Q♣T♥5♠9♣6♥, and Wirth is now up to 35,000 while Odeen slips to around 15,000.

Meanwhile at the same table, chip leader Michal Mrakes is now on more than 220,000. --MH

10:25pm: Dvoress done
Level 7: Blinds 300/600 (ante 100)

Picking up the action on the turn of a blind-versus-blind battle with the board showing 6♠T♥Q♥5♥, there was around 10,000 in the middle when small blind Tomas Jozonis checked. Sitting in the big blind, Daniel Dvoress bet 7,000, and after taking a good while before acting Jozonis called.

The K♦ river brought another check from Jozonis, and after thinking things through Dvoress put his last chips forward, a bet of just over 13,000. Jozonis called again.

Dvoress showed A♥J♠ -- he'd made a Broadway straight on the river. But Jozonis had J♥2♥ -- he'd made a flush on the turn.

Dvoress is out, while Jozonis, who almost out himself just a while ago -- see the hand just below at 9:35pm -- is now up to 52,000. --MH

10:15pm: Fair trade?
Level 7: Blinds 300/600 (ante 100)

Timothy Adams took care of Andrei Butko in hand and just as he was busting, Stephen Chidwick - entering the Main Event - took another spare seat at the table.

Adams had defended his big blind to a late position raise from Butko and check-raised the flop. The turn was checked though before Adams set Butko all-in for 9,800 on the river. The final board read A♦4♥J♦J♠Q♣ and Butko called all with ace-eight seconds after the clock was called on him. Adams opened J♣4♣ for a full house. --MC

10:05pm: Stars shine at the table of O'Dwyer and Neves
Level 7: Blinds 300/600 (ante 100)

Our solar system is heliocentric, with the planets revolving around the sun at the center. The table at which Helio Neves has been sitting today has been mostly Helio-centric, with most of the action revolving around the active and aggressive Brazilian.

There are other stars at the table now, too, though, including 2013 WSOP Main Event champion Ryan Riess and high roller steamroller Steve O'Dwyer. Just now the latter got involved in a hand with Neves, and after a good river call collected some chips.

Neves had raised from under the gun to 1,300. O'Dwyer three-bet to 4,200 from the cutoff, getting a call from Neves. The flop came 9♥Q♥2♦ and Neves check-called a continuation bet of 5,600 from O'Dwyer. Both then checked the 4♣ turn.

The river was the 9♣, and this time Neves led for 6,500. O'Dwyer thought for a while, then came up with the call with A♠K♣ to play the pair on the board plus his Big Slick kickers. That was good as Neves showed J♠T♠ for a busted straight draw, and O'Dwyer won the chips.

O'Dwyer is up around 145,000 now, but Neves is back at it with a raise on the very next hand, the action revolving around him once again. --MH

10pm: Sixes no good for JNT
Level 7: Blinds 300/600 (ante 100)

Jean-Noel Thorel has been eliminated after he was taken out by Serhii Popovych.

The latter opened to 1,500 and called after Thorel three-bet to 4,000 from the next seat. The flop spread 9♠5♦4♦ and Thorel continued for 7,000 and then called all-in for around 19,000 after Popovych check-raised him all-in.

Popovych: A♠9♣
Thorel: 6♣6♦

The board ran out T♥A♦ to improve Popovych's hand to two pair, sending Thorel to the rail. --MC

9:50pm: Kings serve Mateos
Level 7: Blinds 300/600 (ante 100)

Adrian Mateos has had a busy day, one that kicked off with a third-place finish in the €50K Super High Roller where he earned a nice payday of €244,900.


NEIL7592_PSC_Prague2017_Adrian_Mateos_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Mateos earlier today in the SHR

Having hopped in the Main Event, Mateos just now earned some chips in a hand versus Serhii Popovych, getting some value in a hand in which the board rolled out J♣9♥2♦5♥J♦. Popovych kept battling with bets to the end with K♥Q♦, but Mateos went nowhere with his K♦K♠ to claim the pot.

Mateos is up to 55,000 now, while Popovych sits with about 25,000. --MH

9:45pm: The ins, the outs, the Adams
Level 7: Blinds 300/600 (ante 100)

There were a couple of pre-dinner exits to tell you about, and some new face faces post-dinner, too.

We informed you that Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier was short a while back and, unfortunately for him, he never managed to turn things around and busted.


PSCH Prague 2017 Main Event day 1A Elky Tomas Stacha_6.jpg

ElkY eliminated

Another player who biased prior to the break was Ole Schemion, who barely lasted half an hour before hitting the rail.

It's all about the new guys now. JC Alvarado, Daniel Dvoress and Dietrich Fast are all in the Main Event with fresh 30,000 stacks. Ironically, Fast - who bubbled the Super High Roller yesterday - has been drawn at the same table as the eventual winner, Timothy Adams.

As Fast was talking his seat, Adams was busy putting a 6,000 chip gap between them. He raised to 1,500 from the button and was called by both blinds. The Canadian continued for 1,500 and was only called by the small blind, but he too folded when Adams bet 8,000 on the 2♣ turn. --MC

9:35pm: The "walk away" works again
Level 7: Blinds 300/600 (ante 100)

"It was the walk away."

So said Parker Talbot to Tomas Jozonis just after he sat back down in his chair, alluding to a certain well known "reverse jinx" in tournament poker.

Jozonis had gotten up during the runout of a hand in which he was all in for his last 16,700 with A♥J♣ versus the A♠K♦ of Fabrice Maltez.

The first three community cards had come J♥K♥7♦ to put Maltez well in front, which let to Jozonis rising up as the 5♥ turn was dealt.

Then came the river -- the 7♥ to give Jozonis a winning flush -- and back down he sat.

The stack behind which Jozonis sat is now around 35,000, which is just about what Maltez has after that one. --MH

9:25pm: Back to business
Level 7: Blinds 300/600 (ante 100)

Players are back from their evening meal and in their seats, ready for two more 75-minute levels before play concludes tonight. --MH


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8:10pm: Dinner break

Six levels are in the books, and players are now enjoying a 75-minute dinner break before coming back for the final two of the night. --MH

8:07pm: Mrakes sets up tasty dinner
Level 6: Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

Players are now heading on their 75-minute dinner break, and it'll taste sweetest for Michal Mrakes, who extended his chip lead just as the tournament clock edged us towards the break.

He was involved in a pot against Jerry Odeen, with whom he had built a pot of about 40,000 as the board filled A♠2♠5♥A♦3♥. Mrakes bet 18,000 and after a while in the tank, Odeen said, "You win."

Mrakes now sits with about 165,000 and that's the most in the room. --HS


PSCH Prague 2017 Main Event day 1A Michal Mrakes Tomas Stacha_1 (2).jpg

Mrakes is rollin'

8:05pm: Sneaky Stuer and his top set/full house
Level 6: Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

Julian Stuer slow played kings and continued to play them sneakily after flopping top set and turning a full house. Being short-stacked it was a risk very much worth taking.

Killian Kramer opened to 1,200 and was called by Stuer and John Mooney in the big blind. The flop fanned 2♥K♠6♥ and the action checked to Kramer who bet 1,200. Both opponents called to the 2♠ turn that was checked through to the 7♥ river.

Stuer bet 5,100 and slammed down K♣K♦ after Kramer tank-called. He moved up to 27,000 and Kramer dropped to 14,700. --MC

7:55pm: Nothing weird about it
Level 6: Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

Marti Roca has hit a high point and now sits with around 75,000. He has also accounted for the dangerous Piotr Franczak in a hand that the latter probably wishes he could have back.

Roca opened from late position and Franczak three-bet from the big blind to 4,300. Roca then shipped for around 36,000, which covered Franczak. His stack was in the mid-20,000s.

"Normally I snap-fold," Franczak said after a good minute in the tank. "But something is weird."

Franczak then opted to back his hunch and under-called all-in. But his radar was faulty.

Roca tabled K♦K♣. Franczak exposed his J♠J♣.

There was nothing weird about anything, including the 9♣2♠2♦Q♣8♦ board. That meant Franczak is out. --HS

7:50pm: Jansen and Bercovici clash
Level 6: Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

By the time we arrived at the table, former EPT Madrid winner Frederik Jensen and Hari Bercovici were looking at a A♣J♥5♣T♥7♣ board. Jensen had an 11,500 bet in front of him and had been check-raised all in by Bercovici.

Jensen took his time to decide the best course of action and asked Bercovici whether he would show if he folded, to which Bercovici said he would. After mulling it over for a few minutes, Jansen decided not to commit his remaining 20,000 or so chips and passed. His decision was correct as Bercovici kept his word and showed K♣6♣ for the nuts. --LY

7:45pm: O'Dwyer puts Riess to the test (spoiler: he passes)
Level 6: Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

Steve O'Dwyer just disappeared for about ten minutes, but when he eventually retook his seat he made up for lost time by opening the first hand to 1,000 from the cutoff. Ryan Riess made the call on the button, and Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier -- who is now short-stacked with just 10,000 -- called in the big blind.

The three saw a 7♣Q♣K♥ flop which checked over to Riess. He led out for 1,500, which shook off ElkY but got a call from O'Dwyer. There'd be no more betting on the 7♥ turn, but when the 3♣ river landed O'Dwyer put out 3,500.

Riess went into the tank, picking up calling chips and ruffling them switching hand to hand. He shook his head, and even tried talking to O'Dwyer whose face did not move an inch.

Eventually he'd place the chips over the line though, and was relieved to see O'Dwyer turn over the J♠T♠ for an up-and-down straight draw that couldn't get there. Riess had the Q♥T♥, and his pair of queens were good, bringing his stack up to 43,000.

O'Dwyer still has more than 120,000, and ElkY needs a double-up. --JS


PSCH Prague 2017 Main Event day 1A Steve O'Dwyer Tomas Stacha_6.jpg

O'Dwyer misses draw, still with healthy stack

7:40pm: Painful fold for Roca
Level 6: Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

The Spanish sensation Adrian Mateos is now in this field, taking an empty seat a couple of spots around from his countryman Marti Roca. De Torres was actually involved in a hand as Mateos arrived, a hand that appeared to be giving him a great deal of anguish.

I actually didn't see very much of the hand, but there was about 7,500 in the pot and only a flop out: 2♠4♥5♦. That suggested some heavy preflop action.

Raman Afanasenka, who was in the big blind seat, moved a bet of 7,100 into the middle and De Torres didn't like it one bit.

Roca thought and thought and thought and thought, and then tried some chat and some more chat and some more chat. But after also then attempting to broker a deal where they would both show their cards if he folded, Roca was left guessing.

Roca folded and Afanasenka pushed his cards away. --HS


PSC_Barcelona17-23_Martí Roca.jpg

WSOP Europe Main Event winner Marti Roca (from PSC Barcelona)

7:35pm: Soulier gets a double-up
Level 6: Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

Fabrice Soulier found himself with less than 20 big blinds, so when Goran Mandic opened the hijack and he looked down at the A♥Q♣ in the cutoff, he felt it was time to three-bet. It was a big bet, too -- 7,200 total, leaving himself just 2,775 behind.

Mandic made the call to see the Q♥8♦Q♠ flop, before checking it to the raiser. Soulier nonchalantly tossed in his remaining chips with his flopped trips and Mandic snap-called with the A♦T♦. The 7♠ and J♦ completed the board, changing nothing, and Soulier is up above 20,000. --JS


PSCH Prague 2017 Main Event day 1A Fabrice Soulier Tomas Stacha_2.jpg

Some for Soulier

7:30pm: Red alert
Level 6: Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

Jean-Noel Thorel is wearing red shoes. He is off-setting the red shoes with some red socks. And he has some red trousers above that. And a red sweater. He is, it's fair to say, dressed head to toe in red.

Thorel also has a good deal of seniority compared with the average tournament poker player, and a mop of unruly hair. But it's there that any Santa Claus comparisons must end because Thorel is strictly in the business of stealing from the (relative) children surrounding him, rather than giving out gifts.

In a recent hand, Olli Autio opened to 1,200 from early postion, Dmitry Grishin three bet to 3,200 a couple of spots along, and there were folds around to Thorel in the big blind.

The dealer pre-empted the question he knew was coming from Thorel, announcing the bet size out loud. Then Thorel thumbed through his chips and put a fumbling four-bet forward. He made it 8,500.

He may look like a benevolent grandfather, dipped in tomato juice, but he'll make you pay to play with him. Nobody fancied it as both Autio and Grishin folded. --HS

7:25pm: That's more like it, champ
Level 6: Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

What's the best way to avoid being rivered? Switch it up and river your opponent, of course.

Timothy Adams raised from middle position and was called by Mikalai Vaskaboinikau on the button along with Shiguang Zeng in the small blind. The flop came 5♥9♠8♠ and Adams' 3,000 c-bet was only called by Zeng.

Both players checked the 3♣ turn before Zeng led for 3,000 on the 6♣ river. Adams called with 6♠5♠ to beat Zeng's K♣9♥. Zeng dropped to 14,000 after the beat. --MC

7:20pm: Vieira busts Vihakas
Level 6: Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

It began with an early position 1,350 open from Juao Vieira and a 3,750 three-bet by Vihakas from the small blind. After asking for Vihakas' chip count -- 15,000 (ish) behind -- Vieira made the call and they went heads-up to the 8♦9♦J♠ flop.

It was a very draw-heavy flop and Vihakas bet 3,500, which Vieira peeled. The Q♣ turn brought out a one-card straight and Vihakas checked this time. After thinking on it for a while, Vieira set Vihakas all in and got the call he evidently wanted.

Vihakas: K♠K♥
Vieira: A♦T♠

Viera's made straight just needed to fade one of the three remaining tens, which would give Vihakas a better one. It was a 8♥ river, so Vihakas is out whilst Vieira is up to roughly 50,000. --LY

7:15pm: Ensan showing but losing
Level 6: Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

Hossein Ensan is a man with very fond memories of this tournament room and has returned this week to try to add a PokerStars Championship title to his EPT Prague victory in 2015.

You don't win a tournament by folding (as someone is telling someone else right now in a $65 daily somewhere in the world), but this hand report features only a fold from the highly-rated Ensan.


PSCH Prague 2017 Main Event day 1A Hossein Ensan Tomas Stacha_2.jpg

More Prague poker for Ensan

It started when Ensan raised to 1,175 from under the gun and picked up a call from Norway's Morten Halvorsen in the cutoff as well as the big blind. The dealer showed them the K♣J♠6♦ flop and after two checks, Halvorsen bet 1,700.

Only Ensan paid to see the J♥ turn. But there was no betting there.

The 8♥ completed the board and Ensan flicked out 1,000. Halvorsen paused a moment, then raised to 6,000.

Ensan made up his mind to fold, but thought he'd look for some extra information and showed his Q♠Q♦ on the cards' way into the muck. "Not good?" Ensan asked.

Halvorsen slid his cards, face down and defiant, back to the dealer. --HS

7:10pm: Lose one beast, gain two more
Level 6: Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

A few minutes ago we told you how Steve O'Dwyer eliminated Nick Petrangelo from both his table and the tournament. Almost as if to test the "Irishman," he's now had both former WSOP Main Event champ Ryan Reiss and the sole PokerStars Team Pro Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier moved to his table.




O'Dwyer hasn't tangled with those two just yet, but was mixing it up with Pantelis Pavlis just now. On a K♥5♠7♦5♥ board, O'Dwyer led for 4,300 and was called, leading to the Q♥ river. O'Dwyer then made it 12,000, and after a minute or so in the tank Pavlis gave it up.

He may have a tough table again, but with more than 100,000 now O'Dwyer has the chips to handle it. --JS

7:05pm: Adams runs so bad
Level 6: Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

One has to feel bad for Timothy Adams. He just got rivered in a small pot to drop back below starting stack. Forget that he's won €624,000 already this week with a High Roller third-place finish and a Super High Roller win -- he just had the best hand with one card to come.

Adams opened from middle position and was called in three spots. The Q♦T♥2♦ flop was checked to the Q♥ turn where Adams' delayed 3,000 c-bet was only called by Mikalai Vaskaboinikau on the button. The 8♥ completed the board and the action was checked again.

Adams opened A♠K♠, but Vaskaboinikau rivered a pair with 8♦7♦ and moved up to 66,000. --MC

7pm: Petrangelo felted by O'Dwyer
Level 5: Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Steve O'Dwyer is certainly running better in this Main Event than he did during any of the three bullets he fired into the €50K Super High Roller. In fact, he's running so good right now that not only did he just knock out a player, but it happened to be his toughest opponent at the table, fellow high roller Nick Petrangelo.

Picking up the action on a 7♠8♠4♣J♣ board, there was around 13,000 in the middle and O'Dwyer led for 9,000. Petrangelo gave it some thought and opted for a call, leaving himself 22,000 behind.

When the 5♦ river landed, O'Dwyer set him all in and Petrangelo snap-called. O'Dwyer showed J♠J♦ for top set, and Petrangelo could only sigh as he rolled over his 7♦7♥ for a set-over-set cooler.

Petrangelo made his exit, while O'Dwyer stacked up 95,000. --JS

6:55pm: Kings down queens
Level 5: Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

A nice set-up here for Mattia Baccassino, a PokerStars qualifier from Italy, who managed to find a double of his 28,075 stack.

Baccassino and Andrey Novak, sitting in the big blind and UTG+1, respectively, went through the usual raise, three-bet, four-bet jam, sigh-call histrionics of two men with big hands and near equal stacks.

But Baccassino's K♣K♠ were always ahead of Novak's Q♥Q♦ and this was not one of those times when the underpair caught up.

Baccassino headed straight to his phone and frantically hammered out a text message to his friend. Novak kept quiet and looked forlornly at the 5,000 or so chips he had left. --HS

6:50pm: Big stack hunt
Level 5: Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

I went looking for any players with six-figure stacks and found five. I also happened to catch chip leader, Michal Mrakes, bust an opponent and extend his lead, moving up to 155,000. Here's how that hand went.

Pascal Hartmann was in the small blind and three-bet all-in over a 1,000 button raise. Mrakes made the call in the big blind and that was enough to scare off the button.

Hartmann: J♥T♥
Mrakes: A♣8♣

The board ran a blank 5♦6♠2♣K♥9♠ to send Hartmann to the rail. Mrakes leads a top five of:

Michal Mrakes - 155,000
Konstantin Farber - 130,000
Ali Reza Fatehi - 125,000
Helio Neves - 104,000
Morten Halvorsen - 102,000

--MC


PSCH Prague 2017 Main Event  day 1A Tomas Stacha-7318.jpg

6:45pm: Tonkaaaa in the mix
Level 5: Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

One of Twitch Poker's leading stars Parker "Tonkaaaa" Talbot is now out in the field, but his starting stack has dropped to 17,000. He just picked up a small pot though, after three-betting Aleksandr Mordvinov's 1,000 hijack open to 2,500 from the cutoff, and then c-betting 1,400 on an A♠7♣5♥ flop to win. --JS

6:40pm: O'Dwyer wins at showdown
Level 5: Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Play had reached the turn by the time I got to the table, and it had come down A♣7♣7♦6♥. Steve O'Dwyer bet 1,500 in position then was three-bet by Helio Neves in the small blind. The big blind came along, too, before O'Dwyer called and the river brought the Q♣.

Neves barrelled 12,500 into the pot and it was enough to fold out one of his opponents but not O'Dwyer who made the call. He showed two pair with Q♦J♣ and Neves turned over 9♣8♣ for a missed straight draw. --LY

6:35pm: Tough draw for Adinolfi
Level 5: Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Mario Adinolfi, who somehow finds the time to play poker between other careers in journalism and politics, will need all of his jousting experience to prevail in this tournament. If he looks to his left, he'll see high roller regulars Ali Reza Fatehi, Vladimir Troyanovskiy and Juha Helppi, all in a line.

Adinolfi had a crack at getting through them in a recent pot, but tripped up at the second hurdle.

Adinolfi raised to 1,025 from mid-position and was called by Fatehi (from one of the currently leading stacks of about 110,000), then Troyanovskiy (from about 70,000) and then Eliyahu Saado also called from the big blind. (Helppi sat it out.)

Four players were active after the flop of A♣Q♣2♠ but three of them checked, allowing Troyanovskiy to bet 1,800 and thin the field to only the opening raiser, Adinolfi.

But this one fizzled through a 9♣ turn and K♦ river. Adinolfi flipped up his 4♣4♥ but his face showed that he was only really waiting to see exactly how he'd lost.

Troyanovskiy showed A♠3♠ to answer that. --HS


PSCH Prague 2017 Main Event day 1A  Vladimir Troyanovskiy Tomas Stacha_1.jpg

Troyanovskiy takes one

6:32pm: Roca gets caught
Level 5: Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Recent WSOPE Main Event winner Marti Roca opened to 900 from middle position and got just one caller in Anton Yakuba from the big blind. The two saw a 7♥3♠4♣ flop, and Yakuba checked it Roca who fired a 1,425 c-bet. Call.

The turn came the 8♠ and both decided to see a free river card. The 9♠ landed, and when Yakuba checked again Roca pieced together a bet worth 2,125. Yakuba gave it a good amount of thought, but eventually placed down a call.

"Jack-high," announced Roca. "No wait. Queen-high."

Neither of those were good as Yakuba showed the A♣3♥ for just bottom pair. Nice call.

Yakuba is up to 62,000 now while Roca is back to the starting stack of 30,000. --JS

6:30pm: An overpair holds
Level 5: Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Over on Table 2 Mikalai Vaskaboinikau and Shiguang Zeng just got tangled in a pot. They were playing from the small and big blinds, respectively, and were looking a 9♠3♦5♥9♣7♣ board.

Action was on Zeng following Vaskaboinikau's check and he made it 3,500 to go to showdown. Vaskaboinikau made the call and Zeng turned over 3♠4♣ for one pair. It wasn't enough as Vaskaboinikau's T♥T♦ overpair was dominating right from the off.

Meanwhile Timothy Adams has now been moved to Table 2 to join them. --LY

6:25pm: Fatehi secures the double K.O.
Level 5: Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Ali Reza Fatehi now has one of the biggest stacks in the room courtesy of hand which saw him bust two players.

Fatehi, Saar Wilf and Jose Nunez Fernandez got all the money in preflop with pocket aces, pocket jacks and pocket queens, respectively. There was an ace on the flop, which also picked up the nut-flush draw on the turn, and became a full house by the river.

Wilf and Fernandez will need to find something else to do with their evenings, while Fatehi is up to 110,000 now. --JS

6:20pm: Hartmann gets straightened out and chopped up
Level 5: Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Pascal Hartmann was in the mixing bowl for two hands and is probably feeling as sick as his stack.

He squeezed to 3,200 preflop and was only called by Joao Vieira. A J♦K♦8♥ flop appeared and Hartmann's 2,400 continued was check-called by his Portuguese opponent. The T♠ turn was checked through to the 2♥ river where Hartmann fired for 7,700. Vieira check-raised all-in for 22,900 and Hartmann tank-called with A♠K♠. It was no good though as Vieira had already opened A♣Q♥ for a straight and moved up to around 67,000.

Hartmann moved all-in for 2,300 the very next hand after the action folded to him on the button. Jannick Wrang was in the small blind and made the call.

Wrang: A♠7♠
Hartmann: J♦9♣

The board ran T♠7♦8♥9♥J♥ to make a straight on the board. Chop it up! --MC

6:15pm: Fancy meeting you here
Level 5: Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

On the subject of players migrating to the Main Event from the Super High Roller, both Nick Petrangelo and Steve O'Dwyer are in today's field, too. Not only that, they're sitting side-by-side.

Furthermore, they were both involved in a recent pot, taking on the table chip-leader Tiago Neto.

It started with an open-raise to 1,000 from O'Dwyer in the cutoff. Petrangelo called on the button, then both players in the blinds, including Neto in the big, made the call.

The flop of 2♦6♥9♠ was followed by three checks, but Petrangelo bet 2,000. Only Neto called, but nothing further was added to the pot as the two checked down the T♦ turn and K♣ river.

Petrangelo's 9♥8♥ won this one, but Neto sits with 70,000 and that's more than anybody else over there. --HS

6:10pm: Greenwood bringing his A-game
Level 5: Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Here's a beautifully-played hand from Sam Greenwood, which resulted in a near double-up for the Canadian high roller. Would you play this hand like this? And could you expect this result?

Greenwood was on the button and opened to 1,000. Clement Richez was in the big blind and three-bet to 4,400. Greenwood called.

Both players checked the 5♣8♦A♥ flop, taking them to the 3♥ on the turn. Richez bet 7,500 and Greenwood called.

At this stage, Greenwood had 13,200 still behind the line, while Richez was richer, with about 23,000. They both then looked at the 8♠ river and Richez checked.

Greenwood took quite a while to think about what to do. In a Super High Roller tournament, the environment from which Greenwood has recently migrated, his decision-making would have cost him a time-bank chip.

But when he eventually made up his mind, he bet 13,000 even, leaving him 200 back.

Richez didn't know what to make of it, and his curiosity got the better of him. He called. Greenwood turned over A♦4♦ for two pair, no kicker. And he quickly learned that he'd been called by worse when Richez mucked. --HS


NEIL7455_PSC_Prague2017_Sam_Greenwood_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Getting creative with two cards: Sam Greenwood (photo from the Super High Roller)

6:05pm: Naughty Autio
Level 5: Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Olli Autio is clearly not feeling well, if the surgical mask he's wearing over his mouth is any indication. His illness might be interfering with his game, too, as he's just made a silly error which, although still ended with him raking in chips, may have cost him from getting any more.

There was a blind-on-blind battle between Autio and Marco Molon happening when we got there. Autio had four-bet Molon's big blind raise to 6,400, only for Molon to five-bet to 17,000. Autio was in the tank for a while, and then tossed in one more 5,000 chip.

That wasn't enough for a call obviously, so we knew something was up. Autio then quickly turned over his hand -- the A♣K♠ -- having thought (for some reason) that Molon had five-bet all in. He hadn't.


PSCH Prague 2017 Main Event day 1A Marco Molon Massen Olli Autio Tomas Stacha_4.jpg

Marco Molon, not all in after all

Autio was a bit shocked to see he'd made the mistake, and when the floor was called they ruled that he'd call the bet and then normal action would resume post-flop; all the while his hand was visible to Molon.

The flop came A♦4♠A♠, making it very hard for Molon to have anything he'd proceed with. Autio put out just 1,900, and got a quick fold.

Molon still has 50,000, while Autio is on 47,000. --JS


PSCH Prague 2017 Main Event day 1A Pierre Vander Massen Olli Autio Tomas Stacha_1.jpg

Pot goes to Olli Autio

6pm: Dude, where's my stack?
Level 5: Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

"Sorry dude!" said Andrei Butko to Pierre Vander Massen after he got lucky to eliminate him.

The former raised to 1,000 from second position and made a considered call after Massen three-bet all-in for 6,900 from the cutoff.

Butko: A♥T♠
Massen: A♠Q♦

The board ran 6♥8♥Q♥3♥2♦ to make Butko a flush. --MC

5:50pm: Back at it
Level 5: Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

After getting rid of all those pesky little green 25 chips, players are back in their seats. They'll play two more 75-minute levels before heading to dinner. --MH


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5:26pm: Break time

Off they go for a 20-minute break. --HS

5:25pm: The floor is called
Level 4: Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

Just before the end of the level, John Mooney was deep into the tank on the river in a pot with Julian Stuer.

The board read J♥K♠A♠A♥2♦ and it appeared that Mooney, who had a 2,500 bet in front of him, had been check-raised by Stuer to 11,000.

"There's only one hand I'm worried about and that's ace king", claimed Mooney and at least five minutes later the clock was called on him. The floor came over to oversee it. Before Mooney ran out of time, he made the call and turned over A♦J♣, for the second nuts.

It was good versus Stuer's K♦T♣. -LY

5:20pm: Mooney's in the money
Level 4: Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

John Mooney min-opened from under the gun, and got no respect whatsoever. His bet was called by four players, one of whom was Jerwin Pasco. They all saw a fancy looking Q♥J♥K♠ flop, and Mooney continued for 2,000 when it checked to him. Pasco was his only caller.

The turn came the 7♦ and Mooney didn't slow down, leading for 2,500. Call.

Finally the T♦ completed the board, putting four to a straight out there. Mooney led again for 7,500, and Pasco went into the tank. Mooney slid out his remaining chips, showing Pasco he had around 7,000 behind.

The clock was eventually called, and with around half that time gone Pasco plonked in some chips for a call. Mooney confidently turned over the A♣A♥ for broadway, and Pasco could only muck, leaving himself with 9,500. Mooney is up to 32,000. --JS

5:15pm: Fatehi down 42nd Street
Level 4: Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

Ali Reza Fatehi has dropped down to 42,000 after losing a three-way, three-bet pot.

He, Eliyahu Saado and Mario Adinolfi all paid 2,300 to see a 7♦4♣Q♥ flop. The action checked to Fatehi who bet 3,500. Saado was the only caller to the Q♠ turn where he called another 5,600 before the 3♠ was checked through. Saado opened K♣Q♣ for trips and Fatehi mucked. --MC


ali_reza_fatehi_psc_prague_day1a.jpg

Ali Reza Fatehi: Mucked

5:05pm: Every little Helppi
Level 4: Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

Finland's Juha Helppi had announced he was all in by the time I got to the table. He bet his last 6,500 on the turn and it is enough to win the pot. His stack is a little over 15,000 now, which is about half starting. Still it all helps. -LY


PSCH Prague 2017 Main Event day 1A Juha Helppi Tomas Stacha_1.jpg

Helppi hanging in

5:05pm: Reeves knocks out Rao
Level 4: Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

Two players had gotten involved from middle position before Lucas Reeves reraised to 4,400 from the button. The blinds got out and both of Reeves's opponents called, including Yan Rao.

The flop came 6♦2♣7♥, and after thinking a short while Rao announced she was pushing her 15,000 or so all in. Reeves called quickly, turning over K♠K♥, and he was well ahead of Rao's T♦T♣.

The turn was the 4♥ and river the 3♣, and Rao is out. Reeves has about 60,000 now. --MH

5pm: Wrang down to 10k after losing a pot to a Wael
Level 4: Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

Jannick Wrang's stack has dropped to around 10,000 after he lost a three-bet pot to his neighbour, Wael Sarkis.

Wrang was in the cutoff and three-bet Sarkis' 800 open up to 2,500. Sarkis called and called another 2,300 on a 9♥4♦8♣ flop. No more chips went into the middle as the 7♣2♦ turn and river were checked through. Wrang was shown A♣9♣ and mucked his hand. --MC

4:55pm: Okhotski bets every street
Level 4: Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

In a hand that began with a cutoff open from Oleh Okhotski to 700, action folded to Lucas Reeves who made a 2,800 three bet from the big blind. Okhotski made the call and so they went to the flop: 2♦T♠7♣.

It looked dry enough but that didn't slow the betting down. Reeves continued for a slightly smaller 2,400 and found himself facing a raise to 5,200. He made the call.

It was a 7♥ turn and Reeves checked to Okhotski, who placed 7,500 over the line. After some time in the tank, Reeves called once more and the dealer laid out a 4♥ river. This time when Reeves checked, Okhotski made it 14,000 to see his cards, which priced Reeves out and he folded.

Not a bad scoop at all for Okhotski. -LY

4:50pm: Tuna pushes his Lauck
Level 4: Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

Akin Tuna -- the guy who was giving Fabrice Soulier trouble earlier -- is back at it once again. This time it's former WCOOP Main Event Jonas Lauck who was in a spot of bother.

On a Q♥6♣4♠2♥T♦ board, Tuna led for 4,200 and Lauck made the call, but mucked when he saw his opponent turn over the 6♥4♥ for a flopped two pair. Both Lauck and Tuna are left with 40,000 after that one.

Meanwhile, during that hand Frederik Jensen picked up his chips and found a seat. The EPT8 Madrid winner has been on form of late, having final tabled the high roller at last month's PokerStars Festival Hamburg. --JS

4:40pm: River card sinks Larquemin
Level 4: Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

Christophe Larquemin was all in for a short-looking stack on a 2♦J♥4♥ flop, and after a bit of thought Ondrej Jakubcik chose to call the shove.

"Oh no," Jakubcik winced as he saw Larquemin turn over K♥J♠ for top pair of jacks. Somewhat sheepishly, Jakubcik showed he had middle pair with 5♥4♠. The 9♦ turn kept things where they were, then the 5♦ completed the board on the river.

It was Larquemin's turn to wince, having been knocked out by Jakubcik's two-pair hand. The latter is up to 66,000 now. --MH

4:35pm: Petrangelo goes all in
Level 4: Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

The blogging team arrived just in time to see Nick Petrangelo with an all in triangle in front of him and a board reading 5♣3♦9♠J♥T♥. He got it through, though, and is up to around 40,000 now. -LY

4:30pm: Croitoru cut back a little
Level 4: Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

Mihaita Croitoru was one of the early movers today but he's dropped back a little - to 55,000 - after folding in two pots either side of the level up.

Andrei Butko opened to 525 (when the big blind was 200) from the hijack and Croitoru called inn the next seat. The 7♥9♣4♥ flop was checked the 5♠ turn where Butko checked again. Croitoru bet 1,800 but snap folded when raised to 5,500.

A couple of hands later, in the new level, Croitoru raised to 750 and Mikalai Vaskaboinikau peeled form the big blind. The flop came 5♣5♠7♥ and Vaskaboinikau check-called 600 and another 1,500 on the Q♦ turn. The Q♠ fell on the river and Croitoru fired a third bullet worth 3,300 but quickly gave up his hand when check-raised to 13,000. --MC

4:25pm: A pep rally of a post
Level 4: Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

"Three-bet, four-bet, five-bet, shove...
Big-pot hands are what we love!"

All right, all right. Enough cheerleading. Everyone sit down, please, for the next hand report.

Gheorghe Butuc opened from middle position, then it folded around to Michal Mrakes in the big blind who reraised to 2,500. Butuc made it 6,500 to go, then with some deliberation Mrakes pushed it up to 13,750.

Cut to the chase, you say? All right, all right. Butuc shoved and Mrakas called in a snap.

Butuc: K♥K♦
Mrakes: A♣A♦

Who saw that coming? (All right, all right. Most of you did.)


michal_mrakes_psc_prague_Day1a.jpg

Michal Mrakes: The best set-up

The board ran out 5♥9♥J♦J♣Q♥, the aces held, and Butuc is out. Meanwhile Mrakes is up around 120,000, and quite probably the chip leader. The man deserves a cheer. --MH

4:10pm: More high rollers roll in
Level 4: Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

Joining Nick Petrangelo from the high roller world are Timothy Adams - who literally took down a Super High Roller this morning - and long-time crusher John Juanda, both of whom have just taken their seats.


PSCH Prague 2017 Main Event day 1A John Juanda Tomas Stacha_4 (2).jpg

Juanda is in action

Another guy already in who knows a thing or two about high rollers in Julian Stuer, as he took down the €10K at the PokerStars Championship Barcelona. He currently sits with 34,000. --JS

4:05pm: Tens work for Kotelnikov
Level 3: Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

Andrey Kotelnikov opened for 500 from early position and got a caller on his left, then Louis Linard three-bet to 2,500 from the button. The blinds got out, Kotelnikov called the reraise, and the man in the middle moved out of the way.

The flop came 5♥Q♣4♥, and Kotelnikov check-called Linard's 2,500 c-bet. After that the 3♠ turn and 8♣ river saw no further betting. Kotelnikov turned over T♣T♠ and it was good as Linard mucked.

Linard slips to 26,000, while Kotelnikov bumps up around 55,000. --MH

4:03pm: Kortas KO'd, Petrangelo playing
Level 3: Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

In that hand reported below won by Helio Neves, Kjell Ove Dyb was the player left shortest on chips among the three involved. But the other player -- Ghattas Kortas -- was the one eliminated shortly thereafter.

Coming to fill Kortas's seat is another familiar face, that of Nick Petrangelo who takes a seat here near the end of Level 3. --MH

4pm: Soulier thinks Tuna got there
Level 3: Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

In between bursts of working on his laptop, Frenchman Fabrice Soulier has come here to play some poker. Unfortunately for him, he's been put in a tough spot pretty early on in his Main Event.

Akin Tuna had opened to 525 from the lojack, which Soulier then three-bet to 1,375 from the small blind. Tuna made the call, and the two saw a J♥5♥T♦ flop. Soulier continued for 1,400 when it checked to him. Call.

The turn came the Q♦ and it checked to Soulier again. He made it 2,200 this time, and again Tuna didn't budge. That brought a scary-looking K♥ on the river, which completed both straight and flush draws.

Tuna certainly seemed to like it. He led straight out for 9,000, and put Soulier to the test. He thought for a minute, but ultimately opted to give it up and leave himself with 26,000. Tuna is up to 33,000 now. --JS

3:55pm: Castelluccio continues
Level 3: Blinds: 100/200 (ante 25)

A hand from the table next to where Sam Greenwood has just sat down:

There had been a limp from under the gun, followed by a raise to 800 from middle position. Then Tapio Vihakas, who was also in middle position, three bet to 2,200. It folded round to Sergio Castelluccio in the big blind, who cold four bet to 5,700. It was enough to get snap folds from the first two players and action was firmly back on Vihakas who made the call.

It was a low 8♠2♠5♦ flop and Castelluccio continued for a smaller 4,100, which was enough to take it down. -LY

3:50pm: Early risers
Level 3: Blinds 100/200

Sam Greenwood has become the 157th player to join the Day 1A field. He'll start with 30,000 chips. Five players who have tuned that into a nice profit so far are:

Marco Molon - 77,000
Mihaita Croitoru - 63,000
Ali Reza Fatehi - 62,000
Benjamin Chalot - 57,000
Omid Mojaverian - 55,000

It's still very early days though with a very good structure, so expect many changes to the leaderboard throughout the day. --MC

3:45pm: Not the club Dyb wanted
Level 3: Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

Here's a hand featuring one of those fist-pump-oh-yeah-I-won-this-oh-wait-a-minute-I-lost-didn't-I hands we all love.

Three players were in when the flop came T♣5♥A♣, and from the big blind Helio Neves led with a bet. Kjell Dyb then called from middle position, and both watched Ghattas Kortas raise from late position. Neves then jammed all in and Dyb did the same over top of that, and Kortas bowed out.

Neves had flopped a set of fives with 5♠5♦ while Dyb was looking for a club with K♣J♣. The 9♥ turn kept Neves ahead, then came the river... the 9♣!

"Yes," cried Dyb excitedly. Then he saw the board had paired.

"Ohhh," he added with chagrin (but also with a grin).

After counting his chips Dyb saw he was suddenly down under 10,000. Meanwhile Kortas has about 23,000.


kjell_dyb_psc_prague_day1a.jpg

Dyb still grinning

Neves won the next hand as well, and he's pushed up around 80,000 -- one of the bigger stacks in the room so far. --MH


PSCH Prague 2017 Main Event day 1A Helio Neves Tomas Stacha_2.jpg

Hello, Helio

3:35pm: Bejedal plays the 7-3 game
Level 3: Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

Fans of televised high stakes cash games will almost certainly be familiar with the seven-deuce game. It's when every player at the table has to give a certain amount of money to a player if they manage to win a hand with the worst starting hand in hold'em, even if it's just an pre-flop open and everyone folds.

Swedish online qualifier Dennis Bejedal is probably familiar with that game, but judging by this last hand he might think a seven-three game is running instead.*

After Hari Bercovici opened to 500 in middle position, Bejedal three-bet to 1,400 in the cutoff. That brought in Omid Mojaverian on the button, and Bercovici called as well. The three saw a 5♥2♠A♠ flop, and Bejedal continued for 1,500 when it checked to him. Mojaverian made the call, and Berovici got out of the way.

The dealer burned and turned the 8♥ and Bejedal fired a big bet of 6,000. Mojaverian leant over to get a better look at the Behedal's remaining stack (he had 14,500 behind), and tanked for a good few minutes before eventually making the call.

The board was completed by the 3♥, and Bejedal now checked it. After a little think Mojaverian checked it back, and must have been pleased to see Bejedal flip over the 7♣3♣ for just a rivered bottom pair, having flopped a gutshot to a wheel.

Mojaverian had the winner with his 5♦6♦ for what turned out to be a very nice turn call indeed with his pair of fives.

Mojaverian is up to 47,000 now, while Bejedal will be regretting having ever watched the seven-deuce game on those TV shows.

*It's not. Obviously. --JS

3:30pm: Lesser full house makes Ilin ill
Level 3: Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

The board showed Q♣T♣J♣3♠T♦, and all three remaining players were interested.

Hady El Asmar was the first to act, and with nearly 16,000 in the middle he put out a small blocker-type bet of 3,000. Kirill Ilin was next up, and after pausing a couple of beats he raised all-in with his last 14,300.

The action moved to Boris Kuzmanovic who didn't think for too long before calling the shove, and El Asmar only needed a few seconds to release his cards.

Kuzmanovic was quick as well when showing his J♥J♦ for a full house, jacks full of tens. Ilin saw that and wanted to show his hand, too -- Q♥T♥ for a lesser full house of tens full of queens. A tough river for Ilin, and he's out. Afterwards El Asmar talked about folding a flush, so he wasn't too keen on that fifth-street card, either.

El Asmar still has 55,000, though, while Kuzmanovic climbs to 65,000. --MH

3:20pm: Evard takes from Andersson
Level 3 - Blinds: 100/200 (ante 25)

Frederik Andersson started off the betting with a 500 open from under the gun. He was looked up by two middle-position players and then the big blind.

On the J♣2♣7♦ flop, Andersson's continuation of 800 narrowed his opponents to just Francois Evard, who had position on him.

The 7♠ turn paired the middle card and this time both players checked, taking them to the river, which was a 8♦. Andersson opted to make a large 3,200 bet and it seemed like an easy call for Evard who showed K♣J♠.

It was enough to beat Andersson's T♠T♥ and Evard adds over 5,000 to his stack. -LY

3:15pm: Rat man traps himself
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200

Pest controller and former EPT champion Lucien Cohen is in the house. His stack was in the black but he lost two pots on the trot to drop back to starting stack.

He opened to 500 from middle position and was called by Erik Walfridsson in the big blind. The board eventually rolled out 7♣7♠Q♦5♠K♣ with Walfridsson checking to face bets of 500, 800 and 1,200 on each street. He called all the way and saw his French opponent muck on the river when called for a final time.


lucien_cohen_psc_prague_day1a.jpg

Lucien Cohen: Sans rat

Cohen came back with a raise to 500 the very next hand. Julian Stuer defended his big blind this time and both went on to check a T♦7♣T♣ flop. Stuer led for 800 on the 9♣ turn and was called but his 4,000 bet on the 6♥ river promoted a quick fold from Cohen. --MC

3:10pm: The check-raise that wasn't
Level 3: Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

Miguel Capriles might have won this hand had he not made a small slip-up on the turn. See what you think.

The hand began with Stefan Jedlicka opening for 500 from middle position, then Oleh Okhotskyi three-bet to 1,300 from a couple of seats over. Capriles called the reraise from the big blind as did Jedlicka, then all three checked the 3♠2♦K♦ flop.

The T♣ came on the turn, and after Capriles checked Jedlicka bet 2,400. Okhotskyi got out, then Capriles made his move.

"Three thousand," he said, placing his bet. He meant a check-raise, but as the dealer pointed out, that wasn't enough to raise, so it had to be a call.

The 8♠ came on the river and both checked. "Ace-high," said Capriles, showing his A♦5♦ for a busted flush draw. Jedlicka had ace-high as well, but with A♥Q♦ he earned the pot.

Would Jedlicka have folded to a turn check-raise? No matter now, as Jedlicka is stacking 33,500 versus Capriles's 20,000. --MH

2:55pm: Off they go again
Level 2 - Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

They're back, and the ante is now in play. -- HS


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2:35pm: Break time

That's the end of the day's first two levels and they're now going for a break.

2:30pm: Huge pot before the break
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

While all other players were making their way out of the tournament room, a big pot was being played on Table 2 that ran into the break.

With 9,000 in the middle and a 7♠6♠J♥ flop out there, Avraham Azulay had checked and Andrei Butko bet 5,000. Mihaita Croitoru then three-bet shoved for 13,000, only for Azulay to re-shove for 34,000!

Butko went deep into the tank and after several minutes tablemate James Mitchell called the clock. It ticked all the way down before he folded. Croitoru and Azulay were now heads up and all-in. Croitoru showed his A♠3♠ for the nut-flush draw. Azulay showed the 9♥7♥ for just middle pair, which amazingly was ahead.

That is, until the 9♠ turn. The river came the Q♥ and that meant Croitoru just about trebled up to 40,000, while Azulay dropped to 21,000 and Butko has 19,000.

"I knew he had a flush draw," Azulay said after the hand. But what did Butko have? We'll never know. --JS

2:25pm: Kruk cut down
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

Christopher Kruk just busted here during the second level of the day, his final hand coming versus Hady El Asmar.

As always in poker, one player's misfortunate benefits another, and El Asmar, who final-tabled the EPT11 Grand Final Main Event in Monaco two years ago (finishing third), enjoys a nice boost prior to the first break. --MH

2:15pm: Two pair for Zahiti and wise advice from Mitchell
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

While Fidan Zahiti was winning a pot with two pair, James Mitchell was offering wise advice to Belgium's Pierre Vander Massen. "You've never heard of the expression, 'Never eat yellow snow?'" asked Mitchell.

"No, we don't have that but I understand what you mean!" came the reply.

Back to the pot: Avraham Azulay opened to 400 from under the gun and was called by Zahiti on the button. He continued for 500 on an 8♣9♥5♦ flop and was called. The turn was the Q♥ and Azulay slowed to a check and called an 825 bet. He did so for another 1,800 on the 2♥ river but mucked upon seeing Zahiti's Q♣5♣ for two pair. --MC

1:55pm: Comings and goings
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

They're up to 125 players entered now, although even at this early juncture a couple more players have hit the rail.

Georgios Zisimopoulos, Helio Neves, and 2014 WSOP Main Event runner-up Felix Stephensen are among the more recent arrivals. --MH

1:45pm: Easy game for Troyanovskiy
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

Vladimir Troyanovskiy has amassed over $5.3 million in career earnings and nearly $250,000 of those winnings have come here in the Hilton Prague. He's already up to 38,000 in level 2 after an easy pot win versus Mario Adinolfi.

The two players where heads up to the turn where a K♠4♣K♣A♠ board could be read. Adinolfi was in middle position and check-called a 1,600 bet from Troyanovskiy in the cutoff. The 2♦ completed the board and Adinolfi simply tossed his cards into the muck. Troyanovskiy was too busy playing Hearthstone to react too much. --MC

1:35pm: Bercovici doesn't let go of his pocket pair
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

There was an early position raise to 400 and a table full of callers, including Hari Bercovici sitting in the hijack seat. The action moved to Omid Mojaverian in the big blind who put in a big squeeze to 3,175, and that scattered everyone but Bercovici.

The flop came K♠7♣J♠, and Mojaverian continued for 2,100. Bercovici called that bet, then when Omid Mojaverian checked the 3♠ turn, Bercovici took the opportunity to bet 4,000 himself. After a minute of thought Mojaverian called, then both checked down the 4♣ river.

Mojaverian tabled A♥Q♠ for ace-high, meaning Bercovici's 5♠5♣ gave him the best hand and the pot. --MH

1:20pm: Staszko no runner-up in this post
Level 1: Blinds 50/100

The aforementioned Martin Staszko won a three-way pot to see his stack get into the black on 32,000.

Eugenio Peralta raised from the cutoff and picked up two callers including Stazko in the big blind. The flop fell 4♣J♦A♥ and Peralta's 500 c-bet was called by both opponents. The Q♦ turn was checked through to the 6♥ river where Stazko led for 1,000. Peralta was the only caller but he mucked upon seeing the Czech's J♣6♣ for two pair. --MC

1:05pm: Troyanovskiy takes a seat, Staszko sits down as well
Level 1: Blinds 50/100

A couple more familar names to add to the list of players as the field size surges past 100.

Vladimir Troyanovskiy has over $5.3 million in lifetime tournament earnings, including three cashes already here in the PokerStars Championship Prague series. The Russian has now joined the Main Event fun.

Meanwhile Martin Staszko has sat down as well. Hailing from Trinec, Staszko is easily the most famous WSOP Main Event player from the Czech Republic after his runner-up finish in the 2011 WSOP Main Event, a score that comprises a large percentage of his $6.2 million-plus lifetime total. --MH


PSCH Prague 2017 Main Event day 1A Martin Staszko Tomas Stacha_1.jpg

Staszko is in the game

1pm: The field almost at three figures
Level 1: Blinds 50/100

The Day 1A field is still growing steadily and 99 players (minus one) are registered. Liviu "00human00" Ignat, Joao Vieira, Mario Adinolfi, Paul Leckey, Louis Linard, and Stefan Jedlika, Thomas Peterson, and Tamer Kamel have all joined the action. It took Kamel a little longer than expected to fins his seat, and that's due to him sitting in the wrong seat to start with. --MC

12:50pm: More new arrivals
Level 1: Blinds 50/100

Players continue to arrive as the day's first level continues.

Among the latest to take a seat is recent World Series of Poker Europe Main Event winner Marti Roca who earned a cool €1,115,207 for topping a 529-player field in nearby Rozvadov.

And speaking of WSOP memories, Quan Zhou is here as well now, dressed in a fantastic silver and burgundy sports jacket topped by a bright orange scarf, although his attire is a bit more wakeful than he is at present.


PSCH Prague 2017 Main Event day 1A Quan Zhou Ondrej Jakubcik Tomas Stacha_1.jpg

That's Zhou right there, Ondrej Jakubcik helpfully points out

Zhou made a run in this year's WSOP Main Event in Las Vegas before memorably bluffing his way through a hand to bust right smack on the bubble. --MH


PSCH Prague 2017 Main Event day 1A Quan Zhou Tomas Stacha_4.jpg

"I'm awake!"

12:40pm: Set over set
Level 1: Blinds 50/100

Oleh Okhotskyi lost some chips early on, while Zico Tjin-Asjoe gained some.

The pair then clashed in a first-level hand just now which might have resulted in a bigger exchange of chips, though Tjin-Asjoe escaped relatively unharmed. They made it to the river at which point Tjin-Asjoe showed pocket fives for a set of fives, but there was an eight on the board and Okhotskyi had pocket eights for a better set.

As noted, though, the size of the pot ultimately stayed in the "modest" range, and both players are back around the 30,000-chip starting stack after one. --MH

12:30pm: It was fun while it lasted
Level 1: Blinds 50/100

"Seat open, Table 10!"

Wait, what? That's right, not a half-hour into Day 1A, and there's already been an elimination.

Florian Albert was the unfortunate player to earn the ignominious designation as the first to fall in the PokerStars Championship Prague Main Event. Marco Molon was the recipient of Albert's chips, meaning Molon sits with around 60,000 already and can comfortably claim the title of early chip leader. --MH

12:25pm: I'll trade you crypto for poker chips
Level 1: Blinds 50/100

We're only a few days into the PSC Prague festival and it'll come as no surprise that the topic dominating conversations at the tables is crypto currency. When, and if, they bought and for what price. Have they sold or traded any since? You get the idea.

Anton Wigg and Christopher Kruk have been drawn at the same table and they've talked about nothing else, even bringing the dealer into the conversation. Actually, they did stop to play a heads-up pot, before getting back to crypto.

Wigg raised his button and Kruk defended his big blind. A 2♥T♠J♦4♥3♣ board ran out with Kruk checking to face bets of 400, 700 and 1,800 on each street. He stuck around until the river but gave up to the final bullet. --MC


PSCH Prague 2017 Main Event day 1A Anton Wigg Tomas Stacha_2.jpg

Anton Wigg, discussing currency events

12:20pm: Kruk tries his luck
Level 1: Blinds 50/100

Joining Orpen Kisacikoglu here in the early going is another Super High Roller player, Christopher Kruk, who has just taken his seat. About 75 players are in action with the field sure to continue growing all day long. --MH

12:15pm: Kisacikoglu gets check-raised, folds his overpair
Level 1: Blinds 50/100

We ended our coverage here on PokerStars Blog last night reporting on Orpen Kisacikoglu losing with pocket kings to finish fourth in the €50K Super High Roller. Just three players remain over there, with play (and our live updates) resuming at 12:30pm.

Meanwhile we start today with Kisacikoglu again, as he is among those seated at the very start of Day 1A of the Main Event.


PSCH Prague 2017 Main Event day 1A Orpen Kisacikoglu_2.jpg

Orpen back at it

In one of the very first hands of the day, the board showed 4♣4♠3♥2♣ and Kisacikoglu was in the cutoff when he bet 700 to chase the button. But Andrey Novak in the small blind responded with a big check-raise to 3,000. Kisacikoglu thought for a while, then shook his hand while folding his hand face up -- J♥J♠.

It was a rough end last night, and a not necessarily smooth start today for Kisacikoglu. But the amiable pro from Turkey battles onward. --MH

12:10pm: 68 in from the start
Level 1: Blinds 50/100

Let's be honest, even midday is early for poker players. Around 68 were in from the start and some familiar, punctual faces included: Saar Wilf, Juha Helppi, James Mitchell, Victor Ilyukhin and former EPT champion Yannick Wrang. The tournament is situated in the far corner of the main room but should swell to take over the majority of the room. --MC

12pm: Shuffle up and deal!
Level 1: Blinds 50/100

And they're off! The first hands of the 2017 PokerStars Championship Prague Main Event are being dealt. Back in a few to let you know some of the players who are receiving those initial rounds of cards. --MH

11am: Moving on to the Main Event

Hello again from the Czech Republic where there's poker being played all over the place here in the Hilton Prague hotel. Today the packed schedule of events includes a big highlight that starts just about an hour from now -- Day 1A of the €5,300 PokerStars Championship Prague Main Event!

A year ago it was Jasper Meijer Van Putten of the Netherlands topping a huge 1,192-player field to win the Main Event title here in Prague and a €699,300 first prize.

He'll be back to defend his title, for sure. Indeed we already have heard from Meijer Van Putten again this week, as he managed to take down the kickoff €10K event just a few days ago.


PSCH Prague 2017 Event 2 winner Jasper Meijer Van Putten Tomas Stacha-6783.jpg

Jasper Meijer Van Putten collecting another trophy in Prague

Today's schedule calls for eight 75-minute levels with a 75-minute dinner break coming after Level 6. Players will start with 30,000 chips with the blinds 50/100 to begin.

We'll be here from the beginning to bring you all the action from the tournament floor. Come back and start refreshing at 12 noon when cards go into the air, and we'll start finding out together who will be the next PokerStars Championship Main Event winner! --MH


NEIL6497_PSC_Prague2017_Prague_Neil Stoddart.jpg

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PokerStars Blog reporting team on the €5,300 Main Event: Marc Convey, Martin Harris, Jack Stanton, Howard Swains and Lisa Yiasemides. Photography by Tomas Stacha and Neil Stoddart.


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