Michaelis leaves it late to snatch Day 2 lead at PokerStars Championship Prague

paul_michaelis_psc_prague_day2.jpg

Paul Michaelis: Day 2 leader

The PokerStars Championship Prague Main Event is delicately poised at the end of its second day. We know how much they're playing for (€4 million in the prize-pool; €775,000 for first) and who is still in the running (keep reading), but the first walk to the payouts desk won't be taken until the bubble bursts sometime tomorrow.

There is, it therefore follows, everything still to play for.

Leading the pack at this stage, when bagging took place at the end of the tournament's 13th level, is Germany's Paul Michaelis. Michaelis built a stack steadily through the day, then proved once again that it's worth staying alert for the day's duration as there are chips to be snaffled right at the death.

Michaelis made a boat with his pocket fives just before tournament officials instructed players that there were only four more hands left. He knocked out Romain Lewis and leapfrogged all others on the leader board to bag 630,500 at the close.

Here's what Michaelis had to say:

Most pertinently, Michaelis overtook Omid Mojaverian, who had been the dominant force to that point. Mojaverian, from Iran, started the day with 113,800 and nearly quadrupled it within the first level or so. From there on, he bounced around a few tables always carrying a bigger and bigger stack.

He finished with 597,500 and remains in the top five. The full counts will be on the chip-count page very soon.

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Omid Mojaverian: Leading until he wasn't

With seven new entries at the start of play today, the official field for the tournament swelled to 855 of whom around 145 are still in contention. Only 127 get paid, so it'll be a nervy opening to Day 3.

Team PokerStars Pros Marcin Horecki (132,000), Igor Kurganov (161,300), Jake Cody (252,500) and Fatima Moreira de Melo (406,300) remain in the hunt, as well as our author friend Maria Konnikova (29,500), who is seeking her first PokerStars Championship Main Event cash.

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Fatima Moreira de Melo: Fine day

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Igor Kurganov: Heading for the cash?

In case you haven't heard the story, Konnikova is spending a year on the poker circuit and learning the trade. It follows that she's getting better as the months go by. Like many others, Konnikova will be sweating the bubble first thing tomorrow, with one of the shortest stacks in the room.

Some of them will make it, some of them won't. And there will be some players who will come into the day full of confidence and with a big stack and still be eliminated. Poker is like that.

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Maria Konnikova: Heading for a Main Event cash?

To understand better how today played out, read all the updates in the archive below. A reminder of where everyone stands can be found on the chip-count page, while the payout schedule is on the payouts page.

Return tomorrow, when levels will be 90 minutes long and the line will start forming at the payouts cage.

Day 2 coverage archive:


• PLAYERS: 148 of 855
CHIP COUNTS | SEAT DRAW | PAYOUTS
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8:25pm: Full house helps Paul Michaelis jump to top of counts
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Paul Michaelis has won a pot here near the finish to knock out Romain Lewis and possibly grab the end-of-night chip lead away from Omid Mojaverian.

The hand saw Michaelis raise from middle position to 6,500, Lewis three-bet to 20,000 from the next seat, and Michaelis call. Both checked the 9♣5♥6♠ flop, then Michaelis led for 33,000 after the 4♥ turn and Lewis called.

The river was the 4♣, and Michaelis pushed all in to put Lewis for the test with regard to his remaining 115,000 chips. After a tank and a calling of the clock, Lewis called with 7♦6♦ for sixes and fours, but Michaelis had him with 5♣5♦ for a full house, and Lewis is out.

Michaelis jumps to about 635,000 with just a few hands left to go tonight. --MH

8:20pm: Four more hands
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

They'll play four more hands and then bag for the night. -- HS

8:15pm: How fortunes can change
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Just a few hands ago, Petar Kalev jammed 26,800 (nine big blinds in poker currency), got it through and has doubled twice since then.

The most recent double occured after Kalev found himself looking at aces on the button and he elected to call versus Rasmus Vogt's middle position raise to 7,000, rather than three bet.

It gave Gavin O'Rourke, who was sat in the big blind, the opportunity to get involved, which is what he did. O'Rourke moved all in and after Vogt stepped aside, Kalev snapped.

Kalev A♠A♣
O'Rourke 6♦6♥

The runout came T♣7♥J♦5♣J♠ and the aces held, pushing Kalev up to 130,000 or so. Day 3 is looking a lot more likely now. -LY

8:11pm: A Sow-so hand with Badziakouski
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Not long after were telling you Mikita Badziakouski seems to always make the right decision, he was actually put to a hard test by Kalidou Sow.

We arrived with an 8♦Q♥2♦Q♣5♦ board already out there, as well as a pot that must have been pushing 80 or 90,000. Sow had led for 46,000 and Badziakouski, who was on the button, was in a tough spot.

He wriggled around for a good while and eventually the clock was called. Badziakouski let it count all the way down to one before he mucked his hand, taking his stack down to 140,000. Sow, meanwhile, has increased to 390,000. --JS

8:10pm: Sikora busts over the course of two hands
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Jaroslaw Sikora is out. He lost a bunch to James Mitchell and the rest to Viliyan Petleshkov.

Mitchell opened to 7,000 from the cutoff and Sikora three-bet to 25,000 from the big blind. Mitchell called to see a K♠K♦J♦ flop where he called another 16,500. The turn was the 2♠ and Sikora checked before he snap folded when Mitchell bet 21,000. Mitchell rose to 210,000.

The very next hand Petleshkov raised to 10,000 off the button and called all-in for 85,000 after Sikora three-bet all-in for 78,000 from the small blind.

Sikora: 8♣8♦
Petleshkov: A♥Q♦

The board ran T♦T♠7♠Q♠K♠ to pair Petleshkov's queen. --MC

8:05pm: Kung fu Paddubniak
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Earlier on, we told you about Maksim Paddubniak's dance-like stretching movements. He was at it again, and Dermot Blain was curious.

"You like stretching eh?" he asked.

"Yes, it's Tai Chi!" replied the Belarusian. "But I also do kung fu."

"You do kung fu?" said a suddenly more interested Blain, and Paddubniak nodded as he continued to sway. Paddubniak has 80,000 right now, while Blain has 190,000.

While all this was going on, Mauricio Salazar Sanchez managed to find a double up on the same table. Mihai Manole had called his shove with the 6♣6♥ and Sanchez had the A♥9♦, which took the lead after the Q♥8♠9♠2♠4♥ board. --JS

8pm: Heidorn busts O'Dwyer
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

I wandered back into one of the darker corners of the tournament room, tucked away beside the television stage where there are a few tables in action. There away from the more traveled circuit of reporters sat Steve O'Dwyer, and as it happened he was getting involved in a big pot as I approached.

There had been an opening raise from the player sitting under the gun to O'Dwyer's left, then it folded around to Robert Heidorn in the small blind who re-raised. O'Dwyer then pushed all in over those bets, and if it weren't so dim back there I'd tell you precisely how much he pushed (more than 100K, I'm going to say -- certainly a stack below the average).

The original raiser's fold and the call from Heidorn both came quickly, with Heidorn tabling A♠K♥ and O'Dwyer A♦J♠. The board came 2♠3♣7♠T♠T♦, and just like that O'Dwyer is out while Heidorn is up to 372,000. --MH

7:55pm: ICYMI
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Fatima Moreira De Melo won a big pot up on the feature table not too long ago, and is now playing a 365,000 stack. --JS

7:50pm: Adams is out
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Super High Roller Champion Timothy Adams has hit the rail. His stack had been yo-yoing all day and in an attempt to increase his 57,600 chips, or 19 big blinds, he found himself out.

There was a 6,200 button open and a small blind flat before Adams squeezed. After taking some time to work out what best to do, only Jean-Jacques Zeitoun made the call in the small blind and the cards were turned over.

Adams A♠4♦
Zeitoun 6♦6♠

Zeitoun was the favourite as the dealer laid out 7♦J♠J♣. The flop gave Adams three sevens to counterfeit as well as the aces, doubling his outs. The K♦ turn gave Zeitoun even more of a sweat as he now had three kings to avoid.

He managed it, with a 2♠ brick on the river and adds to his chips, while Adams heads out. -LY

7:40pm: A civil war
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Germany's Robert Heidorn kicked this one off with an under-the-gun open to 7,000. That got a call from Steve O'Dwyer, and in turn that inspired a three-bet squeeze by another German, Konstantine Farber, on the button.

Back to Heidorn, he moved all in for 121,000 total, which got rid of O'Dwyer in a hurry. But just as quickly Farber called.

It was the T♥T♦ for Farber racing against Heidorn's A♦K♦, and the turn of the 5♦5♣7♥A♠4♦ board gave Heidorn the victory.

He's up to around 250,000 now, while Farber is still healthy with a 280,000 stack. --JS

7:35pm: Big stack entrance and Lodge river shoving
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

One way too make an entrance at a new table assignment is to turn up with a chip-leading stack of 620,000. Omid Mojaverian did just that when he arrived at Jake Cody's table.

Martin Meciar was suitably impressed and a little envious. He's probably more envious after losing a pot to Harry Lodge to drop to 80,000.

Lodge raised to 7,700 off the button and Meciar defended his big blind to see an A♠8♠6♠ flop. Lodge continued for 6,000 and was check-called before he bet another 19,500 on the 5♦ turn.

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Harry Lodge: Gets a fold

Meciar decided to check-raise to 48,500 and Lodge tank called to see the Q♦ river. Meciar choked and sigh-folded to Lodge's shove.

Lodge moved up to 210,000. --MC

7:27pm: Mitchell coolers Hutchison
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

The last hand of the previous level was a nasty one for Dean Hutchison. It was also his last hand in this tournament.

It had folded to James Mitchell on the button and he opened to 5,500. Hutchison defended his big blind to see a 5♠9♦T♥ flop, which Mitchell continued on when it check to him. The bet was 6,500, and Hutchison called.

That brought a 9♠ turn, and interestingly Hutchison now led out for 16,000. Mitchell didn't budge though.

On the A♥ river, Hutchison continued his hijack of the betting, making it 35,000. Mitchell took a moment to think, before announcing he was all in. Hutchison snap-called the 22,000 he had behind.

Mitchell: T♣T♠
Hutchison: A♦9♥

Ewwwww. Mitchell had flopped top set and filled up on the turn, but a pretty gross runout also gave Hutchison a worse full house by the river. Clearly crushed by the cooler, Hutchison made his exit to a chorus of "Unlucky" from his tablemates, including Mitchell, who now sits with 280,000. --JS

7:25pm: Two jacks equal a Dattani double
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

The last level of the night has begun, with 171 players still left vying to make the final 127 spots and the cash.

Michel Dattani was at risk of losing his spot in the line-up after getting all in before the flop with J♥J♣ against Viliyan Petleshkov's A♣J♦. But the board brought no aces, coming 6♥T♦Q♣4♣Q♥, and Dattani remains in the game with about 110,000 -- just a bit less than Pelteshkov's 115,000 with just under 75 minutes of poker left on Day 2. --MH

7:20pm: Badziakouski right again
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

He's made a lot of correct decisions in this tournament, and Mikita Badziakouski just made another. Then again, that's expected; you don't get to the top of both the live and online worlds by making bad decisions, do you?

Action folded to the Belarusian and he opened the button to 6,000. Viktor Ustimov then decided to three-bet to 23,000 from the small blind, which sent Badziakouski into the tank.

At least, we assume he was in the tank. For all we know, Badziakouski knew exactly what he was going to do immediately and was simply trying to sell something.

After a minute or so he jammed for around 130,000, and got an instant fold from Ustimov, who still has 160,000.

Badziakouski now has a little more than that with 162,000. --JS

7:15pm: Eight to a table
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Following on from below, they're now moving into the last level of the night, with 172 players left. The tournament is now also eight-handed and will be until its conclusion. -- HS

7:10pm: The field continues to narrow
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

We're about to head into the last level of the day and we are down to 174 players. There has been a steady trickle of bust-outs since the last break, recently including Olli Autio.

Action was on the turn by the time we got to the table, with T♠8♥5♥K♠ already out. Autio had check-jammed over Konstantin Farber's 10,000 bet and Farber was pondering a call. He made it and spun over K♠J♥ for one pair versus Autio's Q♥7♥ flush draw.

The river was a T♣ brick and we say goodbye to Autio. -LY

7:05pm: Sorrentino eliminated
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Following losing that big pot versus Gassan Yared just a short while ago, Raffaele Sorrentino was soon all in with his resulting short stack behind A♣6♣, but once again he'd run into an opponent holding pocket kings as Antonio Palma held K♣K♦.

The board came 7♥J♠T♥, then 4♦, then 2♣, and Sorrentino is out. Put Palma on 209,000 now. --MH

7pm: Battle of Britain
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Louis Salter won a small battle of Britain versus Lawrence Bayley to move up to 134,000. Bayley dropped to 118,500.

Salter opened from the hijack and Bayley made the call from the button. The flop fell 9♦8♥3♠ and Salter check-called 5,900 before the A♣A♥ turn and river where checked through. Salter opened T♦8♦ and Bayley mucked. --MC

6:50pm: Everybody needs good neighbours (not ones who will bust you)
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

While tables have been breaking to even out the seating plan, Paul Gresel and Boris Kuzmanovic have been sat next to each other for this entire day. Their table has been low on the breaking order, and while they've seen others come and go, they've both been permanent fixtures.

But their neighbourly bond has now well and truly been broken.

Action folded to Gresel on the button and he came in for a raise to 5,200. Over to Kuzmanovic on his left, the Croatian three-bet the small blind to what looked like 17,000. I mean, what kind of neighbour would do that to you? That's the equivalent of someone stealing your lawnmower.

James Akenhead gave up his big blind, and back to Gresel, it was time for some revenge (or so he thought). The Dutchman decided to take an aggressive line and shoved for around 70,000 total. Kuzmanovic snap-called with the bigger stack holding the K♠K♥, and Gresel was both disappointed and frustrated with his A♣Q♥.

He had outs though; three immediate ones before the 8♣9♠8♦ flop. Gresel even picked up a gutshot when the T♠ hit the turn. But the K♦ gave Kuzmanovic's hand unnecessary improvement to eliminate a player and bring his stack up to 220,000.

He's now awaiting his new neighbour. --JS

6:40pm: Soshnikov busts Anton
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Ivan Soshnikov is up to at least 260,000 after knocking out Ionel Anton. Anton had got 29,600 in from the cutoff with K♠Q♥ and got a call by Soshnikov in the small blind who had A♥K♦.

The flushing 2♥T♥9♥ flop gave both players a draw but as Soshnikov's was higher, it narrowed Anton's outs to two queens or three jacks for a straight.

The 6♥ turn put an end to it, giving Soshnikov the flush, and Anton was out of his seat before the dealer had time to put 4♣ out on the river. -LY

6:40pm: Yared scores huge double through Sorrentino
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Ghassan Yared opened for 6,000, and from the next seat over PokerStars Championship Monte-Carlo winner Raffaele Sorrentino three-bet to 17,500. It folded back around to Yared who called, and the pair watched the flop come 5♣2♦K♦.

Yared checked, and Sorrentino continued for 15,500. Yared called. The turn was the 8♣, and Yared checked once again. Sorrentino paused a beat before betting another 26,500, and Yared sat quietly for several moments with his arms folded before leaning forward and placing his forehead into his hand.

Eventually he rose up, folded his arms again for a short while, then announced he was all in. After getting a count to see the bet was for just about 100,000, Sorrentino called.

Yared: K♠K♥
Sorrentino: A♦7♦

Yared had a set of kings, but Sorrentino had a nut-flush draw and could still win it with a non-pairing diamond on the river. Fifth street was the 9♣, though, and Yared took a walk around the table to wind down as the chips were duly counted and delivered to his spot.

Yared has something in the neighborhood of 260,000 now, while Sorrentino slips all the way to 55,000. -- MH

6:35pm: Deinum dislodged
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Harry Lodge is up to 130,000 after he won a flip versus a similarly size stacked Foeke Deinum.

The Brit opened to 5,100 from under the gun and called after Deinum three-bet all-in for around 62,000 from the cutoff.

Deinum: 9♠9♥
Lodge: A♦K♦

The board ran 4♣Q♣A♠8♥3♣ to pair Lodge's ace.

"Good luck everyone!" said Deinum as he left the table. --MC

6:30pm: Toodle pip
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

The rush to the exit has slowed somewhat, but there's still been time for Goran Mandic, Sergi Reixach, Carsten Jeppesen, Parker Talbot, Marcin Kreft, Davidi Kitai, Koray Aldemir, Peter Nigh, Sergio Da Silva, Gytis Bernatavicius and Andrew Miles to bottleneck at the door.

We have also learned in the past 30 minutes that there will not be a back-to-back Prague champion. Jasper Meijer Van Putten is out. -- HS

6:30pm: Mandic calls it off
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

When you're short-stacked and card-dead, poker can be a cruel game. You can either fold and fold and hope to get something good, or you can just go with what you're given and hope for the best.

Viktor Laui shoved from the UTG+1 seat for around 36,000 and it folded around to Goran Mandic in the big blind. He only had about 10,000 or so, and although he wasn't happy about it, he made the call.

He quickly saw that his T♦8♣ was in awful shape against Laui's A♣T♣, and he was drawing dead after the 2♦A♠A♦ flop. The 5♣ and J♠ completed the board to send Mandic out. Laui is now playing around 45,000. --JS

6:25pm: Badziakouski doubles Paddubniak
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

It started with an under the gun open from Mikita Badziakouski and he found himself facing an all-in jam from fellow Belarusian Maksim Paddubniak, who was a couple of seats to his left.

With no other takers, action was back on Badziakouski who said "I don't know much it is, but I call" and turned over A♥K♣. Paddubniak turned over A♣Q♥ and needed some help as the significant underdog.

The dealer placed K♠8♥9♥ on the flop and and Paddubniak was in some trouble, as he only had a couple of runner-runner combos that could save him. There was a T♦ turn, which was one of the cards he needed and he now had four outs, all the jacks.

It was a J♠ river and there were a few chuckles around the table.

Badziakouski took it with a smile and counted out 31,900 to pass over to Paddubniak, which takes him to around 70,000.

Badziakouski drops to 160,000 but promised Paddubniak that "I will double you up one more time, then take it all." It was said with a smile, but we'll keep you posted whether he delivers. -LY

6:20pm: Kings work for Koran
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Michael Koran was dealt a good hand, and so he raised to 5,500 from early position. It folded around to Xia Lin in the blinds who called, and the pair saw a flop fall K♦7♣8♥.

Koran liked his hand and he liked this flop, and so he'd ultimately bet all three streets after Lin checked to him each time. On the flop the bet was 5,500 again, which Lin checkcalled. Then on the Q♣ the bet was 8,000, and Lin stuck around once more with a check and call.

Lin again checked the 4♦ river and this time Koran pushed all in for his last 39,900. Lin thought a while before calling a third time, then had to muck after seeing Koran's K♥K♠ for a flopped set of kings.

Koran jumps to about 110,000, while Lin has about 50,000 now. --MH

6:15pm: Sow-ing the seeds of success
Level 12 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Kalidou Sow's stack has grown to 380,000 after he won a four-way pot against Raffaele Sorrentino, Jean Montury and Parker Talbot.

Sow opened to 4,800 from early position and Sorrentino (cutoff), Montury (small blind) and Talbot (big blind) all called to see a 7♦K♥6♥ flop.

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Kalidou Sow

The four players checked to the T♥ turn where Sow's delayed 7,500 c-bet was only called by Sorrentino. The T♦ completed the board and the two remaining players checked.

Sow opened 6♠5♠ which was good as his Italian opponent mucked.

Sorrentino - 160,000
Montury - 106,000
Talbot - 45,000

6:05pm: Double K.O.! Kitai and Koray say goodbye
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

We've just seen two of the toughest players in the field bust in the same hand.

It started with an UTG+1 shove from Koray Aldemir (one of the aforementioned toughies). The amount was around 30,000, and Davidi Kitai re-shoved from the UTG+2 seat for around 40,000.

It folded to Aleksandr Mordinov in the cutoff, and he made the call with a stack that covered both. Everyone else got out of the way, and the three seemed to show their hands in order.

Aldemir was first. He had the Q♣J♣.

Then it was Kitai. He held the T♠T♦.

davidi_kitai_psc_prague_day2.jpg

Davidi Kitai: A shorter run than usual

And finally Mordinov, who was busy sorting out exactly how much he had to call rather than slowrolling, turned over the A♥A♦.

The flop and turn were interesting. The board showed the 5♦8♥9♠7♣, giving Kitai an up-and-down straight draw, while Aldemir's gutshot was heavily blocked by the Kitai's hand.

In the end the 7♦ river changed nothing, and both Aldemir and Kitai hit the rail. Mordinov is playing around 200,000 now. --JS

6pm: Not well Nigh
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Peter Nigh opened for 5,100 from middle position and it folded around to Daniel Belov on the button who reraised all in. The blinds stepped aside and Nigh, well covered by Belov, called the push.

Nigh had A♥K♦ but needed to improve against Belov's K♠K♣. The board came uneventfully -- 7♣7♠6♥2♣Q♠ -- and Nigh is out. Belov is up to 227,000. --MH

5:55pm: Time for another break
Level 13 - Blinds: 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

They're back in the room and playing another two levels before wrapping for the day. The chip-leader at this stage is still Omid Mojaverian, although a few others are closing the gap. The chip-count page had a recent spruce. -- HS

omid_mojaverian_psc_prague_day2.jpg

Omid Mojaverian: Boss

5:35pm: Time for another break

Players have gone on their second 20-minute break of the day. When they return, they'll play two more 75-minute levels before chips are bagged. --JS

5:30pm: Is there such a thing as a showdown on the turn?
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

The answer is no. Absolutely not. That didn't stop Boris Pesic from doing just that though.

Action was on the turn when the floor was called and the hand involved Pesic and Jan Bednar. Bednar filled in the blogging team on the full hand history and it went like this...

Pesic had opened to 4,500 from under the gun and gotten only one caller in Bednar on the button. The flop ran Q♥7♦6♥ and Pesic continued for 6,000 and Bednar matched it. The turn was a T♣ and Pesic barrelled for 6,000 again, to which Bednar announced all in.

We're still unsure why, but this was when Pesic turned over his cards, revealing A♥J♥ for a gutshot and flush draw. The floor was called and they ruled that although "Pesic had gone to showdown out of turn," the action was still with him. He called and we got to see Bednar's Q♠9♠ meaning that any ace, king or heart would keep Pesic in the game. Instead it was a 4♠ and, being the all-in player, Pesic made his way to the door.

We will never know what, if any, penalty would have been given had Pesic not busted that hand. --LY

5:20pm: Never over til it's over
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

This hand played out like a fireworks display, with "Oohs" and "Aahs" accompanying its every twist and turn. "Typical PokerStars run-out," someone said when it was done.

It all began in standard fashion. An open raise from Boris Kolev in early position and a shove from Dmitry Grishin with a short stack. Kolev, who is one of the chip-leaders, called.

Grishin: A♠J♠
Kolev: 6♣6♠

It's fair to say the flop of 7♠3♠9♠ hit Grishin like a shovel. But his opponent wasn't dead as the 6♦ turn ("Oooh!") and 7♣ river ("Aaaah!") proved.

Grishin can now use that shovel to dig his own grave as he is out. --HS

5:15pm: Mojaverian rising
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Omid Mojaverian keeps on keeping on, just now claiming yet another pot at his table. The Iranian has built his stack up around 480,000 now as they move into the latter hands of Level 12. --MH

5:10pm: A KO for Konnikova means more for Maria
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Maria Konnikova was down to around three big blinds or so earlier this afternoon, then after a swift, successful sequence was quickly up over 60,000. Now she's got nearly double that after knocking out Micky Blasi.

Picking up the hand on the flop, both players were in late position and the board showed J♦T♦T♥ when Blasi bet 4,500, then Konnikova raised to 16,000. Blasi responded with an all-in push for about 35,000, and Konnikova snap-called.

Blasi had K♥J♥ for jacks and tens, but he'd been tripped up by Konnikova's trips with T♠9♠. The K♠ turn did give Blasi two pair, but the 7♦ sealed it and he's out.

Konnikova is up to 115,000 now. --MH

5:05pm: All about Toma (even when it's not about Toma)
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

There are plenty of reasons to enjoy both playing against or watching Tsugunari Toma. He is certainly never one to keep his emotions to himself, which adds a bit of colour to the otherwise drab proceedings, and he's also never too concerned about keeping his cards to himself, happily turning them face up as his involvement ends in pots. That goes whether it's showdown or not.


NEIL8634_PSC_Prague2017_Tsugunari_Toma_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Tsugunari Toma

Not so long ago, I saw him three-bet from the big blind and, when the original raiser folded, Toma showed his pocket kings. And in this next hand, though Toma played only a small pre-flop cameo, he allowed us to sweat with him.

It started when Toma opened to 5,000 from under the gun. Robert Heidorn, one seat around, moved all in for 31,500, but then Edgaras Kancaitis re-shoved for 100,000 total.

Everyone folded back around to Toma, and though he has his chips in an awkward to count formation, he easily had both his opponents covered. However, he clearly didn't have a good enough hand to snap-call.

He contorted his face this way and that, rocking in his seat, painfully considering his options. He then pushed his opening raise away from him, surrendering it, and turned over his pocket jacks to make sure everyone knew he wasn't bluffing the anguish.

Toma let out a small yelp when Heidorn showed his A♥Q♥ and then Kancaitis exposed his A♣K♣. He was ahead of both of them, and they had one of each other's outs covered. "I had ace-queen too," Toma's neighbour said, adding to the injury.

But a results-oriented Toma was even more delighted than Heidorn at the sight of the Q♣5♦2♠ flop, with the 6♦ turn and 4♥ river completing the board.

Toma's jacks would have been beaten, much like Kancaitis's dominating big slick.

Toma pumped his fist on to his heart, while both Heidorn and Kancaitis, who had much more on the line, ploughed on silently and stoically. --HS

5pm: Up, down and up a little again for Adams
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Timothy Adams started the day on a little over 100,000. As I walked past his table it looks like he started the hand on about 60,000.

Alexis Fleur had opened 4,700 in EP and Adams called behind. It is just the two of them as they go to a 9♠J♣7♣ flop. In the absence of a continuation from Fleur, Adams bets 4,500 and gets a call.

On to the 8♠ turn, which brought out a one card straight and a second flush draw. Perhaps not surprisingly, the betting went check-check. Finally it was the 6♥ river and once again Fleur deferred to Adams who made it a very large 30,000, which Fleur snap folded. Mega value bet or overbet bluff? You decide.

Either way it takes Adams to around 75,000. --LY


NEIL8554_PSC_Prague2017_Timothy_Adams_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Super High Roller champ, Adams

4:55pm: Zisimopoulos finds a call
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

With the board showing 6♦9♦5♦K♠4♠, Georgios Zisimopoulos (small blind) had led for 9,300, but then Gavin O'Rourke (big blind) raised enough to put Zisimopoulos all in if he were to call. That understandably put the latter in the tank for a good while, and eventually he did emerge to call and risk his tournament life.

Run-of-the-mill stuff, I suppose, but the fun part of the hand came from watching Zisimopoulos remove his earbuds before calling, essentially packing up his things and standing from his chair at the moment he revealed his hand -- 6♠5♠ for two pair. He was absolutely ready to leave, appearing as though he'd decided at once that (1) he was calling, and (2) he was losing.

But he wasn't losing. O'Rourke was bluffing. With 8♦3♠.

Zisimopoulos sat back down.

Both players have around 120,000 now. --MH


NEIL8684_PSC_Prague2017_Gavin_O'Rourke_Neil Stoddart.jpg

O'Rourke gets caught

4:50pm: River bet-fold from Isaia
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Alessio Isaia started the day with around 87,000 and had been enjoying a great day, seeing his stack swell past the quarter of a million mark, but he's dropped back to 230,000 after he bet-folded on the river to Nick Maimone.

Maimone opened from early position and Isaia called from the big blind. A 4♠Q♠6♥A♣3♠ board rolled out with Isaia check-calling bets of 5,000 and 10,200 before he led for 13,500 on the river. Maimone wasn't having any of it though and raised to 55,000. His Italian opponent gave it two minutes though, shook his head and then folded. Maimone's stack grew to 190,000. --MC

4:45pm: Moreira De Melo continues to shine
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Fatima Moreira De Melo's touching on 300,000 now after she caught Marcin Kreft at it on the river.

Around 14,000 lay in the middle of the table and a Q♦J♥4♣4♠9♦ board was at rest. Moreira De Melo checked from the big blind to face a 16,000 bet. The Team PokerStars Pro took several minutes before slicking in the call. Kreft opened T♠7♣ and Moreira De Melo scooped after tabling K♣J♦. --MC

4:40pm: A heroic bluff and a Viliyan call
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

John Juanda just lost a lot of his stack to an opponent whom he might be thinking of as "Villain." Actually his name is spelled Viliyan, as in Viliyan Petleshkov, and now the latter is sitting with a big stack.

After a 6♠3♦T♠ flop Juanda led for 5,000 from middle position and Petleshkov called from the hijack seat, bringing the pot up around 25,000. Then Juanda led again for 15,500 following the 8♣ turn, and Petleshkov stuck around once more.

The river was the K♥, and Juanda bet what looked like 35,000 (or might possibly have been 45,000 -- it was a little shadowy) and Petleshkov called instantly.

Juanda turned over Q♦7♦ to show he'd been bravely triple-barrelling, while Petleshkov showed 8♥8♦ for a turned set of eights. In other words, it wasn't a hero call, that's for sure. A Viliyan call.

Petleshkov has about 210,000 now, while Juanda has fallen to just three big blinds or 6,000. --MH


NEIL8386_PSC_Prague2017_John_Juanda_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Juanda needs a miracle comeback

4:35pm: Yosef knocks out Dowling
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

It started with a 4,500 open from Assaf Ben Yosef in early position and just a couple of places to his left, Chris Dowling looked at his cards and declared all in. Everyone else passed, leaving the action back on Yosef who snap called.

Yosef A♠K♠
Dowling 5♠5♣

The 4♣3♥9♣ flop saw the pocket fives edge into the lead and the 9♦ meant that Yosef was only looking for an ace or a king to win the pot. He found the K♥ he needed on the river to secure the 30,000 or so chips that Dowling had, pushing his stack up to around 170,000. --LY

4:30pm: Swingy Sarwer surging
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Jeff Sarwer has had a good trip to Prague. He's played four tournaments and made the final table in two of them, and now he has hit a high point in the Main Event. He has 150,000 after a yo-yoing opening couple of levels today.

He lost a couple of flips early on to leave him with only about 30,000 but has since built back and seems to be enjoying himself. Sarwer is a dangerous opponent but a decent table-mate. There's always a conversation there should anyone be in need of a chat. --HS

4:25pm: O'Rocket
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Gavin O'Rourke had 9,000 chips when he came back to play today and I'll admit I deleted him from the bottom of our chip-count page after a level or two today, figuring he must have hit the rail unseen. But that was foolish. O'Rourke is indeed off the bottom of the chip counts, but only because he has increased his stack 20-fold. He now has 180,000. --HS

4:20pm: Popovych picks off Proudfoot
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Serhii Popovych had K♥Q♥, which means he had top pair on the 3♥8♥K♣2♥8♠ board. But he had a problem.

With 80,000 or so already in the middle, he was facing a Jonathan Proudfoot bet worth more than the just under 50,000 had behind. Which meant if he called and his top pair weren't good, he'd be on the rail.

Finally after mentally sorting through the last few minutes, Popovych managed a call, and when Proudfoot showed his hand -- A♥4♣ for ace-high -- Popovych exhaled with satisfaction that he'd made the right choice.

That bumps Popovych up close to 180,000 now, while Proudfoot has 105,000. --MH

4:18pm: Pustula and Merzhinskii go three streets
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

All the cards were out and Alexandr Merzhvinskii was the one with a decision to make on the river, as Jacek Pustula had bet 26,900 to get to showdown.

Pustula was able to rewind the hand for us once it played out and this is how he said it all happened...

Merzhvinskii had opened to 4,000 and Pustula flatted on the button. The flop came out K♣5♦T♣. Merzhvinskii continued for another 4,000 and Pustula came along.

The dealer placed a Q♠ on the turn and this time Merzhvinskii elected to check, and then called a bet of 11,000. Finally there was a 7♦ river and Merzhvinskii checked once more, which is when Pustula made it 26,900. This wasn't an easy call for Merzhvinskii but he made it all the same and mucked his hand when he saw Pustula's K♥Q♥ for top two pair. Pustula's stack has grown to 120,000 now. --LY

4:15pm: Fatehi's stack plumped up
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Ali Reza Fatehi has just passed the 100,000 mark after top pair was good against Gab Yong Kim.

He opened to 3,700 from early position and Kim defended his big blind to see a T♠6♠9♦ flop. Fatehi continued for 4,900 and was check-called. Kim called another 8,100 on the 2♣ turn before the 4♠ river was checked through. Kim opened K♦J♦ but Fatehi's A♦T♦ was best. Kim moved into the danger zone with 25,000. --MC

4:10pm: Playing against good players
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Omid Mojaverian's sensational day continues. He now has 408,000, which is by far the biggest stack in the room.

It's made all the more impressive by the fact that he's currently sharing a table with Christopher Frank, Jussi Nevanlinna and Ismael Bojang, among others, who are three of the toughest customers in the remaining field.

That said, the table will shortly be breaking, so they'll be bringing a wheelbarrow over to Mojaverian's side shortly for him to cart all his chips. --HS

4:05pm: Wheeler continues to roll
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Jason Wheeler has been chipping up all day, and now is up around the top of the leaderboard after securing a pot in a hand versus Antonin Duda.

It began with an Wheeler open from the cutoff for 3,500, called by Duda on the button. Wheeler continued for 4,200 on the 3♦6♦A♥ flop, getting another call, then both checked the 9♥ turn.

The river brought the 5♣ and a bet of 9,000 from Wheeler. Duda thought a bit before calling, and Wheeler showed he had 9♦5♠ for runner-runner two pair.

Duda mucked, studying his stack of 50,000 afterwards. Meanwhile Wheeler is way up to about 306,000. --MH


NEIL8499_PSC_Prague2017_Jason_Wheeler_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Wheelerin' and dealin'

4pm: Evard eliminated
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Francois Evard had a stack with which he could commit what he had left with A♣8♦, but Daniel Wilson had a stack with which he could call with A♠J♦.

The dealer had five cards to deliver with which a winner could be determined, and when they turned out to be 6♠4♦6♥7♥J♠, Wilson was the one.

Evard is out, while Wilson has chips with which to continue in the tournament -- about 105,000 of them, to be specific. --MH

3:55pm: You won't find this lot anymore
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

A few notable bust-outs of late include Andreas Klatt, Mikhail Rudoy, Henrik Hecklen, Kristen Bicknell, Ryan Riess, Nicolas Chouity, Akin Tuna, Voljtech Ruzicka, and Maria Lampropulos.

But you didn't think that was it, did you?

Of course not. This lot are also out:

Simeon Naydenov, Ognyan Dimov, Ioannis Angelou Konstas, Jonathan Roy, Jiri Horak, Floris Payraudeau, Slobodan Ruzicic, Jean-pascal Savard, Kliment Tarmakov, Davide Suriano, Pedro Cairat, Michael Kane, Niklas Astedt, Davor Lanini, Andreas Samuelsson, Jeffrey Hakim, Dan Borlan, Rui Dores, Ondrej Vinklarek, Benoit Lam, Simone Speranza, Samu Riihela, Georges Hanna, Julian Herold, Markus Grabher, Knut Karnapp, Samuel Grigorian, Gary Fisher, Pavel Sourek, Bartosz Piesiewicz, Filipe Oliveira, Aleksandr Gofman, Haim Magrilshvili, Alin Grasu, Alexander Timman, Anthony Hobbs, Andreas Vlachos, Martin Lesjo, Hamad Almannai, Jakub Michalak, Roman Pavliuk, Arunas Sapitavicius, Benjamin Lamprecht, and Jozef Bartalos. --JS

3:50pm: Moreira De Melo takes from Fast
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

It was an epic hand, not just in size but in length too. Fatima Moreira De Melo made a 3,500 button open, which was called by the small blind only for Dietrich Fast to three-bet to what looked like 13,500. Moreira De Melo made the call and the small blind got out of the way, leaving the two pros heads up going into the flop.

The dealer laid out 2♥K♦Q♦ and Fast continued for 10,500, which Moreira De Melo called. Next came a J♦ turn bringing out a flush, and a couple of straight combinations. This time Fast bet 24,500 and Moreira De Melo needed a little more time to think before making the call.

Finally it was a 2♣ on the river. There was a long pause from Fast before he put 45,000 over the line. Moreira then went deep into the tank and after several minutes another player at the table called clock. Moreira De Melo used about half of that before making the call.

Fast showed A♦ while announcing ace high and Moreira De Melo turned over A♥K♠ for top pair. She scooped the pot and has around 270,000 now, which is not far off the chip lead. Fast will need to get it in soon with only 8,000 in play. --LY

3:45pm: Indahl baffled by Luo
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Eirik Indahl looked a little baffled by Xixiang Luo's big river bet looking at a board of T♠J♦Q♦3♣2♠.

"Could you spread the pot, please," Indahl asked the dealer, and was then able to determine there was about 28,000 in there.

Luo's bet (following Indahl's check) was 30,000, so this was pot-plus. Indahl brow-furrowing eventually led him to the conclusion that Luo was weak and he made the call.

But he was wrong. Luo showed Q♥T♥ for a flopped two pair, and Indahl mucked.

"Big hand," Luo said.

"Another big hand," Indahl corrected, referencing a previous skirmish between the two. Luo has about 260,000 now thanks to those two pots. --HS

3:40pm: Everybody do the Paddubniak
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Maksim Paddubniak keeps catching our eye as we circle about the tournament room. Not because of the way he's playing his current stack of 35,000, but rather because of an interesting in-between-hand ritual he's been practicing of late.

Standing away from the table, Paddubniak is performing a bit of exercise that appears to have both physical and mental benefits. He sways back and forth while rolling his hands one over the other, bending his knees slightly as though bouncing in a meditative way.

It's a bit mesmerizing, and occasionally I've caught players at other tables watching him after they've folded their hands. And, well, catching myself, too... enough to share the picture with you, anyway.

If there were a caption underneath him, it might read "Going with the flow." In any case, it seems to be helpful as far as keeping him where he wants to be, literally and figuratively, as the tournament rolls along. --MH

3:35pm: The basics of Boeree's elimination
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

William Foxen had aces. Liv Boeree had sevens. They got it all in and the PokerStars Championship Prague is minus one Team Pro. --HS

3:30pm: Same hand blues
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

On a day of quads over quads and assorted other big hands, I suppose it was time for one of these. Well, actually, let's let this one play out before revealing the punchline, although I suspect you'll know what's coming from a little way off.

Dmitry Grishin and Edgaras Kancaitis got 22,500 each into the pot pre-flop. That was a raise from Kancaitis in mid-position, a three-bet from Grishin on the button, a four-bet and a call.

Then they examined the beauty of a 9♦8♥A♦ flop. Kancaitis checked, Grishin bet 10,000 and Kancaitis called.

That represented little more than a tentative prod and an uncertain parry, especially in light of the more cocksure pre-flop action. And neither wanted to get too crazy through the 8♣ turn nor Q♣ river, which led to a quite predictable conclusion.

Kancaitis turned over his K♦K♣ and Grishin showed his K♠K♥.

Wah-wah-waaaaah. --HS

3:25pm: Konnikova still in the hunt
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Among the many pieces of great advice in Maria Konnikova's first book Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes is a recommendation near the end to put yourself in the mindset of a "hunter" who can readily adapt to changing situations.

Such an idea of oneself -- as Sherlock Holmes often demonstrates in the Arthur Conan Doyle stories -- can help a person think more clearly when seeking out answers to solve knotty problems or mysteries.

Thinking of yourself as a hunter has other positive effects as well, including the way it can instill a kind of confidence in those facing such problem-solving challenges.

"View yourself as a hunter in your own life," writes Konnikova, "and you may find yourself becoming more able to hunt properly, in a matter of speaking."

Just now Konnikova found herself with a short stack of 13,700 -- among the "hunted," so to speak, at her table. But after jamming with A♠T♣ and getting called by Guillaume Davy who had J♥J♠, the board rolled out 3♠7♥6♠A♦Q♣ to give Konnikova the better pair and continued tournament life.

She was at about 28,000 after that hand, but has since more than doubled up to 65,000. The hunting continues. --MH


NEIL8656_PSC_Prague2017_Maria_Konnikova_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Konnikova: Hunted becomes the hunter?

3:20pm: Too good to fold for the busted Hakim
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Jeffrey Hakim has hit the rail after he was getting too good a price not to call all-in.

He was one of two callers after an under-the-gun raise to 3,500 and then the only caller after Michael Koran squeezed to 10,000 from the big blind. The flop spread A♥A♦K♥ and Koran's 6,000 c-bet was called by Hakim. The Lebanese pro only had 15,000 behind and he was asked the question for all of it on the T♦ turn.

You could see Hakim doing some internal calculations and then he called off with K♦Q♦. Koran opened A♠Q♣ and improved to a full house on the T♣ river to move up to 165,000. Hakim wished his table luck and headed for the door. --MC

3:10pm: Mrakes falls back to the pack
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

As the new level begins the table where Michal Mrakes spent the days first two-and-a-half hours was broken, and the Czech player carried his chips over to a new seat at Table 26.

Mrakes might have had a larger load to carry over for the trip, but after losing some chips in the last level he's slipped off the top of the leaderboard and back to about 125,000 now. --MH

2:45pm: Break time

That's the end of the level and players are taking a 20-minute break. We have a couple of hands to report from before the break, which we'll have with you shortly. -- HS

2:42pm: Kitai comes up with the call
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

The clock was called, and Davidi Kitai was the tanker.

With a medium pot in the middle and the board showing 6♠Q♠K♥K♦K♠, Kitai had checked, Georgios Zisimopoulos had bet 4,000, and Kitai had to think about it. After all, he only had 14,000 behind.

Finally Kitai called, and Zisimopoulos turned over his J♥T♦ but didn't let go of his cards, readying himself to pitch them in the muck. He stopped, though, when he saw Kitai's J♠T♣, and both chuckled as the pot was divided between them. --MH

2:40pm: Moreira De Melo is moving...
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

...and I'm not talking about poker.

Fatima Moreira De Melo is out of her chair and seems to be enjoying whatever music she's listening too. As the first two levels of the day are almost up and players are getting ready to take a break, Moreira De Melo has built up from 74,200 at the start of the day today to 160,000 in front.

Well, perhaps poker is the reason after all. -LY

2:35pm: Alin goes all in
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Alin Grasu committed the last of his stack behind T♦8♦, but was in tough shape against Sergio Da Silva's J♦J♠.

The A♦4♣7♦ flop provided some promise for Grasu, but the 4♥ turn and K♣ river didn't help him and he's out. Da Silva is up around 70,000 as the break nears. --MH

2:32pm: All in? Clock called? Stay calm.
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

With thanks to Thomas Mühlöcker.

2:30pm: A race unlike any race you've ever seen
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Following on from that quads over quads hand, you're not going to believe what I've just seen. This is even rarer!

There had been an early-position open to 3,000 and Alexandr Merzhvinskii just called from middle position. Benjamin Lamprecht then three-bet to 13,500 on Merzhvinskii's left, and the original raiser folded.

Back to Merzhvinskii, he thought for a while but eventually shoved, and Lamprecht snap-called his 50,000 stack.

Lamprecht - Q♥Q♠
Merzhvinskii - A♣K♣

Wow! Can you believe that guys? I bet you've never seen that bef...

Wait, sorry, what?

What do you mean it's a "classic" race that happens all the time?

Whatever. The board ran out K♥8♣7♠K♠6♦ to give Merzhvinskii trips, eliminating Lamprecht. Merzhvinskii has 140,000 now.

You've ruined that one for me. --JS

2:25pm: Mojaverian jumps into the lead
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Omid Mojaverian has risen to the top of the counts with 275,000, partly due to winning a pot of Jussi Nevanlinna.

Nevanlinna opened to 3,000 from middle position and was called by Mojaverian in the next seat. The Q♦2♣7♣ flop was checked to the 2♦ turn where Nevanlinna's delayed 2,500 c-bet was called by Mojaverian. The board filled out with the 4♠ and Nevanlinna checked to face a 9,000 bet.

While Nevanlinna thought, Mojaverian was jabbering away in his ear. "How much you going to lose in this pot?" he goaded.

The chatter seemed to work as Nevanlinna ended up calling and then mucking upon seeing Mojaverian's 8♠8♥.

"I should've trusted my first gut!" said Nevanlinna who dropped to 53,000. --MC

2:15pm: More bust-outs
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

There's been a major cull over the past hour or so. All of the following are now seeking alternative entertainment:

Vlado Banicevic, Matous Houzvicek, Witold Krawczyk, Andrei Konopelko, Rocco Palumbo, Robert Zipf, Aleksei Istomin, Marius Gierse, Adrian Mateos, Marcin Jaworski, Alexandru Papazian, Oleg Lipkin, Manig Loeser, Pim Kuipers, Christopher Kyriacou, Bruno Lopes, Oliver Weis, Rosen Angelov, Robin Hegele, Jerwin Pasco, Georgios Vrakas, Raul Martinez, Fazeel Munawar, Levente Szabo, Ryan Fronda, Mikhail Surin, Dzhavad Abdolvand, Ghassan Bitar, Joao Vieira, Ivan Deyra, Kontis Miltiadis, Paul Tedeschi, Benjamin Pollak, Zico Tjin-asjoe, Bryan Paris, Jerome Soares, Denis Timofeev, Ben Jackson, Dejuante Alexander, Steven Warburton, Louis Linard, Hady El Asmar, Albert Daher, Servando Perez, Virgil Grecu, Michael Wang, Adrej Kostka, Vladimir Lappo, Vlado Sevo, Miguel Use. -- HS

mikhail_surin_psc_prague_day2.jpg

Mikhail Surin: Among the fallen

2:15pm: Small stacks making a move
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

There seem to be a fair number of short stacks dotted around the room. We have just seen two all-ins by players who needed to make a move.

First of all Alexandru Papazian jammed 19,100 on the cutoff, and was looked up by Andrey Demidov in the small blind. Papazian was hoping to be live with Q♠9♥ but it wasn't to be as Demidov turned over A♥A♠. Nothing untoward happened and Papazian hit the rail.

alexandru_papazian_psc_prague_main_day2.jpg

No more Mr Papazian

Next there was an early position open by Andreas Samuelsson and, to his left, Rasmus Vogl shoved over him for a total of 25,500. When it came back to Samuelsson he needed a couple of minutes to think before he made the call. It was a coin flip between his 7♠7♥ and Vogl's A♥K♠. This time the all-in player won it, giving Vogl the double.

Meanwhile, Mikita Badziakouski is sat on the same table. The Belarusian pro is also nursing a short stack (around 22,000) after a last minute late registration this morning. Will that go up or down? Time will tell. -LY

2:10pm: Quads over quads (hashtag OMG)
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

I was a few tables away when I heard Marcin Jaworski say "Oh, my God." He didn't say it very loudly, though it was audible enough for me to want to step over to see the cause for the Polish player's comment.

Upon arrival, it was immediately clear. By then Jaworski was standing with a wide grin on his face -- not too typical for someone who has just busted from the tournament, but at least he left with a good story.

That's because Jaworski had dealt J♣J♠ in his final hand, and the board had come T♥Q♠J♦Q♥J♥.

What? Quad jacks? And he's out?

That is correct.

His opponent, Mikhail Filatov, had had Q♦Q♣ for quad queens. Oh, my God is right.

No bad beat jackpot unfortunately for Jaworski, and a stack of 168,00 for Filatov. --MH

2:05pm: Could you make this fold?
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

See if you can figure out who had what in this hand.

William Foxen opened under the gun, and was three-bet by Norbert Szecsi to his left. It then folded to Oleg Lipkin on the button, and he four-bet jammed for 18,400.

Back to Foxen, he wanted to play a bit higher. He five-bet to 28,000, and Szecsi then six-bet shoved for 92,300 - more than Foxen had behind.

Foxen went deep into the tank, and eventually the clock was called on him. After about ten seconds of countdown he let his hand go.

So, have you got your answers ready?

When Foxen folded, Szecsi immediately turned over his hand: A♥A♦. That was bad news for Lipkin, who had the A♣K♣.

"There aren't many kings left in the deck," said Foxen, who said he folded pocket kings.

"You folded kings?" said an impressed Liv Boeree, who was at the table.

"Yup."

Back to the all-in, the 3♠4♥J♦T♠ board gave Lipkin hope for a gutshot, but the 2♠ river ended it. Lipkin left, Foxen made a great fold to keep his 80,000 stack, and Szecsi climbs to around 140,000. --JS

2pm: The case ace costs Robin Hegele
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Hari Bercovici is having a good day. He's added almost 200,000 to his stack to sit around the 250,000 mark. It's not hard to see why with hands like this....

Robin Hegele raised to 2,600 from under the gun and called after Bercovici three-bet to 6,200 from the hijack. The flop fanned T♣A♦8♣ and Hegel check-raised Bercovici's 7,200 c-bet up to 16,500. Bercovici wasted little time in moving all-in and Hegele called off his 47,000 stack in a flash.

"Really?" Hegele said as the holdings were flipped up.

hari_bercovici_psc_prague_main_day2.jpg

Hari Becovici: Really? Really

Hegele: A♠K♠ for top pair, top kicker
Bercovici: A♣A♥ for top set

The board ran out 3♠T♠ and a dazed Hegele wandered off. --MC

1:55pm: Altman clashes with Sanchez
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

It all kicked off with a middle position 2,700 open from Mauricio Sanchez. Brian Altman was seated directly on his left and raised it up to 7,800. When everyone else had gotten out of the way, Sanchez wasn't done betting and upped it to 19,300.

Altman wasn't put off and five-bet jammed the lot, which was about 80,000. After some consideration Sanchez made the call the players turned over their holdings.

Altman A♣K♦
Sanchez Q♥Q♦

It was Sanchez's tournament life on the line as the players were off to the races, although Altman didn't have him covered by much.

The flop hit huge for both players -- K♣K♥Q♠ -- with trips and top kicker for Altman but the under full house for Sanchez. Altman was looking for an ace or the case king as they went to the turn.

The 6♠ added three more outs to Altman's four from the flop and only one chance to hit it and none of them came on the 7♠ river.

When the chips were counted out, Sanchez had ascended to at least 130,000 and Altman was left with only a tenth of that at around 13,000. -LY

1:50pm: Hip hip Koray!
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Koray Aldemir has just found a much needed double up, with a little help from the river.

Ante Varnica (who was born to be a poker player, clearly) opened to 2,800, from early position before Aldemir shoved for 19,900. Georgios Zisimopoulos made the call on the button, and when it got back to Varnica he gave it some thought but decided to let it go.

Zisimopoulos turned over the T♠T♣, and Aldemir saw he was flipping with his K♦J♦. The A♥2♣7♠ flop brought no help for the German, and nor did the 9♠ turn. It's a good job there are five community cards though as the K♣ landed on the river to give Aldemir the best pair.

He's up to around 45,000 now. --JS

1:48pm: A Panka push
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

With the board showing 5♠8♥A♠Q♥2♠ and a lot of chips in the middle, Oleksandr Trokhymenko took a stab with a bet of 21,500, but Dominik Panka bombed over that with an all-in push. Too much for Trokhymenko who let his cards go and keeps his 45,000.

Panka, winner of the 2014 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event, is now up around 115,000. --MH

1:45pm: Maimone misses royal, good anyway
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Nick Maimone flopped a royal flush draw. He didn't hit it but a standard flush was enough to oust Denis Timofeev from the tournament.

Timofeev was down to just a few thousand chips when he moved all-in from the hijack. Maimone called from the next seat and Alessio Isaia called from the small blind. The flop came A♥8♠J♥ and Maimone's 9,000 bet was enough to force out Isaia.

Timofeev: A♦8♦
Maimone: Q♥T♥

The board ran out 7♥7♦ to make Maimone his flush. --MC

1:35pm: Prize info
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Tournament officials have announced full details of the prize pool here at the PokerStars Championship Prague. The 855 players generated a total prize pool, after deductions, of €4,146,750.

The top 127 finishers will be in the money and the winner will get €775,000 to go with their shiny trophy. (A min-cash is €8,700.)

Here's the final table payouts, with the full list on the payouts page.

1st - €775,000
2nd - €470,000
3rd - €332,000
4th - €249,000
5th - €196,000
6th - €147,000
7th - €104,000
8th - €72,850

Breakdown of PokerStars Championship Prague attendance:
Day 1a: 193 players (77 survived)
Day 1b: 655 players (331 survived)
Day 2 new entries: 7 players

Here's the eagerly-anticipated nationalities pie-chart for this week's field:

PokerStars_Championship_Prague_2017_Main_Event_player_nationalities.JPG

(Click to enlarge)

1:30pm: Mitchell over Mateos
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Adrian Mateos just spent the last two minutes of Level 9 thinking over a decision in a big hand versus James Mitchell sitting on his right.

He's now spending the first couple of minutes of Level 10 perhaps wishing he'd decided differently.

Arriving on a board of 7♦J♠K♥5♦ and with decent chips in the middle already, Mitchell had pushed all in for his last 50,000 or so. Mateos tanked and after a recheck of his cards set out calling chips, tabling Q♦Q♣. But Mitchell had that pipped with his K♠Q♥.

The river was the 7♥, and now Mateos is suddenly down to less than 15,000. Mitchell, meanwhile, hops up over 120,000. --MH

1:25pm: Adams builds
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Day 1A was good for our Super High Roller Champion, Timothy Adams. He started Day 2 with over 100,000 and has been putting his 100+ big blinds to good use.

Adams peeled from the button in position versus an early-position opener and two other callers, taking them four handed to a J♣7♠4♠ flop.

timothy_adams_psc_prague_day2.jpg

Timothy Adams: Good week

The pre-flop aggressor did not continue and middle position bet 3,000, garnering one flat call before action was on Adams. He squeezed to 11,000 and got three quick folds, scooping a little more to add to his stack. -LY

1:20pm: Bluff then value from Bicknell
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Kristen Bicknell may be small in stature but beware, she a fierce competitor who has played more 16 million hands online. There are very few on earth who have played more hands than the Canadian pro.

She's up to 53,000 after winning a pot off Fabio Sperling. The latter raised from the hijack and Bicknell defended her big blind. The flop spread 4♥K♦[5♠ and Sperling continued for 2,000 and called after Bicknell check-raised to 5,500.

Both players checked the 2♣ turn and then Bicknell led for 2,200 on the 9♦ river. Sperling called with Q♣5♣ but Bicknell had got there on the river with her J♠9♠. --MC

1:17pm: Out!
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Along with James Bourne, Matt Willis and Charlie Simpson, the following are BUSTED!

Artan Dedusha, Przemyslaw Klejnowski, Aeragan Arunan, Simon Burns, Christoph Vogelsang, Mohammad Tale, Andrea Benelli, Cornelis Van Gent, Dembek Krzysztof, Sylvain Loosli, Ping Lin, Antonio Scalzi, Jokin Blanco, Slaven Popov, Joni Mattila, Amir Saeid, Stoyan Obreshkov, Paul Castrillon, Robert Lenz, Sergey Em, Makram Saber, Victor Illyukhin, Kevin Killeen, Bartlomiej Machon, Georgios Sotiropoulos, Igor Yaroshevskyy, Aleksander Levashov, Johnny Hansen, Gilbert Diaz, Abou Elias. -- HS

1:10pm: On the outs
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Bartlomiej Machon just saw his tournament run come to an abrupt end after running a short stack and ace-ten into an opponent's pocket aces.

Meanwhile, we reported on both Christoph Vogelsang and Igor Yaroshevskyy earlier this level, but like Machon they've both lost their short stacks as well. --MH

1:05pm: O'Dwyer battles
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Steve O'Dwyer's stack was up over the 100,000 mark at times on Day 1A, but ultimately he bagged up 52,800. He's already taken a few hits today to bring his stack down to half that, but he's not wasting any time in trying to forge a comeback.

steve_odwyer_psc_prague_day2.jpg

Steve O'Dwyer: Battling on

First O'Dwyer opened to 2,200 when it folded to him (the 2♦5♣ had been exposed by another player beforehand, should that have fed into O'Dwyer's decision in any way). But when Andrei Konopelko three-bet him to 6,700, O'Dwyer reluctantly let his hand go.

A couple of hands later and O'Dwyer was in another pot. Picking up the action on a 3♦4♥9♣ flop, Tuukka Meklin checked to O'Dwyer and he led for 3,700. John Mooney made the call, and Meklin let it go bringing the 8♣ turn.

O'Dwyer didn't slow down, leading again for 7,500. Mooney asked for a count and O'Dwyer slid out his chips to show 11,500 behind, which led Mooney to a fold.

O'Dwyer is up to 33,000 now. --JS

1pm: Bayley doubles through Lenz
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

All the cards were out and the chips were being counted by the time I arrived at the table. Lawrence Bayley had K♥9♥ in the hole and Robert Lenz had 6♦6♣.

The board read: 5♦4♥7♥J♦8♥

It was flush versus straight on the river, with Bayley having the best of it. He was also the all in player and Lenz counted out 49,200 to hand over.

This put Bayley in excess of 100,000 but dropped Lenz down to 11,000. -LY

12:55pm: Mrakes attacks with jacks
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

The rich get richer, as chip leader Michal Mrakes has eliminated another player to add further to his stack during the early going on Day 2.

Artan Dedusha was the unfortunate victim this time. We arrived at the very end, when the 6♦7♦T♦2♠Q♥ board added up to a pair of tens for Dedusha with J♠T♠. But Mrakes had better with J♦J♥, and he collected the chips.

Go to the top row of the chip counts and put Mrakes on 242,000 now. --MH

12:51pm: On one table Yaroshevskyy gets shovesky, on another Bitar makes better
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

The short stacks are shoving. That's what short stacks do.

Passing by Table 20, we saw Igor Yaroshevskyy all in on the river with his short stack and earning a fold, helping him stay in the game with about 25,000.

Meanwhile on Table 29 there was a bit of drama during the runout when a short-stacked Ghassan Bitar was sitting with K♦6♦ and all of his chips at risk versus Mikhail Rudoy's 9♣9♠, and the first four community cards were 9♦K♠3♦A♣. The 5♦ on the river made Bitar his flush, though, and with a rap on the table edge he slid his seat forward to count up his new stack of 32,000. Rudoy's still doing fine, though, with almost 115,000. --MH

tournament_field_day2_prague_psc.jpg

A busy day at the Hilton Prague

12:50pm: Fives no good for Van Gent
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Cornelis van Gent departed after he moved all-in with a pocket pair, only to run into a bigger one behind.

The Dutchman was down to his last 12,500 when he made his move from the cutoff. Alessio Isaia was in the small blind and made the call.

Van Gent: 5♠5♣
Isaia: 7♥7♦

The board ran 3♣K♦8♠4♠8♦ improving neither player. Isaia's stack moved to just over 100,000. --MC

alessio_isaia_psc_prague_day2.jpg

Alessio Isaia

12:48pm: How do you celebrate a high roller victory?
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

For Albert Daher, you hop straight into another tournament.

The man from Lebanon took down yesterday's €25K Single Day High Roller for €324,727 after a three-way chop with Ryan Riess (2nd - €278,475) and Mikalai Vaskaboinikau (€239,097). Daher then went straight to enter the Main Event with one level to go last night.

He came into today short with just 14,200, but he's just taken down a small pot to bulk that size a little. Parker "Tonkaaaa" Talbot opened to 2,200 from middle position, which was called by Johnny Hansen to his left. Daher also called to Hansen's left, and everyone else folded.

To the T♠K♠T♥ flop they went. Talbot opted not to c-bet, and Hansen checked too. Daher led small for just 1,800 into the more than 8,000 pot, but it was enough to get two folds. --JS

12:45pm: Alexander takes from Toma
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Japan's Tsugunari Toma came into Day 2 with one of the biggest stacks in the room. He's still up there for sure, but he did just give up a few blinds to Dejuante Alexander.

Alexander opened from the UTG+1 seat to 2,300 and it folded to Toma in the cutoff. He three-bet to 7,400, and when it folded back to Alexander he wasn't done. He bumped it to 13,600, and Toma put in the extra to make the call.

They went to a 3♣2♥6♦ flop, and Alexander's stare never moved from the board. After ten seconds or so he fired for 8,500, and Toma made a pretty quick fold. --JS

12:42pm: Lin is fin
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

There are presently just under 400 players left with a chance at winning the PokerStars Championship Prague Main Event trophy, but unfortunately for Ping Lin he isn't one of them.

Lin's last stand came with 8♦8♣, a hand he hoped to overcome the A♥K♥ of Amjad Nader Mustafa. But the T♠A♣7♦J♦Q♥ runout gave Mustafa the better pair, and Lin is out.

With those chips, Mustafa has about 60,000 now. --MH

12:40pm: Schillhabel busts
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

It's an early exit for Stefan Schillhabel of Day 2 of the Main Event. He got his last 6,300 chips in pre with K♥Q♠ and he was dominated by Knut Karnapp's A♥K♦.

It was really all about the previous hand though, in which Schillhabel and Diego Zeiter had clashed on the 3♣T♥4♣, resulting in the two players going all in.

Schillhabel: Q♠Q♦
Zeiter: A♣7♣

It was Zeiter who needed to hit either a club or an ace. The T♣ turn obliged, leaving Schillabel drawing dead going into the 2♦ river. Zeiter now has around 70,000. -LY

12:35pm: Early casualties
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

It was a short day for the following, who have all hit the rail inside 30 minutes of play:

Ran Ilani, Serdar Demircan, Tom Middleton, Tobias Peters, Walter Beckmann, Stephen Chidwick, Stefan Schillhabel, Milan Simko,Tony Poulengeris, Gaelle Baumann, Rens Feenstra, Gad Morgenstern, Helio Neves, Vadzim Lipauka, Oleg Larichev, Akseli Paalanen, Hano Offen, Ignacio Romera, Mariano Salis. -- HS

12:30pm: New life for Liv
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

With the board showing J♥T♥6♥J♦8♦ and close to 20,000 in the middle, we arrived to see Team PokerStars Pro Liv Boeree all in and with her tournament life at stake.

Boeree was in early position with 20,800 and the red all-in triangle sitting in front of her, while her opponent Michal Schuh had about 12,000 before him. That suggested a check-bet-shove scenario, though we can't say for sure if that were the case.

In any event, Schuh had a tough decision and the clock had to be called on him before he finally called the all-in.

liv_boeree_psc_prague_day2.jpg

Liv Boeree: Boat

Schuh had A♥7♥ for a flush, but Boeree's J♣T♠ gave her a full house and she's up over 60,000 now. --MH

12:25pm: Early test for Vogelsang
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

The first hand of the day provided an early test for Christoph Vogelsang. Of course, C.V. has evidence of passing a lot of poker-related tests on his poker c.v.

Boris Kuzmanovic, a High Roller winner at PokerStars Festival Rozvadov earlier this year, min-raised the button to 2,000, and Vogelsang defended his big blind with a call. The flop came A♦Q♣3♠ and after Vogelsang checked, Kuzmanovic continued for 1,800. Vogelsang called, then check-called again after the 5♠ turn and a 3,800 bet from Kuzmanovic.

Vogelsang had something, it was clear. After the 9♥ river he checked once more, then Kuzmanovic went all in. The fact that Vogelsang needed a couple of minutes and a two rechecks of his cards to decide what to do further indicated the board had helped him somehow, but ultimately he folded, preserving the 10,500 he has left. --MH

12:20pm: Goodbye Helio Neves
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Helio Neves was the first player out today and he was almost joined by Micky Blasi from the same table the very next hand.

Manig Loeser opened to 2,200 from middle position before Mikhail Surin three-bet to 5,800 and Blasi tank-four-bet all-in from the button. Loeser shoved and that ousted Surin from proceedings.

Loeser: A♦K♣
Blasi: 8♦8♣

The board ran K♣7♦J♣8♠9♣ with Loeser flopping best but turning dead. The German pro dropped to just 15,000. --MC

12:15pm: Halvorsen gathers no Moss
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

"Must be nice!" said Aleksandr Gofman to Matt Moss. "Yeah!" the Brit replied.

For you see, Moss has found a double up in one of the first hands of play. Bit of a cooler too.

There was a decent size pot out there already when we arrived, plus a board showing the Q♦4♥6♣7♣. Morten Halvorsen clicked back Moss's bet of 8,000 to 16,000, and after some consideration Moss jammed for around 37,000. Halvorsen snap-called.

He had good reason. With his 7♥7♠ he'd turned a set. But Moss had flopped a larger set with his Q♣Q♠. The river was a blank and Moss doubles to around 90,000, while Halvorsen dips to 70,000. --JS

12:10pm: Newcomers
Level 9 - Blinds: 500/1,000 (ante 100)

It looks as though seven new faces have joined today's field, picking up their tray of 30,000 chips. They are the following:

Adrej KostkaSlovakia
Joni MattilaFinland
Laszlo BujtasHungary
Jason GrayAustralia
Yuki KoKorea
Mikita BadziakouskiBelarus
Marius GierseGermany


12:10pm: A glance around the room
Level 9 - Blinds: 500/1,000 (ante 100)

In case you've never been to one of our live events, here's what things look like at the start of the day...

12:10pm: Cards in the air
Level 9 - Blinds: 500/1,000 (ante 100)

That's it, registration is closed and play is now under way. Stick here for all the day's action. -- HS

Welcome to Day 2!

Day 1A & 1B of the PokerStars Championship Prague Main Event saw a total of 848 entries, of which 408 are still in with a shot. But let's not forget that late registration was open until 12pm today so that number was expected to rise. We'll have confirmation soon.

prague2017.jpg

Picturesque Prague

Michal Mrakes led the field on Day 1A, bagging 202,700 in chips. Yesterday it was Japan's Tsugunari Toma who was chip leader with 181,600 in play. Xixiang Luo (174,900), Matas Cimbolas (171,500), Michael Dattani (167,800) and Narcis-Gabriel Nedelcu (167,500) have also built up well over their first day of play.

There are still a number of PokerStars pros in with a chance too. Marcin Horecki and Igor Kurganov both hit the 100,000 mark and Fatima Moreira de Melo, Jake Cody, Maria Konnikova and Liv Boeree and Felipe Ramos will be joining them for Day 2.

Keep updated on all of today's action right here.

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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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@PokerStars in Prague