PokerStars Championship Prague: Meet the new faces deep in the high roller
We've reached a final table in the €10K High Roller, and Ben Heath - a regular in these events - is out in front, closely followed by Kfir Ivgi.
If the name Kfir Ivgi isn't familiar to you, don't worry; it wasn't to us either. But that's the great thing about these €10Ks; you get to see the emergence and evolution of players throughout their careers.
With two tables left, we began taking a closer look at the players we weren't familiar with. How did they get to this stage?
It's been an amazing trip for Ivgi, who kicked off his stay in Prague with a win in a €2,200 event for €126,340. Ivgi is close friends with UK pro Artan Dedusha, and lives in London where he mostly plays online on PokerStars, but also some live tournaments too.
"It felt amazing to win the €2K," he told us last night. "Now all we have to do is win this one and it's going to feel much better!"
He's got a very good shot at doing just that. As it stands, Ivgi is second in chips only to Heath. You'd think playing against some of the best would be hard, but then last night Ivgi told me this:
"Everyone's the same. It's not really tough because everyone is playing very solid. It's not really hard, you understand?"
I'm afraid not Kfir! We'll just have to take your word for it.
The interesting thing is that while Ivgi isn't a poker newcomer, this seems to be by far the biggest tournament buy-in he's played (or at least cashed in). His Hendon Mob shows wins in £150-£500 tournaments, but nothing close to the €10K this one cost. We wondered whether his €2K win inspired him to hop in, or whether this tournament was always on the agenda.
"I play for the fans!" he jokes. "But I'm enjoying it, so that's why I'm playing the big one now. I was planning to play this one anyway."
While Ivgi is near the top of the counts, Tsugunari Toma was unfortunately eliminated in 11th place for €43,400. We've known of Toma for quite a while, ever since he finished sixth in the APPT Main event back in 2012 for $122,830. However, he doesn't seem to usually play the big buy-in events.
Imagine our surprise then when Toma took his seat in the €50K Super High Roller earlier this week! The man from Japan couldn't secure a cash in that one, but he's made a very decent profit here. It's always cool to see a player move up the poker ladder, and it seems like everything has been going great for Toma this year.
Guillaume Pau Davy
Another great story belonged to France's Guillaume Pau Davy. Try googling his name and you'll see only two prior results which when combined are less than this tournament's buy-in, and that's because he's only been playing poker for a year.
The 21-year-old attended a boot camp hosted by fellow Frenchman Johan 'YoH ViraL' Guilbert in Malta earlier this year, and only then started to play online. He's since been following Guilbert around the poker circuit playing €500-€2,000 events.
Pau Davy managed to cash in the Main Event for around €8,000, and then just decided to jump into this high roller. He had a deep run too, but unfortunately for the youngster he has just busted in 12th place for €38,100. At least he'll definitely have two more cashes on his Hendon Mob profile now.
Here's how the remaining nine stack up at the beginning of the final table:
There's €498,000 up top for the winner. Can Ivgi win his second tournament of the PokerStars Championship Prague?
For live updates, head over to our friends at PokerNews.
Photos by Rene Velli.
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