EPT13 Prague: Ronald Morandini leads record-breaking field at Day 1B end

December 14, 2016

We’ve got ourselves another record breaker here, folks. After the Eureka6 Prague Main Event smashed its record for the biggest turnout, so too has the EPT13 Prague Main Event.

Today was Day 1B and it drew a massive field of approximately 935 players. This means that, when those are combined with the 246 entries yesterday, it makes this the biggest ever EPT Prague, overtaking 2014’s field of 1,107.

Day 1A had 124 survivors, and at the end of the night tonight approximately 495 remained, and none had a heavier bag than Ronald Morandini, who managed to spin his 30,000 starting stack into 237,400 over the eight 75-minute levels. His stack got a big boost from Emil Patel, who shoved for more than 40,000 with pocket jacks on an 8♠8♣9♠ board, while Morandini had the K♥8♥ and held.

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Marandini leads the pack

Others who ended the night well include Matas Cimbolas with 215,100 and Alexander Paygusov with 183,100.

We had a whole bunch of Team PokerStars Pros in the field today, but Luca Pagano (65,500), Jake Cody (89,700), Felipe ‘Mojave’ Ramos (94,500), Fatima Moreira de Melo (25,400), Theo Jorgensen (59,200), and Vanessa Selbst (32,200) were the only ones to survive.

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Of the Team Pros, Ramos ended best

You can see the chip counts for all of the Day 1B survivors here.

They’ll be back tomorrow at 12pm for Day 2, as will we. You can join us here on the PokerStars Blog for all your live update needs and wants, or if watching is your thing, you can tune in to EPT Live at 12pm too.Goodnight! –JS

Day 1B coverage

12:15am: That’s all folks
Level 8 – Blinds 400/800 (ante 100)

Play has ended for the night and somwhere around 490 players have made it through to join the 124 who made it through from Day 1A. It looks like Ronald Morandini is the overnight chip leader with 237,400. A short wrap of today’s play will be available soon. –NW

12:05am: Last five hands
Level 8 – Blinds 400/800 (ante 100)

The tournament clock has been paused and the players will be dealt five more hands before this gargantuan Day 1B is over. –NW

11:55pm: Late night fallers
Level 8 – Blinds 400/800 (ante 100)

So close but ultimately so far from making Day 2 for the following big names as Stefan Schillhabel, Louis Salter, Manig Loeser, Dinesh Alt, Jaroslaw Sikora, Goran Mandic and Usman Siddique are all out. –NW

11:45pm: Can Morandini succeed where Adinolfi failed?
Level 8 – Blinds 400/800 (ante 100)

As we enter the final 30 minutes of play Ronald Morandini is the clear chip leader with a stack north of 250,000. He looks like being the end of day chip leader. But, so did Mario Adinolfi on Day 1A. The Italian reached 242,000 at one point but fell away towards the end of the day. –NW

11:35pm: Pagano’s building
Level 8 – Blinds 400/800 (ante 100)

Team Pro Luca Pagano is still going strong here today. After Milos Skrbic opened to 1,800 from the cutoff, the Italian came in for a button three-bet to 4,500. The blinds (Christopher Brammer and Nick Newport) got out the way and Skrbic made the call.

We saw the 9♥9♦J♣ spread across the felt and it checked to Pagano, letting him continue for 4,300. Skrbic wanted to see a turn and called, and it came the J♥, double pairing the board. He checked once more, but Pagano’s bet of 6,500 was too much for him to continue.

Pagano is up to 85,000 now, while Skrbic is on 70,000. –JS

11:25pm: Top top not so top
Level 8 – Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

Ugur Coskun didn’t know what to do, that much was clear. He’d bet 7,500 on a J♠5♠5♥ flop and Anton Afanasyev had then shoved for 25,000. When you add that to the 21,000 or so that was already in the middle then Corskun was getting juicy pot odds.

But, it was a decent chunk of his remaining 43,100 to risk. He looked anguished and just couldn’t make his mind up. Another player at the table called the clock and even that wasn’t enough time for Coskun to come to a decision. His hand was ruled dead and he showed A♠J♥ to let the table know he wasn’t tanking for no reason. –NW

11:15pm: Make it stop
Level 8 – Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

“The pain continues,” said Yiannis Liperis after he’d doubled his micro stack to a short stack. He’d got his final five big blinds in with Q♦J♣ and was up against A♥4♥. He flopped a straight on a 10♣9♥K♦3♦7♣ board to suck out and survive.

“Has anyone ever been under 10 big blinds for three hours straight?” as he stacked his chips. Seems like it’s been a tough grind today for him. –NW

11:05pm: It’s the final level
Level 8 – Blinds 400/800 (ante 100)

There’s just an hour and a quarter left on the day before the chips get bagged.

So, if you’re reading this while playing, here’s some advice:

Short stacks: START GAMBLING.

Big stacks: DO WHAT YOU DO.

Medium stacks: …I’ll get back to you. –JS

11pm: Level 7 casualties
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (ante 100)

Some of those who busted during the last hour and a quarter include Javier Gomez Zapatero, Francis-Nicolas Bouchard, Lucas Blanco, Lucas Reeves, Dany Parlafes, Morten Mortensen, Zoltan Gal and Tamer Kamel. –JS

10:55pm: Kanit spreading joy, collecting chips
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (ante 100)

Mustapha Kanit seems to spread happiness wherever he is. He busted the €25,000 Single Day High Roller while the Main Event was on dinner break, and has since hopped in. When I walked past, everyone at his table had smiles of their faces, listening to his conversation with Vasili Firsau, who was sharing a bad beat story.

But Kanit’s here to play poker and win, not make new friends. He opened a pot to 1,400 and got one caller in Benjamin Laprecht. The two commenced battle on a K♣8♠2♣ flop, which checked to Kanit, letting him continue for 1,600. Laprecht called.

The turn was thew 8♦ and when it checked to the Italian again he made it 3,700. That was enough to get Laprecht to fold, bringing Kanit’s stack up to 56,000 already. –JS

10:45pm: Fang’s out
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (ante 100)

No, there hasn’t been an outbreak of vampires in the poker room (although this Day 1B will still be going come midnight, so who knows). When we say Fang’s out, we’re talking about PokerStars Team Online’s Giada Fang.

She was all-in and called in two spots by Luis Cruz and Nandor-Csaba Solyom, who would continue to play a side pot. Although nothing actually went into it.

The board ran out K♦10♣9♥10♦K♣ and they checked it all the way down to showdown.

Fang – 6♣6♦
Cruz – 8♠8♦
Solyom – A♣J♣

Fang’s pair was behind the whole way, while Cruz’s bigger pair got counterfeited by the river. –JS

10:35pm: Sotiropoulos can’t call
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (100 ante)

Had Georgios Sotiropoulos been caught with his hand in the cookie jar? Did he have a really good hand yet somehow found a fold? Or, was he just saving face?

We’ll never know but he and Gintaras Simaitis just played a curious hand against each other. Simaitis raised it up to 1,500 from the hijack, Sotiropoulos three-bet to 5,100 out of the small blind and Simaitis called.

The flop landed 6♦Q♥A♦. Both players checked and the 6♥ fell on the turn. Sotiropoulos fired out a bet of 7,500 and Simaitis matched it. On the K♠ river Sotiropoulos led for 13,000 and Simaitis then moved all-in for 20,800.

There was no snap call from Sotiropoulos, if fact no anything. The Greek player simply sat motionless for a while and considered his options. He had just 13,500 back so it was over 50% of his remaining stack to call. Eventually he decided to save it for another day and folded his cards. –NW

10:30pm: More for Meless; less for Igor
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (ante 100)

Igor Kurganov was in the €25,000 Single Day High Roller earlier today but busted, leading to hum hopping in this event. However, he hasn’t been able to get much going here either.

He just lost a few of his chips in this hand. Stefan Egermann made it 1,400 and both Aleksejs Meless (button) and Kurganov (big blind) called to see the 10♣6♦8♠ flop. It checked to Meless and he saw it as an invitation to bet, making it 2,500. Only Kurganov called.

On fourth street the A♣ arrived and prompted another check from Kurganov. Meless led out again, this time 6,800, but Kurganov went nowhere. Finally the board was completed by the Q♣, putting three to a flush on board. Kurganov checked a third and final time, at which point his friend and fellow high roller regular Philipp Gruissem popped over with a container of food and popped it by Kurganov’s chair, so not to interupt the hand.

Meless – perhaps weary of a potential flush – checked back too before showing his A♦A♠ for top set. Kurganov quickly mucked. After that one Meless is up to 73,000, while Kurganov is below the starting stack with 23,500. –JS

10:20pm: Shatilov vs Zisimopoulos
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (ante 100)

Andrey Shatilov, whose most recent big score came in Barcelona in August where he finished third in the €25K for €606,020, kicked this hand off with an open to 1,500. It folded to Georgios Zisimopoulos and he three-bet to 4,300, and when it got back to Shatilov he matched that.

The dealer spread three cards – 7♠4♠K♦. It checked to the last aggressor and Zisimopoulos continued for 4,000 and got a call. We went to the turn and it came the 6♣, and Shatilov checked once more. Zisimopoulos took a good at look his opponent’s stack (roughly 25,000), but opted to check it back.

When the 10♦ river landed Shatilov went back into betting mode. He made it 10,000, and Zisimopoulos looked like he had a tough decision. He eventually ended up folding, leaving himself with 33,000. Shatilov, meanwhile, is up to around 42,000. –JS

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Andrey Shatilov

10:15pm: All over
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (100 ante)

It’s all over for Marcin Horecki, Ana Marquez, Andras Nemeth, Benny Spindler, Tim Reilly, Peter Eichhardt, Nir Levy, Michael Kane, Michael Tureniec, Mayu Roca, Kevin Killeen, Senh Ung, Gleb Tremzin and Dara O’Kearney.

If they want to win a spadie in Prague, it’s going to have to be in a side event. –NW

10pm: Danchev dares to double
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (100 ante)

As most people know there has, so far, only been one double EPT Main Event winner. Her name, Victoria Coren-Mitchell. This is the last chance for someone to join her in that exclusive double winner’s club and there are plenty of champions in the field today.

One of those is Dimitar Danchev and it’s not been going his way so far. He was all-in for 11,600 when I stopped by his table. His opponent had raised to 1,400 but folded to the shove. Danchev’s double dream is still alive for now. –NW

9:50pm: Meanwhile in Prague…
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (ante 100)

This isn’t the only EPT tournament going on today in Prauge. There’s the not so small matter of the Single Day €25K High Roller. Our colleague Marc Convey is covering that one, and it’s approaching the bubble as 11 players will make the money and just 13 remain.

When all is said and done the winner will collect €559,200. You can follow that event here. –NW

9:35pm: The players return
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (ante 100)

Fed and watered the players have filed back into the tournament room for the final two levels of the evening. –NW

8:20pm: Dinner break

Level 6 is done, and players have left for a 75-minute dinner break. Back on the other side. –MH

8:15pm: Two hands heading into the break
Level 6 – Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

— Dietrich Fast is always good for a quote, a hand-history and,increasingly, for a deep run. “For the media,” Fast said as he exposed his 10♥10♣ after betting hard at a board with three over-cards.

There was about 11,000 in the pot and the board showing Q♦A♣K♠7♦6♥. Fast bet 14,500 at it and Jean Souprayenmestry was in the tank. Souprayenmestry fidgeted with his cards a little, with the barest hint of forward motion, and Fast said, “Did he fold?”

The dealer said, “Not yet.”

Fast said, “Did he say something?”

“No, no,” the dealer assured him.

Eventually Souprayenmestry did fold, saying nothing, and then the two tens rained down on the table.

— Bjorns Berglund is out. His last hand was A♠Q♦ and it couldn’t beat Denis Pisarev’s K♦K♥ on a board that ran Q♠8♠7♦3♠10♥. Pisarev has 80,000 now. — HS

8:10pm: Outta here
Level 6 – Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

More busts to report. Last night’s third-place finisher in the Eureka Prague Main Event Alessandro Giordano is out. So, too, is Albert Daher, Rasmus Agerskov, Hady El Asmar, and Emrah Camrak.

Also gone are Kevin MacPhee, Walid Bou Habib, William Kassouf, and Team PokerStars Pro Liv Boeree. –MH

8:05pm: Welcome to the tournament Dara
Level 6 – Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

With just 684 of the 924 players remaining here in the Main Event, all the tables in the secondary tournament area and half the tables on the stage area have been folded. That all means that Dara O’Kearney is now inside the confines of the main tournament room (see 4:15pm post), but he’d perhaps wish that he wasn’t. That’s because he’s got a couple of tough players, who both have position on him.

On his immediate left is Alex ‘Assassinato’ Fitzgerald, while Bruno ‘Kool Shen’ Lopes sits to Fitzgerald’s left. Tough crowd. –NW

8pm: Pad’s nuts
Level 6 – Blinds 250/500 (ante 50)

Robert Askarov made it 1,100 to go from the hijack and his only caller was Patrick Leonard in the cutoff. The pair went to the K♦10♣A♠ flop on which Askarov continued for ever-so-slightly more, 1,200. Leonard called once again.

On the 4♦ turn, Askarov slowed down, checking it. Leonard leaned out so he could see past the dealer (he was in seat one and Askarov seat eight) and got a glimpse of how big his opponent’s remaining stack was (around 7,000). Leonard made a bet of 2,500, Askarov jammed, and Leonard… well, he didn’t say call or fold. He simply flipped over his hand, and his action was implied:

Askaraov – A♣10♦
Leonard – Q♠J♦

The Russian let out a big sigh when he saw that Leonard had flopped the nuts with the Broadway straight. He’d need an ace of ten on the river or his day would be done, and the J♣ sealed his fate. Leonard is up to around 65,000 now. –JS

7:55pm: Dispatches from Siberia and Fatima Moreira de Melo
Level 6 – Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

Fatima Moreira de Melo might as well be in Siberia. She is tucked away in the furthest corner of the tournament room, behind the curtain that shrouds the television set, and where even artificial light doesn’t quite reach. It’s dark over there.

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Fatima… found her!

Strapping on snow-boots and commandeering a pack of huskies, we made the expedition over to see the Team PokerStars SportStar during the past ten minutes, learning that she is ticking over nicely enough with a little more than her starting stack.

She played back-to-back pots, as if to make sure the expedition wasn’t wasted, although neither will be entering the “best-of” compilation for this event.

In the first, she raised with A♦K♠ and showed it after getting folds around the table. In the second, she raised to 1,100 UTG+1 and watched Josep Galindo call from the big blind.

The flop brought the 7♣4♣3♦ and Galindo checked, but called Moreira de Melo’s 1,200 continuation bet.

They both checked the 3♥ turn. And they both also checked the 5♦ river. Galindo showed 4♠5♠–the classic three pair hand–and Moreira de Melo mucked.

Her company this afternoon includes Joe Mouawad, who is watching EPT Live on his smartphone with the one-hour delay, even though he is yards from where it’s playing out for real. He will do very well to avoid spoilering it for himself. Christopher Frank is in the next seat, and he has a cold. — HS

7:45pm: On the rail
Level 6 – Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

Eugene Katchalov, Ognjen Sekularac, and Christian Jeppsson are all dunzo as the big, big field continues its inexorable march down to one. –MH 

7:35pm: In which PokerStars Blog plays mind reader
Level 6 – Blinds 250/500 (ante 75)

Ludovic Lacay opened from the hijack, making it 1,200 to play. Little did he know at this stage that he was going to start a kind of catwalk show of poker expressions, running the full gamut of folding faces.

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Lacay, innocent instigator

After Lacay’s open, Julien Bosshard called from one seat to his left and then Simon Charette three-bet his button, tossing out a 5,000 chip but announcing to the dealer that it was slightly less than that.

Action folded through the small blind, but Viteszlav Pesta made a pest of himself from the big blind with a four-bet to 11,300.

Betting into three opponents obviously signals huge strength, but there’s no way to fold and do the same. However each of Lacay, Bosshard and Charette tried it.

Lacay was first out of the way, but paused for a good 30 seconds before he did so, turning to the players to his left first. His was a fold that at least tried to say, “I’m only doing this because of you three.”

Bosshard paused a couple of beats before he folded, essentially saying: “Listen, there’s nothing wrong with calling a late-position raise but I’m not up for calling a four-bet.”

Charette, however, had an even harder time deciding how he should fold. Eventually, he slid his hand away, silently saying, “OK. You win. But don’t think this wasn’t a premium hand. I just didn’t fancy it this time, all right.”

Faced with all this silent conversation, Pesta offered to show his opponents one card. Charette took him up on the offer and turned over the J♠. Nobody said anything, with words or expression. But their thoughts were full of expletives. — HS

7:25pm: Patel’s “bad decision” costs him his tournament
Level 6 – Blinds 250/500 (ante 50)

Emil ‘Maroonlime’ Patel has achieved a lot in his career (he finished runner-up to Mustapha Kanit in the SCOOP Main Event last year for close to a million bucks, and he has his own SCOOP title, also from 2015). But an EPT Main Event champion he will never be.

After a 1,100 open from Petr Bartagov in the cutoff was called by Ronald Morandini on the button, Patel then three-bet it up to 4,600 out of the small blind. Both players called and the flop went 8♠8♣9♠. Patel was first to act and he continued for 5,000, which made Bartagov let his hand go. But then Morandini raised it to 14,500.

Patel thought a little while and looked back at his cards before announcing he was all in. “How much is it?” asked Morandini, but before the dealer could fully count through the 41,450 he had made the call.

Morandini – K♥8♥
Patel – J♠J♦

“Bad decision,” said Patel as he saw the bad news. Only a jack could save him, but the 5♠ turn and 6♣ river were no help at all. Patel made a speedy exit, while Morandini stacked up 105,000.  –JS

7:15pm: All about Saado
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

Three hands in a row from table 43 to tell you about, all involving Eliyahu Saado. The Israeli is a player who, let’s just say, wears his heart on his sleeve.

On the first of the triumvirate of hands, Ka Kwan Lau opened to 900 from middle position, Yasen Dichev re-raised to 2,400 from the cutoff, Saado flat-called from the button, and that kept Lau in, too.

A 4♦3♦10♣ flop hit the felt, Saado bet 3,500 and Lau was the only caller. Neither player bet on the 9♥ turn and the A♠ fell on the river. Lau checked, Saado bet 7,700 and Lau then check-raised to 42,000. That was more than enough to set Saado all-in as he had around 19,000 back.

He first rested his arms on the rail and buried his head into his arms soon after. A minute or so passed and then he lifted his head and folded his hand.

On the next hand he, Dichev, and Manuel Prevedel reached the river of a 10♠5♣3♥A♠Q♦ board. At this point Prevedel bet, Dichev moved all-in for 11,200, Saado shoved for 14,300, and Prevedel said “I have to call.”

Dichev opened K♠J♠ for the nuts and the other two players both had Ace-Queen and the side pot was chopped. Saado was deeply unimpressed when he saw Dichev’s hand and threw his two cards onto the felt. After that hand Saado dropped to just 3,000 and Prevedel to 9,200.

On the very next hand Dichev opened to 900 with 7♥7♠, Saado moved all-in for 3,025 holding K♠K♥ and Dichev called the extra required. A A♠4♥5♦J♠9♥ runout kept Saado ahead and he got some of his chips back. –NW

7:10pm: The weather in Beijing, and other stories
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Poker can be a frustrating game to cover as a reporter, especially while navigating through the tables during these enormous Day 1s. Sometimes you’ll stop and watch a hand take an absolute age to fizzle out to nothing. Other times you’ll arrive as the dust is settling on what was clearly something fantastic, but all of the key information has already been lost.

This report is a perfect example of the latter, although there’s possibly still enough meat on the bones to make it a worthwhile read.

There were chips worth 8,500 in the pot and a board dealt all the way to the river. It was 8♠3♦3♠J♦K♣. Albert Daher had a bet in front of him: 5,100 from a total stack of 16,500. But Qinnan Wei had moved all-in over the top, and he had about 37,000 in his stack. Daher, therefore, was pondering a call for his tournament life.

“How is the weather in Beijing?” Daher said, an apparent gambit to get his Chinese opponent talking.

Wei’s expression cracked sufficiently to let Daher know that he understood the question, but he was not prepared to provide an answer. His efforts at beginning a duologue thwarted, Daher continued a monologue instead.

“Maybe you put me on a bluff,” Daher said, still pondering his options in the face of a Great Wall of Chinese silence.

Eventually Daher folded and Wei’s silence ended. “What did you have?” Wei said.

Daher didn’t reply immediately, but he looked on with interest as Wei showed the 3♥ in his hand. Wei also couldn’t resist showing the 3♣ too, revealing four-of-a-kind.

Then Dani Parlafes, sitting next to Daher, joined the chat. “Eights full, I had,” Parlafes said. “Really. It’s obvious he had quads.”

Under normal circumstances, this kind of comment could be easily dismissed, but Parlafes has been known to made brilliant folds before.

As I say, I’ve no proof that Parlafes was even in this hand, let alone that he folded eights full. And we’ll never know–much like we never found out about the weather in Beijing. — HS

7:05pm: Lauttamus’ late arrival lands him Kassouf
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Juha Lauttamus took second place in a €1K NLHE Deepstack Big Ante side event last event for €35,630. The event ran deep into the early morning hours, which might explain why Lauttamus has only just registered for this tournament.

He’s found himself on Will Kassouf’s table, and the chatty Brit opened to 1,100 from under the gun plus one. It folded to Matas Cimbolas in the small blind, and Kassouf insisted to the Lithuanian that if he raised he was going all-in for his 13,300 stack. Cimbolas folded though, and instead it was Lauttamus who raised from the big blind to 3,400.

“If Matas raised, I’m all-in. But for you, I just call,” said Kassouf.

The flop fell 3♥3♣8♥ and Lauttamus continued with a 7,200 wager. Kassouf decided to keep his 11,000 and fight another day, while Lauttamus is up to 35,630 already. –JS

6:55pm: The encyclopedia of the eliminated
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Thumbing through the small but growing catalogue of recent eliminations, we find entries for three EPT champions as Dominik Panka (2014 PCA), Frederik Jensen (EPT8 Madrid), and Niall Farrell (EPT12 Malta) have all been sent railward.

So, too, do Erik Cajelais, EPT11 Barcelona High Roller champ Ihar Soika, and 2015 November Niner (or Neuvember Niner) Pierre Neuville merit listings in the bustouts book.

And three deep-finishers in the just-completed Eureka Prague Main Event also appear in the knockout index — Rosen Angelov (who finished fourth), James Juvancic (who took sixth), and Luigi Torquato (who made it to 18th). –MH

6:50pm: Herzali on the up
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

France’s Sarah Herzali was the last woman standing (or seated, rather) at the EPT13 Malta Main Event, eventually finishing in 25th for €15,540. But forget about women only; if she become the last player seated here in Prague, she would join two-time winner Vicky Coren and Team PokerStars Pro Liv Boeree as the only females to win EPT Mains in the history of the tour.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. It’s pretty early still on Day 1B, but Herzali is at least moving in the right direction. She check-called Marton Czuczor’s 700 bet on a 7♦10♠4♠ flop, then check-called his 1,700 on the 4♣ turn. The river was the 3♠ and both checked, and she took it down with her 10♣8♠. Czuczor mucked and has 47,000, while Herzali is up to 32,000. –JS

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Herzali helps her cause

6:40pm: No surprise to see surprisefirm running well
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Here’s a hand that had all the makings of nothing at all, were it not for an item of table decoration that caught the eye. In truth, the hand itself still isn’t a thriller, but the table decoration was cool.

Georgios Vrakas opened to 1,000 from UTG+1 and Anton Petrov, in the cutoff, looked at his cards and then slid them beneath a card protector that bore the unmistakeable insignia of the PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP)–given only to big winners in that championship series.

Just who was Petrov in the online world, and what had he won?

The answer to that question would have to wait until Google was nearer at hand, but in the meantime the hand played out as follows. After Petrov called, so did Kacper Pyzara on the button, as did Zoltan Szabo in the big blind. That took four players to the flop of 3♦3♥8♥.

Vrakas continued. Only Petrov called. So now two were left at the 4♠ turn. Vrakas bet 2,400 and Petrov called again, taking them to the 5♠ on the river. They both checked and Petrov exposed his 7♥7♣. Vrakas folded.

So, back to Petrov. A quick Google reveals that he is better known as “surprisefirm” online and that, in May of this year, he was one of three players who carved out a deal at the end of a Sunday Million Special Edition final table, being played under the SCOOP branding.

That earned him the card protector. Oh, and $161,181.54. — HS

6:30pm: Creativity saves the world
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Creativity saves the world; that’s Isabel Baltazar’s motto. And why we haven’t seen any of her hands so far today, as she’s been winning pots with some creative plays.

First off, she called Guiseppe Moio’s 1,000 open, and then called Periklis Charmpilas’ 2,700 three-bet, as did Moio. It went three to the 9♣3♦8♦ flop and it checked to Charmpilas, who continued this time for a little less — 2,700. Everyone called and the turn was the 10♣. Now everyone checked.

The river came the 10♥, pairing the board, and when it checked to her Baltazar led out for 4,100. That got both players to fold and she took it down.

In the next hand she was at it again. The flop showed the 7♠2♦2♥ and she called Patrick Brook’s 2,700 bet (Moio was in at this point, too, and also called). The turn was the 6♣ and when Moio checked Baltazar led out for 5,000. Brooks called, Moio folded.

The board was completed by the 5♦ and now Baltazar checked. Brooks counted out a bet and made it 8,800, and then after about 30 seconds of thinking Baltazar raised it up to 20,000. Brooks looked pained by the position he’d been put in, and thought for a good couple of minutes. He was murmuring to himself, and it sounded like he said “I have a full house.”

Eventually he folded, leaving himself with 14,500. Baltazar’s creativity might not have saved the world just yet, but it has given her a stack of 60,000. –JS

8G2A6808_Isabel_Baltazar-_EPT13PRA_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Go ahead, be creative… Isabel has your back

6:20pm: A disgust-off
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

An unwitting contest of who could look the more disgusted just played out between Patrick Groppi and Tomas Jozonis. They created a large pre-flop pot of 15,200 and a 6♠9♣6♥ flop landed on the felt. Groppi was first to act, he moved all-in for 9,600 and Jozonis then went into the tank.

He stayed there for so long that the clock was called. Before his allotted minute was up Jozonis threw in two 5K chips to signify a call.

Groppi: 10♦9♦
Jozonis: A♥K♠ 

Jozonis wasn’t too pleased initially…

NEIL6894_Tomas_Jozonis-_EPT13PRA_Neil Stoddart.jpg

A suffering Jozonis

…but his demeanor changed when the A♠ landed on the turn.

That’s when Groppi assumed a look of chagrin, and as he didn’t improve on the 5♦ river he was eliminated. –NW

NEIL6905_Patrick_Groppi_EPT13PRA_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Groppi gets got

6:15pm: Not complicated enough for Glaser
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Few players have more legitimate claims than Benny Glaser to the title of “mixed game specialist.” Since arriving in Prague this week, he has won a H.O.R.S.E. side event and finished third in the Quintuple Draw event, only a matter of days after winning the PLO side event at the WPT stop in the city.

All of this comes after Glaser came second in the O.E. event in Malta and the fourth in the PLO there too. He has three WSOP bracelets, too, one in Limit 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball, and two in Omaha Hi-Lo.

All of this is prelude to the news that Glaser is out of the EPT Prague Main Event. Two cards are just too few.

As I arrived, there were three cards exposed on the table and two players interested in them. The cards were 4♣8♠8♣ and the players were Glaser and Konstantinos Tsirakidis. It looked like Tsirakidis bet it, Glaser raised and then they somehow got it all in, for what seemed to be around 12,000 in Glaser’s stack.

The cards were quickly on their backs and Glaser had J♠Q♠ against Tsirakidis’s K♣J♣. Although it was Glaser with the flush draw at this stage, it was actually Tsirakidis who ended with a flush when the A♣ and Q♣ finished the board.

Glaser left the tournament room and immediately took a seat at the PokerStars “Ideas” table, where they road-test new variants of the game. You invent it, Glaser will win it. — HS

8G2A6823_Ideas_EPT13PRA_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Searching for ideas? Search no more

6pm: Back to it
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (ante 50)

Players are back and poker is happening again in this record-breaking EPT Prague Main Event. –MH 

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

5:36pm: Break time

That’s the end of Level 4 and players are taking a 20-minute break. –HS

5:35pm: Yousaf da man
Level 4 – Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

After three-way action to the A♣5♦10♠ flop, Sebastian Langrock fired a bet of 7,500 to earn one fold, but Younas Yousaf re-raised all in for 12,750 total and Langrock called.

Langrock turned over A♠10♦ for two pair, but Yousaf had a set with 10♦10♣, and when the board ran out 6♦ then 6♠, Yousaf jumped to about 30,000 while Langrock slipped back to 13,000 just before the next break comes. –MH

5:30pm: Gulyy doesn’t get there
Level 4 – Blinds 150/300 (50 ante)

A 3♠8♥2♦ flop was already on the felt by the time I picked up the action. Aleksander Ratajczyk bet 650 from middle position, Yury Gulyy (small blind) called and Oleksii Kovalchuk (big blind) then check-raised to 2,200. Gulyy was the only caller.

On the 9♥ turn Kovalchuk fired out a bet of 4,500 and again Gulyy stuck around. There was no betting on the 10♦ river though and Gulyy announced he had Ace high and showed A♥5♥ for a missed gutshot and flush draw. Kovalchuk was ahead, but probably not in the way that Gulyy expected. Kovalchuk showed 9♦7♥ for a turned pair of nines. –NW

5:25pm: Skating out the door
Level 4 – Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

Players are being knocked out seemingly every minute of play. Here’s the latest list of fallen soldiers:

Knut Karnapp, Eugen Fritzler, Fabio Sperling, Walter Buss, Gaelle Baumann, Primoz Klancar, Dan Murariu, Makram Saber, Michal Kadziela, Thomas Boivin, Antonio Palma, Tomasz Kowalski, Sergey Sergeev, Vicente Delgado, Robert Soogea, George Ana, Pete Linton. –HS

5:20pm: Elvis is the king (and Horecki folded two)
Level 4 – Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

Elvis is in the building, ladies and gentlemen. What? Presley? Who’s that? I’m talking about Elvis Petcu, obviously.

On a 4♣7♠9♠ flop, and with roughly 20,000 in the middle already (meaning the three players had invested over 6,000 each pre-flop), Fabio Sperling, Petcu and Marcin Horecki all checked. The turn then came the A♥ and Sperling made a bet of 3,700, which Petcu raised up to 8,675 forcing Horecki to let his hand go. Sperling called.

The 9♦ completed the board and Sperling checked. Petcu sighed like it was him who had been put to the test, and in a way he had been; with around 20,000 behind and way more than that out there, his decision was check or shove. He chose the latter, and Sperling called off his 16,000 stack.

Petcu revealed his A♠K♣ and Sperling tried to muck, but was then forced to show his A♦J♥. He was eliminated, and Petcu increased to roughly 73,000.

“If I shove, you call?” Petcu asked Horecki when the hand was over, presumably referring to the pre-flop action we missed. “Yes, I have two kings!” said Horecki, who has 16,900. –JS


Did Marcin Horecki really fold two kings to the King?

5:15pm: A confirmed record-breaker
Level 4 – Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

The latest number of registrants for today is now beyond 875. Add that to the 246 who played yesterday and we are beyond the 1,107 record field for EPT Prague from 2014. How much bigger can we go? Registration is open until the start of play tomorrow, so it will only grow. (The largest ever EPT Main Event took place in Barcelona at the start of this season. The 1,785 from there seems insurmountable.) –HS

5:05pm: Great fold from Fang (we think)
Level 4 – Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

Arriving at the table as the 2♥3♣4♠8♥5♣ was board was completed, PokerStars Team Online’s Giada Fang checked it to her sole opponent Lucas Reeves. With around 24,000 in the pot already, he made it 16,000 and Fang went into the tank.

She hid in there for around two minutes, but eventually made a fold. Instead of being happy to scoop the large pot, Reeves shook his head the entire time he stacked the chips. We guess that can only mean that Fang made a great fold.


Giada Fang: Folding well

She left herself with 21,600 to work with, while Reeves is going strong with 90,000. –JS

5pm: Killeen empties the clip
Level 4 – Blinds 150/300 (50 ante)

There are half a dozen tables up on a raised stage area. They aren’t feature tables; it’s just every inch of the room is needed such is the size of the tournament. Kevin Killeen is one of the players plying his trade in that part of the room and he just played a big pot against Tony Chang.

Killeen, who was the UKIPT4 Dublin champion, opened to 750 and picked up four callers, including Chang who was on the button. The 9♠10♠J♦ looked like it should create action in a multi-way pot. It did. Killeen bet 3,300 and Chang was the only one of the quartet who called.

So it was heads-up to the 4♣ turn. Killeen paused and then bet 7,100. Call from Chang. The 10♣ river paired the board and this is the street on which Killeen thought for the longest. Chang had just 10,700 back and Killeen eventually elected to make him play for it all. It was a close race between Killeen’s chips crossing the line and Chang’s cards hitting the muck but I’d say Killeen won that one. He also won the pot and is up to 45,300. –NW

4:55pm: I can tell you who won’t be winning…
Level 4 – Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

A fiction writer would never need to worry about finding original names for their characters if they worked on the European Poker Tour. Here’s the list of recent eliminations, and there are some crackers among them.

There are three former EPT champions in here. Who are they? Look closely:

Wiktor Malinouski, Ouri Cohen, Saar Wilf, Shyam Srinivasan, Pedro Marques, Moritz Dietrich, Ollie Price, Andres Iglesias, Belmehel Daouadji, George Petten, Antoine Saout, Cosmin Joldis, Steven Watts, Florian Decamps, Jan Bendik, Sebastien Boyard, I Could Totally Just Make Up a Name, Nobody Would Know, Yaron Yafe, Sina Alamzad, Player A, Player B, Asi Moshe, Thomas Graupner, Oswin Ziegelbecker, I’ve Never Met Anyone Called Oswin Before, Ghattas Kortas, Nor Ghattas For That Matter, Dean Perry, I Know A Few Deans Though, Ozcan Barut, Bart Lybaert, Emil Lukac, Ozgur Arda, Sebastian Pauli, Bartosz Piesiewicz, Max Silver, Yi-Wei Peng, Banyel Boyaciyan, Karzan Hamarash, Kirill Shalashov, Rodrigo Strong, Remi Castaignon, Veli Pekka Antero Alakorva, Alex Brand, Soren Hansen, Liran Twito, Valerri Lubenets, Choukri Chergui.

(The former champs out are Jan Bendik, Remi Castaignon and Sebastian Pauli.) –HS

4:45pm: Some familiar faces
Level 4 – Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

This vast field is packed with the leading lights of the game. Our photographer Neil Stoddart has captured a few of them this afternoon:


Dermot Blain and Max Silver


Dietrich Fast


Luca Pagano


Gabe Nassif


Dominik Panka


Martin Staszko


4:35pm: Lucky Linton
Level 4 – Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

Pete Linton from the UK must be bowing down to the Poker Gods right now as he just got super lucky to survive. He shoved for 7,500 from the small blind with ace-eight over the top of Diego Zeiter’s open with ace-king and was called. But the board ran out J♦6♣5♦7♠4♦ giving the Brit a straight and the double to just over 15,000. Zeiter is left with 23,000. –JS

4:30pm: Pyramid schemes
Level 4 – Blinds 150/300 (ante 50)

Ori Hasson has been engaging his table all day on a variety of topics, most having to do with hands just played, but occasionally touching on larger, non-poker subjects.

“I mean how did they do it… without technology, nothing?” he asked just now.

“Well, you have a lot of time,” answered Knut Karnapp from across the table. “And you have a lot of people to work for you,” chimed in Alex Casals.

“And somebody says, ‘Hey, I have an idea… let’s build a pyramid,” finished Karnapp.

The players are all working on their own construction plans here in the fourth level, using ingenuity, know-how, and available materials. Right now of these three Hasson has the most to work with, as he’s up around 35,000, and Casals is close behind him with the starting stack of 30,000.

But Karnapp is down around 5,000, and will have to work extra hard on his chip-building ideas. –MH

4:25pm: Bojang in the mix
Level 4 – Blinds 150/300 (ante 25)

Ismael Bojang took down the last ever IPT Main Event back in October for €101,940, and he’s here in Prague trying to win the last ever EPT Main Event too.

You could say it’s been a so-so start to the day for him, though, as he still has around the starting stack. In his latest hand he defended his big blind to a 500 open from Andrei Chernokoz and the two saw a 2♥9♠4♠ flop. Bojang checked, and Chernokoz continued for 700 and was called.

The dealer burned and turned the Q♦ and both checked to see a 2♦ river card. Now Bojang took the betting lead with a 1,100 wager, and after half a minute Chernokoz made the call. Bojang flipped his J♥9♦ for second pair and that was good, leaving with him 29,500, while Chernokoz has 15,300 after that one. –JS

4:15pm: Winning your way into the main room
Level 4 – Blinds 150/300 (50 ante)

While Dara O’Kearney is a fine tournament player, he has a reputation as one of the best, if not the best, satellite player there is. It’s a reputation he can back up with results. He was the UKIPT Online Qualifier of the Year for as long as there was that accolade and won multiple seats to virtually every stop he was attending.

He can also win seats in the live arena and indeed that’s how he got into this event in Prague. Right now though it feels as if he’s playing a different kind of satellite. A satellite to get into the main tournament room. Such is the size of the Day 1B field – 855 players and counting – that there are now eight tables in the area just outside the main room, an area that is usually reserved solely for side events.

These tables will be the first to break, so survive long enough and eventually you’ll get moved into the main room. And, just like in an actual satellite you’ll get that move with one chip or 1 million chips.

As well as O’Kearney, the likes of James Akenhead, Felix Bleiker, Jean Montury, Vicente Delgado and Ted Jackson-Spivack – who won the last ever UKIPT event – are all playing in the overspill area. –NW

4:05pm: Shattering news
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

It turns out luck is a skill game. You heard it here first.

It’s tight quarters again in the tournament room, and with 810 players registered for Day 1B (and counting), it’s only getting more crowded.

Just ask Jean-Philippe Rohr, who recently slid back in his chair and ever so slightly nudged a small table behind him on which sat a coffee cup and a half-full bottle of Heineken. First the cup crashed to the hard floor, breaking into bits. Then the bottle toppled, too, shattering as well into a sloshy pile.

“That’s good luck,” Stoyan Obreshkov quickly offered from the next table. Then Duff Charette offered to clarify.

“You break one, it’s bad luck, but when you break two, that’s good luck,” he explained.

Bracing ourselves now for more glass breaking to come — in pairs, of course — especially near the shorter stacks. –MH

4pm: Gambling with the nuts
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

It’s always a good feeling when you get your opponent all-in drawing dead. That was just one of the reasons Hossein Ensan was smiling as he stacked the chips that formerly belonged to Choukri Chergui.

Matas Cimbolas was actually the player who provided the kindling to this fiery pot. He raised to 450 from the button, Chergui called and then Ensan three-bet to 1,700. Cimbolas gave it some thought before folding and once he’d done so Chergui wasted no time in calling.

So it was heads-up to a 4♣J♥Q♠ flop, which both players checked. That took them to a 7♣ turn card and this is where the fireworks went off. After Ensan bet 3,500 Chergui check-raised all-in for around 16,000 and Ensan snap called. The defending champion had the nuts – Q♣Q♦ – while Chergui held Q♥J♦ for top two pair.


Choukri Chergul and Hossein Ensan at the end of the former’s tournament

Chergui was drawing dead and the meaningless 6♣ completed the board. After that hand Ensan is up to 48,000. “Not even a sweat,” Will Kassouf said to Ensan after the hand had finished. –NW

3:55pm: Bertilsson’s bet puzzles Ozgur
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

It was a literal head-scratcher for Ozgur Arda. (Insert “head-scratch” .gif.) And I mean literal literally. (Insert “mind blown” .gif.)

With about 10,000 in the middle and the board showing 10♣A♥4♦4♠J♥, Arda fired a healthy 7,500 forward, leaving himself about that much behind. But Anton Bertilsson — second-place finisher in this very event two years ago — pushed all in for more than Arda had left.

Arda puzzled and puzzled, performing the aforementioned head-scratching as he did, before finally letting his hand go. He keeps his 7,500 or so, while Bertilsson is back close to the 30,000 with which he began. –MH

3:45pm: Tamasauskas back to work
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

It was only around 15 hours ago that Lithuania’s Vladas Tamasauskas was playing heads-up for more than €200,000. He was part of the epic Eureka6 Prague final table that went on so long that new levels needed to be created.

There’s no rest for the wickedly good at poker though, and the UKIPT6 Dublin winner is back at work today. He called Walter Treccarichi’s 500 open, as did Gerald Karlic in the small blind. The three went to a 10♦10♣Q♣ flop which checked around.

They saw a third ten hit the board with the 10♥ turn and it checked to Treccarichi, who made a delayed c-bet of 800. That got rid of Tamasauskas but Karlic called. The river was the 4♠ and both checked, and Karlic had the best hand with his 7♣7♠. Treccarichi mucked.

Tamasauskas has 31,000, Treccarichi has 28,000, and Karlic has 30,000. –JS

3:40pm: Jorgensen is unlucky for Marquez
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

Team PokerStars Pro Theo Jorgensen has just taken his seat in this last ever EPT Main Event, and his arrival has added to something of a murderers’ row. Jorgensen is to the right of high roller regular Joao Vieira, who in turn is to the right of Ana Marquez.

Unfortunately for Marquez, Jorgensen’s arrival proved somewhat unlucky. She was in a pot with Karzan Hamarash of Iraq and the board showed the Q♦9♦K♦K♠9♠. Marquez had put Hamarash to the test for his last 9,000 and he made the call.


Joao Vieira and Ana Marquez

“You win,” she said, showing the 6♣7♣ for a bluff. Hamarash showed his J♥9♥ for a full house and doubled up, while Marquez drops to 28,600. –JS

3:35pm: More departures
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

There are three things you can be sure about in life, death, taxes and poker tournament bust-outs. The latter indignity has recently befallen: Johnny Hansen, Jose Antonio Rouco Rodriguez, Onur Unsal, Denis Karakashi, Aleksandr Orlov, Mike Shariati, Andrejs Maklecovs, Ivan Banic, Vladimir Shabalin, Ian Simpson, Dan Larsen and Bo Alm. –HS

3:25pm: Kavrakov scores a KO
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

A hand went awry for Ian Simpson here at the start of Level 3, and his Main Event has ended early.

From table talk afterwards, a late-position open from Atanas Kavrakov was met with a button re-raise by Simpson, then Simpson called after Kavrakov four-bet.

Not too sure how they arrived at the turn with the board showing J♥4♦9♠6♣ and Simpson calling off what he had left following a Kavrakov bet, but the important point is Kavrakov had K♥K♠ and Simpson was drawing thin with A♦3♦. The 5♦ river didn’t work for Simpson and he’s out, and Kavrakov is up to 40,000.

During that post-hand discussion, Kavrakov said he’d thought he’d see tens or queens, while others speculated Simpson was looking for him to turn over king-queen.

“Good start,” said Aleksandr Gofman, sitting to Kavrakov’s right. He could say as much about himself, actually, as Gofman has a nice-looking stack of 75,000. –MH

3:20pm: Let the game begin
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

“Now we’ve got a game,” Will Kassouf said to Matas Cimbolas as the latter sat down in the one seat at Kassouf’s table. It’s possible that Kassouf – who is in seat four – is oblivious to the fact that he’s sat next to the reigning EPT Prague Main Event champion.

Back in December 2015 – a full seven months before Kassouf mania hit – Hossein Ensan won his EPT title and he’s sat to Kassouf’s right today. As Cimbolas sat down Kassouf was involved in a hand. It was multi-way to a 4♠6♠7♣ flop, Kassouf and Pascal Hartmann checked to Ntenis Petsi, who bet 2,500 into a pot of 4,700. Kassouf then called only for Hartmann to bump it up to 11,200.


Hossein Ensan and Will Kassouf

Petsi spent a long time in the tank before folding, whereas Kassouf released his hand immediately. Kassouf is down to 32,000 after that pot and Ensan has 22,300. –NW

3:15pm: Kan he have it?
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

Raiden Kan’s blue hair certainly help him stand out among the crowd, so much so he was the first player to grab our attention entering the poker room. Luckily, he was about to get stuck into a big hand against Martin Finger.

It started with a 525 open from Finger, from the UTG+1 seat. It folded around to the blinds and the player in the small called, as did Kan in the big. The flop fell 6♦8♣9♣ and Kan checked it, letting Finger in for a 1,200 continuation bet. The small blind called, only for Kan to then three-bet it up to 4,500. Only Finger called and we went to a turn.

The 9♥ landed, pairing the board, and Kan continued his aggression for 5,000. Finger tossed in a blue 5K chip and the dealer put out the Q♣ on the river.

Kan asked Finger for a count (“Around 12K,” was the reply) and he started putting together a bet. He made it just over 12,000, Finger said all-in (for what turned out to be 13,125) and Kan called off the rest.

Finger then turned over the 9♠8♠ for a flopped two-pair and a turned full house, and Kan clearly couldn’t compete. He mucked his hand and dropped down to 7,000, while with the double up and more Finger is up to 48,000 now. –JS

3:10pm: Creeping towards a record
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

It’s a big, big turnout for the final EPT Main Event. Already today there are more than 800 players, and we saw 246 yesterday. The all-time record for this event is the field of 1,107 beaten by Stephen Graner in 2014. There’s a very good chance we could better that. — HS


3:05pm: Sound the Last Post
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

There’s a long line of alternates waiting to be seated on Day 1B. Until recently, Mikhail Shalamov, of Team PokerStars Online, was among them. As was Sylvain Loosli.


Mikail Shalamov: Team Online in the midst

Both are now seated in the tournament as spaces are quickly opening up. Despite a 30,000 starting stack, the following are already out:

Georgios Karakousis, Giovanni Salvatore, Georgy Philippovich, Valdemar Kwaysser, Luc Greenwood, Keith Cummins, Ara Melkistian, Robin Ylitalo, Josip Simunic, Andrey Zaichenko, Giorgio Donzelli, Ghassan Khalil, Gregory Dupuy, Victor Jami, Volkan Aydin, Alexander Ivarsson, Andreas Vlachos, Viviu Ignat. — HS

3pm: Play resumes
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (ante 25)

The game is Texas hold’em, players, with no limit on the betting. A check and a raise is permitted. –MH

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

2:40pm: Break time

With the conclusion of Level 2, players are off on the first 20-minute break of the day. –MH

2:30pm: Hark the sound of all-in voices
Level 2 – Blinds 75/150

You hear players announcing “all in” just every so often during this early stage of the tournament. Less often do you hear the familar “sque-e-e-e-ch” of the all-in player’s chair signaling a knockout.

That latter sound has followed a few times this level, though, including by the chairs formerly occupied by Luc Greenwood, Robin Ylitalo, and Andrey Zaichenko, all of whom have been eliminated before the first break. –MH

2:15pm: Caza collecting
Level 2 – Blinds 75/150

Marco Caza is an accumulator. Or at least that’s impression he’s given over the last several events in which we’ve seen him play here on the tour. 

Most recently he showed as much with another deep run in the Eureka Prague Main Event where he finished 21st, reminding us of his presence on the latter days of the EPT13 Barcelona Main Event back in August where he took 43rd. His biggest lifetime score saw him get all of the way to runner-up in a $5K NL event at the PCA in 2015, good for $110,220.  

The Canadian is at it again here in the early going today, having just gotten involved in a hand from middle position holding 6♣4♣ versus Philippe Wettstein on the button. A board of 10♦3♥2♣5♠3♠ gave Caza a straight and enabled him to earn some value before the river checked through, and now he’s up around 48,000. –MH 

2pm: Play gradually heating in Prague
Level 2 – Blinds 75/150

Ara Melkistian opened a recent pot to 400 and Reza Doomun, in the hijack, looked perplexed. Then he swivelled to look at the tournament clock, learning that they were now in Level 2 where blinds are 75/150, and realising it wasn’t such a strange opening raise. He called. Luigi Percossi called from the big blind too.

The flop fell 8♠5♣6♣ and both Percossi and Melkistian checked. Dooman bet 1,200 and only Percossi paid to see the Q♠ turn. Percossi checked again and was faced with another bet, this time of 1,300. But that was fine for Percossi. He check-raised to 3,000 and Dooman called so quickly it was like this was always part of the plan.

The J♣ appeared on the river and Percossi led for 5,000. That was clearly not in Dooman’s plan because he folded. — HS

1:50pm: Pretty okay start for Van Putten
Level 2 – Blinds 75/150

With the board showing 6♥5♥3♣, Gregory Dupuy announced he was betting all in and Jasper Meijer Van Putten was quick with the call. 

Dupuy stood as he opened A♥8♥ to show he was on a heart flush draw, while Van Putten’s 5♦5♣ for a set of fives had him out in front. The turn was the 4♦ and river the K♣, and Dupuy headed to the exit while Van Putten is up around 60,000. 

“That was okay?” asked a player of Van Putten afterwards. “Pretty okay,” Van Putten grinned. –MH

1:35pm: Chen returns to the lion’s den
Level 2 – Blinds 75/150

Andrew Chen is seated on one of the tables on the stage in the tournament room today. About two tables over is Salvatore Bonavena. Those two have a history in Prague together: Chen finished third the year that Bonavena won his EPT title, and Chen was one of those swept away in Bonavena’s unstoppable momentum that year.

It’s difficult to have too much sympathy for anyone who won €257,000 in a single poker tournament but anyone who watched that final will have felt a little for Chen. He tried all the tricks in his sizeable repertoire to try to navigate his way to the top spot, but just kept being put in his place by the deck and the relentlessness of Bonavena.

Chen is arguably at a tougher table today, at least on paper, than he faced in that final in 2008. He also has Vicente Delgado and Ryan Frankin for company. He just played a small pot against Tomasz Chmiel too that ended in a chop when Chen showed A♦10♥ to Chmiel’s A♣10♣ on the board of 3♣9♣10♠A♠9♦. — HS

1:25pm: Into Level 2
Level 2 – Blinds 75/150

They move into Level 2 without a break, with more than 700 players now registered. –MH

1:20pm: The Monk’s confession
Level 1 – Blinds 50/100

Longtime pro Andy Black is in the field and engaging his starting table in conversation in the early going. As many know of the man from Belfast, he earned the nickname of “The Monk” thanks to his time living for several years in a semi-monastic Buddhist community.


Andy Black: No longer as quiet as he once was

Just now Black and his neighbor to the right, the Czech player Milan Sasek, were discussing poker penalties, with Black revealing he only received his first one in 30 years of playing poker this past summer at the WSOP.

After explaining the cause — something to do with a little too energetic chip tossing, it sounded like — another player laughed and wondered aloud to Black whether he should protect his stack lest a similar incident were to occur.

“Oh no, I’d think of something else,” grinned Black, who paused a moment and added a further thought.

“You don’t have anything to worry about, really,” he said. “I mean one time in 30 years… the chances are pretty slim it’ll happen again.” –MH

1:15pm: The way it goes in Level 1
Level 1 – Blinds 50/100

I’ll confess, there aren’t a lot of hand histories in the opening 60 minutes of coverage here. But that’s because most pots are a bit like this:

Viacheslav Goryachev opened to 300 from mid-position and Dejan Pustoslemsek three-bet to 800 from the small blind. That got Vanessa Selbst to fold her big blind (oh yes, the Team Pro from the United States is over here in Prague) but Goryachev called.


A return to Europe for Vanessa Selbst

The flop brought the 2♠6♦6♣ and Goryachev folded to Pustoslemsek’s bet of 600. — HS

1:10pm: Early elims
Level 1 – Blinds 50/100

Circling about the tournament room we spotted the Greek player Andreas Vlachos conspicuously standing by his chair. Even more worrisome, his chip stack — neatly composed in a single column — was on the other side of the betting line, and the dealing and betting was all over.

Alas for Andreas, those chips now belong to Joan Fabregas Capellas who looks to have flopped a set of sixes then rivered a full house to claim that bounty. Vlachos is heading to the exit, a first-level elimination.

Vlachos is not the very first out today, though — Liviu “0Human0” Ignat has also gone through the 30,000-chip starting stack, too, and is on the rail. –MH

1pm: More winners
Level 1 – Blinds 50/100

Ognjan Dimov and Michael Tureniec are also now seated, both seeking their second title. Tureniec, of course, has been both winner and runner up on the European Poker Tour. (Incidentally, Dani Parlafes, the man beaten by Dimov when he won his title, is also playing today.) –HS


Michael Tureniec: Dangerous Swede

12:55pm: Looking for the big bookend
Level 1 – Blinds 50/100

Georgios Sotiropoulos of Greece has joined the fray here in the early going, winner (as “GeoManousos”) of the Sunday Million, the Super Tuesday, and numerous other online events. Among his live triumphs also is a victory in the LAPT Bahamas Main Event earlier this year where he topped a field of 851 entries to win a $308,220 first prize.

Just a couple of tables away from him is the German Knut Karnapp, who coincidentally finished just a couple of spots away from the top in that same LAPT Bahamas event where he took third for $132,080.

Both are looking to bookend 2016 with another big tournament score. –MH

12:45pm: Double PokerStars Tour champion?
Level 1 – Blinds 50/100

When Vladimir Geshkenbein won the Asia Championships of Poker Main Event in Macau last month, he became the first person to be crowned champion on both the EPT and APPT. It led to many to conclude he would also be the last, given the fact that only one small event remained at the time on the Asian tour and it was not likely to attract any former EPT champions.

However, that’s not to say that the final EPT–ie, this one in Prague–couldn’t be won by a former APPT champion. And Raiden Kan, one of Asia’s leading lights and a former winner of the Macau Poker Cup Main Event, is over here with high hopes of reaching an EPT final table.

He has tough company today, with Martin Finger and Julian Stuer also at his table.

Not far over the tournament room sits another former PokerStars tour winner: Valdemar Kwaysser, who won on the first season of the Latin America Poker Tour (LAPT) in San Jose, Costa Rica. Kwaysser, who is from Hungary, has subsequently won a World Series bracelet but has not won on the European Poker Tour. He is rolling the dice for the last time here. — HS

12:30pm: More stars
Level 1 – Blinds 50/100

Jan Bendik, Ludovic Lacay, Martin Finger and Arnaud Mattern have now sat down and joined the ranks of the former champions in the mix here in Prague. Jake Cody is definitely on his way, but the Team PokerStars Pro is probably still recovering from a big night at the Right To Play charity tournament yesterday.

Lucien Cohen, Dominik Panka, Dimitar Danchev, Roberto Romanello and Robin Ylitalo are also on the list of players expected today. — HS

12:15pm: Early Prague-ress
Level 1 – Blinds 50/100

The tournament room is gradually starting to fill, with more than 600 registered thus far for Day 1B. Late registration lasts the entire day, of course, and up until the start of tomorrow’s Day 2.

Ari Engel, Kirill Tcyngalev, Dermot Blain, Anton Wigg, Marco Caza, and last year’s EPT Prague Main Event champion Hossein Ensan are all among the Day 1B starting line-up. –MH

12:00pm: Cards are in the air
Level 1 – Blinds 50/100

Away they go on the last Day 1 under the European Poker Tour branding. At least the following former champions are already seated: Sebastian Pauli, Kevin MacPhee and Jean Montury. Many, many more will join them today.


Kevin MacPhee: Looking for title two

Gabe Nassif, James Akenhead, Rumen Nanev, Alex Fitzgerald, Sergey Sergeev, Francois Billard and Alexander Ivarsson were also among the players arriving before the first card was dealt. –HS

11:55pm: Breaking 76,000

Play is just about to get under way in the Main Event, and here’s our target: 76,000 players. Ahead of this festival, there have been 75,222 entries into Main Events through 13 years of the EPT. There were 246 yesterday, meaning we’re at 75,468. When (rather than if) today’s field is confirmed at more than 532, we’re through the 76,000 barrier. –HS

Full stats:

Total numbers for EPT Main Events from EPT1 Barcelona to EPT13 Malta:

114 stops
75,222 players
€426,991,303 total prize pool

(With thanks to Jan Kores, EPT Media Co-ordinator)  –HS

11:45am: Last ever Day 1B

Good afternoon everybody and welcome back to Prague for Day 1B of the €5,000 European Poker Tour (EPT) Main Event. It’s the last time we’ll play a Day 1B under this branding, so pay very special attention.

Play gets under way at noon in the main conference room at the Hilton Prague, as was the case for yesterday’s Day 1A. Similarly, they will play eight 75-minute levels, with a dinner break at the end of Level 6. The principal difference will be the size of the field. There’s every indication that more than 600 people will play today, adding to the 246 who showed up yesterday.

No doubt the field will be stuffed with players hoping to claim a second title at the last attempt (I saw Ludovic Lacay at breakfast; he hasn’t played in a while) and others who’ll be happy to bow out with one EPT title under their belt. Who will follow Hossein Ensan as EPT Prague champion?

We’ll scour the room as soon as play is under way to bring details of the top contenders. –HS

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

Take a look at the official website of the EPT, with tournament schedule, news, results and accommodation details for EPT13 Prague.

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

PokerStars Blog reporting team on the €5,000 EPT Main Event: Martin Harris, Jack Stanton, Howard Swains and Nick Wright. Photography by Neil Stoddart. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog


Hossein Ensan: Last year’s winner


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