EPT13 Prague: Golden boy Charlie Carrel leads whisky-fuelled Super High Roller

December 11, 2016


Charlie Carrel: Unstoppable

The €50,000 Super High Roller tournament is always the jewel in the crown of European Poker Tour festivals. It has the biggest buy in and the biggest array of superstars, bringing the biggest wallets to the table.

As play entered the last level tonight in Prague, they started to flash the cash too: Leon Tsoukernik coughed up €600 for a bottle of whisky. You just don’t get that kind of behaviour in the €300 nightly turbo.


Refreshment arrives for Leon Tsoukernik

Tsoukernik was only one of 38 players who coughed up €50K for a seat in this event today, and he was also one of six who were forced to re-enter after shelling their 250,000 starting stacks. But it was actually his table-mate and sometime adversary Charlie Carrel who earned the honour of the chip-lead when the clock ticked down to the end of play tonight.

Carrel also re-entered after his set of sixes were bettered by Mustapha Kanit’s set of aces. But Carrel was unstoppable after firing his second bullet and, fresh from a third-place finish in the €10,000 NLHE tournament last night, is in pole position for another deep run.

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Carrel is in awesome form at the moment, having added the six-figure score last night to a brilliant run of results in Amsterdam last month. We have seen some hot streaks over the past few years in poker, and Carrel is getting close to matching some of them.

Find out how he got all his chips today by scrolling through our blow-by-blow coverage below.

The prize-pool for this event already stands at more than €2.2 million, but registration is still open until 12:15pm tomorrow afternoon, 15 minutes before the resumption in play. After that we’ll know the full complexion of the tournament field, as well as what they stand to win. In the meantime, here is how the remaining 32 stack up:

Name Country Chips
Charlie Carrel UK 1,129,000
Julian Thomas Germany 700,000
Patrick Leonard UK 617,000
Konstantin Uspenskiy Russia 517,000
Isaac Haxton USA 504,000
Jean-Noel Thorel France 484,000
Mustapha Kanit Italy 453,000
Paul Newey UK 451,000
Daniel Dvoress Canada 442,000
Ben Heath UK 441,000
Anthony Zinno USA 437,000
Koray Aldemir Germany 389,000
Sam Greenwood Canada 375,000
Ali Reza Fatehi Iran 360,000
Leon Tsoukernik Czech Republic 355,000
Juha Helppi Finland 334,000
Vladimir Troyanovskiy Russia 301,000
Viacheslav Buldygin Russia 284,000
Alexandros Kolonias Greece 271,000
Steve O’Dwyer Ireland 254,000
Orpen Kisacikoglu Turkey 239,000
Sergio Aido Spain 235,000
Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier France 231,000
Martin Kozlov Australia 230,000
Timothy Adams Canada 227,000
Sergey Lebedev Russia 222,000
Max Silver UK 221,000
Mikita Badziakouski Belarus 218,000
Vojtech Ruzicka Czech Republic 199,000
Davidi Kitai Belgium 187,000
Steffen Sontheimer Germany 95,000
Ole Schemion Germany 92,000

We’ll be back at 12:30pm for Day 2 of this event. You can still get your fix of live poker with the Eureka Main Event, which is playing to around midnight tonight.


Day 1 coverage:

9:32pm: ElkY gets needed chips
Level 8 – Blinds 2,500-5,000 (500 ante)

Team PokerStars Pro ElkY has 195,000 now after winning a pot from Ole Schemion.

The latter opened to 14,000 and was called by ElkY on the button. Schemion continued for 14,000 on an 8♥K♣4♠ board and was was called before he checked over the 9♥ turn. His French opponent bet 27,000 and Schemion called before both players checked the Q♠ river.

Schemion opened J♦9♠ but ElkY had snatched the lead on the river with Q♣J♣. Schemion dropped to 216,000. –MC

9:30pm: Five more hands
Level 8 – Blinds 2,500-5,000 (500 ante)

The clock is stopped and they will play five more hands before wrapping for the night.

9:25pm: Yan’s aces cracked
Level 8 – Blinds 2,500-5,000 (500 ante)

The tournament director just announced that as we’ve reached the last 20 minutes of today’s play that no more re-buys will be allowed tonight, but players can still re-enter up until the start of play tomorrow.

This was of particular interest to David Yan as he was all-in for 39,500 with A♣A♦ and looking to hold against the K♥J♠ of Julian Thomas. When the J♣5♥Q♥ flop hit the felt Yan said: “Aww man, I can’t even re-buy,” perhaps sensing that his Aces were in trouble.

The 4♦ turn was a blank but the J♥ river meant Thomas made trips and Yan was eliminated. He may be back, just not tonight. –NW

9:15pm: Strong play from Schemion, stronger play from Tsoukernik
Level 8 – Blinds 2,500-5,000 (500 ante)

Leon Tsoukernik has been the life and soul of his table since he re-entered. Even Charlie Carrel said to him, “I’m sorry we had words earlier, you seem like a fun guy.”

He just won a nice pot without showdown, too. Viacheslav Buldygin opened to 12,000 from first position and was called in two spots before Ole Schemion squeezed to 45,000 from the small blind.

Buldygin and Tsoukernik both called all the three of them headed to a 6♦3♥K♠ flop. Schemion continued for 42,000 and that got rid of Buldygin but not Tsoukernik who raised all-in for 185,000. Schemion folded to drop to 245,000. –MC

9pm: Kabrhel flushed by Thorel
Level 8 – Blinds 2,500-5,000 (500 ante)

Martin Kabrhel has spent most of today trying to work his short stack back towards something resembling a starting stack. Sadly for the Czech player the only way that’s going to happen is if he re-buys as he’s just been eliminated.

He shoved from under the gun for his final 41,000 with 6♣6♥ and Jean-Noel Thorel gave him a spin with A♥9♦. Both players made a flush on the K♥10♥5♥7♥J♦ board but Thorel’s was the nut flush and indeed the nuts on that board.

Kabrhel, his laptop and hippo shaped card protector may well be back as late registration is open until the start of play tomorrow. (Max Silver, by the way, is back in.) –NW

8:45pm: Yaghmai done in by back to back blows
Level 8 – Blinds 2,500-5,000 (500 ante)

The history books will show that Nariman Yaghmai was eliminated from this tournament by Mikita Badziakouski, but it was Sam Greenwood who did the real damage.

Greenwood was short-stacked and shoved his final 37,100 in with J♥9♦, Yaghmai re-raised all-in with 9♥9♣ and everyone else folded. Greenwood got there on a 7♥J♠3♣6♠A♣ board and Yaghmai was left with 8,000.

That went in on the next hand and his Q♦6♠ was up against Badziakouski’s A♣3♥. The 3♥3♣10♦7♣A♦ board didn’t help him and he took his leave. –NW

8:46pm: Haxton uses kings to double
Level 7 – Blinds 2,000-4,000 (500 ante)

Ike Haxton has had to play a patient game today, but he’s finally gained traction, doubling up on the last hand of Level 7.

Jean-Noel Thorel opened to 10,00 from the button before Haxton three-bet to 37,000 from the big blind. Thorel four-bet jammed and Haxton called all-in for 225,000.

Haxton: K♦K♥
Thorel: Q♣Q♠

The board ran 4♥3♥2♥7♣8♥ to make Haxton a flush. Thorel dropped to 335,000. –MC

8:45pm: No joy for Petrangelo
Level 7 – Blinds 2,000-4,000 (500 ante)

Nick Petrangelo has become the first player to bust from this tournament twice and it was Patrick Leonard who eliminated him. The hand started with a raise to 8,000 from Petrangelo, Leonard then three-bet to 25,000 and Petrangelo shoved for what looked like 140,000.

Leonard called with Q♠Q♦ and held against Petrangelo’s pocket eights on a K♥J♠2♥6♦2♠ board.

After that hand Leonard has around 500,000. –NW

8:41pm: New player: Johnnie Walker
Level 7 – Blinds 2,000-4,000 (500 ante)

A new player appeared at the table between Leon Tsoukernik and Charlie Carrel. His name is Johnnie Walker and he was wearing a rare blue jacket.

We’re not sure who coughed up for the premium malt whisky, but there are two glasses and Tsoukernik has one. It looks like he and Carrel are building bridges after an earlier disagreement over whether or not Carrel had checked in the dark in a pot between the two.


Leon Tsoukernik and a new friend

It was something of nothing, requiring a ruling but nothing more bothersome than a few heated words. They are now kissing and making up with this booze. It’s fitting as the tournament enters its last level of the day. — HS

8:40pm: Yan makes classy call to double
Level 7 – Blinds 2,000-4,000 (500 ante)

It’s not always easy calling all-in with ace high, especially in a €50k buy-in tournament. David Yan did just that and has a stack worth 387,000 as a reward.

It looked as if 96,000 chips had been amassed in the middle by the time he and Mikita Badziakouski took to a 5♦4♣3♥ flop. Badziakouski was first to act from the small blind and set Yan in for his last 146,500.

The Kiwi pulled several facial expressions before he called it off with A♣Q♥. Badziakouski made a cookie jar noise and opened A♦J♦. The board ran out 8♣A♠ and Badziakouski dropped to 215,000. –MC

8:35pm: Helppi at the double
Level 7 – Blinds 2,000-4,000 (500 ante)

We missed the pre-flop action but Sergey Lebedev informed us that Dario Sammartino limped from the small blind, Juha Helppi raised from the big, Sammartino then re-raised and Helppi called. From the 9♥3♣6♠ flop onwards we caught the action live and were in position to see Sammartino bet 33,000 and Helppi call.

The Q♠ fell on fourth street and Sammartino bet again. This time 58,000 was the asking price and it was one Helppi was willing to pay. The K♦ completed the board and Sammartino wasted little time in setting Helppi in for his final 119,000. Helppi paused a couple of beats before pushing two chips over the line to signify a call.

Sammartino rolled over pocket aces but Helppi had him beat with Q♣9♣ for two-pair. That loss drops Sammartino to 55,000 and boosts Helppi to 490,000. –NW

8:30pm: Wheeler’s double leaves Kabrhel short
Level 7 – Blinds 2,000-4,000 (500 ante)

Jason Wheeler has found a double up. He had J♣J♦ and was up against Martin Kabrhel’s A♥K♠ and I assume they got it in pre-flop. Wheeler only had 58,500 but he has double that now because the board was a dry 3♦2♦8♥6♥7♣. Kabrhel now has only 63,000. — HS

8:15pm: You don’t get if you don’t ask!
Level 7 – Blinds 2,000-4,000 (500 ante)

An eruption of laughter came from the table over in the corner so we had to go and investigate. Ike Haxton filled in the details.

Jean-Noel Thorel has just won a pot with pocket Kings and his neighbour, Martin Kabrhel, expressed his frustration at not getting many premium hands today by asking, “Dealer, any chance I can get Kings?”

At the exact moment he asked, the dealer pitched him a card that accidentally flipped up. Wouldn’t you know it? It was a king! –MC

8:10pm: Carrel hits gold by taking out Silver
Level 7 – Blinds 2,000-4,000 (500 ante)

A bit of Brit on Brit action has ended with Max Silver falling to Charlie Carrel. Carrel moves up to around 700,000.

Carrel opened to 10,000 from first position and Silver was the only caller from the big blind. The flop spread 5♣7♠2♠ and Carrel continued for 15,000 and called after Silver check-raised him to 42,000.


Charlie Carrel: Glowing

Silver led for 36,000 on the Q♠ turn and Carrel called once more. The 10♦ filled up the board and Silver slowed to a check. He had 86,500 remaining and Carrel soon put him to test for all of it.

A long dialogue then ensued between the two players, one that Anthony Zinno found very entertaining. Ole Schemion not so much. After a few minutes he called the clock and the tournament supervisor came over. Silver called all-in before the countdown ended and was shown A♠A♣ by Carrel. Silver held pocket eights.

While the end of this hand was playing out, Steffen Sontheimer was busy busting to Daniel Dvoress on a nearby table. No details of the hand. –MC

8:05pm: Wheeler slips below 20 big blinds
Level 7 – Blinds 2,000-4,000 (500 ante)

It didn’t look as if the hand was going to amount to much when Koray Aldemir limped from the small blind. But Jason Wheeler raised to 11,500 out of the big blind and Aldemir elected to call.

Aldemir went on to call bets of 10,000, 20,000 and 37,500 from Wheeler on the 7♦K♥5♠ flop, 10♣ turn and 5♥ river respectively.

When Aldemir called the river Wheeler simply mucked his hand meaning Aldemir didn’t need to show. After that hand Aldemir is up to 375,000 while Wheeler is down to 70,000. –NW


Koray Aldemir finds reasons to be cheerful

8pm: Uspenskiy’s strong arm prevails again
Level 7 – Blinds 2,000-4,000 (500 ante)

Konstantin Uspenskiy is the big-stack bully this afternoon and he just pushed out both Davidi Kitai and Mustapha Kanit.

Kitai opened the pot, making it 9,500 to play, and Kanit three bet the button, putting 22,000 forward. Uspenskiy has the chips to do whatever he pleases, and in this instance he wanted to four bet. He put out 72,000.


Konstantin Uspenskiy with the chips to do as he pleases

Kitai skittered away, but Kanit called. The flop came Q♠A♦5♦ and Uspenskiy put 65,000 forward. Kanit saved himself for the next hand. He folded. — HS

7:45pm: Carrel continues his comeback
Level 7 – Blinds 2,000-4,000 (500 ante)

Charlie Carrel’s second bullet is working out better than the first and he’s moved up to 600,000 after winning another pot. The pre-flop action is unknown but on a Q♠5♣10♦ flop Ole Schemion (big blind) and Max Silver (cutoff) checked to Carrel. He bet 15,000 and both players called. He bet a further 45,000 on the 4♥ turn and Silver was the only caller.

Both players checked the 4♠ river and it was time for a showdown. Silver opened Q♦9♦ but Carrel had him out-kicked with Q♥J♣ and took the pot. –NW

7:40pm: Badziakouski in the big blind
Level 7 – Blinds 2,000-4,000 (500 ante)

Ben Heath is sitting with a healthy stack at this stage. It’s more than 400,000. However, he just lost a small pot to Mikita Badziakouski, who is heading towards that mark as well.

Heath raised to 9,000 from under the gun and Ali Reza Fatehi (from about 175,000) called on the button, persuading Badziakouski in from the big blind too.

The three of them surveyed the flop of 2♠5♣6♥ and Badziakouski, the only player whose table position allowed those three cards to be legitimately in his range, bet 10,000. Both Heath and Fatehi called.

The 9♠ appeared on the turn, still smothering a big-blind’s range, and Badziakouski bet 25,000. It earned two quick folds.

Badziakouski has about 360,000 now. Heath has 405,000 and Fatehi about 150,000. — HS

7:40pm: The return
Level 7 – Blinds 2,000-4,000 (500 ante)

Players are back in their seats and the game is afoot once more. We’re playing two more levels and then wrapping for the night. — HS

7:20pm: Top counts
Level 6 – Blinds 1,500-3,000 (500 ante)

As far as we can see, the top four counts in the room are as follows:

Konstantin Uspenskiy: 620,000
Anthony Zinno: 545,000
Jean-Noel Thorel: 520,000
Charlie Carrel: 515,000

Those last two are on their second bullet. — HS

7:15pm: Break time
Level 6 – Blinds 1,500-3,000 (500 ante)

That’s the last action of Level 6 and they’re heading to a 20-minute break.

7:15pm: Buldygin loses to stone-faced Zinno
Level 6 – Blinds 1,500-3,000 (500 ante)

Viacheslav Buldygin, he of the malleable face and regular grimace, is up to his old tricks again. He opened to 7,500 with a wonky grin, and switched it the other way when Patrick Leonard pump-action folded to his left.

viacheslav_buldygin_ept13_prague_day1_shr.jpgViacheslav Buldygin in relatively straight-faced mode

Anthony Zinno called, however, from a stack of about 560,000 and the two of them saw flop of 8♠Q♥4♦. Check, check. The 9♠ came on the turn and a grimace-check from Buldygin was greeted by a straight-faced bet of 8,000 from Zinno.

Buldygin contorted his face one more time and folded. — HS

7:10pm: Pots for Troyanovskiy and Ruzicka
Level 6 – Blinds 1,500-3,000 (500 ante)

Two pots here in which the the pre-flop aggressor fired one street and then gave up on the next.

After Juha Helppi was eliminated, Vladimir Troyanovskiy was moved to that table and was seated to the direct left of Steve O’Dwyer. The two just played a pot that started when Martin Kozlov raised to 6,500 from under the gun. When the action reached O’Dwyer – who was in the small blind – he raised to 21,000 and Troyanovskiy was the only caller.

The J♣6♦5♠ flop was checked through and O’Dwyer check-folded to a bet of 25,000 from Troyanovskiy on the Q♥ river. That win boosts Troyanovskiy to 220,000 and drops O’Dwyer to 244,000.

Meanwhile one table over Juha Helppi, who has re-entered, was involved in a pot. He opened to 7,500 from early position and picked up calls from Vojtech Ruzicka and Patrick Leonard. On the A♠6♣2♦ flop Helppi bet 9,000 and Ruzicka was the only caller.

On the 7♠ turn Helppi elected to check to Ruzicka and he folded to a bet of 22,500. After that hand Helppi is down to 215,000 while Ruzicka us up to 188,000. –NW

7:05pm: Tree-fiddy for Silver
Level 6 – Blinds 1,500-3,000 (500 ante)

Max Silver has moved up to around 350,000 after he won a small pot off ElkY.

Silver opened from the cutoff and the Team PokerStars Pro peeled from the big blind. The flop came 8♥2♥5♦ and ElkY check-called 7,000 before the 6♠Q♠ turn and river were checked through. Silver opened 7♠7♣ and took the pot. His French opponent dropped to 170,000. –MC

7pm: Helppi has another crack
Level 6 – Blinds 1,500-3,000 (500 ante)

Juha Helppi is back in the fold, firing his second bullet. Viacheslav Buldygin, who has risen rapidly from total anonymity to High Roller regular, is also now seated. It’s his first stack.

6:55pm: Nice run out for Kanit
Level 6 – Blinds 1,500-3,000 (500 ante)

Davidi Kitai looked to the skies after he saw Mustapha Kanit’s hand on show down. Kitai (obviously) lost the pot and dropped to 240,000.

Kitai had raised from the button and Kanit defended his big blind. The flop fell 2♦5♠10♠ and Kitai continued for 7,200. Kanit check-called and did so for another 18,000 on the 4♥ turn.

The 4♣ completed the board and Kanit checked. Kitai tank-checked behind and a good job he did as Kanit opened A♣4♦ for trips to move up to around 500,000. –MC

6:45pm: Carrel gets some back
Level 6 – Blinds 1,500-3,000 (500 ante)

Having busted once Charlie Carrel’s second bullet was going the way of the first. We say “was” because he’s back up to 265,000 having been as low as 135,000 at one point. He got back into the black by winning a pot against Leon Tsoukernik.


The animated Leon Tsoukernik

It was a three-bet pot with Carrel raising Tsoukernik’s open of 6,500 up to 20,000 and getting called. The action checked all the way to the river of a 3♠Q♥A♣5♣9♣ board, at which point Tsoukernik bet 20,000.

“I have jacks,” Carrel said as he leaned back in his chair. He then leaned forward and called. Tsoukernik had K♥8♦ for king high and Carrel did indeed have pocket jacks and took the pot. — NW

6:44pm: If at first you don’t succeed…
Level 6 – Blinds 1,500-3,000 (500 ante)

…you try, try again.

Davidi Kitai had one stab at winning a pot with a pre-flop raise, making it 7,200 from the cutoff. But it came around to Konstantin Uspenskiy in the big blind and he three-bet to 23,000. Kitai folded.

Kitai was undeterred. He raised to 6,800 from the hijack on the next hand and Martin Kozlov called this time. They saw a flop of 5♥10♦8♣ and Kitai check-called Kozlov’s 12,000 bet.


Martin Kozlov: Lost this one

There was no more betting as the 4♣ and 8♦ completed the board. Kitai turned over his A♥Q♠ and this one was good.

Kitai: 265,000
Kozlov: 195,000
Uspenskiy: 560,000

6:40pm: Helppi and Petrangelo bust
Level 6 – Blinds 1,500-3,000 (500 ante)

The bust outs are coming more steadily now. Juha Helppi and Nick Petrangelo both departed within minutes of each other.

Helppi went first, busting to Davidi Kitai. He got his last 37,100 in preflop holding A♠J♦ and found a customer in the Belgian. Kitai held 9♦9♣ and survived a 10♥6♠5♦10♠K♠ board.

Petrangelo opened to 7,000 from middle position and called after Anthony Zinno three-bet to 21,000 from the small blind. The flop came Q♥6♦10♣ and Zinno continued for 21,500. Call. The turn was the 3♦ and Zinno checked to see Petrangelo move all-in for 136,200. Zinno slid a stack forward to call.


Nick Petrangelo

Petrangelo opened K♠Q♥ for top pair, but he had kicker issues as Zinno opened A♦Q♦ for top pair with top kicker. He moved up to 530,000. –MC

6:30pm: Double for Troyanovskiy
Level 6 – Blinds 1,500-3,000 (500 ante)

Charlie Carrel has rebought, but his second bullet isn’t going very well as he just doubled up Vladimir Troyanovskiy to slip to 135,000. The Russian opened to 6,500 from under-the-gun, Carrel three-bet to 20,000 from the big blind and Troyanovskiy called.

There was heavy action on the 10♦2♦9♠ flop as Carrel bet 20,000, Troyanovskiy shoved for 93,400 in total and Carrel quickly called. He showed A♦5♦ and so had plenty of outs to beat Troyanovskiy’s 9♣8♣. The 7♠ turn and 2♣ river were both blanks though and Troyanovskiy survived. He’s up to 230,000 as a result of that double. –NW

6:15pm: JNT explodes with a double up
Level 5 – Blinds 1,200-2,400 (400 ante)

Jason Wheeler just sat shaking his head after he saw Jean-Noel Thorel’s hand on showdown. The former’s top pair, top kicker was no good against the latter’s turned set.

The hand started with a 5,600 button raise from Koray Aldemir before Wheeler three-bet to 17,200 from the small blind. Thorel was in the big blind and called, which might have been enough to drag Aldemir along for the ride.

The flop fell J♠6♦10♣ and Wheeler continued for 26,500. Only Thorel called to the 8♦ turn where he faced another 55,000 from Wheeler. His response was to snap shove all-in for 216,200 and Wheeler made a quick call with his A♦J♥. Thorel opened 8♥8♣ meaning Wheeler was drawing dead. He dropped to 140,000. –MC


Jason Wheeler, drawing dead

6:10pm: Kanit KO’s Carrel
Level 5 – Blinds 1,200-2,400 (400 ante)

Charlie Carrel is a talkative presence at the table but he was deadly quiet during this hand against Mustapha Kanit, which gives you an indication of how important the pot was.

It started with a raise to 5,000 from Carrel, Kanit three-bet to 16,500 from the button and Carrel called.

The flop fell A♠6♦3♠, Carrel checked it over to Kanit and the Italian bet 14,000. Carrel took a look at Kanit’s chips and then check-raised to 38,000. Call from Kanit.

On the 9♣ turn Carrel bet a further 50,000 and Kanit called. The K♠ completed the board and Carrel thought for about 30 seconds before moving all-in. Kanit peeked back at his cards and then called.

Carrel showed 6♣6♠ for a flopped set of sixes but Kanit had A♣A♦ for a superior set. “Is that good game?” Carrel asked. The stacks were incredibly close but Kanit – who had 149,100 – just had Carrel covered and that was bad news for one of them. –NW

6:05pm: Fatehi straightens out Leonard
Level 5 – Blinds 1,200-2,400 (400 ante)

Patrick Leonard opened to 5,200 from under the gun and Ali Reza Fatehi called from the button. Both players then checked the J♠5♣7♠ flop, leading to the 7♥ on the turn.

Leonard bet 15,000 now, but it wasn’t enough to shift Fatehi. He called, taking them to the 10♦ on the river. Leonard bombed again. This time it was 38,000 and Fatehi called again.


Ali Reza Fatehi: Sit back and river a straight

Leonard showed his pocket kings, but they were quickly thrown into the muck after Fatehi showed that he had rivered a straight with his 8♣9♠.

Leonard still has 335,000, while Fatehi has 202,000. — HS

5:55pm: Greenwood doubles through Kabrhel
Level 5 – Blinds 1,200-2,400 (400 ante)

After Martin Kabrhel opened to 4,800 Sam Greenwood moved all-in for 49,200 and the action folded back round to Kabrhel. “Why so much?” Kabrhel asked. “It’s all I have left,” replied Greenwood. After getting confirmation of the amount, he then called.

Greenwood: J♣10♣
Kabrhel: 4♣4♠

The J♠5♥3♦8♥9♣ board doubled Greenwood and left Kabrhel with about 105,000. –NW

5:50pm: Thorel on the horse again. Again.
Level 5 – Blinds 1,200-2,400 (400 ante)

Jean-Noel Thorel is back in action. He is the first player to re-enter this tournament.

5:50pm: One small pot and one freaky smile
Level 5 – Blinds 1,200-2,400 (400 ante)

The following pot was pretty insignificant but a short conversation by two players not involved made it blog-worthy.

Ben Heath raised to 6,000 and was called in two spots before a 3♥2♠7♣ flop appeared. He continued for 15,000 and both opponents folded.

That hand was (mostly) taking place at one end if the table, leaving players at the other end to fill their time as they wished. Martin Kabrhel decided to engage in conversation with Ike Haxton. The best bit of their conversation was when Kabrhel said, “You know Ike, you have a freaky smile.”

“Freaky smile?” Haxton said.

“Yes, a freaky smile,” came the deadpan response.

“I’m OK with that!” said a giggling Haxton. –MC


Isaac Haxton: Freaky smile?

5:45pm: Moscow versus Minsk
Level 5 – Blinds 1,200-2,400 (400 ante)

Here’s one for our Russian readers. Здравствуйте Владимир!

Vladimir Troyanovskiy and Mikita Badziakouski got involved in a pot that ended with Badziakouski adding a few chips to his stack.

Troyanovskiy opened to 5,200 from under the gun and Badziakouski called in the big blind. It was Moscow versus Minsk.

The flop fell 6♣8♣7♠ and Badziakouski bet 5,000. Troyanovskiy called, taking them to the 3♠ on the turn. Badziakouski checked again and Troyanovskiy now took over. He bet 11,000 and Badziakouski called.

Having both had an unsuccessful stab at it, they both checked the 4♠ river and Troyanovskiy mucked after Badziakouski tabled Q♣8♥. — HS

5:40pm: Add one Italian to the tournament
Level 5 – Blinds 1,200-2,400 (400 ante)

Everyone’s favourite Italian poker player is now in the mix as Mustapha Kanit has just sat down. He’s sandwiched between Martin Kozlov and Steffen Sontheimer. Bro. –NW

5:35pm: Dvoress pounds his way to victory
Level 5 – Blinds 1,200-2,400 (400 ante)

Daniel Dvoress wasn’t going to give up on this pot. His brand of power poker worked and it got him back up to 230,000.

Dvoress raised to 6,000 from under the gun and was called by Alexandros Kolonias (button) and Orpen Kisacikoglu (big blind). The flop fell 6♦J♠J♣ and Dvoress’ 8,000 c-bet was called by both opponents.

Dvoress really upped the pressure on the 2♣ turn as he bet 35,000. It was enough to oust Kolonias but not Kisacikoglu who called again. The board completed with the Q♥ and Kisacikoglu checked to face a 95,000 bet from Dvoress.

Kisacikoglu went into the tank for so long that the clock was called on him. Before the floor could get to the table though, Kisacikoglu had mucked and Dvoress showed him K♦Q♦. He dropped to a still very healthy 290,000. –MC

5:25pm: Petrangelo edges upward
Level 5 – Blinds 1,200-2,400 (400 ante)

Nick Petrangelo picked up some valuable chips from Dario Sammartino, rescuing him from assuming short-stack duties.

Petrangelo was in the big blind and defended after Sammartino opened the button. Ali Reza Fatehi also called from the small blind, but played the tiniest of roles.

The three players saw a flop of J♦K♦6♦ and Fatehi and Petrangelo both checked. Then Sammartino bet 6,000 and only Petrangelo called.

The 4♦ on the turn was either the scare card or the gin card, but both players checked. That took them to the 5♣ on the river. Petrangelo carved out a bet of 18,000 and Sammartino folded.


The unflappable Dario Sammartino

Petrangelo moves to 170,000, while Sammartino sits with 255,000 still. –HS

5:20pm: Uspenskiy leads into Level 5
Level 5 – Blinds 1,200-2,400 (400 ante)

Konstantin Uspenskiy is the clear leader as players return to play Level 5. He has about 535,000 at this stage, and it looks like nobody else even has 400,000. All of Patrick Leonard, Anthony Zinno, Koray Aldemir and Orpen Kisacikoglu are the right side of 300,000 too.

5:01pm: Break time
Level 4 – Blinds 1,000-2,000 (300 ante)

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

5pm: ElkY takes more from Yaghmai
Level 4 – Blinds 1,000-2,000 (300 ante)

Another pot has gone the way of ElkY as he took down a multiway pot. It was Vladimir Troyanovskiy who started the action, he raised to 5,000 and both ElkY and Nariman Yaghmai called. On the 7♥5♦6♦ flop Troyanovskiy bet 10,000 and both players called.

The 9♥ fell on the turn, Troyanovskiy checked to ElkY, he bet 24,000 and Yaghmai was the only caller. Both players checked the 5♠ river and ElkY’s 10♥8♥ was the best hand. –NW

4:55pm: Thorel fall back off the horse
Level 4 – Blinds 1,000-2,000 (300 ante)

We have lost our first player: Jean-Noel Thorel mau have got back on the horse, but he’s fallen off it again now. He was seen paying his massage therapist her fee as he headed away from the table. David Yan was stacking chips. If we know anything about Thorel, it’s that this will not be he last appearance at this festival, and probably at this tournament. There’s a very high chance he will re-enter. — HS

4:50pm: Thorel gets back on the horse
Level 4 – Blinds 1,000-2,000 (300 ante)

Jean-Noel Thorel just loves playing the game of poker, whatever the stakes. At EPT13 Malta he jumped in a low buy-in Hyper Turbo after busting a High Roller, just because he wanted to continue playing. If he loses a big pot, he brushes it off and gets on with the next hand.

He lost a chuck to Orpen Kisacikoglu just now, but played the next two pots. The two players had made it to the river where a J♥4♦A♥10♣9♥ board rested. Thorel led for a pot-sized 50,000 and Kisacikoglu called with A♠9♠ for two pair. It was good as the Frenchman could only muster Q♦10♦ for third pair.

Thorel then raised to 4,500 and 6,000 the next two hands. He took the first one down uncontested but Paul Newey defended his big blind on the second hand. The flop spread A♥8♦2♣ and both players checked. Newey then check-folded to a 7,000 bet on the 9♣ turn. He has around 75,000 to play with going forward. –MC

4:45pm: ElkY shoves on Yaghmai
Level 4 – Blinds 1,000-2,000 (300 ante)

Max Silver raised to 4,500 from under the gun, ElkY called on the button and Nariman Yaghmai then raised to 19,000 from the small blind. That got rid of Silver but ElkY called and the two players looked on as the dealer fanned a 8♠A♣4♠ flop. Yaghmai bet 12,000 and ElkY called.

On the Q♦ turn, Yaghmai fired again, this time he bet 40,000. ElkY mulled over his decision for a while and then moved all-in for 128,000 total. Yaghmai had 178,000 behind and spent more than six minutes in the tank before folding. –NW

4:25pm: Delayed, delayed c-bet from Badziakouski
Level 3 – Blinds 1,000-2,000 (300 ante)

Team PokerStars Pro ElkY has dropped down to 160,000. Surely it’s time to start panicking as he’s already lost 90,000 off his starting stack. Then you realise he still has 80 big blinds to play with and all is okay. He dropped to this mark after losing small three-way pot.

Mikita Badziakouski opened to 5,000 from the cutoff and was called by Vladimir Troyanovskiy on the button and ElkY in the big blind. All three checked the 8♣6♦A♥ flop and 8♠ turn before Badziakouski bet 6,000 on the 4♥ river. Only ElkY called but he mucked upon seeing Badziakouski’s A♣7♦. –MC

4:15pm: Tanking bad
Level 4 – Blinds 1,000-2,000 (300 ante)

Strap in, thrill-seekers: two long tanking spells to tell you about.

One was at the end of a hand, the other at the beginning. The winners were Konstantin Uspenskiy and Koray Aldemir, respectively.

OK, tank one: Uspenskiy and Davidi Kitai were looking at a board dealt all the way to the river. It showed 10♣J♠2♠10♠J♦. Uspenskiy bet 23,100 and Kitai took a long, long, long time to throw in calling chips.

Uspenskiy showed him A♠J♣ and Kitai mucked.


Davidi Kitai: Tank

Over on the other table, Aldemir opened to 5,000 from UTG+1 and Sam Greenwood three-bet from the big blind. He made it 17,000. Aldemir asked Greenwood how much he was playing, learning there was about 130,000 in his stack. Aldemir four-bet to 36,500.

This is what put Greenwood in the tank. He also took a long time (not quite as long as Kitai, but long enough) and then called. It meant they saw the flop of 8♥6♠2♥.

Greenwood checked and Aldemir bet 16,000. After not quite so long, Greenwood folded.


Sam Greenwood: Not in the tank when this photo was taken

The moral of this story? Thinking is over-rated. — HS

4:10pm: Leonard creates new line-up
Level 4 – Blinds 1,000-2,000 (300 ante)

Patrick Leonard is the latest player to enter this event and he took the total to 33 players. The tournament staff were now faced with the task of opening a new table as four were no longer enough.

Leonard, along with the next big blind from the four existing tables (and the player to the left of the next big blind from one table) were all then seated at this fresh table. That created a line-up comprising Leonard, Dario Sammartino, Nick Petrangelo, Anthony Zinno, Sergey Lebedev and Ali Reza Fatehi.

As all that was happening Vojtech Ruzicka joined the game, taking us to 34 runners. –NW

4pm: Sammartino wins four-bet pot off Kabrhel
Level 3 – Blinds 800-1,600 (200 ante)

Dario Sammartino has come to play today. He’s been involved in a lot of the pots at his table. Nothing really new there though to be fair.

When we reached the table it looked as if he had already opened from the cutoff and been three-bet to 15,000 by Kabrhel in the next seat. The Italian came back with a four bet to 42,000 and Kabrhel called. The flop fanned Q♠8♠J♣ and Sammartino led for 40,000. Kabrhel asked to see his opponent’s remaining chips (115,700) and then elected to fold. He dropped to 157,000. –MC

3:50pm: Carrel calls it correctly, but calls and loses
Level 3 – Blinds 800-1,600 (200 ante)

Here’s a huge pot between Konstantin Uspenskiy and Charlie Carrel.

The two players both made the final table of yesterday’s €10K single re-entry event and this hand started with a raise to 4,000 from Uspenskiy, who was in the cutoff. The button folded and Carrel then raised to 15,000 from the small blind. Call from Uspenskiy.

On the 4♣3♣2♦ flop Carrel bet 18,000 and Uspenskiy made the call, which took the players to the A♦ turn. At this point Carrel slowed down, he check called a bet of 40,000 and the 10♦ fell on the river.

There followed a check from Carrel and a big bet from Uspenskiy. The Russian player bet 165,000 which was almost a pot sized bet. “Sorry guys, this is going to take some time,” Carrel said. He tanked for a long time, but what’s great for us reporters – and you readers – is that Carrel often shares his inner monologue.

“I can beat some value hands,” he said before asking Uspenskiy where he was from. “Russia, in that case I should probably call.” He then held up both hands and said to Uspenskiy, “You have pocket fives?”

“No comment,” Uspenskiy said. Another couple of minutes passed and Carrel then elected to call. Uspenskiy did indeed have pocket fives and Carrel congratulated him on a nicely played had as he mucked. After that battle Uspenskiy is up to 505,000, Carrel is down to 120,000. –NW

3:45pm: Silver pushes out three
Level 3 – Blinds 800-1,600 (200 ante)

Here’s how to defend your big blind.

Vladimir Troyanovskiy opened to 4,000 from under the gun and got no respect as Ole Schemion and Nariman Yaghmai called him. Then it got to Max Silver in the big blind and he paused, then counted out 22,600 to force folds from everyone. — HS

3:40pm: Turn and river bombs
Level 3 – Blinds 800-1,600 (200 ante)

It’s quite handy that the High Roller tables are so tightly packed together as it makes it easier to follow the action of multiple tables.

Dario Sammartino was one of the latest players to enter and he raised from under the gun. He picked up four callers before an 8♥2♠10♥ flop was delivered. He continued for 11,200 and was only called by Sergio Aido two seats along. The turn was the 5♣ and Sammartino checked to face a 37,000 bet from his Spanish opponent. He tank-folded.

Meanwhile, swivel the neck about 150 degrees and we saw that Nick Petrangelo and ElkY were battling in a pot. At the turn the board read 4♦3♦K♣ and ElkY (BB) check-called 20,000 to see the 3♣ complete the board. Petrangelo was in middle position and bombed for 75,000 when ElkY checked to him. ElkY tanked for a couple of minutes and then folded. –MC


A return to the Super High Roller environs for ElkY

3:30pm: River value bets FTW
Level 3 – Blinds 800-1,600 (200 ante)

Paul Newey and Martin Kabrhel were both involved in heads up pots on adjacent tables that had reached the river and both managed to get value bets paid off.

Newey was in the big blind and battling David Yan on the button. The board read 9♥2♣3♦J♠2♦ and Newey opened K♦2♦ for trips after his 10,000 bet was called. Yan mucked.

Meanwhile, Kabrhel was heads up with Sam Greenwood and the board read Q♣8♣9♠8♦A♣. The latter checked from the big blind and tank-called after Kabrhel bet 26,900 from the button. He also mucked. –MC

3:20pm: Double up for Newey
Level 3 – Blinds 800-1,600 (200 ante)

Paul Newey finished second in this event in Season 11 and just did his chances of a repeat final table visit a power of good as he doubled up through Jason Wheeler.

The British businessman got the party started with a raise to 3,800 from UTG+1, Jean-Noel Thorel called and Wheeler then bumped it up to 16,500 from the small blind. The price of poker got even more expensive as Newey made it 50,000 to go. Wheeler was the only caller.

Neither player bet the Q♦5♠2♥ flop and the 10♥ fell on the turn. Wheeler bet 50,000 and Newey stuck around. The 9♠ completed the board and Wheeler set Newey all-in.

The latter had 84,100 back and, after thinking for about 30 seconds, he called. Wheeler opened A♠K♠ for Ace high, which was always behind to Newey’s K♦K♥. After that hand Newey is up to roughly 375,000 while Wheeler is down to 135,000. –NW

3:15pm: Charlie “The Mouth” Carrel?
Level 3 – Blinds 800-1,600 (200 ante)

Two hands here featuring players who went deep in the curtain-raising €10,000 single re-entry event. They ended with Charlie Carrel unwittingly emulating Mike Matusow. That’s something we never thought we’d write.

First up, Sergio Aido takes the stage. He finished second in the tournament that played to its conclusion in the early hours of today. Aido raised to 4,000 from under the gun and Martin Kabrhel called in the big blind.

They saw a flop of 5♠9♥2♣ and both checked. The turn was the 4♠ and Kabrhel bet 4,000. Aido called. Both players then checked the Q♥ river and Aido’s 3♠3♣ was good.

As that played out, Carrel was involved in a pot against Konstantin Uspenskiy. Uspenskiy finished seventh in the €10,000, while Carrel was fourth, so they will have known one another from that event. Or that’s what you might think. More on that later.

To the hand in question: Steffen Sondtheimer opened to 4,000 from the hijack and Uspenskiy called on the button. Carrel called in the big blind and the went to a flop of 9♣8♥2♣. Both Carrel and Sondtheimer checked and then only Carrel called Uspenskiy’s bet of 10,000.


Charlie Carrel: Foot in mouth

Both players then checked the 7♣ turn. And they also checked the 6♦ river. Carrel turned over 6♣4♣ and then Uspenskiy revealed his 5♣5♦ as if to show that he had only just been pipped on the river by Carrel. He then saw the truth of it. “Oh, I missed the flush,” he said.

Shortly after that Carrel said, “How did you get on in the 10K?” Uspenskiy looked him up and down and told him the bare facts. Firstly, that he finished seventh. Secondly that Carrel actually knocked him out.

This is how Carrel emulated Matusow, who recently knocked a player out of a re-entry event in Las Vegas. The unlucky man re-entered and got drawn to the exact same seat. As he sat down, Matusow introduced himself and asked his name as if he had never seen the guy in his life before.

(Carrel apologised to Uspenskiy, explaining that he was very tired yesterday.) — HS

3:05pm: A couple of small ones
Level 3 – Blinds 800-1,600 (200 ante)

Charlie Carrel used the power of position to take Steve O’Dwyer off a hand. The latter opened to 4,000 from under the gun and was called by Carrel in the next seat. The flop fell 3♦10♠6♣ and O’Dwyer continued for 5,700. Call. O’Dwyer checked over the 7♦ turn and folded when the Brit bet 16,000.

As this hand was playing out, Vladimir Troyanovskiy and Ole Schemion were battling on the next table. They were heads-up to a 6♠5♥8♠ flop that they checked. Troyanovskiy led for 5,500 on the 5♠ turn and Schemion called. They went back to checking the 7♥ river and Troyanovskiy took the pot with J♥8♥. –MC

3:01pm: Wheeler wins small from Thorel
Level 3 – Blinds 800-1,600 (200 ante)

Jason Wheeler opened to 3,800 from under the gun and action folded around to Jean-Noel Thorel in the cutoff. With his trademark disdain for chips, Thorel threw in a three-bet to 9,000. Wheeler called.

Wheeler checked the J♥6♠3♠ flop and Thorel instantly pinged three 5,000-denomination chips out. Wheeler called. Both players then checked the 4♦ turn and J♠ river and Wheeler revealed his 10♦10♠.

Thorel turned over A♥Q♦. It was beaten, but he seemed to want his table-mates to know that he hadn’t three-bet with air. (It is, however, in his range.) — HS

3pm: Back to it
Level 3 – Blinds 800-1,600 (200 ante)

Away they go in Level 3, with at least two new faces joining the fray. That is, if you can call the faces of Vladimir Troyanovskiy and Ole Schemion new. They’re pretty familiar really.

2:37pm: Break time
Level 2 – Blinds 600-1,200 (200 ante)

The first two levels are over, time for a 20-minute break.

2:35pm: Wheeler comes in on the cheap
Level 2 – Blinds 600-1,200 (200 ante)

Jason Wheeler is one of the latest players to take a seat in this Super High Roller event. He was one of the four players who won their seat in last night’s €5k satellite.

Sam Greenwood was another one to win last night, and we’re still waiting on Ole Schemion and Timothy Adams to grace us with their presence. Robert Soogea came fifth and won €42,500 for his efforts. –MC

2:25pm: Carrel makes a tough fold
Level 2 – Blinds 600-1,200 (200 ante)

“I had a really good hand and now I don’t have a good hand,” Charlie Carrel said as he considered what to do on the river. He was facing a bet of 15,300 from Juha Helppi and there was a pot of 34,000 in the middle. He was eyeing up a K♦7♦J♣Q♠9♦ board and said to Helppi. “I think you were bluffing the flop, bluffing the turn and now you’ve value bet the river.”

After a bit more tank time Carrel released his hand. He is back down to starting stack and Helppi has recovered to 215,000. –NW

2:15pm: Two pots with Petrangelo
Level 2 – Blinds 600-1,200 (200 ante)

Nick Petrangelo settled on around 235,000 after he was involved in two pots on the bounce.

Nariman Yaghmai opened to 2,500 from under the gun and called after Petrangelo three-bet to 7,500 from the cutoff. The board ran out 9♣3♥K♠7♦4♠ with both players checking all the way down. Yaghmai opened A♥10♥ and Petrangelo mucked.

Petrangelo opened the next pot with a 3,000 raise from the hijack and picked up four callers en route to an 8♦10♣K♦ flop. All five checked there and did the same on the J♣ turn. ElkY then led out for 7,000 on the 6♣ river and Petrangelo was the only caller. The Team PokerStars Pro opened Q♦J♥ but it was no good against Petrangelo’s K♥10♠. — MC

2:10pm: Sound the five-bet klaxon
Level 2 – Blinds 600-1,200 (200 ante)

With the stacks so deep at this stage it’s no surprise that we’re seeing some creative, and exciting, pre-flop play. Here’s a pertinent example.

Jean-Noel Thorel – back from his one-round penalty – opened to 3,000 from under the gun, Orpen Kisacikoglu then three-bet to 7,500, David Yan four-bet to 23,000 from the small blind and Alexandros Kolonias, who was in the big blind, went into the tank.

He emerged with a bet of 50,000 and one by one everyone folded. Yan took the longest with a couple of rueful looks at his cards before he slid them to the dealer. –NW

2:05pm: Not always the nuts
Level 2 – Blinds 600-1,200 (200 ante)

Koray Aldemir opened to 3,300 from under the gun and action passed all the way to Ben Heath in the big blind. He wasn’t giving that up without some resistance, and he called.

The flop fell Q♠J♦2♠ and Heath check-called the inevitable continuation bet. Aldemir made it 2,800.

They both checked the 7♥ turn, and Heath also checked the 10♦ river. Aldemir bet 10,500 and Heath called in a flash. Fully expecting to see at least one Ace-King here, this particular spectator was confounded by the A♥4♥ exposed by Aldemir and the Q♦9♥ from Heath. — HS

2:05pm: Thorel pays the penalty
Level 2 – Blinds 600-1,200 (200 ante)

The EPT tournament staff run a tight ship. Rules are rules and it means Jean-Noel Thorel is currently serving a one-round penalty. He bet the turn of a 10♣7♦J♦K♣ board, Alexandros Kolonias called and Thorel turned his cards over–the K♠9♦–thinking that they were at the river.

The 2♠ then came on the actual river and both players checked. Thorel’s hand turned out to be good–but that wasn’t the end of it. The dealer called over the tournament supervisor and Thorel was given his penalty for exposing his hand.

Anthony Zinno had just sat down at the table – he didn’t even have chips yet – and he tried to save Thorel. “Maybe just a warning?” he pleaded but there was no saving Thorel and he’s currently taking an orbit off.

Still, he’s up to 277,000 after that hand. –NW

2pm: Vegas flight has landed
Level 2 – Blinds 600-1,200 (200 ante)

Anthony Zinno has arrived and taken his seat in this tournament. He’s the first player I’ve noticed in Prague who I also know played the recent WPT event at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, so presumably the flight from Nevada has landed in Central Europe.

1:55pm: Folding here, there and everywhere
Level 2 – Blinds 600-1,200 (200 ante)

There’s a fair bit of folding going on right now. We shouldn’t be surprised as it’s the most used move in poker.

Martin Kabrhel opened to 2,900 off the button and Ike Haxton called from the big blind. The flop fanned A♣Q♠8♥ and Kabrhel continued for 2,400 but folded when check-raised to 10,700.

Haxton did the folding on the next hand. He completed from the small blind and folded after Sam Greenwood raised to 4,000 from the big blind.

Over on the next table and it was Jean-Noel Thorel doing the folding. He raised to 3,000 from the button and David Yan peeled from the big blind.

Both players checked the 10♦3♣8♥ flop before Yan led for 4,500 and 10,000 on the 6♥5♥ turn and river. Thorel called the turn bet but folded to the river bet. –MC

1:50pm: Sondtheimer unafraid by Helppi’s four bet
Level 2 – Blinds 600-1,200 (200 ante)

Steffen Sondtheimer hasn’t long sat down but he’s already busting out the big chips. He managed to boost his stack in a pot against Juha Helppi, but don’t get too excited. They never showed their cards.

Ali Reza Fatehi got the ball rolling with a raise to 3,500 from under the gun. Sondtheimer three-bet to 10,000 from one seat to his left and then Helppi, one seat further round the table, four-bet to 25,000. It may not be the actual first four-bet of the day, but it was the first I’d seen.

Fatehi slipped away, but Sondtheimer called and they looked at the 9♣8♠2♣ fall on the flop. Sondtheimer checked and Helppi bet 28,000. Sondtheimer called.

The Q♦ came on the turn, and both players checked. But Sondtheimer led 42,000 at the 4♠ river and Helppi had seen enough. He folded. — HS

1:45pm: New arrivals, new table
Level 2 – Blinds 600-1,200 (200 ante)

The tournament total has crept up to 25 thanks to the arrival of Julian Thomas, Konstantin Uspenskiy, Sergio Aido and Steffen Sontheimer. That’s meant that a new table had to be opened and it lines up like this:

Seat 1: Juha Helppi
Seat 2: Konstantin Uspenskiy
Seat 3: Steve O’Dwyer
Seat 4: Charlie Carrel
Seat 5: empty
Seat 6: Martin Kozlov
Seat 7: Ali Reza Fatehi
Seat 8: Steffen Sontheimer

Uspenskiy finished seventh in the €10K re-entry event that finished yesterday, while Sontheimer was railing Stefan Schillabel, who claimed the win. –NW

1:35pm: Small one for Yaghmai
Level 1 – Blinds 500-1,000 (100 ante)

Nariman Yaghmai got the better of ElkY and Nick Petrangelo in a small three-way pot.

ElkY opened the pot with a button raise and was called by both blinds. All three players checked the J♣9♣Q♠ flop to head to the A♣ turn.


Nariman Yaghmai: Heading in the right direction

The action was checked to ElkY on the button and he bet 4,000. Only Yaghmai called from the small blind before both remaining players checked the 6♠ river. Yaghmai opened A♦8♠ and ElkY mucked. –MC

1:30pm: Heath takes one
Level 1 – Blinds 500-1,000 (100 ante)

After Ike Haxton had raised to 2,500 from under the gun, Ben Heath bumped the price of poker up to 9,000 from the hijack. His good friend Charlie Carrel then called from the button and Haxton put in the extra chips required.


Ben Heath

The flop fell 3♦J♥A♣ and a c-bet of 13,500 from Heath elicited two folds and he took the pot. –NW

1:25pm: Call-muck gives more to Yan
Level 1 – Blinds 500-1,000 (100 ante)

It’s round two of Steve O’Dwyer/David Yan blind-on-blind sub-plot, with Yan again prevailing in a slightly bigger pot this time.

Again it started with a limp. (Who’d have thought it would come to this?) Yan checked his option. The flop was the 4♣A♦5♦ and O’Dwyer bet 1,500. Yan called.


Steve O’Dwyer: Can’t beat Yan

The J♠ came on the turn and O’Dwyer bet 3,000. Yan called again. That took them to the K♦ on the river. O’Dwyer bet again, this time 7,200, but Yan’s call made it clear that this was a three-barrelled bluff. O’Dwyer mucked rather than showing. — HS

1:20pm: Sixes good for Yan
Level 1 – Blinds 500-1,000 (100 ante)

It’s probably not actually the case, but it seems that a disproportionate number of hands are taking place blind-on-blind in these early stages. Here’s another such example between Steve O’Dwyer and David Yan.

O’Dwyer completed from the small blind and Yan raised to 3,700. O’Dwyer called, which meant they peered over a flop of A♦5♠3♦. O’Dwyer checked and Yan bet 2,700. O’Dwyer called.

That was the last of the betting as the 7♠ turn and 8♣ river completed the board. O’Dwyer showed his J♠K♠ first, but Yan’s 6♦6♣ were good. — HS

1:15pm: That’s why they limp!
Level 1 – Blinds 500-1,000 (100 ante)

Charlie Carrel has had a decent start to the festival (when has he ever not?) after coming third in the €10k Re-entry last night for a cool €159,548. He’s full of beans today and is his usual chatty self. It’s the quiet ones you have to be careful of though – like Juha Helppi.

The action folded around to Carrel in the small blind and he raised to 3,500. Helppi was in the big blind and three-bet to 11,000. “Ah man, just can’t call with this hand. That’s why they limp!” He folded.

He did manage to take down the next two pots though, taking the blinds and antes with 3,000 opening raises. –MC

1:10pm: Petrangelo makes hay while the sun shines
Level 1 – Blinds 500-1,000 (100 ante)

Nick Petrangelo was one of the first players to sit down today and found himself on the table with Mikita Badziakouski, Ali Reza Fatehi and Nariman Yaghmai. He will likely have liked that draw, even though they were so short handed.

He won back-to-back pots, first from Yaghmai and then from Fatehi to give his stack a small early boost.

In the first, Petrangelo raised the cutoff to 2,500 and Yaghmai called in the big blind. However Yaghmai check-folded to Petrangelo’s bet of 3,000 on the flop of 2♣6♠Q♠.

On the next hand, Petrangelo was in the big blind and called Fatehi’s raise to 2,500 from the button. The flop this time fell 4♣J♠8♥ and Petrangelo checked. Fatehi bet 3,500 and Petrangelo called.

The 10♦ came on the turn and Petrangelo checked. He then called Fatehi’s bet of 3,000, leading to the 7♠ on the river. Petrangelo led for 11,000 and Fatehi called. Fatehi sighed deeply when Petrangelo turned over 9♥8♣ for the straight.

It just got a little more complicated for Petrangelo–and all of his table-mates. Max Silver, Martin Kozlov and ElkY have just sat down there too. — HS

1:05pm: Kabrhel drops some more
Level 1 – Blinds 500-1,000 (100 ante)

They say home advantage exists in poker tournaments but it’s not been the best start for Martin Kabrhel as he just lost some more chips. The Czech pro was heads-up against Ben Heath in a pot that had reached the river of a 3♠7♣4♦6♠5♣ board.

So there was a straight out there and Kabrhel overbet the pot, firing out 17,500 into a pot of 14,000. Heath instantly called and rolled over 10♦8♦. It was good and Kabrhel pushed his cards into the muck. –NW

1pm: More for Badziakouski, less for O’Dwyer
Level 1 – Blinds 500-1,000 (100 ante)

Mikita Badziakouski has cleared himself from the pack – up to 325k – after he won a pot of Narima Yaghani.

Badziakouski opened from the button and Yaghani called from the big blind. The flop spread 5♠7♥J♣ and Badziakouski continued for 2,000. Yaghani check-called and did so for another 6,000 on the 3♣ turn. The river was the 8♣ and both players checked.

Meanwhile, on the next table along, Steve O’Dwyer was busy losing a three-bet pot to Orpen Kisacikoglu. The latter raised to 2,500 from the cutoff and called after O’Dwyer three bet to 8,700 from the button. Kisacikoglu check-called bets of 14,000 on the 7♦2♣4♣ flop and 29,000 on the 8♦ turn before the 8♣ river was checked. Kisacikoglu opened J♥J♦ and O’Dwyer mucked –MC

12:53pm: Haxton picks off Kabrhel
Level 1 – Blinds 500-1,000 (100 ante)

Here’s another blind-on-blind battle ending in a big river bet, but this time the caller, Issac Haxton, made the right play and the bettor, Martin Kabrhel, was caught with his hand in the till.


Martin Kabrhel, right, didn’t get past Isaac Haxton, foreground

There was 14,400 in the pot and the following cards exposed: A♦3♠J♦K♠7♣. Kabrhel, in the small blind, bet 21,900 and it put Haxton to a decision. After a couple of minutes he called and was rewarded when Kabrhel showed 5♥7♦. Haxton’s K♣9♠ was best. — HS

12:50pm: O’Dwyer arrives
Level 1 – Blinds 500-1,000 (100 ante)

Not only is Steve O’Dwyer a Super High Roller veteran but he’s also, by the looks of things, au fait with what you need to get by in Prague at this time of year. He wandered into the confines of the tournament room a couple of minutes after the start with three of the most essential items, no four of the most essential items required. Namely, a hat, scarf and hot beverage. Black coffee was O’Dwyer’s drink of choice on this occasion.

The fourth of course was a tournament ticket that gave him a seat in this tournament. When he’d presented that to tournament officials he took a pew at the same table as David Yan, Alexandros Kolonias, Paul Newey and Orpen Kisacikoglu. –NW

12:47pm: Can’t get anything past these high rollers
Level 1 – Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Do all poker players check their stacks when they sit down at a poker tournaments? I think they do. It takes an eagle eye to spot to spot 200 chips missing from a 250k stack though, and that’s exactly what Ike Haxton spotted. It turned out all starting stacks from his table were light 200 chips, but the issue was soon resolved.

Haxton then played out a hand where he couldn’t beat 10 high. He raised from the cutoff and Charlie Carrel defended his big blind. No more chips ventured forward as the 5♦Q♦3♠J♥4♥ board was checked down. Carrel opened 10♣6♣ and Haxton slowly mucked. –MC

12:40pm: Early flush for Badziakouski
Level 1 – Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Mikita Badziakouski picked up a min-cash in the €10,000 event earlier this week to continue his hot streak in high buy-in events. He just took down a decent pot in what was possibly the first hand of the day on his table here, getting Ali Reza Fatehi to pay off his flush.

It was a battle of the blinds and we’ll flash all the way to the conclusion (mainly because I didn’t see anything else). Badziakouski bet 18,000 on the board of 5♣10♥K♥8♦7♥ and Fatehi called.

Badziakouski showed 5♥8♥ for one pair, then two pair, then a flush. It was good. — HS

12:35pm: We have some players
Level 1 – Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

There are now players at the tables, and cards will be in the air very soon. The faces include: Nick Petrangelo, Ali Reza Fatehi, Mikita Badziakouski, Paul Newey, David Yan, Orpen Kisacikoglu, Charlie Carrel, Ben Heath, Isaac Haxton and Martin Kabrhel.

12:30pm: Getting started? Soon
Level 1 – Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

The tournament information board shows 12 people registered for this event so far, four of whom qualified in a super satellite last night. But for all that, there’s actually nobody seated around the tables at the moment, with one minute until the tournament is due to start. We will be slightly delayed, I think. — HS

12pm: The Big One

Good afternoon one and all and welcome back to Prague for the biggest buy-in event on the tournament calendar. It’s the €50,000 Super High Roller event, which will attract the most familiar faces and possibly pay the biggest first prize.

All of that is a long way off as we get started with a 250,000-chip starting stack and blinds at 500/1,000 (ante 100). We’ll play eight 60-minute levels today and registration is open all day. Re-entries are unlimited so expect a few players to be digging especially deep.

Play is due to start at 12:30pm. They’re playing in the small room on the mezzanine level, if you want to join the fun.

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

PokerStars Blog reporting team on the €50K Super High Roller: Marc Convey, Howard Swains and Nick Wright. Photography by Neil Stoddart. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog


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