EPT13 Prague:Tsoukernik leads final six of €50K SHR as ElkY bubbles

December 12, 2016

The great thing about Super High Roller tournaments are that they write their own rules. For some it’s not all about the money, it’s about getting value for the money, a memory to go home with. Like taking on and trying to beat the best minds in the game. SHR’s gives us the mix of businessmen and top-level pros who help create a unique dynamic where anything is possible.


Leon Tsoukernik: the man in charge

The lead up to the final table and bubble today was a joy to watch. Huge stacks were built, table talk was high, coolers were there to be witnessed and a retired French businessman pulled off the bluff of the year against one of the hottest players around right now (more on that later).

The bubble is always one the biggest talking points on a day like today. No one wants to bust one spot shy of winning €123,520. Someone had to be that person, and unfortunately for ElkY, it was he. The Team PokerStars Pro had fewer than four big blinds when he moved in from first position holding pocket fives and was called in three spots. The flop came nine high and that matched with one of Leon Tsoukernik’s cards, which was more than strong enough to burst the bubble.


ElkY bubbled whereas Helppi made it through

That pot helped cement Tsoukernik’s place at the top of the counts. The bubble hand was relatively small compared to the pot that propelled him into the lead. A three-way three-bet pot meant there were already more than 40 big blinds in the middle as the flop came 9♠K♠8♦. Tsoukernik led at the pot before Jean-Noel Thorel moved all-in for almost double the bet holding A-K. Tsoukernik called with a set of nines and overtook Charlie Carrel at the top of the counts.

Carrel had been the long-time chip leader up until that hand and had three times the average when there were 13 players remaining. He won a lot of those chips by coolering Mustapha Kanit – flush over straight – and was also involved in the hand of the day versus Thorel.


The Charlie Carrel heater is real

The Frenchman had opened from under the gun and picked up three callers, including Carrel in the small blind. All three players checked the 8♠J♣5♠ flop before Carrel led for 155,000 and 185,000 on the 7♥8♥ turn and river. Thorel was the only caller on the turn and then snap-shoved for 700,000 on the river. Carrel used all the time he was allowed before folding; ultimately thinking that Thorel wouldn’t snap-bluff-shove so close to the bubble. He was wrong as Thorel showed king high and revelled in all the positive attention that flooded his way.


Play of the day award went to JNT

The end of the day came after Anthony Zinno went in seventh. He shoved his last three big blinds in with jack-ten and couldn’t beat Paul Newey’s ace-queen. He took home €123,520 which is a lot better than the zero he took home last year for bubbling.

Here’s how the final six will line up tomorrow:

Final Table Country Chips
Seat 1 Leon Tsoukernik Czech Republic 4,330,000
Seat 2 Paul Newey UK 955,000
Seat 3 Charlie Carrel UK 3,565,000
Seat 4 Julian Thomas Germany 535,000
Seat 5 Viacheslav Buldygin Russia 1,230,000
Seat 6 Juha Helppi Finland 1,615,000

Tomorrow’s finale will be live streamed on PokerStars.tv meaning we’ll be covering the action from the delayed coverage. That’s due to start at 1pm CET so join us back here then to see who’ll be corned EPT Super High Roller champion for life. For now, why not read through all the blow-by-blow action below, it was quite a ride.

12:25am: Anthony Zinno eliminated in seventh place (€123,520)
Level 18 – Blinds 25,000-50,000 (5,000 ante)

We’re down to the final six and it’s Anthony Zinno who’s been knocked out in seventh. He was down to just 155,000 and when the action folded to him on the button he moved all-in. Paul Newey was in the big blind and he peaked at his first card. “That one’s good,” he said. He looked at his second and called.

Zinno: J♠10♦
Newey: A♣Q♥

The K♦J♥5♠4♣10♣ board meant Zinno rivered two-pair when he’d rather not have as it improved Newey to a straight. With that elimination play is over for the day. Stay right here for a recap and the chip counts of the final six. –NW


Zinno’s out, but in the money this year

12:20am: Helppi doubles through Buldygin
Level 18 – Blinds 25,000-50,000 (5,000 ante)

It folded to Viacheslav Buldygin on the button and, with two short stacks behind him, he elected to move all-in. Juha Helppi called all-in for 770,000 and Anthony Zinno – who had 50,000 of his 220,000 in the middle – faced a big decision. Ultimately he elected to fold.

Buldygin: J♥10♥
Helppi: A♠J♦

The 5♣6♥3♠J♠9♠ run out kept Helppi in front and we saw an uncharateristic burst of emotion from the Finn. He was already stood up and he did a fist pump and let out a victory cry. So a big double up for him and a misstep from Buldygin who’s down to around 1,250,000. –NW

12:10am: Make Newey’s a double
Level 17 – Blinds 20,000-40,000 (5,000 ante)

From under the gun Anthony Zinno raised to 110,000. Leon Tsoukernik folded, but Paul Newey wanted to know how much Zinno had made it. The blinds had just gone up – this hand was the last of level 17 – and he wanted to know if it was level 17 or level 18. About 30 seconds passed and then he moved all-in for 345,000.

It folded back round to Zinno and he laughed before saying. “I have to call.” The American showed J♦10♦ and was live against Newey’s A♣Q♥. A 6♦7♥6♣4♠K♥ run out kept Newey in front and left Zinno with just 220,000. –NW

11:50pm: Make Zinno’s a treble
Level 17 – Blinds 20,000-40,000 (5,000 ante)

When the bubble burst Anthony Zinno was the shortest stack in the room but he patiently waited for a spot to get his chips in. He folded for half-a-dozen hands, but on the seventh he took a stand.

There was already a raise to 80,000 from Viacheslav Buldygin by the time the action reached him. He peaked at his cards and then moved all-in for 165,000 total. Leon Tsoukernik was next to act, he called and so did Buldygin.

The two active players in the hand checked it all the way down on a Q♣K♠3♦A♥9♥ board and the dealer instructed the players that he needed to see everyone’s cards. Zinno was first to show, he had K♥J♣ and he waited to see if anyone could beat it. Buldygin couldn’t with J♠J♥ and neither could Tsoukernik as he had 6♦6♣.

Zinno survived and is up to 590,000 as a result. That sends Paul Newey to the basement, he’s down to 375,000. –NW

11:40pm: Team PokerStars ElkY bubbles Super High Roller
Level 17 – Blinds 20,000-40,000 (5,000 ante)

When will it end? Unfortunately for ElkY, it was on the bubble.

The French star moved all-in for 155,000 from under the gun and was called in three spots. The flop fell 6♠9♠6♥ and the action was checked to Leon Tsoukernik in the hijack who bet 325,000. That was enough to force out Viacheslav Buldygin and Juha Helppi.

ElkY: 5♦5♣
Tsoukernik: 9♥8♣

The 3♣7♥ turn and river failed to come to ElkY’s rescue and he made an (understandably) swift exit.

All seven players remaining are guaranteed a €123,520 payday and play will end for tonight after the next elimination –MC


Nobody likes to bubble

11:25pm: The Tsoukernik and Buldygin
Level 17 – Blinds 20,000-40,000 (5,000 ante)

There are eight players still in but for all intents and purposes there are only two right now. That’s becuase Viacheslav Buldygin and Leon Tsoukernik have tangled in three consecutive pots, meainng everyone else has taken a back seat.

After three rounds the score is 2-1 to Buldygin atlhough Tsoukernik won the biggest of the three pots. In the ‘feature pot’ Buldygin raised to 85,000, Tsoukernik three-bet to 250,000 and Buldygin made the call. The 7♣Q♠2♦ flop was checked by Buldygin and a bet of 350,000 from Tsoukernik was enough to send the pot his way. –NW

11:10pm: Chip counts
Level 17 – Blinds 20,000-40,000 (5,000 ante)

The players are heading back to their seats and this is how they stack up. A reminder that the next player out gets nothing but seventh gets a chunky €123,520. Top prize is €741,100 and you can see the full payout structure here.

Amazingly the two shortest stacks have exactly the same amount. Anthony Zinno will be hoping that history doesn’t repeat itself as he stone bubbled this event last year.

Name Country Chips
Leon Tsoukernik Czech Republic 4,060,000
Charlie Carrel UK 3,185,000
Viacheslav Buldygin Russia 2,035,000
Julian Thomas Germany 995,000
Juha Helppi Finland 890,000
Paul Newey UK 555,000
Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier France 265,000
Anthony Zinno USA 265,000

10:55pm: Time for a break
Level 16 – Blinds 15,000-30,000 (4,000 ante)

After all that excitement the first ten minutes of bubble play produced zero pots of note. The eight remaining players are now on a 20 minute break. We’ll bring you full chip counts during it. –NW

10:45pm: Ruzicka soft bubbles
Level 16 – Blinds 15,000-30,000 (4,000 ante)

The disappointment was written all over Vojtech Ruzicka’s face after he fell to Paul Newey two spots off the money.

He was down to 179,000 when he found a spot to move all-in. Newey shoved behind for 420,000 and all others folded.

Ruzicka: J♥7♥
Newey: 10♠10♥

The board ran 5♦A♥4♠7♣4♣ to see the tens hold up.

The tournament is on the stone bubble now and the two players most at risk are ElkY with 310,000 and Anthony Zinno on 358,000. –MC

10:40pm: The unofficial final table
Level 16 – Blinds 15,000-30,000 (4,000 ante)

Final Table
Seat 1 Anthony Zinno
Seat 2 Leon Tsoukernik
Seat 3 Paul Newey
Seat 4 Charlie Carrel
Seat 5 Julian Thomas
Seat 6 Viacheslav Buldygin
Seat 7 Juha Helppi
Seat 8 Vojtech Ruzicka

10:30pm: Huge pot eliminates Thorel in 10th
Level 16 – Blinds 15,000-30,000 (4,000 ante)

A huge pot just occurred between Leon Tsoukernik and Jean-Noel Thorel which left the Frenchman potless and sent Tsoukernik soaring into the lead.

The latter opened to 130,000 from under the gun, Thorel smooth called and the action passed to Charlie Carrel, who was in the big blind. He raised it up to 425,000 and both opponents called! So yeah, we now had a 1,300,000 chip pot before a flop, with three active players! The average stack was only 1,100,000 so this pot was already large and we hadn’t even seen a flop yet.

When all the chips had been moved into the middle the dealer fanned a 9♠K♠8♦ flop. Carrel quickly checked the action over to Tsoukernik. He paused for a few seconds and then slid out a bet of 475,000. Thorel instantly moved all-in and Carrel folded just as quickly. Tsoukernik wanted a count and Thorel told him it was about one million (it looked to be just over 950,000) and after a few seconds Tsoukernik called.

Thorel: A♥K♦ – top pair top kicker
Tsoukernik: 9♦9♣ – a set of nines

The 5♣ turn left Thorel drawing dead and the J♠ completed the board. After that hand Tsoukernik is up to 3,750,000 and has overtaken Carrel, who has around 3,200,000.

There will now be a short break while they do a complete re-draw of the final nine.–NW

10:20pm: Thomas gambles to take a pound of flesh from Zinno
Level 16 – Blinds 15,000-30,000 (4,000 ante)

As Julian Thomas was stacking up his newly acquired chips he said, “A wise man once said that you never win anything in life if you don’t gamble. That was Shakespeare, right?”

The German had opened from the button before Anthony Zinno moved all-in from the big blind. “Gamble!” said Thomas and called all-in for 517,000.

Zinno: A♦10♠
Thomas: K♠J♦

“You weren’t kidding, king-jack?” said Zinno on seeing the cards.

The board rolled out 2♠9♠K♣5♥Q♣ to pair Thomas’ king. Zinno dropped to 300,000. –MC

10:05pm: Buldygin gets three streets of value
Level 16 – Blinds 15,000-30,000 (4,000 ante)

It was a great start to level 16 for Viacheslav Buldygin as he got three streets of value in a hand against ElkY. The Russian was the aggressor throughout as Elky called his pre-flop raise of 65,000 and then check-called bets of 60,000, 130,000 and 140,000 on a K♥A♣6♣2♦7♦ board. Buldygin showed down A♥10♥ and ElkY couldn’t beat it. He drops to 660,000 while Buldygin is up to 1,540,000. –NW

9:52pm: Adams bows out in 11th
Level 16 – Blinds 15,000-30,000 (4,000 ante)

As the big JNT vs Charlie Carrel had was playing to its conclusion on one table (see below), Timothy Adams’s run was ending on the other. He shoved for 158,000 with Q♦J♦ and Anthony Zinno re-raised to 500,000 to isolate. He had K♦Q♠ and the dominating had held up on a 6♣5♥2♣10♣8♦ board. Zinno is up to 880,000 after that hand.

With one more elimination the final table of nine will be set. –NW


Adams – out in 11th

9:50pm: Thorel doubles Helppi before coming back with a glorious bluff versus Carrel
Level 15 – Blinds 12,000-24,000 (4,000 ante)

Tilt? Too much money to care? Or just pure brilliance? Whatever the reason may be, everybody in attendance laughed, applauded and/or bowed to Jean-Noel Thorel just now after he pulled off a stunning bluff against Charlie Carrel.

First, to the bad bit of the Thorel story though. He opened to 55,000 from the cutoff and then called after Juha Helppi three-bet all-in for 476,000 from the next seat with 6♠6♥. Thorel opened A♦Q♥ but failed to hit as the board ran J♠7♣2♠2♥9♦. Helppi fist-pumped and said, “Kind of an important one!”


Thorel showing the kids how to do it

A couple of hands later Thorel opened from under the gun and picked up three callers to a 8♠J♣5♠ flop. All three checked and Carrel then led out for 155,000 on the 7♥ turn. Leon Tsoukernik agonised over his move in the big blind but ultimately folded and walked away from the table. Thorel was the only caller to the 8♥ river where Carrel led out for 185,000. Thorel then snap-shoved for 700k!

“Oh damn!” said Carrel. He then apologised to table for the amount of time he was about to take. He tired talking to Thorel, asking if he’ll show one or both cards if he folds. “Perhaps,” was all he got back. Tsoukernik then walked back to the table, saw the scenario and said out loud, “Hello! I love it!”

The clock was then called on Carrel and he let it run all the way down before folding and then, as he saw Thorel reach for his cards, said, “Oh no!”

Thorel proudly flipped over K-9 off suit for a double gutter he had turned into a bluff. Take a bow Thorel. To say he enjoyed it his moment in the spotlight was an understatement. He revelled in it. — MC

9:35pm: Down to 11 as Carrel felts Kanit
Level 15 – Blinds 12,000-24,000 (4,000 ante)

Charlie Carrel is the runwaway chip leader and he now has nearly double the stack of second place after eliminating Mustapha Kanit in a huge pot.

Vojtech Ruzicka (cutoff) raised and picked up calls from Carrel (button), Leon Tsoukernik (small blind) and Kanit (big blind). So four players saw the Q♠8♥6♠ flop and the action was checked to Carrel. He bet 105,000 and Kanit was the only caller. The 7♦ fell on the turn and Kanit’s check-call of 275,000 took them to the 9♠ river.

Kanit checked again and Carrel tanked for a couple of minutes, looking at Kanit and twirling chips between his fingers as he did so. He then stopped, turned to face the dealer and quietly said. “All-in.”

Kanit leaned forward and counted down his chips to ascertain exactly how much he had left – it was about 785,000 – and after thinking it over, he called. Carrel showed A♠2♠ and Kanit tapped the table before mucking his cards. As it was an all-in pot the dealer had to expose his cards but did so very briefly. Kanit had 10♠[8x] the eight was definitely a red card (so Kanit didn’t have a flush) so it was the perfect river for Carrel as it made him the best hand and gave Kanit a straight for a strong, but second best hand.

After that coup Carrel is up to around 3,700,000 (the average stack is 1,100,000). Tsoukernik, who has a little over 1,900,000 is his nearest challanger. –NW


What a way to go bro

9:20pm: Kozlov falls to a charging Newey
Level 15 – Blinds 12,000-24,000 (4,000 ante)

They say the beer is great in Prague and Paul Newey won’t disagree with that. He’s past the 500k mark after taking out Martin Kozlov and shoving on ElkY.

Kozlov open-shoved for 180,000 from UTG+1 and Newey followed him in from the next seat after thinking for a minute. All others folded.

Kozlov: 9♥10♥
Newey: A♠A♦

The flop fell Q♥A♥3♠ to make Newey top set and give Kozlov a flush draw. The 6♦ turn didn’t change anything and Newey made quads as the river came as the A♣. “Quads!” Newey pointed out.

Two hands later, the Brit was in the big blind and facing a 50,000 raise from ElkY. He three-bet all-in and the Team PokerStars Pro folded. –MC

9:10pm: Tsoukernik and Ruzicka love a chopped pot
Level 15 – Blinds 12,000-24,000 (4,000 ante)

Leon Tsoukernik and Vojtech Ruzicka both seemed happy enough to chop the pot after they got all their chips in pre-flop. In the hand in question Ruzicka raised to 56,000 from the button. Tsoukernik tanked and then slid out a raise to 500,000, which effectively made Ruzicka have to decide if he wanted to play for his entire stack, which amounted to around 750,000. He sighed and then moved all-in. Tsoukernik snap called.

Tsoukernik: A♠K♥
Ruzicka: A♦K♣

Two ace-kings and four different suits meant that once the rainbow flop of 4♠9♣7♥ hit the felt that this was only ending one way. Both players took their chips back and after the J♦ turn and 2♣ river had landed they chopped the blinds and antes. –NW

9pm: Queens help Newey double
Level 15 – Blinds 12,000-24,000 (4,000 ante)

After dinner break, Paul Newey brought a beer back to the table. He though he might as well enjoy himself while he’s still alive. He shoved the very first hand but got no callers. He did the next time though.

He moved all-in for 146,000 from UTG+1 and was called by Anthony Zinno in the small blind.

Zinno: A♣J♦
Newey: Q♦Q♥

The board ran 10♠7♠4♦3♣3♠ to see the queens hold. Another beer for Newey! — MC


Get that man a beer!

8:50pm: Carrel extends his lead
Level 15 – Blinds 12,000-24,000 (4,000 ante)

More chips for Charlie Carrel as he just won a pot against Jean-Noel Thorel. Pre-flop, the Englishman raised from the hijack and Thorel called out of the big blind.

The flop fell 8♣3♠K♥, Thorel checked, Carrel c-bet 65,000 and Thorel made the call. The 9♦ turn checked through and Thorel then bet 75,000 on the 3♣ river. “Is that your king face? That looks like your king face,” said Carrel to Thorel. He thought for about another 15 seconds before calling the bet. Thorel rolled over 8♦7♦ for a pair of eights but Carrel’s Q♣Q♠ was the best hand and he claimed the pot. –NW

8:45pm: Play resumes
Level 15 – Blinds 12,000-24,000 (4,000 ante)

The remaining players are back in their seats for the last four levels. Play will stop early if six players remain, and will continue past the allotted four levels if the final eight has not been reached. –MC

7:45pm: Dinner break counts

Here’s how they stack up at the dinner break. They’ll be back at 8:45pm.

Name Country Chips
Charlie Carrel UK 2,330,000
Leon Tsoukernik Czech Republic 1,800,000
Mustapha Kanit Italy 1,300,000
Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier France 1,280,000
Jean-Noel Thorel France 1,000,000
Anthony Zinno USA 840,000
Viacheslav Buldygin Russia 810,000
Vojtech Ruzicka Czech Republic 760,000
Juha Helppi Finland 648,000
Julian Thomas Germany 555,000
Martin Kabrhel Czech Republic 490,000
Timothy Adams Canada 409,000
Martin Kozlov Australia 239,000
Paul Newey UK 146,000

7:30pm: “That’s a big one!”
Level 14 – Blinds 10,000-20,000 (3,000 ante)

Leon Tsoukernik is going to enjoy dinner a great deal tonight. Play on the other table had finished and players were drifting away for their repast, but Koray Aldemir and Tsoukernik were playing a huge pot. Tsoukernik won it, knocking out Aldemir, and getting close to the chip lead.

Aldemir started things with a raise to 40,000 from the button. Tsoukernik three-bet his big blind, making it 124,000 and Aldemir called.

The flop brought the Q♥2♥7♥ and Tsoukernik bet 100,000. Aldemir called.

The turn was the 7♣ and Tsoukernik shoved. It was for about 720,000, which was more than Aldemir had behind. Aldemir sigh-called and turned over Q♦9♦.

Tsoukernik, however, had best hand, best draw. His A♥A♠ was not outdrawn on the river.

“That’s a big one,” Tsoukernik said and he slapped hands with Martin Kabrhel. He was referring to the pot, but might too have be talking about the glass of whisky that was delivered with which he will now toast his prospects of making the final table. — HS

7:30pm: Kabrhel perishes on the brink of dinner
Level 14 – Blinds 10,000-20,000 (3,000 ante)

Martin Kabrhel’s characteristically volatile tournament is over. He open-shoved for 139,000 from early position and Vojtech Ruzicka called in the small blind.

“You have a pretty good run against me,” Kabrhel said, referring to other recent tournaments the pair have played. And that run continued as Kabrhel’s K♥Q♣ couldn’t beat Ruzicka’s A♥10♠ on a board that ran J♠7♣4♣8♣8♠.

That leaves 14 players and a dinner break imminent. Full counts to come.

7:25pm: Zinno’s jam removes Adams from pot
Level 14 – Blinds 10,000-20,000 (3,000 ante)

Anthony Zinno just pushed Timothy Adams off a pot on a co-ordinated board. Adams didn’t take too long to fold to a big three-bet jam.

It started with an early-position raise from Julian Thomas, which was called by both Adams and Zinno in hijack and cutoff, respectively. The flop fell A♦K♦4♦ and both Thomas and Adams checked.

Zinno then bet 61,000, which got Thomas out of the way. But Adams raised to 175,000. Zinno dug into his tower of green chips and said he was all-in.

No need for a count. Adams folded very quickly. — HS

7:20pm: Carrel picks off a bluff
Level 14 – Blinds 10,000-20,000 (3,000 ante)

Martin Kabrhel raised from early position and picked up calls from Koray Aldemir (hijack) and Charlie Carrel (small blind). On the 3♥3♠4♠ flop, Kabrhel bet 85,000 and both players called. The A♣ fell on the turn and Kabrhel fired a second bullet. The bet was 149,000 and it got rid of Aldemir, but not Carrel. On the 8♣ river Kabrhel bet again, but he bet less than he had on the turn, wagering just 119,000.

That piqued Carrel’s interest. “That’s very small,” he said. “Are you trying to fold me off something like Q♠J♠?” Carrel continued to talk to Kabrhel and Mustapha Kanit called the clock.


Charlie Carrel’s radar working effectively

“That’s not very nice, it’s only been two minutes,” Carrel said. He thought for about 15 seconds and then said. “OK, you got me,” and pushed out calling chips.

Kabrhel had ten high (with a nine) and Carrel had the winner with pocket fives. He’s up to 2.35 million as a result of winning that hand. –NW

7:05pm: Heath shoves into Aces
Level 14 – Blinds 10,000-20,000 (3,000 ante)

Ben Heath’s tournament is over. ElkY took him out with Aces. There’s no shame losing to the bullets.

ElkY opened to 40,000 from early position and Heath moved all-in over the top, one seat around the table. Heath only had about 350,000 in his stack, but ElkY didn’t wait for a count when action passed back to him. He called and tabled A♠A♥.

Heath’s 5♦5♣ was meagre already and it was miniscule after the board of 9♥10♣8♦Q♣3♥. Heath’s departure leaves 15 remaining–and ElkY with a stack approaching 1 million. — HS

7pm: Your redraw, sir
Level 14 – Blinds 10,000-20,000 (3,000 ante)

Sixteen players are left and we’re down to the final two tables. Here’s how they line up now.

Table 1

1 – Martin Kozlov
2 – Paul Newey
3 – Julian Thomas
4 – ElkY
5 – Ben Heath
6 – Timothy Adams
7 – Anthony Zinno
8 – Viacheslav Buldygin

Table 2

1 – Koray Aldemir
2 – Juha Helppi
3 – Vojtech Ruzicka
4 – Charlie Carrel
5 – Leon Tsoukernik
6 – Mustapha Kanit
7 – Martin Kabrhel
8 – Jean-Noel Thorel

There’s about 25 minutes left on the level, after which there is a 75-minute dinner break. We will have full chip counts at that point.

6:55pm: Can I get a re-draw?
Level 14 – Blinds 10,000-20,000 (3,000 ante)

Seventeen have become 16 and that means it’s time for a complete re-draw to the final two tables. It was Ali Reza Fatehi who went in 17th. He three-bet shoved for 321,000 holding A♦7♣ and Viacheslav Buldygin, who had opened to 41,000, got a count and then called with A♠Q♦.

The dominating Ace held up as the board came 3♠6♠2♥8♠2♦. Buldygin is up to 850,000 after winning that hand. –NW

6:50pm: Semi-bluff or real bluff from Tsoukernik?
Level 14 – Blinds 10,000-20,000 (3,000 ante)

“Almost! Semi-bluff,” Leon Tsoukernik said after he got Koray Aldemir off a hand on the river.

Aldemir opened to 44,000 from the hijack and was called by Tsoukernik on the button and Heath in the big blind. The flop fanned 4♣8♦K♦ and Aldemir continued. He was only called by Tsoukernik.

Then Tsoukernik took over, betting 130,000 and 330,000 on the J♦A♥ turn and river after he was checked to. Aldemir called the first bet but tank-check-folded to the second bet and was shown 7♥8♣ by Tsoukernik.

Aldemir is still flying on 1.035 million though, a similar amount to what Tsoukernik has after the hand. –MC

6:45pm: Musta’s million
Level 14 – Blinds 10,000-20,000 (3,000 ante)

Mustapha Kanit has got back up to the 1 million again after he pounded Martin Kozlov into submission.

Everyone’s favourite Italian bro opened to 40,000 and was called by Kozlov (button) and Daniel Dvoress (big blind). The flop spread 3♣3♥7♣ and Kanit continued for 45,000.

Only Kozlov called to the 8♠ turn where he called another 110,000. The 10♥ filled up the board and Kanit tanked for a minute before betting 230,000.

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Kozlov only had 100,000 more than that and thought for so long that Julian Thomas called the clock. Kozlov let it run down halfway then folded. (This hand obviously took place before Daniel Dvoress’s elimination.) –MC

6:40pm: Tsoukernik doubles through Aldemir
Level 13 – Blinds 8,000-16,000 (2,000 ante)

All the chips went in on the turn with the board reading 6♠3♥J♠2♣. The reason: Koray Aldemir had 6♣3♠ and a massive stack. Leon Tsoukernik had 4♣5♣ and not all that much.

Tsoukernik’s straight earned him a fist bump from Martin Kabrhel and a new stack of about 880,000. — HS

6:35pm: Two for Kabrhel, two for Aldemir
Level 14 – Blinds 10,000-20,000 (3,000 ante)

With the elimination of Patrick Leonard a new player was needed at table three and Martin Kabrhel was moved to the seat that he had vacated during level 13 (the blinds have just gone up). That meant he was sat to the left of Leon Tsoukernik and it didn’t take long for the two of them to tangle.

On the first hand of the level Tsoukernik raised to 75,000 from under the gun only for Kabrhel to re-raise to 175,000. One by one everyone folded and the pot went to Kabrhel. On the next shuffle Kabrhel opened to 40,000 from under the gun and Tsoukernik decided to try and get his chips back and called. On the Q♠3♣4♠ flop Kabrhel fired out a c-bet and Tsoukernik folded.

The next two pots were both won by Koray Aldemir. On each occasion he raised to 44,000 and like a cheap suit one by one his opponent’s folded. –NW

6:30pm: Dvoress out to Thomas
Level 13 – Blinds 8,000-16,000 (2,000 ante)

Daniel Dvoress is out in 18th, losing the last of his chips with pocket threes to Julian Thomas’s pocket tens. Thomas has about 720,000 now. — HS


Julian Thomas: Knocks out Dvoress

6:30pm: Short stack clash bad for Haxton
Level 13 – Blinds 8,000-16,000 (2,000 ante)

Isaac Haxton is out, losing back-to-back pots against fellow short stacks and hitting the rail in 19th.

The first was a straight flip against ElkY. ElkY’s A♥Q♣ beat Haxton’s 9♦9♥ on a board that ran A♦3♦J♥10♦8♠. ElkY had 221,000 so has double that now, while Haxton was left with 153,000.

That was all-in on the next hand, and Haxton was in good shape this time. His A♥9♠ was dominant against Vojtech Ruzicka’s A♠8♣, but that was as good as it got.


A bad day for Isaac Haxton

Ruzicka has been rivering opponents left and right this afternoon and here’s another example. The flop was the innocent 10♥5♥Q♦. The turn was the innocuous 3♣. But the 8♠ on the river was a sucker punch to Haxton, even if it was probably no more than Ruzicka was expecting. — HS

6:25pm: Leonard busts to Aldemir
Level 13 – Blinds 8,000-16,000 (2,000 ante)

Patrick Leonard hasn’t had many chips for quite a while now, and now he has none at all. Koray Aldemir was his assassin.

Aldemir opened to 35,000 from the hijack. He has been opening a lot of hands. Leon Tsoukernik called on the button and Leonard shoved for 354,000 total from the small blind. Aldemir re-shoved to isolate. That got Tsoukernik out of it.

Leonard: K♦10♦
Aldemir: A♣J♣

The board ran J♥8♥6♦3♥A♦. Nobody took Leonard’s plaintive, “Flush?” particularly seriously, least of all him. With a fist bump from Aldemir, he was off. Aldemir now has 1.55 million. — HS

6:20pm: Kabrhel shoving, Tsoukernik getting shoved on
Level 13 – Blinds 8,000-16,000 (2,000 ante)

Over the past 20 minutes there have been contrasting fortunes for two of the Czech players left in the tournament.

Over on table two Martin Kabrhel was busy rebuilding his stack after losing that pot to Mustapha Kanit (see 5:50pm post). He shoved all-in from the big blind over the top of Julian Thomas’s button raise and forced Thomas to fold.

A couple of hands later he open shoved from late position and took the blinds and antes. He now had enough to simply open raise, rather than shove, and a short time later he did just that and met no resistance. He’s up to 360,000 now.

However, for Leon Tsoukernik life has not been so good. He raised from the button, Patrick Leonard shoved from the small blind and Tsoukernik folded.

On the very next hand he opened to 55,000, Leonard folded and Tsoukernik gave him a little needle about not shoving that time.

“I had aces on the last hand,” Leonard claimed. By now action had passed to Ike Haxton and he decided to move all-in. It was 345,000 in total for Tsoukernik to call. “I’m getting it from all sides,” he said. He tanked for a couple of minutes but ultimately folded. As a result, he’s down to 420,000. –NW

6:15pm: ElkY in the danger zone
Level 13 – Blinds 8,000-16,000 (2,000 ante)

ElkY is pretty short now, sitting with 226,000. He three-bet jammed over Koray Aldemir’s open from the button, and got it through. That’s how come he is north of 200,000, but there’s still a long way to go for the Team PokerStars Pro. — HS


The most identifiable stack in poker

6:05pm: Mis-click or not a mis-click?
Level 13 – Blinds 8,000-16,000 (2,000 ante)

Leon Tsoukernik raised to 65,000 from under the gun. Nobody asked if it was a mis-click or whether it was intended. Similarly, nobody called.

On the next hand, things returned to normal. Isaac Haxton raised to 32,000 from the cutoff and Koray Aldemir called on the button. Tsoukernik called in the big blind and three players saw a flop of J♠6♦3♠.

Tsoukernik checked and Haxton bet 30,000. Only Aldemir called. The 3♣ came on the turn and Haxton slowed to a check. Aldemir bet 78,000 and that was enough. — HS

6pm: Carrel picks off Fatehi bluff
Level 13 – Blinds 8,000-16,000 (2,000 ante)

Charlie Carrel went in to the tank on the river in a hand versus Ali Reza Fatehi. He had led out for 110,000 and Fatehi raised to 225,000. The board read 5♠K♠K♣3♦8♠.

“I’m confused, and when I’m confused I normally fall on the side of curiosity,” Carrel said.

“You do weird trappy things sometimes, it’s your thing,” Carrel went on. After he said that, it was like he picked up on something Fatehi did as he slammed in the call.

Fatehi opened A♥2♥ for ace high, losing out to Carrel’s 7♥8♦. “Nice call,” Fatehi said. He drops to 860,000. Carrel said thanks and moved up around 1.25 million. –MC

5:55pm: Kozlov doubles through Dvoress in cooler
Level 13 – Blinds 8,000-16,000 (2,000 ante)

As we approached the table the dealer was counting down Martin Kozlov’s stack. He had 309,000 and it was soon to be matched by the same amount from Daniel Dvoress’ stack.

The two players had got their chips in preflop and it turned out to be a cooler. Dvoress’ pocket queens couldn’t come from behind to beat the Australian’s K♦K♣ on a 2♣9♣9♥6♥5♠ board. Dvoress dropped to 321,000 as a result. –MC

5:50pm: Kanit surprises Kabrhel
Level 13 – Blinds 8,000-16,000 (2,000 ante)

A big pot between Mustapha Kanit and Martin Kabrhel just occurred with the Italian tying the Czech player in knots on the river.

It started with an under-the-gun raise from Kabrhel, a bet that only Kanit matched. On the J♣8♣7♦ flop Kabrhel gave up the betting lead and called after Kanit bet 38,000. He called a further 88,000 on the 5♥ turn and the 8♥ fell on the river.

Again Kabrhel checked and this time Kanit bet 155,000. A couple of minutes passed, during which Kabrhel seemed unsure of what to do. “I already made my mind up what I’m going to do and this probably doesn’t change my plan,” Kabrhel started. “But Mustapha, this looks weird!”


Mustapha Kanit: Looks weird

There were a couple more chip riffles from Kabrhel and then he said. “Do you have K♣Q♣. Answer yes or no. Be a man.” Kanit informed Kabrhel that he didn’t have that hand but refused any further questions when Kabrhel wanted to know if he had K♣10♣.

Kabrhel’s tank continued until he finally mucked. “You go all-in and I snap call,” Kabrhel said. “That was my plan, but you surprised me Mustapha. That doesn’t happen very often at the poker table.” — NW


Martin Kabrhel: Surprised

5:45pm: Haxton rivers Aldemir (probably)
Level 13 – Blinds 8000-16,000 (2,000 ante)

Isaac Haxton has found a much-needed double-up, and you suspect he only got there on the river. That’ll be the second time in recent orbits that Koray Aldemir–for it was he–has been forced to pay off a short stack. However, he still shepherds about 900,000, so he’s doing just fine.

There was about 90,000 in the pot by the turn. The board showed 8♥Q♦10♠5♦ and Aldemir, in the small-blind seat, checked. Haxton, on the button, bet 40,000 and Aldemir called.

The 5♠ came on the river and Aldemir checked again. Haxton moved all-in, for 82,000, and after a little moment in the tank, Aldemir called.

Haxton showed 4♥5♥ and one suspects Aldemir had that beaten until the end. But it’s the end that matters, and Haxton built a stack of 340,000.

On the very next hand, Haxton added some more. He three-bet shoved over Patrick Leonard’s open and Leonard, despite having only about 260,000 in his stack, folded. — HS

5:40pm: Nice run out for Buldygin
Level 13 – Blinds 8000-16,000 (2,000 ante)

Ben Heath has dropped down to 756,000 after paid off Viacheslav Buldygin with his full house.

Heath opened from the hijack and Buldygin called from the big blind. Heath continued for 45,000 on the 10♥Q♠5♠ flop and Buldygin check-called before both checked the 8♦ turn.

The 10♠ completed the board and Buldygin led for 97,000. Heath made a quick call but mucked upon seeing his opponent’s 10♦8♥ for a full house. Buldygin is back up to 910,000. –MC

5:35pm: Ruzicka hits the river again
Level 13 – Blinds 8000-16,000 (2,000 ante)

By our count it’s now three rivers in three levels that have saved Vojtech Ruzicka from elimination. He was all-in for 354,000 holding 4♥4♣ and racing against the A♥K♥ of Koray Aldemir. The 6♥A♦A♣ flop made grim viewing for him. The 7♥ turn was a blank but the 4♠ river wasn’t.


Yet another double for Vojtech Ruzicka

That two outer means that he’s up to around 725,000 while Aldemir is down to about 950,000. –NW

5:20pm: Full counts
Level 13 – Blinds 8,000-16,000 (2,000 ante)

Koray Aldemir hasn’t been missing much this afternoon, but we have to assume he whiffed this flop. It was only a small pot, but Vojtech Ruzicka will be happy enough.

Ruzicka opened to 35,000 from the button and Aldemir clled in the big blind. The flop came 9♠2♦9♥ and they both checked, then Ruzicka bet 35,000 on the 2♥ turn. Aldemir folded. — HS

5:20pm: Full counts
Level 13 – Blinds 8,000-16,000 (2,000 ante)

Here’s how they line up heading into Level 13. There are 20 players left.

Name Country Chips
Koray Aldemir Germany 1,305,000
Jean-Noel Thorel France 1,175,000
Charlie Carrel UK 1,080,000
Ben Heath UK 980,000
Ali Reza Fatehi Iran 890,000
Viacheslav Buldygin Russia 790,000
Mustapha Kanit Italy 700,000
Daniel Dvoress Canada 676,000
Leon Tsoukernik Czech Republic 636,000
Timothy Adams Canada 555,000
Julian Thomas Germany 500,000
Martin Kabrhel Czech Republic 490,000
Juha Helppi Finland 470,000
Paul Newey UK 345,000
Anthony Zinno USA 330,000
Vojtech Ruzicka Czech Republic 322,000
Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier France 295,000
Martin Kozlov Australia 270,000
Patrick Leonard UK 235,000
Isaac Haxton USA 196,000

5pm: Heath pushes out three big stacks
Level 12 – Blinds 6,000-12,000 (2,000 ante)

It takes a brave man to take on the combined might of Jean-Noel Thorel, Viacheslav Buldygin and Charlie Carrel, but cometh the hour, cometh Ben Heath.

Those four players were at a flop: 4♥J♥7♣. Thorel, who was in the big blind, bet 45,000 and Buldygin, under the gun, called. Carrel, one seat further along, folded, but then Heath raised to 185,000.

Thorel folded, but Buldygin called building the kind of pot that could define at least one of these two players’ tournament. The Q♠ came on the turn and, after Buldygin checked, Heath moved all-in for a little more than 450,000.


Ben Heath: Moves up close to a million

Buldygin, with a stack just short of 800,000, went into his regular contortions. No face in poker displays the agony of thought quite like Buldygin’s, and this was a very tough decision, clearly.

Eventually, he muttered, “Show the bluff. Show the bluff.” He flicked his cards away.

The calls for Heath to show his hand swelled around the table, but Heath refused. His strong move puts him to more than 1 million.

It’s now the end of Level 12, which means we’ll have full counts for the remaining 20 players imminently. — HS

5pm: The king is dead, long live the king
Level 12 – Blinds 6,000-12,000 (2,000 ante)

It’s a neat coincidence that the king (reigning champion) of this event just busted to a guy holding pocket kings, and is the owner of a casino called King’s.

Leon Tsoukernik opened to 26,000 and called after Steve O’Dywer three-bet all-in for 210,000 from the big blind.

O’Dwyer: A♣7♥
Tsoukernik: K♠K♥

The board ran 10♣8♣3♥10♥9♣ and O’Dwyer was gone.

The very next hand was a different story for Tsoukernik as he had his Aces cracked. He limped in with them and called after Vojtech Ruzicka shoved for 150,000 with K♥9♣. The board ran 10♣6♣10♠8♠7♠ to make the November Niner a straight. –MC

4:55pm: Kabrhel over Kozlov
Level 12 – Blinds 6,000-12,000 (2,000 ante)

After Konstantin Uspenskiy was eliminated Martin Kabrhel was moved to Table 2. He took the compliment of players that table with the initials “MK” to three. Martin Kozlov and Mustapha Kanit are the other two.

He was seated to the direct left of Kozlov and the two of them just played one of those blind on blind pots that you suspect wouldn’t have happened in any other situation. It all started with a Kozlov limp from the small blind. Kabrhel then raised to 38,000 from the big blind and Kozlov called.

They dealer fanned a K♥6♦2♣ flop. Kozlov checked, Kabrhel bet 35,000 and Kozlov called. Neither player fired at the K♠ turn and the 9♥ fell on the river. Kozlov came out firing – sort of – betting a relatively small 16,000.

Kabrhel got confirmation of the bet size and called. Kozlov showed 6♠5♠ but Kabrhel had got there on the river with 9♠4♦.

After that hand Kozlov is down to 220,000 while Kabrhel is up to 620,000. –NW

4:40pm: Leonard still alive (just) after calling the clock on Tsoukernik
Level 12 – Blinds 6,000-12,000 (2,000 ante)

Patrick Leonard and Leon Tsoukernik played out a heads-up pot that had the Czech businessman at risk. An 8♦3♣7♠ flop appeared after Tsoukernik had raised from the button and Leonard called from the small blind.

The flop fanned 8♦3♣7♠ and Tsoukernik continued for 40,000 before Leonard check-raised all-in for 323,000. Tsoukernik went into the tank and after a while, Leonard said, “I’m too scared to call the clock on you.”

“Why?” Tsoukernik said.

“Because you might kill me!”

Tsoukernik procrastinated for another while and Leonard then suggested, “You can call a friend if you like.”

“I call Vojtech,” Tsoukernik said. “But he doesn’t always make good decisions!”

Ruzicka was sat in Seat 1 and could only laugh.

Leonard then called the clock and it forced Tsoukernik into a decision. He called with A♠8♥ for top pair, ahead of Leonard’s drawing 10♣9♣. The board ran out 7♣5♦ and Leonard dropped to 98,000. –MC

4:30pm: Dvoress downs Uspenskiy
Level 12 – Blinds 6,000-12,000 (2,000 ante)

Daniel Dvoress’s stack has grown to 735,000 after he eliminated Konstantin Uspenskiy.

Uspenskiy raised to 25,000 from the cutoff before Dvoress three-bet to 80,000 from the small blind. Uspenskiy thought for a minute and then four-bet all-in for 306,000. Call.

Dvoress: K♠K♦
Uspenskiy: A♥J♥

The board ran 7♠7♥7♣9♥10♠ and the Kings held up. We are down to 21 players now. –MC

4:25pm: Kozlov getting involved
Level 12 – Blinds 6,000-12,000 (2,000 ante)

Despite having a sub 20 big blind stack Martin Kozlov is playing a lot of hands. In fact he played all the hands that we witnessed over a short space of time. On the first of those he moved all-in from early position and got no action.

On the next hand he raised from under the gun and Julian Thomas defended from the big blind. Kozlov bet 18,000 on the 6♠A♦7♥ flop and Thomas called. The 10♦ turn and Q♠ river were checked through and Thomas said: “You win.” The latter didn’t show his cards though and waited for Thomas to show his hand – J♦8♣ – before opening the superior K♣K♥ to win the pot.

There were no hands off though as Kozlov called out of the big blind after Mustapha Kanit had opened in late position. A 18,000 bet from Kanit on the K♣K♥A♣ flop was called and the two players then checked the 7♣ turn and 7♦ river. Kozlov showed an Ace at showdown and it was good enough for the pot. He’s now up to the relative comforts of a 25 big blind stack. –NW

4:20pm: Thorel dances jig of delight
Level 12 – Blinds 6,000-12,000 (2,000 ante)

There’s no question that Table 1 is where all the chips are, with three players at 1 million or thereabouts. As mentioned below, Charlie Carrel lost a small pot to Viacheslav Buldygin to put both of those two right around the seven-figure mark, while Jean-Noel Thorel has something very similar.


Jean-Noel Thorel: Dancing man

Actually, scratch that. Thorel now is the dominant presence at that table and the tournament as a whole. He just knocked out Mikita Badziakouski to boost his stack by a further 150,000 and move to around 1.2 million.

Juha Helppi opened the pot in question, raising to 28,000 from the cutoff. Badziakouski then jammed for his last 110,000 and Thorel instantly re-jammed, covering Helppi. Helppi folded and Thorel was well in front.

Thorel: Q♠Q♦
Badziakouski: 10♠10♣

Badziakouski flopped very well, however, adding a bit of a twist to the tale. The first three cards out were the 7♦J♠10♥. The J♥ on the turn changed little, but the Q♥ on the river hit Thorel and slayed Badziakouski. (Helppi, by the way, had open-folded Ace-Jack.)


Mikita Badziakouski: Classy in defeat

Thorel did a literal dance of delight–a jig on the spot–and bumped his fist over his heart. He then regained his decorum and accepted Badziakouski’s hand after his vanquished opponent came around the table to say, “Good game.”

“Sorry,” Thorel said.

“That’s OK,” the classy Badziakouski added as he headed home. — HS

4:15pm: Big pot for Aldemir
Level 12 – Blinds 6,000-12,000 (2,000 ante)

While the players at Table 1 were busy discussing the music of Leonard Cohen there was deathly quiet over on Table 3 as a big pot was in progress.

Koray Aldemir opened the action. He made it 27,000 to go, ElkY called and Leon Tsoukernik then three-bet to 107,000. Aldemir was the only caller. On the A♣5♥J♣ flop Aldemir check-called a bet of 85,000 and he check-called a further 110,000 on the 5♣ turn.


Koray Aldemir moved up among the leaders

The 8♥ fell on the river and after Aldemir checked Tsoukernik took a couple of minutes before he too decided to check. Aldemir showed A♦Q♦ and it was the best hand as Tsoukernik mucked. That huge pot takes Aldemir up to 1,175,000 and drops Tsoukernik down to 340,000. –NW

4:10pm: Carrel dips below a million as he boosts Buldygin
Level 12 – Blinds 6,000-12,000 (2,000 ante)

Viacheslav Buldygin and Charlie Carrel are two of the most interesting players in the field. Both clearly have brilliant minds, opponents seem to like playing with them and both are a little unconventional. They also have mutual admiration for each other, and when they play a heads-up pot it’s never boring, even if it can take longer than the average hand to play out.

Ali Reza Fatehi opened to 20,000 from under the gun before Buldygin three-bet to 55,000 from the hijack. Carrel called from the button and Fatehi folded to leave them to it. The flop came 8♦7♣5♥ and Buldygin pulled up his hoodie to shield his face. “Clock!” joked Carrel. Buldygin continued for 80,000 and Carrel called.

The turn was the J♦ and Buldygin asked Carrel if he already had a live read. “Like, three!” said a giggling Carrel. Buldygin then bet 155,000 and Carrel called to the 8♥ river. It was at this juncture that you could see Buldygin’s brain go into overdrive. You could see his face twitching and eyes darting as he worked through the hand. The fact he seems unable to control the movements is probably why he tries to cover his face. Then he relaxed and fired again, for 250,000.

“Well, I’m not raising,” Carrel said. “Two-hundred and fifty or zero.”
He continued with, “I have queens, not a great hand to have here.”

Anthony Zinno then called a “friendly” clock and Carrel passed to drop to 931,000. Buldygin meanwhile moved up to 1.2 million and into the lead. –MC

4pm: Bickering Kings
Level 11 – Blinds 5,000-10,000 (1,000 ante)

It’s an old boys’ club on Table 3 where Leon Tsoukernik sits beside Martin Kabrhel, with Vojtech Ruzicka sitting over the other side of the table too. All three are wearing patches advertising the casino chain owned by Tsoukernik and where all three play against one another a lot.

Familiarity can breed irritation, however, and Kabrhel knows the buttons to press to get under opponents’ skin. On a recent hand, Tsoukernik was pondering his pre-flop options and Kabrhel, yet to act, piped up. “Take your time,” he said.

Tsoukernik chuckled and said, “I know this speech from the cash games.” He folded, then watched Kabrhel put out 10,000 to call.


Leon Tsoukernik: The hooded man

Action folded to Ruzicka, who then raised to 35,000 and action came back to Kabrhel, who wanted a count. This was slightly vexing to Ruzicka because Kabrhel had only just asked for the size of his stack, and it hadn’t changed much.

Kabrhel then asked Ruzicka to lift his hand so he could see the stack, and Ruzicka obliged even as he made it clear that it was slightly irksome. He then said out loud that he had about two-thirty.

Kabrhel said, “All-in.”

Ruzicka asked the dealer for a count. Kabrhel then added, “What? I have more than you.” Ruzicka was confused because Kabrhel has an unusual chip-stacking style in this event. He keeps his low denomination chips in regular towers by his right hand, but has his higher denomination chips the other side of his “space”, where they stand beneath the feet of a toy hippopotamus.


Martin Kabrhel’s “space”

Ruzicka had forgotten the hippo’s chips and thought Kabrhel was only playing the 150,000 or so in his main stack.

“Can you just move them over there?” Ruzicka said as he folded. “It’s annoying.”

Kabrhel obliged, but there was more back-and-forth as this reporter left the table, having seen enough. — HS

3:55pm: Leonard shoves
Level 11 – Blinds 5,000-10,000 (1,000 ante)

After a raise to 23,000 from Leon Tsoukernik the action folded to Patrick Leonard and he moved all-in for 187,000. Tsoukernik pondered for a while and then said to Leonard, “I think you have pocket sevens.”

Leonard said, “If you think I have pocket sevens you should fold. It’s always coming seven. Just ask the Germans.” He was alluding to a past EPT final table. He nodded in the direction of Koray Aldemir and he confirmed to Tsoukernik that Leonard was right.

We’ll never know if that was enough to tip the balance to a fold but that’s what Tsoukernik did and Leonard survived. –NW

3:50pm: Yan busts to Thomas
Level 11 – Blinds 5,000-10,000 (1,000 ante)

Play has resumed and on the first hand at his new table David Yan shoved for 66,000 and got no takers. Two hands later he raised all-in again and this time Julian Thomas made the call. Thomas held A♥Q♠ and was ahead of Yan’s K♦J♣. It stayed that way as Yan didn’t improve on a 10♠9♥9♦10♣7♠ board.

He wished everyone good luck as he left the table. Twenty three players remain. –NW

3:40pm: Final 24 re-draw
Level 11 – Blinds 5,000-10,000 (1,000 ante)

Here’s how the final three tables line up:

Table 1 Table 2 Table 3
Seat 1 Jean-Noel Thorel Mustapha Kanit Vojtech Ruzicka
Seat 2 Viacheslav Buldygin Paul Newey Steve O’Dwyer
Seat 3 Anthony Zinno Julian Thomas Ike Haxton
Seat 4 Charlie Carrel Martin Kozlov Koray Aldemir
Seat 5 Ben Heath David Yan ElkY
Seat 6 Juha Helppi Konstantin Uspenskiy Leon Tsoukernik
Seat 7 Ali Reza Fatehi Timothy Adams Martin Kabrhel
Seat 8 Mikita Badziakouski Daniel Dvoress Patrick Leonard

3:25pm: Yan clings on to see redraw; Kolonias can’t
Level 11 – Blinds 5,000-10,000 (1,000 ante)

After the accident against Leon Tsoukernik, it looked for all the world as though David Yan would be next man out, especially when three players called his all-in shove (for about two big blinds). However Yan managed to spring a surprise while, on another table, Alexandros Kolonias lost his short stack, meaning Yan books his seat in the last 24 and will take eight big blinds to his new table.

The hand involving Yan began as follows. Daniel Dvoress opened to 25,000 from the cutoff and Yan moved in from the button. It was actually an under-call as he didn’t quite have 25,000 in his stack.

Isaac Haxton called from the small blind and Julian Thomas increased Yan’s value even more with a call in the big. There was betting on the side as a flop appeared: 7♥3♥7♦.

Both Haxton and Thomas checked and Dvoress bet 25,000. Yan couldn’t do a thing except sit and hope. Haxton folded, but then Thomas raised to 100,000. That gave Dvoress something to ponder, and he chose to fold.

Yan then turned over his hand. He had 10♠10♣. Thomas only had A♣8♦, but already guaranteed himself the side pot. The K♥ came on the turn and the 2♥ on the river and Yan pulled off the quadruple up. “I like David,” Thomas offered by way of explanation for his move.


David Yan: Four times

By the time all that had happened, there was a called all-in on the table diagonally adjacent to this one. Kolonias had committed his last 150,000 with A♣5♦ but Jean-Noel Thorel had K♦K♠ and was a long way ahead.

That lead extended on the K♣8♥3♦ flop and it ended as a contest on the 5♠ turn. The 10♥ river completed the board.

The last 24 now redraw. We’ll have the line-up shortly. — HS

3:15pm: A double up for Hollywood Leon
Level 11 – Blinds 5,000-10,000 (1,000 ante)

Leon Tsoukernik had them all fooled. It was “Hollywooding” at its finest and earned him a stack worth around 650,000.

He opened to 20,000 from the hijack and was called by Daniel Dvoress and David Yan in the blinds. The flop spread 10♠8♣7♠ and Dvoress led out for 40,000 from the small blind. Yan called from the big blind and Tsoukernik went into the tank. He procrastinated, looked uncomfortable, double-checked the bet amount and then jammed all-in for 279,000. Dvoress folded but Yan snap called.

Yan: 10♥8♦ for two pair.
Tsoukernik: J♥9♦ for a straight.

The board ran out 5♥7♣ and Yan dropped to 23,000, only about two big blinds.

“Nice hand, sir!” Charlie Carrel said. “I thought you had a draw or something.”

“Fooled me, too!” said Julian Thomas. “Hollywood Leon!” –MC

3:10pm: O’Dwyer doubles
Level 11 – Blinds 5,000-10,000 (1,000 ante)

Two of the most successful players in High Roller events in recent times are Steve O’Dwyer and Mustapha Kanit. O’Dwyer won this very event last year and Kanit has wins across the full spectrum of PokerStars High Rollers over the past 18 months, with triumphs in a €10K, €25K and €50K events.


Steve O’Dwyer: Double up

The two just clashed in a blind-on-blind pot, which ended with an all-in showdown. O’Dwyer was in the small blind and he raised to 30,000 from a stack of 226,000. Kanit eyed up the raise and his opponent’s stack and then pushed forward enough chips to set O’Dwyer all-in. A brief think from O’Dwyer was followed by a call and it was time to see the cards.

O’Dwyer rolled over A♥10♦ and was leading against Kanit’s K♣J♠. A A♠6♣3♦2♦2♥ board kept O’Dwyer in the lead. He’s up to 460,000 while Kanit is down to 630,000. –NW

3:05pm: Three-betting here, four-betting there
Level 11 – Blinds 5,000-10,000 (1,000 ante)

It can be hard to get a raise through, or a flop seen, without someone pesky behind you putting in a three-bet. You can call, fold, or stick in a four-bet.

Juha Helppi chose the fold option. He opened to 23,000 from the cutoff before Patrick Leonard tank-three-bet to 74,000 from the big blind. Fold.

At the same time, on the next table along, Timothy Adams opened to 23,000 from middle position. Chip leading Charlie Carrel was at in the next seat and four-bet to 75,000. Adams moved all-in for a little under 400,000 and Carrel snapped him off.

They both opened black big-slicks, one had spades one had clubs and the board ran 8♠2♥3♣8♥4♥. They chopped it up. –MC

3pm: Runner-runner-runner for Ruzicka
Level 11 – Blinds 5,000-10,000 (1,000 ante)

The action folded round to Vojtech Ruzicka on the button and he elected to move all-in for his last 80,000. Patrick Leonard folded from the small blind but Martin Kabrhel called from the big blind to create some Czech on Czech all-in action.

Ruzicka showed J♠10♣ and he was in bad shape against Kabrhel’s A♣J♥. A miracle runner-runner-runner on a 2♦5♦8♠Q♠9♦ board meant he survived. He’s now up to 172,000 while Kabrhel slips to 130,000. –NW

2:45pm: Chip counts
Level 11 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Here are the full chip counts as they head into Level 11:

Name Country Chips
Charlie Carrel UK 1,233,000
Jean-Noel Thorel France 986,000
Viacheslav Buldygin Russia 780,000
Mustapha Kanit Italy 740,000
Ben Heath UK 680,000
Koray Aldemir Germany 660,000
Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier France 580,000
Ali Reza Fatehi Iran 562,000
Isaac Haxton USA 554,000
Juha Helppi Finland 551,000
Daniel Dvoress Canada 516,000
Julian Thomas Germany 450,000
Paul Newey UK 427,000
Konstantin Uspenskiy Russia 415,000
Timothy Adams Canada 410,000
Patrick Leonard UK 400,000
Leon Tsoukernik Czech Republic 390,000
David Yan New Zealand 300,000
Anthony Zinno USA 280,000
Sam Greenwood Canada 233,000
Martin Kozlov Australia 226,000
Steve O’Dwyer Ireland 220,000
Mikita Badziakouski Belarus 214,000
Martin Kabrhel Czech Republic 211,000
Alexandros Kolonias Greece 160,000
Vojtech Ruzicka Czech Republic 100,000


Charlie Carrel still heads the field…


…but a good day too for Jean-Noel Thorel

2:30pm: Break time
Level 10 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

That’s the end of Level 10 and the first break of the day. We will have full chip counts for the remaining 26 players very shortly.

2:25pm: Adams picks off Haxton bluff
Level 10 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

When three more players are eliminated, taking us to 24, there will be a full redraw. I think the denizens of Table 1 will be the most happy. That table presently features Daniel Dvoress, David Yan, Isaac Haxton, Julian Thomas, Leon Tsoukernik, Timothy Adams and Charlie Carrel. They are all friends–Dvoress and Adams played squash against one another the other night–but they will hope to find softer tables even at this high a buy-in.

In a recent pot, Haxton opened to 16,000 from the cutoff and Tsoukernik called in the small blind. Adams also called in the big blind and they saw a low flop: 4♥3♣2♣. They all checked.

The J♦ came on the turn and all three checked again. Then the Q♥ came on the river. Tsoukernik and Adams checked, prompting Haxton to try to pick it up. He bet 44,000. Tsoukernik folded but Adams called, turning over J♣8♣ to beat Haxton’s 10♠8♠.

It’s tough to get anything through. — HS

2:20pm: Buldygin and Leonard renew their acquaintance
Level 10 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Viacheslav Buldygin and Patrick Leonard are both relative newcomers to the Super High Roller world, and they seem to have spent a disproportionate amount of time on the same table both here in Prague and in Malta on our last stop. They have quite a rapport too. Leonard likes gently ribbing Buldygin about his histrionics at the table.


Viacheslav Buldygin: Expressionable

Of course, they also play pots against one another, some of which take place in complete silence and with very little extraneous animation. Here’s one such example.

Buldygin opened to 18,000 from UTG+1 and Leonard was his solitary customer in the big blind. Leonard then led 20,000 after the flop of 6♣9♣7♦. Buldygin called.

They both checked the 10♥ turn, then Leonard bet 37,000 at the A♠ river and Buldygin folded. OK, not the most thrilling of hand histories, but call it the calm before an inevitable storm. — HS

2:10pm: ElkY flying high
Level 10 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

It’s been a while since ElkY played a Super High Roller tournament, but things are going very well indeed for him today. He just found a big double up through Anthony Zinno and now sits with about 550,000.

ElkY had 6♥6♠ and flopped a set. By the time the river was out, he had a boat. The full board was 6♣5♦7♥8♦8♥. Zinno still has 380,000, and the table captain over there remains Mustapha Kanit and his million chips. But this is a fine showing so far from the only Team PokerStars Pro in the field. — HS

1:50pm: Three-quarters of a million up top
Level 10 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Tournament officials have released details of the prize structure. There were 49 entries (39 unique players and 10 re-entries), comprising a prize pool, after deductions, of €2,352,735.

Seven will be paid, as follows:

1 – €741,100
2 – €535,250
3 – €341,150
4 – €258,800
5 – €200,000
6 – €152,915
7 – €123,520

The slightly modified plan for the day is that we play 10 levels or to six players, whichever is soonest. I still think the 10 levels is most likely.

1:50pm: Buldygin bullies Uspenskiy
Level 10 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Viacheslav Buldygin has had a profitable first level and a bit. He’s up to about 700,000 now, with the most recent boost coming from Konstantin Uspenskiy. It wasn’t a huge pot, but they aren’t all massive at this stage.

Buldygin raised to 17,000 from the button and then called a three-bet from Uspenskiy in the small blind. It was 45,000. The flop brought the 5♠10♦7♠ and Uspenskiy now check-called Buldygin’s bet of 55,000.

The J♠ appeared on the turn and Uspenskiy seemed to have lost interest in the hand after his three-bet was called. He check-folded to Buldygin’s bet of 110,000.

Uspenskiy is still doing OK with 650,000 of his own. — HS

1:40pm: ElkY finishes off Troyanovskiy
Level 10 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

That’s the end of Vladimir Troyanovskiy. He found an ace in the small blind and moved all in. Only ElkY sat behind him, but the Team PokerStars Pro found 9♠9♦, which was clearly enough. Troyanovskiy’s specific hand was A♥2♣, so it was a bit of a lop-sided race.

The board ran 8♥K♦6♠2♠6♣ with that two on the turn not enough to trouble ElkY’s bigger pair. ElkY now has 220,000. — HS


ElkY accounts for Troyanovskiy

1:30pm: Kanit nears 1 million, leaves Troyanovskiy in trouble
Level 9 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Mixed fortunes for two of the Super High Roller world’s most popular figures. Mustapha Kanit is closing in on a million chips, while Vladimir Troyanovskiy has only about 82,000 left. That’s trouble for him as this was the last hand in Level 9 and blinds in Level 10 are 4,000/8,000.

Those two were at a flop with Anthony Zinno also involved. Kanit seemed to have raised the hijack, Troyanovskiy presumably called on the button and Zinno came along from the big blind.

The flop was K♥A♦8♦ and Zinno checked. Kanit bet 18,000 and Troyanovskiy alone called.

The 6♦ came on the turn and Kanit bet 34,000 this time. Troyanovskiy called again. The 6♥ appeared on the river and Kanit bombed again. This time it was 90,000 and, despite having only about 165,000 behind, Troyanovskiy called again.

Kanit showed K♦J♦ and Troyanovskiy mucked. — HS

1:25pm: Two more exits
Level 9 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Two further eliminations: Sergey Lebedev lost the last of his short stack to Charlie Carrel. He isn’t the first and he won’t be the last. Davidi Kitai lost his short stack to Steve O’Dwyer. He isn’t the first and he won’t be the last. — HS

1:15pm: More on the Aido elimination
Level 9 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Buried in that epic update below was the scantest of details about Sergio Aido’s elimination. He tweeted the full details a little while ago. It’s pretty easy to follow, even if you don’t speak Spanish. And the broken heart emoji is really all you need to know.

#next indeed.

1:05pm: Action everywhere
Level 9 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Here’s a long, drawn-out update featuring significant action from four of five tournament tables in play. It all happened at the same time, but such is tournament poker.

The bookend is going to be a hand between Isaac Haxton and Timothy Adams, which took considerably longer than all the others. That one began with Adams opening to 20,000 and Haxton three-betting from the small blind, making it 88,000 to go. Let’s leave that hanging there.


Timothy Adams: Pondering Haxon’s move

On the neighbouring table, all of Vojtech Ruzicka (cutoff), Patrick Leonard (button), Martin Kabrhel (small blind) and Viacheslav Buldygin (big blind) were at a flop of J♠8♣Q♥. Ruzicka checked, Leonard bet 40,000 and Kabrhel folded. Buldygin called and Ruzicka got out of the way.

The turn was the A♥. But now it’s time to leave this pot too and head to another table.

Here’s why: Ali Reza Fatehi was all-in and called by Justin Bonomo. The slight meat on these bare bones is that Fatehi had Q♦Q♠ to Bonomo’s 6♣6♦ and the board was a dry 5♦3♦5♥9♠2♥. Fatehi must have lost a significant portion of his overnight 360,000 before this coup because Bonomo lost this pot but is still sitting in his seat, despite only getting 250,000 when he bought in this afternoon.


Justin Bonomo: Bad news

That’s not all. At around about the time Fatehi was getting his chips doubled up, Sergio Aido was standing up and heading away from his table. Mustapha Kanit had evidently made a straight with his 6♣7♣ and it was better than whatever Aido had.

Aido has started this festival well, with a second in the €10K NLHE on Saturday night. But he has whiffed the Super High Roller.

Still with me? Well, let’s go back to see what happened with Leonard and Buldygin, shall we? After than A♥ on the turn, Buldygin check-called Leonard’s bet of 65,000. That took them to the A♣ on the river.

At this point, Buldygin somehow conspired to get his full stack in the middle, although I don’t know if it was a check-call, a check-raise or a shove-call. Whichever way it happened, Buldygin’s K♦10♦ was better than Leonard’s seven-eight. (Most likely this was a check-call of a Leonard shove.) Either way, it was a full double up for Buldygin.


Patrick Leonard

So, back now to Messrs Haxton and Adams. When we left this one, Haxton had three-bet pre-flop. Adams called.

That took them to a flop of 7♣7♠10♦ and Haxton led for 50,000. Adams called. The 6♦ came on the turn and both players checked. Then the J♥ came on the river and Haxon moved all in for something like 275,000. That was probably just about covering Adams, but it was close.

Adams elected to fold. — HS

12:45pm: Badziakouski takes one from Carrel
Level 9 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

It’s not easy to get chips from Charlie Carrel, but Mikita Badziakouski just did so. It was a small pot, but they all count.

Badziakouski opened to 13,000 from the hijack and Carrel three-bet the small blind, making it 45,000 to play. Badziakouski called and they saw a flop. It was 6♥10♣3♠. Carrel continued for 30,000 and Badziakouski called. No more money went in through the J♠ turn and 10♥ river. Carrel exposed his A♥Q♠ which couldn’t beat Badziakouski’s 8♦8♠. — HS

12:40pm: Schemion busts to Adams
Level 9 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Ole Schemion will not be adding the EPT Prague Super High Roller title to his glittering resume. He is the second man out this morning, busting to Timothy Adams. I saw only the very tail end of this, with Adams’s J♥8♠ exposed and a board of J♠8♥9♦A♦5♠ out there. Adams’s two pair was evidently better than whatever Schemion had committed his short stack.

Schemion got into this event via a live satellite, so it was “only” €5K to him. — HS

12:37pm: Seat open!
Level 9 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Steffen Sondtheimer is the first man out today, and there’s no coming back. He got his last 88,000 in pre-flop and Jean-Noel Thorel had him covered in both chips and cards.

Sontheimer: J♠10♠
Thorel: A♣K♣

The board brought both a King and a Jack and nothing else that might change things. “Good luck!” a cheery Sondtheimer said as he departed.

12:35pm: Seat draw
Level 9 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Here’s how they line up as play gets under way. It will change soon.

Table 1
1 – Sergio Aido
2 – Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier
3 – Davidi Kitai
4 – Anthony Zinno
5 – Steve O’Dwyer
6 – Mustapha Kanit

Table 2
1 – Daniel Dvoress
2 – David Yan
3 – Isaac Haxton
4 – Julian Thomas
5 – Leon Tsoukernik
6 – Sergey Lebedev
7 – Timothy Adams
8 – Ole Schemion

Table 3
1 – Ali Reza Fatehi
2 – Sam Greenwood
3 – Orpen Kisacikoglu
4 – Justin Bonomo
5 – Martin Kozlov
6 – Alexandros Kolonias
7 – Ben Heath

Table 4
1 – Vojtech Ruzicka
2 – Patrick Leonard
3 – Martin Kabrhel
4 – Viacheslav Buldygin
5 – Konstantin Uspenskiy
6 – Juha Helppi
7 – Max Silver

Table 5
1 – Vladimir Troyanovskiy
2 – Charlie Carrel
3 – Koray Aldemir
4 – Steffen Sontheimer
5 – Jean-Noel Thorel
6 – Mikita Badziakouski
7 – Paul Newey

12:30pm: Welcome from Vegas
Level 9 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 500)

Justin Bonomo was on the final table of the WPT Five Diamond event at the Bellagio, Las Vegas, over the weekend. And now, Monday, the start of a new working week, he is here in Prague playing the €50,000 EPT Super High Roller. David Yan and Martin Kabrhel were the other players to re-enter before play began today.

12:15pm: Day 2 set to begin
Level 9 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 500)

Good afternoon all and welcome back to Prague where we’re in for another thrilling, high-stakes, high-octane ten levels of Super High Roller poker. The more adjectives you use, the better.

Registration is not quite yet closed on this event, and it seems that three new players have already registered in addition to the 32 who bagged chips at the end of last night. Here’s the top ten survivors, with the full list in yesterday’s recap.

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


Charlie Carrel: All he needs is a halo

It’s a freezeout from here on, so the pressure will increase by a good deal. But we’ll also edge nearer the money, so the end will be in sight. The plan is to play ten one-hour levels, with a dinner break at the end of Level 14, or to a final table of eight, whichever comes soonest.

Stick with us. We’ll be here whichever way they decide to do it.

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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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