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Home / Uncategorized / PokerStars Championship Prague: Kalidou Sow pips Jason Wheeler to final table lead

After nearly eight hours of play we have our final six in the PokerStars Championship Prague Main Event. Here’s how they’ll line up.

Name Country Chips BBs
Kalidou Sow France 8,135,000 102
Jason Wheeler USA 8,100,000 101
Michal Mrakes Czech Republic 5,010,000 63
Gabriele Lepore Italy 1,815,000 23
Colin Robinson USA 1,425,000 18
Harry Lodge UK 1,230,000 15

The final six players return tomorrow to do this all again, but this time with a first prize of €775,000 waiting for one of them. Right now there are two candidates best placed to take the last ever PokerStars Championship title. They are Kalidou Sow and Jason Wheeler.

NEIL0279_PSC_Prague2017_Kalidou_Sow_Neil Stoddart.jpgThe chip leader tonight… just. Kalidou Sow with 8,135,000

NEIL0181_PSC_Prague2017_Jason_Wheeler_Neil Stoddart.jpgJason Wheeler is close behind with 8,100,000

The pair finished neck and neck today, with each taking a very different route to the top of the chip counts.

Wheeler, a veteran of events such as this, established his lead early on today, challenging others to take on him and his stack, which eclipsed those around him on the feature table.

Meanwhile Sow, who spent most of the day on the outer table, set about charging up the counts, starting the day as one of the shorter stacks, but navigating his way to the last six, sending Matas Cimbolas to the rail in seventh place to end the day.

NEIL0342_PSC_Prague2017_Matas_Cimbolas_Neil Stoddart.jpgMatas Cimbolas

The others will fall in behind them, the best of them Michal Mrakes.

The local hero began the day as the leader, but scrap after scrap went against him, and bruised, he seemed to languish mid table before mounting a comeback – his previous leads, held throughout the week, were not flukes.

NEIL0367_PSC_Prague2017_Michal_Mrakes_Neil Stoddart.jpgMichal Mrakes

There’s a gap between them and the thin end of the counts, with Gabriele Lepore, Colin Robinson and Harry Lodge needing help tomorrow, but cannot yet be discounted from making this their breakout tournament.

8G2A8675_PSC_Prague2017_Gabriele_Lepore_Neil Stoddart.jpgGabriele Lepore

NEIL0224_PSC_Prague2017_Colin_Robinson_Neil Stoddart.jpgColin Robinson

NEIL0209_PSC_Prague2017_Harry_Lodge_Neil Stoddart.jpgHarry Lodge

The action started almost immediately.

On the second hand Pierre Calamusa was all in against Aleksandr Mordvinov. Mordvinov won the hand with queens against Calamusa’s queen-ten, but it was Mordvinov who was covered, leaving Calamusa with little more than a big blind. Inevitably he was headed to the rail in 15th place soon after.

8G2A8640_PSC_Prague2017_Pierre_Calamusa_Neil Stoddart.jpgPierre Calamusa was the first to leave

Serhii Popovych followed in 14th place when his jacks were undone by Sow’s pocket aces. Navot Golan departed the TV table in 13th place when he ran ace-ten into the jacks of Wheeler, who by this point was midway through amassing a stack that would eclipse all others.

NEIL0204_PSC_Prague2017_Serhii_Popovych_Neil Stoddart.jpgSergii Popovych

NEIL0290_PSC_Prague2017_Navot_Golan_Neil Stoddart.jpgNavot Golan

Thomas Lendrodt’s day ended next, losing most of his chips to Robinson, who nudged him out ace-queen to king-queen in Lendrodt’s final hand. Less than half an hour later Robert Heidorn followed in 11th, his short stack rearguard ended in a hand against Mrakes.

8G2A8691_PSC_Prague2017_Thomas_Lentrodt_Neil Stoddart.jpgThomas Lentrodt

NEIL0284_PSC_Prague2017_Robert_Heidorn_Neil Stoddart.jpgRobert Heidorn

For his part Mrakes was having a volatile day. Chipped up at the start of the day his stack plummeted before he mounted a gradual comeback. But it was Sow who would boast one of the biggest turn-arounds, and when he sent Alex Foxen to the rail in tenth place, he would take more than 5 million chips to the TV table.

NEIL0276_PSC_Prague2017_Alex_Foxen_Neil Stoddart.jpgAlex Foxen

Mordvinov had played well to reach the last table, but his appearance there would be short-lived. It was also one of those hands he might not forget for a while.

Finding aces, he’d got his chips in against Sow, who shoved on a board of 928. Mordvinov snap called with his aces, but Sow was drawing to a straight flush with 107. He got there on the J turn.

8G2A8744_PSC_Prague2017_Kalidou_Sow_Aleksandr_Mordvinov_Neil Stoddart.jpgMordvinov (right) departs, send on his way by Sow

Shabelnyk would leave next and again it was Sow who made it so. Queens must have looked good to the Ukrainian, right up to the point when Sow made a straight on the turn.

NEIL0368_PSC_Prague2017_Valentyn_Shabelnyk_Neil Stoddart.jpgValentyn Shabelnyk

After the dinner break came the hand that sent Cimbolas home, agonizingly short of a final table. He’s sure to be back at the deep end of a tournament again before long. For us that return is tomorrow at 1pm (local time) when the live broadcast, and our live updates, begin.

Join us then. — SB

Main Event Day 5 coverage archive

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8:50pm: Cimbolas falls in seventh
Level 28 – Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

We have our final 6 and play has finished for Day 5.

It was a cooler for Matas Cimbolas that sees him finish in 7th place. Kalidou Sow has played aggressively since we reached the final 9 and a button raise has been nothing out of the ordinary, which is what happened after it folded round to the Frenchman. Cimbolas didn’t need long to think before he shoved 1.185 million from the small blind, (around 14 big blinds) and it was an easy call for Sow.

Sow: KK
Cimbolas: AJ

The flop came J54, so top pair and two runner-runner draws for Cimbolas… some hope as the turn was dealt.

Unfortunately for Cimbolas the 8 shut down all the draws and it was just jacks or aces that would save him. The river was a 5 and as we say goodbye to Cimbolas, the final pot of the day pushed Sow into the chip lead (just) with 8.135 million to Jason Wheeler’s 8.1 million in second place. –LY

8G2A8783_PSC_Prague2017_Matas_Cimbolas_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Another knockout for Sow, as Cimbolas departs

8:45pm: Crash the Cimbolas
Level 28 – Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

It’s all over. Matas Cimbolas is out in seventh. Full details, and a day recap, to follow shortly. –HS

NEIL0269_PSC_Prague2017_Matas_Cimbolas_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Matas Cimbolas – 7th place

8:40pm: Cimbolas shoves over min-raise, collects
Level 28 – Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

Kalidou Sow min-raised from the small blind to 160,000, a provocative gesture for Matas Cimbolas sitting in the big blind with a little under 1 million — the shortest stack at the table.

Cimbolas gave Sow a look, then slid all of his chips forward in one tall column, and Sow quickly stepped aside.

Sow still have 6.8 million, the second-biggest stack compared to leader Wheeler’s 8.1 million. Meanwhile, Cimbolas is still seventh of seven, now with just under 1.2 million. –MH

8:35pm: Postprandial torpor
Level 28 – Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

After the aforementioned period of inactivity, Jason Wheeler tried to shift us all out of our postprandial torpor. He raised to 190,000 from early position, and… everyone folded.

The baton then passed to Matas Cimbolas, who opened the next hand to 165,000 from the cutoff. But Cimbolas was not able to get his bet through. That’s because Gabriele Lepore scorched the felt with his all-in push* and… Cimbolas folded.

Still that added a few chips for Lepore, putting him on 1.865 million. Cimbolas is now hovering around the 1 million mark and is under a fair bit of pressure.

*did not scorch anything –HS

8:25pm: Sow closing in on chip lead
Level 28 – Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

Kalidou Sow shows no sign of slowing down, taking pots off of Harry Lodge and Lepore amongst others.

He used his aggression to effect when Harry Lodge limped in the small blind, by raising it up to 210,000 from the big, securing a fold.

Just now he three bet Gabriele Lepore who had opened to 175,000 under the gun, making it 450,000 on the button and again, garnered a fold.

He is closing in on Jason Wheeler who sits in the top spot at the moment and Harry Lodge, Matas Cimbolas and Colin Robinson are being squeezed at the bottom of the leaderboard. –LY

8:15pm: Sow picks one up from Wheeler
Level 28 – Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

On the second hand back, Jason Wheeler opened to 180,000 from UTG+1 and Kalidou Sow called in the cutoff.

This had the makings of something more significant than the first hand, especially as Matas Cimbolas went into the tank for a bit and seemed to be considering a squeeze. And though he folded, Gabriel Lepore called in the big blind taking three to the flop.

That fell 994 and, after Lepore checked, Wheeler bet 260,000. Sow called and Lepore folded, meaning the two biggest stacks were now left alone.

The 10 emerged on the turn, which certainly made things a bit more interesting. But Wheeler’s check allowed Sow to take the lead. He bet 480,000. And that was the end of that.

So it started with promise, but ended with a bit of a fizzle. — HS

8:10pm: One to Wheeler
Level 28 – Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

First hand back, Jason Wheeler opened to 190,000 from the hijack and… got it through. Look forward to the excitement ratcheting up from here. –HS

8:05pm: Play resumes
Level 28 – Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

The final seven players in this PokerStars Championship Prague Main Event are back in their seats and play has resumed. One more elimination, and they’ll stop proceedings for tomorrow’s finale. –MH

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7:05pm: Dinner break

The level is over and the last seven players are off now on a one-hour dinner break. See below the counts of the players, with the number of big blinds reflecting the jump to 40,000/80,000/10,000 coming up in Level 28. –MH

Name Country Chips BBs
Jason Wheeler USA 8,170,000 102
Kalidou Sow France 5,995,000 75
Michal Mrakes Czech Republic 4,725,000 59
Gabriele Lepore Italy 2,125,000 27
Harry Lodge UK 1,845,000 23
Matas Cimbolas Lithuania 1,430,000 18
Colin Robinson USA 1,425,000 18

6:55pm: Lodge wins one
Level 27 – Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Kalidou Sow raised to 130,000 from under the gun and got one caller in Harry Lodge from the big blind.

The flop came 4210, and after Lodge checked Sow bet 130,000. Sow called. The turn was the 7 and Lodge checked again. Sow checked this time. The river was the 3 and both checked.

Lodge showed 98 for a flush, and Sow mucked. Lodge is at 1.9 million now, while Sow has a little over 6.25 million. –MH

6:50pm: Shabelnyk out in eighth
Level 26 – Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Unfortunately for Valentyn Shabelnyk, his PokerStars Championship dream has come to end. And, as with so many of our final 15 today, it was at the hands of Kalidou Sow.

Shabelnyk began by opening to 130,000 out of his 20 big blinds from UTG+1 and Sow peeled on the button.

The flop read 458 and rather than continuing, Shabelnyk deferred to Sow. He made a relatively small bet of 135,000 and Shabelnyk didn’t take long to commit his 1.1 million chips. Sow couldn’t get it in fast enough and when they turned over the cards, it was easy to see why.

Sow: 76
Shabelnyk: QQ

Shabelnyk’s overpair was crushed by the Frenchman, who had flopped the straight and had a flush draw to go with it. It was all over by the turn with the 3 dealt out and only 5 would add anything of interest on the river (which would make Sow his second straight flush of the final table). Instead it was the J and Shabelnyk heads towards the payout cage, with €72,850 in prize winnings.

Can anyone stop this unbeatable run by Sow? –LY

NEIL0368_PSC_Prague2017_Valentyn_Shabelnyk_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Valentyn Shabelnyk – 8th place

6:40pm: Two small ones
Level 27 – Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

The relatively slow period continues, though there are two small pots to mention.

Valentyn Shabelnyk opened to 135,000 from the hijack and Kalidou Sow called in the big blind. But those were the last chips to go into the pot through a board that ran AK8J6. Shabelnyk’s 1010 turned out to be good, with Sow having some showdown value with 87 and therefore not bluffing on the end.

After that, Michal Mrakes opened to 150,000 from under the gun and Matas Cimbolas called in the big blind. The flop was 257 and, after Cimbolas checked, Mrakes bet 125,000. Cimbolas called.

The 3 kept this one low, and both checked, bringing yet another baby card, the 4 on the river.

Cimbolas checked again and Mrakes bet 205,000. Cimbolas called but mucked after Mrakes showed his 66. That’s a great hand to have in that spot: the straight, as well as blockers to the same hand for your opponent.

Mrakes moves up to 4.725 million as a result, whereas Cimbolas slips to 1.240 million. That’s the equal shortest in the room. –HS

6:30pm: A showdown!
Level 27 – Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

It’s the first one for a while but we finally get to the river and we get to see some hole cards, too.

Kalidou Sow continued his aggression with an early position open to 130,000 and he only got one caller, Michal Mrakes who peeled in position.

The flop was a low paired 366 with one flush draw and Sow continued for 140,000, with Mrakes calling. There were checks all round on both the 10 turn and the Q river and the cards were flipped on their backs.

Sow: K8
Mrakes: AJ

It was a king-high missed flush draw for Sow and Mrakes’ ace-high is good enough to win the 710,000 pot. –LY

6:20pm: Mrakes gets one back
Level 27 – Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Michal Mrakes, who is currently sitting in third place on the leaderboard, opened to 150,000 from under the gun. He was called in two spots, by Colin Robinson in the hijack and Kalidou Sow in the small blind.

The flop was an interesting K2Q and no one fancied putting any chips in, with checks all round. On to the turn and it was the A, which brought out a second flush draw as well as a Broadway combination. Once Sow had checked, Mrakes made a delayed continuation for 375,000 and it secured him the pot. –LY

NEIL0242_PSC_Prague2017_Michal_Mrakes_Neil Stoddart.jpg

One to Mrakes

6:10pm: Four-betting from Mrakes
Level 27 – Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Lovely stuff here at the final table, where Michal Mrakes just found a cold four-bet to put both the chip leaders under pressure.

Jason Wheeler opened from the hijack, making it 145,000 to play. Kalidou Sow had the button in front of him, so three-bet in position, making it 325,000, and it skipped through Matas Cimbolas to Mrakes in the big blind.

He pondered and then cut out 875,000. Wheeler quickly folded, and though Sow took us on a trip to Hollywood (possibly), he folded in the end.

That’s a good way to add half a million to your stack without too much trouble. –HS

6pm: Mordvinov ist mord
Level 27 – Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

The first major pot since the tournament went nine-handed is headed in the direction of Kalidou Sow. His benefactor was Aleksandr Mordvinov, who is now out. He can tell his friends that not only did he have his aces crack, he had them cracked by a straight flush.

Wowsers. Here’s how it went.

Sow set the ball rolling with a pre-flop open to 130,000 from early position, but Mordvinov then three-bet to 325,000 from one seat over. Michal Mrakes looked as though he was tempted to gatecrash the party, but folded, and everyone else got out the way.

Sow slowly called, prompting the dealer back into action. She put the 928 out there, which Sow checked.

Mordvinov kept up his yarn with a bet of 260,000, leaving him 690,000 behind, but Sow then asked if he wanted to play for it all with a check-raise shove.

Mordvinov snap-called, and here’s why. He had AA.

He was all but flipping against Sow’s hand, however. Sow’s 107 represented a mighty draw.

There was no dragging this one out: the deadly dealer put the J on the turn and there was nothing that could save Mordvinov save a bolt of lightning hitting the Hilton Prague.

God did not deliver. Mordvinov is out, collecting €57,500, and Sow now has 6.925 million. — HS

8G2A8744_PSC_Prague2017_Kalidou_Sow_Aleksandr_Mordvinov_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Kalidou Sow (left) with a “gg” for Aleksandr Mordvinov (right)

5:55pm: The unofficial final table resumes play
Level 27 – Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

So far play has been pretty tentative, with the two big stacks playing the most hands, as expected, and largely taking them down with little trouble. Kalidou Sow has added half a million or so to his stack like this, putting him up to 5.5 million. -LY

5:45pm: Meanwhile, over in the €10K High Roller…
Level 27 – Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Christopher Kruk currently has a massive chip lead over in the €10K High Roller, while Team Pro’s Jake Cody is still going strong. For that, plus all the prize pool info, click here. –JS

5:35pm: New Order
Level 27 – Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 5,000)

Here’s how they will line up around the last table:

Seat 1: Harry Lodge — 1,945,000 (32 BBs)
Seat 2: Kalidou Sow — 5,095,000 (85 BBs)
Seat 3: Aleksandr Mordvinov — 1,145,000 (19 BBs)
Seat 4: Matas Cimbolas — 2,080,000 (35 BBs)
Seat 5: Michal Mrakes — 3,050,000 (51 BBs)
Seat 6: Gabriele Lepore — 2,265,000 (38 BBs)
Seat 7: Valentyn Shabelnyk — 1,355,000 (23 BBs)
Seat 8: Colin Robinson — 1,570,000 (26 BBs)
Seat 9: Jason Wheeler — 7,210,000 (120 BBs)

5:30pm: Alex Foxen out in 10th place
Level 27 – Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Michal Mrakas opened for 130,000 under the gun which Kalidou Sow called from the button. Aleksandr Mordvinov also called in the small blind before the action reached Alex Foxen in the big.

After a few moments he turned to the dealer and announced all-in, a little loudly, like you do when you have headphones in and cannot hear yourself. But the message got to Mrakas, who folded. But not Sow. He paused, announced he would call, and Mordvinov got out of their way.

Foxen: AQ
Sow: QQ

The board ran 5J1064 to send Foxen out of the tournament. Sow meanwhile is up to 5 million as they pause to redraw for the last nine. – SB

8G2A8703_PSC_Prague2017_Alex_Foxen_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Alex Foxen – 10th place

5:25pm: Leader Wheeler over 7 million
Level 27 – Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Colin Robinson raised to 130,000 from under the gun, then Jason Wheeler reraised to 375,000 from the button. The action circled back to Robinson who called, and the pair saw the flop come 684.

Robinson checked, and Wheeler continued for 325,000. Robinson called quickly, and the 7 came on the turn. Robinson led out for 450,000 this time, and Wheeler paused just a bit before calling. Pot 2.44 million.

The river was the 4, pairing the board, and Robinson didn’t take too long before betting 700,000.

Wheeler took his time, looking back and forth between the board and Robinson while his opponent just stared forward.

Finally Wheeler came up with the call, and Robinson immediately complimented him on the decision.

“Good call… you have like nines?” asked Robinson, and in fact that’s exactly what Wheeler had — 99.

Robinson managed to much his hand without showing, though Wheeler commented he thought saw diamonds (and indeed, on the live stream it did appear Robinson had ace-ten of diamonds).

Wheeler chips up to just over 7 million with that hand, opening up a big lead over the chase pack, while Robinson slips to 1,860,000. –MH

NEIL0181_PSC_Prague2017_Jason_Wheeler_Neil Stoddart-a.jpg

Wheeler is rolling

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4:56pm: Break!

Off they trot for their break. They’ll return to the following stacks and the knowledge that after one more level they can have dinner.

Name Country Chips
Jason Wheeler USA 5,030,000
Colin Robinson USA 3,720,000
Michal Mrakes Czech Republic 3,410,000
Kalidou Sow France 3,110,000
Matas Cimbolas Lithuania 2,140,000
Gabriele Lepore Italy 1,985,000
Harry Lodge UK 1,745,000
Alex Foxen USA 1,625,000
Valentyn Shabelnyk Ukraine 1,475,000
Aleksandr Mordvinov Russia 1,425,000

4:55pm: Wheeler v Cimbolas
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

The Wheeler/Cimbolas “Get A Room” battle continues on the feature table, with another blind-on-blind battle between the two.

Jason Wheeler, one half of the duo, opened to 165,000 from the small blind, and Matas Cimbolas, the other partner, called in the big blind.

Wheeler bet 100,000 after the 83A flop, which Cimbolas called, and then they both checked the 4 turn.

Wheeler bet 315,000 after the 6 river, and Cimbolas went into the tank for a long time, with the level running out and all other players heading away for their 20 minutes.

Cimbolas eventually folded, and that capped a tremendous level for Wheeler. He is now the tournament chip leader with 5.03 million. — HS

4:50pm: Preflop pressure
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

The outer table ended Level 26 with a couple of uncalled three-bets.

First it was Michael Mrakes raising to 100,000 (button), Gabriele Lepore calling (small blind), and Kalidou Sow reraising to 325,000 to chase the others. Then Alex Foxen opened for 110,000 (under the gun), Mrakes called (cutoff), and Lepore three-bet to 425,000 to take it down. –MH

4:45pm: Nothing much to report
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Players are just a few minutes away from the break and the last five hands have passed by with little to note. The chat has been non-existent too. Now that there are only 10 players left, the final table is almost within grasp. -LY

4:40pm: Robert Heidorn out in 11th place
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Michal Mrakas opened in the usual way from the button which Robert Heidorn called from the big blind. Both checked the 1048 flop for the K on the turn. Heidorn checked to Mrakas who then bet 135,000, at which point Heidorn moved all in. Mrakas wasted no time calling.

Heidorn: J4
Mrakas: K9

The river card 10 would send Heidorn to the rail in 11th place. It also left Mrakas with more than 3.4 million. – SB

NEIL0248_PSC_Prague2017_Robert_Heidorn_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Robert Heidorn – 11th place

4:35pm: Favorable fifth street for Foxen
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Aleksandr Mordvinov opened with a raise to 100,000 from the cutoff, then after studying the situation for a few moments Alex Foxen three-bet all in for 760,000 total.

It folded back to Mordvinov who after getting a count took perhaps about a half-minute before making the call. Mordvinov had 77 while Foxen tabled AJ, and after the 4Q3 flop and 6 turn the situation was looking bleak for Foxen.

Then came the river… the J! Foxen hardly moved or reacted at all at the sight of the card, only raising his eyebrows slightly in response.

As the chips were sent Foxen’s way, Mrakes grinned from across the table.

“I like the way you celebrate the river,” he said. “It was very emotional.”

Foxen exhaled and chuckled in response, saying how he actually wasn’t 100 percent certain the river was good for him initially.

But it most definitely was, and now Foxen is on 1.635 million while Modvinov slips to 1.395 million. –MH

4:30pm: Mordvinov and Foxen battle it out
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

The last two hands on the outer table have involved Aleksandr Mordvinov and Alex Foxen. The most recent saw Foxen slip to 800,000 after three barrelling on a 410975 board, with Mordvinov check-calling all the way.

Mordvinov 107
Foxen QJ

Foxen had overs and an open-ended straight draw but failed to hit, while Mordvinov had top pair on the flop and improved to two pair on the river.

Foxen now has 800,000 and some work to do but it is good news for Mordvinov who is up to 2.2 million. -LY

4:25pm: Suddenly, an all-in
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

A moment of excitement in an otherwise uneventful spell on the outer table. A limped pot brought a flop of 8AK. Small blind Gabriele Lepore bet 55,000 which big blind Robert Heidorn called for the 8 turn. That was checked for the 7 river card. At which point things got interesting.

Lepore checked, leaving it to Heidorn to bet 175,000. Lepore leaned forward to look at the board again, as if he hadn’t been paying attention the first time round. Then he announced he was all in.

This took Heidorn by surprise. He spend a few minutes in the tank before he brought himself to fold. It also meant his stack, at 600,000, was worth just 12 big blinds. Lepore meanwhile has around 1.8 million. – SB

4:22pm: Who tops the #PSCPrague GPI Leader Board?
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

At every Championship event, the overall best performing player wins entry into a big freeroll that will take place during the PCA 2018 in January.

Right now a very well-known player leads, but his closest competitor is still in over in the €10K High Roller.

Click here to find out who currently tops the #PSCPrague GPI Leader Board.. –JS

4:20pm: Cimbolas back in the race
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Matas Cimbolas just got his whole stack in pre-flop, although it didn’t go in in entirely standard fashion. Cimbolas limped from the small blind, then Valentyn Shabelnyk raised to 160,000 from the big blind. Cimbolas then moved all in, for about 1.4 million.

Shabelnyk smelt a rat, but called with AJ. He was in a race against Cimbolas’s 77.

The board looked complicated, but it actually wasn’t. It was essentially dry — 2Q2QQ — with the pocket pair winning.

Cimbolas moved up to 2.87 million and is dangerous again. Shabelnyk has 1.97 million. — HS

4:15pm: Lentrodt heads home
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

That’s the end of the road for Thomas Lentrodt, who simply couldn’t get anything going today and lost the last of his chips to Colin Robinson.

Robinson opened, Lentrodt three-bet pushed for 570,000 and Robinson called.

Robinson was way ahead pre-flop with AQ to Lentrodt’s KQ, and he moved even further ahead after the 7QJ flop.


Thomas Lentrodt prepares to leave…


…but not before collecting his dosh

The board bricked out when the 3 turn and the 8 rivered. That brings us down to 11, leaving five on the feature table and six outside. — HS

4:05pm: Wheeler v Lodge
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Jason Wheeler and Harry Lodge have been playing a lot of hands, not always against one another. But this one was, and demonstrated that Wheeler is giving Lodge a lot of respect.

It started with a raise to 100,000 from Wheeler in the cutoff and a call in the big blind from Lodge.

Wheeler continued after the QA3 and Lodge paid the 85,000 required to call.


TV’s Jason Wheeler

They both checked the 4 turn and Lodge took over after the 7 river.

Wheeler looked his opponent up and down, but called. Lodge showed KJ for not very much and Wheeler showed his A7. He opted not to raise on the river with his two pair, but it was good for this pot.

Wheeler is up to around 4 million now. — HS

4pm: Discipline at the table… and in the blog
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

During the early afternoon Gabriele Lepore essentially had one move with his below-average stack — the all-in push.

Indeed, as he managed to build up chips via that method, my colleagues somehow resisted my recommendation for a “Lepore-ing it on” pun, though looking back they were probably right to show such discipline.

Lately Lepore has added variety to his preflop repertoire, including three-betting Michal Mrakes out of one pot. Another confrontation between those two came a little later, with Lepore raising under the gun to 110,000, Mrakes calling from the big blind, then Mrakes check-calling Lepore’s 120,000 c-bet after a 7710 flop.

This time, though, Mrakes took the initiative by betting 175,000 after the 9 turn card, and Lepore let his hand go. And somehow I avoided titling this post “Michal Mrakes in a pot.”

Mrakes has about 2.5 million now, while Lepore is on 1.55 million. –MH

3:55pm: Tentative play or just bad cards?
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

It has certainly been a slow first half an hour since Level 26 began. It’s hard to know whether it’s down to the cards or the fact that once we reach 11 players, there is almost €5,000 more guaranteed for each remaining player.

Either way, there has barely been a flop in sight for the last few hands, that is, until Kalidou Sow and Aleksandr Mordvinov played out hand from the blinds.

Sow made up the small blind and Mordvinov checked his option, taking them to a 65J flop. The all spade board brought checks from both players and it was on to the turn.

The dealer put out the 4 and Sow decided to try his luck with an 80,000 bet, but he was pushed off by Mordvinov’s 245,000 raise. -LY

3:50pm: Cimbolas plugging away
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Jason Wheeler’s all action start to the day has made him the chip-leader on the feature table. Roughly the opposite has happened to Matas Cimbolas and he is now a short stack.

However, Cimbolas just played two consecutive pots, the first against Wheeler.

Actually, there wasn’t much to either of them. Wheeler opened to 105,000 under the gun and Cimbolas three-bet from one seat over. No one, including Wheeler, wanted to pay the 270,000 Cimbolas made it.

Then on the next hand, Cimbolas’s first-to-speak raise got all the way around. — HS

3:45pm: Heidorn all in
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Robert Heidorn just moved in from the cut off, but got not reply from the others at the outer table. A short while later he opened for 110,000, but was forced to fold when Aleksandr Mordvinov re-raised. That’s all for now. – SB


Robert Heidorn: Kick back

3:40pm: Preflop pressure from Mrakes
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

The first orbit on the six-handed outer table was mostly quiet, albeit with some tension coming in the last hand of the sequence.

First Alex Foxen won a raise-and-take, then Gabriele Lepore won a small one versus Aleksandr Mordvinov with a c-bet on the flop. Michal Mrakes raised and won the next one, then Foxen won a limped pot off of Mrakes.

In Hand #5, Foxen opened for 120,000 from the button, Mrakes three-bet to 375,000 from the small blind, and Foxen got out. Then Hand #6 started with Kalidou Sow raising to 100,000 from under the gun and Mrakes three-betting to 280,000 from the cutoff.


Michal Mrakes: Trying to get back in it

That’s when Mrakes — after about a two-minute pause — four-bet to 675,000. The blinds and Sow stepped aside, and only after a long look from Foxen did he get out as well. –MH

3:37pm: Shove, shove
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Two shoves from Thomas Lentrodt, one from under the gun and the next from the big blind after Harry Lodge’s limp. Both got folds everywhere. — HS


Thomas Lentrodt: Moving the short stack

3:35pm: Anglo/American battle
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Harry Lodge opened to 100,000 from under the gun. That’s a min-raise at the new blind level.

Colin Robinson called in the big blind and it was a tempting flop: AAJ.

Robinson checked, Lodge bet 70,000 and Robinson called.

There was no more betting through the A turn and the 7 river. Robinson’s 99 won it. — HS

3:25pm: New level
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

They’re back for another level. Unrelated news: it’s really started snowing in Prague. It is hamme- fluttering it down. — HS

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3:05pm: Level ends. Quietly.
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

A quiet level on the outer table, which ended with a small pot going to Michel Mrakes. That’s some relief to him. His stack has been reduced by more than half since the start of the day.

Matas Cimbolas came over from the TV table in the closing minutes of the level to take a look at what was going on. He said that the smallest stack on the TV table was bigger than the biggest stack at the outer table. Those who heard him seemed to be surprised by that.

The reason: it was untrue. Here’s how the field lines up going to the break:

Name Country Chips
Valentyn Shabelnyk Ukraine 3,660,000
Jason Wheeler USA 3,515,000
Kalidou Sow France 3,475,000
Harry Lodge UK 2,545,000
Colin Robinson USA 2,260,000
Michal Mrakes Czech Republic 1,860,000
Aleksandr Mordvinov Russia 1,840,000
Gabriele Lepore Italy 1,725,000
Alex Foxen USA 1,550,000
Matas Cimbolas Lithuania 1,490,000
Robert Heidorn Germany 1,105,000
Thomas Lentrodt Germany 685,000

3pm: Lepore no longer shortest stack
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

As the end of Level 25 neared, Gabriele Lepore was pulling up the rear of the field. But no longer. He won a pot against Robert Heidorn to move up the leader board.

Heidorn opened to 90,000 from under the gun and Lepore peeled from the big blind.

The 10J8 was draw-heavy and both players opted to check. The K turn added another flush draw and meant two straight possibilities also. This time Lepore led for 105,000 and Heidorn floated.

On the 3 river there was now a potential flush and Lepore decided to check. When Heidorn made it a round 500,000 to get to showdown, Lepore didn’t muck around and made a speedy call.

Lepore 810
Heidorn Q10

Although Heidorn was dominating pre-flop, the flop changed all that by giving Lepore two pair. Heidorn couldn’t improve and handed over about 700,000 to Lepore who is up to 1.5 million now. -LY

2:55pm: Lodge up
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Here’s a nice win for Harry Lodge, who just got some value from turned trip and took a chink out of the chip-leading stack of Valentyn Shabelnyk.


Harry Lodge: Moving up

Shabelnyk opened the button to 90,000 and Lodge called in the big blind. Lodge checked the 7A8 flop, and Shabelnyk bet 80,000. Lodge called.

The A brought a world of possibilities, one of which was another check from Lodge. That’s the line he took. Shabelnyk checked behind.

The 6 completed the board and now Lodge tried a different tack. He bet 145,000. Shabelnyk called, but mucked when shown Lodge’s AJ.

Lodge moves up to 2.025 million. — HS

2:50pm: A bit of table talk
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

The last few hands on the outer table have been quiet ones, although Robert Heidorn and Kalidou Sow — sitting side-by-side — just spoke up to add a bit to an otherwise uneventful blind-vs.-blind hand.

Heidorn had tried to limp from the small blind, but Sow wasn’t going to let him as he made it 125,000 to go. Heidorn grinned at the bet, and began quizzing Sow about previous hands they’d played while drawing attention to Sow’s not letting him see a flop cheaply this time.

“Sometimes I check, sometimes I raise,” said Sow, and they both chuckled. Heidorn said he was folding, but got Sow to agree to show one card if Heidorn did as well. Sow turned over the 5 and Heidorn the 2, and they laughed again.

Sow still sits with a nice stack of 3.3 million, while Heidorn is at 1.9 million. –MH

2:40pm: Lepore shoves. Twice.
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Not much to report except for two all-ins from Gabriele Lepore. One of the short stacks, Lepore has been quiet, but found two hands to move in with. The only problem for him was the absence of any callers. But he plays on. – SB

2:35pm: Sow soars
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Kalidou Sow is running hot today and so far it has largely been at the expense of Michal Mrakes.

For the second time today Sow has shown the nuts, though this time he had it all along.

Mrakes defended his big blind versus Sow’s 90,000 cutoff open and the dealer eventually laid out AJK75. Post-flop the action went check-call on every street, with Sow betting 90,000, 235,000 and 575,000 at each stage.

Mrakes seemed confident as he snapped the final bet on the river. We’ll never know what Mrakes had as he chose to muck his cards when Sow turned over Broadway with Q10.

That hand puts Sow on about 3.4 million, which is almost double Mrakes’s 1.8 million. -LY

8G2A8730_PSC_Prague2017_Kalidou_Sow_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Sow good!

2:30pm: Golan downed in 13th
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Navot Golan is out, perishing at the hands of Jason Wheeler.

Golan moved his last 650,000 in pre-flop from UTG+1 and it folded all the way around to Wheeler in the big blind. He asked for a count, but then called, and was ahead.

Wheeler: JJ
Golan: A10

After the dry 467 flop, Golan sort-of hit the 10 turn. But he still needed more help to win this one, and it did not arrive on the Q river.


Navot Golan: No more Navot

Golan leaves in 13th, winning €42,600. Wheeler, meanwhile, builds his stack to 3.76 million and is breathing down the neck of Valentyn Shabelnyk.


Valentyn Shabelnyk: Leader

There are a dozen left. — HS

2:25pm: Tests for the TD
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

It’s not too often you see the floor called twice in the same hand, but that was the case just now in one involving Aleksandr Mordvinov and Alex Foxen. Each player performed an ambiguous action in the hand — Mordvinov at the start, and Foxen at the finish — for which the tournament director needed to be consulted.

It began with the table folding to Mordvinov in the small blind who, rather than simply raising to 110,000 (his intention), he took back 10,000 from his small blind and in a separate move added a black 100,000 chip. The dealer called the floor who came over to say Mordvinov’s action, coming unaccompanied by any announcement of a raise, had to be considered just a call.

Foxen checked from the big blind, and the flop came 32K. Mordvinov continued with a min-bet of 40,000, called by Foxen, then Mordvinov led again for 110,000 after the 10 turn. Foxen called once more.

The river brought the Q, a card potentially completing multiple draws, and Mordvinov bet once again, this time 260,000. Foxen thought for about a minute, gathering calling chips in one hand as he thought. He then picked up his cards with the other hand, and just as he was about to fold hesitated for an instant.

The hesitation was long enough for Michal Mrakes to want the floor to come over again, with Foxen completing the fold as he stepped over. The tournament director advised Foxen to be careful with his actions going forward, and Foxen said he would.


Alex Foxen: Warned about future conduct (exercising is fine)

After all that, Mordvinov sits with about 2.075 mllion and Foxen 1.05 million. –MH

2:20pm: Getting funky in the blinds
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

A great number of hands are being contested blind-on-blind, but here’s the first example of something weird happening in that dynamic.

It occurred between the two Brits in the field, Carl Robinson and Harry Lodge, and began with a limp from Robinson.

Lodge wasn’t having that, and raised 120,000 more. But then Robinson three-bet (it’s highly unusual to see a limp/three-bet) to 350,000. Lodge was perplexed, tempted, but then disciplined.

He folded. — HS

2:15pm: Mordvinov back to 1.7 million
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Robert Heidorn opened for 95,000 from the button which Aleksandr Mordvinov called from the big blind.

The flop came 4KQ and Mordvinov checked. He then called Heidorn’s bet of 80,000. It was the same pattern on the K turn. A check-call by Mordvinov after Heidorn bet another 225,000.

Both players checked the 3 river. Mordvinov’s KJ forcing Heidorn to fold.

Heidorn drops to 2.1 million while Mordvinov is back up to around 1.7 million. – SB

2:10pm: Wheeler over Cimbolas
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Here’s another pot for Jason Wheeler, who moves over the 3 million mark. It was again blind-on-blind versus Matas Cimbolas, beginning with an open to 135,000 from Wheeler and a call.

Wheeler continued for 90,000 on the JA2 flop and Cimbolas called, though both players checked the Q turn.

Wheeler found his strong right arm again after the A river and his 300,000 bet got through. — HS

2:05pm: We have a showdown
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

After two pots that both went unchallenged preflop, we finally got to see some cards, albeit with the minimum of action.

After Gabriele Lepore had moved all in from under the gun and Foxen had opened from the button, stealing a blind each, Michal Mrakes and Robert Heidorn played a very small pot together.

Mrakes opened to 90,000 on the button and Heidorn defended from his big blind. The 32A26 board went check-check all the way and Heidorn took it down with king high. -LY

2pm: Foxen doubles through Mordvinov
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Michal Mrakes opened for 85,000 from under the gun, but the players in the blinds weren’t going to let him go any further in this one.

It folded to Aleksandr Mordvinov who characteristically took his time, waiting nearly a minute before announcing a raise to 345,000. The action moved to Alex Foxen in the big blind who took about half that long before moving all in for his last 580,000. Mrakes got out, and Mordvinov only took a few seconds to call the push.

Mordvinov: AJ
Foxen: JJ

Foxen didn’t want to see an ace, and fortunately for him none arrived among the community cards that came 8649Q.


Alex Foxen: Hitting a high point

After struggling with a short stack for much of the day so far, Foxen is right around 1.3 million, which is just about what Mordvinov slips to after losing that one. –MH

1:55pm: Another pot for Sow
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Another pot for Kalidou Sow, although nothing like his win against Michal Mrakes a few moments ago.

Robert Heidorn opened for 95,000 on the button. Next to him, Sow raised to 215,000 in the small blind and eventually, after some thought, Aleksandr Mordvinov folded the big. Heidorn called.

The flop came 3JA. That was checked for the 2 turn. That was checked for the 8 river. So bet another 85,000. Heidorn raised the white flag. Sow now sitting with around 2.5 million. – SB

1:45pm: Sow near-doubles; Mrakes out of chip lead
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Kalidou Sow started the ball rolling with a 80,000 min-open from under the gun. He got two callers in Michal Mrakes and Robert Heidorn on the button and big blind respectively.

To the flop they went and it read 463. Heidorn checked and Sow did not continue, leaving Mrakes on the button to bet 150,000. Heidorn passed but Sow came along.

The turn was a 2, giving a one card straight possibility as well as bringing a spade flush draw. Once again Sow check-called Mrakes’s 250,000 bet.

The J river brought out a third spade and Sow changed tack at this point. After tanking for some time, he led for a 650,000.

Mrakes didn’t need as much time to think, promptly making the call and he looked disappointed when Sow tabled nuts with A7.


Kalidou Sow: Nuts, and reason to smile

Mrakes mucked and dropped to 3 million or so, while Sow is hot on his heels with just over 2.5 million.

The loss from Mrakes’s stack means that Valentyn Shabelnyk defaults into the chip lead. -LY


Michal Mrakes slips out of the chip lead

1:41pm: Short stacks shove
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Just now there were a couple of all-in-and-no-calls just now on the outer table in consecutive hands.

In the first Gabriele Lepore jammed his stack of about 800,000 from under the gun, and there were folds all around.


Gabriele Lepore: Short-stack shoving

On the next hand Alex Foxen was the one pushing, this time from the button for about 530,000, and he, too, picked up the blinds and antes. –MH

1:40pm: Foxen’s fightback
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

A good start to the level by Alex Foxen. He added to his still-on-the-short-side stack in a hand against Kalidou Sow.

Sow opened to 90,000 on the button, which Foxen called in the big blind (with 400k behind) for a flop of J95. Both checked that for the 10 turn. Foxen bet 95,000, which was enough to force a fold from Sow.

Foxen is up to more than 500,000 now. Still short (with an average of around four times that), but heading in the right direction. – SB

1:35pm: Wheeler picks up some
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

The first significant hand of the level on the feature table went to Jason Wheeler. He made a defend from the big blind after Carl Robinson opened to 90,000 and the rest of the table allowed the two of them to look at a 586 flop without other interruption.

Wheeler led 115,000 and Robinson called. Then Wheeler also led after the 2 turn. This time it was 275,000. Robinson called.

The 6 completed the board and both players now checked. Wheeler’s 75 was good and he adds half a million with that. He’s up to 2.5 million. — HS

1:30pm: Let’s play another 90 minutes
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Players have retaken their seats and play is back under way in Level 25. The chip-count page is up to date with latest stacks. Alex Foxen now sits with 10 big blinds and is the man most under threat. — HS

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1:10pm: Popovych out in 14th
Level 24 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

The dealer started shuffling just seconds before it was time to take a break, meaning the action continued right up until the last moment of Level 24. After it was done, Serhii Popovych would play no more.

He declared all in from under the gun and he would have got through had it not been for Kalidow Sow finding pocket aces in the big blind.

Sow: AA
Popovych: JJ

Popovych got out of his seat in anticipation and the dealer laid out 544, none of which helped him. The 2 turn meant there was just one more chance to hit a jack and the 6 river didn’t oblige him.


No more Serhii Popovych

Popovych headed for the door and Sow collected 560,000 to add to his stack. Popovych takes €38,400, while the tournament now takes a 20-minute break. -LY

1:05pm: Foxen’s short stack gets shorter
Level 24 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Alex Foxen opened for 70,000 from the cutoff, and it folded to Robert Heidorn in the big blind. “How much?” asked Heidorn, and Foxen answered he had about 600,000 behind. Heidorn called.

The flop came 93Q, and after Heidorn checked, Foxen put out a bet of 75,000. Heidorn paused a beat, then check-raised by placing out two black 100,000 chips — a bet of 180,000 or 185,000, it sounded like. Foxen thought for a minute, rechecking his stack a couple of times as he did, but let his hand go.


Short-stacked Alex Foxen

With one hand left before the break, Heidorn is at 2.615 million and Foxen down to 415,000. –MH

12:55pm: Cut that, this, and that
Level 24 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

We’re in a passage of play on the outer table that’s unlikely to make the highlight reel. Some raise-and-takes, mixed with a few flops, but not much more.

One hand between Michel Mrakes and Aleksandr Mordvinov did at least reach a showdown, only for each player to show the require ace to make it a split pot.

That said, Mordvinov seems to be the man on a mission right now, playing a lot of pots and seemingly rejuvenated by that hand earlier against Calamusa. – SB

12:50pm: Mrakes barrels
Level 24 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

In a blind-versus-blind situation, Michal Mrakes limped the small and Gabriele Lepore checked in the big.

The dealer put out AQ8 on the flop and Mrakes bet 30,000, which Lepore called. The 9 turn brought another bet from Mrakes, this time to 60,000, and again Lepore matched it.

Finally it was the 9 on the river and Mrakes had another go, this time betting 225,000 and it was a quick call from Lepore.

Lepore A3
Mrakes 107

Mrakes had turned an open-ended straight draw but couldn’t bet enough to push Lepore of his two pair after the draw missed.

Lepore moves up to around 900,000. Mrakes still has a very hefty 4 million plus. -LY

12:45pm: Mrakes over Foxen
Level 24 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

On the outer table, Robert Heidorn won a small pot off of Aleksandr Mordvinov, then on the next hand it was chip leader Michal Mrakes raising to 65,000 from under the gun and Alex Foxen defending with a call from the big blind.

The flop fell 892, and sans any real drama Foxen check-folded to a Mrakes c-bet of 80,000.

Mrakes remains the leader with 4.55 million, while Foxen is still among the short stacks at the table along with Gabriele Lepore, Kalidou Sow, and Serhiii Popovych. –MH

12:40pm: Sound the four-bet alert
Level 24 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Carl Robinson and Navot Golan have renewed their acquaintance at the feature table, with Robinson again coming out on top. This was, I think, the first four bet from one of the deep stacks, with pre-flop action going: 70,000 (UTG, Robinson), 230,000 (SB, Golan), 570,000 (UTG, Robinson), fold.

That aggression put Robinson up to 2.8 million. He is on fire. — HS

12:35pm: Calamusa departs in 15th
Level 24 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Pierre Calamusa’s day has come to an end a lot sooner than he’d planned. The Frenchman lost a big hand to start the day against Aleksandr Mordvinov, which left him with only a couple of blinds. Inevitably that went in a few moments ago when he looked down at AQ. Robert Heidorn raised to isolate, and showed KQ.


The end of Pierre Calamusa

Calamusa had hope, but not for very long. The board ran 656KQ. For the second time today Calamusa wished everyone good luck. There was no call back this time. Calamusa out in 15th. – SB

12:30pm: Sow shoves, Heidorn concedes
Level 24 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Kalidou Sow opened with an under-the-gun raise to 70,000 and it folded around to Robert Heidorn in the big blind who called.

The pair watched a flop come Q32, and Heidorn checked. Sow continued for 65,000, then without waiting too long Heidorn check-raised to 165,000.

Sow sat quietly for about a minute, then announced he was all in, and Heidorn folded in a flash.

Sow has about 775,000 now, while Heidorn is at 2.3 million. –MH

12:25pm: Preflop action gets juicy
Level 24 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Serhii Popovych got the ball rolling with a 65,000 open in middle position and we didn’t have to wait long to see a three bet from Aleksandr Mordvinov, who was sat on his direct left. Mordvinov made it 170,000 to play.

Pierre Calamusa didn’t commit his last 60,000 on the button and so action was on chip leader Michal Mrakes who pumped it up to 390,000 from the small blind. After Popovych moved aside, Mordvinov took a little time and declared all in, which got a very snappy fold from Mrakes.


Aleksandr Mordvinov: Early mover

Mordvinov added another nice chunk to his stack, putting him on around 2 million. -LY

12:20pm: Heaven holds a place for those who play
Level 24 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

The first major pot on the feature table went to Carl Robinson, who made a hero call with ace high and was right.

It began with his open to 70,000 from under the gun and a call from Navot Golan in the small blind. They then both checked the 558 flop.

The dealer put the 9 on the turn and Golan bet 85,000. Robinson called. Then the 2 completed the board.

Golan now put 230,000 over the line and Robinson didn’t think too long before calling. Nice read! His AK was always ahead of Golan’s QJ.

Robinson moved up to 2.5 million, while Golan slips to 1.4 million. — HS

12:20pm: Big hand to start
Level 24 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

A big hand right out of the gate for Aleksandr Mordvinov, one that leaves Frenchman Pierre Calamusa with less than two big blinds.

It was the second hand of the day on the outer table. Robert Heidorn opened for 70,000 in early position, which was raised to 180,000 by Mordvinov in the cutoff. Calamusa then shoved for a total of 865,000, forcing out the big blind Michal Mrakes, and original raiser Heidorn.

Mordvinov meanwhile was in no hurry to step aside. He called, turning over QQ to Calamusa’s K10.


Pierre Calamusa: Suffers a major hit

The board ran A10868. It appeared Calamusa was out in 15th, but not quite. He’d covered Mordvinov, but only just. Heidorn called him back. He had about 60,000 left. Meanwhile Mordvinov, whose expression didn’t change once during the hand, has doubled to around 1.7 million. – SB

12:15pm: Cimbolas chatting early
Level 24 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

After everyone folded to Jason Wheeler in the small blind, he limped. Matas Cimbolas, in the big blind, raised it to 105,000 and then gave a few choice words to Wheeler. Wheeler folded and gave a few choice words back. That could be a nice battle within a battle today. They’re two of the most talkative players left in the field. — HS


Matas Cimbolas: Stretching the vocal cords

12:10pm: Away they go
Level 24 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

After a bit of a delay for various TV shenanigans, play is under way. There’s 55 minutes left in Level 24. Off they go! — HS

11:30am: Down to the last six

If you’re talking about beers in the fridge or underwear in the boozy-holiday suitcase, then “down the the last six” is a problem. But when you’re on the penultimate day of a PokerStars Championship Main Event, it’s less harrowing. That is, in fact, the plan for the day’s play.

We started with 855 entrants to this €5,000 tournament, which will be the last under the PokerStars Championship branding, and today we’ll slim the remaining field from 15 to six.

Nothing will stop us.

When there are nine players left, they will combine on to one table. When the next player goes out, leaving us with eight, that will be the official final table. Then we’ll play on until another couple are removed and the last six will play the final day of the season tomorrow.

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Easy? It won’t be. Although all 15 listed on the chip-count page will have designs on the top six, there’s absolutely nobody guaranteed a spot, including the overwhelming chip-leader Michal Mrakes.

He has a lead of more than 1.5 million over his nearest challenger, but a couple of mis-steps and he’s back in the pack. All of Matas Cimbolas, Jason Wheeler, Pierre Calamusa and Alex Foxen have form in large-field, live MTTs, while there’s always a wildcard (or two, three, four) ready to step out of the shadows in a tournament like this.

In short, join us from 12pm to see which of them can go all the way. — HS

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PokerStars Blog reporting team on the €5,300 Main Event: Stephen Bartley, Martin Harris, Howard Swains and Lisa Yiasemides. Photography by Neil Stoddart.


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