It’s safe to say that the bubble pressure in the European Poker Tour (EPT) Cyprus Main Event really started to mount when there were 205 players remaining. Coincidentally, that happens to be when we entered the room to begin covering it. Call it kismet.
We witnessed a fun hand right off the bat. Fun if your name is Steve O’Dwyer, that is. Not so fun if your name is Xuming Qi.
With blinds at 3,000/6,000, Qi opened to 7,000 and O’Dwyer three-bet to 23,000. Qi then slid out a four-bet to 75,000 only for O’Dwyer to shove for 300,000, putting Qi’s 250,000 stack at risk. He wasn’t bothered though. He had A♥ A♠ and snap-called, while O’Dwyer tabled A♣ 4♣ .
Five cards later, he certainly was bothered. O’Dwyer rivered a flush to send Qi packing in 205th, while his stack catapulted up the counts to 530,000.
While it wasn’t a bad beat akin to Qi’s, Jose Nehme’s departure was particularly frosty. He got his pocket queens all in against Karolis Sereikin’s pocket kings and the cowboys held, eliminating Nehme in 202nd.
HAND FOR HAND
Hand-for-hand play on the EPT Cyprus bubble officially began with 201 players remaining, and as you’d expect, things slowed down substantially.
Siarhei Chudapal was still making moves though. With an 8♦ J♦ 3♣ 10♠ board already out, Chudapal check-called a bet of 25,000 from the aforementioned Sereikin, then checked on the 2♠ river. Sereikin set him all in for his remaining 32,000 and Chudapal called. When the cards were eventually revealed, we saw why Chudapal had seemed so comfortable. He’d turned the nut-straight with his Q♦ 9♦ , cracking Serekin’s A♦ A♥ .
At this point, the tournament clock was ticking down dangerously close to break time. All we needed were two more eliminations and this bubble was burst. But if that didn’t happen, we were going on a 45-minute dinner break.
We then saw Zakharov Dmitry filming the red and black triangle in front of him on his phone, so rushed over to take a look. He was all-in for around 50,000 and had been called by former EPT Monte Carlo champion Nicholas Chouty.
It was a long wait for the cards to be flipped, however. Dmitry sat patiently, twiddling his thumbs. Then a swarm of cameras, media, players and other ne’er-do-wells surrounded the table and out came Dmitry’s phone once again.
We’re not sure he’ll want to watch this video back though. He tabled his Q♣ Q♥ and was flipping El Classico against Chouty’s A♥ K♠ . The 4♣ K♣ A♠ flop gave Chouty a stranglehold on the pot, and the J♠ turn and 8♠ river changed nothing. He increased his stack to 360,000, while Dmitry fell in 201st.
You could have been reading this article about the EPT Cyprus bubble a lot earlier if it weren’t for a mere 5,000 chips.
Here’s what happened in the final hand before the dinner break. Enrico Camosci opened to 6,000 in the cutoff and Damiyar Aubakirov flatted from the small blind. Ivan Tukmachev then squeezed it up to 45,000 from the big blind and Camosci went into the tank.
What he found in there was a click-back. He popped it up to 84,000, only for Aubakirov to move all-in for 255,000. Tukmachev snap-called, and Camosci folded just as quickly.
Once all the other hands were over the cards were flipped: 8♠ 8♥ for Aubakirov, and A♠ A♣ for Tukmachev, who was covered by just 5,000. The board ran out 10♣ A♥ Q♥ 3♥ K♠ to give him the double and leave Aubakirov with crumbs.
The good news for Aubakirov was that he was now on the button, meaning he’d have a full orbit after the dinner break during which he needn’t put voluntarily put any of his 5,000 into the pot.
After what I must say was a mighty fine meal at the Player’s Buffet, we got back in time for the restart of play.
(Side note: I was hovering around the deserts struggling to make a decision. A man far more familiar with Turkish sweets than myself then pointed to three odd-looking pastries. “Try these,” he said. “They’re the best, but dangerous.” I obliged, he was right, and I was then riding a crazy sugar wave into the day’s final level.)
We got back in time to see Daniel Koloszar double up with pocket queens against ace-jack.
We got back in time to hear Kayhan Mokri and Tien Mulder swap a percentage of each other from their adjacent tables.
And we got back in time to witness the bursting of the bubble.
Andras Vaczo was all in with A♦ K♦ for his last 46,000 and was in bad shape against Kim Wiottendorff’s K♥ K♣ . The flop came 6♦ 7♠ 7♣ .
“Ass! Ass! Ass!” a supporter of Vaczo whooped behind me (they were calling for an ace, not berating me for blocking their view) as the dealer laid the Q♦ turn. Now the chant changed to “Diamond! Diamond! Diamond!”
Alas, it was the K♣ on the river that sealed Vaczo’s fate. The Hungarian is your EPT Cyprus bubble boy.
The remaining players (including Aubakirov and his 5,000 stack) shared in a round of applause and were all now guaranteed a minimum payout of $8,325. Those who survive the rest of the level will be back tomorrow for Day 3.
Just one piece of advice: avoid the Turkish pastries if you plan to get any sleep tonight.