Dragan Galic is the toast of Croatian poker right now as he stormed through day 2, cutting a swathe through the challenging hordes of largely eastern european challengers to march imperiously into the chip lead coming into the home stretch.
The day started with 61 competitors still nursing dreams of glory, but a fast start saw 30 of them gone within the blistering first few hours. The incendiary pace set by these early levels could never last, and indeed the rate of bustouts did slow as the day progressed, though the poker was never less than compelling.
Hungarian Mate Mecs held sway over his table for much of the day, gaining the overall chip lead in the tournament on several occasions, only to make way for Dragan’s final charge at the last. He will return to the final well placed however with 419k, tied for 2nd place.
Joining him there on 419k will be Bulgarian Nikolay Bibov, who also won a few big, key pots later on to move himself into position as one of the main challengers.
With lesser stacks but no less ambition they will meet fellow Croatians Alija Filipovic(325k) and Ivan Brkicic(174k), Marius Van de Goor (241k), another homegrown hero Verdan Premuzic (185k) – who worked a shortstack like a magician earlier in the day – and Slovenian Karolj Kis (152k) at the final table.
A fascinating day’s play, we can’t wait for the resumption as this final 8 playdown to crown the champion of Croatia.
See you there at 2pm sharp. Don’t be late!
2.35pm: Gasparovic finishes in 9th…Ladies and Gentlemen, we have our final table
The last 30 minutes has been very cautious, almost every raise uncontested.
But then, suddenly, we had an allin from Marko Gasparovic, quite reasonably for 140k or so with pocket jacks.
Unfortunately for him, lurking with intent behind was Nikolay Bibov, who held pocket kings and made a quick call.
The flop, turn and river brought no succour to Gasparovic and thus he busts out in 9th place, collecting €4,575 for his finish.
So that is our final table. We’ll have a final wrap post coming up shortly along with the final standings.
2.12am LEVEL UP, BLINDS 5,000/10,000/1,000
2.00pm: 9 must become 8…
The players are now consolidating down to a final table, with Dragan Galic a considerable chip leader with almost 600k, his nearest competitors Filipovic with 345k and Mate Mecs with 330k
The players took a short break during which Dragan celebrated with his friends with some judicious fist-pumping.
They will play till there is one last elimination and we will have our final table set for tomorrow.
1.45pm: Georgiev busts 11th; Tutev 10th
Georgiev was unable to recover from that earlier tangle with Galic and hits the rail in 11th spot, good for €3,300 whilst Tutev made a move with his 14 big blinds with K-6, only to run into the pocket 8s of Dragan Galic.
No drama and Galic takes down another big pot, whilst Tutev just misses out on the final table, also collecting €3,300.
1.25am: Tournament enters the post-Ante period
Ante Varnica has a great name, but sadly no more chips. He had been squeezing an increasingly short stack for a while devoid of opportunities and finally he shipped his last 65k ish into the middle in an unopened pot with J♣8♣.
Marko Gasparovic was not to be fooled however, re-shoving with A♣J♦ and a flop of K♦3♥9♣K♥A♥ was sufficient to sent Ante Varnica to the rail in 12th spot.
He collects €3,300 for his finish. Play continues 11 handed…
1.03am: The latest news, er there’s not so much
The last 20 minutes haven’t seen any more bustouts or major hands of note. The players are taking things a little cautiously – all keen to make it through the day and onto that final table.
We have seen Marius Van de Goor 3-betting the fairly active Mate Mecs several times, most recently showing down Q-Q when Mecs threw his hand away.
There was a hand that has really wound up Karolj Kis, leaving him pretty short and ranting to himself and the table.
In a blind on blind confrontation, Kis check-raised a 9♣5♣2♣ flop before firing 25k on the 9♦ and 30k on the K♣ river.
The big blind in this scenario, the aforementioned Mate Mecs called him all the way, having finally made a jack-high flush with his J♣Q♠ on the river.
We don’t speak Slovenian, but his gesticulation and various words that seem to bleed through the languages such as “fish” and “river” told the story of what he thought of Mecs there. Kis down to under 100k…
Mecs just collected the pot that boosts him up to 380k, vying for the chip lead again…
12.45am: Georgiev roasted by Dragan
Dragan Galic and Stelyan Georgiev have had a few battles already at the table and there was the sense that this was turning personal.
Moments ago, Georgiev raised while laughing with a fellow player, making it 13k which Galic called on the button.
The flop fell K♠6♠3♥
Georgiev checked and Galic did likewise. The turn fell the3♣
Once again Georgiev checked and this time Galic led out for 10k. Georgiev check-raised to 30k and Galic quickly threw in the call.
The river was the 6♣.
Georgiev led out 72k but now Galic quickly announced, “I’m allin” – his stack being around 152k.
Georgiev looked surprised at this outcome and tanked for a while considering his options.
“You’ve stopped laughing, that’s good,” said Galic. “Now you can fold.”
“I can think about it though so you can shut up while I do,” countered Georgiev.
“I’m allowed to talk, so I’m going to talk,” Galic fired back.
The exchange petered out, and eventually Georgiev did make the call with A-K, only to be shown Galic had rivered trips with 6♥7♥
That hand left Galic heading the field with around 390k whilst Georgiev’s stack sustained heavy damage and he will need to marshall all his mental forces if he is to force his way back into this. He has around 80k left…
12.22am Campan’s campaign draws to a halt in 13th place
Christian Marius Campan has gone about his business quietly and efficiently today, but finally he succumbed in 13th spot, moving his 50k stack into the middle with jacks and getting looked up by Alija Filipovic’s K♣Q♠.
A flop of Q♣10♣9♦ was bad but not disastrous for Campan, outflopped but with a straight draw to get him out of jail but the 7♥ on the turn and 5♦ on the river proved of little assistance as he became the latest man to taste bitter defeat.
Well played but Campan busts out in 13th, winning €2,750.