Day 1 coverage is often light on the one thing readers really want: details of poker hands. The reason is that there are so many of them going on that watching the ones that mean anything is always a very difficult task.
But there was a rare purpose about a recent visit to the tournament room, disguised admittedly behind a gait that suggested more “tourist lost at a train station” than “dogged reporter on a mission.” But I was adamant: I’d watch at least two hands start to finish and offer them up as an indication of the way matters are progressing.
First up, a visit to Table 49, selected by virtue of the fact that Vasile Stancu was standing up and beckoning to someone to come over to visit the table. It turned out that the object of his desire was a massage therapist who had just finished with a previous customer and was now at a loose end.
The massage therapist and I made our way in his direction, her slinking between the tables in lycra leggings, me shuffling along trying not to trip over my own shoelaces. We arrived to find Daniel Feldmann opening a pot to 300 from UTG+1. (Blinds are 50-100 in Level 1.)
Despite the presence of his imminent massage, Stancu wanted to play this one. The action folded to him in the small blind and he raised to 750, while standing up and preparing himself for the battering.
Feldmann calmly called and the two players saw a flop. It came J♦2♣2♥. Stancu bet 800 at it and Feldmann called, which brought a turn of K♣. The roles reversed this time: Stancu checked, Feldmann bet 2,200 and Stancu called.
The river was the 7♠ and both players now checked. “King,” Stancu said, turning over the K♠ but keeping his other card concealed. Feldmann also had one of those. He turned over the K♥Q♦ and Stancu had seen enough. He mucked his other card, despite another player at the table asking to see them both.
I don’t know the specifics, but a conversation soon after that at the the table revealed that one player has already been eliminated from there.
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Over the other side of the room, I paused briefly at table 77 to see an open from mid-position, a three-bet from the hijack and then a four-bet from the button–Veselin Rangelov making it 1,900 to go–and getting two folds. I’d selected that table mainly because there was a player there named Gerd Mueller and, for a split second, wondered “Is it?” (It isn’t.)
The next stop was Table 88, where I recognised a man named Grzegorz Wyraz. I watched Wyraz play the final stages of a side event in Malta, where he was the shortest of short stacks with six players left but somehow managed to bully his opponents and finished second.
This was now the very start of a far bigger tournament, so it was worth having a peek. Wyraz didn’t disappoint. This pot started weirdly, with Ofir Pinhasov limping under-the-gun. (The limp is pretty rare still in tournaments like this.)
One seat away from Pinhasov, Minh Nguyen Quang sat resplendent in Titleist-branded baseball cap, golf shirt and trousers. If a caddy had ambled up and offered him a nine-iron, it would have somehow felt appropriate.
As it was, Quang dug himself out of the rough with a raise to 400 and the action folded down the fairway to Wyraz on the tee/button. Wyraz called and so did Pinhasov. If he was getting cute with a monster under-the-gun, he was prepared to risk it to a flop.
They saw the 4♥10♦Q♠ and Pinhasov’s slow play continued. He checked. Quang threw a blade of grass in the air, plucked a fairway wood from his bag, and bet 650. Wyraz called; Pinhasov called.
The turn was the 8♠. Pinhasov checked again and this time Quang’s ball was stuck in a divot, so he checked too. Wyraz was able to take over the betting lead, and he made it 1,825 to play. Pinhasov called but Quang quickly snapped his club over his knee and trudged back to the clubhouse. This one was a bust. (He folded.)
It meant that only two players saw the 9♠ come on the river. That filled all manner of dirty backdoor draws and meant Pinhasov checked for a third time. Wyraz definitely seemed to like it and bet 3,225.
Pinhasov made a verbal declaration of a call and was left fuming when Wyraz tabled A♠J♠, having his both straight and flush on the river and taking this one down.
– The latest tournament list shows 1,172 players registered, but there are almost certainly 1,100 at least.
– Marc Convey has taken his seat.
The Eureka coverage is all handily organized on the Eureka Prague page.