World Series of Poker Europe

PokerStars EPT San Remo, Day 2: Galic Rules

Dragan Galic

As the field thinned from 469 all the way down to just 124 at the PokerStars European Poker Tour (EPT) San Remo Main Event, some big names went home, some big stars made it through the day, and everybody spent the day looking up at Dragan Galic’s name atop the leader board. The Croatian chip magnet started Day 2 as the chip leader and continued to accumulate chips and notches on his gun belt as he finished Day 2 with a massive lead over his nearest competitor.

As Galic started strong, several of the shorter stacks busted right after the opening bell. Jason Mercier, last year’s champion of this event, moved the last of his stack into the middle with A-7 after an open-shove from the small blind. He found himself facing A-8, and when nothing out of the ordinary happened on the board, Mercier was done just moments into Day 2. Other early eliminations included Liam Flood, Marcel Luske, and the ebullient David Saab, who busted just before the dinner break. The early going also claimed Katja Thater and Isabelle Mercier, making the poker room just a little less lovely a place by their absence.

Some survivors from Day 2 included Team PokerStars Pros Alex Kravchenko and Marcin Horecki, along with Bill Chen, who moved into a seat just beside Kravchenko just before the end of the day. Other notable survivors included Arnaud Mattern, Benjamin Kang and 1983 World Champion Tom McEvoy.

With so many poker players eliminated on Day 2, the story of the day was Dragan Galic. Coming into the day with the chip lead, Galic was a bulldozer all day long, flattening opponents as he built a huge lead going into Day 3. Just before a break, Galic sent three more unfortunate players to the rail. He got two opponents in one hand when his pocket kings held up on a queen-high flop against A-Q and A-8. Then Galic shoved all in with pocket nines and found himself racing against an opponent with K-Q. Not content to merely have his hand hold up, Galic gave up the lead in the hand when a king flopped, but then crushed his opponent’s dreams when the turn brought a nine to make his set.

Late in the day, Galic actually lost a hand when Emanuele Rugini doubled through him with {6-Diamonds}{10-Hearts} on a board of {5-Hearts}{Q-Hearts}{9-Hearts}{J-Diamonds}{K-Hearts}. Galic’s {A-Diamonds}{K-Diamonds} was no good to Rugini’s flush, and a small dent appeared in his mountain of chips. But things returned to normal on the next hand, when Rugini shoved again with A-K. Galic looked down at pocket aces, and Rugini was at risk again. The flop brought Rugini a gutshot Broadway draw, but no help came on the turn or river, and Galic claimed another victim, moving his stack over the half-million chip mark, well ahead of his nearest competitors. As the day drew to a close, the Croatian led all runners as the survivors numbered just a few off the money bubble.

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