On Thursday, the European Poker Tour visited Prague — the largest city in the Czech Republic — for the seventh time. Season 10’s incarnation attracted 389 players to the Day 1a flight, but only 210 of them survived the night. After eight 75-minute levels of play, it was Tiberu-Florian Georgescu who emerged as the chip leader with 191,000, though he’s got some stiff competition nipping at his heels in Ari Engel (172,800), Ronny Voth (166,400), and Sebastian Saffari (162,000).
Top End of Day 1a Chip Counts
|8||Jose Carlos Garcia||Poland||138,500|
|10||Vinicius Barrel Teles||Brazil||121,500|
The Prague stop has gotten so popular that for the first time ever the tournament area spilled out of the Hilton Prague’s Congress Hall into the attached lobby area. All told, 90 poker tables, 200,000 poker chips, 10,000 player cards and 500 meters of electrical cabling were used to bring the EPT Prague to life.
In addition, there were plenty of side activities complimenting the Main Event on Day 1a including ice skating, "Time Freeze" technology, a Eureka Poker Tour final table, a Skrill Last Longer Competition, and a big win by tennis superstar Rafael Nadal in a charity event.
While all of that was entertaining, all eyes were trained on the Main Event, which was full of some notable hands. One took place in Level 4 (100/200/25) on a board reading . A player in the big blind bet 3,000 and was met by an all-in bet of 11,000 or so by Team PokerStars Pro Johnny Lodden. His opponent made the call with the for a rivered full house, which bested the straight of Lodden. Because of this, Lodden was the first Team Pro to fall on Day 1a.
Two levels later, a unique hand too place over at Table 29. Mikolaj Zawadzki had opened for 800 under the gun, and Darren Elias three-bet to 1,800 behind. From there, Alin Sameeian, Cengiz Ulusu (on the button) and Kjetil Hansen (in the big blind) all called, and Zawadzki settled on a four-bet to 6,800. Amazingly, everyone called and the pot swelled to a staggering 34,000 preflop.
The five-way, four-bet pot saw the flop come . Hansen in the big blind checked and Zawadzki bet out 8,200. Elias and Sameeian folded rather quickly, but Ulusu had something different in mind. He announced all in for what turned out to be 14,625. After Hansen folded, Zawadzki snap-called and announced he had the nuts.
Set over set in a five-way, four-bet pot is not what you see every day. But what happened next made it even more special as the dealer burned a card and turned the . The on the river was a blank and Ulusu increased his stack in a sick hand.
Of course not everyone was as lucky as Ulusu. Among those to fall were Season 7 EPT Prague champ Roberto Romanello; Friend of PokerStars Pierre Neuville; EPT10 Player of the Year contender Kenny Hallaert; Australian Jeff Rossiter; the consistent Dan Kelly; Team PokerStars Pro Jake Cody; UK gentleman John Eames; Tim Reilly, who failed to make Day 2 in an EPT Main Event for the first time ever; and Vanessa Selbst, who was fresh off winning the EPT Prague PLO Championship for €107,000.
According to Walid Habib (and the masseuse that was working on him), someone had raised in Level 8 (300/600/75) and Selbst shoved her last 15 big blinds in. Another player woke up with nines behind and made the call. The original raiser folded, Selbst turned over the , and the board blanked. With that, Selbst took her leave in the last level of the night.
While many fell, plenty of notables advanced to Day 2 including Anaras Alekberovas (115,600), Jonathan Little (104,200), Darren Elias (97,200), Michael Tureniec (70,300), Kent Lundmark (67,100), Steve O’Dwyer (60,200), Toby Lewis (44,900), David Boyaciyan (40,500), Shannon Shorr (40,400) and Juha Helppi (34,400).
On Friday, a whole new batch of players will take to the felt in Day 1b action, which kicks off at Noon local time. Of course the PokerNews Live Reporting Team will be on hand to bring you all the action and eliminations from the tournament floor.