They say no one remembers who loses a football cup semi-final, and in the poker world the penultimate day of the tournament is the semi-final. And what do you know, all our attention today is on the elite eight who have made the final table of the 1,007-runner European Poker Tour Prague Main Event.
Leading the way heading into Wednesday's finale is Julian Track. The German has 7,240,000 in chips and is in pole position to win the €889,000 first prize. When cards get in the air Wednesday the blinds will be 20,000/40,000 with a 5,000 ante, meaning the average stack is a massive 94.4 big blinds.
Wednesday's final table will almost certainly be a lengthy one as the descent from 22 to eight was one of the fastest ever seen on the EPT. It took less than two full levels of play to eliminate the 14 players necessary to set the final table. Interestingly, the top two stacks at the end of play were number one and two when play started on Day 5. However, their positions have been reversed and it’s Track who will lead the way.
|6||Ka Kwan Lau||Spain||2,995,000|
The German’s ascent to the top owed everything to a huge hand he played against Ori Hasson with 13 players remaining. The two of them created a pre-flop pot of 7,605,000; Track was at risk with pocket tens, and Hasson held two overs with the . The board stayed low as it rolled out , and with that Hasson, who had got his hands on that stack by eliminating Lasell King, was left with just a couple of big blinds and was out in 12th soon after.
The other star of Tuesday's feature table was Max Silver, and the Englishman was back there on Wednesday and picked up where he left off. He took care of Tamer Kamel (19th) and Artem Metalidi (17th) within the first hour, and only relinquished the chip lead when Track won that huge pot. He played the big stack impressively, applying pressure and putting other players to the test.
Silver formed a bad cop, bad cop UK partnership with Stephen Chidwick. When Silver would take a rest from sending players to the rail, Chidwick stepped into the breach. The 24-year-old, who seems like he’s been around forever, mainly because he has, eliminated no less than four players on Day 5. He claimed the scalps of Ihar Soika (18th), Dimitri Holdeew (15th), Nikita Nikolaev (14th) and Erwann Pecheux (11th). It’s likely that his elimination of Holdeew was the sweetest. The German won the Eureka Poker Tour Main Event on Thursday, eliminating Chidwick in third in the process. The Brit got some measure of revenge in this event and will start the final table third in chips.
Completing the top half of the table is Georgios Sotiropoulos. The Greek player was the most active player on the outer table on Day 5, seemingly involved in almost every pot. He folded to aggression in many of them but won the ones that mattered, including the hand that ended play for the night when he eliminated Sigurd Eskeland in ninth place. Sotiropoulos flopped a set of sevens, Eskeland the nut flush draw, and it all went on in the turn when Eskeland turned a pair. Unfortunately for the Norwegian, he missed all his outs on the river. Furthermore, Sotiropoulos also denied Andrew Chen a fourth EPT Final Table when he sent the Canadian home in 13th place when his pair of eights held up against Chen’s .
Whilst the top four in the chip counts are the only ones with an above average stack, the other four aren’t exactly short. Take Ka Kwan Lau for instance — his stack of 2,995,000 equates to almost 75 big blinds. He had a smooth day of steadily accumulating chips.
The same can’t be said of Ole Schemion, but then you wouldn’t of expected him to simply sit back and coast to the final table. While he picked up chips by eliminating Romain Chauvassagne (20th) and Tapio Vihakas (16th), he also doubled up Sotiropoulos and lost a big pot to Silver. Schemion actually finished the day with 300,000 less chips than he started. No matter, the German has 60 big blinds, a fearsome reputation and every chance of winning an EPT title on Wednesday. And speaking of titles, Schemion also passed Daniel Negreanu to become the Global Poker Index’s 2013 Player of the Year.
Zdravko Duvnjak will start the final table with over 30 big blinds and has flown under the radar for large portions of the tournament. That all changed when he got moved to the feature table with 16 players left and he was under the spotlight in more ways than one with just 10 players remaining. All in and at risk with he was behind to Radek Stockner’s , but a nine on the river kept him alive. Stockner, the last Czech player in the tournament, was left extremely short and was out soon afterwards in 10th.
What would an EPT final table be without some Nordic interest? On Wednesday their one representative will carry short stack status, but don’t back against Jorma Nuutinen running up a stack. The Finn has shown no fear all week and a man with nothing to lose can be very dangerous indeed.
The EPT Prague final table will be broadcast on pokerstars.tv and it’s a ‘cards up’ final table, which means we’ll be blogging and they’ll be broadcasting on a one-hour delay. So join us, along with James Hartigan and Joe Stapleton from 1 p.m. local time for the final table.
In the meantime, follow the action from the €10,000 High Roller and check out Sarah Grant's Christmas Movie video: