It's only Day 1b of the first EPT Prague and poker is already a smashing success in the Czech Republic.
Day 1b of the tournament trumped Day 1a in more ways than one. Not only were there more players (314), there were also more recognizable players. Team William Thorsson. At seat eight was EPT3 Warsaw champion Peter Jepsen. Yikes.
Thorsson would be the first of the big three to take his leave after getting into a costly hand with Hoivold. Hoivold made it $800 to go from the button and Thorsson shoved all-in for $3,200 from the small blind. Hoivold called and flipped over pocket threes while Thorsson showed A-Q. The board showed Thorsson no sympathy and that was it for his EPT Prague.
Thorsson shouldn't feel too bad, however, as both Jepsen and Hoivold were eliminated in the later stages of Day 1b.
In the early stages of the day Thomas Wahlroos was listing the merits of the latest James Bond movie versus the poker disaster Lucky You's lack thereof. "In Casino Royale, they play nothing but the stone nuts, but in Lucky You they get all-in with third pair or total bluffs." Consensus seemed to reign that the Eric Bana/Drew Barrymore vehicle was an utter debacle, while opinions were mixed about 007's poker prowess.
European queen (princess?) of poker Annette Obrestad played in Day 1b but never really managed to get into the groove of things.
Obrestad was just about eliminated early when she found herself all-in with trip jacks but a weak 4♦ kicker. Fortunately it was enough to best her opponent's gut-shot straight draw, which ended up missing.
Lately Obrestad has appeared bulletproof but she proved today that she is indeed human and was eliminated during the middle of the day.
In the hand, a player in middle position limped in but was raised $800 by Devlin. Obrestad re-popped to $2,800 and the original limper made the call while Devlin folded. The flop went 4♣ 2♥ 2♦ and both players checked to see the turn, which was the J♥. Player 1 checked to Obrestad and the online phenom bet $3,750. Player 1 flat-called and the river brought 8♥. Player 1 checked yet again and Obrestad fired one more time by pushing all-in for $10,000. Player 1 insta-called and flipped over pocket kings. Obrestad threw her hand into the muck and headed for the exit.
Just as one Norwegian bottomed out another was on his way up. It's getting harder and harder to ignore Dag Martin Mikkelsen . He had an up-and-down day that saw him survive an all-in call for $10,000 with his A♣ K♠ versus an opponent's A♥ T♥ early on.
Later in the day Mikkelsen managed to bust Thomas Wahlroos when he hit a flush on the river to crack the Walrus' pocket aces. Mikkelsen ended the day with a very decent $53,000.
Luca Pagano was happily flying the PokerStars banner throughout the day but unfortunately met his demise near the end of it.
Pagano got all-in pre-flop for around $3,000 total with A♣ 9♣. His opponent called with J♥ J♦ and the board went Q♦ 7♥ 3♠ 7♠ K♠ which spelled doom for the Italian.
At least he wasn't alone. At the end of the day the list of eliminations was long (from 314 players down to 111!) and it included Thor Hansen, Dario Minieri, Tronde Eidsvig, Soren Kongsgaard, Jani Sointula, Juha Helppi and Age Spets. It's worth noting that Grospellier survived the day with a short stack.
PokerStars qualifier Stephen Devin from the U.K. ended the day with the chip lead of $122,000. Tomorrow, players who survived Day 1b will be joined by fellow surviving players from Day 1a (including Katja Thater) for a no-holds-barred, winner-takes-all poker extravaganza. Doesn't that sound great? You can join in on the excitement by following the up-to-the-minute updates from PokerListings.com. Join us at 12:00 Central European Time as Day 2 of EPT Prague kicks off.