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Kitai, Selbst Rise w/ 61 Left in EPT Prague Main; Mattsson Leads

Two of the most dangerous poker players in the world are lurking in the top 10 as Day 3 of the biggest-ever EPT Prague Main Event has come to a close.

One of them is three-time WSOP bracelet winner Davidi Kitai.

Coming into the day near the top of the pack Kitai didn't give an inch all day and finished even higher up the counts.

Kitai bagged 1,364,000 to end the night third overall heading into Day 4 - just slightly behind chip leader Simon Mattsson (1,790,000) and Stephen Graner (1,713,000).

Selbst Surges Near Chip Lead

Also suddenly dangerously close to the chip lead? PokerStars pro Vanessa Selbst, who started the day fairly low on chips but rode a string of fortunate hands right into the top 10 with 1,007,000 to end the day. As Selbst put it on Twitter:

Summary of day: play very bad, get there! Proud owner of almost 900k chips, 30 minutes from day 4. #illtakeemhowican #EPTPrague— Vanessa Selbst (@VanessaSelbst) December 14, 2014

Davidi Kitai
Davidi Kitai: Relentless.

Kitai, Selbst, Mattsson and Graner will lead 57 other hopefuls including Brit Sam Grafton (859,000) and George Danzer (156,000) into Day 4 tomorrow in search of a spot in the final few tables.

A massive €969,000 lies in wait for the winner. Check the PokerStars blog of the EPT Live replay for all of the day's action. The current top 10:

  • 1. Simon Mattsson 1,790,000
  • 2. Stephen Graner 1,713,000
  • 3. Davidi Kitai 1,364,000
  • 4. Jonathan Wong 1,295,000
  • 5. Petr Jelinek 1,191,000
  • 6. Miltiadis Kyriakides 1,178,000
  • 7. Bjorn Wiesler 1,084,000
  • 8. Pablo Sanz Quiles 1,075,000
  • 9. Francesco Grieco 1,054,000
  • 10. Vanessa Selbst 1,007,000

One Champion, One Orbit – Remi Castaignon

Remi Castaignon won EPT Deauville in 2013 and cashed for €770,000. That actually makes for 92% of his lifetime winnings, but he’s already made it to three final tables since then

remi castaignon
Remi Castaignon

Around the middle of Day 3 at the EPT Main Event in Prague, it sure looks like he could be up for another deep run.

We made our way to the last table in the corner of the tournament area where he was sitting with Vladimir Shemelev two seats to his left.

The bubble has recently burst and while the short stacks loosened up the big stacks were trying to exploit those just trying to make to the next pay jump. As we are arrived at the table the button had just moved away from him.

Tournament situation: Level 17; blinds are 2500/5000/500. There are 118 players left and the average is around 300,000 chips. Castaignon has around 285,000 chips.

Hands 1-3, Cut-off, Hijack, MP

Despite the superior position Castaignon decides not to play any of these hands -- probably as there were always raises from early positions.

Hand 4, UTG+1

The player under the gun raises to 10,000 and Castaignon calls. The player on the button reraises to 42,500 and both the initial raiser and Castaignon feel compelled to fold.

Before the next hand the player in the big blind gets moved so Castaignon skips the UTG position and moves to the Big Bind.

Hand 5, BB

There is a raise from UTG+1, which is the seat that high roller Vladimir Schemelev occupies. The raise is to 10,000 and both blinds call.

The flop is A♠ 8♥ T♠. The blinds check and Schemelev cuts out a bet of 16,000. The small blind folds but Castaignon comes along.

On the turn 4♣ Schemelev bets 30,000 and Castaignon folds.

Hand 6, SB

It’s folded to Castaignon in the small blind. He limps in and the big blind checks his option. The flop falls 7♦ Q♥ J♥.

Castaignon takes the lead with a bet of 7,500 and gets called. On the turn T♦ Castaignon bets again -- 17,500 this time. Call.

On the river 3♣ Castaignon fires a third barrel. This time it is a big bet of 48,000. The big blind, who also has a big stack, needs to think about this for a while and finally announces call.

Castaignon turns over 7♣ 7♠ and takes down a huge pot.

Hand 7, Button

Again it is folded to Castaignon, who raises to 10,000. The player to his left wants some chips back and re-raises to 26,000.

Castaignon doesn't take the bait and folds.

Hand 8, Cut-off

No action from Castaignon. He folds and moves on to the next hand.


Remi Castaignon makes several attempts here to win a hand and they all fail except one. However, that doesn’t mean he played them badly. Instead, he was trying to keep his losses low.

In Hand 4 he called a raise and then folded to a re-raise, which doesn’t look very strong, but Castaignon was running the risk here to play a very big pot out of position.

In the hand against Schemelev he might have chased a draw, hit a low pair or maybe just floated the flop, but gave up his hand early enough.

In the big hand that he won, however, he concealed his hand perfectly. With the flop bet he’s getting the information that his opponent has hit something and then afterwards he makes him pay.

In that hand Castaignon won 73,000 chips from his neighbor, which more than makes up for the lost hands and moves Castaignon up the leaderboard and above the average.

Decision of the Day

We're already on the river and there are three players in the pot. The first player to act bets "sixty-four hundred“ (6,400).

Chips 2
On you to know how many chips have been put in.

He is perfectly clear to understand. But the next player then says "if it is 2,000 or less I call."

The dealer repeats that the bet is "sixty-four hundred" but the player mistakes it for "sixteen hundred“ (1,600) and puts two 1k chips over the line.

The floor is called because of a possible mispronunciation. One player heard “sixty-four hundred” while someone else understood “sixteen hundred."

The ruling: Poker is still a visual game. What a player is able to see is more important than what he maybe hears.

The player was given two options. Either he called and paid the extra 4,400 or he folded, in which case he would still lose the two 1k chips which would remain in the pot.

The bet was visually out there on the table. Thus, the information was accessible for everyone at the table.

It is the players’ responsibility to know the value of the different chips and to follow how many of them are moved across the table.

It is always possible to misunderstand the dealer, but you have to watch out for the size of the bet yourself.

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