The third day of the World Poker Tour stop in Prague, the Czech Republic is in the books. After a furious final few moments of action during the day, Pavel Plesuv emerged as the leader with only 18 players (two tables) remaining in contention.
60 players stepped back to the tables in the King’s Casino on Friday, looking to whittle the field down massively. Their first challenge was getting to the final 27 players, who would earn a line on their Hendon Mob resume for their efforts. As the day began, Brian Senie was the massive chip leader with his 759,000 in chips, but Steve O’Dwyer, Byron Kaverman, Yann Dion, Ole Schemion and Dimitar Danchev all lurked behind him, with O’Dwyer and Kaverman in the hunt for one of the Player of the Year awards handed out in tournament poker.
Within a half hour of the start of the day’s play, six ‘shorties’ had been eliminated from the event, including former WPT champion Tony ‘Bond_18’ Dunst. The final two ladies in the tournament, Gaelle Baumann and Aurelie Quelain, headed to the rail soon after Dunst had bitten the dust. By the time the action had reached the final four tables, Senie (who had difficulty all day gaining any traction) had lost the lead to Jerry Odeen, but he still sat decently with 430,000 in chips (Odeen, meanwhile, had racked up 640,000).
Odeen didn’t hold onto the lead for long, however. In a clash against Pavel Veksler, Odeen saw Veksler move all in on a 7-J-6-K-J board and agonized over the decision. Odeen agonized long enough that the clock was eventually called on him and, after he had made the call with the seconds ticking down, you could see why it was a tough decision. Odeen’s pocket Aces looked good on the table, but Veksler’s pocket sevens looked even better as they found a third on the flop to eventually make a boat. Although the hand would seriously dent his stack, Odeen would make it through the remainder of the day’s play.
As the money bubble approached, Schemion was one of the casualties. On an A-4-K flop, Schemion, Aliaksei Boika and Ben Heath all put out 30K to see a turn six. Schemion, with the action on him first, weighed out the issue in his mind so much that the dealer thought at one point he had checked. Heath, after the dealer’s error, checked and Schemion responded that he hadn’t completed his action. After the action was rolled back to Schemion – and with Heath’s check binding at the moment – he decided to push all in. Heath, freed from his previous action, now chucked his cards to the center, but Boika made the call.
If he was looking to bully Heath, Schemion made a mistake in forgetting about Boika. Boika’s pocket fours for the flopped set were a massive favorite over Schemion’s K-4 (flopped two pair) with one card to come; when the river came with a King, Schemion was out of the event just short of the money while Boika firmed up his standing to make some money at the WPT Prague.
The money bubble would pop in a very cruel fashion. Plesuv would open the betting and, after a call from Aleksandar Denishev, Yung Hwang would pop the bet up to 31K. Plesuv responded by making it 70K to go and, after Denishev got out of the way, Hwang shoved his remaining stack. Plesuv responded in kind and was dismayed at the results; his pocket Kings had run into the pocket Aces of Hwang, who just needed to fade five cards to get a key double up.
Alas, it wasn’t to be. A King in the window turned the cooler into a winner for Plesuv, his flopped set now leading the pocket Aces, but a Queen on the turn opened up a Broadway draw for Hwang along with the two Ace outs. A second deuce hit the river, however, ending Hwang’s tournament in brutal fashion as the final 27 celebrated their cash and Plesuv celebrated his newfound lead.
After battling with Odeen through the day, Senie would be one of the last eliminations on Day 3. He would lose a chunk of chips to Odeen to drop to 300K, then battled against Henrik Hecklen in a hand that would prove to be his undoing. On a 5-5-Q flop, Senie bet out and only Hecklen came along for a seven on the turn. Senie fired again, this time for 75K, and Hecklen once again called. On a river deuce, Senie put his stack in the center and Hecklen pondered the response. After the time in the tank, Hecklen made the call.
All Senie could offer for the battle was an A-10 for complete air; meanwhile, Hecklen put up an 8-5 for flopped trips that were good enough to take the hand and eliminate Senie. After a few more hands of action, the final two tables were determined for play today.
1. Pavel Plesuv, 1.229 million
2. Pavel Veksler, 1053 million
3. David Abreu, 627,000
4. Sergio Aido, 595,000
5. Henrik Hecklen, 525,000
6. Ihar Soika, 459,000
7. Steve O’Dwyer, 442,000
8. Anton Afanasyev, 413,000
9. Pavel Savin, 386,000
10. Pedro Marques, 326,000
With his run here, O’Dwyer is looking to put his name in the mix on the POY front. A win in this tournament would probably put him in the Top Five of the CardPlayer Magazine POY race and, depending on how many points he could earn for the win, might be able to break into the Top Three on the Global Poker Index POY rankings. There are 17 other men who are looking to stop O’Dwyer from doing that, however, as the players at the WPT Prague play down to the official final table through Saturday’s action.