The 2019 European Poker Tour stop at the Hilton Prague is rolling through its action and, at the end of Day 2, the money bubble has already been popped in the 1154 entry field. With only 141 players left in the field, the battle for first place is a tenacious one as only a single chip separate Roman Herold and Xiaqing Ji in the fight for the lead.
Third Largest EPT Prague in History
There’s no way of knowing why – perhaps it is because the tournament comes at the end of the year, perhaps because of the hotspot that Prague has become for poker – but the players flooded the tournament floor at the Hilton Prague. After a few stragglers came in prior to the start of the tournament on Friday, the total field of 1154 entries were set. 167 players would receive part of the €5.596 million prize pool, with the yet to be determined champion set to receive €1,005,600.
395 players took to the tables to continue action in the EPT Prague Main Event, but more than half of them wouldn’t survive to see the money. Some of those notables that wouldn’t show anything for their efforts in the Czech Republic were Bertrand Grospellier, Per Linde, Jan Bendik and former PokerStars Caribbean Adventure champion Maria Lampropulos. But as they dropped from the field, other poker superstars including all-time money leader Bryn Kenney would surge up the ladder.
When the bubble popped, it would do so in dramatic fashion. Sami Shokry pushed his final chips to the center and had three players look him up for the elimination. On a 6-5-2 flop, only two of those three, Max Deveson and Yehuda Cohen, stuck around after a Cohen bet. The K♠ brought another check-call from Deveson, this time for 25K in chips, and after the river paired with a second deuce both players checked their hands.
Turning up his hand first as the all-in player, Shokry could only show a J-6 off suit for sixes up. Deveson had that beat, showing a K♦ Q♦ for the turned pair of Kings to make Kings up, but Cohen had them both topped. Cohen had that hand that is the instigator of many questions on forums – “What if you have pocket Aces on the bubble?” – to make his Aces up the top hand and the scooper of the pot. Shokry was eliminated on the hand and the remaining 167 players were in the money, good for a minimum €8960 cash.
Pick Up Your Cash at the Cage
With the money bubble out of the way, the rush to the cage became the next pursuit for those on shorter stacks. Adrian Mateos, Xia Lin, Natalie Teh and Johan Storakers would all depart with a little something to show for their efforts, but the field still features some strong players who will be alive for Day 3 on Saturday. Among those pros still on the felt are Dominik Panka, Michael Soyza, Gianluca Speranza and Henrik Hecklen.
The true stars of the show were Herold and Ji, however. The duo surged up the leaderboard throughout the Day 2 action and swapped the lead back as they both ascended. The competition was very close by the end of the night, with Herold able to eke out a single, 1000-chip lead over Ji as they take their star turn in preparation for Day 3 play on Saturday. They will have to contend with Kenney, however, who is demonstrating some skills in a field larger than 50 players (the normal High Roller field) and Day 1 overall chip leader Pierre Calamusa.
1. Roman Herold, 769,000
2. Xiaqing Ji, 768,000
3. Bryn Kenney, 656,000
4. Giorgiy Skhulukhiya, 634,000
5. Luke Marsh, 625,000
6. Pierre Calamusa, 601,000
7. Teun Mulder, 573,000
8. Laurent Michot, 550,000
9. Fidan Zahiti, 543,000
10. Akin Tuna, 536,000
Action continues today at the Hilton Prague, with the champion of the 2019 EPT Prague Main Event to be determined on Tuesday.