The 2022 EPT Prague Main Event has worked its way from a monstrous starting field to the final 42 survivors. Leading the way after five levels of action on Sunday is South Korea’s Gab Yong Kim, holding a stack of 2.3 million chips, but he has a host of strong players in pursuit of him. Not only are former EPT champions Dimitar Danchev and Adrian Mateos still in the mix, another EPT and former World Champion, Hossein Ensan, also is stacked for Day 4 action.
Early Casualties Include Local Favorite Kabrhel
119 players came back to the felt at the King’s Casino in Rozvadov to continue the battle to the championship of the EPT Prague Main Event. Leading the way was Ezequiel Waigel and his nearly one million in chips, but overall Day 1 chip leader Jack Sinclair, Antoine Saout and Bruno Fitoussi of France, and Spain’s Ana Marquez were still in the mix. With another lengthy day of play at hand, the players were trying to move up the money ladder (all players who came back Sunday were guaranteed €11,140) but also gather chips for an even deeper run.
Marquez started the day as one of the extreme short stacks, but she battled valiantly before falling in 109th place. There was plenty of company for the Spanish star, with Jorryt van Hoof, Czech poker pro Martin Kabrhel, and Bulgarian poker champion Simeon Naydenov soon joining Marquez on the rail. Others were able to thrive, however, including the man who took down the 2019 World Championship.
Hossein Ensan was bleeding chips away before he was able to right the ship. It came when he was holding Big Slick against Manuel Fritz’s all in Q-3 on a A-Q-2-4 flop and turn. Needing to dodge several outs – three treys, four fives, and two Queens – Ensan was relieved to see a black J♠ come on the river; the resulting chip addition sent him up to 410,000 and set the stage for his charge.
Kim Utilizes Double Knockout to Take Lead
As the carnage of Sunday continued, it was Kim who was able to take the greatest advantage. With two players all in in front of him, Kim made a call with Big Slick and rivered a King to defeat a pocket pair of Jacks and an A-Q that had flopped a Queen to take the lead. Those chips, once added to Kim’s stack, gave Kim the double knockout and catapulted him to 1.3 million chips.
Kim kept delivering the beatings as the night wore on. His stack passed the two million mark after Robert Burlacu got his final 200K in chips to the center with pocket fives, only to see Kim look him up with an A♥ Q♥. A Queen on the flop was all it took and, once Burlacu didn’t find another five on the turn or river, he was out and Kim was over the two million mark. He would ride that stack to his final lead of the night, but he will be hard pressed to hold on to that spot on the pedestal:
1. Gab Yong Kim (South Korea), 2.3 million
2. Dawid Kuliberda (Poland), 2.2 million
3. Demetrio Caminita (Italy), 1.85 million
4. Duco ten Haven (Netherlands), 1.55 million
5. Teun Mulder (Netherlands), 1.51 million
6. Leonardo Romeo (Italy), 1.4 million
7. David Huspeka (Czech Republic), 1.35 million
8. Erik Bauer (Netherlands), 1.31 million
9. Jack Sinclair (United Kingdom), 1.23 million*
(tie) Mario Navarro (Spain), 1.23 million
(* – Day 1 Chip Leader)
Day 2 chip leader Waigel was able to stick around in the upper levels of the leaderboard, holding 15th place with the same chip stack he started Day 3 with – 955,000. Also still alive are top pros Danchev (845,000), Ensan (765,000), and Mateos (439,000). The tournament resumes on Monday, featuring coverage from PokerStars TV, with the goal to work down to the final table of eight players. At stake for the remaining 42 players is the lion’s share of the €10 million-plus prize pool, of which €1, 033,520 will be awarded once the eventual champion is crowned for the 2022 EPT Prague Main Event.