With just 16 players remaining, the European Poker Tour (EPT) Prague Main Event heads into its penultimate day with Teun Mulder atop the standings. Holding 8.195 million chips, Mulder has a commanding lead, a stack more than double his closest opponent.
Symeon Alexandridis is that opponent, with 4.065 million. After him, it is a logjam, as the next seven players have between 2.775 million and 2.125 million chips. Between fourth and ninth place, there is just a six-big blind spread. You’re either going to have a lot of players being careful on Tuesday’s Day 5 to try to move up in the money or players trying to gather chips quickly to try to build a stack with which to challenge Mulder (or both!).
Outside of the top ten, one name stands out: Hossein Ensan, who finished Day 4 in 15th place. Ensan has won EPT Prague before, but more famously, he is the 2019 World Series of Poker Main Event champ. Should he emerge victorious – and he has a steep mountain to climb – he would become the first person to win the same European Poker Tour even twice.
Mulder’s key hand was one of the most astonishing of the day and to make it even better, it was featured in the PokerStars live stream. With blinds at 10,000/25,000, Mulder raised to 50,000 with Q♥-T♠ from the cutoff. Viktor Katzenberger woke up with A♦-A♣ on the button, but decided to just call to disguise his hand. Ensan then called from the big blind with 8♦-4♦.
The flop was a dream for Mulder: Q♠-Q♦-7♣, giving him trips. It got even better for him, as Ensan bet 90,000. Mulder simply called, and Katzenberger (which is what I would name my specialty sandwich if I owned a bar & grill) also called.
The turn was the K♣ and Ensan slowed down, checking to Mulder, who also checked, not ready to spring his trap just yet. Katzenberger, he of the slow-played Aces, bet 55,000. Mulder then went into acting mode, casually sipping on his tea and even playing his time extension card before moving all-in for over 3 million chips. At that point, Katzenberger knew he was dead, but with only 195,000 chips remaining and a pot over half a million, he knew he likely had to call. He still played a time extension card, looking agonized, looking like he absolutely knew that he was eliminated as soon as he called, but that that was his fate.
Sure enough, he called and saw the bad news. And then for fun, Mulder hit quads on the river to take his stack up to 3.82 million at that point.
The plan for Tuesday is to get down to the six-handed final table. Since the tournament is in Europe and this writer is in the U.S., the proceedings are already underway, but we will save the rest of the updates for tomorrow.