While the European Poker Tour Season 12 Prague Main Event was playing down to the final 23 in one corner of the room, the €10,000 High Roller was just kicking off on the other. On Day 1, the tournament attracted 303 entries — 247 unique players that accounted for 56 reentires — but after 10 one-hour levels of play, just 157 of them remained with Kenneth Smaron and his stack of 274,700 leading the way. Not far behind sits Poland's Kacper Pyzara and his stack of 267,000.
Late registration and a single reentry option are available until the start of play on Day 2, so official numbers and prize pool information won't be released until Tuesday. It doesn't look as if it'll quite reach last year's numbers – 233 unique entries with 76 rebuys – but a solid turnout nonetheless.
Top 10 Day 1 Chip Counts
Regarding Pyzara, he shot to the top of the counts in Level 8 (500/1,000/100) in a huge hand that was the biggest of the tournament up to that point. It began when Simon Higgins opened the button for 2,000 and Pyzara raised to 6,000. Higgins made the call and then called a bet of 6,000 on the flop. After the dealer burned and turned the , Pyzara fired out 16,000 and again Higgins called.
When the double paired the board on the river, Pyzara led out for 55,000 and Higgins paused for a few moments before raising all in for 110,200 total.
Pyzara shot back in his chair and clearly wasn't thrilled with the turn of events. Over the next two minutes, Pyzara teetered back and forth between a call and a fold, oftentimes picking up chips and putting them back down. Eventually, he shrugged, tossed forward a stack, and at that very moment Higgins began to rise.
Higgins showed the for nines and eights, but he seemed to know he was no good. Indeed, Pyzara held the for a bigger two pair and the win.
"I knew what he had," Higgins told the table. "I didn't think he'd call. Nice hand."
Eight hours earlier, the day kicked off with a bang, including one hand that saw EPT12 Malta Main Event runner-up Alen Bilic get extremely lucky. It happened in Level 2 when a back-and-forth raising war saw Pablo Gordillo get his stack of 50,000 or so all in against Bilic, who barely had him covered.
It was a cooler for Bilic, but as the title suggests, he got lucky. He didn't do it on the flop, but rather on the turn. Gordillo sat silently and watched his fate sealed when the blanked on the river. Bilic went on to bag a healthy 196,000.
Among those to join Gordillo on the rail throughout the day were Shaan Siddiqui, Vitaly Lunkin, Christopher Brammer, Martin Finger, Dimitar Danchev, Fabrice Soulier, Liviu "0Human0" Liviu, Ivan Luca, and Team PokerStars Pros Jason Mercier, Ivan Demidov and Andre Akkari.
While dozens fell a long list of notables advanced to Day 2 including Eddy Maksoud (244,600), Anton Wigg (236,000), Daniel Cates (211,400), Igor Kurganov (180,000), and Kevin MacPhee (178,200). In addition, Team PokerStars Pros Vanessa Selbst (119,700), Liv Boeree (47,800), and Eugene Katchalov (21,400) will all be back, as will Full Tilt Player Dermot Blain (39,000).
Day 2 will kick off at 12:30 p.m. local time on Tuesday with the plan of playing 10 more levels. In addition, the Main Event will look to play down to the final six. The PokerNews Live Reporting Team will be on hand to capture the action from both events, so be sure to join us then. While you wait, check out this video on why EPT dealers are among the best in the world.