The penultimate day of the 2014 PokerStars European Poker Tour Prague Main Event saw 22 players from a record-breaking field of 1,107 entries return to the tables of the Hilton Prague Hotel. Fabio Sperling led when play resumed, and five 90-minute levels later the field was cut down to the final seven.
Stephen Graner will return for the final day as a commanding chip leader with 12,405,000, and the American is looking to improve his career-best result of $273,854 after coming sixth in the "Millionaire Maker" at the 2014 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas this past summer.
Frenchman Remi Castaignon, who will return as shortest stack, may become the first male player and second overall to win two EPT Main Events after emerging victorious in Deauville last year. Currently, only Victoria Coren Mitchell has two EPT titles.
Final Table Seat Draw
The eliminations came in quickly at the start of Day 5, and within the first level of play the field was reduced to 15. Nandor Solyom was the shortest stack to begin and the first on the rail after failing to improve with the against the of Davidi Kitai. Next to follow was Roman Pavliuk when he ran the into the of start-of-the-day chip leader Sperling. Then, Pascal Pflock fell in 20th place when his shove with the was called by Stephen Graner with the and the board ran out .
Eureka Poker Tour Prague Main Event champion Balazs Botond called the four-bet shove of Jakub Slemr with the only to see the Czech improve to a full house with the on a board of . Artem Metalidi also got it in preflop with a four-bet shove and his stayed second best to the of Anton Bertilsson. Sergey Lebedev turned a flush with the and called the all-in bet of Simon Mattsson only for the Swede to reveal the for the higher flush. Then, just when the clock was stopped to redraw for the final two tables after the bustout of the Russian, Thomas Butzhammer lost a flip with the to the of Andras Nemeth.
Down to 15, it would take another hour to lose Tamer Kamel and Vanessa Selbst from the field in short succession. Kamel lost a flip with the against Kitai's , and Team PokerStars Pro Selbst failed to improve with the against Bjorn Wiesler's .
It was at this point that Nemeth stormed to the top of the leader board, but then lost a massive flip for 7,300,000 chips with the to the of Graner. The Hungarian couldn't recover from that and busted in 11th place. In between, Francesco Grieco was sent to the rail in 13th place, and Sam Grafton fell in 12th.
One of the two remaining former EPT champions would then bow out in 10th place, with three-time WSOP gold bracelet winner Kitai busting out. The Belgian was all in preflop with the and got called by 2013 EPT Deauville champion Castaignon with the . Kitai improved on the board going to the river, but the sent him to the rail.
With the unofficial final table of nine in place, on the very first hand of Level 29 local hero Slemr lost a coin flip with the against the of Bertilsson on a board of to bust in ninth place. Play then resumed until the end of the level, when in the second-to-last hand, Graner would dish out the final bustout to Miltiadis Kyriakides in a battle of the blinds. The of the American was behind preflop versus the of Kyriakides, but the board ran out to reduce the field for the final day of the Main Event down to its last seven competitors.
The remaining players are guaranteed at least €129,390, but they'll all be gunning for the €969,000 top prize. Graner is the favorite to win, but there's still plenty of poker to be played.
The action will resume at 12:00 CET with blinds at 50,000/100,000 and an ante of 10,000. The live stream with hole cards shown will run on a one-hour delay, and the PokerNews Live Reporting team will bring you all crucial moments right here in the live blog. Be sure to return on Wednesday as this tournament plays down to its champion.
Don't forget, you can also follow along with PokerNews' live coverage from the record-breaking EPT Prague €10,300 High Roller by clicking here.