The Most Memorable & Unexpected Moments from PokerStars EPT Prague

The Most Memorable & Unexpected Moments from PokerStars EPT Prague

2007 was the first year that the PokerStars European Poker Tour visited Prague, and the Czech capital city has since woven a rich tapestry of poker history.

There have been a plethora of memorable and unexpected moments over the last 16 years, and as PokerStars gears up for the 2023 edition of EPT Prague, PokerNews thought it'd be fun to look back at some of the epic tales that have taken place at the stop.

Pobal Does the Double at EPT Prague

Seven years after winning the Main Event at EPT Barcelona, Mikalai Pobal became only the second player to win two EPT Main Events after he triumphed in Prague in 2019. Victoria Coren-Mitchell was the first player to pull off that achievement. Canada's Mike Watson joined the aforementioned duo after coming out on top in Mone Carlo earlier this year.

Pobal topped the 1,154-entry field to capture the 1,005,600 up top, which is also the biggest first-place prize that anyone has won at EPT Prague.

What made the victory even more special for Pobal was that he booked his seat at the table via a $530 satellite. To put that into a percentage, that's a return on investment of a staggering 189,635.85%

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That Royal Flush Runout

The probability of making a Royal Flush is somewhere around the 0.00154% mark (odds of 649,739: 1). There are plenty of poker veterans who have played millions of poker hands and have still yet to make poker's best hand, so you can imagine the astonishment when two players both had a Royal at the same time!

At the 2022 EPT Prague Main Event, there was an eruption of noise from one of the tables as a Royal Flush had been dealt on the board!

Three players at Table 26 saw a flop of QKJ that checked through to the A turn to put four to a Royal Flush on the board. Stanislavs Macugins bet out, and only Gal Halevi called.

To the surprise of everyone at and around the table, the dealer managed to peel off the one and only 10 on the river to complete the insane runout.

Hide the Pain Harold Plays Poker?!

Internet meme culture has become somewhat of a universal language. Regardless of linguistic barriers, a viral meme transcends traditional land borders. One of the biggest template memes over the last decade has been "Hide Your Pain Harold", and players worldwide were shocked at his unexpected presence in 2019.

"Hide the Pain Harold," whose real name is Andrs Arat, became an internet sensation and a meme in the mid-2010s. Born in Hungary in 1945, Arat worked as an electrical engineer. He gained unexpected fame after his stock photos appeared online, showcasing a forced smile that concealed a sense of underlying sadness.

His expressive eyes and strained smile became a symbol of trying to maintain a positive facade while dealing with inner turmoil, similar to trying to maintain composure after suffering a bad beat.

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No More Squeaky Chairs!

For those who have been to EPT Prague, one thing that gets ingrained in their memories is the PTSD-inducing chair squeaks that dominated the tournament floor.

For most of the stop's history, the "eeeeeek" that would follow anytime someone needed to leave their chair became one of the biggest pet peeves. Steve O'Dwyer was one of those players, and he had been on a crusade to get the problem fixed for the best part of ten years.

Its always been my biggest complaint here in Prague is the chairs causing psychic damage, ODwyer told the Poker in the Ears Podcast last year. Its not a squeak. Its the loudest, most painful screech you could possibly imagine, with those bare metal bottoms of the chairs ripping into the tile floor every time one of the 500 people in the room slightly shifts their weight a little bit.

Thankfully, the solution was found at PokerStars' last trip to Prague, where ferules (chair caps) were added to the feet of the chair legs, and thankfully, those ear-piercing squeaks are a thing of the past!

All EPT Prague Main Event Champions

YearEntriesPrize PoolWinnerCountryPrize
20221,2676,144,950Jordan Saccucci (pictured)Canada913,250
20221,1905,771,500Grzegorz GlownyPoland692,252
20191,1545,596,900Mikalai PobalBelarus1,005,600
20181,1745,693,900Paul MichaelisGermany840,000
20178554,146,750Kalidou SowFrance675,000
20161,1925,781,200Jasper Meijer van PuttenNetherlands699,300
20151,0445,063,400Hossein EnsanGermany754,510
20141,1075,535,000Stephen GranerUnited States969,000
20131,0074,883,950Julian TrackGermany725,700
20128644,190,400Ramzi JelassiSweden835,000
20117223,501,700Martin FingerGermany720,000
20105632,730,550Roberto RomanelloUnited Kingdom640,000
20095862,842,100Jan SkampaCzech Republic682,000
20085702,764,500Salvatore BonavenaItaly774,000
20075552,530,240Arnaud MatternFrance708,600


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