December 14, 2023 2 min read

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EPT Prague Heats Up as Rising Tensions Lead to Physical Violence

An Italian player got disqualified for headbutting his opponent after an especially heated round caused tempers to flare

Michele Nizzardelli had to leave the tournament after striking a player he had just eliminated after a controversial hand escalated into a physical confrontation. Both individuals suffered further disciplinary action by PokerStars, but the incident did not diminish an otherwise successful event. The remaining players will learn from this example and should better adhere to sportsmanship and the spirit of the game.

A Defeat in More Ways Than One

As the final hands of the  European Poker Tour (EPT) Prague Main Event were being played, tensions were already running high at Table 12. A controversial check on the river by Michele Nizzardelli caused tensions to flare as he won a pot against Ghattas Kortas. This move gave the Italian player the momentum he needed to secure another winning hand.

Visibly angry, Kortas walked behind Nizzardelli, snatched his hat, and started to walk away. However, the winning player, likely irritated by his opponent’s behavior, pushed him in the back, causing him to stumble. As Kortas turned around angrily, Nizzardelli put his hands up in a defensive manner and suddenly headbutted the other man, hitting him on the nose and knocking him to the floor.

The altercation immediately caught the attention of security, who swiftly intervened and escorted Nizzardelli out of the tournament room. The organizers removed his stack from the table and immediately disqualified him from the event. Both Nizzardelli and Kortas faced further disciplinary action from PokerStars, clearly showing they would not tolerate such conduct.

The Drama Only Bolstered the Event’s Popularity

Despite the incident, the tournament drew a strong turnout of 1,250 players, justifying its hype as one of the year’s most anticipated events. This number fell just seventeen players short of the previous year’s record. All Day 1 survivors, joined by new entrants during the late registration period, returned to their seats on Wednesday, 13 December.

Thanks to real-time coverage and live streaming, poker enthusiasts and fans can follow the action on PokerStars’ social media channels. Cards-up coverage and commentary ensure that even novices can follow the game’s intricacies, albeit with a 30-minute delay due to security precautions.

This physical confrontation should only contribute to the EPT’s popularity, adding another fascinating detail to the event’s history of success. Such high-profile tournaments highlight PokerStars’s winning model as the company perfectly combines digital content and thrilling face-to-face games to generate hype and attract new players.

Deyan is an experienced writer, analyst, and seeker of forbidden lore. He has approximate knowledge about many things, which he is always willing to apply when researching and preparing his articles. With a degree in Copy-editing and Proofreading, Deyan is able to ensure that his work writing for GamblingNews is always up to scratch.

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