EPT Barcelona: Early action. Or inaction.

Chip counting in these early stages of an EPT tournament is a particularly fruitless endeavour. You scan your eyes up and down a variously ordered stack of chips, before deducing that the player in question has more or less 10,000. Or somewhere near what they started with, in other words.

Obviously that's not absolutely precise, because we've just finished level four now and already more than 50 players are out. Their chips have scattered across the remaining 209, who, after a 15 minute break, will play be posting blinds of 150-300 as we enter level five.

Noah "Exclusive" Boeken might wish the break had come a hand or two earlier. He just shipped about 9,000 of his chips to an unknown opponent after a decidely crafty river bet. Looking at a board of 7s As 5c 6d 5d and holding A-K for two pair, Boeken had a big decision to make. His opponent had moved all in when the second five fell on the river; a massive overbet of about 7,000 into a pot of just 4,000.

Eventually Noah called and was shown 5s 4s. If Exclusive had put his opponent on a missed flush draw, he'd have been right. But that missed draw had just rivered trips, leaving Boeken scratching his head and down to about 4,000.

Moving in the right direction, however, is Brandon Schaefer, from the United States. Schaefer has one of the most impressive EPT records of all: played three, won one, runner-up in one. That success came in season one, when he triumphed in Deauville, France (after qualifying on PokerStars) and riding his free ticket to second spot in the Monte Carlo Grand Final.

Brandon Schaefer

This time around, Schaefer has bought in directly and must have loved a flop of A-K-7 when he was holding pocket kings. There'd been some pre-flop action, which slowed into a trapping battle after the action flop. Schaefer checked, his single opponent checked. On the turn, Brandon fired out a modest bet and was delighted to see his opponent move all-in for about 5,000 more.

Schaefer called, obviously, and was shown pocket jacks. The pot of around 17,000 was moved in his direction.

Another EPT cash here for Schaefer will send him rocketing up the rankings once more.

Update: Jimmy Fricke is out. No details as yet, but he was spotted departing the card room a moment into level five.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in