EPT Barcelona: Day 1B, level 7, 8 & 9 updates (blinds 500-1,000, 100 ante)

ept-thumb-promo.jpg11.20pm: Play concludes
Day 1b has come to an end. We believe Spain's Luis Rufas is the chip leader from today's players with 232,100. A wrap of the day's play will be up shortly and all official chip counts will appear here during the night.

11.03pm: Last four hands
The tournament clock has stopped and the last four hands of the night has been annouced. After that the bagging and tagging will take place. -- RD

10.56pm: More chip transfers courtesy of Lodden
This level has not be kind to Johnny Lodden who is now down to 40,000. As I tagged in at this action table I found Lodden betting 8,800 into a 20,000-plus pot with a board of 2♦2♣4♦A♠. Benelli made the call.

The 3♦ river completed some draws but that didn't dissuade Lodden from betting 22,000. Benelli took his sweet time calling and when he did Lodden was not thrilled. The Norwegian tipped his head back and raised his arms in exasperation. Benelli's A♣4♣ had won the pot and taken the Italian up to 135,000. -- RD

10.48pm: You need Metaal to survive this table
There has been a lot of action coming from table Lodden during the closing levels of today and it looks to continue right until the end. One of the main beneficiaries, courtesy of Johnny Lodden, was Dominic Nitsche. He lost a pot we're about to describe but not before doubling-up through the Norwegian with pocket kings. Lodden had ace-eight but couldn't spike the three-outer to claim the 90k pot.

Nitische continued to gather chips after this but just dropped back down to 108k after losing a pot to Govert Metaal. He raised to 2,200 from the cut-off and was called by the button and both blinds to go to the 7♣4♦9♥ flop. His 3,900 c-bet was only called by Metaal from the BB. The turn came 5♣ and the Dutchman led out for 7,500. Nitische called before both checked the 4♣ river. Metaal tabled 4♣6♣ and took the pot. -- MC

10.35pm: The Benelli bounce
Andrea Benelli had a hot streak in the EPT in season five, with four cashes, a seventh place in Warsaw and a fourth place in Deauville. When he plays with his trademark face of steel you wonder if it won't be long before the Italian starts to emulate previous form.
First he tangled with Ajejandro Gonzalez-Olaechea, raising from under the gun to 2,200 which Gonzalez-Olaechea upped to 5,500 immediately to his left. Benelli was tempted only briefly before folding.

Then the next hand. Gonzalez-Olaechea opened for 2,200 from under the gun this time, with the action folded all the way back to Benelli in the big blind, who called for a T♥4♠5♥ flop.

Benelli checked and Gonzalez-Olaechea bet 2,950. Benelli then raised to 8,400, making Gonzalez-Olaechea squirm a little, just a little, as he pressed reset on his thought process. He tanked, then, reaching in to remove his earlier bet, he replaced it with a new one worth 21,050 in total.

Now it was Benelli's turn to squirm. But he didn't. His posture had remained mostly unchanged since his initial pre-flop bet and now he was no different. With 45,000 behind (to Gonzalez-Olaechea's 35,000), Benelli did as Gonzalez-Olaechea had done, reaching in to retrieve his earlier bet of 8,400 to replace it with a new one worth 38,500, covering Gonzalez-Olaechea.

Gonzalez-Olaechea's agony was obvious. Soon he was shaking his head, the first signs of surrender. He tried looking at Benelli, but there were no answers there. He passed.

Benelli up to 82,000. -- SB

10.32pm: Double up for ElkY
ElkY has just doubled up to around 85,000 after flopping a set and getting it all-in on the turn. Must be nice. The hijack (I say tentatively, Dylan Linde) raised and was called by ElkY in the cut-off. A bet of 3,800 wasn't enough to push the French pro off the J♣3♠6♣ flop, which is hardly a surprise given that he'd flopped bottom set. The hijack checked the 9♥ turn and ElkY bet 4,800. That was met by a quick thump down of yellow chips to set the Frenchman all-in.

ElkY muttered something then made the call but his obvious fears of being crushed were, well, crushed when he was shown K♦J♦. An irrelevant 5♥ was flipped over for the river as ElkY chipped up to 85,000 with 3♣3♥. -- RD

10.22pm: Video interlude
As the day draws to a close, here's how things are shaping up...

10.20pm: In out in out, shake it all about
This is how Tristan Clemencon must have been feeling as his tournament life depended on the cards being dealt out in front of him. He was down to 13,475 and these went in from under-the-gun and he found one caller in the shape of Jan Collado in middle position. Show down:

Clemencon: A♦K♠
Collado: 8♥8♠

Clemencon stood out of his chair as the dealer burned and dealt the flop but only the door card (A♥) was revealed as the cards got a bit stuck coming out. The young Frenchman had hit and went to sit down but the next two cards appeared - 8♦T♠ - making a set for his German opponent. Clemencon's legs straighten again but he was left in limbo when the turn came A♠ but the suspense was short lived as his demise was confirmed on the appearance of the J♦ river. Collado up to 67,000 as a result. -- MC

10.15: LEVEL UP: BLINDS 500/-100, ante 100

10.05pm: Stuck at the start
Right behind Johnny Lodden's table is Team PokerStars Pro Toni Judet's table but he's finding the players he has to deal with have bigger teeth than the Norwegian's and are ready to bite back. He's back to his starting stack after four-bet folding to a shove. He made it 1,800 to go from first position and was flatted in one spot before the player in the big blind three-bet to 4,200. Judet's answer to this was to four-bet to 11,800 but he soon folded when the big blind shoved for 33,000. - MC

10pm: The rapid rebuild
Team PokerStars Pro Johnny Lodden was up to 135k and then down to 85k after the "Thorson" hand but now finds himself back up to 115k. He is still involved in most of the pots, especially when he can play in position. We just witnessed two hands where position may have played a big part in him scooping.

In the first hand there was a raise to 1,625 from mid-position that Lodden called on the button and Jacques Zaicik called from the big blind. The flop came 6♦K♠J♦ and only Lodden called the 2,800 c-bet. The turn came a scary looking 9♦ and Lodden fired 6,625 when checked to him. It did the trick as a fold was quick in coming.

The very next hand Lodden called a 2,000 raise from Frank Blumlein to see a K♣6♥2♠ flop. Blumlein led for 3,100 but folded when Lodden bumped it up 8,350. -- MC

ept barcelona_day 1b_johnny lodden.jpg

Lodden seems to be enjoying the tournament rollercoaster here in Barcelona

9.55pm: The resurrection of El Nasr
We mentioned earlier that Nasr El Nasr was a player off most people's radar yet still scintillating to watch. The German is now up to over 40,000 and raising liberally. Certainly dangerous with chips. -- RD

9.45pm: Waking up
Jude Ainsworth opened for 1,800 from middle position which was called Cathy Hong next to him. Jose Luis Navarro, one of only three of the nine players at the table not plugged into headphones, was texting on his phone. He was also in the big blind and when the action reached him he jolted into life with a long pause before raising to 6,000. That was enough to force out Ainsworth and Hong. - SB

9.35pm: Thorson out, Lodden playing everything
Johnny Lodden is playing pretty much every hand at the moment. You can play your very own version of 'What Lodden thinks?' as to why. One thing that has come out of it is the tournament death of William Thorson and a score of 60,000 for Frank Blumlein.

Lodden fed the following hand history back to us; Thorson opened for 1,200 and was called by Mario Zeljko and Frank Blumlein before Lodden raised to 4,200. Thorson and Zeljko called and Blumlein moved all-in for 17,000. Thorson called. Lodden called.

Thorson showed ace-four, Blumlein ace-queen and Lodden ace-jack and it was the large German that came out on top to take the 60,000 pot. Lodden dropped to 85,000 and Thorson dropped out entirely. -- RD

9.25pm: Day 1b home straight
Both halves of the field have returned to throng to play out the last two levels of the day. Not that they needed any further incentive but we do now have the confirmed payouts which can be found by clicking on this handy little link.

9.15pm: LEVEL UP: BLINDS 400-800, ANTE 75

9.10pm: Strassmann strikes out before the break
Johannes Strassmann underwent a rapid fire series of hands which led to his demise. He was first crippled with K♥6♥ against jacks, then trebling up with 5♥6♥ against K♣Q♣ before finally busting with K♠Q♠ to A♥9♣.

The players are now off on a 15-minute break. -- RD

9.05pm: Lewis out, Berende in
By sheer coincidence the last two players I've looked at have just exchanged seats. Well, not quite exchanged. Toby Lewis has been knocked out and Paul Berende has been pushed into his seat opposite the imposing stack of Luis Rufas, who is the likely recipient of Lewis' chips. -- RD

ept barcelona_day 1b_Rufas Acin.jpg

Rufas Acin is building and bullying

8.55pm: Lewis down more
Toby Lewis, who won EPT Vilamoura, is continuing to find it rough going. It does not help having chip daddy Luis Rufas at his table. The Spaniard is our likely chip leader with 170,000 and in a nice position to push around the likes of Lewis who had considerably less.

On a 5♠2♥3♠ flop, Lewis bet 5,000 into a pot of around 9,000. Rufas, however, was going nowhere, bumping it up to 10,025. Lewis only had around 15,000 behind, so this was a tournament defining moment. He folded after much thought. -- SY

8.51pm: Berende in the big blind
Paul Berende is fast becoming one of those ever-present faces of the European Poker Tour. He first came to my attention where he bust out spectacularly of the EPT Grand Final in 24th for €50,000 only to take advantage of late registration into the €25,000 High Roller event where he finished fifth for €191,200. That's the sign of someone with a bit of gamble in them, so when I saw him defend his big blind in a heads-up pot I suspected there might be something juicy come the flop.

Berende checked the 9♠A♦4♠ flop to his opponent, who flicked 2,000 into the 3,500 pot and Berende... quickly mucked. That, unfortunately, is the annoying reality of blogging live tournaments. As much as we can pick the players and situations that are most likely to produce some interesting play, events can all too easily fizzle out.

Come on, Dutchman, entertain us with multi-street bluff! -- RD

8.45pm: Mathis steady
He may have dropped a few thousand when he called a 6,000 river bet on a K♦4♣6♠7♣Q♥ board--his opponent showing the rivered pair with Q♣8♦--but Team PokerStars Pro Rino Mathis is still chugging along nicely, on around 44,000. -- SY

ept barcelona_day 1b_rino mathis.jpg

Rino Mathis: Chugging but not chipping

8.40pm: Weisner no wiser
Melanie Weisner went through the wringer on this one. The flop was 7♥J♠6♥ and her 2,375 bet was called. Both then checked the 9♥ turn, but on the A♠ river her opponent lef out with 6,500.

That sent Weisner deep into the tank, pulling an expression much like someone would had they been chewing a wasp. Eventually, she mucked. As her opponent raked in the pot, he flashed the A♥.

"What was the other card?" pleaded Ms Weisner.
"It's your choice, you have to pay to see," was the reply.
"If I had A-K would I have had the best hand?" asked Weisner, going for a different tact.
"No, I had a flush," insisted her opponent.
"I didn't have A-K, it was better," insisted Weisner.
"Nice hand."

She drops to 50,000 after that little skirmish. -- SY

8.35pm: Another champ down
David Vamplew will not be adding to the £900,000 he won by becoming PokerStars EPT London champion only a month or so ago. His chair is now populated by another gentleman, and that's a sure sign that the previous owner has bitten the dust. -- SY

8.30pm: Got your number
OK, folks. Here are the all-important numbers. The total field of 758 players generated a prize pool of €3,790,000. Of that tidy little sum, a rather enticing €825,000 will go to first place, and a total of 112 players will find themselves in the money. -- SY

8.25pm: Lewis? He's alive!
I've had my doubts that EPT Vilamoura winner Toby Lewis has been playing today. Early on he was sat in his seat but looked a pale reflection of his normal self then he disappeared, unfortunately not in a puff of smoke, leaving a block of chips that looked suspiciously starting stack-sized in front of his empty chair. Had a dead stack been moved to his seat after his knockout? No.

It seems that young Mr Lewis was physically shattered after a deep run in one of the Sunday tournaments which was compounded by a particularly early flight. 'I decided to go off and sleep before the antes really kicked in,' he told me. 'Better to miss the early levels than play tired through the later ones.' True enough. Lewis has around 26,000, a stack he'll know all too well how to play. Now that he's actually awake and in his seat, of course. -- RD

8.15pm: Level seven over, level seven about to begin
Half the field have now played level seven and the the half are well fed and rested. Those two halves will now swap over before rejoining for the last two levels of the day. -- MC

8.05pm: Not the real Pagano
Team PokerStars pro Luca Pagano always cashes, doesn't he? Not this time I'm afraid as he has failed to mount a come-back after the cooler hand earlier. He got his short stack in with pocket fours versus an opponent holding ace-queen. The board double paired with tens and eights to counterfeit the Italian's smaller pair. -- MC

8pm: Not Juan but four times
Team PokerStars Pro Juan Manuel Pastor has quadrupled up to just over 10,000, partly with help from teammate Jude Ainsworth. Pastor got his last 2,250 in the middle and found another two callers along with the Irishman.

All three of his opponents checked the Q♠7♦T♥ flop before Ainsworth led for 3,200 on the 6♦ turn. Pastor was already out of his seat looking like he was ready to leave and he watched one opponent fold but another call. The river came 3♠ and Ainsworth led for 4,000 to force a fold from the final opponent left in.

Pastor tabled Q♣8♣ for the main pot as Ainsworth only had 6♠5♠. Even though he lost the main pot the side pot ensured Ainsworth made a small profit to hover round the 22,000 mark. -- MC

7.52pm: Berg Binged
Erik van den Berg and Michael Binger just clashed, Binger coming out best. On a board of 9♥4♣5♠2♥A♥ and with betting all the way, Van Den Berg bet 11,300 which Binger, who finished sixth in the recent NAPT Los Angeles Main Event, called. Van Den Berg showed 9♠9♦ but Binger was quick to show 5♥7♥ to take the pot. - SB

Michael Binger

7.45pm: The long and Romanello road
If you want action, you can do worse than stand next to Roberto Romanello's table. The chatty Welshman, from a part of the world that boasts beautiful countryside, sheep and free medical prescriptions, just tangled with Frenchman Angel Astorga, and while Astorga may have come away with the substance it was Romanello winning the style.

An early position player started things, making it 1,625 which Romanello called before Astorga raised to 4,000 in the big blind. Romanello called him for a flop of 8♥9♦3♥, a board that prompted Astorga to move all in.

Perhaps Astorga wasn't up for any messing about. Perhaps he figured this would sort things out once and for all, as the pair had duelled earlier. Either way Romanello wasn't convinced at the Frenchman's move worth 22,000.

Roberto Romanello in deep thought

He leaned back in his chair and removed his glasses, stopping the music on his iPod.

"Twenty-seven thousand?"

The dealer counted it out again to be sure. 22,800.

"Why so much?" asked Romanello.

"No reason," said Astorga, who looked like a man who would rather let his shrug do the talking.

Romanello rubbed his eyes and got to work.

"Twenty-what?" he said, talking to the dealer. It was 22,850 exactly.

Romanello makes his point

"It's going up all the time," said Romanello, counting out the chips it would take to call from his stack of 130,000. Then he looked directly at Astorga. "You'd really like to beat me wouldn't you? It would feel good after that last pot."

In that pot Romanello had proved victorious. Now was Astorga looking for immediate payback? Then the first signs of doubt from Romanello.

"You show me if I pass?" he said.

"If you call I show you," replied Astorga.

"Do you have ace-king," replied Romanello after a minute of further reflection.

"No," was Astorga's reply. "If you pass I show you one card."



"Now I think I'm beat," said Romanello. "Why didn't you just bet? A nice bet?"
The hand was effectively over. Romanello apologised to the others at the table and announced he was folding. "I pass."

Now the real action. Which card to show? After some back and forth as to who should choose, Astorga turned over A♦. Romanello then offered Astorga all the money in his left pocket if he turned the other one over and it was any card other than an ace. Astorga declined. Romanello said he had pocket jacks, and congratulated his opponent.

"Nice hand." -- SB

7.30pm: Another EPT champ downed
EPT5 Copenhagen winner Jens Kyllonen has been eliminated. He got the last of his chips in with big slick but couldn't catch up against an opponent holding pocket queens. -- MC

7.20pm: Negreanu collared by Collado
Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu won't be making it three EPT cashes in-a-row as he's been eliminated by Jan Collado. Negreanu raised to 1,375 from the cut-off and the young German called to see the Q♦A♥7♦ flop.

Collado checked-raised Negreanu's 1,500 bet up to 3,700 putting the Canadian to the test. Negreanu thought through his options before moving all-in for 15,575, total. Collado called with a A♠7♠ for two-pair; ahead of Negreanu's drawing J♦8♦. The 5♠Q♠ turn and river brought no diamonds.

"Argh, it just wasn't my day," mused Negreanu before heading off. -- MC

7.12pm: Before the break
As an impartial observer you shouldn't have any preference with regard to players, but there is part of you that can't help rooting for those that you know will dance across the poker baize. You at home, safely tucked away behind your laptop and monitors will probably be aware of the exuberance of Dario Minieri or the relentlessness of EPT Snowfest winner Allan Baekke, but there are plenty of others that are fascinating and fun to watch.

One such player is Nasr El Nasr. Tucked beneath a large curly bouffant of hair is a poker brain that ticks to a different tune than most. Unfortunately the German is short stacked with just 9,000 at the moment having successfully pushed out all opposition with a three-bet shove. All said and done, he'll probably be out next time I hit the tournament floor. -- RD

7.10pm: Pagano still in
Following his donation to the moustachiod cause yesterday, I won't have a bad thing said about Luca Pagano. But he just explained his situation in the break, down to around 4,000 after he tangled in a pot with king-six on a flop of king-ten-six. Sadly for the Italian, his opponent held king-ten. The king on the turn didn't help much either. -- SB

7.08pm: Play restarts
With half the field now on a 75 minute dinner break it's a distinctly smaller field for the first half of level seven, which is now under way

Daniel Negreanu

PokerStars Blog reporting team in Barcelona (in order of dinner):Simon Young, Rick Dacey, Marc Convey and Stephen Bartley

Stephen Bartley
@StephenBartley in European Poker Tour