EPT Barcelona: Day 2, level 14, 15 & 16 updates (2,500-5,000, 500 ante)

ept-thumb-promo.jpg11.20pm: The bubble bursts just on time
We were scheduled to play seven levels today as that is how long TD Thomas Kremser thought it would take to get into the money. It's uncanny how many times Kremser and his team get this area spot on as the bubble burst with around five minutes left of the last level of the day and the unfortunate bubble boy was Koen de Visscher.

Andre Bucica raised to 11,500 and received one caller before De Visscher moved all-in for 74,500 from the button. Bucica flat called which was enough for him to isolate De Visscher. It took five minutes before all the other tables finished their hands and the crucial showdown took place.

De Visscher: Q♣Q♥
Bucica: A♠A♥

The board ran K♣3♦J♠6♠6♦. The Belgian took his fate very well and lots of fellow players consoled him. With that play has come to an end for the night.

The full wrap of the day's play will be up shortly and not long after that you'll find the official counts here. --MC

10.55pm: Bubble time
Confirmation, we're on the bubble with minutes to go in the level. Full details to follow shortly. -- SB

10.52pm: Announcements
I can hear Thomas Kremser making a lot of announcements. It may be hand for hand... -- RD

10.44pm: Puchkov getting battered
Konstantin Puchkov had enjoyed a prestigious chip gathering phase a little while ago but that's all turned sour in the last orbit or so. He called a 10,500 raise from Lari Sihvo and was squeezed from the small blind for 24,000 by another Finn, Kimmo Puusa. Sihvi passed and Puchkov made the call. Puusa fired 36,000 at the 5♥T♣8♣ flop forcing Puchkov to pass. The Finn flashed the 4♠.

Perhaps deciding that he wouldn't be pushed around Puchkov opted to four-bet Kristoffer Thorsson when the Swede three-bet his 12,000 open to 36,000. Puchkov counted out 62,000 and pushed it forward. Thorsson moved all-in and Puchkov folded. So much for that then. Puchkov still has around 130,000 though. Thorsson is on 380,000. -- RD

10.27pm: Newport drained
Nick Newport's luck has run out, I'm afraid. The Irishman shoved A♥T♠ and was called by Kristoffer Thorsson's A♠4♠. The board ran out 9♠Q♦6♠J♦Q♠ for a brutal river exit so close to the money. -- RD

10.45pm: Three-way all-in
As we approach the bubble you expect play to tighten up but if players have monster hands then the chips are still going in the middle. This scenario just played out with three players all-in.

The action started with a raise from Daniel Egea in the hijack before Iddo Feinberg moved all-in from the cut-off and Asa Smith followed suit from the BB. Very quickly Egea announced a call to create the three-way showdown.

Egea: K♥K♠
Feinberg: Q♥Q♣
Smith: A♥K♣

The board ran 2♣Q♦3♥6♥J♣. Feiberg spiked a queen to triple up to 280k and Smith eliminated the unlucky Smith to claim the side pot worth around 200k. -- MC

10.35pm: Sunar still on sonar
Surinder Sunar, cunningly disguised in a moustache which we are led to believe is not being grown for charity, is going along nicely and now up to around 120,000. -- SY

10.30pm: Gomes the bully
It was folded around to Team PokerStars Pro Alex Gomes in the small blind. He looked over at Maria Maceiras in the big blind and asked: "How much have you got?" It was around 120,000. "I'm all in," said Gomes, pushing a representative stack of yellow 5,000s over the line. He had a few less than the lady from Spain. She thought for a short while, and elected to muck. -- SY

10.25pm: Doesn't matter how
Erik Van Den Berg got a fortunate double up to keep him in the tournament. He faced a bet of 11,500 from Javier Piazuelo, and moved all-in for 55,500. Call.

Piazuelo: A♦J♥
Van Den Berg: A♥[10h]

Things looked bleak for the mean in the bobble hat, but the flop was K♠8♣[10s], followed by a 3♥ turn and 2♣ river. He's back over 100,000 as a result. -- SY

10.20pm: Bubble nearing
There are just 125 players left here and only 112 places paying out. It's not stopping some players from making big calls though. Kristoffer Thorsson had raised to 10,500 and was called by Konstantin Puchkov in the big blind. Neither player bet the 9♦J♦7♠ flop but Thorsson fired 14,000 at the 4♥ turn and 25,000 at the 4♣ river. Puchov called both times and showed T♦7♣ to trump Thorsson's A♦K♥. -- RD

10.12pm: Smith not to be messed with
We're back from the break and much of the media has been cleared off teh full as the money draws close. Asa Smith final tabled this event last year and he's not likely to be one of those trying to just limp into the money. Or is he? Smith limped from the small blind... and promptly jammed for around 110,000 when the big blind raised to 15,000. Nice pick up. -- RD

9.55pm: End of level
That's the end of the penultimate level of the day and a 15-minute break.

9.52pm: ElkY sucker Puched
Konstantin Puchkov raised under-the-gun to 10,000 and was called by ElkY in the big blind who check-called 12,000 on the K♦4♣5♦ flop. Both players checked the 5♣ before ElkY led 22,200 into the 7♣ river. Puchkov waited sometime before raising to 73,000, leaving himself just 30,000 behind.

ElkY didn't look happy but eventually made the call only to be shown A♣J♣ for a backdoor nut flush draw. The Frenchman is still on just shy of 200,000. -- RD

9.47pm: Rufas still leads
Luis Rufas now has 640,000 and looks pretty unstoppable at the moment. -- SY

9.45pm: Another big stack emerges
Roman Makhlin was smiling and joking as he counted up more chips to add to his rather nice stack. His latest victim was the elder statesman, Gianni Giaroni. Makhlin had raised, Giaroni moved all-in and got an insta-call from the Russian:

Makhlin: K♠K♣
Giaroni: A♦J♥

The Italian shook his head in disbelief as the board ran 6♦Q♥3♣[10h]Q♠. It seems Makhlin has been getting some big hands of late. "Aces, kings, everything," joked one of the players. -- SY

9.42pm: Any port in a storm
Irishman Nick Newport has been facing some tough competition and if it wasn't for a miracle river just a few minutes ago he wouldn't have that problem anymore. Bertrand 'ElkY' Gropellier opened under the gun for 8,500 and Newport moved all-in for 29,000 from middle position. Just behind me he met some stiff resistance in Kristoffer Thorsson who isolated the action with a raise to 49,300.

Newport: K♠Q♣
Thorsson: A♣K♣

Thorsson hit the T♠3♣A♠ flop leaving Newport with a bare gutshot or runner-runner. The 4♥ was no help but a miracle J♥ on the river kept the Irishman in it with 75,000. -- RD

9.35pm: A Sivho salvo
A report of a hand from our Finnish friend Vesa Arhipoff, a million dollar brain: A 300,000 pot "In the death table," featuring Nicholas Newport and Lari Sihvo.

Newport opened for 8,800 on the button which Sivho raised to 26,000 from the big blind. Newport then grabbed his yellow chips and pushed them in, a move worth around 120,000. Sivho then moved all-in for 150,000 which Newport called, showing K♣Q♥. Sivho turned over A♥K♠.

The board ran T♥9♥6♠2♠A♦.

Sivho doubles up to more than 300,000. - SB

9.30pm: For the folks back home, or next door
Leo Fernandez is on the TV screen in the media room, the live feed coming from the feature table in the tournament room. In front of that TV is Leo Fernandez's mother, glued to the screen like a heartbroken teenager watching a Robert Pattinson film. -- SB

9.28pm: Cainelli is able
The noise made by Luca Cainelli a few moments ago would best be described as an "Aye-yah!" as he just extended his tournament life, doubling up to around 150,000 chips.
It happened in a hand against Jan Boubli and Govert Metaal who, from certain angles, bears a striking familiarity to former British President of the Board of Trade and Deputy Prime Minister Michael Heseltine. Much of what happened is hazy, but the key elements are these:

Luca Cainelli was all-in, and Govert called from the small blind. At which point Boubli moved all-in, causing Govert to ask why on earth he would do such a thing. Govert had to fold leaving it a straight forward showdown between Boubli, who turned over A♠K♦ to Cainelli's 6♣6♦.

The board ran out 8♥9♠3♦5♠7♠ prompting the joyous cry from the Italian, which was accompanied by a kind of spin from the waist. Boubli slips down to 140,000. -- SB

9.25pm: Running as good as Marvin
Dominic Nitsche stated on his Facebook page this morning that he hoped to run as well as his friend, Marvin Rettenmaier. If that meant cracking an opponent's pocket aces in a 350,000-plus pot, then his wish has come true.

A pre-flop raising war broke out between Nitsche and Dimitar Danchev that saw all the chips end up in the middle. Danchev tabled A♦A♠ to the German's K♠K♦ and the board ran 5♠Q♦7♠K♣2♥. Nitsche spiked a king on the turn to scoop the massive pot to move up to 470,000 chips. -- MC

9.20pm: ElkY again
As described in the 8.37pm post below, Team PokerStars Pro ElkY is tasting blood*. Tony Arias opened with a bet of 8,000, and ElkY called confidently behind. The two saw a 9♣A♦3♠ flop, and both checked. Neither bothered with the 9♥ turn, but when Arias checked the K♣ river, ElkY had seen enough and put in 33,000 - way too much for Arias, who folded.

*ElkY is not a vampire. He is not really tasting blood. -- SY

9.15pm: De Meulder gets it back
Matthias de Meulder is getting into the swing of it. On the turn of a 4♥Q♥9♠2♥ board, both he and Dominik Ritter, a PokerStars qualifier from Germany, checked. But on the 5♠ river, De Meulder made it 36,200. Ritter gave it a long dwell before making the call, only to be shown the Team PokerStars Pro's [10h]7♥ for a flush. De Meulder is now back to 200,000. -- SY

9.12pm: Drawing of a different kind...

9.11pm: Nitsche up, De Meulder down
As the money draws in players adopt different playing techniques; some open up the throttle, others nit up preying to get aces and kings. Two players more likely to be in the first camp are Dominic Nitsche and Matthias De Meulder.

They're pretty much back to back at neighbours tables at the moment but while things are going well for Nitsche they're not going so well for De Meulder, who was just forced to pass up a good pot on a A♣Q♠K♦9♠6♦ river. The Belgian pro still has around 160,000 with 144 players left. Not too many left until the 113th place bubble. -- RD

ept barcelona_day 2_matthias de meulder.jpg

Team PokerStars Pro Matthias de Meulder

9pm: You can't kill Kenny
Bryn Kenney is up to 430k and playing like a man who can't. The American came 28th in the WSOP main event and he's setting himself up for a deep run here. He just took a pot off Nicolo Calia with a marginal hand in the worst pre-flop position.

He opened to 11,000 from under-the-gun to face a 28,000 three-bet from the Italian in late position. His answer was to four-bet to 51,000. Calia called quickly to see the 4♠T♥3♠ flop where he checked behind Kenney. Both checked the 7♦ turn and 8♥ before showdown.

Kenney table 6♥4♥ for a pair of fours. Calia could only muster ace-high with his A♣K♠ and he moves down to 125,000. -- MC

8.50pm: Taxi for...
Andrey Vlasenko has been eliminated. -- SB (who now wins the prestigious 'Shortest Post in PokerStars Blog History' award -- SY)

8.40pm: LEVEL UP: Blinds 2,000/4,000, ante 400

8.39pm: Weisner wiped out
Melanie Weisner has just been knocked out after some unfortunate flipping. She first got it all-in with A♠K♣ against 8♣8♠ only to hit a nasty T♣8♦Q♦ flop that failed to give her Broadway. That left her with less than one big blind and she picked up a decent enough hand to pin her hopes on with A♥9♠. Unfortunately the young American failed to beat the big blind's pocket threes and a miracle chip and chair story was suffocated at birth. -- RD

8.37pm: The glint is back. Opponents beware
There was a period where almost every major tournament had the name ElkY near the top of the payouts, if not winning. He used to steamroll tournaments, running over tables on course to a deep finish. There wasn't a more feared player on earth when it came to tournament poker.

Then there was the hangover from this success. 2010 has been a lean year by his standards, even though his tournament earnings have still reached six figures. The myth man expects a lot more of himself after setting such high standards. Some said the glint was missing from his eye and that he didn't care as much.

He started today with 88,000 but is currently sitting on around 300,000 and there is something different about him. It's like the glint has returned. He's running his table and in almost every pot, winning most. Our photographer, Neil Stoddart, stood watching him for a while and commented that it was like watching the ElkY of old. We caught him looking at us and I suspect that he knew what we talking about - his smile certainly seemed to suggest that he did. Riding a tournament with an in-form ElkY is a fun experience, so let's hope he's back for real. -- MC


Team PokerStars Pro ElkY

8.30pm: Big pot for De Meulder
We caught up with the business end of a hand that had generated a substantial pot. There was around 150,000 in the middle and the board had run J♠6♥A♠5♥[10h]. Team PokerStars Pro Matthias de Meulder had bet another 34,000 into that, leaving just 40,000 or so behind.

However, that sum represented the vast majority of his opponent's remaining stack as well. As a result, Oscar Blanco, sitting on de Meulder's immediate left, had an enormous decision. He agonised for a good few minutes before mucking in disgust.

If he hoped that the Team Pro from Belgium might show to put him out of his misery, he was disappointed. De Meulder is approaching 200,000. -- SY

8.27pm: Lex
We interrupt this coverage to bring you a video intermission. Here's a chat with Team PokerStars Pro Lex Veldhuis. He's from Holland...

8.25pm: Raising the Rufas
A big hand just moments after the restart, featuring the chip leader Luis Rufas and Martin Hansen on his immediately left.

With a board already showing T♥6♦3♦T♦ and around 80,000 already in the middle, Rufas checked to Hansen who bet 23,900 on the button. Rufus then raised to 67,100 which sent Hansen into the tank for some time. When he emerged, it was to fold. Chip leader Rufas now up to 550,000. - SB

8.15pm: Greenwood chopped down
Max Greenwood came into today with a 160k stack and high hopes of making the money. Those dreams have now been chopped down to zero, just like his stack. He three-bet all-in for for around 50,000 after Tomer Berder raised. Berder made the call with Q♣Q♦; ahead of Greenwod's A♠9♣.

The board ran 5♦K♦J♠4♥9♥ helping Berda's stack up to around 300k. Greenwood wished everyone luck and made his exit. -- MC

8.05pm: Play resumes
There is around 30 minutes left of level 14. Then we will play levels 15 and 16 before finishing for the night. -- MC

7pm: Aces for appetizer
Just before he went on dinner break with everyone else Surinder Sunar managed a double-up to 80,000. All the chips went in on the turn with the board reading 5♣K♣4♥2♦. Sunar turned up his A♠A♦ which was beating his opponent's K♥8♥. The river came 9♣ sending the pot the Brit's way.

Sunar managed an 18th place finish at EPT Vienna and he has a chance of another cash here. Either way, his buffet will taste a lot nicer now. Play will resume in one hour at 8pm. -- MC

6.55pm: Rich get richer
Guiseppe Pantaleo is now on around 540,000 after knocking out another player. He is likely to have snatched the upcoming dinner break chip lead from Luis Rufas, who has around 500,000. -- SY

6.50pm: Hymns and Arias
Tony Arias opened for 7,200 which Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier called for a flop of A♠2♦4♦. Arias bet again, this time 11,300 and again Grospellier called for a J♦ turn. Now Arias checked leaving Grospellier to make it 22,200 to play. Arias announced he was all-in and Grospellier called with a shrug, the decision out of his hands. Arias turned over A♥9♥ to Grospellier's K♦Q♦ flush. Arias was out on the A♠ river while Grospellier moved up to 280,000 chips. - SB

6.45pm: Aggression paves the way to success
The title statement isn't a fact but it sure is a good way to increase a stack as the three players below show us.

Alex Gomes:Team PokerStars Pro Alex Gomes three-bet to 19,000 after there had been a raise and a call in front of him. Only one of his opponents called to see the 7♣9♦3♦ flop where the action went check-check. The turn came the Q♦ and Gomes took the pot with a 30,000 bet when it was checked to him to move up to 80,000.

Melanie Wiesner: The diminutive New Yorker has a shoving stack but also has enough to three-bet with fold equity. When her cut-off opponent raised to 6,300 she moved all-in for 51,300 and took down the pot after the cut-off tank foled.

Dominic Nitsche:The PokerStars qualifier is using his stack to play pre-flop power poker. It's an area of the game that the younger generation are really strong at as so many online MTTs are won and lost with pre-flop actions. There was a raise to 6,600 from mid-position and a 14,800 three-bet from the button before Nitsche four-bet to 26,500 from the big blind. Both players folded, the button took a lot longer though. Nitsche still on around a high of 230,000 chips. -- MC

6.34pm: Nedellec knocked out as Pantaleo goes large
'She raised so much she couldn't fold,' said Giuseppe Pantaleo and while it may have been true that Marion Nedellec's raise on the flop may have committed her to the hand it did so with her ahead.

Nedellec had raised under the gun and was called by Pantaleo in the big blind. The German led 10,900 into the 7♠4♠2♥ flop and Nedellec raised to 28,000. Pantaleo didn't waste much time in tipping forward a large stack of yellow 5,000 chips to put Nedellec all-in. The Frenchwoman grimaced, looked at the pot and her stack, then called.

Pantaleo: A♠9♠
Nedellec: A♥K♠

Nedellec was glad to have a blocker to the flush and was a slight favourite to win the pot. Those hopes were short lived though with a spade immediately hitting the turn. Nedellec looked absolutely gutted before politely tapping the table and leaving. Pantaleo is up to somewhere in the region of 390,000. His stack is not the easiest to count. -- RD

6.20pm: Straight on with it
There was no break, folks. We're straight into level 14 with blinds at 1,500-3,000 and a 300 ante. The level will stop in the middle, at 7pm, for a one-hour dinner break.

Chip leader continues to be Luis Rufas from Spain. He has around 550,000 of the little blighters that you can see in the picture below...


PokerStars Blog reporting team (in order of sympathy for protesting British students): Marc Convey, Rick Dacey, Stephen Bartley and Simon 'Don't get me started' Young

Simon Young
@MrSimonYoung in European Poker Tour