EPT Barcelona: Day 1B, Level 1 & 2 updates (Blinds 75-150)
2.20pm: Break time
Two levels down means it's the first 15 minute break of the day. -- MC
Thor Hansen, who has won two World Series bracelets and holds the record for most all-time WCOOP cashes, has put his explosive life story down in print in a new book called "Uncensored". PokerStars is celebrating the publication of the book with a series of promotions and events in the Nordic region and also by sponsoring the veteran pro at EPT Barcelona.
He told us that nothing has happened so far in his tournament and then went straight on to lose a pot. He raised to 375 from the hijack and was called by a player in the next seat and Johannes Strassmann in the small blind. The flop came down 6♦8♦J♣ and Hansen's 800 c-bet was raised to 2,100 by his neighbour. Strassmann folded but Hansen called to see the 8♥ turn where he check-folded to a 3,800 bet. Hansen down to 26,300. -- MC
2.13pm: Duthie out in bum deal
John Duthie, Team PokerStars Pro and founder of the European Poker Tour, is a player that's not afraid to have a bit of a gamble if it puts pressure on an opponent. This time it backfired. On a 9♥J♣8♥ board Duthie got his stack in against Scott Baumstein who made the call with Q♥Q♦. Duthie was left drawing to a jack, king or backdoor outs with J♣K♥.
That's exactly what he got laying what looked like a grim beat on Baumstein with the J♥. Baumstein did have the flush draw as well as gutshot and queen outs. Until he glanced over at Duthie's K♥ anyway. In other words a re-suck was looking unlikely. Unlikely until the T♠ dropped anyway.
'Nice hand,' chuckled Duthie, 'You certainly deserved to win it.' -- RD
2.10pm: Nobody expects...
The video blog team stage their own Spanish Inquisition, bringing Liv Boeree, Nick Binger, Lex Veldhuis, Arnaud Mattern and Theo Jorgensen in for interrogation...
2.05pm: Big is beautiful
Last year the total field at EPT Barcelona was 478. Played in the main casino area it was a little, er, cramped. But this year we have moved down the hall to a huge banqueting suite - and so far the total entry today is 482 (and rising). So this year's Day 1B is bigger than the whole of last year. Stick that fact in your pipe and smoke it. -- SY
2pm: Rincon defeated by last-gasp goals
Alas, Friend of PokerStars and former Spanish international footballer Poli Rincon is taking an early bath. He lost all his chips in successive pots where his opponent made a straight on the river. Ouch! -- SY
1.58pm: I did what?
There's a possibility a few players were in this hand simply because they were too pre-occupied by Nuno Coelho, standing a few feet away, doing an interview to camera with a young blond Portuguese celebrity.
Vitalijs Zavorotnijs bet 350, which was called by Olesandr Sharov, Gaeton Ludovi Milvaque in the cut off, Tristan Clemencon on the button and Bill Gazes in the small blind. The flop came J♠T♦8♦ at which point Coelho's interview ended.
Gazes checked, Zavorotnijs checked, Sharov checked, Milvaque checked and Clemencon checked.
Gazes came to life on the Q♦ turn though, figuring perhaps that he may as well have a go. He fired out 1,125 which forced out everyone except for Milvaque, who called for a J♦ river. Both checked that, Gazes winning the hand, showing 5♦3♦. - SB
1.54pm: Boeken booming
Noah Boeken is up slightly early into level two. On a flop of 6♥7♠8♥ both Boeken and Michael Huber checked for a 4♣ turn card, at which the Team PokerStars Pro threw 1,500 to force a quick fold from Huber. - SB
1.50pm: Marcel likes it
There was a multi-way pot involving no less than six players, including Team PokerStars Pro Marcel Luske. They all saw a flop of 5♣[10h]6♦ and Luske checked before there was a bet and call of 800. Luske smelled a rat* and bumped it up to 2,300 and the two chancers got out of the way. Luske is on 34,000. Marcel Luske did not spot a passing rat, pick it up, and sniff it. Figure of speech, folks. -- SY
1.40pm: The lows and lows of Dario Minieri
It's been a bad second level for Team PokerStars Pro Dario Mineri. He's down to just a few thousand chips after folding in a very big pot on the river. Apparently he three-bet a player who made a raise after a lot of limpers. The player called to go to a  flop where Mineri's bet was raised. He called and then check-raised his opponent on the queen turn only to fold when faced with an all-in on the ace river after he led out.
This left Minieri crippled but he doubled-up on the next hand when he moved all-in with ace-eight and was called by a player holding ace-ten. But the Italian spiked an eight to double to 5,100.
A few hands later John Eames raised to 500 before Minieri three-bet to 1,100 from the button and a player in the small blind four-bet to 5,800. Both Eames and Minieri folded. Minieri was left with 4,000 after the hand.
The next hand Mineri raised to 350 from the hijack but folded when fellow Team Pro Daniel Negreanu raised all-in from the big blind.
The next hand he raised to 350 and was called by the BB to go to a 6♦3♠9♠ flop. Mineri's 525 c-bet was called but he managed to get his opponent to fold on the A♥ turn with a 2,550 all-in bet. The BB flashed the 3♦ before folding and Mineri flashed the 2♠ and said "Flush draw". The Minieri chip watch currently stands at 4,125, but don't expect it to stay this way. -- MC
1.30pm: Only Juan Garcia
Johannes Strassmann has slipped down to 25,000 after losing a hand to Juan Ramon Marquez Garcia. On a board already showing K♦9♦7♠3♠ and with around 3k in the middle, Strassmann bet 2,625 which Garcia called for a T♣ river card. Both players checked, Strassmann mucking when Garcia turned over K♠Q♠. - SB
1.23pm: Luske passes kings
Marcel Luske has been playing poker for more years than most and certainly isn't afraid to follow his reads. That confidence led the Dutchman to fold kings face up on the river of a ten-high board on the last hand of level one.
Unfortunately I missed the early action but I did arrive just in time to see Luske call his opponent's lead on the 7♣8♦6♠T♥ board, which looked to be somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000. The Team PokerStars Pro did not like the larger 4,900 on the river, however, and mucked his two red kings face up. Luske takes a sharp drop to 26,000. -- RD
1.20pm: LEVEL UP
Blinds are now 75/150.
1.18pm: Find the value here
XXXX XXXX started the season well by winning a side event at EPT Vilamoura and he's got off to a good start here despite his table draw which is seriously hard with a lot of recent form. To his left is Team PokerStars Pro Juan Maceiras followed by Roberto Romanello, Fabrice Soulier (3rd this month in Partouche Poker Tour for $700,000), Erik van den Berg, Team PokerStars Pro Leo Fernadez, Dmitry Stelmak, and finally Marcel Bjerkmann (winner of Master Classics of Poker this month for $571,000).
The first hand XXXX won was with ace-three on a board with a three versus Van Den Berg who held pocket threes. The board was dangerous enough that the Italian was able to bluff the Dutchman off the pot.
A short while after he saw a A♣6♠5♠ flop with Roberto Romanello and Dmitry Stelmak. Stelmak bet 500 when it was checked to him and XXXX was the only caller. The two checked down the 5♦K♥ turn and river and XXXX took the pot with 6♦3♦. -- MC
1.15pm: Angel Fingered
There was a flop of 4♦7♠7♦ on the board, about 11,000 already in the middle and a bet of 7,700 from Michael Finger waiting to be challenged. Thinking things over was Angel Guillen, the Mexican playing what was likely the biggest hand of the day so far, and one that would also be his last.
Guillen was in the tank for some time before eventually announcing he was all-in. Finger called the difference and turned over A♠A♦. Guillen shook his head and showed K♦K♥, looking up to the ceiling briefly, then nodding to the inevitable as he counted out his chips after a useless 8♦ turn and 2♠ river card.
"Good luck," he said, departing. His day over in less than an hour. - SB
1.05pm: Early bath for Wigg
There's always a couple of pro players that fall out super early shaking their heads and today is no exception. This time it was former EPT winner Anton Wigg who took the agitated walk of shame. An early position raiser had made it 250 before a middle position player had three-bet it to 600. Wigg made the call from the hijack, as did the initial raiser. This was all on the Stacked table (see 12.45pm).
The flop could not have been more wet with a sloppy T♦7♦9♥. Our three-betting friend made it 1,000 and Wigg raised to 2,750. The initial raiser passed leaving the aggressor to ponder his circumstances; Wigg had called a bet pre-flop and was now showing strength. His conclusion? To reach deep and re-raise to 9,000. Wigg responded by jamming in his 30,000 stack.
'Ahhhhh,' thought his opponent. It was a thought that lasted for one of the longest tournament tanks I've ever been witness to. Wigg finally called a clock on his opponent who literally threw his remaining 20,000 into the middle with some 30 seconds left. The Swede held 8♣9♣ for a pair and open-ended straight draw while his opponent tabled the inevitable - and in this case, unmuckable - aces. Blank 5♠ and 4♣ turns and rivers were dealt out as Wigg, tight lipped, shook his opponents hand and walked away from the table.
'I knew he had aces,' he told the PokerStars Swedish blogger, explaining that he thought his opponent would pass them. He said pretty much the same thing to me, just in a more concise way. I'll leave it to your imagination. -- RD
12.55pm: Keep clear of this one, too
With so many players today--well over 480, we think--there will be many tables to steer clear of. This one has two names that make it a place to fear: Team PokerStars Pros ElkY from France, and Angel Guillen from Mexico.
Between them they have cobbled together more than $7.1million in tournament winnings (ElkY $6.1million, Guillen $1million), and it's likely they'll be at each other's throats this afternoon. Establishing table captain status is something they both want.
In the early showing it's ElkY making the running. He's up to 34,000. -- SY
12.52pm: Italian gents
There's something about Team PokerStars Italy that makes us, well, happy. Luca Pagano is one of the nicest people in poker, and he keeps winning money at EPTs; Dario Minieri is the raising machine, pocket rocket who generates copy for us like no other; and Salvatore Bonavena is one of our favourites because of his style.
Bonavena has a double style win. We enjoy watching his poker style, which is not too shabby and has already bagged him one EPT victory in Prague, and we can wax lyrical about his style in clothing.
I don't think there is anyone in the game who can carry off a pink jumper and a pork pie hat quite like our Sal Bon. The hat is on today, but sadly the pink jumper is missing, replaced instead by a rather drab and disappointing grey top.
Today, Sal Bon is on a tough table, sharing it as he does with Oleksandr Vaserfirer from the Ukraine and Alessio Isaia, another fearsome Italian.
Sal Bon is leading the way right now. He bet on a 8♣3♦A♣ flop and got two callers, then bet out again at the [10c] turn, 1,125 this time - and that was good for the pot to send him up to an early peak of 33,000. -- SY
12.50pm: Deserving Desveaux
Scott Desveaux just added about 10,000 to his stack in the early stages, in a hand against a Frenchman. With betting all the way on a red board, Desveaux bet another 4,400 on the end with an eye on the three diamonds on display. His opposition erred on the side of throwing caution to the wind and called, Desveaux showing A♦K♦ for the but flush, taking him up to 36,000. - SB
12.45pm: Stacked table
Here's a table you might prefer to avoid, unless you enjoy a challenge. Here sits new Team PokerStars Pro Theo Jorgensen, EPT Berlin winner Kevin MacPhee, Ivan Donev and EPT Copenhagen winner Anton Wigg. And they all want to play. On this one MacPhee opened with a raise to 250 and got a call from Donev, Wigg, the button, the small blind and Jorgensen.
The flop was a tricky J♥J♦6♣ and it was checked to Wigg who bet 725. Only Jorgensen called. Both checked the [10h] turn, and on the 2♥ river Jorgensen reached for chips - and Wigg mucked before the bet was made. -- SY
12.40pm: No luck with this draw
Team PokerStars Pro Jude Ainsworth already has four EPT cashes since joining just over a year ago but he'll have to battle past a stellar line-up at his table if he's to make it five. Not only does he have Michael Binger to his left but he also has to contend with Sami Kelopuro and Davidi Kitai as well.
Ainsworth just tried to take a pot with a 250 bet on a 9♥4♠K♠ flop but Binger made it 1,000 to go from the next seat. It was a multi-way limped pot and all the other limpers and Ainsworth himself folded. -- MC
12.35pm: Moving pictures
Here's your intro to the day in moving pictures courtesy of Daniel Negreanu and Simon Young...
12.30pm: DM and DN
Dario Minieri and Daniel Negreanu will play at the same table today just a few seats apart. They each test the water early on, Minieri betting 250 which Negreanu called for a flop of 6♦4♦4♠. Minieri tossed a 500 chip which hadn't stopped fluttering onto the baize before Negreanu flick-mucked, wanting no further part. -- SB
12.20pm: Biblical proportions
Cards are in the air and let me tell you they don't do things by halves here in Barcelona (except for splitting Day 1 into two, of course, but I digress). Look at the Gaudi church, the Barcelona football team and now the tournament floor here at the Gran Casino. It's of nearly biblical proportions in there. There must be over 40 tables each loaded with ten players and the headcount is going to far out weigh yesterday's 263.
The rest of Team PokerStars Blog is doing a quick scout for early action and to spot the names and faces that we'll be tracking throughout the day. -- RD
Those same introductions are now being made in Spanish. -- SB
Thomas Kremser is making the introductions, telling players they will have nine levels of play today, including a split 75 minute dinner break. -- SB
12noon: Turn it off, then turn it on again
Despite some monumental internet problems we're about to get started in Barcelona. Play should be under way shortly. -- SB
10.30pm: Welcome back to Day 1B
Barcelona looks busy from the plush interior of the ARTS Hotel in Barcelona. Out there awaits Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia and Parc Guell, La Rambla and the Camp Nou. It's a bustling city of culture and intrigue, all things that, during an EPT at least, bear no relevance to the task at hand at EPT Barcelona this week.
Today the tournament room, tucked in between the ARTS Hotel and the Gran Casino de Barcelona in a windowless location we can't quite put our finger on, welcomes the remainder of the playing field. In that will be the likes of Daniel Negreanu, Bertrand Grospellier, Liv Boeree, Luca Pagano, Dario Minieri and new boy Theo Jorgensen. There must be something in there to set the comments box alight.
Play starts at 12 noon, or thereabouts. -- SB
Exterior of the Gran Casino de Barcelona