EPT Berlin: Day 1a, levels 1 and 2 updates (75-150)

ept-thumb-promo.jpg2.21pm: Status report
"Up to forty-seven again," said Arnaud Mattern at the break. "No showdown, good. Showdown, bad." - SB.

2.20pm: Level over
We're taking a 15-minute break at the end of level two.

2.18pm: Raising galore    
A battle of wills between two aggressive players almost ended in an all-in showdown. The players in question were Team PokerStars Pro Sebastian Ruthenberg and Frenchman Ludovic Lacay. A third player opened the pot with a raise from the cut-off to 400 before Ruthenberg three-bet from the next seat to 1,200. Lacay then four-bet to 3,250 from the big blind. The original aggressor moved out of the way but the German wasn't as easy to budge. He put in another raise to 7,600 and it did the trick as Lacay folded after a lot of painful looking thought. Ruthenberg then allowed Lacay to see one card and the card he chose was K♠. -- MC

2.15pm: The plight of Arnaud Mattern
Vlad Zguba was raising pre-flop when Arnaud Mattern got up to explain his recent three way all-in. Mattern had opened for 250 with queen-ten off-suit. Luca Bueermann then made it 750 which Armenio Massimo called in the big blind. Little did Massimo know that this would be his last hand.

After Mattern called they saw a flop of [9][t][9] with two hearts. Massimo opened for 2,400 which Mattern then raised to 7,500. Bueermann called leaving himself just 1,700 behind. Massimo then shoved for 17,500 and Mattern moved in himself for more. Bueermann called showing A♥4♥. Massimo showed K♣Q♣.

The turn came 7♣ but the J♥ river made Massimo the straight but Bueermann the flush. It made Mattern nothing and sent Massimo to the rail.

"I could have been up to 90,000," said Mattern. "Instead I'm down to 30,000."

I don't know what happened to Vlad. - SB.

2.10pm: Scary river
The turn was out giving a 5♠9♦Q♥K♣ board. The small blind checked to Katja Thater who fired a 1,500 bet that was quickly called. The river came a scary looking T♣ and it prompted both players to check. Thater tabled Q♦Q♣ for a set and it was good for the pot as her opponent folded showing the case Q♠.

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Katja Thater on day 1A of EPT Berlin

2.05pm: Gustavsson beats up ladies
When you've won an EPT event, you have little left to prove and suddenly your chips are remarkably more liberated. Aaron Gustavsson just moved all in - still a pretty big move in the second level - but it worked in fairly emphatic fashion.

There must have been a raise and a re-raise between Rob Harcarik, on the button, and Gustavsson, in the small blind before Harcarik threw out 5,000 in the form of five red chips.

Gustavsson announced that he was all in, tossing forward about five gold chips, worth 5,000 apiece. Harcarik dwelled for a while before showing Q♣Q♦ and letting the ladies go. Gustavsson mucked, having perhaps just got away with a monster bluff. Who knows. -- HS

2pm: Bichon finds his level
The elevator at the Grand Hyatt Berlin was causing a few problems yesterday and one of the guests struggling to get to their required floor was Thomas Bichon, WPT champion and PokerStars sponsored player, but stumped by the floor-level card access at this absurdly opulent establishment.

One can only assume Bichon managed a good night's sleep because he's on his game already - finding his level in the poker room - up to around 40,000 and making the right reads.

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Thomas Bichon on Day 1a of EPT Berlin

Moments ago, he bet 750 at the flop of 9♥A♥2♠ and only faced resistance from one opponent. The turn was the 6♣ and Bichon check-called a bet of 1,225. The river was 7♦ and when both players checked, Bichon waited to see his opponent's K♣J♦ before showing his winning A♣J♦. A few more chips.

1.55pm: Kang can't
After increasing his stack early on Team PokerStars Pro Ben Kang is back to his starting level after folding twice on the river to bets from two separate opponents.

The first hand had a board of Q♥9♦A♠4♠T♠. Kang was up against an aggressor in early position and he managed to call a 2,200 bet on the turn but the 7,000 bet on the river was too much for him.

Next time he was up again Praz Bansi and the board read 5♦2♣7♦6♠K♦. Bansi's bet of 6,500 was too much for him and he folded. Frustrating times for the German pro. --MC

1.45pm: Skampa out
No details as yet, but Jan Skampa, winner of EPT Prague, is an early faller. He was seen leaving The Grand Ballroom, and his empty chair and a player a few seats along with a nice pile of yellow 5,000 chips confirmed his demise. -- SY

1.35pm: Add these to the tough list
Antony Lellouche and Andrew "tufat" Teng are on the same table, with sparks certain to fly there. Pierre Neuville, the Serial PokerStars Qualifier™, has also entered our ken, as well as last year's runner up Holger Kanisch and the Albert Iversen.

Emerging at the summit of the leaderboard is Ruslan Prydryk, the Ukrainian player who finished fifth at EPT Warsaw. He has 78,000 already. I'd say that's the leader.

1.30pm: Level up
Level one passed in a flash and we're already deep into level two, with blinds at 75-150. -- HS

1.20pm: Russian roulette
Ilya Gorodetskiy plays today, the Russian player whose other life is spent behind an EPTLive microphone. He was up from his table describing a hand in progress between a Ukrainian player and a Serbian, that had featured unfamiliar betting patterns up to the river card, the board showing 6♦3♦T♦2♥8♣.

"I think the Ukrainian has got a set," said Gorodetskiy before the Ukrainian turned over A♦4♦. "No, just the nuts." - SB

1.17pm: Small pots around the room
Lots of small pots are being played around the room which is not out of the norm for this stage of the tournament. The stacks are deep and the blinds are small so there's little need to risk a high percentage of your stack without a big hand. Here are a few examples:

Three players had made it to the turn with the board reading T♥2♣8♦2♦. Albert Iversen led for 500 from the small blind before PokerStars qualifier Pierre Neuville raised to 1,100. Both opponents folded and a smiling Neuville took down the pot.

In this hand five players had made it to the turn and a pre-flop limp fest and checks all around on the turn. The small blind led for 1,000 and only Team PokerStars Pro Arnaud Mattern called to see the see the river. The final board was 3♣5♣A♣J♠8♦ and both players checked and the small blind took the pot with J♣T♥. Despite this small loss the Frenchman has had a good start and is up to 40,000.

It was pre-flop aggression that allowed Jeff Sarwer to take down the last pot just witnessed. There was an early position raise to 250 that was called in three spots before Sarwer three-bet to 1,250 from the big blind. It did the trick as all his opponents folded. -- MC

1.15pm: Coren up again
On a flop of K♥8♦2♥ Vicky Coren was in action again, checking to Armenio Massimo in seat two alongside her. He bet 3,700 which Coren called. The turn card was the 8♥. Again Coren checked before Massimo this time made it 5,000. Coren called after a few moments of reflection, for a J♥ river. Both checked. Massimo showed first J♦ then A♦. Coren had that beat, showing K♣Q♣, taking her stack up to 40,000. - SB

1.10pm: One back for Coren
Vicky Coren and Arnaud Mattern continue to tangle, with Coren's guile winning the latest little showdown. Mattern bet 1,500 at the Q♠9♠7♠ flop and Coren calling on the button. The turn was 7♦ and Mattern bet again, this time 3,200, which Coren called again.

"I'm going to have to look at my cards," Coren said.
"You haven't looked at your cards?" said Mattern quizzically.
"There's something I need to check about them," Coren said.

On the 5♣ river, Mattern checked and Coren now peeked at those cards. She bet 5,000 and Mattern folded. -- HS

1.05pm: The nearly men
"No one remembers the runner up" is a tired old adage that isn't true. Some of the EPT's most celebrated nearly men are in today's field: Marc Goodwin (second, Barcelona season six), Jeff Sarwer (third, Vilamoura, season six), Nikolai Senninger (third, London, season six) and Nasr El Nasr (seventh Prague, season five) are in today's field.

There are also the familiar faces of Ben Kang and Praz Bansi next to one another. That's one for the lovers of big bets with one-pair draws on the turn. -- HS

1pm: Packed
The tournament room is quite simply packed. With a huge day 1a field (numbers still to be confirmed) there's little room between the tables and spectators are being herded behind a roped-off area on one side of the room. The German leg of the EPT (Dortmund for the past few years) has always been popular, but Berlin looks like being massive. -- SY

12.55pm: 'That's not my dream flop'
Michael Schulze limped with a 100 bet, Arnaud Mattern bumped it up to 375 - and fellow Team PokerStars Pro Vicky Coren re-re-raised to 1,100. Two calls. The flop came Q♠9♠7♣, Schulze checked, as did Mattern, and Coren fired out a continuation bet of 2,500. Schulze got out of the way, but Mattern thought for a moment before re-raising to 7,800. That was too much for Coren.

"That was not my dream flop," she said, showing A♦K♦. -- SY

12.45pm: First bust-out creates early chip leader
When two players flop a set it normally means carnage, with blood of a poker sort spilt. Three hands in to today's play Jose De la Guardia out-flopped PokerStars qualifier Oliver Klatt and eliminated him in the process.

The turn was out giving a 2♥7♠T♦ board and Klatt check-raised De la Guardia's 1,100 bet up to 2,500. De la Guardia's response was to raise again to 5,100. After some thought from Klatt he made the call to go to the K♥ river. Klatt then led for 8,500 only to see his opponent move all-in. Klatt made the call for his tournament life but it was the wrong decision as his 2♦2♠ was bettered by the higher set of De la Guardia with 7♣7♦. -- MC

12.35pm: You have to start somewhere
First things first, head to the table where you know people. It's easier that way. So that means Arnaud Mattern's table, where fellow Team PokerStars Pros Vicky Coren and Vlad Zguba of Ukraine also sit. Former EPT winner Michael Schulze is here too.

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Vlad Zguba on day 1A of EPT Berlin

None of them play a hand of much note. Mattern takes one uncontested on the flop. Zguba concedes one as does Coren, who recently spent one week in a "bubble", locked in a house without access to any news as part of a British TV show, looks happy to be back among her people. Although at nine one hour levels and a 90 minute dinner break today might not feel much different.

12.25pm: Cards in the air
After familiar issues with long, long registration lines (and not unfamiliar battles with the internet), we are away.

There are hundreds of them in there - plenty of stars, plenty of soon-to-be stars, and everything in between. We have also lost a player already, 30,000 chips to zero in less than an orbit. Full details of that are on their way.

Stick with us. There are teething issues right now, but they will soon be overcome. And then it's party all the way.

Why not use this time to read the introduction to EPT Berlin.

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EPT welcome party