EPT Berlin: Day 1a, levels 5 and 6 live updates (200-400 50 ante)

ept-thumb-promo.jpg7.05pm: End of level brings dinner break
That's the end of level 6 and time for a dinner break. Due to the large field size the players need ninety minutes to make sure they all have time to get fed. Join us back here then for the last three levels of the day.

7pm: Strange one costs Boatman
Barny Boatman's stack currently sits at 30,000 but it could've been higher but for a strange hand that played out with his neighbor. His neighbor raised from the button and then called Boatman's three-bet from the small blind. The flop came ace high and Boatman check-called a bet as he did when a five came on the turn. Both players then checked the river when a three came. What were the hands? Boatman held pocket kings and his opponent held five-three for running two-pair that was good for the pot.

6.55pm: And a little more for Jeff Sarwer
Jeff Sarwer's EPT season has become one of the poker stories of the year. It seems anything is possible for the former chess prodigy who plays with an eager rail expecting great things from him on every street, an all knowing Morpheus who finds it funny the rest of us think this is air we're breathing.

Leonid Bilokur took him on after a flop of K♠Q♣5♠. Bilokur made it 6,000 from early position and Sarwer called for a 6♦ turn. Bilokur bet again. Sarwer made a raised eyebrow kind, 'hmm?' expression to Bilokur's suggestion that he in fact had the best hand. To prove his point Sarwer plonked 40,000 into the middle. Bilokur's insta-folded. - SB.

6.50pm: Formerly known as Wow Barbosa
On a flop of A♣J♣5♠ Joao Barbosa, who lit up the statistics of season five on the EPT, with seven cashes and a win in Warsaw, made it 1,100 to play. Waiting for him was Steven Van Zadelhoff, who may not have done the same to the EPT but smashed his way to victory in the Spanish poker Tour in Costa Melonaras, last November, who raised to 2,850. Barbosa called for a turn card 9♣ then checked. When Van Zadelhoff bet 5,000 Barbosa mucked, his stack now measuring 35,000, about the same as Van Zadelhoff. -- SB.

6.45pm: Rivered flush brings the house down
The Ukrainian player Sergiy Baranov just let out a huge roar as he rivered a flush to oust Tim Ulrich. There were four cards out: 8♦5♣[10s]7♦ and about 34,000 in the pot. Ulrich moved all in for a little more than 25,000 and Baranov called.

Baranov: J♦3♦
Ulrich: 4♠6♣

That was the made straight for Ulrich and the flush draw, with bonus inside straight draw, for Baranov. The [10d] on the river sealed it in the Ukrainian's favour, sending his stack up to beyond 80,000 and Ulrich to the rail. -- HS

6.40pm: McEvoy takes a tumble
Tom McEvoy, former world champion and holder of the current WSOP Champions Invitational trophy, got off to a nice start today, nudging over 50,000 after the first couple of levels. But a return to his table a short while ago revealed he had suffered a slip, and was down to 12,000.

Team PokerStars Pro McEvoy is a fighter, though, and opened up this pot with a raise to 1,200 from early position. Only PokerStars qualifier Luis De La Haza Ruano, from Spain, made the call. On the 5♦8♣5♠ flop McEvoy wasted no time in putting out a continuation bet of 2,100, and that was enough to chase off his opponent. That put our man back up to around 14,000. -- SY

6.30pm: Bansi bounces back some
Praz Bansi is still reeling from losing that big pot a while back but it's not affecting his decision making. He raised from early position to 1,100 and was called by three players to go to a 7♥2♠7♦ flop. It was checked all around and the turn came 8♦. Albert Iversen was sat in the hijack and bet 2,200 when checked to him. Two folds came before Bansi made the call after some thought. The river came 5♥ and Bansi checked again and this time faced a 3,500 bet from the Dane. Another period of thought came from Bansi before he threw in the chips to call. Iversen instantly mucked and Bansi took the pot without having to showdown. He kindly informed the PokerStars Blog what he had though: ace-ten.

Bansi on 28,500 now but feels he should be on 100,000. --MC

6.20pm: Our youngest reader
Word has just reached PokerStars Blog HQ that the Team PokerStars Pro Marcin Horecki is now a father. His wife gave birth to Amelia this morning. Congratulations Marcin from all of us in Berlin. It's a shame not to have you here in Germany, but see you at Snow Fest. -- HS

6.15pm: Double up for Fitzgerald
The flop was out: [10s]2♦Q♣ and Bruno Roque bet 3,500. Alex Fitzgerald bumped it up to 7,500 and Roque announced that he was all in. Fitzgerald called instantly.

Fitzgerald: [10d][10c]
Roque: A♣Q♦

The Portuguese rued what could be considered a cooler, before counting out the 18,770 that he owed Fitzgerald. (Even the Q♠ on the river couldn't save him.) -- HS

6,10pm: The Gall of it
Praz Bansi just lost a chunk of his stack, doubling up the PokerStars qualifier Raphael Gall. Bansi bet 3,500 at these four community cards: 8♠2♦5♣9♠ and Gall made it 11,000. Bansi announced that he was all in, covering Gall, but Gall called for his tournament life.

Gall: 7♣6♣ for the nut straight
Bansi: 9♣8♣ for top two pair

"You should have thought a bit longer," Bansi said. "You had a tough decision there." -- HS


6.05pm: The unofficial feature table
You might have noticed more posts about Vicky Coren's table than any others so far today. It's a combination of the line-up and the ease with which you can actually get to it though the tightly packed room. It makes this the unofficial feature table.

Coren is up some more, 41,000 in all, after pushing Sebastian Homann off a hand on a flop of 8♥Q♦3♦. Coren's bet of 7,000 was enough to dissuade Homann, although not until he'd thought long and hard.

Elsewhere there was commotion on table seven, where Sergiy Baranov and Ognjen Sekularac had just split a pot. Sekularac was incensed. He'd shown A♥T♥ to Baranov's A♣7♠ on a board featuring two aces and two fives.

Sekularac was out of his seat on the river and had to be called back by the dealer. Baranov was not exactly impressed by Sekularac's shenanigans, although this didn't stop Sekularac from pacing up and down for several more minutes, explaining the situation to voluntary and involuntary listeners. -- SB

6pm: Coren versus Mattern
Fellow PokerStars Team Pros Arnaud Mattern and Vicky Coren have been sat at the same table all day and are not afraid to get involved with each other. They're both members of the same team but once they're around the baize their competitive spirit comes outs in what is essentially a very individual game at heart.

In the last hand they were involved in Mattern raised it up from second position and was called by Coren in the cut-off. The big blind came along too. The flop came 2♥3♣4♠ and Mattern continued the aggression with a 1,300 bet that was only called by Coren to go to the K♠ turn. Mattern led for 3,875 only to be raised to 12,000 by Coren. He folded and said: "You flop a set every time, eh?"

Coren responded: "No set this time but I have the best hand."

That pot puts her up to 44,000. Mattern still chugging along nicely on 66,000. -- MC

5.50pm: Down and up with Jeff Sarwer
To the surprise of no one, Jeff Sarwer has now chipped up to more than his starting stack again. Sarwer was down to about 10,000 early on, but now has close to 35,000 once more, although he recently lost another small pot to Leonid Bilokur.

On a flop of A♠K♦2♥, Sarwer checked and Bilokur bet 1,400. Sarwer called. The turn was Q♥ and Sarwer checked again. Bilokur bet 5,000 and that was too rich for the Canadian, who folded. -- HS

5.45pm: Unhappy fold
On a board showing 4♦K♦5♠Q♥ Marko Batanjac checked and Arnaud Mattern bet 7,750. Bantajac called and then checked the [10d] river. Now Mattern put in a meaty bet of 14,800, which sent Batanjac into the tank for several minutes. He tried to talk to Mattern to get some info, but the French Team PokerStars Pro is too good to fall for that one.
Batanjac then folded J♣J♠ in disgust, his mood not improved when Mattern refused to show. -- SY

5.15pm: Bananagate
British player Pryian de Mel has been on a hot run of form of late. A 9th place finish in EPT Prague was the filling in between two GUKPT wins and he went close to a third last week but fell short in 12th. He was complaining to the blog team about not getting paid when he's had aces. He had them on the bubble in the GUKT last week and has had them five times already today. He also explained how his table mate Juha Helppi had them once and managed to double-up with them.

Whilst this conversation was going on a player raised from early position to 1,050 before Helppi three-bet to 3,500. De Mel then got involved and four-bet to 8,500. The first player folded and Helppi looked like he was going to commit more chips until a waitress came round and offered the table a banana each. This distracted the Finn and he decided a banana was a more tempting than continuing in the pot and folded his hand. De Mel then opened his hand and what do you think he had?

Aces of course for the sixth time today! De Mel's only on 40,000 though whereas Helppi is on 70,000. --MC

5pm: Gallery
It's a packed tournament room - in more than one way.

There are plenty of tightly assembled tables, necessary simply to fit this huge field into one room (see picture one, below). But they also house numerous stars of the game (see other pictures below).

Credit, as ever on the EPT, goes to Neil Stoddart for his selection of photos:


Tournament room in Berlin


An opponent's eye view of Ben Kang


Johannes Steindl


Julien Brecard


Tom McEvoy


Leo Margets

4.46pm: Video time
Here's the video team's take on the start of the day...

Watch EPT Berlin 2010: Day 1A Introduction on PokerStars.tv

4.55pm: Off we go again
The break is over and players are returning to their seats. We've already lost in the neighbourhood of 30 players - 30,000 chips not enough for some.

The official number of runners here on day 1a was 389, and with the usual bigger field expected tomorrow, we'll likely be north of 800.

A strong German contingent includes this man, George Danzer:


George Danzer

PokerStars Blog reporting team (in alphabetical order): Stephen Bartley, Marc Convey, Howard Swains, Simon Young