EPT Berlin: Day 1a, levels 7, 8 and 9 live updates (500-1,000 100 ante)
A full wrap detailing today's action will be on its way forthwith. The short version will be this: These are your chip leaders:
Kfir Yumin, Israel, 213,500
Rachid Ben Cherif, Holland, 163,800
Carlos Oliviera, Portugal, 158,000
Stefan Huber, Switzerland, 153,000
Ruslan Prydryk, Ukraine, 150,000
Grigory Torosyan, Russia, 142,700
Michael Huber, Switzerland, 142,300
11.35pm: Dealers, stop dealing
With just 15 minutes to go time has been called on today's play. The last few hands of day 1A will now be dealt before players bag up for the night. We'll have a full round up of the day's events coming up shortly.
11.30pm: King Brecard
PokerStars sponsored player Julian Brecard has managed to get his stack going in the right direction again with a double-up to 42,000. The big blind led out before Brecard moved all-in. A player in the hijack cold called and the big blind player folded after some serious thought. Brecard opened K♠K♣ to his opponent's Q♠T♥. The turn came A♦ and river T♣ to make a straight for the Frenchman.
11.25pm: A new force
Coming from nowhere to be the first player through 200,000 is Kfir Yumin, from Israel. With 20 minutes until the end of play, Yumin is going to be right up there at the end.
11.20pm: Sousa stays
Ricardo Sousa was all in for 12,000 with Q♠[10s] - and in very bad shape against a caller's A♦Q♥. Bad shape, that is, until the flop came a rather convincing 7♠A♠9♠ giving him the flush. The 8♠ turn and [10d] river changed nothing. -- SY
11.10pm: A Goodwin for Marc
Marc Goodwin has doubled-up to 52,000 after winning a flip. He got all his chips in pre-flop with J♣J♠ versus an opponent's A♣K♣. The board ran [t][j] to give him a little sweat when he hit his set on the turn but it ended okay for him. -MC
11pm: Margets some more
Leo Margets just took on Ruslan Prydryk - and came out the better of the two. Prydryk raised to 2,500 from mid-position before Margets three-bet to 7,000. The Ukranian called to go to a 4♣Q♥2♦ flop where he checked. Margets continued with the aggressive line and bet 8,2000. Prydryk thought for two minutes before giving it up. He's still going strong on 154,000 and Margets is going nicely too on 81,000. --MC
10.50pm: Imperfect information
Jeff Sarwer has been up and he's been down and he's been up again. Right now he's on 45,000 - a recent low point. He got it in good, best even, with aces against pocket tens. The tens rivered a straight, however - ah, the "joys" of a game with variance. -- HS
10.45pm: The last hour
The tournament officials have coloured up, removing the green 25 denomination chip and sending the remaining 234 players off on a 15 minute break. There's one more level to play tonight and then we're done. The survivors will return on Thursday for day two.
If Ruslan Prydryk is not the chip leader, then our top man is doing a very good job of hiding. Let's call it for Prydryk at this point.
LEVEL UP - WE'RE PLAYING LEVEL 9 WITH BLINDS 500-1,000 AND 100 ANTE
10.30pm: "I didn't think he had top set"
Those were the words uttered by Jeff Sarwer after he watched 31,200 of his stack pass to Carlos Hernandez. Hernandez raised to 2,000 and was called by two players including Sarwer in the small blind. The flop came K♣Q♥9♠ and Sarwer checked to face a 3,500 bet that he raised to 8,500. The third player got out the way but Hernandez moved all-in for 31,200. Sarwer made the call with A♥J♥ for a gutshot and an over card. The problem was that Hernandez had K♥K♦ for top set. Sarwer picked up a flush draw on the 8♥ but it missed on the 8♣ river. -- MC
10.20pm: Sorensen floored by Danzer
It's a contrasting bunch of emotions over on George Danzer's table. First there's Danzer himself feeling pretty happy with himself. Then there's Ricardo Sousa, oblivious to others, resigned to his fate with his chips all-in waiting for a call. Then there's Jan Sorensen, the man with the decision, looking uncomfortable, like a man who has to decide between walking the plank or jumping overboard.
Sorensen himself had just had the legs knocked from under him, something that hasn't happened to him since he commanded the training field at Walsall FC. The man who tackled the former Danish international was Danzer, who recounted the story with great pleasure as he watched Sorensen tank.
"I made it 2,300 from the small blind with K♥Q♥," said Danzer. "The flop came [t] with two hearts and I made it 4,200. Sorensen called. The turn was A♠. Check-check. The river was a king and I bet 8,600 thinking he might put me on middle pair. Call. He mucks his hand. Another ten-thousand to me!"
This last bit was told with finger-clicking relish, Danzer fully aware that this kind of thing can go badly very fast.
Sorensen was now trying to get back into shape, picking himself up off the floor and calling Sousa, showing A♥Q♥ to Sousa's K♠8♠.
Sorensen muttered something, for a while actually. Sousa didn't hear him, what with his headphones on, and gladly stacked his new chips. Sorensen down to 16,000. -- SB.
10.10pm: Prydryk heads the pack
Ruslan Prydryk was the first player this afternoon to build a noteworthy stack - 70,000-plus by the end of level two. And although he was caught up and overtaken by Tore Lukashaugen, Michael Huber and his countryman Sergiy Baranov, he has now hauled himself back into the lead. Prydryk, who made the final table in Warsaw this season, has 160,000 - and is now table-mates with Leo Margets. -- HS
10pm: Helppi himself to more chips
Juha Helppi is up to 87,000 after forcing an opponent off a hand on the river. His opponent raised to 2,500 from early position and only Helppi called from the hijack before the flop came T♦4♠5♣. He continued his aggression with a 6,000 bet here and a 12,000 bet on the 3♣ turn. Helppi called both times and then faced a check on the 3♦ river. His response was to pile the pressure on with a 23,775 bet and it did the trick as his opponent folded after tanking for a few minutes. Helppi raked in the pot and let out a big long breath like he was relieved. Was that real or a fake tell? -- MC
Vlad Zguba, deep into a massage, was deep into a pot with Luca Bueermann. On a board of 4♠9♥4♥Q♦ he bet, getting a call for a 7♣ on the river. Bueermann then made it 1,500 which Zguba called, folding his hand when Bueermann showed Q♣T♠.
On the next hand Vicky Coren continued her recovery process after some setbacks since the break that nearly halved her 55,000 stack.
Both she and Julian Erhardt checked the flop of 5♦2♥A♥ for a 2♠ turn. Erhardt bet 2,500 which Coren called from the cut off. On the 6♥ river both checked again, Erhardt showing 8♠8♥ to be beaten by Coren's J♣J♠ which takes her back up to 35,000. -- SB
9.45: Chip leaders
You can always keep track of the latest approximate counts of some of the notable players over at the regularly-updated chip count page. The man seemingly leading this thing at the moment is the Swiss PokerStars qualifier Michael Huber.
LEVEL UP. WE'RE NOW IN LEVEL 8, BLINDS 400-800 100 ANTE
9.30pm: 1-0 Margets
Leo Margets is very well known in poker circles. As the last remaining woman player at last year's World Series Main Event, there were few outlets that didn't cover Margets, and she has since become a mainstream celebrity in her native Spain.
Thomas Brdaric is very well known in football circles. Best known for a period of his career with Bayer Leverkeusen, he played in the Champions League final and won eight caps for Germany before retiring through injury a few years ago. Now he's a poker player.
There's a good chance neither of these players know who each other is, but they're now sitting next to one another in Berlin. And one of their early heads up skirmishes has just gone in the favour of Margets.
There was about 13,000 already in the pot pre-flop, which would indicate raising and re-raising between the two of them. Then the three cards off the deck were 4♠6♦8♣. Brdaric bet 11,200 and Margets raised to 26,200. Brdaric didn't seem to like it, and open-folded J♠J♥ to make his point.
Margets silently mucked her hand. -- HS
9.15pm: Bansi bust
Praz Bansi is out after having his aces cracked. Bansi opened the pot with a raise to 1,600 before Albert Iversen three-bet to 4,500. Bansi then re-popped it to 10,200 and then called all-in after Iversen shoved for around 48,000. Iversen opened pocket queens and looked all set to be crippled but hit the two-outer on the turn to end it for Bansi.
The Englishmen is naturally disappointed at his bust-out and how the day went generally. He accumulated all his chips by picking off bluffs and making good decisions in the other small pots but he lost all the big pots. The advice given to players is to focus on making the right decisions and not to be result orientated but even the best of players will find it hard busting out of a tournament with a €1million first prize. -- MC
9pm: McEvoy all in!
Stop the press and stone the crows, Tom McEvoy has just moved all in for about 21,200. It was over the top of some unknown pre-flop action, but got the fold. McEvoy has around 25,000. -- HS
8.55pm: Baranov reined in
Again it was a sizeable pot featuring the Ukrainian player Sergiy Baranov. But this time he was forced to fold, drawing a temporary halt to his impressive run today.
The board was out to the turn: Q♦2♦A♥6♥ and Thomas Pettersson was all in for 25,650. Baranov was in the tank, tempted by a pot already at 40,000 before Pettersson's bet. Eventually, though, Baranov let this one go and Pettersson survived. -- HS
8.52pm: All yours, Barbosa-ya-ya
Sergiy Baranov's tear continues, sending a player with queens to the rail with three sixes on the turn.
A table along was Joao Barbosa and Steven Van Zadelhoff Barbosa opened for 1,200 which Van Zadelhoff raised from the cut off to 3,800, sipping a cappuccino and spooning out the froth as he waited for Barbosa to act. Barbosa's act was to raise to 9,000, cross his arms and wait for further instructions.
None came. Van Zadelhoff folded K♣ and a red ace. Barbosa didn't show and stacked up 47,000. - SB.
8.50pm: Oh no for Arnaud
Team PokerStars Pro Arnaud Mattern is out not long after getting back from dinner. The hand started with an under-the-gun limp from Vicky Coren and picked up a call from Stuart Fox in the hijack before Mattern raised to 2,400. This bet was called by the big blind and Coren before Fox raised to 11,525. Mattern then moved all in for around 37,000 prompting the big blind and Coren to fold. Fox took a while but ultimately made the call to leave it at showdown:
The board ran 2♥A♠5♠6♣7♣ to bust Mattern and send Fox up to 75,000.
8.35pm: Back to it
After 90 minutes of nourishment, players have returned for the last three levels of the day.
Anything more than about 80,000 puts you in the top 10 at the moment; but no stack of 10,000 or more is totally out of it - the blinds are still only 300-600.
Off we go again then. A picture? A picture: