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

ept-thumb-promo.jpg

LEVEL OVER - 15 MINUTE BREAK.

2.26pm: A long road back
After a couple of limps, Zennawi Petros, a PokerStars qualifier from Canada, made it 900 to go. No respect: four players came along to the flop, including Michele Carbone, a table short stack. (On the previous hand, Carbone had shoved pre-flop for about 6,000 - forcing a fold from Alex Kravchenko.)

This time, they all checked the K♣4♦2♥ flop before Carbone bet 1,500 at the 5♦ turn. Petros was the only caller. The river was 6♣ and Carbone bet 1,500. Petros raised to 4,500 and Carbone was clearly angry about that, waiting for a good long while before tossing out a crying call.

Carbone had K♠Q♠ but he only turned those over, with a good measure of disgust, after he'd been shown the A♠A♣ of Petros.

Carbone was left with about 600. It's a long way back from there.

2.25pm: The Winterberger of discontent
David Winterberger opened for 425 which was called by Andreas Gulunay, Alfonso Amendola and Jon Kabbaj. PokerStars qualifier Thomas Michael then raised things up a little, making it 3,000 to play. Winterberger passed, Gulunay called while Amendola and Kabbaj backed out.

The flop came A♥5♣3♠ and Kabbaj, who was out of his chair, groaned a little. "You can guess my hand," said Kabbaj. "And it was suited."

Michael bet and was called by Gulunay for a 8♠ on the turn. Checked to Gulunay he then made it 6,700. Michael took his time, slowly assembling the short pile of chips it would take to call before flinging it across the line.

A 9♦ on the river. Again Michael checked to Gulunay who bet 10,800, using a blue 10k chip.

Michael stared at the board for a while, willing some info to leap out from the board. The dealer flicked some dirt from the table while the rest at the table waited. Amendola stood by the table while Kabbaj had gone for a short walk.

When Michael called the Amendola signalled to Kabbaj to hurry back. Gulunay showed 9♥9♣, Michael showed disappointment and mucked. -- SB.

2.22pm: Bedlam with Hedlund
Here's something that regular readers of the blog will get; Peter Hedland is being very vocal and making the EPT Berlin experience enjoyable for most of his tablemates. He's in almost every hand and certainly in every conversation.

With a beer in hand he raised up from under-the-gun and was called in two spots for a [5][6][9] flop. Hedlund led out for a c-bet and the first player folded and the second one was about to but Hedlund grabbed his arm and said "No, don't do that. I'll give you a discount." This was a slight tell on his part and did not deter the player from folding. Hedlund laughed and tabled [7][8] for the flopped nuts.

His opponent found this very amusing as well and responded with "You'd be sick if you knew what I did lay down".

The Peter Hedlund show will go on and on as long as he has chips. At the moment he has and his stack sits at 35,000. --MC

2.20pm: Whirling Derwiche
The Amendola table also features Jon Kabbaj, Maria Maceiras and Morten Klein, who finished third just over a week ago at EPT Copenhagen. It also features Imad Derwiche.
On a flop of 5♣Q♠K♣ Derwiche made it 700 which was called by Klein before David Winterberger re-raised to 2,000. The action was back on Derwiche who called, as did Klein for a 6♠ turn card.

Derwiche then made it 5,000 to play. Klein passed, leaving it to Winterburger. He thought for a while before passing. Derwiche tapped the table and turned over Q♥K♦, taking the loot. - SB.

2.15pm: Chop it
Christer Johansson chops an 8,000 pot with one other player, both of them tabling [q][6] on a 6♠5♠5♥K♦5♦ board. -- SY

2.10pm: Naujoks returns
She won EPT Dortmund in Germany last year under the bright lights and the cameras of the TV table, but this year Sandra Naujoks, the Team PokerStars Pro, starts her defence in the quieter surroundings of the overspill room.

sandra_naujoks_ber_d1b.jpg
Sandra Naujoks

She has Melanie Weisner, the PokerStars player from the US for company, but otherwise it's a quiet table and a nice peaceful room. That will soon change, however, as this table will be one of the first to break, with the players being scattered to all corners of the packed main tournament room.

Naujoks has slipped a little in the early going, down to 25,500. --SY

2.05pm: Rubik's Cube returns
What is probably the most travelled Rubik's Cube in world history has now shown up in Berlin. The tricky puzzle, owned by Mats Iremark, has shown up all over the place at various poker tournaments and is now being twizzled furiously by the former EPT Deauville champion.

You'd have thought he would have got the hang of it by now. -- SY

2pm: "At least I can enjoy a German beer now"
The title refer to what Richard Grace said in the corridor shortly after he busted out. He lost over a third of his stack in the first level and then got the rest in during the second. A raised and re-raised pot brought a seven-high flop before the rest of the chips went flying. Grace had pocket queens but his opponent had pocket kings. "I like all my lines in the pots I was in," said Grace philosophically. "It just so happened my opponent's had better hands." - MC.

1.55pm: Aren't you the man they call the Amendola kid?
Alfonso Amendola, you know him, the Italian spaghetti cowboy who dresses in a shoestring tie, pretzel beard and belt buckle, who today wears a leather fedora. He just won a pot against Daniel Schmidt with no shortage of swagger.

By the time the board read K♠8♦4♠4♦9♦ Amendola had been tossing chips into the middle like a man guaranteed a re-buy. Schmidt had been calling, at one point raising him, only to gather his senses soon after. Through sheer might of will Amendola took the pot without showing. -- SB.

1.50pm: Stop the clock
At some point someone somewhere will say, "that's enough, no more comedy Elvis glasses 12 inches wide, and enough with the balaclavas." But that day is not today. The Elvis glasses are here as is the balaclava. It may be Marc Gork underneath it.

There was a slight delay at the end of level one, which perhaps gave Elvis and balaclava man time to fetch their props.

The clock was stopped as the dealers moved to the next table without a push which normally takes care of dealer changes in an organic fashion. But Berlin is straining at the edges. "We have 55 tables," tournament official Alen Babic. "And we have 55 dealers." -- SB.

1.45pm: The search for information
A lot of things were going down at the same time on table 46. A casino employee had come around to pick up the release forms that players are obliged to sign, but Erik Friberg had noticed that the entire document was written in German and so he couldn't be certain precisely what he was signing away. "I bet less than one percent of people read this," Friberg noted to his neigbour, soon after being frustrated in his attempts to obtain a translation.

It didn't get easier for the casino employee. She then tried to get Luca Pagano's release form too, but Pagano was deep in a hand against Sebastian Kubesch. Kubesch bet 3,800 at these four community cards: J♦[10c]5♥5♠ and Pagano raised to 7,100. Kubesch called.

The river was 4♥ and after Kubesch checked, Pagano bet 5,500 before assuming the poise of a statue. It was around this point that the casino employee tried to get Pagano to sign his release form, tapping him on the arm, but receiving very little response. Kubesch was also staring Pagano down for information of a different kind, but both were frustrated.

Kubesch eventually folded, allowing everything to snap into motion. Pagano raked the chips then signed his form and everyone was happy (with the possible exception of Friberg, who still doesn't know what he signed). -- HS

1.35pm: Bowler for Timex
News has reached us that Mike McDonald is down to 3,500 already. We don't have all the details but heard this much: McDonald raised in mid-position and then called a three-bet from a player on the button. The flop came down jack high with two spades and both players checked to the turn that came T♠. McDonald led out this time before his opponent moved all-in. The Canadian almost called immediately but stopped to think before making the call with pocket kings, neither a spade. His opponent tabled J♠5♠ for a flush and took down the large pot. --MC

1.25pm: Jiving this way and that
If Jan Collado and Benny Spindler seem to have stood in a wind tunnel to get their hair-styles, then their table-mate Gianpiero Valentini was simply facing the other way. The Italian is, well, Italian and his long hair is swept back and pegged into place behind his ears by a pair of shades that probably cost more than my month's rent.

He's not afraid to get involved with the two aggressive Germans, however, and in back-to-back skirmishes, Valentini took one pot down and lost another.

Spindler made it 250 pre-flop and Valentini and Collado were two of four players who called to see a flop of K♣J♥Q♠. It was checked all the way round to Valentini, who put out a 1,000 feeler. Fold, fold, fold, fold.

Encouraged, Valentini made it 325 pre-flop and Collado called on the button. The flop came 2♣5♦2♥ and Valentini bet 650. Collado called. The turn was 7♣ and that pattern repeated again: Valentini bet 1,200 and Collado called.

The river was 9♥ and they slowed down, each player checking. Valentini showed A♥5♠ and Collado's [10d][10c] took it down. -- HS

1.20pm: Jelassi in usual mode
Ramzi Jelassi has started Berlin like he does most poker tournaments... in top gear. There was 16,000 in the pot already on a A♥8♥Q♣[10h]A♦ board, and the Swede put out a hefty 12,000 bet. His oppenent, having removed his hood in anguish, then made a crying call and was shown Jelassi's Q♦Q♠ for the full house. He mucked, showing only the A♣. Jelassi is up to 55,000 already. -- SY

LEVEL UP. BLINDS NOW 75-150


1.15pm: Becker again
Boris Becker continues his early state of 'busy'. On this hand, with the board showing 9♣Q♦6♣K♠, the German Team PokerStars SportStar bet out 725, and that was enough to send two opponents back to their seats at the side of the court for a refreshing Robinson's cordial. -- SY

boris_becker_ber_d1b.jpg
Boris Becker

1.10pm: Luca wins a little
No sooner had he let a pot slip in the post below, than Luca Pagano got some back. On a 6♠2♥5♦ flop he bet 700 and got one call. On the 6♥ river the Italian continued with a 1,450 bet and that was enough to take the pot. -- SY

luca_pagano_ber_d1b.jpg
Luca Pagano

1.05pm: Luca loses a little
Team PokerStars Pro Luca Pagano has dropped below his starting stack after losing a smallish pot to his neighbour. The flop was out as J♦J♥5♠ and Pagano called a bet before betting 1,075 on the Q♦ turn when it was checked to him. His opponent called before both players checked the A♦ river. Pagano tabled 8♣8♦ but the pot went to his opponent with J♠8♠. -- MC

1pm: Roche takes on poker
Charlotte Roche plays in the colours of PokerStars today. The English-born German television presenter, actress, singer, author (hat tip: Wikipedia), who wrote the highest selling novel in March of 2008, Feuchtgebiete or Wetlands in English, is here to make everyone else feel inadequate about what they've achieved so far in life. She's also here to play poker and sits alongside Christer Johansson.

charlotte_roche_ber_d1b.jpg
Charlotte Roche

Johannsson was the subject of one of the first hand of note at this table, which is snug in the corner of the room by the door.

On a flop of 9♠6♦Q♥ there were six players in the pot, but after Johansson made it 400 from under-the gun-there was just him and Walter Bauer on the button. Bauer called for a J♠ on the turn. Now Johansson bet 1,150. Bauer called again for a T♦ river.

Johansson checked, leaving it to Bauer to bet 3,500. Johansson made a dramatic insta-fold getting a look of sympathy from Roche, a look that sold a thousand books.

Roche herself took on Bauer shortly after. On a board of [k][k][6][9][q]. Bauer bet and Roche called showing [j][9]. Bauer had her pipped at the post though, showing [k][t]. -- SB.

12.55pm: The twitching conspiracy radar
OK, all you out there in conspiracy land. Viktor Blom, who assassinated JFK, destroyed the Death Star from inside, faked the moon landing in his spare room, wrote The Catcher In The Rye, and may or may not be Isildur1, is playing day 1B in Berlin. We promise to be fourth first with the news if Blom is eliminated so that you can give him 10 minutes to get back to his room and see if that mystery man of the nosebleeds suddenly logs on. A word of warning: the internet connection is shoddy in this hotel, so he might not want to risk millions with only one bar of connectivity. -- HS

12.50pm: Cut from the same cloth
In the regular (if fictional) German poker awards, the category designated for "Most Suicidally Aggressive Young Player With Heavy Fringe" is always a close-run thing between Benny Spindler and Jan Collado. The two of them first came to prominence at the PCA in 2008 when they took their heavy fringes all the way to the very deepest stages, Collado finishing 10th and Spindler fourth. Anyway, the two of them are fringing it up on the same table today, where they also have the somewhat less hirsute, but no less fearsome, Martin Wendt for company. -- HS

12.45pm: Early going good for Golser
Marcus Golser is already up to about 50,000. He's sharing a table with the uber-active Carter Phillips, and that could be a tasty match-up. -- HS

12.40pm: Form men
Ziad Alameddine, who took down the charity event at the new PokerStars.net North American Poker Tour Venetian event last week, is also competing on Day 1b after winning his seat on PokerStars. He'll be joined by fellow American and PokerStars qualfier David Paredes who came fifth in the NAPT Main Event for $184,816. -- HS

12.35pm: Table of death, Boeken slips
Tucked away in the Jose Rafael Moneo room, designated today as the overspill for the main Grand Ballroom tournament area, two full tables are up and running and two more are being filled slowly as the stragglers arrive.

Early attention is on one of the tables already under way, most certainly the most fearsome in Berlin today. Sitting here are Team PokerStars Pros Johannes Strassmann, Johnny Lodden and Noah Boeken, as well as newly-crowned EPT Copenhagen champion Anton Wigg!

Boeken has got off to a nightmare start, losing nearly half his stack to Helfried Bernhardt on the first orbit. With the board showing A♥6♣4♥9♦7♣, and a around 7,000 in the middle already, Boeken bet 4,500. Bernhardt, however, fired it up to 11,000, getting a reluctant call from the Dutchman, who mucked as soon as he was shown 4♠4♦ for the flopped set.

Strassmann, meanwhile, got a few chips in the bag on the next hand. He raised to 225 and got a call from Wigg and the man in the big blind. All three checked the A♥8♠8♦ flop, and on the 6♥ turn only Wigg called Strassmann's 550 bet. Both then checked the 9♥ river:

Strassmann: A♠3♠
Wigg: Q♣Q♠

Marcel Luske is on the other table currently in play in the overspill room. These four tables will be the first to break today -- SY

12.30pm: How did the pot stay so small?
Team PokerStars SportsStar Boris Becker has the company of fellow German and former EPT champion Moritz Kranich today. The former tennis star was just
involved in an extraordinary hand; extraordinary in the fact that the pot stayed so small. Becker and his opponent had reached the river with around 3,000 in the pot and Becker led out for 1,800 and was just flat called. I say 'just' flat called as Boris' opponent tabled J♥J♠ for a flopped full-house... but it turned out to be a fantastic call as Becker opened K♥K♣ for quads! -- MC

12.15pm: Off!
We've started. Read today's introduction while we go off in search of early action. -- HS

12.10pm: No sign of a start
Even the renowned efficiency of our host nation cannot compete with the renowned inefficiency of poker players, who take lackadaisy to new heights. We haven't started just yet, but give it five. -- HS

11.30am: Planning for the surge
As ever on the EPT, day 1B of this tournament in Berlin is certain to be considerably larger than day 1A. I don't know why; that's just the way it is.

Anyhow, in order to accommodate all the additional players, we'll be spreading out and into a supplementary room today - the location of yesterday's players' buffet no less.

I think it's fair to assume there'll be very close to 500 players sitting down - and take the over if you're a betting woman. That probably won't be quite enough to get us to 1,000 players in total, but 900 seems a fair line. (I have been very wrong before, so don't go nuts.)

Anyhow, I expect a start time of around 12.15pm, so take a look back at yesterday's closing chip count and then re-read (because I know you've read it before) yesterday's full wrap. Today we'll repeat it only with different names. That means nine one-hour levels, following the established EPT tournament structure, and a 90-minute dinner break after level six. -- HS

There will be a lot of these:

_MG_1052_Chips_EPT6Lon_Neil_Stoddart.jpg

PokerStars Blog reporting team (in order of characters from Happy Days): Stephen Bartley as Richie Cunningham, Marc "The Conv" Convey as Arthur "The Fonz" Fonzarelli, Howard Swains as Ralph Malph and introducing Simon Young as Howard "Mr C" Cunningham.