EPT Copenhagen: Day 1A, levels 3 and 4 (150-300)

ept-thumb-promo.jpg6.35pm: Dinner break
That's the end of level four leaving players free to enjoy a one hour dinner break.

6.30pm: Who's he?
"See that guy there. He's really famous." With that nudge from a Swedish colleague came my first glimpse of Swedish actor Anders Beckman, famous for theatrical plays, TV movies and as the man who advertises the Swedish Yellow Pages. He's also happens to be a regular on the Stockholm poker scene, but today he plays his first EPT having won his seat on PokerStars.

Beckman got off to a steady start, adding a bit then losing a bit, finding neither danger or great success in these early levels. His table mate two seats along is Piero Mormina who is benefiting from an altogether different approach.

Mormina's face is part hidden by mirrored cycling sunglasses, a black baseball cap, a trimmed grey goatee beard and a scarf around his neck. He just opened for 800 before Jan Danneman raised to 2,500 on the button. "Raise" said Mormina, making it 5,900 in total. Danneman looked at his cards again before moving all-in. It appeared to be an easy decision. The same went for Mormina, who called showing A♠A♦ against K♣K♠.

The board ran T♦9♦5♥3♦8♠. A double-up for Mormina who had 36,000. Danneman, who shook his head and tutted, is down to 14,000.

6.15pm: Not the only bully at the table
You won't be surprised to read that Team PokerStars Pro Dario Minieri is being very active in a role that's no doubt his favourite - playing table captain and bullying everyone. Today though he's having to share the limelight with Nicolai Vivet.

Minieri raised from mid-position and was called by Vivet on the button and PokerStars qualifier Alvaro Ballesteros in the small blind. The flop came T♦7♣9♦. Vivet bet 2,700 when it was checked to him. Ballesteros then raised to 10,000, Minieri quickly folded but Vivet moved all-in. Ballesteros had already committed more than half his chips and called off the rest.

Both had flush draws but Vivet's A♦6♦ was ahead of his opponent's 4♦5♦. The board ran out Q♠T♥, busting the Spaniard.

The next hand saw Mineiri raise again, called in two spots. Again one of them was Vivet, still in position. The flop came 5♥4♣2♣. Minieri continued with the aggression making a 1,750 bet. Only Vivet called to see the 7♣ turn. Minieri checked this time and then folded to his foe's 5,000 bet.

Mineri on 73,000 right now and Vivet is on 56,000.

6.05pm: Kabrhel crippled, out soon after 
Side-event specialist Martin Kabrhel has taken his first step along the well-trodden path to victory in a Friday's €2,000 event - by busting in level four of today's main event. The key hand was against our probable new chip leader, Christian Togsverd. Kabrhel raised pre-flop from early position and there was one caller before Togsverd, on the button, re-raised.

All this was still pretty small, but Kabrhel then made it 5,625 and only Togsverd called. The two of them saw a flop of [10s]4♠J♦ and Kabrhel bet 5,625 at it. Togsverd re-raised that, making it 14,625 and Kabrhel moved all in. That, as it turns out, was a mistake. Togsverd showed pocket tens for middle set and Kabrhel's A♣K♦ was drawing to a queen. It didn't come and Kabrhel was down to 4,000 and was eliminated soon after. Togsverd moved up to 98,000.

6pm: Nordic Poker Awards
And now for something completely different - last night's PokerStars Nordic Poker Awards held right here in Copenhagen.

Finland's Ville Wahlbeck, who was such a force at last year's WSOP, dominated the awards by scooping both the Best Performance of the Year and Best Live Tournament Player of the Year trophies.

The 34-year-old finished in the top 13 players in six events, including winning a bracelet for the $10k World Championship Mixed Game event. He said: "It's all a bit overwhelming actually. Doing so well in the summer was incredible but getting these awards tonight is a real bonus".

Finland took its third trophy of the night with Best Online Player of the Year going to Patrik Antonius. The fourth award - for Rookie of the Year - went to Swedish player Kristoffer 'Sumpas' Thorsson who won the PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker High Roller event as well as the Master Classics of Poker in Amsterdam.

The Awards, hosted by EPT presenter Michelle Orpe, took place at the swanky Park Café nightclub. The region's players voted for their favorites, and a media jury then decided on the outright winners.


Kristoffer Thorsson, Michelle Orpe and Ville Wahlbeck

As usual, our crack video team was on hand to record some of the action...

Watch EPT Copenhagen 2010: Nordic Poker Awards on PokerStars.tv

5.55pm: Early heroics
Lars Hougaard suffered a big hit after what can only be described as heroic bluffing. Like the best kind of heroism it was matched equally by near-tragedy. Hougaard bluffed all streets on a board of [j][t][7][2][j] holding nothing more than a loyal king-high. His opponent calling all-in with [6][7] to knock him down to his last few thousand. Heroic but ultimately unsuccessful for Hougaard.

5.50pm: Sarwer the super user
Jeff Sarwer's player-reading skills are so immaculate that Shaun Deeb once said: "He super-uses people live." One can only assume that Sarwer was beaten, therefore, when he folded after Karsten Johansen moved all in, for about 24,000, with these four cards were exposed: [10s]J♠2♥9♦. Sarwer thought about his decision for a few minutes, then whispered something to Johansen, accompanying his question/observation by peering under Johansen's hoodie. Whether or not the Dane replied was unclear, but it didn't take Sarwer long to disseminate whatever information was on offer and get out the way.

5.45pm: Palevic keeps Wigg on
"I'm all in." This was confident swagger from Rifat Palevic from behind mirrored sunglasses, a collar turned up to his ears and a faux trilby. It came after Anton Wigg had bet 5,675 with a flop showing 8♠J♣5♠. His reaction was resignation and then what fortitude he'd mustered wobbled slightly when Palevic showed A♦A♥ to his own A♠3♠. Blast.

But hang on. A spade would dig him out of trouble, perhaps not on the 6♦ turn but most certainly the J♠ river. Wigg looked over to a friend on the rail to express a few thoughts on the matter in Swedish. Palevic said nothing, a large portion of his stack now resting with the heavy breathing Wigg.

5.40pm: Kings good
Evgeniy Zaytsev, who finished 14th in EPT6 Prague, just won a nice little pot and currently sits on 37,000. There was a flat call from Ismail Yilmaz in first position before Zaytsev bumped it up to 750. Two other players called as did Yilmaz to go to the T♥2♠9♣ flop. Yilmaz continued his aggression with a 1,200 bet that only Yilmaz called. Both players checked the T♠ turn before Yilmaz quickly led out for 3,100 on the 4♥ river. Zaytsev almost beat him into the pot with a call and took it down as his K♥K♠ bettered his opponent's 9♥7♥.

With that level 3 has come and gone. Straight into level 4.

5.35pm: Wendt waves Albertini goodbye
This one all started quietly enough. It was a trip to table 37 to see if the player in seat one was the same Andrey Vlasenko who finished eighth in Vilamoura this year. Once that was confirmed - the Russian currently has 38,400 - it seemed worthwhile to hang around and watch what happened after Martin Wendt made it 525 pre-flop and Stephane Albertini called from the big blind.

This is the answer: they saw a flop of 9♦Q♠6♥ and Albertini bet 1,025. Wendt raised to 2,500 and Albertini snap-shoved, tossing in about another 16,500. The only thing quicker than Albertini's shove was Wendt's call and here's why:

Albertini: 6♣9♣ - or bottom two
Wendt: Q♦Q♣ - or top set

The runner-runner quad miracle did not happen and Albertini was out. Wendt went up to 58,000.


Martin Wendt

5.30pm: Battle of the Ailamo
On a 8♦K♠Q♦ flop Risto Ailamo bet 1,750 and was called by Regis Burlot. On the 6♦ turn Ailamo made it 2,225 and again got a call. Finally, on the 6♣ river, Ailamo bet 2,850 - call.

Ailamo: K♥9♦
Burlot: K♦J♦

As the dealer went to ship the chips to Burlot, Ailamo pleaded: "No, no. It should be a split pot."
"No, he has a flush," replied the dealer.
"Oh, yes. I am sorry."

5.25pm: "Show the bluff"
After an initial raise from early position, Tonny Rene Poulsen bumped it up to 3,000. It's folded around to Jan Skampa who makes it 7,300. Only Poulsen called. On the 2♥3♠2♠ flop, Paulsen checked and Skampa wasted no time in pushing a large tower of yellow, 5,000 chips over the line. It was around 50,000, and enough to put Paulsen all in. He mucked A♥K♥ in disgust.

"Show the bluff. One time," said Lars Hougaard. Not even a flicker of a smile from Skampa.

5.15pm: Come on the whites
A board of 7♠3♠2♣T♠6♦ played through a cease fire, no betting, no raising, nothing. It was perhaps befitting a hand featuring Soren Jensen, the Dane who two seasons ago made the heads-up finale of EPT Copenhagen one of the most memorable. It was also the longest.

His opponent that very late night was one Tim Vance, a gravel voiced, scruffy looking American who spent more time out of his seat than in it, endlessly pacing up and down, but at least easy to pick out by the red St Louis baseball cap. Vance won after an exhausting four hour two-player marathon. Both he and Jensen had resorted to waiting for the nuts. Vance found them first.

Jensen, for his part, sweated his way into second. He did his fair share of leaping about, chanting football expressions - "Kom Sa de Hviie!" (Come on the whites!) - usually reserved for the terraces of his beloved Aarhus. That and throwing all regard for rigid poker etiquette to the wind. Those certainly were exciting times.

Unlike then though Jensen just won this crawler hand and is now a few thousand to the good. Could he do it all a second time? Kom Sa de Hviie!

5.10pm: My favorite number!
Team PokerStars Pro Arnaud Mattern is up to 69,000 and seems to be current chip leader. Jakob Brun opened to 700 and before Mattern could act PokerStars Qualifier Alexandre Morvan acted out of turn and made it 2,000. Mattern just flat called which meant that the 2,000 raise had to stand. Brun then re-popped it to 10,000. Now Mattern made his moved and moved all-in. Morvan folded but Brun called quickly with pocket kings. Mattern turned over pockets ace and neither player improved in the board.

A new player came to the table and seeing Mattern had a big stack he asked him for a count. Mattern responded "69,000" and continued "My favorite number!"


Arnaud Mattern; hold one time!

5pm: Stamp one
Pascal Hartmann is today playing only his second live tournament, but online, where he is known as "päffchen", his stock is currently on a very sharp rise. Late last year the 20-year-old from Bavaria read about a promotion on PokerStars that offered a special tournament to the top 200 placed players in the December tournament leaderboard. The three winners of that tournament would be awarded a PokerStars Passport, with five stamps for the winner, three for the runner up and one stamp for the third-placed finisher. These stamps can be converted into tournament packages of the winners' choice - and Hartmann, who went on a charge on the online tables to qualify, and then took second place in the big shebang, is using his first of three here in Copenhagen.


Pascal "päffchen" Hartmann

It's been a solid start to the day - he is round about his starting stack after two levels - but after last night's welcome to the European Poker Tour festivities (read: open bar), he will be happy just to get through the day. "He is a little hungover," said Robin Scherr, who will be following Hartmann's progress for German-speaking readers, over at PokerStars Blog.de. (There's much more about päffchen here.)

4.50pm: Think they tangled again?
Stefan Mattsson and Rifat Palevic are the two players in question. One would assume they have. As you see from out post at 4pm Palevic cut Mattsson down to 5,000 chips leaving himself with 55,000. Now Mattsson is back up to 30,000 and Palevic is down to 35,000. We'll endeavour to find out the details.

4.40pm: Two down, six to go
That's the end of the first break of the day and players are back for level three. That also means that registrations are officially closed for this first flight, meaning we'll soon have an official number of entrants. There will be significantly more tomorrow - such are always the way of these things - but it will give us an early indication at least of where we're heading.

Until the slaves return from the tournament floor with their latest hand information, here's a picture of Copenhagen, taken last year. If you look at this, replace sun with cloud, water with ice, colour with grey and precision photography with the shivering hand of a someone frozen to the bone, it's exactly the same this year.

Sunny Copenhagen.jpg

PokerStars Blog reporting team: Words: Stephen Bartley, Marc Convey, Howard Swains and Simon Young. Pictures: Neil Stoddart.

Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour