EPT Deauville: Day one, level one and two updates

ept-thumb-promo.jpgUpdates from day one, levels one and two of EPT Deauville, brought to you by Stephen Bartley, Marc Convey, Howard Swains and Simon Young.

Latest chip counts are on the chip count page. The EPT tournament structure can be found on the EPT tournament structure page.

Level one: 50-100
Level two: 75-150

2.40pm: Level done
That's the end of that level and players now take their first break of the day. See you on the other side.

2.35pm: Set over set
French PokerStars sponsored player Adam Lounis just lost a cruel pot to fellow countryman Rami Okasha. "All in and call on table 34" was the cry from the dealer at the said table that alerted us to the goings on. The flop was out as Q♣A♥T♥ with Lounis holding T♦T♣ for bottom set to Okasha's middle set with Q♦Q♠. The turn came J♥ and river A♠ before Okasha raked in the pot.

Lounis is still in though with 17,000 chips.

2.30pm: Four hundred to go
There are at least 625 chips in every pot on table 20, the result of the arrival there of Alin Pandlica, who made it 400 to go on four hands back-to-back, attacking the 75-150 blinds.

The first time he tried it, Stephane Tayar called from the small blind and they saw a flop of K♥2♠9♦. Tayar checked, Pandlica bet 600 and Tayar folded.

On the next hand, Pandlica duly made it 400 and Vlad Zguba, in the small blind, joined Charles de Haas, on the button, in calling. All three checked the flop of A♦K♦9♦ but Zguba bet the 6♠ turn. Pandlica instantly raised to 1,700 and the other two folded. Pandlica tabled 6♠ for the turned set.

The next hand: Yann Migeon limped from under-the-gun and Pandlica made it his customary 400. Migeon called. The flop was 5♥5♠3♥ and they checked. They also checked the 2♣ turn, and they also checked the 3♠ river. Migeon exposed K♣ - king high - and Pandlica mucked.

2.26pm: Timex wound up
Mike McDonald opened from the cut off, making it 400 to play. PokerStars qualifier Andras Stumpf raised to 1,200 from the button. McDonald then raised again to 2,900 before Stumpf had one last blast, making it 7,500 total. McDonald folded before Stumpf showed 2♠.

2.24pm: An eyebrow raiser
Mohamed Laarif limped from under-the-gun, and there was no getting rid of him, even when Birger Rasmussen raised to 600 from the seat to his left. Laarif called and they went to a flop of 4♦9♥K♣. Laarif called, Rasmussen bet 900 and Laarif called. The turn was 8♠ and the pattern repeated as Laarif check-called Rasmussen's bet of 2,100. On the river of 3♦, Laarif checked and Rasmussen decided not to try again, checking behind and showing A♦[10d]. Laarif showed K♠2♠ and his pair of kings was good, although it attracted some raised eyebrows from around the table.

2.20pm: Mattern matters
Team PokerStars Pro Arnaud Mattern opened for 375 which was called by countryman Remy Bechel in the seat to his left for a flop of 3♦5♠9♥. Mattern then made it 700 which Bechel called for a Q♦ on the turn. The fire had gone out of this hand though. They both checked that and the A♠ on the river, Bechel showing 2♦2♣ to take this one.

2.15pm: Coming to a halt
Jan Bendik made it 625 to play from the cut off behind a limp from Steve Margue. When the action returned to Margue he raised again to 1,500 total which Bendik called for a flop of 6♠2♥K♣ . Margue's momentum came to a sudden halt though, checking to Bendik who made it 2,500 to continue. An easy fold for Margue.

2.12pm: Set, no action
Alexey Yuzikov makes it 400 and gets a call from Oleksandr Vaserfirer, the man who came third at EPT Warsaw back in October. On a 6♠[10h]4♥ flop, Yuzikov, a Russian, bet 600 and Vaserfirer, a Ukranian, insta-folded. Yuzikov showed [10s][10c] to the table's amusement. "I only play sets minimum," he said.

2.10pm: Key to Portal
An early position limp from Alexia Portal was enough to scare everyone off except the two blind players. Antonio Buonanno completed from the small blind and Frederic Ouarti checked from the big blind to see a 2♣A♠Q♦ flop. All checked to the J♠ turn where Quarti bet 325. Both players called before all three checked on the 9♣ river.

Buonanno showed T♦2♦, Quarti showed queen-six but it was Portal's pot as her 5♥5♣ was best.

2.08pm: Not Jong before they were at it again
Still wind swept from their speedy battle earlier, Vito Maurizio and Pieter Jong were back in a heads-up battle. It played out very similar to before as well with the Dutchman calling a raise in position and then allowing his opponent to be the aggressor to his own detriment.

The flop came 2♣A♠Q♦ and Jong called a 1,100 bet before both players checked through the T♣ turn. Maurizio then led for 1,100 again on the T♣ river and received a call. He revealed pocket sevens but it couldn't match-up to Jong's K♣Q♣.

2.05pm: What did you say?
There's so many French in the field that your English blog team is finding the table talk a little tricky. We have schoolboy French, but c'est tout. Take this hand... Jean Labbe (from France) limps from mid position. Then Khier Rezaik (from France) raises to 825. Everyone gets out of the way and then Rezaik announces something or other to the table, which was a blur of French but appeared to have "zut alors" in there somewhere. I think he was saying something like: "Oh crikey. I had a jolly good hand but the other chaps folded their hands."

2pm: More players
As reported, all indications are that this will be the largest EPT Deauville field so far, which explains how come we're playing in this room (and by "this", I mean the familiar ballroom, or the "Salle Des Ambassadeurs") and also an overspill room at the end of the corridor (also known as the Salle Privé), where at least seven other tables are arranged.

The Team PokerStars Pro Arnaud Mattern has found himself in that Privaté Room, along with his countryman Paul Testud. And it's also where Peter Eastgate is due to begin his day, although no one has set eyes on him yet.

1.52pm: Pre-flop folding
On a flop of 6♦3♦6♠ Serge Allegre, Alain Roy and Jamal Akoum each check for a 7♥ on the turn. Here Allegre made it 2,775 to play which was called by Roy. They each checked the river, Allegre showing 5♦4♦ to take the pot from Roy.

Meanwhile a few tables along a fold-a-thon developed after an initial pre-flop raise from Guillaume De La Gorce to 650. Fabrice Journo was in the small blind and called, as did Imed Mahmoud in the big, before the action reached early limper Maged El Khoury. He bumped things up to 3,600. Fold, fold, fold. El Khoury took the pot.

1.45pm: Level up
We're into level two, where blinds are 75-150.

1.40pm: Fashionistas
Poker fashions change, and not only sartorially -- the less said about the three-piece suit giving way to Ed Hardy horrors the better. But in terms of playing styles, tendencies also shift, and in the past 10 years the standard three-times-the-big-blind pre-flop raise has also largely gone out the window. The online generation keep it much smaller; the min-raise is in vogue.

All of that is introduction to this observation from the level one in Deauville. Three-times-the-big-blind raising is making a comeback. During the first hour, the opening bet on numerous tables has been anywhere between 300 and 375, with a couple of 425s also thrown in for good measure.

Keen poker observers might also have noticed this from the past year's play: the reigning World Champion might easily have been French. From the topsy turvy WSOP final table in Vegas in November, Antoine Saout emerged with a reputation very much enhanced.

There was a good deal of sucking out and bad beats on that dramatic day at the Rio, and had things gone in another direction, Saout could have taken that nine million. But as it is, the ring of reporters around his table here on day 1a in Deauville is only third-placed large, rather than the kind of hordes that follow Joe Cada's every move.

These two disparate observations are linked, don't worry. Saout has now played at the very highest level, and he is massively respected in all environments. It also just so happens that he is following the latest fashions and keeping his raises down to about 250 or 275. It says much.

A few hands from Saout's table:

Ruben Smadja raised to 300 and Philippe Narboni called from the big blind. They both checked the flop of 2♦6♠5♥ and then Narboni bet 550 on the 5♠ turn. Smadja called. The river was 3♠ and both players checked. Narboni's A♥9♥ out-kicked Smadja's A♠8♣.

Saout came in for a raise on the next hand, making it 250 under-the-gun. Narboni called. The flop was [10c][10d]Q♥ and after Narboni checked, Saout's bet of 225 was good.

Narboni was involved in the next hand too. He limped from the button, Helene Bartet called from the small blind, and Saout checked his option. The flop was J♣A♥6♦ and they all checked. Saout bet 225 when it was checked to him on the 8♣ turn, and that was also good.

A couple of hands later, Saout was on the button and this time he found himself sucked into the 300 pre-flop raising gang. He did just that when it was folded to him and only Pierre Marcaggi called from the big blind. The flop was [10d]J♦2♥ and they both checked. The turn was 4♠ and Marcaggi led for 300. Saout folded.

Moral of the story: don't raise to 300 pre-flop, Antoine.

1.35pm: Speed poker
Vito Maurizio seems to play poker like an a lot of people drive Italian sports cars; fast and with little regard for others involved. After seeing his pre-flop raise called by Pieter Jong he then bet at lightning speed on every street. The amounts were 500, 800 and 1,300 and the board ended as 3♣5♠9♦J♣3♠. Dutchman Pieter Jong always looked interested in the hand and called almost as quickly on every street.

Maurizio opened up K♠Q♦ for king high and Jong took the pot with his T♠T♦.

1.34pm: Big field
The board is showing that 348 runners are playing day 1A. With the traditionally bigger field expected to play 1B, that means we're set to smash the 645 runners who played this event last season. The EPT continues to break new ground.

1.32pm: No way Jose
With a flop on the table showing 9♥J♠T♦ and 500 in the middle, three players checked before Andrei Vlassenko made it 500 from the button. Jose Rodriguez was waiting in the small blind and raised to 1,500. It was passed back to Vlassenko who called for a 3♠ on the turn. Another 2,500 from Rodriguez brought the hand to a close.

1.30pm: Losing to Lehoussine
With the board all ready showing 5♠6♣3♠6♥4♥ and approximately 13,000 in the pot, Rui Cao lobbed in another 5,100 from the button. Still left in the hand with him was Karim Lehoussine in early position, who had checked to Cao on the river and was now thinking through whether or not to call. He did. Cao was ready to fold even before Lehoussine showed his A♠6♠. Cao nodded humbly. Lehoussine's look warned Cao not to try that stuff again.

1.28pm: Kings and queens
The river was out giving a the board a Q♦8♥K♥2♦Q♣ look. It was a dealer versus small blind battle scenario with Frederic Gerard Andr Thiboust of France in position to Finland's Eero Kekalainen. Kekalainen bet 1,300 only to face a raise up to 3,600. After a short pause he then re-raised up to 10,100. Thilboust took a little longer over his decision but threw the chips in to call. Kekalainen tabled K♠Q♠ for the nuts and the pot.

1.25pm: Full house for Cody
On a Q♦9♦9♥9♠ board Jake Cody bets 1,100 and gets a call from Italy's Filippo Candio. On the 3♥ river, Candio checks and Cody fires out another 2,775. That sent Candio into a fit of angst. After grimacing for a good two minutes he announced call, then insta-mucked when shown Cody's A♦Q♠ for the boat. "Nice hand," he said.

1.20pm: Spain v Finland
Finland's Mika Paasonen, a veteran of the EPT circuit, makes it 300 under the gun, called by Spain's Manel Montalban from the button and Jean Thomas in the big blind. The flop comes 8♦7♥3♠ and Paasonen makes it 575, called only by Montalban. On the 5♥ turn Paasonen slows down and checks, then is forced to muck when Montablban reaches for 1,200.

1.15pm: Perrins takes a small one
With 1,600 in the pot on a J♥J♦7♣[10c]6♦ board, Regis Burlot checked, and then mucked when Matthew Perrins fired out 1,275.

1.10pm: Nice start for Chen
Canadian Andrew Chen got off to a nice start, flopping a set of three on a A♠3♠7♥ board. We caught the action after the 5♠ turn and J♦ river, which was checked by Gerald Pichon from France, and by Chen. Pichon mucked when shown Chen's 3♦3♣ - and that sent the 9,000 pot to Canada.

1.05pm: A room full of Frenchman
There was idle chit-chat in the run up to this event that perhaps numbers would be down, given its proximity to the PCA. But veterans of the EPT were confident that it wouldn't matter one jot: there's a huge local appetite for poker in France, and the field would certainly be swelled by vast swathes of recreational players.

So it proved. Today's tournament area resembles nothing so much as a room full of Frenchman. That's exactly what it is, give or take a few familiar faces, and it's going to be a real challenge to put names on many of the competitors.

That said, it's always good to find a table with not one, but two, recognisable players around it, such as table Chen described below. Table 20 also has the EPT stalwart Mika Paasonen in seat two, and the relatively new Team PokerStars Pro Vlad Zguba in seat five. And they're both getting involved early, which is encouraging a good deal of early action there.

In one pot, three players saw a flop of A♥K♥8♥ and all checked it, but on the turn of 8♦ Jann Migeon bet 500. Yoan Bazin, a PokerStars qualifier, made it 1,500 and the raise got rid of all the others.

Next up, Paasonen raised to 300 from the button and Stephane Tayar called from the big blind. The flop came A♣7♥Q♥ and after Tayar checked, Paasonen bet 500 and that took it down.

Charles De Haas then joined in the action, raising to 350 pre-flop, which was called by Zguba in the big blind. They both checked the flop of 5♥7♣4♣ and then the 9♥ turned. De Haas checked and Zguba had barely moved his fingers towards his pile of chips before De Haas' cards were in the muck. Winning without even betting there by the man from Ukraine.

Paasonen then took a quick pot, raising to 300 from mid position and taking it down. But then he gave some back to Zguba, when the Ukrainian, on the button, called Paasonen's raise and they saw a flop of A♣A♠3♥. It was checked to Zguba, he bet 500, and won.

Seems likely that there'll be plenty of action over there.

12.55pm: Rules of engagement
One of the sterner line ups in this opening level is at Andrew Chen's table which features Oleksandr Vaserfirer, who made the final in Warsaw, and Alexey Yuzikov, also from Russia, who had cashes in Warsaw and in Vilamoura. Chen himself has a third place in Prague to his name (season five) and last summer finished within a place of a World Series bracelet in a $1,500 hold'em event.

Their first business of the day was trying, despite the language barrier, to explain a rule local to France that any raise must be twice the amount of the original bet. The dealer explained to Chen, Chen to Yuzikov, Yuzikov to Vaserfirer. That done Chen made it 325 pre-flop and was called by Yuzikov on the button. Benjamin Carette called in the big blind for a flop of 2♣T♥8♦.

Another 625 bet from Chen, prompting Yuzikov to pass. Carette called though for a J♦ turn. Check-check for a 3♠ on the river. Check-check again, Chen holding his cards ready to muck before Carette showed 9♣9♦ to win the hand.

12.50pm: Check to Nedellec
PokerStars sponsored player Marion Nedellec just started her tournament with a small loss to Dimitry Bayramov. Nedellec raised to 300 from the cut-off and was called by the Russian from the small blind before a K♦3♦A♠ flop. A quick check from Bayramov was followed by an equally quick call after Nedellec had continued with a 500 bet. Both players then checked the T♣ turn before Bayramov led for 700 on the 7♣ river. Nedellec called and then mucked upon seeing her opponent's A♣T♠ for two-pair.

12.45pm: First battles
At last we are up and running. As usual, early skirmishes are plentiful as the players try to get a feel for others at their table. William Mahe makes it 300 and is called by PokerStars qualifier Richard Toth. But the player in seat 9 makes it 1,400. Only Mahe calls, and he quickly gets out of the way when faced with a 2,525 continuation bet on the 9♥4♦9♣ flop.

12.35pm: Order of play
Much to the chagrin of lovers of an early night, the schedule for the first two days' play has been announced. We will play nine (yes 9, NINE, neuf) one-hour levels for days 1a and b, plus a 15-minute break at the end of every other level, plus a dinner break. We will therefore be here until about midnight on each of the opening two days. Bah.

12.30pm: Play is imminent
Tournament officials have gone through their introductions. They amounted to: "Yada, yada, yada." Instead, read Stephen Bartley's re-introduction to the French shores.

12.15pm: Slight delay
As predicted we did not get under way at noon. However, players are now in their seats and signing bits of white paper. And that can only mean one thing... we're about to get going.

In the meantime, our video team has put together a nice piece about Deauville. You can see that by clicking on the little white triangle below.

Watch EPT Deauville 2010: Welcome on PokerStars.tv

12pm: The beginning?
Play is due to start at noon. Will it? It should. (I doubt it.)


Last year's tournament room. It's pretty similar this year

Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour