EPT London: Day 1B, level 7, 8 & 9 updates (blinds 500-1,000, ante 100)
11.50pm: End of Day 1B
That's play done with for today. At the close it's Claudio Cecchi, from Italy, with the chip lead with 237,500. That tops Soheb Pobandarwala, the Day 1A leader, who bagged up 218,600 this time yesterday. A full wrap of the days events will be published on the blog shortly.
11.45: Grafton all day to bust the last hand
Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier was eliminated on the last hand of the night to Sam Grafton. All the chips went in pre-flop with Mercier holding K♠Q♦ to Grafton's A♦9♦. The board ran 9♥6♠T♠3♥7♣ to propel Grafton over the 100,000 mark. -- MC
11.35pm: Boom Boom
A crucial double up for Boris Becker who moved all-in behind a bet of 14,000 for 38,200 on a flop of 7♣4♠9♣. When called Becker eventually showed jacks, to top the caller's tens, an outcome he was not too pleased with. Becker up to nearly 80,000. -- SB
11.20pm: Toth at the double
Team PokerStars Pro Richard Toth got a key double up with Q♣Q♦. He faced an opening raise to 2,100 and shoved all-in for 17,300. It was folded back to the original raiser who made the call showing A♣Q♥. No unnecessary dramas on the 7♥8♦3♦K♣6♣ board and the man from Hungary shoots up to more than 30,000. -- SY
11.10pm: Obviously Obrestad
Annette Obrestad has moved to Boris Becker's table, where Chino Rheem and Jonathan Aguilar are also playing.
Obrestad opened for 2,300 in early position which Rheem called, as did the player in seat nine. The flop came 5♦T♣T♥. Obrestad bet another 4,300 and Rheem raised to 10,500 making this a heads-up affair when Obrestad called. The turn came 2♠ and both checked. Then the 7♦ river card which was again checked, Obrestad taking what was in the middle after showing J♦J♠.
Obrestad up to 70,000 now. -- SB
11.05pm: Rocket man
Claudio Cecchi is the new chip leader with 250,000 after a rush of three big hands. First up he found aces when an opponent had pocket kings. Soon after he flopped a set versus an opponent's flush draw and he managed to fade the outs. Third and finally he found pocket queens versus an opponent with pocket kings and managed to spike a queen. -- MC
10.55pm: Hit me baby one more time
Players are back - 286 of them - for one last level tonight and then it's bagging up time. -- SY
10.40pm: Break time
The players are on the final 15 minute break of the day. -- MC
10.38pm: Cascarino scores big
Former international footballer Tony Cascarino is up to 167,000 after scooping a monster pot. We missed the action but Sam Stein filled us in on some of it. He, Cascarino and another saw a Q♣9♣ flop that was three-bet pre-flop. Stein bet 7,800 and both players called to see the J♣ appear on the turn. Stein folded pocket aces as the other two got all the chips in. Cascarino tabled A♣K♣ for the nut flush and his opponent opened [q][j] for two-pair. The river bricked and Cascarino is a happy man at break. -- MC
10.37pm: David Williams out
The Team PokerStars Pro has bitten the dust, and thanks to the wonder that is Twitter, we can tell you in his own words what happened:
"Didn't play a hand for a while and lost some small pots down to 18k. Blinds went up to 400/800, 75 ante. Guy opened, I shipped A♠Q♣. He had K-K. Flop J-T-7 all spades, but I didn't hit my draw or Ace. Guess I'll get 'em next time." -- SY
10.35pm: JP Kelly breaks 100,000
JP Kelly is the most recent player to break the 100k mark (which is twice the average chip stack at present). The Team PokerStars Pro found a good spot in the big blind when he intercepted a short-stack's three-bet shove with two black tens. He only needed to dodge a single ace to scoop the 36,000 pot and take him into six-figures. His UKIPT teammate Jude Ainsworth is sat on 145,000. -- RD
10.30pm: No double for Dabul
Team PokerStars Pro Veronica Dabul has been eliminated. She was down to around 20,000 when she raised from under-the-gun. She picked up two callers to a [k][t] flop with two hearts. She led for 4,000 and then called all-in when one of her opponents pushed. It was a near dream flop for Dabul who had pocket kings for top set but her opponent had flush outs with J♥4♥. The turn came a safe Q♣ but the 8♥ river completed the flush and she was gone. -- MC
10.25pm: De Meulder passes another one
Christophe de Meulder has just had to pass to Guillaume Gignac again. The Belgian Team PokerStars Pro isn't looking hugely happy with his situation but passing his just over min-raises (1,700 into an 800 big blind) isn't too disastrous. Not yet anyway. -- RD
10.22pm: Entre el Amor y los Halagos
"Is Ricky Martin playing today?"
This was Veronica Dabul. The Team PokerStars Pro, who is still in the tournament but very short stacked, felt the need to ask. She thought she'd seen him and came over to ask me.
"Look at him!" By now I was being dragged by the arm to a better vantage point. "Look!"
I was looking. She was describing a long haired chap three tables away. To me he looked like a standard young poker player, maybe in need of a haircut, and a shave too. Dabul though, was won over. I didn't want to disappoint so agreed that he looked like Ricky Martin, a man who I wouldn't know if he came up and introduced himself.
"Take a picture, I can't stop looking at him," said Dabul, on her way back to her seat. "He's Ricky Martin, ten years ago."
Ah. So it wasn't Ricky Martin. In fact it was Brian Powell, from Kentucky, USA.
Minutes later Dabul was out (details to follow). I don't like to think how much she paid in blinds and antes trying to get me to agree that Brian Powell looked like Ricky Martin ten years ago. -- SB
10.20pm: New chip leader
Among the huge number of players still doing battle out there (290, to be precise), one young man has recently emerged with the chip lead. He doesn't look particularly threatening, but David Vamplew from Scotland has soared up to 195,000.
While he's out in front, a certain gentleman called Phil Ivey continues his stead progress. Down to 8,000 earlier this afternoon, he's now shot through 100,000. -- SY
10.10pm: Bang! Pow!
Brian Powell who finished 8th in the WSOPE Main Event a few days ago is up to around 90,000 after busting Luca Cainelli in fortunate circumstances. Powell held pocket eights to his opponent's pocket kings but an eight appeared on the flop and that was that. - MC
10pm: Boeken will set-tle for a house
Team PokerStars Pro Noah Boeken has dispatched of Erik Friberg to move up to 71,000 in the chip standings. There was an early position raise to 2,000 before Friberg shoved for 19,300 and Boeken moved all-in to isolate from the SB. It worked as the original aggressor folded to leave it as a heads-up showdown:
The board ran J♠7♣8♣A♣A♦ to make a full-house for the Dutchman. -- MC
9.52pm: Canadian Hollywood
Ross Boatman was in the big blind and had to check with the dealer whether Guillaume Gignac knew the action was on him. Chistophe de Muelder had opened the action with an early position raise to 1,700. He was called in one spot before a mid position raise to 4,600 set the Hollywood in motion. Gignac sat for some time before moving all-in for 17,600. The button passed before the small blind, the improbably named Martin Quack I believe, moved all-in behind him for 25,200.
The isolating action was enough to bring the action heads up with the Canadian showing Q♥Q♣ to Quack's A♠K♠. The board ran out T♣9♣T♦8♣T♠ leaving Quack crippled and Gignac on 42,000, which puts him just below chip average. -- RD
9.40pm: Sal Bon-voyage
Two Team PokerStars Pros went to battle and only one survived to tell the tale. Somebody should've told Matthias de Meulder not to mess with the legend that is Salvatore Bonavena. The Belgian was short-stacked and shoved with 9♥9♠ but ran into his Italian neighbour's A♠A♣. The board ran J♥2♣3♦J♠3♣ and De Muelder shook everyone's hand at the table and left. -- MC
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 400-800, ANTE 75
9.35pm: Hachem raising
Both Joe Hachem and Chris Moneymaker have chips and Hachem is having a go at every hand, keeping the pressure on everyone else.
To deal with this former EPT winner Christophe Benzimra is deep in a massage, chair reversed, his head resting on the back, as his body slumps forwards in a rhythmic matching the contractions in his rhomboid major. He's sitting next to Hachem, who has his big blind attacked by David Packer on the button, with a bet of 1,400 consisting of one red chip and 16 green ones. Formidable.
Hachem asked how much Packer had behind before making it 8,600 total. Packer, bleach blond hair and white rimmed sunglasses, paused for a while then folded, Hachem stacking up around 100,000.
He followed that by raising from the small blind to nab Benzimra's big blind, which both found amusing, then raised again, from the button this time. Benzimra was drawing the line and called Hachem's raise for a flop of 8♠6♣5♦. It was the type of hand to be checked, with a K♦ turn and T♠ river going by without action. Benzimra turned over A♥7♥ to take what was in the middle.
Meanwhile on the table alongside Brandon Adam's tournament was coming to an end. All in with ace-ten he ran into a caller with ace-queen and a board of 8♠7♠J♥5♦J♠. There was nothing there to rescue the American; to the rail in level seven. -- SB
9.29pm: Champ, meet the champ
Of all the tables in all the world, etc... Chris Moneymaker, winner of the WSOP in 2003, is now sharing the same table as fellow Team PokerStars Pro and 2005 WSOP winner Joe Hachem. It's Aussie Hachem who is enjoying his time more at the moment, up to around 90,000, while Moneymaker is stuck on 27,000. -- SY
9.25pm: Irish hospitality
Is Fintan Gavin the nicest man in poker? I couldn't say for sure but he was just going to some effort to order a coffee; flagging down the waiter (several times), explaining what he wanted to order (a couple of times) and pointing out who it was for (once, and it was for someone else at the table). Gavin was runner-up at EPT Barcelona a few season ago and he's making the right sounds here too and is one of the select bunch to have broken the 100,000 mark. Gavin's a key figure in Irish poker so a solid run would do the Green army proud considering EPT London doubles as the UKIPT grand final. -- RD
Filipe Ramos lost most of his stack in the first level of play (see here for details). He explained to us in break that he sat on this stack for more than two levels before finding spots to double-up twice to 16,000. He's still battling away and is up to 23,000 now after forcing a fold from Jonas Klausen. Ramos made it 1,500 to go from early position and then shoved when the Dane made it 4,600 to play from the next seat. -- MC
9.09pm: A ridiculous wealth of characters
There are so many top rate players here that plenty will play, bust under the radar and disappear into the night (or into a side event or the Vic) without a word mentioned. Two that have got without many mentions in the tournament so far are Freddy Deeb and Team PokerStars Pro Alex Gomes. Deeb is on the up with 88,000 and Gomes is chugging along on 32,000. Deeb just nicked a pot from the Brazilian with a 2,500 positional bet on a relatively dry 2♦6♥6♠ flop. -- RD
9pm: Deep thought
On a board of 9♦K♠4♥6♥Q♦ Kevin Eyster and Ilya Gorodetskiy faced off against each other. Eyster had bet 13,400 and now Gorodetskiy was in deep thought, occasionally rubbing his beard, fitting the description of a chess master, rubbing his forehead as well. It all looked deep. Eventually he called. Eyster showed J♥T♦.
It's at these moments that one of two things happens. The caller, if ahead, hurriedly flips over their better hand and starts stacking new chips. If behind they go to turn their cards over, then, on seeing what they're up against, hesitate, look at their cards again to be sure, then fold. Gorodetskiy took this latter course.
Eyster up to 52,000. Gorodetskiy down to 42,000. -- SB
8.56pm: Golden Trickett
Sam Trickett has gotten fortunate for the second time in minutes to double-up again to 43,000. He saw a 4♣A♥2♠ flop with two heavy weights in the shape of Juha Helppi and Jude Ainsworth. Trickett checked, Helppi bet 7,000 and Ainsworth folded before Trickett moved all-in. Helppi snap-called with A♠K♣ and was in great shape verses Trickett's K♥2♥.
Safe is not 100% though as Helppi found out through the T♥8♥ turn and river. The running hearts made Trickett a flush. "Nice hand" said a disbelieving Helppi who drops to 43,000 himself. -- MC
8.52pm: That should do the Trick(ett)
Sam Trickett just shoved for around 10,000 over an under the gun limp (which is 600, of course). He picked up one customer - the big blind who tabled ace-king - and narrowly avoided a call from Marty Smyth in the big blind. Trickett promptly hit trips with 3♠4♠ on a 4♣8♠9♠4♥T♣ board. Smyth said: "I would have called you if no-one else had and I would have two-outed you on the river." -- RD
8.45pm: In the books
An early pot to David Williams after the break, one of those no-messing-about hands in which both players agree not to waste any time. It was not a hand that was going to change the world, change the tournament or change the table. On a board of 8♦A♣7♣K♠J♣ Williams showed king-eight, two pairs to take the pot. -- SB
8.40pm: Let's get this show back on the road
Most of us are well fed and some of us are now sleepy because of it. Quick coffee for those feeling it and we can get these three levels out of the way. Swedish player Joel Nordkvist seems to be the chip leader coming back with a mighty 145,000 but he's been chased by Team PokerStars Pros Daniel Negreanu and Jude Ainsworth who are hovering around the 100,000 mark. -- MC
PokerStars Blog reporting team at EPT London (in order of starch content in dinner): Marc Convey, Stephen Bartley and Rick Dacey (very starchy and tasty risotto) and Simon Young (is there starch in chocolate cornflake mini bites?). Photos by Neil Stoddart and Mickey May.