EPT Monte Carlo: Day 1A, levels 5 & 6 updates (150-300, 25 ante)

ept-thumb-promo.jpg6.50pm: Dinner break time

6.49pm: Double whammy takes out Phillips
Team PokerStars Pro Dennis Phillips was up to around 70,000 a short while ago - but is now out after two killer hands.

First he had pocket fours and rather enjoyed the 2-4-5 flop - unfortunately his opponent enjoyed the flop even more... he had A-3 for the straight.

That cost Phillips 10,000 or so, but then he lost the lot later in same orbit.

Ever the gentleman, Phillips came over to PokerStars Blog HQ to give us the gory details.

"I was in the big blind and had K-K. There was a raise in front of me, I re-raise, he calls and we see an A-K-10 flop. All the money goes in. I have a set of kings - he has A-A for a set of aces.

"That cost me my last 60,000 and I'm out. Now I'm off to dinner!" -- SY

6.48pm: Channing insta-call, inst-muck
Neil Channing min-raises to 800 and is called in the big blind. Both players checked through to the 9♥A♥5♦K♥ turn where Channing insta-called a 1,450 bet. The British pro called just as quickly a 3,100 bet on the 2♣ river. He was shown A♠2♥ for his troubles. Insta-muck. -- RD

6.45pm: Four three-bets, four pots won
David Sands is up to 122,000 after pushing his table around. He just four-bet Jen Kyllonen, who called. Sands continued to be aggressive on the flop and forced a fold from the Finn. Apparently this was the fourth hand in a row that Sands had four-bet. The tactic seems to be working for him right now. Kyllonen is treading water on 34,600. --MC

6.42pm: Baranov hit
Sergiy Baranov takes another one on the chin - this time it was Andreas Torbergsen who did the damage. The Norwegian opened from the small blind with a raise to 1,100, and then called when Baranov re-raised to 3,600.

The flop came 9♣6♣J♥ and both checked. On the A♥ turn Baranov made it 5,000 and Torbergsen called. Both then checked the A♠ river, and it was Torbergsen's
[10d][10h] which had stayed ahead of Baranov's 7♦7♥. -- SY

6.40pm: Luke flushed away
Luke Schwartz has been eliminated. He never managed to get his stack above 30,000 and just recently was hovering below the 10,000 mark. He got the last of it in with 7♣7♥ and found custom in the shape of Dylan Hortin with A♥K♥. The board ran 2♥Q♣T♦K♦2♦ to pair Hortin's king. Schwartz said his goodbyes and headed out of the tournament room. --MC

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Luke Schwartz (left) alongside Stephen Chidwick

6.35pm: Vadim's early position adventures
Team PokerStars Pro Vadim Markushevski raised the last two hands back-to-back from early position and both times found himself in hot water. His first 1,025 raise picked up a single caller in the big blind courtesy of Oleh Okhotskyi. Both players checked the A♥3♦Q♠ flop but a 7♥ on the turn seemed to bring the hand alive. Okhotskyi check-raised Markushevski's 1,225 bet to 3,500. The Russian called. A paired 3♠ on the river gave neither player reason to put any further chips in and the hand went to showdown. The Ukranian showed J♥Q♥ to Markushevski's Q♣T♣. Lucky Vadim.

The very next hand Markushevski raised under the gun to 1,025 and was called in the cut-off before the big blind squeezed to 3,800. The Russian Team Pro is sat on 52,000. -- RD

6.30pm: Playing the board
Chris Bjorin raised to 1,200 from early posiion and Jose Maria De Noronha made it 2,000 from the button. Dennis Phillips called from the small blind and Bjorin called. Suddenly this had the makings of a big pot. 

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Dennis Phillips

I don't want to ruin the climax for you (I usually wait a little longer before raining on parades) but this one was actually going nowhere despite the vaguely exciting prelude. The flop came 5♣A♣2♣, which was checked round, and then the 9♣ turn. Again it was the stock-take in the plaid shirt factory: check, check, check.

The K♣ rivered, and it was like reading chess boards. Check, check, check.

"I'm playing the board," said Phillips, tabling A♦Q♥.

"I'm playing the board," said Bjorin, tabling 7♦7♠.

De Noronha tabled 8♦8♥. He was playing the board too. -- HS

6.25pm: A Partridge in a ... Monte Carlo
Thomas Partridge had played a few years in British poker circles before he came to wider prominence by taking down the Baltic Poker Festival in Tallinn last November.

In addition to that prize, he also won a mass last longer that offered a package to the PCA for the player going deepest while wearing the PokerStars logo.

Although he didn't trade his favourite jumper for anything in the more familiar hoodie/patterned T-shirt PokerStars line, he did wear his patch with pride. The only problem was that he couldn't go to the Bahamas in January (he was on another trip to Australia) and so shifted his package to the Grand Final.

Partridge has started strongly on day 1a today. He has about 45,000 - and has now been joined by the inaugural November Niner Scott Montgomery as well as Greg Dyer. There were some pretty good players in Estonia last year, but it's a whole new level here. -- HS

6.20pm: News of ElkY in the $5K Heads-Up
The Team PokerStars Pro has taken a 1-0 lead in his best-of-three semi-final against Andrew Feldman. If he makes it through, ElkY will play Andrew Pantling in the final tonight, expected to be at around 8.30pm. There's a tasty $120,000 waiting for the champion. -- SY

6.15pm: Raymer double with trouble
Team PokerStars Pro Greg Raymer has doubled-up to more than 80,000 through chip leader Sergiy Baranov. The chips went in on a 2♦6♠T♠ flop (as we understand) with the Ukrainian holding pocket fours to Raymer's draw with 4♠5♠. Raymer had called all-in and made his flush on the 9♠ river, raking in the pot.

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Sergiy Baranov

Baranov took offence to how Raymer played the hand and felt the need to point this out to him repeatedly. After asking him not continue with this line, Raymer snapped, swearing at his opponent enough to receive a one orbit penalty.

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Greg Raymer

The table dynamics will be interesting when he returns as Baranov still has a stack of around 100,000. --MC

6.10pm: Kabrhel's timing off
Martin Kabrhel is in the running for EPT player of the year. He has been very entertaining to watch but we'll have to wait until next season for any further railing.

Chris Bjorin had raised to 800 from middle position and Kabrhel, who thought he had found a good spot to move all-in with K♦3♦, pushed for his remaining 6,700 from the small blind.

Unfortunately for the Czech he ran into the A♥K♥ of Jose Maria De Noronha in the big blind. The Portugese player's hand held on a T♦5♥6♥Q♣K♠ board. Kabrhel wished the table good luck before leaving the tournament floor. -- RD

6.05pm: Roberts pays Russia
Andrei Vlasenko has made one final table this year on the EPT - in Vilamoura, where he finished eighth. He went on to finish 14th in Copenhagen a couple of months later - and now he's getting set for another deep run here.

I'm not sure how any of this played out, but on a full board of 9♠A♠9♥8♥[10d], Vlasenko's entire stack was in the middle and Ben Roberts was being forced to pay 17,000 more - the value of the final all in. Vlasenko had the Q♥J♥ open in front of him; Roberts' cards were in the muck.

Roberts still has about 30,000; Vlasenko with around 50,000. -- HS

6pm: Antonius kicking his Finns
Patrik Antonius has put a stop (for the moment) to the southerly direction his stack was taking.

Team PokerStars Online's Randy Lew raised from second position and was called in three spots including by Antonius in the next seat. The flop came and went with checks all around, leaving 5♥A♥K♦3♠ on the board at the turn.

Antonius took up the reigns with a 2,800 bet and was called only by the big blind for a J♦ river. Antonius bet most of his remaining stack with an 8,500 bet. It did the trick as the big blind, with a similar sized stack, let his hand go. The Finn up to 18,500. --MC

5.55pm: Bjorin keeps on building
Martin Kabrhel started a limpathon by calling under the gun for 300 and brought in four callers including Swedish legend Chris Bjorin in the small blind. Bjorin, who has $4,557,186 in tournament winnings to his name, check-called Kabrhel's 700 bet on the 6♦A♥8♣ flop.

Both players checked the T♥ turn. Bjorin led for 1,500 on the 7♦ river and was called by Kabrhel. Bjorin's 7♣T♦ was good. Kabrhel is in trouble with a little more than 6,000. -- RD

LEVEL UP. ENTERING LEVEL SIX, BLINDS 200-400, 50 ANTE

5.48pm: The Roumeliotis roll
James Dempsey and Alex Roumeliotis both went deep last week in San Remo - and they may have played the odd pot against one another there. If so, it was Roumeliotis who learned the most about Dempsey's game as the Swede has just sent the English pro to the rail.

Dempsey raised to 800 from mid-position and Roumeliotis made it 2,500 from the button. Dempsey called. It was the two of them alone to a flop of J♥5♣4♦ and Dempsey checked. Roumeliotis bet 2,900 and Dempsey now found the check-raise, making it 7,200. Roumeliotis called.

The turn was the [10h] and Dempsey led for 16,000. Roumeliotis took a while, pondered, and then said: "Do you have king queen?" Dempsey didn't answer, but Roumeliotis moved all in, covering Dempsey. He was obliged to call.

"You got it right," Dempsey said, and showed K♣Q♦. Roumeliotis had J♣9♥. Dempsey had outs, but the J♠ on the river wasn't one of them. Roumeliotis took it down and is up to about 120,000. -- HS

5.45pm: Baranov loses a pot
Such has been Sergiy Baranov's rise to the top of the chip leaderboard that him losing a pot is news in itself. In the event, this was a chunky 25,000 pot and Michael Friedrich was the beneficiary. "At last I win a pot off you," he said, an indication of how earlier conflicts had concluded.

The board was showing 4♣8♦4♠K♠7♣ and Freidrich's all-in with pocket kings for a full house easily outran the Ukrainian's J-4 for flopped trips.

Baranov still well over 100,000 despite that mishap. -- SY

5.38pm: That Randy feeling
After a raise on the button to 800, Team PokerStars Online's Randy Lew called from the small blind, as did Patrik Antonius from the big. The flop came Q♥2♦8♠ and Lew wasted no time in betting 1,700 - enough to send the other two packing. Lew is up to 33,000. -- SY

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Randy Lew

5.37pm: More news just in
In a change to the previous schedule all players will take a dinner break at the end of level six for 90 minutes and will not be split into two dinner shifts. -- SB.

5.36pm: News just in
Barny Boatman is out, sent to the rail by Phil Ivey. Boatman shoved with K♠T♠ with his last 8,000 which Ivey called with J♥J♦. The board ran 8♦3♦4♣3♣5♠. -- SB.

5.35pm: Schwarz stabs
Luke Schwarz was one of six players to see a K♠6♦K♥ flop. The Londoner was the only one to bet the flop however and his 1,400 stab at the pot took it down. The high stakes cash game player is grinding his stack the right direction at the moment. -- RD

5.33pm: Schleger v Langmann, blind v blind
Who knows how much Shane Schleger and Floriann Langmann really know about each other's games, but they're sitting right next to each other this afternoon in Monte Carlo and have so far shown an appropriate degree of respect/wariness/scepticism to suggest they've picked one another as pretty decent.

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Florian Langmann

It was folded to Schleger in the small blind and he raised to 1,000. Langmann defended his big blind with a call and they went to a flop of 7♦A♠5♥. Schleger bet 1,100 and Langmann raised to 2,600. Schleger called.

The turn came 4♦ and they both quickly checked, taking them to a river of K♥. Schleger checked and seemed a bit disappointed that Langmann also tapped the table. Schleger showed A♦9♥ and Langmann mucked.

"I was thinking of four-betting you on the flop," Schleger said. It might have worked; it might not. -- HS

5.30pm: Time to kick-ass
It makes for a rare occasion to see a father and son sitting at the same table in an EPT and it seems like it's a Grand Final type of thing. Two years ago in Monte Carlo, Team PokerStars Pro Luca Pagano sat at the same table as his father Claudio, both Paganos going very deep.

Today, Ben Roberts has been moved to the same table as his son, Jamie.

"This is the first time and now I'm going to kick his ass," said Roberts senior. "I didn't teach him everything I know. I left one thing out and now I'm going to use it against him".

Both players are on around 54,000 and a fascinating battle awaits. --MC

5.27pm: Reynolds rivered?
William Reynolds led a 3,500 bet into the river of a A♣T♠6♥7♥2♥ board before being moved all-in for an additional 8,000 or so. 'Ace-jack of hearts, right?' said Reynolds as he folded his hand. -- RD

5.25pm: Quads ahoy!
There's obviously something in the British water at the moment. Within minutes of each other Barny Boatman tabled quads to double up to 13,000 while Neil Channing got action on the river with four-of-a-kind. It's been a while since a Brit did well in the EPT... oh, except Live Boeree winning San Remo last week. -- RD

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The view from the rail

5.18pm: Martin with aces
Although it's only the winners of this season's EPT who get a free pass to the Grand Final, winners of any previous events usually have the odd buy in or two in their bank accounts.

Michael Martin, who won in London on season five, is here this afternoon. He has just taken a small-ish pot with aces: three-betting pre-flop and picking up one caller, then betting 4,000 on the flop of 7♣[10h]5♦, which was also called. He checked the turn and river of 8♠ and Q♣ but scooped when he showed the bullets. -- HS

5.14pm: De Cesare takes a hit
Amanda de Cesare, winner of the PokerStars Australian TV series The Poker Star lost a chunky pot to peg her back at 25,000. She and Eric Mutrie saw a 7♣6♠[10s] flop, and Mutrie check-called De Cesare's 2,000 bet. The turn was 4♣ and this time Mutrie check-called the Australian's 3,500 bet.

On the A♣ river it was Mutrie who seized the initiative, leading out with 7,500. De Cesare gave it a few-minute dwell before calling - only to be shown 9♣[10c] for the flush. -- SY

5.12pm: Tilly out
Jennifer Tilly is out. She was down to her last 12,000 and got all in on a flop of 7♣4♦5♣ holding 9♣[10c]. She was in need of another club as Aleh Plauski held J♥J♠. The K♦ turn and 9♠ river were bricks, and Tilly heads off to sample some Monte Carlo entertainment. -- SY

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Jennifer Tilly made this expression when doubling up earlier. she probably made the same one again a few minutes ago

5.10pm: Boatman scuppered
Barny Boatman had found himself in a tough spot after three-betting a middle position raise from the button to 2,100. The original raiser (Eric Sadoun, we believe) made it 6,000, committing Boatman to the hand if he proceeded. Boatman eventually passed and was left grumpily crunching together four chips totalling 6,200. -- RD

5.05pm: More for Stevie
Stephen Chidwick is up to 70,000 after knocking out Sergey Kishnev. Kishnev came back from the break with a "bowl" and moved it all-in when it was folded to him in mid-position. It was 1,525 and Nicolas Chouity made the call before Chidwick threw a few more chips in to the middle from the big blind. The raise was enough to force out Chouity to leave it heads-up.

Chidwick: A♥A♣
Kishnev: T♠T♣

The board ran 2♦5♦5♥4♥J♣ improving neither player. --MC

5pm: Crowe bites off Bitar
Owen Crowe has moved into six figures, eliminating Ghassan Bitar in a hand that might have grown even bigger had Dennis Phillips not trusted his instincts to make a good pre-flop fold. Here's how it happened:

Bitar opened from under-the-gun, for what looked like 900. Phillips called from mid-position and it was folded around to Crowe in the small blind. He made it 3,300, but it wasn't even finished there. Bitar made it 6,600 and this is where Phillips considered his involvement was over. He folded. Crowe, however, called.

The flop came Q♥8♠K♣, which they both checked, taking them to a 9♠ turn. Then it all kicked off. Crowe bet 7,500 and Bitar moved all in, for what was about 40,000. Crowe called instantly and showed the monster-trapping J♣[10s]. Favoured by a lot of players for its big-hand slaying potential, Crowe had exploited the old jack-ten perfectly. Bitar's pocket queens had flopped a set but were losing.

"I folded pocket nines," said Phillips. The river was 5♠ and that was that. So Phillips go off lightly; Bitar is bitten. Crowe right up near the top. -- HS

4.55pm: Dressing for dinner
The dinner break details have been released. Tables one to 15 will head off at the end of level six while the remainder will do so an hour later. It means near continuous action through to the end of the day.

4.50pm: Back from the break
Players are back from the break.

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PokerStars Blog reporting team in Monte Carlo (In order of highest personal finish in an EPT): Simon Young (48th, Copenhagen season two), Howard Swains (first level of day two, Vienna season one), Marc Convey (bubbled a Dortmund Satellite, season three), Rick Dacey (six spots away in a PokerStars satellite, season five), Stephen Bartley (once watched the first level of an EPT satellite).