EPT Prague: Day 1A, level 3 & 4 updates (blinds 150-300)
4.35pm: End of level
That's the end of level four and we'll be back in 15 minutes at which point the antes will kick in. -- RD
4.30pm: Levi likes it
Well if this isn't an example for not playing out of position I don't know what is. Nicolas Levi opened the button to 700 and was three-bet by Christos Vlassis to 2,200. Levi made the call. Vlassis kept telling his story with a 2,800 bet into the A♦9♣J♠ flop but Levi wouldn't either didn't believe or was happy to take the action.
On the Q♣ turn Vlassis checked allowing Levi to bet 10,000 - leaving a little over 4,000 behind - and the Greek quickly passed. -- RD
4.20pm: Double trouble for Mattern
Team PokerStars pro Arnaud Mattern has been eliminated by a player he doubled-up earlier on. Qualifier Ankush Mandavia doubled through the Frenchman with pocket nines to his ace-queen and that gave him a big enough stack that he's just used to eliminate the former champion.
There was an early position raise to 1,050 that Mattern called before Mandavia three-bet to 4,200 from the button. The original raiser folded but Mattern went all-in for around 15,000. Mandavia snap called with K♣K♦. Mattern tabled T♠T♥ and failed to catch-up on the 7♥J♦2♦4♦2♥ board. Mandavia is up to 52,000 after being fairly short earlier. -- MC
4.10pm: The Shining
As a staff member at Esquire magazine once wrote, "Unshined shoes are the blood-stained hands of style." They were right, obviously, and the sports-shoed flip-flop world of live poker would certainly shock even the most stoic cobbler.
Then again one man shines quite literally amid this field of sartorial sabotage, the former EPT Warsaw champion Joao Barbosa.
Poker may not yet have its players endorsing sports shoes and aftershave, despite a natural tendency of some to preen themselves with glitter and gold, but if the lambs wool marketing board ever find Barbosa they'll find they have a readymade poster boy.
Next to him sits William Ross who doesn't agree with any of that nonsense. He wears a bright red sequined mass-produced-in-various-colours-and-retailing-cheaply-stiff-brimmed-trilby, more likely to be seen on Norfolk hen night.
He's been tangling in pots, taking one from Christoffer Sonnesson without showing on a board of 2♣A♥J♠3♣6♣.
Then there's Colin Braginsky in seat two, wrapped up in scarves to protect him from the two-degree tobacco breeze sweeping in through the fire exit. He just slumped after a hand with Lee Amestoy.
Having opened for 700 Braginsky watched Amestoy raise to 2,000 which Braginsky called for a flop of 9♦7♠A♣. At this point Braginsky bet again, 3,300, which Amestoy called for a A♦ turn card. Another 10,000 from Braginsky and another call from Amestoy.
If Braginsky smelled trouble he didn't let it bother him on the 6♣ river card, betting 20,000 which Amestoy called in a flash, and with good reason. His A♥A♠ easily toppled Braginsky's 9♥9♣.
To his credit Braginsky laughed it off, the only thing you can do when you've been trounced. Apart from shine your shoes. - SB
4pm: Betting wins the day
Jeff Sarwer and Mihai Manole are on tables next to each other and both just won pots against dangerous opponents.
Firstly Mr. Sarwer three-bet his "noisy" neighbour Tim Kahlmeyer pre-flop to 1,725 after the German opened to 575. Kahlmeyer called to see a 3♠J♦2♠ flop where he check-called a 2,200 bet. The turn came T♣ and Sarwer upped the pressure with a 4,500 bet when checked to him. Kahlmeyer only had 11,300 back so the he was virtually playing for stacks if he continued but he didn't. Sarwer is up to 53,000 chips now.
Meanwhile it was Dermot Blain feeling the pain in the next table. I missed some of the action but it looked as if Blain opened from the cut-off, Manole three-bet from the small blind and Blain four-bet to 5,500. The final and decisive raise came from the Romanian though with a five-bet to 10,500. Blain tanked but ultimately folded. He's still going well on 46,000 to Manole's 34,000. -- MC
3.47pm: Neuville doubles
Pierre Neuville isn't a player that you normally associate with being short stacked. The online qualifier is usually bobbling along nicely just above average at this point in play so I was a little surprised to see him all-in and flipping for his tournament life with just 7,175 in front of him.
Mike Adamo had opened for 700 and had been called by David Taborsky before Neuville shoved from the cut-off. The Belgian found action instantly from Gustavo Rodriguez Santos on the button before Adamo and Taborsky mucked their hands.
The flip flopped well for Neuville with 9♦T♠5♥ and Santos was left asking the saints for a runner-runner. It didn't materialise. Neuville is back up to 16,100. -- RD
3.36pm:The wolf whimpers
My colleague earlier introduced Elmar Dirnberger aka The Wolf, check out 1.50pm: Buying into the legend. Dirnberger likes to do things his own way and if that means checking by thumping his elbow down on the side of the table then, by golly, he'll do it.
Unfortunately for wolfie his antics didn't go as planned when he elbow check-called a 1,300 bet from Ghioca Valentine on the river of a K♦T♦5♠3♣8♥ board. The Romanian showed him Q♣T♠ and Dirnberger gazed at the hand before before mucking with a more than a little irritation. -- RD
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 150-300
3.23pm: Hoping it's not one of those Weekes
PokerStars qualifier Jonathan Weekes was the final table bubble boy at EPT Tallinn and he's back to try and go one step better here in Prague. He just lost a small pot to Attila Kovesi but is up overall to 33,500.
He opened with an early position raise and was called by Kovesi and the player in the big blind. The flop came down 5♦Q♣2♠ and Weekes led for 725 and was called by both opponents. All three checked the A♣ turn before Weekes led for 1,500 on the Q♦ river. Kovesi was the only caller and took the pot with Q♠T♠ as Weekes could only muster 7♥7♣. -- MC
3.18pm: Hat tip Levi
Have we seen the last of the mass-produced-in-various-colours-and-retailing-cheaply-stiff-brimmed trilby's that populated tournament floors around the world of late? Well not if Nicolas Levi has anything to say about it who is launching his assault on another EPT campaign.
The Frenchman has got his stack back to where it started from after a pot against Elias Brussianos.
Brussianos opened for 400 while Levi, complete with grey trilby, raised to 900, which Brussianos called for a flop 5♠8♦9♣.
Levi bet another 1,000, covering his mouth with his hand, which Brussianos called, covering his mouth with his hand. The turn came 4♥ which both players checked for a A♣ river card. Levi threw in 2,000 to take it down. - SB
3.13pm: Unhappy Falaschi
I'm not fluent in Italian hand gestures but I'm pretty sure that Luca Falashi's flick of his hand said: 'I can't believe that he called with that and was lucky enough to river two-pair.' It would be mighty appropriate if it did anyway.
Falaschi had led 1,600 from the big blind into the button on a Q♥A♥4♠ flop and was called. Both players checked the 8♠ turn before Falaschi check-called 3,025 on the 5♠ river and was shown 4♦5♦ for two-pair. Falaschi flashed A♦K♠ fot top-pair top-kicker. Not happy. -- RD
3.05pm: MacPhee the man
I stopped by Kevin MacPhee's table mid-way through a hand, which is normally a good plan if you want to see something of note. The board read 3♦[10c]9♥K♣ and Christiano Blanco and MacPhee checked. On the K♠ river, Blanco bet 2,600 before MacPhee re-raised to 7,050. That was too much for Blanco, who mucked.
With that, MacPhee turned over the 3♠ and said to the dealer: "This card has a mark." 3♠, eh? Full house for Mr MacPhee? Whatever, he's up to 52,000. -- SY
2.55pm: Horecki aggression
After suffering a nasty beat earlier that cost him half of his stack, Team PokerStars Pro Marcin Horecki is fighting back. Tim Kahlmeyer started it with a raise to 450 which was called by Jeff Sarwer before PokerStars qualifier Denis Kipnis made it 1,600 in the next seat along. It was folded around to Horecki, who then four-bet to 3,700, and that was enough to end the rest of them running for the hills. Horecki back up to 18,000. -- SY
It's hard and no one really likes doing it but you have to fold once in a while. The best folders are normally the biggest winners as it's the most profitable move in poker (if timed correctly), long-term.
A fine example of this is Dominik Nitsche. He just folded to Ruslan Prydryk on the river seemingly knowing he was beat after investing chips at every other juncture. We don't know if it was a good fold as no cards were revealed but it's making these sorts of folds that save you the chips to go on the offense later in the tournament. Nitsche came 23rd in EPT Barcelona for €20,000 and backed that up with back-to-back final table appearances for over €100,000 in the period in between there and here (I'm sure he fiddled with the laws of time and space to manage that).
Anyway back to the hand he folded. It looked as if the young German had been very active already due to the amount of small denomination chips in front of him. This time he opened to 525 from mid-position and was only called by Prydryk in the big blind to go to the J♠3♣7♣ flop. Prydryk check-raised Nitsche's 6625 c-bet up to 1,725. Call. The turn came T♠ and Prydryk led for 3,150. Nitsche called again to see the 5♣ river but quickly folded to a 7,000 bet from the Ukranian. He's till going well though on around 37,000 and looking to continue the hot streak of form . -- MC
2.40pm: Winner Wintersberger
Ronan Collet opened from under-the-gun to 450 which was called by David Wintersberger in the cut off, as well as Atanas Gueorguiev in the small blind and Oleksander Vaserfirer in the big.
They got a flop of T♠J♦J♣. Collet checked as Wintersberger bet another 1,000. Gueorguiev called in the small blind while Vaserfirer passed, soon followed by Collet.
The turn came Q♠ which both checked for a 3♠ river card. Gueorguiev, his jacket zipped up to his chin, like he was expecting the roof to blow off at any minute, fired in 3,500. Wintersberger called, and took the pot, showing J♠K♠ to Gueorguiev's 9♥J♥. Gueorguiev quietly mucked. Wintersberger up to 42,000.
2.30pm: Back to he action
Our Day 1A field, including Ivo Donev (see below), has returned and is ready to start level three. Game on.
PokerStars Blog reporting team at EPT Prague (in numerical order of items of food in front of them): Simon Young (a surprisingly fallow one), Marc Convey (an adequate two), Rick Dacey (an unsurprising three) and Stephen Bartley (a glutton's pre-Christmas warm-up four). Photos by Neil Stoddart.