EPT Prague: Day 1B, level 7, 8 & 9 updates (blinds 500-1000, ante 100)

ept-thumb-promo.jpg11.25pm: End of play
The usual bagging and tagging is taking place. End of day chip counts and full wrap of the day's action to come, and it will be saying that Dirk Richter has made a late, late charge for the chip lead. -- RD

11.10pm: Romanello piling on the pressure
'You're playing with the wrong person. Try someone else. You agree?' asked Roberto Romanello after check-raising Sebastian Homann off the river of a 5♥T♥3♥A♣7♠ board. The answer was not of the affirmative nature. 'You want to make tomorrow?' he questioned further. Romanello may not have realised the Homann just won quarter of a million in a tournament last month but the pressure seems to be paying off for him either way. Romanello is certainly a chip leader contender. -- RD

11.08pm: Last four hands
The tournament clock has been stopped and every table will play four more hands before the players bag up their chips for the night. -- MC

11.07pm:Lykov's luck finally runs out
Team PokerStars Pro Max Lykov has been in a few showdowns today and many of them he came through from a disadvantage. The hand that just bust him was a straight race though. He got the last of his chips in with king-queen versus Antonio Batisti's 6♥6♦ but failed to hit through the 8♠8♥8♦T♠3♥ board. -- MC

11.05pm: Stelmak stumped
Dmitry Stelmak is down to his last 15,000 after this tangle with Manuel Bevand. The board read 6♣9♦8♥5♠3♠, and with around 35,000 in the pot, Bevand had bet 21,000 more.

Stelmak gave it a good, long think, staring down Bevand looking for signs of weakness. He called. A seven for Bevand, perhaps? No, he had two of them, 7♠7♦ for the straight. Bevand is up to 135,000. -- SY

10.58pm: Queen cracks aces
PokerStars qualifier Helen Prager is up to 115,000 after cracking an opponent's aces to bust him. The flop was out as [q][3][10] and she called his all-in push holding king-queen. Her opponent was looking good for a double-up but another queen appeared on the turn to send the pot her way. -- MC

10.50pm: Don't you just hate it when that happens?
Poor old Matteo Taddia. Max Lykov declared a misdeal when the dealer exposed his card. As the other cards were being thrown back into the muck, Taddia took a look at what could have been - A♥A♣. Ouch. -- SY

10.42pm: Gork puts a stop to Theo
Theo Jorgensen has never been the owner a big stack today, but he has recently clawed his way up to around 34,000. Not so much a rapid ascent, more a pained, inch-by-inch affair; a bit like an Everest mountaineer.

Jorgensen, a new Team PokerStars Pro, just tried to get a toe hold on another step up, open-raising to 2,200, but Marc Gork was having none of it, re-raising to 7,500 and forcing a fold. -- SY

10.37pm: Good news for the Brits
The second half of the day seems to have favoured those players from the British Isles. Toby Lewis has grinded his way up to 70,000 despite having a straight rivered on him while Roberto Romanello and Laurence Houghton are up among the chip leaders with Houghton on 150,000 or so and Romanello on 170,000.

Even short stacked John Eames has managed to double up. Getting it in with J♦Q♦ against pocket tens Eames said: 'That's good. I like that.' The flop could have been worse for Eames with A♠A♣K♠ and a K♦ dropped on the turn to all but seal the pot for him. Eames is now on 26,000. -- RD

10.23pm: Those not returning
News from the virtual world tells us that two heavy weights of the game, Johnny Lodden and James Akenhead, will not be coming back for the last level.

Lodden via Facebook: "bust. Double up once but couldnt do twice..."

Akenhead via Twitter: "Out. I iso 2 limprs with AK, 1 had AJ the other QT, flp AKJ and I finish last :( Did the rest with AQ on a Q hi flop v eventual str8 flush.." -- MC

10.20pm: And here we go
A hush descends upon the room as the last level of the day begins. The hush then disappears as a few bars from Knight Rider boom out of the speakers heralding a new level in the side event.

Let's go, Michael. -- SY

10.03pm: One more time
In the words of Daft Punk, the players are on a break for one more time before we play level nine and conclude for the night. -- MC

10pm: New haircut, same old story
Dag Palovic lost a heads up series 38-37 against Team PokerStars Martin Hruby and forfeited his right to have normal hair; it's now blond with a PokerStars logo emblazoned across the back. Unfortunately it's another loss for him here running kings into aces. At least he's got a lovely new haircut to show for his €5,000 buy-in.

And here, for your viewing pleasure, is the video story of that haircut. -- RD

9.57pm: Better luck next time Berende
Popular Dutch player Paul Berende has just been eliminated by popular Welsh player Roberto Romanello. The details are a little hazy but Romanello raised, Berende three-bet, Romanello four-bet and Berende shoved. Romanello called with ace-king and was ahead of Berende's ace-queen and it stayed that way until the end. Romanello cruising on 170,000 chips now. -- MC

9.55pm: Gromov's pot
Tobias Reinkemeier, with a nice 140,000 stack behind him, raised from under the gun to 1,800. He got three calls, including EPT Vilamoura winner Toby Lewis from the button and Russian Poker Series Kyiv winner Dmitry Gromov from the big blind. All four checked the J♦K♣7♥ flop, but on the 8♥ turn Gromov took the initiative with a bet of 3,000. Reinkemeier called but everyone else scarpered.

The river was 5♥, and now Gromov checked with only around 13,000 behind. Reinkemeier thought for a moment of two before betting 5,500 and Gromov insta-called with 9♠[10s] for the turned straight. Reinkemeier showed 7♠8♠ for two pair. -- SY

9.50pm: Betting with the worst
Peter Hedlund has exited singing away during his last hand. He was all-in with his micro-stack as David Sonelin and another player fought over the big side pot.

The board read 2♦J♥A♦4♠ and a big bet from Sonelin forced his opponent off the side pot. Hedlund only had 9♥6♥ and was behind to his countryman's pocket threes (a worse hand than the player that folded, apparently) but that didn't stop Hedlund from singing as he knew he had outs. The river came T♦ and Hedlund wandered off, beer in hand. Sonelin meanwhile is up to 190,000. -- MC

9.42pm: Pulling no punches
Team PokerStars Pro Johnny Lodden and EPT Tallinn winner Kevin Stani are good friends and are sat at the same table. That does not mean there's any soft playing going on between the two - far from it. Stani just four-bet Lodden off of his hand in a stealing battle with Stani opening the action from the button. Lodden, who has around 20,000 left, was put into a push or fold situation and eventually opted for the fold. -- RD

9.40pm: Kopyl a load of this Boeree
Waldemar Kopyl just tried to get the better of Team PokerStars Pro Liv Boeree but failed. He raised from early position and the Brit defended from the big blind to go to the 3♣A♠2♣ flop. Kopl bet 2,400 here and 5,200 on the 6♣ turn and both times Boeree check-called. The river came J♥ and both players checked. Boeree's A♥J♦ bettered her opponent's K♠J♠ and she took the pot to move up to 42,000. -- MC

9.35pm: Taming the Dragan
A flop of T♣4♣Q♠ and Fintan Gavin is in action. The Irishman gives the impression of not messing about. No dawdling lads, let's play the game, or something. He bets with determination and energy, as Dragan Gallic found out in quick time. Gavin bet 3,700 which Gallic called for a 7♠ turn. Boom, 35,000 from Gavin this time, good to take the pot and move up to 81,000 in chips. Gallic is down to 15,000. - SB

9.30pm: Pagano picks one off
Team PokerStars Pro Luca Pagano is up to 62,000 after snatching a pot off an opponent. The opponent raised from under-the-gun and Pagano called from the cut-off to see a 3♦K♠J♣ where he called a c-bet. The turn came 5♦ and Pagano was faced with a check. He pounced on the opportunity like a polar bear seeing a seal through the ice and bet 11,500 to force his opponent to fold. -- MC

9.28pm: Soros pretty far from sorry
'Yes!' cried Soros Zsolt as he literally slammed his chips into the middle with turned trips. Jaques Torbey had shoved with with Q♥Q♠ on the turn of a 4♥9♠6♠6♣ for around 30,000 and was angrily snap-called by Zsolt who had him just covered. The Hungarian showed [6][8].

'Why do you call me?' asked Torbey, who told me afterwards that he had three-bet pre-flop to 4,200.

'Because I think you have ace-king and it's my lucky hand.' Zsolt snapped back.

Torbey, who had also bet 9,000 on the flop, was left looking a bit dazed and confused as Zsolt raked in the pot - not far off 100,000 - and couldn't seem to believe the Hungarian had called pre- or post-flop for the amount he was committing. Another one bites the dust. -- RD

9.25pm: Pagano playing his game
It wouldn't be a Day 1 of an EPT without Team PokerStars Pro Luca Pagano sitting behind a respectable stack. Sure enough, the Italian currently has a comfortable 63,000, more than double his starting allocation.

But he's now got fellow Team Pro Juan Manuel Pastor for company at the table, and the Spaniard will prove a stubborn obstacle. On this one, Pagano opened for 1,700 and Pastor called from the button. On the 7♦4♣K♦ flop, Pagano continued with a bet of 2,100, but then let it go when Pastor re-raised to 5,100. Pastor is on 36,000. -- SY

9.20pm: Palovic doubles up
Dag Palovic, who thanks to his losing prop bet now sports dyed blonde hair with a red PokerStars spade logo on the back of his head, just made a decent call to double up. On a 9♥Q♣4♥ flop, Gianni Giaroni had bet 16,000, enough to put Palovic all-in. The man from Slovakia thought about it, thought about it some more and made the call:

Palovic: Q♠[10s]
Giaroni: A♦J♠

Palovic let out a yelp of delight when he saw that, and the 3♣ turn and 5♣ river ensured he stayed ahead. -- SY


Dag Palovic's PokerStars head. All players should be made to have this

9.15pm: Romanellofication
A reaction like the chair he'd been sitting in had suddenly turned to into wasabi lightening. The cause? Roberto Romanello, complete with red and white striped headband with a spiky grey wig sticking out of it which must have made defeat all the more galling.

Flash back a few minutes and the board shows 3♠7♣3♦K♦. Tadini had moved all-in for 26,200 and there was a mass of chips in the middle - about 30,000 worth. Romanello was leaning forward looking across at Tadini.

"Show if I pass?" asked Romanello, but Frenchman Tadini didn't understand. So, Romanello asked another Frenchman to translate. Tadini still didn't answer.

But this was standard interrogational procedure for Romanello and he was just getting started.

"Jack-nine of diamonds?" he pressed. "Five-six of diamonds?" Then, "why so frightened?"

Roberto Romanello

Now Tadini told to show if he folded, or something. There was a translation error somewhere. Either way Romanello called. Tadini beamed as he showed his A♣3♣, flipping them over quickly, while Romanello consoled himself knowing that he was still alive with his Q♦T♦.

The river, 9♦.

And now back to that chair moment. Tadini leapt up as if stung and in one motion grabbed his coat and stormed off to the rail. Romanello tapped the table but Tadini was too far away to care or notice.

Tadini out, Romanello up to 120,000. -- SB

9.10pm: Quietly hunting and gathering
EPT regular David Sonelin has emerged from the masses with a 165,000 stack. The Swede is a very quite and unassuming character but is fearless at the baize. He said his biggest pot came a little while ago where he three-bet an opponent with eight-nine. His opponent called to go to [a][9][9] flop and then he check-called every street. The pot totalled about 80,000 at the end and Sonelin scooped the lot after his opponent mucked upon seeing his hand. -- MC

LEVEL UP: Blinds 400-800, ante 75

9pm: Steady Eddie
John Eames (known as Eddie to a lot of his friends) is down to 18,000 after doubling-up the short stacked Jim Kilajian. Eames raised to 1,500 before tank calling to Kilajian's 10,975 shove whilst saying "I need to get something going".

Eames: A♦8♥
Kilajian: 6♥6♣

I was almost as good as Eames could've asked for but he failed to hit through the K♠5♥3♦K♦4♠ board. -- MC

8.55pm: Saout continuing to chip up
Antoine Saout is now up to 34,000 getting two streets of value on a A♥Q♠7♠9♦4♦ board, getting 1,750 in on the flop and another 4,200 in on the river. Rather than looking annoyed at getting rivered by two-pair I suspect his opponent was behind all the way. -- RD

8.43pm: Jack the lad
Team PokerStars Pro Johnny Lodden is above his starting stack for what is probably the first time in this tournament. Fellow Scandie and EPT Barcelona champion Kent Lundmark raised to 1,500 from the cut-off and Lodden defended from the big blind. The call brought about a 7♠J♠3♠ flop where Lodden check-called a 1,700 bet.

Both players checked the Q♥ turn before the Norwegian led for 2,475 on the 4♣ river.
Lundmark called but folded upon seeing his opponent's J♣T♥ for second pair. Lundmark still going along just fine on 54,000 and Lodden is up to 36,000. -- MC

8.31pm: Dinner issues
Tuesday night is not the night to dine in Prague if you're looking for speedy service. Many players have turned up late and they include Toby Lewis and Roberto Romanello. Both have the stacks to sustain a missed orbit but it's hardly ideal. -- RD

8.26pm: Theo down
Theo Jorgensen is down to 17,000 chips after a hand against Oskar Silow from Sweden.
Silow opened for 1,500 which Jorgensen called in the cut off, as did the big blind who would then check the 3♠4♣Q♥ flop.

Silow added another 2,500 to things which Jorgensen called, taking it heads up to the turn, a J♥. Both checked for a 5♣ river which Jorgensen shielded with his hands, concentrating solely on Silow's reaction.

Theo Jorgensen

The Swede took his time, betting 3,000. Finally Jorgensen took a look and called, but was beaten when Silow showed K♠Q♦, blowing a bubble with some gum as he did so. Silow up to 75,000. - SB

8.22pm: Saout's staying
Antoine Saout is feeling better about life after doubling up upon his return from dinner. He saw a 5♦Q♠4♣ flop with his neighbour. Saout's c-bet was raised before the Frenchman went almost all-in (575 back). His opponent called the extra on the A♦ turn.

Saout tabled 5♣5♥ for a set meaning his opponent was drawing dead with his K♥Q♥. The river came 2♠ and Saout raked in the pot to move up to 26,000 in chips. -- MC

8.20pm: Aces
On a 8♣9♦4♠ flop, Manuel Bevand bet 6,000 and faced a re-raise to 16,000. The Frenchman was having none of it, moving all-in for around 40,000 total. His opponent mucked and Bevand flashed a lovely pair of aces. A ca va hand, as they say in France (allegedly) -- SY

8.15pm: The money!
The prizepool here in Prague has been set at €2,730,550 and first place will pay €640,000. A total of 80 players will go home with some money. -- SY

8.04pm: Final stretch
With bellies full, the remaining 263 players are now back in their seats for the final three, one-hour levels.

Although we've lost some big-name Team PokerStars Pros--ElkY, Dario Minieri and Ville Wahlbeck included--loads more are still going strong. One of those is Liv Boeree, who I just happen to have found a picture of. Shame not to use it, eh readers? -- SY


Liv Boeree

PokerStars Blog reporting team (in order of return from dinner): Simon Young (very prompt), Stephen Bartley/Rick Dacey/Marc Convey (hello, hello... hello?)

Simon Young
@MrSimonYoung in European Poker Tour