EPT San Remo: Day 1B, levels 5 & 6 updates (200-400, 25 ante)
That's the end of level 6. Half the field are now on a dinner break. The other half, after a short comfort break, will play on for level seven. -- SY
7.10pm: Eastgate out
After spending around 20 hours on a minibus to get here, Peter Eastgate is now out after a few hours of play. By all accounts it was pretty brutal, too. On a K-J-6 flop, Eastgate had 6-6 and his opponent A-K. The money went in, and the turn was a K and the river a J to give the other player a runner-runner bigger full house. -- SY
7.05pm: Chip leaders and reunions
Rasmus Nielsen is up to about 140,000. He's another one of those players with a secret 25,000 chip lurking in his stack. He's not concealing it or anything (in fact it's on the very top of his pile) but it's very similar in colour to the red 1,000 chip and is easily missed. Stefano Brega is also on his table, with 110,000, so that's the place to be for the chip leaders.
Meanwhile on table 20 there's a Vilamoura reunion going on. Jeff Sarwer, who finished third there, has joined the table already occupied by the winner in Portugal, Antonia Matias. They're getting on well still: "I just wanna win a title," said Sarwer to Matias as they were discussing that particular showdown. "I have so many final tables but I don't have what you have. That never goes away."
Matias smiled and Sarwer added: "Pleasure playing with you there. Congratulations." -- HS
6.58pm: Who's got the bigger Finn?
Jens Kyollonen and fellow Finn Juha Helppi just tangled and it was the more seasoned of the two who came out on top.
Kyllonen raised from late position and Helppi called from the big blind to go to a 4♥2♦J♣ flop. Helppi then check-raised Kyollonen's 1,550 c-bet up to 5,200. Kyollonen folded and then burst into laughter when Helppi tabled 9♠T♠. Helppi said something to his opponent in Finnish and even though I couldn't understand it I'm sure it was something like "That'll teach you for messing with me son. You've still got a lot to learn!" --MC
6.55pm: Five to the flop
A bet of 400 by Thomas Bichon pre-flop was called in four places by Sandra Naujoks, Jens Thorson, Cristina Pavia and Andrea Benelli for a flop of K♦4♦A♥. All five players checked for a 7♣ turn which was checked again, through to Naujoks who flipped out a bet of 1,600. Just Thorson hung around to call for a K♠ on the river. Both checked to a showdown, Naujoks showing A♠5♠ to take the pot. Naujoks now has 53,000
6.54pm: Rousso routed
No details as yet, but Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Rousso has lost her battle trying to build up her short stack. -- SY
6.50pm: De Melo on the up
Team PokerStars SportStar Fatima de Melo picked up another nice pot to move up to 47,000. The board was showing 6♣6♠4♥7♥ and with 17,000 in the pot she bet 11,000. Alessandro Amelia thought about it, but then decided against it. -- SY
6.40pm: 'Can't beat that'
The river was out to give a T♣J♠T♦7♦J♦ board and 23,000 had made it in to the pot and three players were still involved. Jero Brokaar led out for 17,600 from the small blind. Luca Ascani took a long time to fold from the cut-off to leave Greg Dyer with a seemingly difficult decision from the button. He made the call then cringed when he saw the Dutchman's J♥J♣ for quads. "Can't beat that" mused Dyer who is now down to 33,000. --MC
6.37pm: Kevin MacPhee...
He talks. In moving pictures and everything.
6.35pm: Kang put out of his misery
Ben Kang is out and, according to our German cousins, he didn't win a single hand all day. Not one. Nichts. Kang's final hand was, in a way, typical. Miguel Tier raised to 1,025 and Kang shoved for his last 6,850. Tier called and they were on their backs:
Kang flopped good: J♥5♦[10s] but when his hand improved on the K♦ turn, that filled Tier's straight. The 6♥ river sent Kang to the cash games. -- HS
6.30pm: Quickly back to starting stack
Peter Eastgate sat down a little while ago with 25,000 but has wasted little time in getting back to what he would've started with if he'd got here in time for the start of play. He called a raise to 1,000 from early position and the big blind came along to. The flop came Q♣5♥Q♦ and Eastgate bet 1,800 when checked to him. The big blind called but folded to a 4,250 bet on the A♠ river. --MC
6.25pm: Steindl v Nielsen (again)
Yet again Rasmus Nielsen tangles with Johannes Steindl. After a limp and a call Steindl raised it up to 1,900 and only Nielsen called. Both checked the [10h][10d]8♥ flop, and on the 5♠ turn Nielsen bet 2,400 - call. On the A♦ river Nielsen bet 3,850 and Steindl let it go. Nielsen up to 70,000. Steindl 31,000. -- SY
6.20pm: Rousso down but not out
Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Rousso is down to 10,000. Facing an 8♣K♣Q♠3♦ board just now she had a decision to make after Yuri Kerzhapkin bet 4,500. But after five minutes she thought better of it and let it go. Kerzhapkin showed her pocket queens. -- SY
6.15pm: Do you know the way to San Remo?
Barry Greenstein might not have been sitting down for long, and you'd imagine after his 20 hour trip he'd prefer to be laying down, but he's here and in action at the end of level five, calling the modest all-in of Gustavo Zito who has just 2,050 to his name.
Zito showed A♣A♠ to Greenstein's 9♦9♠. But the gods were ready to salute the weary traveller, to the tune of a straight, with the board coming 8♥3♦Q♥J♥T♠.
Zito, who travelled here from nearby Italy, is out. -- SB.
6.10pm: Busing in
It's difficult to have much sympathy for Jason Mercier, especially in a poker sense, where he is arguably the hottest tournament player on the planet at the moment. Mercier most recently took down the NAPT Bounty Shootout at the Mohegan Sun - his umpteenth major title - and then he decided to hop over to San Remo to the scene of his EPT triumph two years ago.
It wasn't all that easy, however, as he was one of several thousand folk grounded in London owing to the volcano dust cloud closing UK airspace. Their only option was a 16-hour bus journey, through the night and over the Alps, also carrying Barry Greenstein, Peter Eastgate, assorted friends and girlfriends, a lot of booze, and some petty arguments.
They're here now, but they don't exactly look fresh as a daisy.
Mercier has taken a seat next to Danny Ryan, so at least he has someone to talk to. However, he hasn't had the best of it at the table just yet - and just lost a pot to Alessandro Ambrosio.
Mercier opened from the button, making it 825 to go. Ambrosio called in the small blind and they went to a flop of [10d]7♦6♣. Ambrosio bet 1,525 and Mercier called, taking them to a J♠ turn. Ambrosio bet again, making it 2,500, and Mercier called again. The river was 8♦. They both checked that and Ambrosio's J♣[10c] was best. -- HS
5.55pm: First set of the day
Jeff Sarwer announced that he hit his first set of the day. A third eight fell on the flop and he got custom through the turn but was happy to check behind on the river after a potential straight draw came in. A very happy Sarwer is up to 53,000. -MC
5.50pm: Bluffing the turn
James Dempsey is up to 51,000 after bluffing Thomas Marchese off a hand. The turn was already out to leave a 2♦5♣T♠J♠ board. Dempsey checked from mid-position to face a quarter-pot sized bet of 5,100. He stared Marchese down and then moved all-in for around 26,000. Marchese folded quickly and was shown A♠Q♦ by the Brit. --MC
5.45pm: Markushevski unscared by check-raise
Vadim Markushevski has silently established himself as one of the most reliable performers in a Team PokerStars Pro patch. The Belarussian has cashed in Kyiv, Deauville, Berlin and Snowfest and the early going here is just fine too.
On a flop of 2♦8♠4♣, Pasi Heinanen checked and Markushevski bet 800. Heinanen raised to 2,100 and Markushevski called. The turn was 2♠ and Heinanen checked. Markushevski bet 2,400 at that and forced a fold.
Markushevski has about 45,000 at this early stage. -- HS
5.40pm: Set over flush draw
Ivan Demidov just moved up to 65,000 when his set dodged Antonino Venneri's flush draw.
On a flop of 7♣3♦9♣ Venneri checked to Demidov who made it 3,500. Venneri then raised to 7,000 which prompted Demidov to shove all in. Venneri called showing his A♣T♣ flush draw to Demidov's 7♠7♥.
The turn, T♠ and river 6♦ sent the chips to Demidov. -- SB.
5.35pm: Pescatori's pair rivers straight
Yury Gulin raised to 800 from mid-position but no one seemed impressed by that. Shahram Rastegari called, Iosif Eva called and Max Pescatori (in the big blind) asked Gulin for a count of his chips before he called too.
Those four went to a flop of J♦7♦[10s] and after it was checked to Rastegari, he bet 1,350. Only Pescatori called that. The turn was 7♥, which they both checked, but Pescatori came out firing on the 8♥ river.
Rastegari called but was shown 9♣9♦ for the pocket pair turned straight on the river. Rastegari mucked. -- HS
5.20pm: ElkY up Adams out
Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier just moved up to close to 70,000 at the expense of Marco Adams from Holland. He'd raised from under the gun and had been re-raised by ElkY to 5,725. Adams then made it 11,000 before ElkY lumped in another 35,000. Inevitably Adams put the rest of his stack in, 15,000 or so, and showed Q♠Q♥. ElkY turned over A♣K♥.
The board ran A♥7♠4♦T♠A♦ sending the chips to the Frenchman and Adams to the rail. -- SB.
5.10pm: In or out
With some players still not even in the room - maybe they're not even in Italy yet, who knows - it's pretty difficult to keep track of who's doing the best and who could do better. There are a good handful of players, however, whose tournament is already over. The following did not make the dinner break:
If our eyes are to be believed, the leader at the moment is a young British PokerStars qualifier named Patrick Carron. He has about 130,000 already.
5pm: Play resumes
That's the break over. Players have returned to play levels five and six.
At the end of which will be the first dinner break. 'Dinner break A' we'll call it.