EPT San Remo: Levels 24 (cont) and 25 (20,000-40,000, 4,000 ante)

ept-thumb-promo.jpg3.40pm: Ronny Kaiser eliminated
Full details to follow. And then a 15-minute break.

3.35pm: New information: Per Linde drives a German car
This was a battle of the blinds that became pretty brutal - although you wouldn't know it from the table banter that accompanied it. It was folded to Per Linde in the small blind and he raised to 90,000. Claudio Piceci defended his big blind with a call.

That took them to a flop of 9♥7♠Q♠ and Linde led for 110,000. Piceci raised to 345,000 and without too much tarrying, Linde announced he was all in, for round about the same 1,500,000-sized stack as Piceci.

Piceci sat back and began some speech play. At first, Linde couldn't understand what Piceci was saying, but after its third repetition, Linde heard the question: "Do you drive a Volvo or Saab? In Sweden."

Linde laughed at the national stereotype, but instead of asking whether Piceci drove a Fiat or a Ferrari, he simply said: "No, I drive a German car."

"Not a Saab? You are from Sweden?"

This was greeted by a chuckle, except from Kadir Karabulut, who asked for the clock to be put on Piceci. Thomas Kremser came over to arbitrate and told Piceci that he wouldn't yet be put on the clock; he hadn't really been thinking for that long. Eventually, though, Kremser did announce that he had one-minute more to make his decision and Piceci said: "Thank you." Then he polished off his drink, then reached out and touched the pulse on Linde's neck, then folded. -- HS

3.35pm: Finn finds it on the river
Toni Pettersson has doubled up through Ronny Kaiser to 1.25 million. He open pushed from the small blind with Q♦J♥ and was called by Kaiser in the big blind with A♠T♥. The board ran 9♦5♥K♥4♠Q♥. "Yes," cried Pettersson as he hit his six-outer on the river. Kaiser down to 850,000. --MC

3.32pm: Ramon empire
On a flop of 9♣3♣T♣ both Allan Baekke and Ramon Cserei checked for a J♠ turn. Baekke checked that and then called Cserei's bet of 120,000. On the J♥ river Baekke checked again and then called again when Cserei bet 185,000. But it was Cserei taking the pot when he showed king-queen. -- SB.

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Ramon Cserei

3.25pm: More for Boeree
Liv Boeree, the last woman standing (well, sitting), continued her great start to the day with another nice pot. Mohsen Tayfeh opened for 95,000 and Boeree called. On the 5♠7♠7♦ flop Tayfeh bet 110,000 and got a call again. Boeree also called Tayfeh's 225,000 bet on the A♦ turn.

The A♣ river slowed Tayfeh down to a check, but Boeree seized the initiative by betting 500,000 - and that was good enough to take the pot. She's up to just short of 3million now. -- SY

3.24pm: Stelmak in action
Dmitry Stelmak and Ronny Kaiser both checked the [10h]4♣A♣ flop and on the turn of 4♥ Stelmak check-called Kaiser's 85,000. The river was 9♣, bringing the possible flush. Stelmak made the most of it, betting 100,000 and forcing Kaiser out of the pot. -- SY

3.22pm: Tamm trouble for Berende
Erik Tamm doubles up through Paul Berende in a massive hand that leaves Berende short stacked. Erik Tamm opened for 95,000 which Berende raised to 245,000.

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After some thought Tamm then moved all-in for 1,786,000 which Berende eventually called with his own 2,034,000.

Tamm: J♥J♦
Berende: A♦K♦

The board ran 2♣6♠T♠Q♥T♣. Tamm up to more than 3,600,000 now. -- SB.

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Paul Berende

3.20pm: Armando Graziano has been eliminated in 21st place
Claudio Rinaldi has sent Armando Graziano to the rail. Graziano open shoved for around 450,000 from the cut-off with K♦T♠ and was called by Rinaldi in the big blind with A♥K♠. The Italian took the lead on the 5♦T♣9♣ but fell behind on the A♦ turn and stayed there on through the 6♣ turn.

Rinaldi started yesterday as the short stack and navigated his way through the field to make it to today. He came back as the second shortest stack today and has been on a charge from the start and is now on more than two million chips. --MC

3.17pm: Wham Tamm
A brief skirmish between Erik Tamm and Paul Berende ends when Tamm moved all in being a re-raise by Berende who then folded. -- SB.

3.15pm: Kaiser wins, ships it to Stelmak
There's been some intriguing play on table one, with Dmitry Stelmak and Ronnie Kaiser to the fore. Kaiser made it 80,000 from under-the-gun and Giuseppe Diep called on the button. The two of them went to a flop of 5♣A♠3♦ and Kaiser check-called Diep's 90,000 bet. They both checked the 4♠ turn and then Kaiser led for 350,000 on the 2♣ river. Diep tanked, but then folded A♦Q♥ face up. One for Kaiser.

The next hand was all about the pre-flop aggression of Stelmak. The Russian player made it 85,000 to play from early position and Liv Boeree called on the button. Kaiser, in the big blind, made it 245,000, which put the decision back on Stelmak.

He asked for counts of both opponents, but seemed to have his decision already made. He slid out a tower of orange chips, worth 25,000 apiece and totalling 500,000. Boeree folded, followed by the squeezing Kaiser. Is that a re-squeeze? -- HS

3.10pm: Baekke to Tamm
Allan Baekke takes a pot from Erik Tamm. Tamm had opened from under the gun pre-flop and Baekke called from the big blind. On the flop of 8♣6♥T♠ Baekke checked before Tamm bet 125,000. Baekke then raised to 425,000 total, enough for Tamm to quit the hand.

3.10pm: Down and then out
It got worse for Jens Thorson; a lot worse. He's been eliminated by fellow countryman Per Linde. Thorson open shoved for around 700,000 from the cut-off and was snap-called by Linde in the big blind. Showdown:

Thorson: A♣J♠
Linde: A♥K♣

The board ran Q♦2♥6♥T♠5♣. Thorson failed to come from behind and exits in 22nd place for €30,000, a great result for only his second EPT. Linde is over the two million mark now. --MC

3.05pm: Berende-ing the rules
Paul Berende opened for 88,000 from the cut off. Alexey Rybin was in the cut off and raised to 250,000 which Thang Duc Nguyen called in the big blind. Then Berende moved all-in for 1,743,000. Rybin folded and Nguyen went into the tank for several minutes, eventually folding. -- SB.

3.02pm: Coup for Piper, hit for Thorson
A massive pot swings Michael Piper's way at the expense of Jens Thorson. The Brit made it 98,000 from the button, and Thorson called from the big blind. Both then checked the J♦8♣J♠ flop, but on the 2♠ turn Thorson bet 115,000 and Piper made the call.

The river was 5♠ and it kicked off: Thorson bet 5♠ and Piper gave it the dwell, counting out his chips, then electing to put a huge pile worth 800,000 over the line. Thorson quickly made the call, but he'll wish he hadn't - Piper turned over J♣8♠ for the flopped full house.

That leaves Thorson on around 700,000, but sends Piper up to the dizzy heights of around 2.4million. -- SY

2.58pm: Three strange occurrences
The were three strange occurrences about this hand from one of the outer tables. The first thing was that a flop was seen - it had been a good fifteen minutes since that happened at this table as pre-flop raises and re-raises had accounted for all the action in this period.

The second was that three players were involved post flop and that also hadn't happened at all today.

Thirdly, it was a limped pot; a rare occurrence indeed.

The flop came out as Q♠6♦T♠ and when Michael Piper led out for 114,000 Claudio Rinaldi folded from the big blind and so did Claudio Piceci from the button. Sorry it's not any more exciting than that. --MC

2.55pm: Karlsson all in
Jakob Karlsson opened for 88,000 in early position which Ramon Cserei then raised to 260,000 from the small blind. Karlsson then moved all in for 1,886,000. Cserei squirmed in his chair a little, removed his glasses and, sitting bolt upright, asked for a count. He tanked for several minutes before passing. -- SB.

2.50pm: Kaiser, Blain, Kaiser, Blain, Boeree
All the action so far on one of the outer tables has featured one of Ronny Kaiser or Dermot Blain. Until Liv Boeree came to town.

Four quick hands: Kaiser raised from the cut off and Blain called on the button. The flop came 5♥5♦9♠ and when it was checked to Blain, his bet of 180,000 took it.

Next up, Kaiser raised to 85,000 from mid position and Guiseppe Diep called from the big blind. Kaiser bet 76,000 on the flop of A♠2♣7♠ and won.

Blain was back in action on the next hand, raising to 80,000 from under-the-gun. That was good. But then Boeree decided she had had enough and after Blain raised to 80,000 from early position, Mohsen Tayfeh bumped it to 190,000 from the cut off. Boeree, in the big blind, four-bet to 610,000 and that was enough for both of them to lay it down. -- HS

2.47pm: Baekke backs up
Allan Baekke makes another pre-flop raise, this time 85,000 from the cut off. Erik Tamm is in the button and re-raises to 225,000. The blinds fold, as does Baekke. -- SB.

2.40pm: Boeree quads bust Pignataro
Liv Boeree opened with a raise to 85,000. It was folded around to Luigi Pignataro, who re-raised all in for 1.1 million, just as he had against Ronny Kaiser the hand before.

Boeree quickly made the call, hardly believing her luck. And here's why:

Pignataro: A♠[10d]
Boeree: K♦K♠

The British player was in a sweet spot and it got much better when the flop came 5♦K♣K♥ for quads! There was no way out for the Italian, who could only watch as the turn came 8♣ and river 3♥. He leaves in 23rd place for €30,000.

Boeree, meanwhile, eases up to around 2.5million. -- SY

2.35pm: Baekke starts
Allan Baekke wins his first pot of the day betting pre-flop and then again on the flop of T♣6♦4♠ to push Paul Berende out of the way. - SB.

2.32pm: Man down; Valkenburg sunk
We have our first elimination of the day: Paul Valkenburg has departed in 24th. He moved his short stack all in pre-flop during the first orbit and got it through, but when Michael Piper opened to 82,000 and Valkenburg shoved again, Piper was there with the call.

Piper: J♥J♣
Valkenburg: A♥8♣

They didn't have to sweat for very long: the window card was J♠ and Valkenburg was soon drawing dead. The rest of the board ran, in order, 4♦8♠8♥A♠ and the bigger boat of Piper sank that of Valkenburg. -- HS

2.31pm: Blinds up
The blinds are now 20,000-40,000 with a 4,000 ante.

2.30pm: Early tests
It hasn't been the best of starts for Irishman Dermot Blain. He hasn't lost any big pots but because he's being forced off pots. Two hands out of four he raised and both times he's had to fold to re-raises behind him.

The first time he raised Dmitry Stelmak min-raised from the next seat. Blain folded and didn't see the Russian's rye smile. It'll be interesting to see how their relationship develops over the course of the day.

Two hands later the Irishman opened the pot again with a raise and this time it was Mohsen Tayfeh who put in the re-raise, from two seats along. Dermot asked how much his opponent was playing. The 1.75 million answer seemed to be enough to get him to lay it down, --MC

2.22pm: First blood
Alexey Rybin takes the first pot on the feature table against Thang Duc Nguyen. On a board of [q][a][4][k][j] Rybin bet 250,000 on the end of a pot that featured a lot of checking. Nguyen folded. -- SB.

2.20pm: Cards in the air
We're under way on day five.

2pm: The numbers
While we're listening to the orchestra tune up and the finishing touches to be made to the stage check out the current chip counts here as well as today's table draw. There's also a full list of what we played for yesterday and what we're playing for today on the prize winners page.

1.55pm: State of play
We're still in level 24 but only for the first five minute of the day. Then we'll enter level 25.

1.45pm: Introduction
The TV stage is a spectacular site this afternoon, more so because it was set up by men who had travelled here by bus. We've moved locations for day five. Rather than being upstairs in the tournament room of Casino San Remo we're tucked in between the coat check in and the slots room, alongside the casino's theatre that is a royal box short of spectacular.

The final three tables will be under the spotlight, literally, on stage surrounded by TV cameras and a plush bank of seating for those who like their drama played mostly very quietly, with the odd decibel of Italian joy.

This place is usually given over to opera and classical music. Just next month for instance Giuseppe Ayala rocks this place with his presentation of Chi Ha Paura Muore Ogni Giorno, before Massimo Gramellini rides in on his coat tails with ihs interpretation of L'Ultima riga della favole.

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A view of the PokerStars Blog reporting team's garret here in San Remo

But signors Ayala and Gramellini will have to wait for today's masterpiece is all about poker - the penultimate stage of an operatic classic of a different kind as we reduce 24 to eight who will then return tomorrow for the final act and one of poker world's richest prizes.

Players are having their pictures taken in preparation for the start. Order your interval drinks now, we're about to start.

PokerStars Blog reporting team in San Remo: Simon Young (baritone), Marc Convey (soprano), Stephen Bartley (tenor) and Howard Swains (falsetto).