EPT San Remo: Levels 7, 8 & 9 live updates (500-1,000, 100 ante)

ept-thumb-promo.jpg11.45pm: Chip race
After the longest chip race in the history of chip races - put it this way, it would have been quicker to take a couple of fried chips and get them to run the marathon - it seems as though we have our chip leaders. Alexey Rybin is edging it with 213,300 but Manuel Coppola is right on his shoulder with 212,000. That full wrap is imminent.

11.05pm: End of the day
Tournament officials have announced that players will be dealt seven more hands before the day comes to an end. We'll have a full wrap up of the day when those seven hands are complete.

11pm: Comfortable at the top
On a recent hunt for the chip leader, it proved impossible to pass by Evgeniy Zaytsev's table without noticing him. Not only did he have one of the loudest shirts in the room and about 150,000 in chips, but he was also involved in a pot.

Zaytsev raised to 2,400 from the cut off and Kimmo Kurko called from the small blind. The flop was A♦2♠5♣ and Kurko checked, prompting Zaytsev to bet 1,800, called by Kurko. The turn was 5♠ and after Kurko checked, Zaytsev bet 6,800 which was also cheap enough for Kurko to call.

That took them to a J♥ river and Kurko checked for a third time. Following the pattern, Zaytsev bet 14,500, which Kurko called again. Zaytsev tabled Q♥5♥ and those trip fives took it.

Zaytsev has in the region of 170,000. Only he and Alexander Wice are in that neighbourhood at the moment it seems. -- HS

10.45pm: Flushed out of the pot
Michel Abecassis was bluffed off a pot by fellow Frenchman Jerome Guermeur. They've both been playing at the same table all day so there must've been a lot of information for both to draw on when making their decisions in the hand. The river was already out leaving a 4♦2♠2♦7♦6♣ board and Abecassis led for 11,700 which equated to about a third of his stack. Guermeaur then moved all-in to put Abecassis to a decision for his tournament life and he took about five minutes to make it. He folded K♦T♦ for a flush face-up. Guermeaur opened A♦Q♥ for ace high! Abecassis quietly nodded in acknowledgment of his foe's play. ---MC

10.30pm: Lellouche grinds them down
Sometimes you notice players making a call just because they cannot resist finding out what their opponent had. They don't seem to be all that confident of winning, but it's worth the calling price simply to satisfy their curiosity.

Antony Lellouche is so active that he's one of those players who grinds others down. And when he bet 3,400 on the board of K♣2♥K♦3♦4♣, Gerardo Ghiura made a crying call. Lellouche tabled 8♠8♣ and Ghiura mucked. -- HS


The last level of the night.

10.25pm: Minieri loves kings
The Dario Minieri show got off to a booming start today with that kings against aces, king on the flop, coup. Since then, the Team PokerStars Pro and local hero has been up and down, but most recently up, thanks again to pocket kings. This one was not an outdraw; his kings started good, stayed good and Peter Gelencser was eliminated. Minieri moves up again to 70,000.

Minieri tried to put some of those chips to use on one of the very next hands. Frank Rusnak opened to 1,800, Minieri three bet to 5,325 but then Rusnak four bet to 14,500. Minieri seemed tempted to try something, but thought better of it and folded. -- HS

10.20pm: Surviving the phone vote
After his run in, or run off, with Filippo Bisceglia, Nicholas Verkaik just moved all-in, down to his last few thousand. He got a caller in Leonardo Berti who showed 6♣6♦. But Verkaik was ahead with J♥J♦. He still got up, taking his coat from behind his chair, but the jacks held on a board of 3♥Q♥8♣A♦5♣. He sat back down again.

10.15pm: 'I think I might be dominated'
Christiano Blanco only had 6,000 left and was also in the big blind as the cards were dealt. Before anyone had acted Blanco moved his whole stack over the line in a clear indication to any potential duelers. Anas Tadini fancied his chances and made the call/raise from mid-position. "I think I might be dominated," said Blanco as he tabled A♠T♠. He sure was dominated as Tadini opened A♦A♣.

The board ran 9♣3♣Q♦4♦Q♠ to bust the popular Italian. --MC

10.05pm: Boatman cast adrift
Barny Boatman was all in for 10,100 on a 5♦6♣5♠ board, and Lorenzo Pio was the man with the power to call. With more than 10,000 in the pot already, it seemed he had great odds to call Boatman's 10,100 - especially as he was nicely stacked himself.

But he took a full five minutes before making the call - showing 9♥9♦, which was well ahead of Boatman's pocket threes. The turn was A♣ and the river 9♣ giving Pio the full house, and sending Boatman to the rail. -- SY

9.55pm: Brenes on film
Team PokerStars Pro Humberto Brenes talked to our video team about his hopes for this event...

9.50pm: No lights, no action, no camera
If your CV includes winning the Italian version of reality TV showBig Brother a few years ago your likely to fancy a bit of attention. And if it doesn't come to you automatically just get out there and find it yourself. Enter Filippo Bisceglia stage left.

On a board of 9♦Q♣A♥J♠K♦ Bisceglia announced all-in. He did this with a flourish, a hint of exhaustion in his manner like it was the end of some great struggle. He's a windswept looking chap, with longish highlighted hair and bright clothes, the type you'd wear if you worked the same shift as Crockett and Tubbs. He has the tan to boot and you sensed that if he failed here he would pick up his soft top car and drive somewhere sophisticated for drinks and photographs.

Here though his fate was in the hands of Nicholas Verkaik. Bisceglia's chips were counted up and it was 44,000 to call, with a similar amount already in the middle. Verkaik simply passed.

Here, Bisceglia did what you would call 'Astarita-Plus'. Showing his 7♣8♣ Bisceglia was out of his seat bouncing around, cheering his own finesse. When he returned he pointed this out in no uncertain terms to Verkaik who sat back, slightly bemused, exchanging looks with Jorn Walthaus on his right who couldn't quite believe what was going on. After another short speech Bisceglia sat down again, demanding his chips be shovelled his way.

Bisceglia moves up to around cloud nine with 80,000. -- SB.

9.40pm: Four more on the waste heap
Melanie Weisner, Marc Naalden, Ricardo Sousa and Julien Nuijten are allrecently out. They'll both be back. -- HS

9.35pm: Neighborly battle
Frederik Hostrup and Stefan Mattsson come from neighboring countries and have been sat next to each other all day. They just tangled in a small heads-up pot with the Swede getting the better of the Dane. Hostrup raised and was only called by Mattsson to got the 9♦7♦T♦ flop. Hostrup check-called a 3,500 bet and that was all the betting in this hand. The 4♦ turn and A♠ river were checked down. Hostrup showed K♥9♥ but he'd been out-flopped by Mattsson who had T♠8♠. --MC

9.25pm: Steven Van quad-off
Steven van Zadelhoff has just doubled-up to 38,000 through Marton Czuczor. There was action on the turn before Van Zadehoff moved all-in for 14,000 after he faced a 6,000 river bet. The final board was T♠6♠T♣5♦3♣ and Czuczor confidently revealed 5♣5♠ for a full-house. Van Zadelhoff crushed that confidence though as he revealed T♥T♦ for quads! --MC

9.15pm: A lot of fuss about nothing
Clement Thumy raised to 1,350 from under-the-gun and Riccardo Marlin called from the button, prompting Danilo Mercuri to call from the small blind. Something about this hand smelled a little dodgy from the word go, with all three of the players eyeing one another with even more circumspection than a regular hand of poker. I was pretty sure, watching from the rail, that this was going to kick off.

The flop came K♣7♣7♦ and Mercuri bet 2,300. Thumy called but Marlin got out the way. The turn was A♦ and after Mercuri checked, Thumy took over the betting, making it 4,100. Mercuri called. The river was 9♦ and Mercuri checked again. Thumy bet 11,800 and this sent his opponent deep into the tank.

At one point, Mercuri seemed to say "Call" but no one moved, so obviously he hadn't said that at all. Then he said: "Missed flush draw?" Thumy was silent, but eventually Mercuri's curiosity got the better of him and he called.

Thumy showed A♣8♣ and after a small pause Mercuri said: "Split" and showed A♠5♠. Yeah, so those stirrings of something massive were misleading. Pretty standard really, and if you're cursing me for wasting four paragraphs of your time reading this, you should have watched it. It took ages. -- HS

9.10pm: Minieri all in
After his chip stack had been on its usual roller coaster ride all day, Dario Minieri pushed all in for around 32,000 to Peter Gelencser's initial 2,400 bet. That was too much for the Hungarian, and Minieri took the pot, flashing the monster 4♠ in the process. -- SY

9.05pm: Nothing to see here
This hand took an age to play out - and we never got to see the hands at the end of it. Thomas Cattelain made it 1,500 pre-flop and got a call from Harrison Kaczka. On the 8♣K♠7♣ flop Cattelain checked, Kaczka bet 2,125 and Cattelain took a while before calling.

On the 3♣ turn Cattelain checked and again took a good time before calling Kaczka's 4,600 bet. Finally, on the 9♣ river, Cattelain seemed to take forever to check before Kaczka made it 15,560. Cue more time in the tank, and eventually Cattelain folded. -- SY

9pm: Didn't understand a word of it
There's a video, produced for PokerStars.tv, that features ten rules for tournament players. One of the rules, as told by Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu, is not to educate the sucker. Take your bad beats with grace, stoicism and good humour.

It's not in Italian though.

Giulio Astarita might have done well to take up that advice. Instead he went on a bit after he and his opponent Michele Mangieri, who has since departed and who I'd only have approached to check the details armed with a marlin spike, got their chips in. Astarita had queens against Mangieri's ace-king and the board ran J♣K♠9♠8♥T♣.

The flop paired the king, sending Astarita into verbal assault mode. Then, when he caught his card on the river to make a straight, he went into physical assault mode, against the wall at least, which absorbed a direct hit from his right fist. At no point by the way did the verbal stuff stop.

Then came the ruling, a warning to Astarita for reckless use of opinion, which only seemed to encourage Astarita to tell the tournament official the story of how he'd nearly lost a chunk of chips. Surely no judge in the land could find him guilty.

All calm now, although there's a seat open at the table. -- SB.

8.52pm: Girl on girl action
Steady there boys, this is still a poker blog and as the title suggests it involved two ladies, one of whom was eliminated. Ekaterina Kolobekova opened the pot with a raised from the hijack before Irene Baroni moved all-in from the button. Kolobekova shrugged and called with A♣9♦. Baroni tabled Q♣T♥ before the board ran 5♣3♠9♥A♠8♠. Two-pair was good to send the pot Russia's way and eliminate Italy on home soil. --MC

8.45pm: Here's a surprise
There's a tinge of irony in the title of this post as I'm writing about two hands out of three played from table 12. They both happened to involve the diminutive Team PokerStars Pro Dario Minieri. The first one he lost, the second one he won and at the end his stack sits at 68,000.

Firstly he raised from the cut-off to 1,400 and was called by the big blind to see a 3♥5♥T♠ flop. The 1,700 c-bet was quick in coming when it was checked to him. Call. They both checked the 7♣ turn before the big blind led for 3,100 on the 3♠ river. Minieri called but his cards were soon in the muck when the big blind opened 8♦8♠.

Secondly he three-bet Frank Rusnak's opening raise and received a call. Both players checked all the way to the river where the board read T♥6♦9♥5♠K♣. Minieri found his usual gear and bet 5,630 to force a fold from his opponent.

8.35pm: And a double for Nguyen
On a 2♠Q♠8♥ flop Nicola Antonucci bet and Thang Duc Nguyen pushed. Antonucci went in to the tank for a few moments before calling:

Nguyen: A♠8♠ for the nut flush draw and middle pair
Antonucci: 9♣9♦

The turn settled things quickly for Nguyen, coming [10s] to give him the flush and the river was a meaningless 5♦. Nguyen up to 45,000. -- SY

8.30pm: Brenes doubles
Humberto Brenes doubled up after getting his 17,000 chips in the middle with A♥K♦ against Anthony Lellouche's Q♦8♠ (that is correct). The board ran K♣4♦3♠7♥7♠ and Lellouche got up to leave before being called back as he had Brenes covered. Brenes is up to 35,000, Lellouche down to 8,000. -- SY


Humberto Brenes: the shark arrives in San Remo

8.25pm: No takers
Alexander Kostritsyn opened under the gun with a raise to 1,500 and got a call from Alejandro Pena. But then Thomas Rauhut decided this was the right time to make his stand - pushing all in for 9,000 from the button. It got through and he chips up a little. -- SY

8.13pm: Word from the Weisner
Melanie Weisner is grinding as her stack is down to 11,000. She lost most of it in unlucky fashion a bit earlier. She explained that she called a bet with pocket nines and was up against two opponents who were all-in and both holding ace-queen. It turned out another player had folded ace-queen and another player had a queen and another player had an ace. That meant neither player could win with a pair because there were no cards left for them to pair-up with. One of her opponents hit a flush though to take the forty thousand plus pot. --MC

8.05pm: Show an eight to grate
Jesper Hougaard is up to 24,000 after forcing Gianluca Salzano off a pot. The flop was out and read A♠K♠5♥. Hougaard was sat in mid-position and checked to Salzano on the button who bet 6,000. Hougaard then moved all-in for another 9,000. The Italian looked distraught at this move and his hand seemed to shrink in his eyes. The fold was fairly quick in coming and as his Danish opponent raked in the pot he showed the 8♣. --MC

8pm: Swapping over
Half the field have now returned from their one-hour dinner break - and the other half is now getting up to enjoy their grub. -- SY

7.55pm: On a roll
Alessio Nardone is having quite a day. He's up to 70,000 and keeping everyone else at his table - including Isabelle Mericer - in check. There was a raise to 1,300 which Mercier and Nardone called. On the 6♠[10s]3♥ flop Nardone, who was in the big blind, bet 3,200 and that was enough to send the other two packing. -- SY

7.45pm: Jerney's journey continues
Kati Jerney can play. She was the last woman standing here last year and has now knocked out Luigi Caffarelli. Jerney opened for 4,000 - a touch larger than most opening raises at the moment, but it gets the job done - and Caffarelli was the only caller to a flop of 8♠6♦9♦. Jerney bet 6,000 and Caffarelli moved all in for 18,250. Jerney called pretty quickly.

Caffarelli was ahead at this point with his [10h][10c] but Jerney's J♦[10d] was the mathematical favourite. She didn't need to last long to see one of her many outs. The 7♦ turned and that was good enough.

"You were 62 percent against 36 percent," said Peter Hedlund, to her right. And he was bang on. -- HS

7.40pm: Take that Baekke
Frederik Hostrup called Francesco Trimboli's opening bet of 4,000 for a flop of 6♥5♦T♦. Then he bet 5,000 when Trimboli checked to him, good to take the pot. Also at this table is Allan Baekke, EPT Snowfest winner, who has lost a couple. First in a light skirmish with Patrick Sacrispeyre and then in a cagey hand against Stefan Mattson.

When both looked up to see who they were up against the hand was checked to the end. Baekke had made it 1,400 pre-flop which Mattsson raised to 3,500. Baekke called for a flop of 2♥2♦5♦ which is where the checking began, as if both were prepared to take on anyone, just not each other.

The checked the 6♠ turn and then the 5♣ river, Mattsson turning over A♥K♥ to take the pot. -- SB

7.35pm: New kid on the corner
To make firewall-safe a brilliant saying from The Wire: "S**t just got real." Ludovic Lacay had cruised his way to six figures this afternoon in his usual bullying fashion. But recently the fearless Russian Evgeniy Zaytsev has been moved to his table and Lacay's prosperous West Side three-betting cartel has hit the skids.

Zaytsev raised to 1,500, Lacay three-bet to 4,500 but Zaytsev is as comfortable with a four-bet as Omar Little with a shotgun. He made it 11,400 and Lacay shied away from the confrontation. -- HS

7.30pm: Set over set
Ruslan Prydryk has just been knocked out - and it's a pretty grim one. He opened from early position, making it 1,600. Three others called: Johnny Ostbierg, to his left, Giovanni Safina in the small blind and Mike McDonald in the big. They went to this flop: 4♦3♣7♥ and and Prydryk checked, Ostbierg checked and Safina bet 1,600. McDonald folded but Prydrk called, but that wasn't even the start of it. Ostbierg now moved all in for 16,325.

Safina was done - he made a reluctant fold - but Prydrk couldn't call quick enough. His trap had been sprung beautifully having flopped a set of threes with his 3♠3♦. Ostbierg was in big trouble with his Q♠Q♥, but in poker nothing is ever over until the last card is out. The turn was Q♦, giving Ostbierg a bigger set and sending Prydryk to the rail. (Well, after the 2♣ river.) -- HS

7.10pm: Chaos
It really is chaotic now in the tournament area in San Remo. Half the field has headed off for their dinner, while the other half continues into level seven. There's also a super satellite starting for tomorrow's day 1B. All of that equals bedlam.

Major named casualties of the last level included last year's final table player Alex Fitzgerald. The chip leader at this stage seems to be the Russian player Iosif Beskrovnyy, who has about 130,000. Nice.

This is Alfio Battisti, a new member of Team PokerStars Pro Online, making his debut in the colours.


Alfio Battisti

Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour