EPT Snowfest: Day 3, level 16 updates (2,500-5,000, 500 ante)

ept-thumb-promo.jpg3.35pm: In the money
We are now officially in the money, and the identities of those players busting from now on will find their way onto the prizewinner's page. Some big names have already bitten the dust: Messrs Nadzeya Hundoryna and Christian Opperskalski among them, a remarkable 37 letter combined.

That, by the way, is the end of the level. And we're now pressing on to level 17. A full end of level chip count should be with us shortly. -- HS

3.30pm: Medesan picking up speed
Alain Medesan has mainly been off our radar and I imagine a lot of that has got to do with how he's playing. The Romanian appears to be favouring a small ball style of poker and allowing other more aggressive players to hang themselves on his marginal hands. Johannes Strassmann raises to 12,500 under the gun and is called by Medesan in the cut-off. Strassmann fires the 8♣4♥6♣ flop. Medesan calls the 18,500 continuation bet and both players check the 3♣ that pops up on the turn and the A♣ that completes a four flush on the river. Strassmann shows A♦7♦ and Medesan a weak flush with 7♣7♥.

Medesan raises a couple of hands later with K♦Q♦ checks down two-pair on a particularly angry looking A♦K♠T♥Q♠A♣ board. -- RD

3.25pm: Ill-gotten gains
Lee Gaines raised to 13,500 and faced an all-in push from Jochum Weenink for 62,000. Gaines wasted no time calling:

Gaines: A♦[10s]
Weenink: A♥9♣

Weenink was on the brink of elimination, but the flop was a cosy 3♥Q♠9♥, sending him ahead, and the 2♣ turn and Q♣ river kept him there.

No such luck for Nils Berggren and Nadzeya Hundoryna, who appear to have departed with a min cash -- SY

3.20pm: Every little helps
Paul Valkenburg made it 12,000 and only the big-stacked Allan Baekke in the big blind called. Both checked down the whole [10c]5♣J♣8♥5♥ board, and Valkenburg's A♦8♦ was good for a pair. -- SY

3.15pm: Easy for Zaytsev? We'll see
Evgeniy Zaytsev has brought a big red button with him to the tables today, with the word "EASY" written on it. It saw him into the money easily enough, but we'll see how well it serves him from here. Johannes Strassmann has just been moved to his table. Not so easy. -- HS

3.12pm: Video time
Here's how the video team captured the start of day 3... -- SY

3.10pm: Tough for Toft
It looks as though Casper Toft has become our first in-the-money elimination. He was short stacked (it must have been a rough level for him having started with more than 300,000) and he was all in for less than 100,000 with A♦5♥. Allan Baekke, today's massive success story so far, had A♠A♣ and there was no miracle outdraw. Toft and Baekke, countrymen, shook hands and off went the former, leaving Baekke with more than 700,000. -- HS

3.05pm: 'My name is Max Lykov, hear me roar!'
Okay, Max Lykov didn't actually say that but it could be easily imagined that he did. Lykov raises under the gun to 13,000 and is instantly 3-bet to 33,000 by his neighbour Mark Bech. Lykov makes the call and they both go to the flop. Lykov leads 28,500 into the T♠A♥T♦ flop and instantly gets a fold from Bech. -- RD

3.00pm: Alexio looking to take the money and run
On one of the first hands after the bubble Konstantinos Alexiou tries to move all-in but only slides 20,000 across the line (maybe angle shooting, maybe a mistake) but everyone folds and Alexio shows Q♠T♠. 'I want my €5,000 and then I can go. I'm not greedy,' says the Greek. -- RD

2.55pm: Bubble bursts after one hand, Alfio Battisti's aces crushed
Any fears of a long bubble slowdown were dashed immediately when Battisti, the PokerStars player from Italy, busted in the most cruel way imaginable. He raised to 11,500, was re-raised by Evgeniy Zaytsev, Battisti pushed for around 140,000 total and Zaytsev called. Showdown (once the other tables had finished their hands):

Battisti: A♥A♦
Zaytsev: 3♠3♦

Battisti was in fine shape, but notice the 3♠ in Zaytsev's hand. The flop came J♠A♠2♠ giving Battisti the set, but Zaytsev now had the flush draw. No messing about - the turn was [10s]. Battisti was now drawing to a paired board on the river as the 2♠ already on the board meant another spade could not split the pot. The river was 5♠, and Battisti was out.


Alfio Battisti bursts the bubble

So he missed out on the money, but as a gesture the owner of the Alpine Palace Hotel, Florian Wolf, presented him with a voucher for a free week's holiday at the resort, which is probably worth the same as the tournament buy-in.

So we're all in the money. Everyone is no guaranteed €5,260. Expect a rush of all-ins as the short-stacks now try to rise up the payout ladder. -- SY

2.50pm: Slowdown
If there's not an update for a few minutes it's because it's bubble time. We'll all be down on the tournament floor watching the hand-for-hand action. We'll be back with the news of the cruellest elimination. -- HS

2.45pm: Strassmann Los at sea
Overnight chip leader Johannes Strassmann looks like he's going to use that chip stack to try and batter his opponents left, right and centre. That said, things don't always work out as planned. Strassmann opens for 12,500 and Fedor Los three-bet to 31,500 causing Strassmann to four-bet to 82,000. Los, who our Dutch blogger tells us does not have a fold button, makes the call. Strassmann check-folds the flop. -- RD

2.40pm: One more down
We have 83 players left, three more until the money, after Robert Binelli became the latest to fall. He got his short stack all in with K♠K♣ and was probably happy, but Bertrand Husiaux had found A♦A♥. Any hopes of an outdraw were emphatically quashed on the flop: it had A♠A♣ on it, which ended this one right away. -- HS

2.35pm: Kipster doubles
Jesper "Kipster" Hougaard is now a force again in this tournament having doubled up in the first level. It was all a bit too cute for comfort on table ten as Marco Adams raised to 11,500 and Hougaard re-raised to 30,000. Adams was going nowhere and four bet to 85,000. But neither was Hougaard done, and the Dane now five bet all in, for 212,000 total. Adams was pretty much committed to the call, but seemed to know he was in trouble.

Hougaard: K♥K♦
Adams: A♥J♣

"You're going to hit the ace," Hougaard said, but Adams only hit the jack on a J♠5♦[10d] board. They sweated through the 8♠9♦ turn and river and Hougaard's search of EPT glory to match his WSOP bracelet continues. -- HS

2.30pm: Kravchenko is up for it
Team PokerStars Pro Alex Kravchenko seems to be getting involved in everything at the moment, whether he's actually in a hand or not. First he raise folds into  Alexiou's big blind when the Greek plays back at him but successfully takes the blinds when he raises from the button the next hand.

Shortly after Nadzeya Hundoryna shoves for 55,500 under the gun and the action folds round to Jose Besalduch, another short stack. Besalduch goes deep into the tank and eventually has the clock called on him. As the seconds tick down the Spaniard fishes out a coin from his pocket, tosses it in the air and then folds prompting much laughter from the table. 'You should say what it means before you throw it,' laughed Kravchenko. 'It's just not fair otherwise,' he chuckles. Not that we're saying that Besalduch was merely trying to run the clock down to inch into the money but if he was it was one of the most amateur dramatic attempts to do so I've ever seen. Comedy gold. -- RD

2.25pm: Big stacks clash
Jim Collopy and Johannes Strassmann are on the same table, both with big stacks and both with big reputations. First blood has gone to Strassmann though in the first time the two of them tangled.

Collopy raised to 11,500 from mid position and Strassmann called from the big blind. The two of them saw a flop of A♦7♠K♣ and Strassmann checked. Collopy bet 16,500 and Strassmann called. They both checked the A♠ turn but when the K♦ rivered, Strassmann fired 22,500 at it.

Collopy didn't seem to be too keen about it, but made the call. Strassmann showed him K♠J♦ and Collopy mucked. -- HS

2.20pm: Double up for Baekke
PokerStars player Allan Baekke gets a key early double up, propelling him to 720,000 and the joint lead with Johannes Strassmann. On the 8♦K♠A♦6♠[10h] board, Baekke had 8♥8♠. The set was too much for Casper Toft, who was left with only around 30,000 after that. -- SY

2.15pm: Early action for Lykov
EPT Kyiv winner Max Lykov, a big stack going in to play with 575,000, started today as he left off last night - winning pots. This one was a battle of the blinds against Mark Bech. Lykov in the small opened with a 12,500 bet which Bech called. On the 5♠[10s]4♦ flop Lykov checked then called Bech's 20,000. Both checked 7♦ turn and the 6♥ river - and Lykov showed A♣7♣, besting Bech's A♣4♠. -- SY

2.05pm: Off we go
We're off. The tournament official Alin Babic announced that we would play three levels and then see where we're at vis-a-vis a dinner break. The target today is 24 players and if it was going quickly, presumably we'd play right through without stopping. If it's a slow one, we'll probably add in a pause for food.

On the first hand, Peter Pallet was all in for his overnight stack of 64,500 and picked up the blinds and antes. We're going to see a lot of that in the coming hours. -- HS

1pm: The start of day three
It's early afternoon in the Alps and it is very sunny indeed. Such has been the case at Snowfest this year: the mountains still have a covering of snow, but Mother Nature's most dazzling creation is doing its best to melt it all away. For the most part, we've been in greater danger of sunburn than broken limbs.

Broken dreams, however, will be the order of the first level here at the Alpine Palace. We return for day three with 86 players, but six of them will leave with nothing. Only the top 80 get paid and bursting the bubble is our first priority. It might well happen pretty quickly, but then again it might not.

Reacquaint yourselves with the players still in. They're sorted in chip count order on the chip count page, and in seat draw order on the seat draw page. And yesterday's wrap has all the details of how they got there.

Action is due to start at 2pm local time, and they run a pretty tight ship here in Austria. -- HS


An Alp

Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour