EPT Snowfest: Day 3, level 20 updates (6,000-12,000, 1,000 ante)
10.10pm: Baekke wins huge pot to close day three
Allan Baekke, who along with Max Lykov has been the story of day 3, has busted Paul Valkenburg in 25th place to bring play to a close. It was a monster pot of close to two million, sending Baekke in to a clear chip lead with 2,687,000.
It started with Bernhard Perner opening with a 31,000 bet. Valkenburg then re-raised to 81,000. It was folded around to Baekke, who wanted to know both players' counts - Perner had around 200,000, Valkenburg 900,000. He had them both covered, of course, and raised it up again, this time to 200,000.
Perner looked like he'd been hit with a crowbar. Off came his hoodie, and he looked agonisingly at his cards before eventually folding. Valkenburg, however, announced all in - and got an instant call from PokerStars player Baekke.
A huge "wow" from the rest of the table, and Perner looked a relieved man to have got out of the way. Time for the flop, and wouldn't you know it? Both made a set as it came A♣K♦8♣. That caused a bit of a stir, but it meant Valkenburg was now drawing to one out on the river. The dealer turned it over.... it was paint. But it was Q♣. That sent Valkenburg home with €8,400.
So play has ended for the day. Each of the remaining 24 players are guaranteed a payday of at least €10,200. But it's the €445,000 for first that they're all after. That man Baekke, followed by Brent Wheeler and Max Lykov are the men at the front of the race.
10.05pm: Haigh drops the hammer
Luca Cainelli raises to 26,000 and Richard Toth calls him in the cut-off. Robert Haigh wakes up with a hand (or at least represents that he does) and moves all-in for 330,000. Both players fold and he picks up 60,000 for his shove.
10.00pm: Strassmann... limps?
Johannes Strassmann limps from the small blind into Johannes Holstege in the big blind. Miraculously no limp punish and we're off to the flop. Both players check the K♦A♦K♥ flop but Strassman can't resist stabbing at the 6♥ turn. Strassmann fires again on the 6♦ river and Holstege raises to 86,000. Strassmann looks really confused and eventually passes. 'There's no reason to bluff on that board,' he says. 'It would be a bad bluff.' Well, that depends if Holstege just took you off a split pot or not, Herr Strassmann...
9.55pm: Berendsen busts
Russell Carson opened from early position, making it 28,000 to go. Koen Berendsen moved all in for what was about 240,000 and after a quick glance at his pocket cards, Carson insta-called. No wonder: he was checking to see if he did indeed have K♣K♥ and he was right first time.
Berendsen's A♣Q♣ couldn't catch up on the 7♦2♣6♣[10s]9♦ board. -- HS
9.50pm: El Nasr v Baekke
These two are at each other like a couple cage fighters, slugging it out relentlessly and fearlessly. It can't be long before there is a fatal blow - and with Allan Baekke huge in chips, Nasr El Nasr is the man in danger.
El Nasr made it 26,000 and Baekke called. Both checked the 4♥4♣3♥ flop. On the 3♣ turn El Nasr bet a teasing 14,000 which Baekke called. On the 8♣ river both checked. "Queen high," said El Nasr. Baekke slowly turned over K♠J♥, and the king high was good.
On a 6♣[10c]9♠ flop, El Nasr bet 34,000 and Baekke re-raised to 70,000. El Nasr tanked for a minute before announcing he was all in for 332,000 more. Baekke thought about it, but folded.
El Nasr opened for 26,000 and Baekke re-raised to 71,000. El Nasr let it go.
These two are providing a great spectacle of aggressive poker, and nobody else at the table is getting a look in. Maybe they're happy to sit it out for a while. -- SY
9.45pm: A great Los
We did not catch the action, but PokerStars qualifier Fedor Los from Holland is out. -- SY
9.40pm: Markushevski eliminated, but leaves another mark
Vadim Markushevski got three-bet one too many times by Alexander Debus, to his immediate left, and made a stand. It was the wrong time. Markushevski opened to 25,000 and Debus made it 75,000 to his left. Markushevski moved all in for his last 330,000 and Debus called.
Markushevski tabled his 4♥4♣ and seemed to be hoping for a coin flip. But he wasn't even given that. Debus showed 7♣7♥ and the board was a dry 3♣[10s]3♦Q♥3♥, which spelled the end for Markushevski.
The Belarussian has still enjoyed a spectacular start to his Team PokerStars Pro career. He made the final table in Kyiv, which earned him the best patch in the business, and then followed up with cashes in Deauville and Berlin. Here's another. Markushevski is out in 28th. -- HS
9.35pm: Captain Collopy
You can tell Jim Collopy fancies his chances at his table. He's raising most pots pre-flop and is stabbing at most of them on the flop too. He c-bets Verdonschot out of one pot (but passes to him in their next) and steals the blinds on his third open raise. Then a bizarre situation takes place.
Cyril Naim raises from the small blind to 50,000, an unusually large open from that position, which perplexes Collopy no end. The American is trying to count the Frenchman's chips when he asks the dealer to count them for him. Johannes Holstege then idly mentions that he thought that wasn't permitted so the floor is called. This (almost accidental) interference from Holstege seems to really irritate Collopy who - after getting the requested count - folds to the 50,000 raise. -- RD
9.25pm: Perner doubles with Aces
Bernhard Perner raises to 33,000 from the hijack leaving just 80,000 behind. David Wintersberger calls in the big blind and then moves all-in on the 4♥2♦6♦ flop and is instantly called. Wintersberger shows 5♠5♥ to Perner's A♣A♠. Perner dodges the 6 outs and doubles up to 220,000. -- RD
9.20pm: When big stack collide
There was at least 100,000 in the pot with four cards exposed: 8♠2♥5♠A♣. The two players involved were Allan Baekke and Nasr El Nasr, and that kind of explained the size of the action.
Baekke checked, El Nasr bet 58,000 and Baekke called. The river was K♣ and Baekke checked again. El Nasr fired 110,000 at it and Baekke couldn't call quickly enough. His K♥8♥ had rivered second pair, and that was good enough against El Nasr's J♠7♠, a busted flush draw. -- HS
9.15pm: Corluka the latest to run into Lykov
How many more times does it need to be said? You simply can't lick Lykov. Josip Corluka shoved for his last 178,000 from the cut off and Lykov called in the big blind. Lykov had A♣9♥ and Corluka had Q♠K♠. The board ran A♠8♣3♥[10c]A♦ and Corluka headed out as Lykov added another small nibble to his stack. -- HS
9.05pm: If you're going to go, it may as well be like this
Team PokerStars Pro Johannes Steindl started the level with just 3,000. He managed to get that up to 13,000 before falling against a turned straight flush - and there's not normally a way out of that sticky situation. Steindl had A♦K♣ and was in a race with a Dutch player's J♦J♥. The board was a rather emphatic [10d]9♦7♦8♦3♥, giving the Dutchman a straight flush. -- SY
8.55pm: It's a long way back from here
Have a quick click on the chip-count page. It might be the last time you see Johannes Steindl's name there. He was left with a paltry 3,000 chips, not even a small blind, at the end of the last level after this hand.
After an early position raise to 23,000, Steindl moved all in for his last 196,000 from the small blind. Cyril Naim moved all in too from the big blind, for 193,000, and just the two of them were left.
Steindl showed K♣Q♦ and never caught up with Naim's A♦J♠. Steindl has a long way back from here. -- HS
8.50pm: Level 20
We're entering level 20, with 32 players remaining. Just a reminder, we are playing down to the last 24 tonight, so we need to lose eight more players, or one whole table.
The most efficient way to carve through tables, or wood of any description, was demonstrated by our family lumberjack on the steps of the Alpine Palace this morning.
All together now: "I'm a lumberjack and I'm all right..."
PokerStars Blog reporting team in lederhosen: Rick Dacey, Howard Swains and Simon Young.