EPT Vilamoura Day 1A: Levels 1 and 2 updates (75-150)

ept-thumb-promo.jpg2.18pm: Break
That's the first 15-minute break of the tournament. Quick burst of sunburning for everyone. -- RD

2.16pm: Dempsey and Makepeace Obrestad
I don't know if Israeli qualifier Alexander Isaev knew what he had got himself mixed up in when he found himself in a three-way dance with WSOPE winner Annette Obrestad and bracelet winner James Dempsey. Isaev fired 625 at the 9♥J♦5♠ flop and was called by both Dempsey (in position) and Oberstad (out of position). All three players checked the 3♥ turn before the Norwegian - that's Annette - led for 1,250. Isaev quickly folded and Dempsey followed close behind. -- RD

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A gratuitous welcome party dancer shot

2.14pm: Big slick no good
Alexy Golodyaev is up to nearly 39,000 (after taking care of a player we failed to get the name of after he made a quick dash for the exit). There was 22,000 in the middle and the turn was out giving the board a A♦5♦6♥4♠ look. Our unknown player checked to face a bet for his remaining 16,000 chips and he made the call with A♠K♥ after a good deal of thought. His Russian opponent had him drawing dead though with 6♦6♠ for a set. -- MC

2.10pm: Artistic talent
In case you didn't know, local laws here mean absolutely no photography is allowed in the tournament area. That explains why you're not seeing any action shots from the play so far.

However, fear not. We on the PokerStars Blog have the next best thing... MS Paint. Skillfully we have produced the picture below of EPT founder John Duthie, who is playing this event today. It's a pretty good likeness, I think you'll agree. -- SY


And here's what he should look like...


2.05pm: Mitchell carb watch
Irish Open winner James Mitchell has just completed an arduous weight loss bet and, as hip young metrosexual bloggers*, we have to say he's looking pretty good for it. How long the new svelte look will last is anybody's guess though as he's currently nailing a carb-loading club sandwich at the table .

* We are not hip, young or metrosexual. I do occasionally use moisturiser but that's as far as it goes.

2pm: Northern Cyprus is apparently boring
An early table of death over in the far corner of the room which features Marcin Horecki, Bryn Kenney, Ludovic Lacay, Pontus Khosravi, Paul Berende and Laurence Houghton. Topics up for discussion include big buy-in events, Northern Cyprus and all manner of things to pass the time.

In between all that they play a few hands, one of which includes Khosravi and Berende. Khosravi opened for 400 which Berende called for a flop of K♣2♦9♦. Khosravi then made it 550 which Berende called for an A♣ turn. Another 1,200 from Khosravi. This time Berende thought a while before calling for a 8♠ river card. Check-check. Khosravi showed K♥Q♥ while Berende turned over A♦5♦ to take the pot. -- SB

1.50pm: You gotta be joking
Otto Neugebauer looks a cheery sort of chap. The Austrian, sharing the same table as Team PokerStars Pro Dario Minieri and EPT Snowfest winner Allan Baekke, is keeping everyone amused with 'jokes'. "Here's one," he said. "Two cannibals were eating a clown, and one said to the other, 'This tastes a bit funny'." The table didn't exactly erupt in laughter. Not suprising really. A much better circus-related joke, courtesy of Team PokerStars Blog...

How do you kill a circus?

Go for the juggler.

I'm here all week, folks. -- SY

1.45pm: That will Lern you
The Lerner twins, Deric and Aaron, have been appearing at a lot of the EPT events this year and they're already into the action. Lerner called an under the gun raise to 250 from the small blind and checked to the raiser on a 8♠6♣5♥ flop. The raiser failed to fire and so Lerner led for 750 on the 6♦ turn. It was enough to take the pot. The first of many, no doubt. --MC

1.35pm: Someone's got to be the first
PokerStars qualifier Pierre Mothes is the first man to be downed today. The German had probably told friends and family of his plans to conquer in Portugal and come back with a pot of gold but it alas it was not be. At least he qualified so he most probably got his seat for cut-price and it's very hot outside so plenty of time to sun bathe now. --MC

1.25pm: Crazy beats momentum
"Good hand for me. Very good hand for me. Stop to raise, please" were the words uttered from Fabrizio Ascari's mouth after a re-raise on the flop handed him the pot.

Fresh from winning the previous pot, Anette Obrestad raised to 350 from mid-position and was called in three spots to go to a J♦T♦4♠ flop. The amount of opponents didn't scare the diminutive Norwegian from c-betting to the value of 900 but she was raised to 2,000 by Alexander Isaev in the next seat and then re-raised to 7,000 by the "Crazy Italian"* in the SB. Both Obrestad and Isaev folded before Ascari revealed 8♦4♦ and began his speech.

*James Dempsey's words not ours. --MC

1.15pm: MacPhee action
Kevin MacPhee likes to lead from the front, a technique that netted him the EPT title in Berlin last season. He's open raising a lot in the early going, with most getting through unchallenged. But another raise to 250 had Antonio Esfandiari interested enough to call. The player in seat three came along for the ride as well. The flop was 9♣Q♦2♠ and when MacPhee and Esfandiari checked, seat three's 700 bet was enough to win the pot. -- SY

1.10pm: The minor details
Allan Baekke just passed on an early hand. He opened from the button for 250 and was called for a flop of Q♣4♣K♠. After a check, Baekke made it another 300, which was called for a turn card A♥. Checks all round for a 5♠ river, which Baekke passed at following a bet of 1,125.

A table along World Series bracelet winner James Dempsey was adding to his starting stack, opening for 300 and then betting 500 on a flop of Q♥Q♣6♣. A caller went with him to the 2♥ turn but no further. -- SB.

1pm: Sheringham shoots
Former England striker Teddy Sheringham cashed in EPT Monte Carlo earlier this year for €20,000 so definitely has the ability to mix it with the big boys here on the circuit. He hasn't got off to the best start though after raising under the gun and getting called down by the big blind on a J♦A♥9♥T♣3♣ board and mucking on the river. The blinds are still low, of course, so it's a only a minor setback. -- RD

12.50pm: Tricky tables
As ever the draw has thrown up some interesting tables. Sharing the same felt today are WSOP bracelet winner James Dempsey, Annette Obrestad and Team PokerStars Pro Juan Maceiras.

The next table along sees Team PokerStars Pro Vicky Coren sitting with her chum Barny Boatman and Eddie Tobias, who you may remember ran deep at EPT Tallinn. -- SY

12.45pm: Interweb issues
Apologies for the slugging start in our reporting. This has nothing at all to do with the PokerStars party last night (although that didn't help), but rather our internet here in the casino has been patchy at best.

However, a man with a screwdriver and some masking tape has fiddled successfully under our table and we're up and running again. -- SY

12.25pm: Who would have thought it?
The very first hand that we look at courtesy of Dario Minieri involves a late position raise into the Italian maestro. Minieri looks at his hand and duly three-bets to 1,050. Somewhere in his brain there are two areas marked call and fold that simply don't work. -- RD

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Puts a whole new meaning to the term 'getting flamed'

12.15pm: Other players in our crosshair
EPTs are always flush with talent and from our position up on the stage we can see scores of them, such as Team PokerStars Pros John Duthie, Arnaud Mattern, Dario Minieri, Alex Kravchenko and Juan Maceiras, Irish Open winner James Mitchell (looking super slim after winning a major weight loss bet), Casey Kastle and the PokerStars Blog sponsored qualifier of EPT Vilamoura, the improbably named Steve Thompson. I say improbably named because Thompson is from Costa Rica. Thompson? Costa Rica? Really? -- RD

12pm: Welcome to EPT Vilamoura
It is absolutely scorching outside but that's not the only reason that players are itching to get inside the tournament room here at the imaginatively named Casino Vilamoura. That reason is, of course, the €5,000 EPT main event. The field that has started to filter into the room includes Team PokerStars Pro Vicky Coren (sat across the table from fellow Vic regular Barny Boatman), Antoni Esfandiari, James Dempsey and Henrique Pinho. The latter is a key member of Team PokerStars Pro Portugal and will be raring to make a deep run on home turf. He won't be alone in trying to make an impression on the chip lead today. David Williams will be making his EPT debut as a Team PokerStars Pro while others, such as Daniel Negreanu, are returning to familar territory.

Last year's winner, Antonio Matias, will be joining the fray tomorrow to see if he can repeat his €404,793 success of Season 6. Tournament director Thomas Kremser has just annouced the beginning of play. Action, bust outs and bust ups to follow. -- RD


PokerStars Blog reporting team at EPT Vilamoura (in order of arrival at the press room): Simon Young, Rick Dacey, Marc Convey and Stephen Bartley (yet to arrive). Photos by Neil Stoddart.

Rick Dacey
@PokerStars in European Poker Tour