EPT Vilamoura Day 1A: Levels 7 & 8 updates (blinds 400-800, ante 75)
9pm: Wrap shortly
A full wrap of today's play and full chip counts will be with you shortly. -- SY
8.55pm: Few more hands
We're on the last four hands of the night. Players will then bag and tag their chips before heading off into the Algarve night.
Before they do that there will be a chip race. Which will look something like this...
8.50pm: Lewis floors Dempsey
After some extraordinary post-flop action Toby Lewis doubled up at the expense of James Dempsey, leaving the WSOP bracelet winner with around 10,000.
Dempsey had made it 1,600 pre-flop and Lewis called. On the 3♦A♠2♥ flop it went a bit mental. Deep breath... Dempsey made it 2,800, Lewis 7,000, Dempsey 11,800, Lewis 16,000, Dempsey 24,000, Lewis went all-in for 67,775 total, Dempsey called!
Whoops! The turn was 4♦ and river 8♣ sending the monster pot Lewis' way. "At least no one can accuse us of collusion," said Dempsey. -- SY
8.43pm: Ascari caught bluffing again
James Dempsey had caught Fabrizio Ascari bluffing on a dangerous board earlier and now it was the turn of Portugal's Bruno Pedro Fonseca Pocas (albeit with what may have been the nuts). Ascari had made a small three-bet to 3,500 over the top of Pocas' 1,650 open and had bet 2,500 on the turn of a T♠J♠Q♥K♦ board after the flop had been checked. Pocas made the call and then checked the 4♦ river. Ascari took the bait and bet 8,000. Pocas dropped a large check-raise hammer to 37,000 and Ascari passed. -- RD
8.30pm: Coimbra wins 94K chip pot
Dario Majone raised to 1,350 under the gun and Team PokerStars Online's André Coimbra re-raised to 4,000 holding 5♣8♦. Majone called and they saw a 3♣9♠5♠ flop. Coimbra lead with a 5,000 bet and Majone made it 12,000. Call. Coimbre made it 16,000 when the K♦ hit the turn and again Majone called. The river was 7♣ and Coimbra makes it 15,000. The Italian counted his chips and finally called showing 4♣4♠. Coimbra is now up to 140.000. -- SY
8.25pm: Esfandiari turning the screw
Antonio Esfandiari has just taken a 12,775 sized scoop out of Andras Nemeth's stack. Nemeth had opened the pot and Esfandiari had three-bet to 5,300. Nemeth didn't want to take it lying down and pushed a raise forward to 12,775. Esfandiari responded by putting another 16,000 on top. That finally seemed to get the message across and Nemeth let it go.
Straight after that the table was back into how much Esfandiari would have to be given to lose his thumb. One million dollars wasn't enough for Esfandiari who explained: "I eat when I want to eat and travel the world. I live a pretty good life. Why would I want to lose my thumb?" But what if you were you broke? asked one of his tablemates. "If I was broke, then maybe I'd do it," said Esfandiaro with a grin. -- RD
8.20pm: Minieri loses chunk against aces
There was a raising war between Dario Minieri and Joao De Silva - and somewhere in the middle of it Jose Maria De Noronha was all in for 27,025. Minieri then raised again, putting a small mountain of yellow 5,000 chips, around 80,000 worth, which was enough to put de Silva all in should he elect to call.
After the clock was called, De Silva folded, leaving two to go to showdown:
The board only improved the aces, running 3♥7♥8♦4♣A♣. Noronha doubled and Minieri dropped to around 140,000. -- SY
8.15pm: 'Nice value bet'
Said Andre Rodrigues after he called a 12,200 river bet from John Duthie. Rodrigues had started the action with a raise from mid-position that Duthie and Alex Kravchenko called from the blinds. All three checked the flop before Duthie led for 4,500 on the turn with the board reading Q♠J♦3♠Q♥. Kravchenko folded but Rodrigues called to see the 4♣ river. Here he took a lot longer to call Duthie's bet but folded pretty quickly when the Brit tabled 7♦7♥. He's up to 75,000 now. --MC
8.06pm: Carter ships it in
Dan Carter was recently moved to JP Kelly's table where he sat down a couple of seats to the left of fellow Brit Laurence Houghton. On the last hand before the blinds went up Carter was sat on just under 20,000 when he opened the cut-off to 1,500. The button, Fergal Nealon, three-bet to 4,000 and Carter moved the majority of his stack in (17,500 leaving 150 behind). Nealon mucked his hand as Carter chipped up to 24,000. -- RD
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 400-800, ANTE 75
8.02pm: Haydon done for a chunk
Grzegorz Cichocki had laid out a chunky 20,500 bet on the river of a Q♣J♦Q♦K♠7♦ board. William Haydon went deep into the tank before finally making the call and was shown the nut full house. It's not what you want to see (unless you flopped quads). -- RD
8pm: Mattern loses 50k pot
Team PokerStars Pro Arnuad Mattern just informed us of a 50,000 chip pot that he lost to Grzegorz Cichocki. Cichocki raised and then called Mattern's three-bet with A♠J♠ to see a  flop with one spade. Mattern held four-five for two pair but couldn't stop the board running out with two spades. --MC
7.55pm: Set for Pinho
Ludavic Lacay raised to 1,350 under the gun, Janos Toth called from the small blind and Team PokerStars Pro Henrique Pinho completed from the big blind. The flop came T♥5♦Q♠ and all the three checked. When a 3♣ hit the turn, Pinho bet, 2,500 and only Lacay made the call. The river was 7♦ and Pinho fired 8,000 chips. Lacay dwelled for a while before making the call - and mucking when Pinho showed 5♠5♣. He's up to 68,000 now. -- SY
7.52pm: Kelly clips Claudio
JP Kelly opened from the cut-off for 1,500 and was called by Claudio Pollin in the big blind. Both players checked the Q♦3♦7♠ flop and it was Pollin who assumed the role of the aggressor on the 8♠ turn with a 2,700 bet. Kelly called. Pollin gave it a second attempt to knock Kelly back with a 4,500 bet on the A♥ river. It didn't work and the Italian mucked as soon as Kelly tossed his chips in.
Shortly after Kelly got the rest of Pollin's stack and is up to 55,000. -- RD
7.50pm: Ascari slowed down by Lerner
Fabrizio Ascari, the man who has been in a permanent good mood all day, just took the first blow to his morale It came against Derek Lerner who wiped the smile off Ascari's face with an ace and a queen. For his part Ascari had showed pocket kings but on a board of [q][a][j] they were simply no good.
Ascari cursed a bit but then said "No problem for me," when Lerner said it was against the player he most wanted to win a pot from. Ascari down to 54,000 while Lerner moves up to 38,000. - SB
7.45pm: More on Heimiller
Mad Harper reports the following chat with Dan Heimiller... "I met him in the car park about an hour ago. He was wandering back to the casino, not in a huge hurry. I asked him if he was out and he replied no, but that he had so many chips he thought he would just go back to the hotel to bet on his baseball game. At the time he had about 70k. -- SY
7.40pm: Minieri grows even more
Team PokerStars Pro Dario Minieri is stretching his lead at the top as his stack is up to 165,000. He won a chunk after flopping a straight against an opponent to bust him. The flop came out 4♣5♣8♣ before the chips went flying. The Italian was happy to go along for the ride as he held the nuts with 6♥7♥ to his opponent's J♣J♠. The board ran out K♥A♠ and with a little over a level left there's a good chance Minieri might be able to hang on to them. --MC
7.30pm: Heimiller grinding away
Dan Heimiller has scored over $3m in live tournament winnings over the last 18 years so to say the American is an experienced card player would be a major understatement. He's also proved that he's got what it takes to mix it with the online generation finishing a very creditable seventh for $300,000 at the PCA main event, which is one of the toughest tournaments in the world (theeeee toughest if you ask some). Heimiller is up to 68,000 and grinding well.
Heimiller limped under the gun for 600 picking up one call and a check from the big blind. He bet the 9♠A♣2♦ flop but checked down the turn and river to show A♥5♥ which was enough to take the pot. He said: "I didn't like the kicker," explaining why he didn't try to extract any further streets of value.
In other veteran grinder news; Barny Boatman is out. -- RD
7.23pm: Grinding, grinding, grinding
Ludovic Lacay is normally a name you'll see at the top of the chip counts or nowhere at all as he's a very aggressive player who like to gather chips or die trying. Today we are witnessing a different side to the Frenchman as his stack was clipped early on prompting him to be patient and grind it out. He just committed most of his stack against Luis Guerreiro and was right in doing so, putting his stack back up to nearly 30,000.
The turn was out and the board read A♥T♦4♣ and Lacay check-called a 3,500 bet. The river came 9♣ and Lacay checked to face a 7,500 bet from his opponent. Lacay took longer this time but made the call and heard Guerreiro say: "You got it" before mucking. Lacay tabled 8♥8♣ and scooped in the pot. -- MC
7.15pm: De Korver also loses a race
Pieter de Korver raised under the gun with 6♠6♦ and a player moved all in for 8,000 with K♦J♣. De Korver called but a jack on the turn sent his chips across the table. The Dutchman still has a healthy 60,000. -- SY
7.10pm: Minieri loses a race, shock
He's been running good all day but Dario Minieri just lost a race to peg him back at 143,000. He raised with A♦K♦ and was met with an all-in shove for 16,000 by Tiago Lobo CSYerqueira holding [10s][10c]. Auto call. The flop came 7♠3♦2♦, giving Minieri a load more outs, but the turn and river bricked 8♥ and 2♥. Cerqueira doubled to 32,000. -- SY
7.05pm: Play resumes
We're entering the final two levels of the day and, as mentioned at the end of the last two-level update, there are some big name big stacks pushing through into the chip lead. Dario Minieri and Antonio Esfandari being the key two to mention both of whom have heaving masses of chips in the region of 140,000. -- RD
PokerStars Blog reporting team at EPT Vilamoura (in order of proximity to tournament stairs): Stephen Bartley, Simon Young, Marc Convey and Rick Dacey. Photos by Neil Stoddart.