EPT Vilamoura Day 1A: Level 5 & 6 updates (200-400, 50 ante)
6.50pm: Back from Baekke
Allan Baekke opened from the cut-off to 1,000 and Otto Neugebauer made a large three-bet to 6,800 from the small blind. Baekke said: "You want some back?" and must have been referring to a previous pot where he took the German's chips. Baekke is cruising along with 70,000 and has the handy seat draw of being three seats to the left of Dario Minieri.
That's the end of the action for this level and a 15-minute break. -- RD
6.46pm: Cream rising to the top
Team PokerStars Pro Dario Minieri and Antonio Esfandiari are vying for the lead at three-quarter mark of the day's play. They both have around 140,000 but have a host of name players in the chasing pack, most of whom happen to be French. Arnaud Mattern, Michel Abecassis and Antony Lellouche to be precise. -- MC
6.40pm: Problematic call
James Dempsey is sat directly to the left of Fabrizio Ascari and the Italian is proving to be a bit of a head scratcher. On a Q♣7♠8♥ flop Dempsey bet 1,500 in position and called Ascari's min check-raise to 3,000. Ascari bet 7,000 on the 8♠ turn and Dempsey called. The Q♠ dropped on the river double pairing the board and the Italian took some time before betting 16,000. The bet was for approximately half of Dempsey's stack so it was little surprise to here him say that the situations was "problematic." Dempsey didn't think too long before making the call, probably before he could talk himself out of it.
Ascari showed 9♥3♥ for a naked bluff and Dempsey showed 5♠3♠ for the flush. Ascari looked a little taken aback that Dempsey had called on the flop with five-high but the Brit is now up to around 70,000. -- RD
6.30pm: Nothing to see here
Action on Pieter de Korver's table, although without any sign of a showdown. First Mickey Petersen opened a pot for 5,600, which Bryn Kelley raised to 11,400 in the cut off. Petersen then moved all-in to take the pot without a Kelley response.
There was another all-in on the next hand when Pontus Khosravi shoved, getting no takers and then De Korver got involved in a hand, taking the loot by betting on a 8♦Q♣T♣ flop.
6.19pm: Aces burn Kelly
JP Kelly couldn't quite bring himself to muck his pocket aces on the 3♣5♠6♠J♦5♣ flop despite Frank Calo's large 12,500 river bet. It wasn't an insta-call from Kelly but the Team PokerStars Pro must have made the call knowing that he was beaten a fair chunk of the time. Calo showed a flopped set with 6♣6♥ that had improved to a boat while Kelly was left tossing his A♠A♥ into the ether. -- RD
6.08pm: Mitchell mucks with meaning
James Mitchell was on 53,500 when I arrived at his table and was down to 47,000 when I left. An early position raiser had made it 1,000 to go before Mitchell three-bet to 2,700. Florian Lehmann flatted on the button.
Mitchell thought he'd won the hand there and then as he hadn't seen the German's call and instead had to fire 3,600 at the 4♠T♣6♣ flop. Lehmann made a large raise to 11,800, effectively committing himself to the pot. Mitchell considered his options before he slammed his cards down mucking his hand. He's still on 48,000 or so but you get the feeling that he thinks he should be getting more out of his table. -- RD
6pm: 'Owned by an amateur' before busting
Annette Obrestad is out after a "Bad day" as she described it. She found it hard to handle an inexperienced player (her words, not ours) to her left who kept min three-betting her and then she busted after losing a race. She raised with ace-jack and then four-bet jammed after an opponent's three-bet. He called with pocket nines and they held. -- MC
5.55pm: In the picture
We're working to Portuguese legal restraints when it comes to photography in the casino here in Vilamoura. As a result, we're artist-impressioning it today and here's the latest.
Juan Maceiras, earlier today
5.50pm: LEVEL UP
5.45pm: Crazy as Ascari
Italian Fabrizio Ascari is having plenty of fun at the table. He sounds as if he is anyway as we can hear him from the press desk. Ascari opened the action to 800 and was called by James Dempsey, Wassim Chaouki and Annette Obrestad. A hasty 3,500 bet from Ascari was enough to win the pot on the jack-high flop. The Italian flashed the J♦. -- RD
5.40pm: Dempsey and Maceiras
Team PokerStars Pro Juan Maceiras is on something of a tear, winning two more pots to grow his stack to around the 50k mark. In his latest coup the Spaniard bet 2,000 pre-flop which James Dempsey raised to 4,800. Maceiras, showing no signs of slowing down, then re-raised to 10,250, getting a quick fold from Dempsey. - SB
5.37pm: Don't bluff Lellouche
Frenchman Antony Lellouche, who was chip leader for a time here last year, is cruising on 41,000 partly due to winning the last two hands he played.
In the first hand he raised to 725 from first position and was only called by Dan Heimler two seats along. The flop came 6♣2♥T♣ and Lellouche's 1,025 was called but his 2,600 bet on the turn was too much for the American to handle.
The very next hand Lellouche called a late position raise from Patrick Renkers whilst sat in the BB. The flop came 9♦A♣A♦ and Lellouche check-called a 900 bet. The turn came T♦ and this time Lellouche check-called a 2,150 bet. The river came 6♦ and Renkers was facing a third check and after a lot of thought he failed to find a third bullet and checked his K♥3♥. Lellouche tabled T♠8♦ for a flush and the pot. --MC
5.30pm: Don't mess with Houghton
Laurence Houghton is a fierce online tournament player which may be something that Marius Campan of Romania didn't appreciate. He's likely to now though. On a paired 8♥8♠2♥ board Houghton bet a little under 3,000 from the cut-off and Campan check-raised to 6,525. The Londoner didn't waste much time in moving all-in for an additional 15,000. Campan passed as Houghton, aka Rivermanl, chipped back up to his starting stack of 30,000. -- RD
5.25 pm Flood busted
On a 6♦7♠8♥ flop a player under the gun fired out 1.000. Liam Flood raised to 3,000 before PokerStars qualifier Patrick Carron moved all-in, covering Flood's stack. The UTG player folded, but Flood insta-called with his Q♣Q♦. Unfortunately for the Irishman, he had walked straight in to Carron's 7♦7♣ for the flopped set.
When the turn brought a 4♥ Flood asked for a  on the river, but it was a 9♦ brick. Flood is out, Carron up to 88,000. -- SY
5.15pm: Chips Baekke to Minieri
Allan Baekke and Dario Minieri just bashed heads again, this time the Italian winning the chips. On a board of 9♠5♠6♣8♠9♥ and around 10,000 in the middle, Minieri threw out 2,275 which Baekke called. Minieri showed A♠9♥ and was answering a phone call before Baekke mucked his cards.
Two tables along and there's trouble for the English with both Vicky Coren and Barny Boatman on much less than they started with. On a board of 3♥J♥A♦5♠8♦, with some betting and calling along the way, Coren made it 6,000 to play which Alexandru Cezarescu called. Coren surrendered T♦5♦ while Cezarescu took the pot with A♥4♥. Coren down to 11,000. -- SB
5.08: Big slick, big fold
Eddie Tasbas was the youngest player to appear at EPT Tallinn (just turned 21) a couple of weeks back and he's here in Vilamoura too. He currently has around 23,000 chips, 2,600 less that he had just moments earlier. He left the 2,600 in the middle after his three-bet was four-bet to 7,800 by Liutauras Armanavicius. Armanavicius had called an under-the-gun raise from second position that was called in one more spot before the young Swede bumped it up to 2,600 from the BB. Tasbas was only player left after the Lithuanian's four-bet and he open folded ace-king after some thought. -- MC
4.58pm: Minieri: portrait of the poker player
Due to Portuguese casino legislation no photos are allowed to be taken. In terms of timely reporting this obviously throws up some interesting problems which we're trying hard to overcome by a) getting photographer Neil Stoddart to collar players on the break, and b) using the courtroom reporting technique of drawing to illustrate events. Here is our representation of Team PokerStars Pro Dario Minieri. -- RD
4.55pm: Cursed at live poker
Online phenomenon Chris Moorman's live poker curse has continued here in Vilamoura. News reached us during the break of his very unfortunate demise. He hit a set of tens on a [k][t] flop only to see an opponent have two kings for a bigger set. Ouch! --MC
4.50pm: Play resumes
Back from the break with blinds at 150-300 with a 25 ante. That noise you can hear is Fabrizio Ascari. -- SB
PokerStars Blog reporting team at EPT Vilamoura (In order of common decency):Stephen Bartley, Simon Young, Marc Convey and Rick "Dastardly" Dacey. Photos by Neil Stoddart.