EPT Champion of Champions, level 1-10 updates (blinds 800-1,600, ante 200)

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6.25pm: One in, one out
While David Vamplew doubles up on the feature table, Mike McDonald just busted from one of the outer tables.

Vamplew moved in on a flop of 2♠K♣4♣, holding K♠J♣. Rueben Peters called with A♣6♣. The turn 2♥ and river 2♣ kept Vamplew in his seat.

A few feet away McDonald was leaving. On a board of 2♦Q♦T♦K♠ the chips were in, McDonald showing K♣Q♥ against Max Lykov's 7♦5♦. McDonald was unable to topple Lykov's flush on the river. - SB


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Time's up for Mike McDonald


6.22m: Timex schools Lykov
Mike McDonald just won a large pot from Max Lykov after shoving the turn on a 7♠2♠2♥8♥ board. McDonald has called Lykov's 32,400 five-bet pre-flop and had fired 16,600 on the flop. Lykov passed and McDonald showed T♠9♠ for a large draw. -- RD

6.15pm: Boubli not back
On a flop of T♦J♥2♥ Boubli moved all-in with a flush draw, 7♥8♥ only for Vicky Coren to call, with a better flush draw, A♥8♥. The turn came A♠ to end Boubli's CoC hopes. Coren up to more than 230,000. -- SB

6.10pm: Boubli back
Jan Boubli has doubled up through Michael Eiler. The Frenchman showed A♦J♦ against Michael Eiler's A♠5♠. The board came Q♣8♦4♣9♣A♥ to keep Boubli alive. Eiler down to 40,000. - SB

6pm: Hoivold and Cohen railbound
Galen Hall eliminated Andreas Hoivold when his J♥8♦ turned an eight to topple Hoivold's A♣2♣.

Elsewhere Lucien Cohen is also out. He was all-in with A♣3♣ against Michael Tureniec's A♥6♦. Despite calling "tree! tree!" and using that rat of his, the tree didn't come. He's out, to a slow hand clap by Pieter de Korver and Galen Hall. - SB


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Lucien Cohen, rat man out


LEVEL UP: BLINDS 1,000-2,000, ANTE 200


5.50pm: That's how they did it in Season 1
Rupert Elder opened for 1,400 from the button which Brandon Schaeffer (EPT1 Deauville winner) raised from the small blind, making it 7,000. Elder called for a flop of T♠T♣2♣. Schaeffer check-called Elder's bet of 6,000. Then, on the 6♠ turn, did the same facing Elder's bet of 19,000. Then, on the 2♠ river Schaeffer checked a last time, Elder doing the same, showing 7♠7♦. Schaefer showed A♦A♥ to win the pot, moving up to 150,000. - SB

5.41pm: 'No more joli'
Lucien Cohen is dancing in his chair singing the same ditty over and over. It goes something like this: "Oo, oo, oooo, pahba ba ba, c'est joli."

"No more Joli," said a slightly irritated looking Pieter de Korver, who is currently sat just behind De Korver. The request appears to have been ignored.

Will Fry is up to 240,000 after busting Ivan Freitez. -- RD

5.32pm: Lewis and Freitez out
That's three of this season's champions that have fallen with Toby Lewis and Ivan Freitez joining Ben Wilinofsky on the rail. That said, Wilinofsky is not on the rail, he's massaging Anton Wigg. It's a slightly surreal slight. And Pascal Perrault is also out. -- RD

5.26pm: Correction
Make that 43, EPT2 Grand Final winner Jeff Williams is out. -- SB

5.25pm: Numbers
44 players remain. -- SB

LEVEL UP: BLINDS 600-1,200, ANTE 100


5.20pm: Wigg whams ElkY
Anton Wigg opened in early position, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier raised to 7,200 in the cut off before Wigg raised to 18,700 and ElkY raised again. Wigg shoved for 111,900, ElkY called. It was all very straight forward.

Wigg Q♥Q♣
Grospellier A♠K♦

The board came 3♠7♦4♣4♦T♣. Wigg doubles to nearly 230,000. ElkY crippled though, down to 4,500. - SB

5.10pm: One Constant
Constant Rijkenberg and Jason Mercier are now on the "fun" table. Rijkenberg opened a pot for 1,600 from under-the-gun which Alexander Stevic called, as did Mike McDonald on the big blind for a flop of 4♠9♥3♥.

McDonald checked, Rijkenberg bet 2,300 and both Stevic and McDonald called for a 9♠ turn. Again McDonald checked to Rijkenberg who bet 5,300. Stevic then raised to 12,000 which McDonald raised to 23,200. Rijkenberg passed to Stevic who called for a 4♥ river card.

McDonald dumped in another 32,100 into the middle. Stevic tanked, and passed. McDonald, as the rules of the table dictate, showing one card, the 8♠. McDonald up to 115,000. Stevic down to 73,000. - SB

5.08pm: Another faller
EPT Baden champion Julian Thew is out.


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Julian Thew, officially the nicest man in poker


LEVEL UP: BLINDS 500-1,000, ANTE 100


5.04pm: Romanello ruining French relations
I'm not entirely sure what's going on at the TV table but it seems that Roberto Romanello has taken exception to the fact that Jan Boubli isn't playing truth or dare. Someting to do with top to bottom or bottom to top.

"Sometimes you have to put your foot down in life," said Romanello trying to force Vicky Coren to badger Boubli into answering. She quickly declined. Lively action which you can follow at EPT Live. -- RD


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Roberto Romanello


5pm: You can take the boy out of the poker room, but...
During the break I walked past Galen Hall who was saying, without a hint of irony: "Each time you win with seven-deuce you win €700, that's a third of your tournament equity." It's a fair point and also shows how poker players just can't turn off! -- RD

4.52pm: Wilinofksy out
Ben Wilinofsky just ran A♥K♦ into the A♦A♣ of Reuben Peters. No miracle outdraw and Peters chips up to 180,000. -- RD

4.42pm: Back into the action
We've lost Nicholas Chouity to Michael Tureniec but it was Will Fry who largely did the damage. "I kept donk calling him because he kept paying me off. He said to me, 'How did you win an EPT?'," said a very amused Fry, who is now sat on 180,000. -- RD

LEVEL UP: BLINDS 400-800, ANTE 50


4.16pm: Eight rooms, three flights of stairs, 1 minute 46 seconds
That is our journey to the CoC room. And what did I see on my most recent trip?

  • Tim Vance was up on his feet stabbing the air with his sunglasses in the direction of Jens Kyllonen. Vance is quite a character and should he get chips he'll cause a lot of problems. He's above his starting now...

  • Will Fry had spoken to me before the tournament and said that his strategy was basically to wind people up. It seems to be working. He's up to 160,000 after raking in a pot with a straight against last year's Grand Final winner Nicholas Chouity who threw his arms up in frustration. "He's beating me in every pot!" he ranted before telling the table at large the hands Fry has beaten him with.

  • Jason Mercier has taken the seat vacated by Vladimir Geshkenbein and instantly accepts invitation into the seven-deuce game. -- RD


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    LEVEL UP: BLINDS 300-600, ANTE 50


    4.05pm: Geshkenbein out
    Geshkenbein is out, all-in against Anton Wigg with only one card of each hand face up, Wigg's jack to Geshkenbein's king. Wigg made the flush though, both players turning over sevens, Wigg's being a crucial spade. Handshakes all round for the entertaining Snowfest winner. We're already starting to miss him. - SB

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    Vladimir Geshkenbein

    4pm: Geshkenbein playing a blinder
    This "last day of term" tournament continues with more commotion on the fun table, where Vladimir Geshkenbein was just all-in. Anton Wigg did the calling, showing a respectable J♠Q♥. Geshkenbein was waiting for the cameras to arrive before showing. When he did he turned over 7♦2♠.

    You'll be aware by now that there's a bet going on, worth €100 from each player, to any other player who wins a hand with seven-deuce. This opportunity certainly wasn't going to pass by Geshkenbein uncontested.

    The flop...

    7♥7♣6♥.

    The table erupted in cheers and laughter as €100 notes began to flutter in Geshkenbein's direction. For his part, he'd stood, arms aloft before making a thrusting motion with his pelvis. The turn came A♦, the river the 2♦.

    "Nuts," said Geshkenbein, still alive. - SB

    3.55pm: First faller
    Salvatore Bonavena is the first player to depart, something I only discovered after I'd warmly said "Hi Salvtore!" as I passed him coming down the stairs.

    He got his money in on the turn with the board reading 9♦A♦2♦K♣. Harrison Gimbel called, showing K♦8♦ to Bonavena's ace-king. The 2♣ on the river sent Bonavena on his collision course with the thoughtless blogger on the stairs. - SB

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    Salvatore Bonavena
    3.50pm: Table draw
    Here you go, folks. Her's that table draw, but you can eliminate two players; Salavatore Bonavena and... the next KO is about to be revealed.

    1. Sandra Naujoks EPT5 Dortmund Team PokerStars Pro
    3. Jeff Williams EPT2 Monte Carlo
    4. Kevin Stani EPT7 Tallinn
    5. Jan Skampa EPT6 Prague
    6. David Vamplew EPT7 London
    7. Roland de Wolfe EPT3 Dublin
    8. Kent Lundmark EPT7 Barcelona

    1. Constant Rijkenberg EPT5 San Remo
    3. Michael Martin EPT5 London
    4. Michael Tureniec EPT7 Copenhagen
    5. Jason Mercier EPT4 San Remo Team PokerStars Pro
    6. Noah Boeken EPT1 Copenhagen Team PokerStars Pro

    7. Pascal Perrault EPT1 Vienna
    8. Mats Iremark EPT2 French

    1. Tim Vance EPT4 Copenhagen
    3. Bjorn-Erik Glenne EPT3 Barcelona
    4. Rob Hollink EPT1 Monte Carlo
    5. Antonio Matias EPT6 Vilamoura
    6. Julian Thew EPT4 Baden
    7. Jens Kyllönen EPT5 Copenhagen
    8. Kevin MacPhee EPT6 Berlin

    1. Andreas Hoivold EPT3 Dortmund
    3. Pieter de Korver EPT5 Monte Carlo Team PokerStars Pro
    4. Christophe Benzimra EPT6 Warsaw
    5. Toby Lewis EPT7 Vilamoura
    6. Rupert Elder EPT7 San Remo
    7. Brandon Schaefer EPT1 Deauville
    8. Galen Hall 2011 PCA

    1. Salvatore Bonavena EPT5 Prague Team PokerStars Pro
    3. Harrison Gimbel 2010 PCA
    4. Will Fry EPT5 Hungarian
    5. João Barbosa EPT5 Warsaw
    6. Ivan Freitez EPT7 Grand Final
    7. Lucien Cohen EPT7 Deauville
    8. Nicolas Chouity EPT6 Monte Carlo

    1. Reuben Peters EPT4 Dublin
    2. Roberto Romanello EPT7 Prague
    3. Michael Eiler EPT7 Vienna
    4. Vicky Coren EPT3 London Team PokerStars Pro
    5. Michael Schulze EPT4 Warsaw
    6. Liv Boeree EPT6 San Remo Team PokerStars Pro
    7. Jan Boubli EPT2 Barcelona
    8. Ben Wilinofsky EPT7 Berlin

    1. Mike McDonald EPT4 German
    3. Arnaud Mattern EPT4 Prague Team PokerStars Pro
    4. Anton Wigg EPT6 Copenhagen
    5. Alexander Stevic EPT1 Barcelona
    6. Vladimir Geshkenbein EPT7 SnowFest
    7. Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier 2008 PCA Team PokerStars Pro
    8. Maxim Lykov EPT6 Kyiv Team PokerStars Pro

    There's a great atmosphere here - I've only been at one tournament similar, and that ended up very messy indeed. -- RD

    3.47pm: Give me seven deuce
    At least three players are at least €500 up already today from the seven-deuce game; Elky, Max Lykov and Alexander Stevic. Each time a player wins with [7][2] a flutter of green €100 notes is tossed at the grinning bluffer. It's being played at just one table from what I can see. It's likely to spread... Arnaud Mattern is begging for seven deuce. -- RD

    LEVEL UP: BLINDS 250-500, ANTE 50


    3.40pm: Lykov in control
    On a board of T♥Q♥5♣6♥6♠, and with 10,000 in the middle, Max Lykov was assessing his options. Then he bet 300. This caused great mirth at the table. Mike McDonald, in the hand with him, raised to 7,300 before Lykov raised again to 18,200. More laughter.

    "I call," said McDonald.

    "Six," replied Lykov, showing A♦6♦.

    "Yeah, I figured," said McDonald.

    Pot to the Russian. - SB

    3.30pm: The fun table
    It's pretty clear that the fun table is the ElkY table, with the likes of Arnaud Matter, Mike McDonald, Max Lykov and Vladimir Geshkenbein all getting into the spirit of things.

    For a start the hands are played a lot faster than you'd ordinarily see. On a flop of 4♠K♦9♣ Geshkenbein 300 under-the-gun, ElkY Grospellier 600 one seat along, Lykov called, another seat along, Geshkenbein called.

    The turn came 3♥. Geshkenbein bet 300, Grospellier raised to 1,225 forcing Lykov out. Geshkenbein called for a 9♥ river card. Geshkenbein checked, then open surrendered, folding his six-deuce face up to save Grospellier the time. The Frenchman showed pocket jacks.

    Vladimir Geshkenbein drained his glass. "Sir," he said, looking at the dealer. "where is the nice person who'll bring us alcoholic drinks?" - SB

    LEVEL UP: BLINDS 200-400, ANTE 50


    3.20pm: Great banter
    This is a €100,000 freeroll with 50 runners, that's €2,000 a head. Not bad for a one day turbo, eh? All our 50 champions won more than that when they claimed their title and the ensuing levity on the tournament floor is not hard to see. Will Fry is trying to wind up both Ivan Freitez and Lucien Cohen; "I'm going to stack you," he said to the pair, or perhaps it was "whack," which would give an entirely different meaning.

    The next table along has Anton Wigg, Arnaud Mattern, Elky, Max Lykov and Vladimir Geshkenbein and it's the last two mentioned that just played a bizarre hand against each other where Geshkenbein open mucked on the 7♠5♠4♥3♣2♠ river. Lykov showed king-high.

    "Nice bluff call on the turn," said Geshkenbein, "you made me open muck."

    "Open folding, that's pretty strong," said Betrand 'ElkY' Grospellier with a smile. This is going to be a fun tournament. -- RD

    3.05pm: Prop bets, get your prop bets
    EPT presenter Michelle Orpe is asking players at each table if they have any prop bets, not unlike a cinema ice cream vendor. Galen Hall has ideas, starting with the first hand of every new level played with one hole car face up. Then he suggests every four-bet should be accompanied by a shot, every five bet should be played shirtless. Lose the five bet and someone else wears your shirt. - SB

    LEVEL UP: BLINDS 150-300, ante 25


    3pm: Coren takes an early lead
    EPT London winner Vicky Coren has taken an early lead here at the Champion of Champions after shoving the river of a 5♣K♦3♦4♦K♠ board into Jan Boubli. The Frenchman drops to 52,000, Coren up to 147,000. A seat draw is on its way, currently getting cobbled together in the hot box that is the EPT Grand Final press room.
    The players are starting with a huge 100,000 stack for 500 big blinds.-- RD

    2.50pm: The last seven years
    It's all a bit strange walking around the tournament room today, with every work trip I've made in the past six years represented by every single player. My life is literally flashing in front of my eyes.

    That said it's pretty impressive out there, seven tables filled with "notables", although I nearly just accused Bjorn-Erik Glenne (complete with moustache) or being an impostor.
    One player of note, but who is easy to miss, is Alexander Stevic, winner of the first ever EPT event back in Barcelona, in Season 1.

    Remember, players start with 100,000 chips with rapid-fire 20 minute levels taking us through to a winner tonight. Every player qualified in a satellite (buy-ins between €3,000 and €10,000), and stands to win a share of the €100,000 prize pool made up of EPT buy-ins. -- SB

    2.40pm: Cards in the air
    Play gets under way.

    2.30pm: Change to the structure
    News is that we're ditching the first levels and going straight to blinds of 300-600. No, forget that. We're starting at 100-200. -- SB

    2.20pm: Say cheese...

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    Champions in the Champion of Champions

    2.10pm: No harm keeping it authentic
    In keeping with EPT tradition, we will be starting late today. But don't forget, the entire event is available to watch on EPTLive. -- SB

    2pm: Welcome to the Champion of Champions
    If there was a Super Bowl feel to yesterday's main event finale, then there's a summer barbeque with your friends feel to the Champion of Champions.

    Old friends have returned to swap war stories and talk shop, a room in which wherever you look walk players whose names are followed by the name of an EPT leg in brackets.

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    Casino Gran Madrid (we're round the back)

    We'll be bringing live updates from all the action at this most exclusive event, the first of its kind, with €100,000 worth of EPT packages up for grabs. The full draw and window dressing coming up. -- SB