EPT Berlin: Day 1A, level 3 & 4 updates (blinds 150-300)
4.36pm: Among the leaders
Chip leader right now as Level 4 reaches the end of its natural life is German player Nasr El Nasr, overtaking the previous best held by another German, Benny Spindler.
Spindler, however, plays in his usual dazzling fashion, pitched against the French duo Arnaud Mattern and Ludovic Lacay. He just forced the former out of a pot, taking him and another player along to the flop before betting 1,500 to win the hand. Spindler not leading, but up to 80,000 nonetheless.
That's the end of Level 4. Players are now taking a 15 minute break. - SB
4.32pm: Pantaleo and Blain, trouble as predicted
At the beginning of the day I mentioned that I could see Dermot Blain and Guiseppe Pantaleo sitting at the same table, which could provide some interest. It's already looking likely to fulfil its early billing. Blain is sitting on 75,000 and Pantaleo just a little lighter on 65,000.
The Italian-sounding German Pantaleo just took the last pot, showing A♥A♣ on a J♦K♦J♥T♦ board. Blain had looked tempted to raise, he was in the cut-off to Pantaleo's small blind, but passed. At which point the bullets were shown. Blain suggested that he could have taken the pot with a raise, Pantaleo disagreed: "You raise, I call." It's likely to get ugly between these two. -- RD
4.20pm: Frustrating business
Some theatrics on table four where Heinz Kamutzki was sitting waiting, having bet 6,200 a few moments ago. The board read K♦3♣9♠4♠3♦ and thinking things over was Jan Peter Jachtmann. More accurately Jachtmann was stewing, talking to himself before finally talking himself into calling.
He did so, spinning his chips into the pot with a flourish that reeked of defeat. When Kamutzki showed A♥K♠ Jachtmann span his cards into the muck in the same fashion. He then banged things, muttered things, held his hands up in disgust and then promptly apologised to the dealer. There's a good gentleman. - SB
4.12pm: No more Kaiser chief
Ronny Kaiser is out after losing all his chips to Dermot Blain. Attilio Donato raised to 725 before Blain three-bet to 2,100 and Kaiser four-bet to 5,800 (14,000 back). Donato folded but Blain called to go to a Q♠Q♣A♠ flop. Blain checked to Kaiser who bet 4,000. Blain set him in for the extra 10,000 and the Swiss called.
Kaiser tabled A♥J♦ for top pair but was behind to Blain's Q♦9♦ for trips. The 3♥6♦ turn and river changed not a thing and Kaiser said, "Sick", before making his exit. -- MC
3.55pm: Internet issues
The internet has been a little problematic today and an incident involving a cup of coffee and a laptop probably didn't help. We're now back on track.
3.50pm: Who was that man?
Sharp-eyed followers of the European Poker Tour just spotted a familiar face, that of a former EPT champion Constant Rijkenberg.
If there's one constant on the EPT it's not Constant Rijkenberg. Since winning EPT San Remo two years ago the Dutchman has been absent from front line poker but now returns for another crack at some EPT silverware.
Rijkenberg sits at table 18, gets up from table 18 and walks out of the tournament room. That's right, forget everything I said. Rijkenberg is out. - SB
3.40pm: Mattern move makes little difference
We've had a couple of table breaks so far, one of which contained Arnaud Mattern. He had Nasr El Nasr on his left in the first instance and at his new table now has Benny Spindler taking that position. Spindler finished third at the PCA in 2009 for $1.1 million and had showcased a powerfully aggressive game. -- RD
3.30pm: Moorman no more, man
I found Chris Moorman wandering the isles checking on friends' progress rather than concentrating on his own game. He soon informed me that he was out and explained briefly how the damage was done:
He lost a big pot earlier on when he flatted aces and called when a player behind squeezed. The original raiser folded to leave it heads-up to a [T] flop. Moorman check-raised but was called by his opponent to go to the Q♠ turn. There were now two spades aboard and Moorman check-called a bet to see the 2♠ river. Moorman check-called again and was shown J♠8♠ for a flush by his opponent.
His exit hand saw him flat a Lean Cavanagh Karr under-the-gun raise with tens. Two more players called en route to a K♠7♠2♠ flop. Karr claimed to have miss-clicked a 5,500 bet meaning to make it 550. Moorman had 12,000 left and the T♠ in his hand. He moved them in but was called by Karr who held ace-king. The turn and river bricked and that was that for Moorman. -- MC
3.22pm: Reality bites
Fabrice Soulier is making a bid for the lead, stretching out to nearly 55,000. Armed with kings the Frenchman munched on a sandwich throughout the hand against Riccardo Mazzitelli. The Italian kept betting and Soulier kept biting, eventually showing his winning hand. Mazzitelli jolted back in his chair upon seeing them, head tipped back, aghast. - SB
3.18pm: Mixed fortunes from Twitter
Pulling information straight from Twitter is a handy source, particulalry in the early stages of a tournament when there are hundreds of players to keep a handle on. Tracking my feed I can see that we have mixed fortunes from three EPT success stories. John Eames, who came third at EPT Copenhagen is up to 55,600 after "a guy put more than 100bss in with KT on ten high board. Cooler." Very dry, John.
EPT Vilamoura winner Toby Lewis is down to 15,500. "Worst start ever... Played a bad hand with AK in a 4bet pot prolly forgot every1 has got it live after grinding online a lot."
Top of the tree though is Martin Jacobson, this season's nearly man. The Swede, who has finished runner-up at two EPT 7 events is up to 80,000 already. -- RD
Sources: johneamespoker, 810ofclubs (Toby Lewis) and Martin_Jacobson.
3.10pm: Spindler riding the storm
Benny Spindler may be sat with Matthew Frankland and French superstars Arnaud Mattern and Ludovic Lacay but that hasn't stunted his impressive progress so far. He seems to be our current chip leader on around 95,000 chips. -- MC
Jon Spinks is wearing a Charlie Sheen inspired 'Winning.' t-shirt. It begs the question, is he? He's currently just above average with 32,000 but it could have been a fair chunk more.
I caught up with the action on the 6♠9♦7♠ flop. He was still in a hand as I left the hand and not wanting to interrupt I'm working on the assumption that Spinks had three-bet out of the small blind pre-flop as he led 1,250 into that flop from the small blind. His opponent, Florian Kuhnast, made the call from the cut-off. Spinks fired again at the 9♣ turn, 2,375 this time and Kuhnast quickly raised to 6,025, leaving himself with just over 15,000 behind. Spinks made the call before both players checked the river. Kuhnast showed A♥Q♦ and looked stunned to win the pot.
"Straight and flush draw," said Spinks, who mucked his hand and looked a little annoyed to lose out to ace-high. Kuhnast went on to river two-pair the next hand and is up to nearly 40,000. EPT Copenhagen winner Michael Tureniec is sat directly on Spinks' left, not great news for the Brit. -- RD
2.50pm: Back to the grind for Farrell
Niall Farrell is down to 2,150 after a cooler hand versus Oleh Okhotskyi. We picked up the action on the 3♥T♣J♠ flop where the Ukrainian check-called a 6,500 bet to see the K♥ turn. He checked again to face a 10,000 bet that he insta-shoved on for 21,500. Farrell shrugged and made the call to see the bad news.
Okhotskyi had turned a set of kings with K♠K♦, now beating Farrell's flopped set with T♠T♥. The river came 2♥ to send the pot Okhotskyi's way. Farrell said to us that he should've folded the turn as it was pretty obvious to him that Okhotskyi had to have kings in the hole. -- MC
2.47pm: Here's to you Gloria Balding...
Here's what happens at an EPT welcome party...
2.40pm: Back in business
Level three has begun.
PokerStars Blog reporting team at EPT Berlin (in order of ease of access to the tournament room): Stephen Bartley (two steps away), Rick Dacey (has to squeeze past EPT host Neil Johnson) and Marc Convey (has to squeeze past Johnson and Dacey). Photos by Neil Stoddart.