EPT Berlin: Day 1A, level 5 & 6 updates (blinds 200-400, 50 ante)
6.51pm: Dinner break
It's a 90-minute break for food and we're down to 243 players from the starting 315. -- RD
6.50pm: Weekes doesn't look happy
Jon Weekes is not looking thrilled and it's little surprise given that Simon Charette backed into Broadway against his turned trips. Weekes is down to 13,000. -- RD
6.47pm: Gork in trouble
As the end of the level approaches Marc Gork might not be looking any further than the dinner break. He has a lot of chips, they're just not worth much, his green chips arranged in an elaborate foundation for a the rest of his 6,000 stack made up of loose change. -- SB
6.42pm: A lot the Mattern with Arnaud
Team PokerStars Pro Arnaud Mattern almost managed to get his tournament back on track after he backed into a couple of big hands, but the wheels have almost fallen off.
We don't have all the details but the word on the rail is that he ran pocket queens into pocket aces and then followed that up with running big slick into pocket kings. Ouch. He's back down to around 15,000. -- MC
6.40pm: So this bloke walks into a bar...
Cristian Dragomir is losing ground on the leaders, slipping back to 75,000 as more players arrive from upstairs.
Still no cause for alarm, although the same might not be said about Dragomir's joke telling. He just engaged English player Dean Saunders in the long version of what was supposed to be a quick joke. Saunders was doing his best to disturb Dragomir's flow but the Romanian was determined. The result, after two or three minutes, was a painful monologue that ended with everyone busying themselves with something. - SB
6.35pm: Thorson takes one down
William Thorson is one of those players that has consistently scored big tournament results - for a total of $2,878,136 - and has already bagged $100,000 this year. Will he be adding to that tally here in Berlin? It's distinctly possible.
Thorson just called down Sam Chartier with ace-high on a 6♦K♥K♠7♠9♥ board but was let off having to make a tough decision on the river when the Canadian checked behind with J♥T♥. Thorson's A♦4♦ was good.
"You calling the river?" asked Chartier.
Thorson first replied with a wiggle of his hand to show that maybe he would, maybe he wouldn't, before adding that the river was "a bad card." -- RD
6.30pm: Wigg wasted
Former EPT Copenhagen champion Anton Wigg is out after losing two big pots. Whilst railing his friend Michael Tureniec he informed us that he ran queens into kings for a 70,000 pot and then ace-king into kings again for a 50,000 pot. Wigg's recent tournaments have all been the same for him; he wins all the small pots and then gets coolered in all the big ones. He's trying to be philosophical and the fact he's had some winning sessions at Chinese poker helps. -- MC
6.20pm: Four up top
Only four tables remain upstairs in the bright, airy, spacious, joy-to-be-in upper floor. Seated there are the likes of Arnaud Mattern, William Thorson and Pierre Neuville.
It is also where Nasr El Nasr is putting in the hours, dispatching another player who may still be wondering what just hit him. The same goes for the massage therapist working on him who is now looking for a new client.
Kings for El Nasr, sevens for his opponent and a board of Q♦A♥K♥8♣2♠. El Nasr climbs to around 150,000 now. - SB
6.15pm: Tweets from the Brits
Players like to Tweet a lot more when they're winning and that helps us bloggers when the tournament floor seems like a mile away. Toby Lewis and John Eames just Tweeted some good news:
Toby "810ofclubs" Lewis was complaining about his bad start earlier but all is rosy now as his latest Tweet explained; "62k doubled again, 3bet AA pre and got 3 streets with shoving the river on 6533K :)".
Meanwhile John Eames's day had been more steady but still fruitful. "Up to 66k. Got the limp call out with the K3s :)" was his latest virtual message. -- MC
6.10pm: Ionel bows out
Anton Ionel made the score of his life at the PCA this year finishing third for $1.35 million. He won't be making another multi-digit addition to his tournament winnings here as I've just seen him leaving the tournament floor looking a little disgruntled. -- RD
6.05pm: Sarwer won't be Bossi'ed
Anyone watching Jeff Sarwer's table will know by now there that is no love lost between him and Frederico Bossi, sitting directly on his right. The pair have tangled a few times today and with a board reading K♣T♣2♣4♦ Sarwer was firing back again at Bossi, raising to 17,000 in the big blind after Bossi had bet 6,300 from the small.
Some time passed, Bossi looking over at Sarwer's chips.
"How much do you have?" asked Bossi, appearing to be in control.
"You're going to fold anyway," replied Sarwer, lighting the blue touch paper.
"I'm going to fold anyway, you say?" replied Bossi, before asking the dealer to count the Canadian's chips. Antony Lellouche and Kevin Stani, both at the same table, looked on.
As Bossi made a variety of expressions Sarwer called the clock. Before an official had time to arrive to do the honours, Bossi raised enough to put Sarwer all-in. He dutifully called but paused before showing.
"Show your cards!" urged Bossi and Sarwer turned over A♣8♣ for the nut flush. Bossi mucked but the dealer told him he had to show, turning over 5♣7♣.
Bossi looked in pain. Stabbing pain. Kidney stone pain. No small amount of embarrassment mixed in as well. He still managed a "nice hand," though as Sarwer stacked up close to 100,000. Bossi meanwhile drops to a meagre-in-comparison-looking 17,000. -- SB
6pm: Frustrating day for Mattern
Team PokerStars Pro Arnaud Mattern currently sits with 16,200 chips and he got up to inform us that he keeps losing medium sized pots. First, he lost one to countryman Ludovic Lacay and just now he lost to Markus Martinus.
Martinus and Mattern both flopped top pair in a three-way pot but the PokerStars qualifier turned two-pair to take the pot from the Frenchman. Nothing is going his way but he still has enough play to mount a comeback -- MC
5.55pm: Spinks and El Nasr battle
Jon Spinks is back down to 35,000 after folding to a river bet from Nasr El Nasr. We picked up the action on the turn where Spinks check-called a 5,200 bet. The final board read A♦9♣4♥6♣2♠ and Spinks checked to face a 13,400 bet. He went deep into the tank for about three minutes before folding his hand. El Nasr is maintaining his chip lead on around 140,000. -- MC
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 200-400, ANTE 50
5.49pm: Spinks refuses to wilt in Tureniec's presence
Michael Tureniec meet Jon Spinks. Spinks had opened for 650 from middle position and had been three-bet by Tureniec in the next seat along to 1,550. The action folded back to Spinks who made the call.
Tureniec was given the opportunity to c-bet the A♣7♥K♦ flop and took it, but his 1,200 was quickly check-raised to 2,800 by Spinks. Both players checked the 7♥ turn before Spinks shoved all-in on the Q♣ river. Tureniec took his time folding to leave himself with 11,250. Spinks is up to approaching 50,000. -- RD
5.41pm: No home win for Keiner
All members of Team PokerStars Pro travel the EPT circuit proudly representing their sponsor. One notices that the members seem to take extra pride when playing an EPT in their own country. It's special to win an EPT but to win one on home turf makes it extra special. Just ask Vicky Coren.
Michael Keiner will be disappointed then, that he's busted his home EPT. Our German blogger Robin filled us in on most of the details of his exit.
Johan van Til raised to 750 and was called before Keiner three-bet to 2,000. Van Til four-bet to 5,400 and that was enough to force out the other player, but not Keiner, who called. The hand made it all the way to the river and the board was jack high. Van Til set Keiner all-in with pocket kings and Keiner called with pocket queens. -- MC
5.35pm: Kühnast gifted pot
Florian Kühnast was just gifted a substantial pot after a fairly suspect case of badly slow-played aces. Kühnast had limped from middle position for 300 and had been raised by Michael Tureniec to 1,025. The big blind called, as did Kühnast who would consider himself priced in.
The K♦2♥8♥ flop was checked to Tureniec who c-bet 2,000 into the pot and was called by the big blind. Kühnast then moved all-in. He covered both of his opponents who held 12,000 apiece. Tureniec passed but the big blind did not, turning over the slowest of slowly played aces. Kühnast showed K♣8♣ for a flopped two-pair, and rivered a boat for good measure.
Kühnast up to 60,000 after that gift courtesy of the big blind who quickly scurried off after the pot. -- RD
5.30pm: El Nasr extends lead
A man in a raincoat had cornered another man in conversation. It was one of those one-sided affairs, with the main gist centring around words like "check-raise", "nuts", "I'm not bad", "tilted", "top set", and "people don't get it."
This armchair genius was only a few feet away from the player using actions rather than words to prove that he might not be bad either.
Nasr El Nasr has previous when it comes to high stakes tournament poker. Three EPT cashes, including a final table in Prague back in 2008, not to mention wins at the Spring Poker Festival in Vienna and second place at the Swiss Poker Championship in Baden, both last year. He's also easy to pick out of an EPT field, his hair thick and curly, like one of those young happy people from the 1960s.
After Florian Kühnast opened for 700 from under-the-gun, El Nasr called from the small blind with the action folded around to him. Markus Josef Göppel in the big blind also called for a flop of 2♠5♠J♦. All three checked for a 6♥ turn card, at which point El Nasr let loose a bet of 2,050. Göppel cracked his knuckles, then folded, leaving it to Kühnast to call. He did, using mostly black chips, for a T♣ river card.
El Nasr went to his chips and threw out 4,100. Kühnast called, pretty quickly for a man who a second later would muck, unable to beat El Nasr's A♠J♣.
El Nasr was in action in the next hand also, raising to 2,600 from the button after Jon Spinks opened for 1,000, getting two callers in between. El Nasr would give up soon enough though when Spinks re-raised to 6,450. Point taken. El Nasr remains the leader though, up to 120,000. -- SB
5.20pm: Don't mess with the Dragomir
Cristian Dragomir's stack is back up to around 80,000 after he forced Mika Paasonen off a pot. There was an under-the-gun raise to 750 that Dragomir called from the next seat before Paasonen three-bet to 3,500 from one more seat along. The original raiser folded but Dragomir called after some thought.
The flop came 9♠5♣2♦ and Paasonen c-bet for 6,000 only to be check-raised up to 15,000 by the Romanian. Paasonen sat still while he thought, before sliding his cards towards the muck. Dragomir tabled A♣Q♣ for ace-high and gave a look to Paasonen that seemed to have a, "don't mess with me," message behind it. -- MC
5.10pm: Sarwer "impossible to bluff"
Our photographer Neil Stoddart doesn't just take pictures, he talks and smokes as well. Using the first of those supplementary talents he filled us in the following...
Jeff Sarwer just correctly called down on a T♦4♣4♦6♦3♦ board with T♥9♠ after picking off bets of 1,800 on the turn and 3,450 on the river to be shown A♠J♠.
Kevin Stani - not in the hand but at the same table - asked: "Didn't you see the fourth diamond?" Sarwer said that he did and added: "I'm impossible to bluff." Given this evidence, it seems to be true. -- RD
5pm: Lewis double
Toby Lewis scored a double-up just before the break after getting K♠K♣ in against Team PokerStars Pro Michael Keiner's Q♦Q♥. Lewis has opened for 575 and had been called in one spot before Keiner made a large squeeze to 6,300. Lewis moved all-in for 16,025 and was called by Keiner. The board ran out jack-high as Lewis moved up to 32,500. -- RD
4.55pm: Spinks binks a nice pot to go to break
Jon Spinks has got his tournament back on the right track after winning a nice pot off Alexander Mette that went deep into the break.
The action was three-way to the T♦J♠9♣ flop and Spinks bet 1,300 from the button when his two opponents checked to him. The big blind folded but Mette called from second position. Mette check-called the 7♠ turn for a 2,275 bet from the young Brit. The river came 9♦ and Spinks emptied the clip with a 7,075 bet. Mette called quickly but mucked upon seeing Spinks' J♥J♦ for a full house. He's up to 35,000 now. -- MC
4.53pm: From the tournament floor
The midday update with our girl Friday, Gloria Balding...
4.50pm: Back for Level 5
Level 5 is about to restart. Two more levels then a 90 minute dinner break. Before that we'll find out how Nasr El Nasr will fair with the chip lead, a man who looks comfortable around any opposition, pursued by his relentless countryman Benny Spindler. -- SB
PokerStars Blog reporting team in Berlin (in order of how many trips to the Marlene Dietrich Platz branch of McDonalds are anticipated this week): Stephen Bartley (none, but happy to add a bit of product placement), Marc Convey (three) and Rick Dacey (three a day). All pictures (c) Neil Stoddart.