EPT Berlin: Day 1B, level 3 & 4 updates (blinds 150-300)

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4.40pm: Danzer provides irritation (for us)
It can be an annoying affair, this blogging malarkey. You stand, you watch, you wait, you frequently get disappointed.

Dimitri Holdeew opened for 700 from early position and was called by Orpen Kisacikoglu on the button before the action reached Danzer in the big blind. The German pro sat pondering his options and eventually settled on the call. The T♥Q♣K♥ was wet as they came. It had straight draws, it had flush outs, it had bluffing possibilities. Danzer carefully checked. Kisacikoglu flicked 1,500 into the middle and... Kisacikoglu and Danzer quickly passed. Danzer is sat on 84,000 at the moment.

Also, Luca Pagano is out. He never really got started here in Berlin. He obviously prefers more Mediterranean climes. -- RD

4.37pm: Up top
As we ease into the second break of the day at the end of Level 4 it's Frenchman Thomas Bichon with the provisional lead, with close to 110,000, while Marcin Horecki trails with about 100,000. -- SB

4.35pm: River of dreams for two Team Pros
Team PokerStars Pros Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier and Christophe De Meulder's days weren't going too well, but both have just doubled-up to get back in the hunt.

ElkY was all-in on a 7♠K♦9♥3♥5♠ board with 8♥6♦. Marc Möbius called but mucked upon seeing the Frenchman's straight. He's up to 21,000 chips.

De Meulder, meanwhile, moved in on the river of a T♠2♥8♦5♥A♦ board after Vojtech Ruzicka checked to him. Ruzicka called but mucked upon seeing the Belgian's A♥T♥. He's up to 27,000 chips. -- MC

4.28pm: Strassmann trying to get off the mark
Every time I walk past Team PokerStars Pro Johannes Strassmann's table he seems to be involved in a pot, but his stack hasn't climbed above 31,000. He keeps winning and losing little pots but the big pot hasn't seemed to have presented itself yet. He did just lose one of those small pots to drop down to 22,000; his lowest mark.

The flop was out as 7♣7♠Q♣ and Strassmann raised his opponent's 1,500 bet up to 3,500. Call. The 5♥K♠ turn and river were checked down and Strassmann mucked upon seeing his opponent's Q♠J♥. -- MC

4.18pm: EPT Snowfest champ chomping down
Vladimir Geshkenbein comes here fresh off the back of his €390,000 EPT triumph at Snowfest and is already building up a big stack. The acerbic young Russian is up to 85,000 after squeezing with ace-king and then getting it in on a [k][j][6] flop and holding against [q][t]. Yet another dangerous player to have chips. -- RD

4.12pm: Chouette Bichons
Thomas Bichon is mounting a leadership bid, into the lead after a hand against Andrey Danilyuk.

On a board already showing 5♣4♥6♦8♣ Bichon, in the big blind, bet 3,200. Danilyuk stared adoringly at the board, there was something there that he liked but couldn't put his finger on. Eventually he called for a 4♦ river.

This time Bichon lumped in a bet of 8,700, in no particular order, different coloured chips falling into the middle. Danilyuk called. Mistake.

5♥4♠ to make Bichon a full house. He then shared a joke with countryman Ilan Rouah. Bichon has 83,000 reasons to smile.

But the leader? Wait. What's that Vladimir Geshkenbein shaped figure heading towards the lead? -- SB

4.05pm: Romanello playing the rush
Roberto Romanello is having some year. He's two thirds of the way to winning poker's Triple-Crown (EPT, WSOP & WPT titles). Gavin Griffin and Roland de Wolfe are the only players to have achieved this feat but Romanello has the chance to achieve it in one calendar year. If he does win a bracelet this summer it will go down as one of the greatest achievements in poker.

He's a player full of confidence, as you would expect, and he's up to 62,000 already. Part of this was due to a four-bet he just made to take a pot down pre-flop. He raised from early position and was three-bet to 2,500 by a player in mid position which was called in one spot. When the action was back on him he four-bet to 12,800 and it did the trick as both opponents folded. -- MC

4pm: Becker losing in betting rally
Team PokerStars SportStar Boris Becker is down to about 10,000 chips. News reached us that he got involved in a betting and raising war on the river of a paired and flushing board. The pot reached somewhere between 35,000 to 40,000 and Becker's flush was no good against an opponent's full house. -- MC

3.55pm: New heights for Heitmann
After earlier damage, Jan Heitmann is fighting to stay in the main event, and fighting well. He opened from under-the-gun for 750 which Thang Duc Nguyen, he of EPT3 Baden fame (the same final that brought a diminutive Dario Minieri to the poker world's attention), called on the button for a flop of Q♣2♥Q♦. Heitmann bet another 1,000, called. Then another 1,850 on the 2♦ turn. Called. To make his point, Heitmann moved in on the J♣ river. Nguyen got the point, and folded. Heitmann back up to 12,000. - SB

3.45pm: Eastgate and Horecki pushing forward
Former WSOP Main Event winner Peter Eastgate is tucked away in the very furthest reaches of the tournament floor and after a stuttering start is up to 80,000. Thomas Bichon, just a couple of tables away is on 70,000, while Team PokerStars Pro Marcin Horecki is up to 78,000 after the following hand took place.

Horecki held firm with top pair in the face of two streets of Jan Heitmann aggression. The Pole had bet 850 into a 5♥J♥2♦ flop and had been check-raised to 2,600 by Heitmann. The Team PokerStars Pro called that move and 3,600 on the 6♠ turn, as did Thang Duc Nguyen, before all players checked the A♠ river. Heitmann showed pocket eights but Horecki took the pot with J♠K♦. Nguyen mucked face down. -- RD


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Marcin Horecki: everything's safe in the hood


LEVEL UP: BLINDS 150-300


3.34pm: Bye bye Boeree
That's that for Liv Boeree's main event. She's now heading for the rail after moving in on a board showing 2♦A♥2♥T♦. In went her last 4,275 with A♣Q♥ and there to call was a player showing A♠5♠. The 5♠ on the river dispatched Boeree who shrugged. Her assailant looked sheepish. - SB


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Liv Boeree and Kevin MacPhee: one out, one in


3.28pm: Annette15 x2
Annette Obrestad is back to her starting stack of 30,000 chips after winning a small pot off Marin Mihaylov. She raised to 400 from mid position and the Bulgarian defended his big blind to see a 3♥Q♠8♥ flop. He check-raised her 550 c-bet up 1,600 but folded when the diminutive Norwegian three-bet to 4,200. -- MC

3.25pm: All about the numbers
The confirmed count of players is 458 players today, making for a combined field of 773. -- SB

3.20pm: Ainsworth moving on up
Jude Ainsworth is up to 44,000 after leading and three-betting to 11,800 on a 3♠A♦J♦7♦ board against Konstantin Bücherl. The German passed to allow j.thaddeus to scoop the pot. -- RD

3.15pm: The leaders
George Danzer is our leader going into the third level of the day. Looking neat and tidy with a new haircut, and ohne scarf, Danzer sits with around 67,000 chips.

Not far away, both geographically and in chip terms, is fellow Team PokerStars Pro Marcin Horecki, a table away with 62,000. Others are jostling for the lead include Saar Wilf on 60,000.

Not so Sebastian Ruthenberg who had been up to 60,000 earlier but who is now back down to 23,000. -- SB

3.08pm: Heitmann continues to fight back
"First hand at the table and already my image is gone," said Team PokerStars Pro Jan Heitmann, who had just sat down at an upstairs table with a well chipped Marcin Horecki.

Heitmann had opened under-the-gun and had been called in three spots before uttering that statement. He still won the hand anyway. Oleg Elkin, An Pham and Thang Duc Nguyen had all come along for the ride but only Pham stayed past the J♣T♥4♣ flop, which Heitmann had c-bet 1,750 into.

"How much do you have? 3,125?" asked Heitmann after the J♥ turn had been dealt. Pham nodded and Heitmann tipped that amount across the line. Pham passed as Heitmann picked back up to 25,000. -- RD

3.03pm: Keys busted
James Keys is out after making a crying river call that was ultimately wrong. The action started with an early position limp and a raise to 650 before Muhamed Veselji three-bet to 2,000. Keys was on the button and put in a four-bet to 4,450. All folded but Veselji who called to see the 6♣8♠K♥ flop.

The action was checked to the 4♣ turn and Veselji led for 5,000. Call. The river came 2♥ and Veselji set Keys in for his last 15,025.

The Brit thought for a good few minutes and called with K♣Q♠ but it was no good as Veselji tabled K♣Q♠. Keys got up and said, "I'm pretty gutted about that. I knew it was a fold on the river". -- MC

2.50pm: No more Minieri?
Unconfirmed reports suggest that Dario Minieri is out. His seat is now occupied by someone else. -- SB

2.45pm: Just 'bout five feet four from her head to the ground...
Gloria Balding goes sight-seeing around Berlin, although she just called herself a doughnut...


2.40pm: Into Level 3
We start the new level with a letter, from a Mr H. Swains, from Camberwell, South London. It reads as follows...

"You know I wouldn't dare be pedantic about anything that carries the "--SB" mark. However you also know that I will look very closely at any picture I see of Fatima (see previous level post, 1.30pm). And let me tell you this for nothing: that is not a blouse. I believe the correct term for what she is
wearing is a "top". You're the one with the girlfriend. You should know that. Sort it out.

Point made Mr Swains. It's definitely a glove though. -- SB

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Fatima Moreira de Melo, wearing a "top"

PokerStars Blog reporting team in Berlin (in order of contraband items smuggled in to the casino): Rick Dacey (2, shower gel and deodorant), Stephen Bartley (1, a stick of cheese) and Marc Convey (0).