EPT Berlin: Day 1B, level 7, 8 & 9 updates (updates 500-1,000, 100 ante)


12am: Play ends for the day
Day 1B has come to a close. Sander Berndsen seems to be the overnight and overall chip leader on 242,400. The official counts will appear here shortly and a full wrap of today's play will be up for your reading pleasure very soon. -- MC

11.35pm: Last seven hands
The clock has been stopped and each table will play seven more hands before play ends for the night. -- MC

11.33pm: Eastgate all-in
Peter Eastgate just had his whole stack over the line in a big blind versus button battle. The turn was out and the board read 7♣9♥7♦Q♣ and the Dane led for 13,500 from the big blind. His opponent tanked for two minutes and called to see the A♥ river.

Eastgate made it simple for his opponent by moving all-in. The button player had around 35,000 but he smiled and folded. Eastgate is up to around 135,000 now. -- MC

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Peter Eastgate pushing for a strong finish

11.25pm: Late surges
There are a lot of players making a run at the Day 1B chip lead. Team PokerStars Pro Sebastian Ruthenberg has just doubled through aces with a flopped set to win a 125,000 pot. While Sander Berndsen and Roberto Romanello are still pushing to win a lot of pots in these late stages and have stacks approaching 200,000, there are also plenty of players such as Yves Manuel Boschetti and Nimar Ahrary who are sat on around 150,000 and could easily rocket past their rivals in the dying moments. -- RD

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Great time to hit a set for Ruthenberg

11.20pm: Thorson doubles in time
Jens Thorson was down to less than 15,000 so was probably waiting for a spot to get his chips in. He just found that spot whilst sitting in the big blind holding A♦Q♠ and facing a raise. He moved all-in for another 11,700 and was called by his opponent holding T♣T♦. The board ran a very fruitful (for Thorson) A♣Q♣2♦A♠3♦. He's up to 30,000 chips now. - MC

11.05pm: Chop it up
Chaz Chattha and Ramzi Jelassi both have around 70,000 chips but the Swede will feel unfortunate that the two chopped a pot that just played out.

Jelassi was on the button with ace-king and Chathha was in the big blind with ace-nine. When we reached the table both players were taking their chips back as the two both made a wheel straight with their ace. Jelassi was saying to his opponent, "I should've put you all-in". -- MC

10.55pm: Brit update
It's mixed fortunes for the remaining British players left in the tournament. The bad news is that Javed Abrahams has followed good friend Praz Bansi out the door. The not so good news is that his other good friend James Akenhead is struggling on 35,000 and his face tells the story of how his tournament is going right now.

They need to take a leaf out of the Roberto Romanello handbook. The good news for the Welshman is now amoungst the chip leaders on around 150,000. -- MC

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Roberto Romanello: "Hello mum!"

10.42pm: Final level
We've got 252 players left in Day 1B from a starting field of 458. That's over 200 players donating some €1 million to the prize pool that have been knocked out so far today. Expect quite a few more before the end of play. -- RD

10.26pm: Break
It's the final 15-minute break of the day.

10.21pm: Heitmann takes a hit
Jan Heitmann had a terrific couple of levels before the dinner break but that rush has since slowed, possibly stalled, and that's partly thanks to Tristan Clemencon.

With 20,000 in the pot on a 4♦3♦5♥A♠ board Clemencon - who I believe is a dead ringer for young British player Craig McCorkell - check-raised a 8,500 bet to 20,525 to force Heitmann off his hand. That pushes Clemencon up to 90,000 and Heitmann down to 80,000.

Also, Dragan Galic is out after losing a flip but was very short. -- RD

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Jan Heitmann: a serious player...

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Tristan Clemenson: he does kind of look like Craig McCorkell...

10.16pm: Kelly coolered
Team PokerStars Pro JP Kelly won't be adding an EPT title to his two bracelets. He ran pocket queens into an opponent's pocket aces. He can be found outside in the cold. -- MC

10.12pm: Music and lyrics by Fabrizio Ascari
Claus Nielsen opened for 1,800 in early position. Thorsten Schäfer was two seats along and raised to 4,400 before Nielsen raised again, backing up his original bet with another 10,000.

Schäfer, after a few moments spent piling up the tension, moved all-in, easily covering Nielsen. One half of the Dane's face broke into a smile while the other half looked dead serious. He had 24,500 left behind and now had a decision to make for his tournament life.

All of this happened in almost dead silence. Except, that is, for the exact same scenario playing out on the table along, headed by Fabrizio Ascari, and played at ten times the volume.

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The eccentric and energetic Fabrizio Ascari

Sharp-eyed readers of the blog will remember Ascari from EPT Vilamoura earlier in the season, where he shouted his way into the money in joyful and well lubricated celebration. It turns out that was his default mood and he's playing in the same fashion today.

So now there was the spectre of a hand involving Nielsen and Schäfer with sound effect provided by Ascari who, with uncanny timing, let out a great cheer as Nielsen announced "call". Then came another cheer when the flop came K♦4♥3♥, and another when, having shown pocket jacks to Schafer's pocket queens, Nielsen was out after a 9♦ turn and 8♦ river.

Nielsen was on his way to the rail. Ascari, who was doubling up at the same time, was on his way to the bar, or would have been if he hadn't been cut off at the pass by a waiter, happy to bring the drinks to him. Ascari is now buying drinks for everyone at his table. - SB

10.07pm: EPT champ rolling like a snowball
Vladimir Geshkenbein, winner of EPT Snowfest ten days ago, is up to 100,000 chips, as he told me as we passed on the stairs. He probably got them in this pot he Tweeted about, "Won huge pot with QT on Q,9,4 He bets, I raise, he raise to half his stack then fold for allin.. Thx for the donation bro." -- MC

9.57pm: Down to six
There are just six tables left in the upstairs annex now with George Danzer's table the most recent to break. The German Team PokerStars Pro picked out the card marked 'Table 23 Seat 1' and promptly groaned: "Ohhhh, come on. I hate the one seat," the same seat he'd been sitting in all day. -- RD

9.53pm: This Dutchman is on a high
Team PokerStars Pro Pieter de Korver is up to 77,000 chips after picking up a rush of hands. He told the blog that he picked up pocket aces twice and pocket queens, all in quick succession. Not only that, when he had the aces his opponents had ace-king and pocket jacks to pay him off. When he had the queens he got action all the way to the river, where his opponent mucked. -- MC

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Pieter de Korver, heading the right direction

9.40pm: Post-dinner din
Watching Max Pescatori and Salvatore Bonavena have a conversation is to witness a master class is "looking Italian". Despite their tones hushed, there's still room for hand gesture, vibrant articulation and throughout a sense of utter disbelief in their voices.

Pescatori is paying Bonavena a vist from his own table, stretching his legs at the far end of the tournament room, where Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier once sat. At the same table Matt Affleck sips Red Bull and Vasily Kurdin sips water. In seat eight the suited Marc Möbius, a man who admirably subscribes to the Gustav Temple decree that one can never be over dressed for an occasion, pays to have his head rubbed, or squeezed. A table along Roberto Romanello, with 130,000 in front of him, yawns.

It's like waiting for El Guapo to give the order to mount up and ride into Tombstone.

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Salvatore Bonavena

At least one players is now out of his post-dinner lethargy, and that's Emiliano Bono. The EPT Prague runner-up who called the all-in of Roman Herold on a board of 6♥K♣J♠4♠3♦. Whatever Bono had he wasn't going to show, defeated by Herold's A♦K♥. Bono left pretty quickly. -- SB

9.36pm: Ahrary into the chip lead
Nima Ahrary appears to be our chip leader with a huge 160,000 stack and he was kind enough to fill me in on how he got there. He told me that there were two big pots and two medium ones that had propelled him up but the major one had been against seat seven, aka Ilari Tahkokallio.

"I had ace-king of hearts and he (Tahkokallio) check-called the flop and turn of the [a][q][9][2][x] board, which had three hearts, before check-shoving the river as a bluff," he explained. Ahrary's call was an easy one, he had the nut flush after all. -- RD

9.31pm: ElkY races away
The big name players are falling thick and fast at the moment. The latest of these was Team PokerStars Pro ElkY. He lost a race holding ace-king to an opponent holding pocket nines. The pair held and that was that for the Frenchman. -- MC

LEVEL UP: BLINDS 400-800, ante 25

9.26pm: Obrestad laughs all the way to the exit
Annette Obrestad was sat laughing in her seat after running into an opponent's rivered set for the second hand this level. This time she was all-in pre-flop for around 7,000 and holding K♠Q♠. She was called by a player holding 8♠8♣ and the board ran Q♦Q♣J♥7♥8♥. The flop was almost as good as she could've hoped for but by the river she had to laugh or she might've cried. -- MC

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Yes, we know, she's not laughing in this picture

9.20pm: Bansi bites table dust
Praz Bansi's brief trip down the comeback trail has taken a detour down a little track that loops back around and to the exit door. He was three-bet off at least one hand before PokerStars qualifier Marko Neumann three-bet his 1,500 raise up to 3,500. Bansi sat for a while before four-betting all-in for around 15,000. Call.

Bansi: A♥2♥
Neumann: A♣K♥

The board ran Q♠9♦J♥9♥7♠. Bansi had lots of ways to win and split the pot after the turn came out but the river bricked. -- MC

9.12pm: Marcin on
Marcin Horecki plugs on with his up and down day, down to 45,000. He just lost a few thousand in a pot against Tristan Clemencon, the Frenchman taking the loot with a bet of 3,025 on a flop of J♠Q♥T♠.

Elsewhere one-time chip leader Thomas Bichon hovers around the 100,000 mark, winning another small pot against Andrey Danilyuk, who has been on his left all day, to keep his stack above six figures.

But as far as the chip lead goes that takes a little more. Currently Sander Berndsen from Holland has 139,000, sitting in what is universally agreed to be the darkest corner of the room. -- SB

9.07pm: Roy of the rovers
Alain Roy is up to more than 110,000 after allowing Matthias De Meulder to bluff at a river in a battle of the blinds.

Roy made a min-raise to 1,200 from the small blind and De Meulder looked him up from the big blind. Roy c-bet 1,550 into the 8♠2♦9♦ flop and De Meulder called. Another 3,000 was pushed forward by the Frenchman on the 4♣ turn. The 9♣ river was checked and De Meulder fired a large bet forward, either 7,100 or 12,100 - it was hard to tell - and Roy quickly called.

De Meulder: J♦7♦
Roy: Q♦6♠

De Meulder drops to 28,000, Roy leaps to 110,000. -- RD

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Alain Roy

9.05pm: Defending silver medallist falls
We lost reigning EPT Berlin champion Kevin MacPhee earlier and now we've lost the player he beat heads-up - Ilari Tahkokallio.

The Finn was going great guns before dinner but he had just 11,000 when he three-bet shoved with K♦J♥ from late position. Unfortunately for him Axel Lehmann woke up with A♥K♠ behind him and re-shoved to isolate. It worked as the original raiser folded and the board ran 8♥8♦5♠K♥T♣. The Finn was sporting, as ever, and left the table with a big smile on his face. -- MC

8.53pm: Tables breaking
There are now 12 tables left upstairs and the rail is deep with casino punters curious to find out what this pokey-game thing is. We're getting some disgruntled looks elbowing our way through to the action, but that's all part of the job.

We shouldered a line through the mob to the table with Ramzi Jelassi, Jamie Mitchell and Team PokerStars Pro Juan Miguel Pastor only to find out it's one of the tables that has been broken. -- RD

8.47pm: Obrestad crippled
Anette Obrestad is down to 8,500 chips after paying off Amir Mozaffarian, who, by her expression, seemed to get lucky on the river.

There was around 25,000 in the pot by the river and the board read K♥2♥3♠5♦7♣. Obrestad faced a 11,000 bet that she called, only to be shown 7♥7♦ for a rivered set for Mozaffarian. -- MC

8.45pm: Blackout
Someone on the other side of Berlin checked their emails causing the internet in the tournament room to collapse. Our apologies for the radio silence since then as we tried to bargain with it. While relations aren't brilliant we are at least talking to each other again. - SB

8.32pm: Bansi bouncing
Praz Bansi is all smiles after doubling-up on the first hand back from dinner break. He informed us that he has 17,000 after getting all-in with queens versus an opponent's jack-ten. He has 17,000 chips but he said, "It feels like a hundred."-- MC

8.25pm: Play restarts
The dinner break is over, 90 minutes getting dinner (35 minutes) and watching something on CNN about Richard Branson's new submarine (5 minutes), twiddling thumbs thinking of something else to do (40 minutes) and walking slowly back to work (7 minutes).

With players back there will be a further three levels of play with a 15 minute break after two, that's 195 minutes, the equivalent of watching Ryan's Daughter, Doctor Zhivago, The Right Stuff or The Godfather Part II, although you might have to fast forward through the credits.

Cards are in the air... -- SB

Aces, face up

PokerStars Blog reporting team in Berlin (in order of familiarity with movies not about orks and goblins): Stephen Bartley (None. Prefers films about ironing and ties), Marc Convey (Very little, although wanted to be an Elf aged 8) and Rick Dacey (Loads. Still has his power sword Level 8.)