EPT Berlin: Day 4, level 22 (cont.), 23 & 24 updates (blinds 15,000-30,000, 3,000 ante)


4.05pm: Split pot and break
Luis Jaikel opened for 120,000 from the button and Thomas Traboulsi moved all-in for 350,000 from the small blind. Martin Jacobson passed in the big blind.

Jaikel: A♥Q♥
Traboulsi: A♠Q♠

The flop dropped A♦Q♣5♦ and with no backdoor flush draws that was all we needed to see. End of level, 17 players left. -- RD

4.01pm: Day of the Jaikel?
Fabrice Soulier opened for 70,000. Luis Jaikel was in the small blind and raised to 173,000. Soulier confirmed the numbers involved and moved all-in. Jaikel thought for a minute, then folded A♠ face up. Soulier showed 9♠.

Jaikel was in action again soon after, calling form the big blind when Vadzim Kursevich opened for 63,000 on the button. The flop came 5♣5♠Q♣ which both players checked. Then a 2♠ turn card. Jaikel checked but Kursevich couldn't let that go unchallenged and bet 83,000. Jaikel folded. - SB

3.55pm: Ylitalo finds two streets in value town
Swedish player Robin Ylitalo just negated a positional disadvantage against Maximilian Heinzelmann to win a tidy pot.

Heinzelmann raised to 61,000 from the button and Ylitalo called from the small blind to see the K♥9♣8♠ flop. The action was checked to the 2♠ turn where Ylitalo led for 68,000. Call. The river came 134,000 and Heinzelmann called a 134,000 bet but mucked upon seeing his A♠9♠. -- MC

3.50pm: Mikhail Lakhitov out in 18th (€20,000)
Mikhail Lakhitov has just busted in a 1.2 million pot after losing out with A♠K♦ to the A♥Q♥ of Vadzim Kursevich. Kursevich opened to 75,000 from the button and was three-bet to 275,000 by Lakhitov from the big blind. Kursevich moved it in and was called.

Lakhitov was in a great spot to win here but the board ran out Q♦6♠7♥2♦7♠. That's 17 players left in the main event. -- RD

3.40pm: Soulier doubles
Vadzim Kursevich opened for 77,000 from the small blind, taking on Fabrice Soulier in the big. Soulier wouldn't be messed with and raised to 210,000 total. Kursevich doesn't say much, but what he does say tends to be quite important. "All-in," he said. Soulier called.

Soulier: A♥Q♦
Kursevich: A♣8♣

The flop came J♣7♠T♦, the turn Q♣ and river A♦.

A double up for Soulier, who leaps up to nearly 1,400,000. A hit for Kursevich though, who drops to around 600,000. - SB

3.34pm: Heinzelmann chasing down Wilinofsky
Maximilian Heinzelmann is currently leading the charge to catch up with Ben Wilionofsky. Heinzelmann is up to nearly 3,000,000 after three-betting Cuello Jorge Mariano off of a hand pre-flop. In fact, that outer table has been an epicentre of folds to three-bets with Konstantin Puchkov and Jonas Gutteck also passing their opening raises in the last orbit. Heinzelmann looks in a great position to hit the final table heavy with chips. -- RD

3.25pm: Soulier doubles up another player
Fabrice has already granted Thomas Traboulsi two double-ups today and now Mikhail Lakhitov took his turn. Soulier raised to 73,000 from the hijack and called when Lakhitov shoved for 294,000 from the next seat.

Lakhitov: A♠J♦
Soulier: Q♣9♥

Before the board was dealt Soulier gave a friendly wink to his opponent. The board came 2♠J♣3♦5♥4♦ to make wheel straight for the Russian. Soulier down to 700,000 chips now. -- MC

3.10pm: End of the road for Laubinger
Alessandro Laubinger opened for 69,000 from the button which Vadzim Kursevich raised to 145,000 in the small blind. With the action folded back around to Laubinger the German removed the rosary beads from around his chips and began lumping them in.

The dealer said "all-in," but Laubinger hadn't said the same, effectively making this a string bet, limiting him to a minimum raise. Kursevich duly put him all-in and the hand went to showdown, albeit a slow one, both players doing that thing where they don't want to be the one to show first.

Kursevich: K♠J♦
Laubinger: A♠T♣

Laubinger stood and shouted "Schatz!" calling over his beloved. Schatz appeared to witness Laubinger's fate, who now added the rosary to his cards. The dealer promptly pulled them back, making it an ecumenical matter, before dealing the flop:
5♥K♦J♣. Time to put the rosary back. Turn T♦, river 2♦.

Laubinger out, becoming the 19th place finisher. - SB

3.05pm: Jacobson elbows past Traboulsi
It always amazes me at this stage of a tournament how often players raise and then seem stunned when someone shoves on them. Thomas Traboulsi has just performed that particular rabbit-in-the-headlights act after opening the button for 75,000 and getting three-bet by Martin Jacobson from the small blind to 545,000.

Traboulsi looked over a Jacobson and asked: "Fours? Fives? Or queen-seven like yesterday?"

"Queen-seven?" asked Jacobson looking thoroughly confused.

Traboulsi eventually passed leaving himself with 450,000, Jacobson is up to 1,100,000. -- RD

3pm: Pinho eliminated in 20th (€20,000)
Team PokerStars Pro is the first player to fall since we returned from break. The hand started with a raise to 61,000 from Maximilian Heinzelmann in the cut-off before Pinho three-bet all-in for 649,000 from the big blind. Heinzelmann asked for a count and then made an immediate call.

Heinzelmann: 5♣5♦
Pinho: K♦Q♥

The board ran 8♣2♦A♥J♥J♣ to see the German's hand hold up. He's up to 3,200,000 chips now. -- MC

2.50pm: Play restarts
We're now into level 24, with blinds of 15,000-30,000 with a 3,000 ante.

LEVEL UP: BLINDS 15,000-30,000, ANTE 3,000

2.38pm: Break time
That's the end of the level. Players are now taking a 15 minute break.

2.37pm: All-in on the feature table
As the break gong sounds an all-in was called on the feature table, with Markus Grewe all-in with A♥J♥ against the pocket nines of Ben Wilinofsky on a flop of [t][5][9] with one heart. Crucially Wilinofsky was in front and with a bet of 155,000 from Grewe raised to 234,000 by Wilinofsky, Grewe then shoved and was called. The turn was another heart 6♥ but the river 2♣ sent Grewe to the rail. - SB

2.35pm: Soulier cripples Lakhitov
Fabrice Soulier was due to have a hand hold up and unfortunately for Mikhail Lakhitov it was delivered in this battle of the blinds.

Soulier opened for 52,000 and Lakhitov three-bet to 125,000. Soulier sat and studied for a short while before moving in for 484,000. Lakhitov made the call.

"You got a pair?" asked Soulier. He did not.

Soulier: 8♣8♠
Lakhitov: A♠7♠

The board blanked out and Lakhitov is left short. Soulier chipped up to 900,000. -- RD

EPT Berlin_day 4_fabrice soulier 1.jpg

Fabrice Soulier manages to win an all-in

2.30pm: Pressure poker from Heinzelmann
Maximilian Heinzelmann has more than 2,000,000 chips and he's playing the stack well. When Team PokerStars Pro Henrique Pinho raised to 50,000, and Armin Mette flat called, Heinzelmann three-bet to 172,000 from the small blind. It did the trick as both opponents folded. -- MC

2.20pm: Laubinger's reprieve
Alessandro Laubinger opened for 51,000 from the cut off before Vadzim Kursevich moved all-in from the button for 460,000. With the action folded through the blinds back to Laubinger, the young German went into a period of extended reflection, holding his forehead with both hands. Occasionally he would release his grip to spin a red chip before resuming his headache position. The entire high roller event, now on a break, came over to watch.

Laubinger had 270,000 behind, making this a call for his tournament life. He looked over at Kursevich, not ten inches away, so close that it seemed to created some involuntary intimacy, reducing the rest of us to gooseberries, uncomfortable with the role of voyeurs.

After several minutes Martin Jacobson called the clock.

"He can call that?" asked Laubinger of the dealer. "He's not in the hand."

Thomas Kremser appeared to explain the rule, that while not in the hand this was also Jacobson's time. A minute count down began.

"Thank you," said Laubinger in the direction of Jacobson, adding a wink. The Swede was unrepentant.

"Well it's been, like, seven minutes..." he said.

Laubinger looked back at Kursevich, then began ducking and weaving his head like a flyweight, finally, after some time, folding.

Still upset Laubinger moved in on the next hand for 270,000. Waiting three seats along was Mario Adinolfi, possessing the only stack shorter than Laubinger's, who called from the small blind, pushing his 212,000 forward and turning over K♠Q♥.

Laubinger slowly lifted his cards above his head then slammed them down, revealing 4♠4♣ face up. Looking for some extra help he then threw in the rosary beads he'd kept in front of him. With great comic timing Adinolfi then tossed in his Pope Jean-Paul II note book, as the hand became a kind of rare good-natured holy war.

It was over pretty quick. The flop came 4♦3♣K♥ to the delight of Laubinger who hugged his girlfriend, watching a few feet away, through the A♦ turn and A♥ river.
Adinolfi shook Laubinger's hand and departed. Laubinger gets his divine intervention, back up to 600,000. - SB

2.15pm: Soulier getting aggressive
After Fabrice Soulier raised under-the-gun and scooped the blinds his nemisis, Thomas Traboulsi, said he passed because he respected Soulier too much.

"I fold because I'm sorry that I win two coin flips against you," said Traboulsi.

"They weren't coin flips," replied Souiler. "You won twenty-eighties."

It's a time of frustration from Soulier but he clawed more back the next hand after shoving for 480,000 over the top of Vadzim Kursevich's small blind raise to 56,000. -- RD

2.02pm: Traboulsi from Transylvania
Throughout this event Thomas Traboulsi has played poker while reading an eBook, which he perches in front of him on the edge of the table. He also holds a stick, a thin skewer, as if he'd come here from a barbeque. He's held up play to finish a sentence before acting, missed bets while deep in a good chapter, and as he plays hands he waves the stick.

It's becoming clear, at least to Fabrice Soulier, that the only way to eliminate Traboulsi from this event might be to drive that stick through his heart, like a stake.

Traboulsi just doubled up through the Frenchman yet again, getting his chips in with T♥T♦ which Soulier called with J♥J♠. The T♣ was first through the door on the T♣Q♠6♥ flop. The turn 7♦ and river 7♣ left Soulier with around 450,000 and Traboulsi with around 600,000. He's going nowhere. - SB

ept berlin_day 4_thomas traboulsi.jpg

Thomas Traboulsi:hitting boards, staking hearts

1.58pm: Jacobson applying pressure
Martin Jacobson has been this deep in two EPTs already this season and knows how to pick up chips at this late stage.

The action passed to him on the button and he open shoved to put Alessandro Laubinger (small blind) and Vadzim Kursevich (big blind) to the test. Both passed and Jacobson picked up the 48,000 in blinds and antes. He's not a player likely to just blind out. -- RD

1.55pm: Stop and go of sorts from Traboulsi
Thomas Traboulsi came back as the shortest stack today with 156,000 and in need of a double-up. His stack dropped to 141,000 before he managed that double-up and it must be said that he went about it in a slightly strange way.

Fabrice Soullier raised 50,000 into his big blind and when the action was on him he fired a flurry of questions and statements at the Frenchman. Examples were:

"Have you got a pair?"

"If you don't I will push."

"Maybe I have pocket twos."

Fabrice told him he should push then, but the German surprisingly called to see the 4♦2♣6♦ flop, at which point he shoved for his remaining 91,000. Soullier snapped his hand off with A♥5♠, ahead of Traboulsi's T♣8♣.

"How can you call?" Traboulsi asked of his opponent, before adding "Don't worry, an eight is coming."

He was right. The turn came 8♦ before a 9♦ completed the board. "Well played", said Soullier in a slightly sarcastic tone. -- MC

1.45pm: Pot to Jacobson
Martin Jacobson opened pre-flop, getting a call from Mario Adinolfi. The flop came 8♥9♦5♣ which enticed a bet from Adinolfi and a call from Jacobson before the 2♦ turn. Adinolfi now bet another 130,000, leaving himself about 290,000 behind. Jacobson went for his chips and re-raised all-in for 600,000.

ept berlin_day 4_mario adinolfi.jpg

Mario Adinolfi: not in a chicken suit

Adinolfi did nothing. He's a big man, distinguishable not only by size but for a full beard and a Pope Jean-Paul II notebook that he keeps in front of him. With the exception those people who play the World Series in chicken-suits it could be the most unique ensemble we've ever seen on the tour. Keeping with the religious theme, as Adinolfi tanked, a man clutching prayer beads appeared from out of nowhere, pushing past everyone to peer over the shoulders of the players. He saw Adinolfi pass, then left. - SB

1.41pm: The axe falls hard and fast
We've lost two players right off the bat and are down to 22 players. Alexander Smolin was the first to go, under mysterious circumstances. And by that I mean that, despite all three tables being surrounded by press and camera crews, no-one seems to have an idea how he went. He's out, let's move on.

Gerardo Muro we do know about. He ran ace-queen into the pocket jacks of Ben Wilinofsky on the TV table and failed to catch a break. Not only does that take us one step closer to the final table but it also pushes the well-coiffured Canadian into the chip lead with 2,700,000. -- RD

1.30pm: Gutteck first player all-in
German player Jonas Gutteck was the first player to put his tournament at risk today after he was all-in for his remaining 250,000 chips against Team PokerStars Pro Henrique Pinho.

Gutteck: A♠Q♣
Pinho: A♥J♣

The board ran T♥3♣9♦7♦3♦. The Portuguese pro dropped to about a million in chips after the loss. -- MC

1.20pm: The draw
Here's the starting draw which should provide a good platform for Daniel-Gai Pidun to keep building on that chip stack with every other player sitting on below average chips at his table.

Table one
1. Martin Jacobson, Sweden, PokerStars qualifier - 687,000
2. Alessandro Laubinger, Germany, PokerStars qualifier - 507,000

3. Vadzim Kursevich, Belarus - 665,000
4. Fabrice Soulier, France - 890,000
5. Mario Adinolfi, Italy - 550,000
6. Daniel-Gai Pidun, Germany - 2,429,000
7. Luis Jaikel, Costa Rica, PokerStars qualifier - 436,000
8. Thomas Traboulsi, Germany - 156,000

Table two
1. Armin Mette, Germany - 1,230,000
2. Jonas Gutteck, Germany - 257,000
3. Mikhail Lakhitov, Russia - 909,000
4. Maximilian Heinzelmann, Germany - 2,140,000
5. Robin Ylitalo, Sweden - 1,221,000
6. Cuello Jorge Mariano, Spain - 1,060,000
7. Henrique Pinho, Portugal, Team PokerStars Pro - 1,282,000
8. Konstantin Puchkov, Russia - 608,000

Table three
1. Markus Grewe, Germany - 476,000
2. Alexander Smolin, Russia - 161,000
3. Ben Wilinofsky, Canada, PokerStars qualifier - 2,046,000
4. Kristijonas Andrulis, Lithuania, PokerStars player - 1,650,000
5. Joep van den Bijgaart, Netherlands, Team PokerStars Pro - 1,454,000

6. Darren Kramer, South Africa - 1,004,000
7. Gerardo Muro, Italy - 657,000
8. Jeffrey Hakim, USA - 561,000

Cards are in the air. -- RD

1.12pm: About to start
A delayed start today as players shuffle into their seats. It's crowded, that's for sure, which will either fray tempers or create a fantastic atmosphere. The button, by the way, will start in seat six. One hand of level 22 then we're into level 23. -- SB

1.05pm: "Hooray for captain (s)Balding, the African explorer..."
And with that it's over to Gloria Balding to introduce Day 4...

1pm: Welcome to Day 4
Welcome back to Day 4 of the EPT Berlin main event. Just 24 players remain, a number that today will be whittled down to eight. Play resumes in level 22 with a little more than a minute remaining on the level, then it's straight into level 23.

If you need a recap on what happened yesterday, of how Daniel Pidum seized the chip lead, you'll find that in yesterday's wrap up of the day, while the chip counts of the remaining 24 players can be found on the official chip count page.

It's also Grand National day today, so expect a lot of gumf about our selections until post time at 5.15pm CET. -- SB


The winner's trophy

PokerStars Blog reporting team in Berlin (under starting orders): Stephen Bartley, Rick Dacey and Marc Convey