EPT Copenhagen: Day 1A, level 1 & 2 updates (blinds 75-150)
2.11pm: Break time
Players are taking their first 15 minute break of the day. -- SB
2.10pm: Nielsen takes the lead
Claus Bek Nielsen just rocketed into what we'll assume to be the chip lead, up to 60,000 after he eliminated Carlos Batista Rodriges.
With a board already showing J♠7♠6♣J♣K♠ and about 17,000 in the middle, Nilesen moved all-in for around 25,000. While he sat back, his shirt pulled up to hide half of his face, Rodriges thought about things, his hands over his face like a kid pretending to wear a gas mask. Eventually he emerged from this meditation to call.
He showed A♦J♦ while Nielsen flipped over a match winning K♣J♥.
"Thank you," said Rodriges. "Good game."
Nielsen up to about 60,000. - SB
2.05pm: The Wolf bites
More for the Dirnberger followers out there. On a point of order it's not a Djarum Black cigarette, but one of those nicotine inhaler things which every now and again produces some pretend smoke.
He opened for 325 which was called by Zoran Mitic in the small blind for a flop of 4♣9♠5♣. Both checked without making any kind of movement. There was just a banging noise before the A♦ turn. There was that banging again. It was Dirnberger, banging his elbow on the edge of the table. This is how he checks.
On the 3♠ river card Mitic put an end to the passivity and bet 775. Dirnberger passed. No noise.
"It's a good flop for my card," said Mitic, showing 6♣. That was that. - SB
1.55pm: A battle of qualifiers
PokerStars qualifiers Micah Timberlake Moore and Ciaran Burke were in positions one and two and did battle that saw both players all-in. Moore raised and was only called by the Irishman to go to a 7♣2♣9♣ flop. Moore checked to face a 1,200 bet that he check-raised to 3,600. Call. The turn came T♠ and Burke led for 6,000 to face a shove from Burke. Moore had 19,200 back and as the smaller stack the call was for his tournament life.
He tanked for several minutes but finally made the call with Q♣J♣ for a flush. The call was good as Burke tabled T♣T♦ for turned set and smaller flush draw. The river came 4♥ to double-up Moore to around 58,000 whereas Burke is down to less than 10,000. -- MC
1.46pm: Baekke raking it in
Allan Baekke is up to around 50,000 after moving Ejvind Lien off his hand with a large raise on the river of a 5♠8♣T♠2♣J♣ board. Three players had gone to the flop with Lien as the pre-flop aggressor but Lien shrugged off Søren Løvgren on the turn with a 2,500 bet. Baekke obviously stayed in, he made the call. Lien made one final 2,500 bet into the river. Baekke quickly moved to raise. He tossed out 11,350. Value raise or blocker bet punishment? Only Baekke knows for sure. -- RD
1.38pm: More action (not) from Eastgate
PokerStars sponsored player Peter Eastgate is refusing to play a hand at the moment. Okay, he's not literally refusing to play a hand it just so happens every time I come near he mucks pre-flop. That's not stopping action raging around him though.
Pavel Gonchakov opened from early position to 550 and he was three-bet to just 950 by Jonathan Ouisse. Gonchakov made the call before 3,000 apiece went into the 7♠4♦T♦ flop. Call. Both players checked the K♦ turn before Gonchakov led another 3,000 into the river. Call again.
"Colour?" asked Gonchakov, using an European term for flush.
"No," replied Ouissse, who turned over J♥J♣. Gonchakov showed T♠T♣ for a set and raked in the pot. Ouissse is down to 9,000. Gonchakov back to his starting stack after losing a chunk to Alexander Ivarsson in the first level. -- RD
1.30pm: Akenhead making his mark
James Akenhead has made a good start and has a stack pushing 40,000 after winning two hands in a row out of the blinds. The first hand saw he and three opponents see a 7♥8♠Q♥ flop after a raise to 400 pre-flop. The action was checked to a player in the hijack who bet 1,200 before Akenhead raised to 3,600. The other two players folded but the hijack called. The turn came J♥ and Akenhead check-called a 5,000 bet. The river came 6♠ and both players checked. Akenhead tabled 6♥4♥ for a flush and the pot as his opponent mucked.
The next hand Fredrick Jensen raised to 350 from mid-position and was called by two players including Akenhead out of the small blind. The flop came 9♦8♥A♣ and Jensen led for 425 and was called before Akenhead check-raised to 1,775. This did the trick as both of his opponents folded. -- MC
The video team introduces the day, including a quick chat with Team PokerStars Johnny Lodden before he took his seat for the start of play.
1.17pm: Wolf fails to prevent international incident
Anyone looking for a colourful outsider to follow during EPT Copenhagen could do worse than Elmar Dirnberger. The Austrian cuts a distinctive jib, with big black sunglasses and a long Djarum black-type cigarette sticking out the side of his mouth. He's also been known to refer to himself as "The Wolf", and who doesn't like that?
Dirnberger was one of several players in one pot which started with his pre-flop raise to 225, which was called by a player in the cut off (who for now will have to remain nameless), Zoran Mitic on the button, Torben Krogh in the small blind and Even Evensen in the big.
The flop came 3♣5♥K♦ and the action was checked through to the 8♥ turn. Again, there was a lot of checking, through to Mitic on the button who, with eyebrows up, bet 725. Everyone folded, except for the player in the cut-off who called for a J♦. He then checked. Then Mitic checked.
Mitic turned to the cut off. "Show!" he said.
The cut off replied that it had been Mitic that had bet last. At which point Mitic picked up the button disk. "I bet this!" he said, and banged it down hard on the table. Rules are rules though and Mitic had to show, and he turned over T♦T♣.
The cut off player mucked and that was the end of that. -- SB
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 75-150
1.11pm: The return of Eastgate
Everything moves a lot quicker in poker. Fortunes are made and lost in months rather than generations, so in some ways it wasn't the biggest of surprises that World Champion Peter Eastgate announced his retirement from poker last year, less than two years since taking down the World Series Main Event.
It therefore comes as even less of a surprise that Eastgate has come back out of the poker wilderness and is sat in seat five of table 33. Waiting patiently for him to play a hand I was hoping he might come along for the ride in the big blind after Alexander Ivarsson had opened 300 from the cut-off and Andrey Guliy had called in the small blind. He did not.
Ivarsson fired 400 at the 2♥9♣3♣ flop and a further 900 at the 9♥ turn. The second shot was enough to win the pot. Ivarsson is up to just over 40,000 (after showing down a set of queens on a king-high board against Pavel Gorchakov a few hands earlier). Still plenty of time for Eastgate to mark his return to the baize with some fireworks - this is level one after all. -- RD
1.07pm: Kevin can't Stani the turn
EPT Tallinn champion Kevin Stani just handed some chips over to local pro Martin Wendt. We picked up the action on the turn with the board reading A♣8♣9♠5♦ and Wendt led for 1,100 from under-the-gun. Stani called from the hijack to go to the 3♠ river where he called a 1,800 bet. Wendt tabled 5♥5♣ for a turned set and took the pot as Stani mucked. -- MC
A menacing start for Annette Obrestad, who just reached into Rami Taqtaq's wallet and helped herself to chips, saying tak tak (that's Danish).
First though she was making things quite clear to Casper Toft in the seat on her right. Toft had opened a pot, making it 250 which Obrestad raised to 725 from the cut off. The action was swiftly folded through the blinds and back to Toft who allowed himself a short pause before folding.
Then it was Taqtaq's turn. Taqtaq is a big man and there was something vaguely threatening about the way he check-called Obrestad to the river.
Taqtaq had started the hand, raising to 300 pre-flop which Obrestad called for a flop of Q♣6♠T♣. Taqtaq checked and then called Obrestad's bet of 525. Then on the 3♣ turn he check called Obrestad's bet of 1,300, not wasting any time in doing so. Then on the 8♦ river he checked again, leaving Obrestad to bet 3,150. Taqtaq wasn't so quick to call this time. He looked over at Obrestad who's red nail polished fingers tapped away at the table, waiting. Taqtaq couldn't resist.
Obrestad turned over K♣4♣.
"Flush?" asked Taqtaq, looking for verbal confirmation. Indeed. He mucked. Obrestad up a few thousand in the early stages. - SB
12.53pm: Obrestad or a bad internet connection?
Last year's winner Anton Wigg will have to navigate his way past table mate Annette Obrestad if he is to defend his title this season. This is a scenario he wouldn't normally choose but he certainly would choose it over having to play online with a bad connection.
The Swede is a very talented online player but fell foul of a bad internet connection last night while playing in a major tournament. He was chip leader but accidently bet 1,000,000 instead of 100,000 chips due to an internet glitch. His opponent called with an over pair and did unrecoverable damage to Wigg's stack. He's brushed off that disappointment though and is focused on the record making goals in front of him. -- MC
12.42pm: Baekke and Jorgensen
Allen Baekke's romp to his EPT Snowfest victory last year was impressive to watch - rarely do you see one player steamroll an entire field like that. Perhaps Baekke will have a point to prove today. If he does he'll find it hard considering Theo Jorgensen has position on him. Baekke is in seat eight and Jorgensen seat one of their nine-handed table. -- RD
12.35pm: The plan for today
The powers that be have decided we're going to play eight levels today with no break for dinner. There will be a fifteen minute break at the end of every two levels. That means we should be finished around 9pm CET. -- MC
Credit to photographer Neil Stoddart for climbing out on the window cleaner's cradle to take this shot of Copenhagen
12.25pm: Good start for Jorgensen
Team PokerStars Pro Theo Jorgensen is up to 33,000 chips after winning a pot off fellow Dane Lasse Aastrup. Aastrup raised from mid position and was called by Jorgensen in the small blind to go to a A♠Q♣2♥ flop. Jorgensen check-called Aastrup's 1,100 c-bet before both players checked through the 9♣ turn. The river came 2♠ and Jorgensen led for 1,800 and was called. He flipped over A♦J♦ and took the pot as Aastrup mucked. -- MC
12.13pm: Shuffle up and deal
Play is under way here on Day 1A of EPT Copenhagen. Local heroes Allan Baekke and Theo Jorgensen have been drawn at the same table. Both players were up for awards at the Nordic Poker Awards ceremony last night but only one of them walked away with silverware: Team PokerStars Pro Jorgensen collected the award for Best Live Tournament Player of the Year. -- MC
11.55am: Welcome to Copenhagen
Thanks for reading our live coverage from EPT Copenhagen, and good night!
Yes, we already know what's going to happen this week as the European Poker Tour rolls into Copenhagen, once again, and being so sure we can wrap it up for you right now.
First the tournament room at Casino Copenhagen will be packed, wall-to-wall with players born and bred in a region that embraces poker as a way to fill long, dark winters. Then there will be a few stories to emerge of players in outstanding form or simply over-achieving. Then, on Saturday, we'll see a final table that either defies logic or surprises everyone, be it a player's remarkable comeback or a heads-up contest that lasts beyond check-out time. There will also be much talk about hotdogs.
We can predict all this based on an elaborate equation, honed and refined on the back of envelopes during the past six years, in which the PokerStars Blog has reported from Copenhagen. We can only say that after Mads Andersen's win in season two, that finished 20 minutes before the Casino had to close; after Bertrand "Elky" Grospellier's near-miss in season three; after Tim Vance's astonishing endurance battle in season four; and after Peter Hedlund's beer-for-all performance in season five; the usual rules do not apply here.
There's another regular feature to the EPT Copenhagen event, at that's the Nordic Poker Awards, which last night took place at the ZEN nightclub in what, as foreigners, we assumed to be the centre of the capital.
The Nordic Poker Awards
Four awards were up for grabs and a packed crowed waited with the usual bated breath to hear the name of each winner, not least because the free bar would not open until the ceremony was complete.
First up was Team PokerStars Pro Theo Jorgensen to collect his award for Best Live Tournament Player of the Year, following his WPT win in Paris and 30th place in the World Series Main Event in 2010. Then it was the turn of Andreas Tobergsen to collect his prize for Best Online Player, while EPT Tallinn winner Kevin Stani was named Rookie of the Year.
Team PokerStars Pro Theo Jorgenson
Finally, the award for Best Performance went to Finnish player Ilari Tahkokallio for his second place at EPT Berlin. The award was not just in recognition of the result, but of his memorable sporting gesture in which he allowed play to continue in a hand that had been disrupted during the Berlin robbery, a hand he'd been almost certain to lose.
With the awards finished, to cheers and raised Kronenbergs, the rest of the night faded into disco-lit stereotype, with men and women separated by that great emasculator - the dance floor.
The Nordic Poker Award winners, with host Michelle Orpe
With night turning into morning Copenhagen awaits its next champion. Outside the city looks the same as we left it. Despite minus-four conditions, and the threat of snow, people cycle or jog everywhere, in stark contrast to the underdressed Blog Team, who last night each swore never to go outside again.
So to Day 1A. We're in position, we expect the players to be shortly. Despite our now sure to be irrelevant predictions Copenhagen never fails to be a cracking event, and we're certainly not prone to gussying-up a tournament for no reason. Stay tuned for a good one.
PokerStars Blog reporting team in Copenhagen (in order of illness contracted after standing outside last night): Marc Convey (mild pneumonia), Rick Dacey (mild pneumonia, frostbite) and Stephen Bartley (chill blanes, Shackleton delusions, sniffles)