EPT Deauville: Day 4, levels 18 & 19 (blinds 5,000-10,000, 1,000 ante)

ept-thumb-promo.jpg2.45pm: Break
Level 19 is over. We're now on a 15-minute break. -- SY

2.44pm: Stop trying to justify your spew
It's my pet hate, it really is. Sometime you make the wrong move in a key pot but get lucky. You should just feel embarrassed, apologise, stack up your chips and refocus. Too many players pull a spewy move and then blame their opponent for making the call, as was the case just now with Anthony Hnatow.

I arrived on the flop but it looked like a raise from the cut-off from Hnatow and a call on the button from Irishman Rory Rees-Brennan. Hnatow c-bet 27,000 into the 3♠9♥6♦ flop and Rees-Brennan raised it up to 60,000. Hnatow then spew-shoved all-in and Rees-Brennan called his remaining 200,000 or so.

Rees-Brennan: A♠9♦ for top pair, top kicker
Hnatow: 2♥4♥ for a gutshot and backdoor flush

Rees-Brennan was a healthy 77.7% favourite, which dropped a few percent when the 3♥ brought a flush draw on the turn. The backdoor draw hit on the Q♥ river and Rees-Brennan quickly rose to his feet, turned one way then the other looking dazed and confused, as you'd expect, and walked off.

Now, I'm trying to give Hnatow the benefit of the doubt because I don't speak French but it really did look like he was trying to blame the suck out on the fact that the Irishman made the call in the first place. Show a little class, monsieur. -- RD

2.43pm: Frankland up before the break
Matthew Frankland is up to 860,000 in the hand before the break, after a hand against William Johnson.

Johnson had opened for 22,000 which Frankland raised to 57,000. Johnson called, promoting Frankland to ask him if he had the goods. Johnson said nothing and waited for the 6♣2♠5♠ flop. Then he bet 65,000, which Frankland called.

On the 3♠ turn both players checked for a 8♦ river card. Johnson went to his chips immediately and bet 100,000. Frankland, slower but not by much, called. Johnson immediately mucked, and had to watch Frankland turn over J♥6♥.

"Top pair on the flop," he said to Martin Jacobson, who had wandered over to watch. He's up to 860,000 now while Johnson slips back to 500,000. - SB

2.42pm: Allez, ALLEZ!
Franck Kalfon got a double up and very excited. He moved all-in for 123,000 before Andreas Johansson also moved all-in for 240,000 from the small blind. It was then on Kaspars Renga in the big blind - and he was clearly interested. He had a little more than Johansson, counted up both opposing stacks, worked out his odds, then folded pocket jacks face-up! The other two were on their backs:

Kalfon: 7♥7♣
Johansson: A♦J♦

That made Renga's fold even more 'tight' - but the board ran Q♥6♥K♠7♠K♦ to prove him right all along as Kalfon hit his set. "Allez, allez," he shouted. Kalfon up to 250,000, Johansson it down to 130,000. -- SY

2.40pm: Bad blood
Matthew Frankland and Kevin Lambert don't seem to have much love for each other at the moment and this might boil over into some interesting action on the baize if this last hand in anything to go by.

Frankland opened to 23,000 from the button and called when Lambert three-bet him to 76,000 from the big blind. The flop came 6♠5♠4♦ and Lambert led for 100,000. Call. The turn came 3♣ and Lambert moved all-in for effectively 570,000 as that's what Frankland had left. "You've definitely got aces here", said Franklin before folding.

Lambert turned over 3♥4♥ for a turned two-pair and this prompted Frankland to say, "Oh, you're so bad. Nice suck out". Lambert didn't respond and is up to 1.1million chips. -- MC

2.35pm: The slow death of Cyril Hanouna
The demise of Cyril Hanouna was easily predictable following a hand against Joe Ebanks, one that went terribly wrong for the Frenchman.

It looked like he'd moved in for 82,000 from the cut off, at least it did to Ebanks sitting next to him. But Hanouna had kept 12,000 behind so when Ebanks turned over his A♦K♥, assuming he was calling an all-in, the floor was called. They determined that the hand should continue in the same way, Hanouna technically having an advantage, although it was not much of one. Particularly on the flop:

6♠T♣K♦.

Everyone at the table laughed at Hanouna's predicament. Could he beat the king? Well no, and he folded, leaving him that same 12,000 he'd kept for a special occasion. Now was that special occasion.

On the next hand he shoved with it, showing J♣7♣ when Laurent Polito called with K♥4♥. The board ran 2♠8♣6♠6♦8♥ to bust Hanouna without further fanfare. - SB

2.25pm: Double knockout
Anthony Hnatow busted two players in the same hand. Alin Roman had shoved for 50,000 after being crippled in a hand when his A-3 flopped two pair but was counterfeited by A-K on the river.

Hnatow called, and then to add some more sparkle to the hand Florent Leprovost shoved as well for less than 50,000. Hnatow had the others well covered.

Hnatow: K♥K♦
Roman: 5♦6♦
Leprovost: 5♣5♠

It was a great spot for Hnatow, while Leporvost cursed his luck that one of his two outs was sitting in Roman's hand. The board ran an uneventful J♣Q♥3♠3♣8♦. Two exits, then, and Hnatow is up to 800,000. -- SY

2.20pm: The comeback continues
Nicolo Calia is up to 119,000 chips now after being down to a low of just 6,000. The Italian's dreams of making a second final table, after EPT Tallinn, are still alive.

Remy Biechel's dreams, on the other hand, are over. He was seen picking up his money from the payout desk not long ago. -- MC

2.10pm: Jacobson back on track
Micahel Frappy opened for 26,000 which was called by Martin Jacobson on the button. When the action reached Sergey Kislinskiy in the big blind he raised to 74,000, forcing Frappy to fold. Jacobson called though for a flop of 5♠2♣8♥.

Kislinskiy now bet another 77,000 which Jacobson called for a 5♥ turn. Both checked that for an A♠ on the river. Kislinskiy quickly went to his stack, awkwardly sliding out a tower of chips worth 113,000. Jacobson didn't take long to call and when he did Kislinskiy patted the table, showing K♠Q♣ to Jacobson's A♦J♣.

Jacobson moves up to 880,000 while Kislinskiy slips back to 260,000. - SB

2.05pm: Lacay gets Dupont
Ludovic Lacay just boosted his stack up to 240,000, at the expense of Maxence Dupont. He's moved in with A♥6♥ and was called by Lacay showing A♣J♠. The board ran 2♠J♥T♥7♠4♦ to send Dupont to the rail. - SB

2pm: Calia's comeback
Nicolo Calia is on the comeback trail. He was down to just 6,000 chips but managed to turn that into 21,000 by the time he was next in the big blind. Franck Henri Kalfon raised to 25,000 from the cut-off and Calia called all-in with K♥8♦. Kalfon tabled a dominating K♠Q♠ but couldn't stay ahead on the 8♥A♥2♣7♦8♠ board. This caused him much frustration, too, and he swore in French a few times. -- MC

1.50pm: Bigger chips
After the color up in the last break that saw the pink 500 chips being banished to the back office, a blue 10,000 chip has been introduced to play. A traditional 20-chip tower of these is worth 200,000. Our chip counting just got a little easier. -- SY

1.45pm: Tangerine dream
We mentioned Tangerine Man Cornel Cimpan down at 1.15pm, the man with five fruits lined up behind his chips. He's still not eaten any of them, but he is feeling the fruity power, re-raising all-in just now for 160,000 to force a fold from the original aggressor, Amin Karout. -- SY

1.40pm: Back at the coalface
The break is over. Players are now parting with blinds of 5,000-10,000 with a 1,000 ante. -- SY

1.25pm: Break
That's the end of the level. There will now be a 15-minute break and a color up for the pink 500 chips. Back soon. -- SY

1.18pm: Bad time for the big names
Our hopes for a final table packed full of well known faces has just take a bit of a hammering. We've just lost three players that are well known faces on the tour. Team PokerStars Pro Thomas Bichon got it in with A♠Q♠ and lost to Kenny Hallaert's pocket tens. A super short-stacked Praz Bansi got it in with jack-king against ElkY's A♦5♦ but failed to catch. Grospellier is back up to 300,000 after that hand.

And finally, EPT Prague 5th place finisher Marco Leonzio was just seen walking to the payout desk. His grinning face will not be gracing the final nine this time around either. -- RD

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Thomas Bichon prepares to leave

1.15pm: Hey, Mr Tangerine Man, play a song for me
This is Cornel Cimpan, who has five tangerines lined up in a neat row behind his chip stack. Either he has a severe Vitamin C deficiency or he plans to attack other players with fruity grenades.

Andrzej Nowak-Rogozinski had raised from the button to 19,000 and Cimpan, armed to the teeth with citrus goodness, re-raised to 49,000. He had 350,000 and five fruits behind.

Nowak-Rogozinski gave it a long think, but everyone around the table sussed he had been blind stealing and chuckled as he mucked 'reluctantly'. Cimpan tossed his cards into the muck, but they hit the dealer's arm and turned over... A♣A♥. -- SY

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How do ya like them apples tangerines

1.14pm: ElkY busted up
ElkY is down to 250,000 after losing a 400,000 pot with pocket kings to the top set tens of Riccardo Giacalone. -- RD

1.12pm: Slow and steady wins the race
If Dario Minieri is the hare of Italian poker, all raising and three-betting aggression, then Nicolo Calia is the tortoise. The likeable Calia never seems to be involved in too much action; some might even describe him as a little tight.

But it's a ploy that works. While Minieri tears off at a terrific pace, he will likely bust soon after, leaving Calia to plod along quietly and win the day. It's got the Italian nine cashes on the EPT, including $60,160 for his seventh-place finish in Tallinn earlier this season.

And he's still here today, on around 150,000. Let me tell you, those chips will be hard to take away. -- SY

1.09pm: Bansi crippled
Praz Bansi is down to 30,000 chips after moving all-in to isolate a short-stack's shove - and walking into a monster. The action started with an under-the-gun limp before Patrice Poujade moved all-in for his last 25,000 chips. Alin Ion Roman was on the button and flat called before Bansi shoved from the small blind. The limper folded but Roman snap called.

Poujade: J♦T♠
Roman: A♥K♠
Bansi: A♦T♣

The board ran Q♥9♠8♠K♣9♣. Poujade took the main pot and more than tripled up and the larger side pot went to the Romanian. -- MC

1.05pm: Allez Pepe
With the action folded to him on the button Rory Rees-Brennan opened for 17,000 which was raised to 35,000 by Franck Pepe in the big blind. Rees-Brennan called for a flop of Q♠K♦A♠. Both checked that for a K♣ turn card which was also checked for a Q♦ river. Franck Pepe reached for his chips and bet around 80,000. Rees-Brennan paused for a moment and then called. Franck Pepe turned over A♥A♦ to win the hand and move up to 470,000. Rees-Brennan drops down to about the same. - SB

1pm: Betting betting
A crucial double up for Michel Betting. He moved all-in behind a bet of 21,000 by Jean Jacques Zeitoun, for a total of 54,500. Zeitoun called immediately, showing 8♠8♥ to Betting's T♣T♦.

The board ran 6♥2♦T♠A♣A♦. Betting looked up to the sky in celebration, Zeitoun cursed his rotten luck. He's down to 64,000 now while Betting moves up to 135,000. - SB

12.57pm: Easy to see how Sfez had lost his chips
Eric Sfez started the day with 378,000 and when I stumbled across this hand he was down to less than 200,000. Watching the action pan out it's quite easy to see how he lost the rest.

Sfez opened under-the-gun and was called by Nicholas Ragot on the button. Sfez led the 9♥6♥6♦ flop for 28,000 and Ragot raised to 60,000. Sfez made the call leaving himself with 93,000. Both players checked the 7♦ turn before Sfez shoved the Q♣ river.

Something didn't smell right and Ragot seemed to get a whiff of it. The shove was for most of his stack. Sfez didn't look that relaxed, the muscle is his jaw twitching furiously. He finally tapped his watch to call time. Still Ragot didn't call. He passed with 30 seconds to go. Sfez immediately flipped J♠K♣ on its back for air. Sfez is now back up to 260,000. -- RD

12.50pm: Bansi makes up for being late
Praz Bansi was the last player to arrive today after oversleeping but wasted little time in getting his stack going in the right direction. He was heads-up with Karim Lehoussine in a battle of the blinds and the two checked the turn to leave the board as K♦A♦5♠K♥T♠ on the river. Bansi led for 40,000, a slightly larger than pot-sized bet. Lehoussine counted out 100,000 and looked as if was going to raised but elected to just call. Bansi tabled K♣8♣ for trips and the pot as Lehoussine mucked. He's up to 230,000 chips now. -- MC

12.40pm: Scratch another
Another faller, this time it's Aram Sargsyan who moved in with pocket eights. He was called by Kevin Keosomphet next to him who showed K♦J♥.

The board ran J♣7♦K♠2♠6♥ to eliminate Sargsyan. We're down to 84 players. -- SB

12.35pm: Way to go
If you're going to bust from an EPT it may as well be in style. So it was for Frenchman Xavier Lamoine who took a stab with his 7-4, and got crushed.

Emile Petite had opened from under the gun with a raise to 16,000 and Lamoine called from the big blind with his 7♦4♥. The flop came 6♦3♣9♣ and Lamoine, first to act, moved all-in for his last 46,500 with nothing but a gutshot draw. Petite, who had Lamoine well covered, made the rather easy call with 6♥6♣ for a flopped set.

Lamoine missed his outs on the Q♣ turn and A♦ river, and departed with a grin on his face. -- SY

12.30pm: Just time to tango
Table 12 was was just broken but not before Thomas Bichon and ElkY had time to tangle in a hand and it was ElkY that came out on top. He raised from the button and Bichon defended from the big blind to see a K♦4♦3♥ flop. ElkY c-bet only to be check-raised by Bichon. ElkY called to see the 6♥ turn where Bichon checked to him again. ElkY took the invitation to bet and slid over 72,500. Bichon thought for a while and conceded defeat and folded. -- MC

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ElkY

12.22pm: Bichon beaten back as ElkY strolls in
Team PokerStars Pros Thomas Bichon and Bertrand 'ElkY' Grospellier are two very different men, particularly at the table. Bichon has a brooding almost sultry menace, one that middle-aged women can't resist*, whereas ElkY is like a turbo-charged manga character, all rhinestone, mile wide smile and chatter.

Both are successful players but in the first orbit it was ElkY who came out on top scooping a blinds-only pot whereas Bichon opened from the button only to be forced off when the big blind three-bet and showed A♥K♥. -- RD

* I know this to be true because my mother and her similarly middle-aged friend were cooing over Bichon when they saw him on PokerStars.tv. Disturbing but true.

12.15pm: First man down
Xavier Laszcz was the first man out today. He came back with just 44,500 and soon found A♣Q♠, easily good enough to go with. Unfortunately for him Patrice Boudet was sitting there with A♠K♥ and made the call. The board ran 4♣T♠5♦4♠8♠ to send Laszcz home. -- MC

12.10pm: Cards in the air
Play has begun with blinds at 4,000-8,000 and 500 ante.

11.55am: Back for Day 4
Welcome back to Day 4 of EPT Deauville in which the playing field of 90 will be reduced to three tables and 24 players.

It may be a slow start for some following what was a thumping PokerStars party held last night along the seafront at Les 3 Mages.

After play finished yesterday we climbed aboard shuttle buses for the short ride along the sea front to the bar, or at least most of us did. As we sat on the coach we were distracted by a peroxide streak outside. Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier's reputation may be guaranteed at the poker table, but not as an athlete.

But his performance running for the bus last night was a sight to behold, an awe-inspiring dash - about 60 metres in 5.4 seconds - all to avoid walking in the cold. It was fantastic. At one point, having caught up with the bus, he actually overtook it. The man had earned his drink, and I'm personally glad I was part of the ovation he received when he climbed aboard.

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Ludovic Lacay (left) with Bertrand "The Bolt" Grospellier

It was at the party that players, most free from the burdens of Main Event obligation, but also some still among the remaining field out for a wee snifter before bed, warmed up around a genuine faux log fire, sipped beer, gulped champagne and tried not to let the magician freak them out.

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Champagne on ice

And now to today. No set levels today, just an on-going session until we have our last three tables. This is also the last day we'll be playing in the Deauville International Centre. Tomorrow the last 24 will return to the main casino ballroom, site of EPT Deauville's past, for the final two days of play.

Players have arrived, unbagged and are ready for the start, with a fresh warning about using mobile phones ringing in their ears. We're about to get under way.

PokerStars Blog reporting team in Deauville (in order of school-aged sporting achievement): Simon Young (dropped from hockey team for regularly passing back to the goalkeeper), Stephen Bartley (dropped as goalkeeper of soccer team for deliberately not catching high ball so as to avoid collision), Rick Dacey (red-carded within first 15 seconds of inter-house school soccer match) and Marc Convey (smacked for 26 off one over in inter-house cricket match. He still hates the guy).