EPT London: Day 1B, level 1 & 2 updates (75-150)
Join us in a new post after a short break. -- RD
2.05pm: Pained fold from Williams
"My hand's changed strength every street, said Kevin Williams looking somewhat painfully at the 7♣9♦8♠9♠9♥ board.
Kevin MacPhee, at the same table but not in the hand, stood up and said, "Interesting hand." Indeed it was.
Williams had opened the betting and had called a three-bet to 1,250 by Jose Passos which had also been called by Jan Petersen on the button. Passos had continued his aggression on the flop with a 1,800 c-bet which Petersen called and Williams check-raised to 6,000. Passos passed, Petersen called.
The 9♠ paired the board and both players checked before Williams checked the 9♥ river to Petersen who bet 12,000. Williams went into the tank, face turning and twisting with angst.
"Jacks? You gonna show me jacks?" asked Williams. He eventually passed to leave himself with a still healthy 40,000 stack. Petersen refused to show the bluff, quads or otherwise. -- RD
2pm: Demidov doubles
Ivan Demidov has reason to wake up having just doubled up, restoring his stack to fighting weight after his earlier mishaps with pocket aces.
Demidov got his chips in against Hungtu Wang, shoving with about 18,000 behind a re-raise by Wang, who rocked backwards and forwards. Demidov showed T♥T♠ to Wang's J♦9♦. The board ran K♣8♥5♦6♦5♠ to keep Demidov in the game.
Elsewhere David Williams just won a pot against Luca Pagano and Bogdan Jaworski.
On a flop of 3♦T♦J♣ Williams, who played the hand while eating soup, checked, as did Jaworski and Pagano in the cut-off. The turn came 8♠ and Williams, slurping a another spoonful, bet another 850. Both Jaworski and Pagano called getting an A♥ on the river.
Williams, pausing now, bet 2,000 more. That was good enough. Jaworski and Pagano both passed. - SB
1.57pm: Room 101 for pocket aces
Tuomas Harkonen, sat in seat 101, is another player who's just called a pot sized river bet with pocket aces only to see an opponent reveal a set.
His opponent was none other than Justin Bonomo and he moved all-in for 12,275 on the river of a 6♣K♦5♥2♠8♥ board. The PokerStars qualifier tank-called with A♣A♦ but the American revealed 3♥3♣ for a turned set. -- MC
1.50pm: Aborted BLOM WATCH
Viktor 'Isuldur1' Blom is a lively player to watch; all bouncing legs, multi-street betting and shaggy hair. His table was my destination, Blom my primary target, so I was thrilled to see the Swede already involved in a hand. An under-the-gun raise to 400 had been called by Blom, also in early position and here was Stephane Albertini coming in with a three-bet to 1,500. Surely Blom would call, especially if the under-the-gun raiser did. Enter Martins Adeniya.
The young Brit, who made quite an impact with a 15th place finish at EPT Snowfest, seemed to find a hand in the small blind. He looked to his left, looked back towards his chips and moved in a cold four-bet to 4,250. The action passed to Blom who insta-mucked (disappointingly) and Frenchman Albertini who followed the Team PokerStars Pros lead and tossed his hand away. If Adeniya can find the momentum he had in Austria he could pose a real problem. -- RD
1.46pm: Damn those aces
Ivan Demidov is rueing picking up pocket aces as they just cost him more than half his stack. He was heads-up with Ben Roberts and the two had made it to the river of a 4♥J♥T♦2♣3♦ board, and 15,000 chips had made it into the middle.
Roberts was first to act and he moved all-in for his remaining 13,500. Demidov was suspicious and took his time, but it's hard to fold those aces, and he made the call. Roberts tabled T♠T♣ and scooped. -- MC
1.35pm: Blom in bloom
Viktor Blom, who like Nacho Barbero yesterday wears trousers that don't entirely cover the modesty of his underpants, is looking alert. On the other side of the room Ivan Demidov nods off, a familiar sight on the EPT, and a position not alien to Blom.
But today he looks alert. His hair is a little disorganised, as though on the taxi journey here he told the driver to put his foot down while he looked backwards out of the open window, but his eyes are those of poker's most advanced player. He plays a hand for as long as sensible and after folding sits with arms crossed waiting for the next. He's poker's answer to The Stig, designed, programmed and existing only for poker.
Which may explain the confusion over the waiver forms.
In the seat next to Blom is Robert Lipkin, a late arrival, who was filling in his waiver form. All was going well until he got to the bit where he was to sign his name and noticed it had already been signed by a Mr V. Blom of Sweden.
"I signed two forms," said Blom, apologising, when he only needed to sign one. But some would say he's twice the player of anyone else so should have to sign two forms.
"Sorry," he said to Lipkin, who started again on a new form.
But this is Blom, remember. He's not here to sign some stinking papers. He's here to play poker. - SB
1.30pm: Persuad re-raises all-in
Local lad Nik Persaud is down to around 5,000 chips after losing a big flip against Dan Smith.
There seemed to have been a raise to 450 that Persaud had flat called from the cut-off before Smith three-bet to 1,500. The action was on Persaud when we picked up the live action and he put in a four-bet to 3,350. Smith thought for a while and put in a five-bet to 6,500 and called all-in for 17,800 when Persaud then re-raised all-in.
The board ran T♠3♠A♣Q♣T♥ to get Smith into profit for the day. -- MC
1.25pm: Introducing Sam Macdonald
Sam Macdonald won't be known to the general EPT crowd but he's established himself as a Day 1 specialist at the UKIPT having finished the first day of play as chip leader three times this season.
Will he be able to bring that kick-start aggression to the European field of play? The early indication is that he can. We just saw him call out of the small blind with J♦9♥ and fire 350 into the 7♦T♥6♦ flop with a gutshot, 700 when he made second pair and then value-betting 2,250 with a J♠ rivered two-pair to get paid off. He's up to 33,000 after that and doesn't look likely to freeze in the face of this bigger buy-in. -- RD
1.13pm: Negreanu and Obrestad tangling
Annette Obrestad has position on Daniel Negreanu which could be telling given that the two players won't be afraid to tangle. The young Norwegian has won the most recent engagement after showing down pocket nines to beat pocket eights on the river of a 5♥Q♥6♦2♥K♦ board. There wasn't much action but Obrestad takes the moral victory (and the chips). Neither have shifted from their starting stack. -- RD
1.11pm: This is Pagano's turf
Luca Pagano just showed Eddy Sabat who's boss in Europe.
The Team PokerStars Pro raised to 250 from under-the-gun and was called by Freddy Deeb two seats along, and Sabat in the small blind.
The flop fell J♠2♥7♦ and Sabat led for 300. Pagano checked his cards and raised to 800. Deeb passed quickly but Sabat was going nowhere and three-bet to 1,325. Call. The turn came 9♣ and Sabat gave up by check-folding to Pagano's 1,500 bet. -- MC
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 75-150
12.57pm: UKIPT jostling
This is EPT London, folks, there's no denying that. It is also, and you may not know this, the grand final of the UKIPT (United Kingdom and Ireland Poker Tour) which means that there are two races going on here. One is for the EPT title and another for the UKIPT Leaderboard, which can be found by clicking here.
UKIPT Cork winner and all-round showman Sam Razavi currently leads the way, just ahead of Rupinder Bedi (the UKIPT's version of Luca Pagano: all cashes, no title) and fearsome Irishman Chris Dowling. Englishman Paul Nash isn't far behind that trio and a strong finish by any of them could see them win the UKIPT passport to next season. -- RD
12.52pm: Running bad at tables but good at cards
It seems that ever since Liv Boeree won EPT San Remo she finds it hard to find an easy table draw to start an EPT; a sort of curse as you will. Today's field is so stacked though that Angel Guillen, Soren Kongsgaard, Carlos Mortensen and James Keys doesn't seem that bad.
It's not all bad though for the Brit as she just flopped quad kings and got three streets of value. -- MC
12.50pm: The world on its head
Liya Garasimova is no longer sitting between Daniel Negreanu and Annette Obrestad. It turns out the "6" on her ticket was upside down. She's now in seat nine. Negreanu meanwhile, like Joe Hachem a few tables along, is getting started on a massage.
Elsewhere Freddy Deeb just won an early pot. On a flop of 5♥8♠T♥ Deeb tossed in 1,000 from under the gun which the button player called for a T♦ turn. Both checked that for a K♦ river card. Deeb made it 5,000 to play this time, prompting the button player to look to the side, as if suddenly catching sight of something terrible. He passed. Deeb up. - SB
12.45pm: Danzing in the dark
George Danzer has been interviewed by the PokerStars video team. See what the smiling German Team Pro has to say:
12.35pm: Bus for Portaleoni, no more buses for Danzer
It's hard to lose 300 big blinds in less than 20 minutes but somehow PokerStars qualifier Rodrigo Garrido Portaleoni has managed just that to be our first out. You might find him at the bus stop outside.
One player who never wants to see a bus again is George Danzer. He had an ear operation in February that has made it difficult for him to fly, due to pressure build up on landings.
He decided to try and train it here but they were all booked up, so his only other option was to bus it from Germany. He had a nightmare journey that was overbooked, full of Balkans playing Balkan music and a driver that didn't speak a language he understood. Twenty-one hours later on one hour's sleep he arrived at Victoria coach station in London. He decided to walk the last few miles to the hotel and he was so sick of sitting down.
Still, he made it and he's still smiling. One thing is for sure is that he'll find a train back somehow, via somewhere. -- MC
12.22pm: Scratch and sniff
Ahhhh, the early levels of a Day 1B EPT. The hope, the promise, the mobile phone percentage swap conversations - it's exciting stuff. Scratch your screen, we're going to give you a sniff of the action:
- EPT Barcelona sixth place finished Saar Wilf is here trying to convert some of the €165,000 that he won in Spain into a pound sterling payday. He's won the first pot that I've seen him play beating Ben Roberts off an eight-high flop with a standard c-bet.
- Jeff Sarwer, who had his aces brutally cracked late on at EPT Tallinn, is back in the fray. He aims to be the best amateur player in the world, his words not ours, but he's already streets ahead on the eye movement front. His peepers don't stop moving, glancing around the table non-stop.
- Team PokerStars Pro Luca Pagano is looking to stretch his record 18 EPT main event cashes one closer to a score. Will London be his seventh final table? The odds are against him, he's never cashed at EPT London before.
- Team PokerStars SportStar Boris Becker has aces early on when just three players were at his table. Insert your own weak joke about Becker having had his own fair share of aces in his tennis career here. -- RD
12.10pm: All-Star Cast
The spaces are starting to fill up in the tournament room, which features the following little match-ups.
JC Alvarado is two seats along from Liv Boeree. The player on the other side of Boeree seems to be delighted with this and has called over some friends.
Elsewhere the early doozie is the Negreanu table, which features Kid Poker to the right of Liya Garasimova who in turn is to the right of Annette Obrestad. All sit opposite Juan Maceiras.
Rupert Elder sits next to Vanessa Selbst while there's an all-English match-up a few tables away where Ross Boatman and Surinder Sunar take us back to the late nineties.
Joe Cada plays, as does another World Champion Jonathan Duhamel, who shares a table with Season 7 Player of the Year Fernando Britto.
Fabrice Soulier sits next to Humberto Brenes, while on the other side of the room Vanessa Rousso sits opposite Bill Chen.
There are others. Eugene Katchalov is out there somewhere, so too Viktor Blom. - SB
12pm: Cards in the air
Play starts, on time too.
11.30am: Welcome back to London
The United Kingdom is going through a kind of delayed summer this past week. As the country began to collectively pack away short trousers and sun hats for the winter, simultaneously dusting off the moth balls from their tweeds and warm coats; summer suddenly arrived, albeit three months late.
With temperatures touching 30 degrees, glorious sunshine has replaced the now traditional swathes of grey, bringing with it unseasonal cheer, Rogers and Hammerstein type happiness and the rather macabre spectacle on men walking down Oxford Street shirtless.
That feeling has been exacerbated at the London Hilton Metropole by a cast of hundreds arriving today for Day 1b of the EPT London Main Event.
The London Eye on the River Thames
As mentioned yesterday; as the field of 280 was worked down to 162, there was a kind of storm front of players gathering on the horizon, actually just a few feet away, warming up in the side events of the king's ballroom in anticipation of the start of their EPT London campaigns.
The likes of Joe Hachem, Daniel Negreanu, Vanessas Selbst and Rousso, Jason Mercier, Eugene Katchalov, Boris Becker and Liv Boeree will be here today for what is the tougher of the two starting flights, which is set to get under way at 12 noon.
So while they arrive, ready for today's eight levels, it's time for one last dip in the Serpentine before we gear up for the day's play.
PokerStars Blog reporting team in London: Marc Convey, Rick Dacey and Stephen Bartley.