EPT London: Day 4, level 20-22 updates (blinds 8,000-16,000, ante 2,000)
7.40pm: Pearce busts to end play for the day
Neil Pearce has been eliminated from the feature table and that takes us down to 24 players remaining. He moved the last of his chips in with 7♠7♦ and was called by Jeremy Kottler with a dominating Q♠Q♣. The board ran out J♦9♣5♣9♦3♥.
With that, play has ended for the day. The remaining 24 players will return at noon tomorrow where they will play down to a final table of eight. A full wrap of the day's play and official chip counts will be up very shortly. -- MC
7.30pm: Three out hunting
Stephen O'Dwyer just hit a three-outer to save his tournament life. He raised to 35,000 from the cut-off and then moved all-in for 401,000 when Basile Yaiche three-bet to 85,000 from the small blind. The Frenchman snap called to create a showdown.
The board ran A♦2♠8♥K♦J♣ to pair the American's aces. Yaiche lost a third of his stack in that hand. -- MC
7.10pm: Ellwood sweating Jenkins
Ben Jenkins is a very good friend of Jack Ellwood and the latter was leaning over the rail supporting his friend as he faced a race for his tournament life.
Andries Swart raised to 34,000 from the cut-off and called when Jenkins three-bet all-in for 300,000 from the big blind.
The board ran 2♠4♠7♣J♠K♦ to make the Brit two-pair. His Dutch opponent is down to around 200,000 and the new man in danger at this table. -- MC
6.55pm: Gutsy move, sir
Andre Klebanov was furious after this hand, one in which he was bluffed off a pot by Hugo Loureiro. They were at a flop of 7♠Q♦6♥ and Klebanov had bet 44,000 only for Loureiro to raise it up to 109,000. Call. Both then checked the 6♣ flop, but on the 8♥ river Loureiro moved all-in for 450,000.
Klebanov looked like he was aching to call, but he couldn't bring himself to do so, throwing his cards into the muck. Loureiro casually turned over K♣3♣ for complete air, and Klebanov stormed away from the table in disgust.
We're still one bust out away from making our final 24 and drawing the day to a close. -- SY
6.42pm: Rowlands busted by Loureiro as play restarts
Daniel Rowlands has just busted out to Hugo Loureiro on a [j][q][q] flop where Rowlands held [a][j] and Loureiro [k][q]. Just one more player to go before we reach the final 24 to end play. -- RD
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 8,000-16,000, ANTE 2,000
We're chomping at the bit for more action but it has been decided to have a 30-minute break. -- MC
6.05pm: A double-up and a bust out
After a period of plateaux play we lost Sam MacDonald from the feature table. He was up against Martins Adeniya and the two were heads-up to a J♣8♣2♦ flop. MacDonald was the first to get his chips in the middle and Adeniya called.
MacDonald: Q♣J♠ for top pair.
Adeniya: A♣2♣ for bottom pair and flush draw.
The turn and river came A♦3♠ to make Adeniya two-pair to eliminate his fellow Brit and leave imself with around 1,100,000.
Just before that hand Stephen O'Dwyer doubled-up to around 200,000 with pocket aces. -- MC
6pm: Stuck in a rut
We've been stuck on 27 players for quite a while as the remaining four tables continue to slog it out. Play has tightened as the finishing line for Day 4 is in sight. No-one wants to leave now as the 24-player cut-off nears. -- SY
5.50pm: Call him the Comeback Kid
Joao Barbosa came back today with the second smallest stack (46,000) but just doubled-up to take his stack up to a little less than 800,000.
Ben Jenkins raised and then four-bet all-in when Barbosa three-bet from the next seat. Call.
The board ran A♠K♠Q♦3♦Q♥ to make the former EPT champion a full house. Jenkins is down to around 300,000 chips. -- MC
5.45pm: Sal gone
Team PokerStars Pro Salvatore Bonavena is out, two-outered on the river. But the smiling Italian took it in good heart, knowing he had performed the same trick to stay in the tournament a little earlier.
He was all in with K♣[10h] for his last 54,000 and was looked up by Basile Yaiche holding pocket fours. It was a classic race and Bonavena shot into the lead on the A♠K♦Q♣ flop. He stayed there on the 3♠ turn by the river was 4♥ to send him tumbling to the rail. He had a good run, though. -- SY
5.40pm: Blom pegged back
Sebastian Blom made it 25,000 and got a call from Kevin Iacofano. On the 5♦9♥3♥ flop, Blom made it 30,000 and again got a call. He tried again, with a 55,000 bet on the 5♠ river, but Iacofano would still not go away. Finally, they checked down the 8♦ river and Iacofano turned over pocket fours. They were good. -- SY
5.35pm: Houghton's head in a spin
Laurence Houghton's run has come to end. He's won millions online but ran into a player who has nearly reached that figure of winnings online in the last few weeks alone.
The action happened on the feature table so it was hard to get all the cards. Houghton was short and committed the rest of his chips with A♥J♦ but ran smack bang into Benny Spindler's A♠A♥. We think the flop came [t][t][q] to give Houghton a gutshot draw but it failed to come through the turn and river. -- MC
5.25pm: Semaska wins big double up
Justas Semaska doubled up to 740,000 after a legitimate battle of the blinds with Mattias Bergstrom (ie they both had decent hands). Bergstrom had re-raised from the big blind to 25,000, Semaska bumped it up again to 82,000 and Bergstrom raised once more to 170,000. Then Semaska moved all-in for 387,000 total and Bergstrom called.
There was not a whiff of help on the board for Bergstrom, and he is now down to 1.1 million. -- SY
5.20pm: Hildebrand gets much needed double
Per Hildebrand has more than 350,000 chips after finding aces and getting paid. He raised to 30,000 from second position and witnessed folds until the action reached Pascal Hartmann in the small blind. The PokerStars qualifier three-bet to 82,000 and called when Pearce moved all-in for 176,000.
The board ran 7♦K♣Q♣6♦K♦ to hardly provide a sweat. -- MC
5.10pm: Barbosa and Bonavena batting short stacks
We have thirty players remaining among which two hold previous EPT titles. They are Team PokerStars Pro Salvatore Bonavena, the other Joao Barbosa. Both are short, Bonavena painfully so with around 80,000, but Barbosa has just given himself a shot at makingit through the day with a three-bet shove for 310,000 from his big blind. It forced a fold from Andries Swart. Barbosa is now on 350,000, which amounts to almost 30 big blinds. Bonavena is in desperate need of a double up. -- RD
4.57pm: Pastor coolers Brenes
Juan Manuel Pastor opened for 26,000 from middle position and the action folded to Humberto Brenes on the button. The Costa Rican looked at the earlier and jerked his thumb up to signify the desire to raise. Brenes pushed out a stack of 127,000 and instantly Pastor set him in. Call. Cooler.
No way for Brenes to get away from this one and with a T♠4♠9♠ flop giving Pastor the nut flush draw too his outs became even thinner. No help on the turn or river as Pastor chipped up to 1,100,000. Brenes out for £16,000. -- RD
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 6,000-12,000, ANTE 1,0000
4.41pm: Spindler wins a big pot at the break
We were a few minutes into the break when Benny Spindler shoved the river of a 7♠T♥3♠6♦5♠ board. Sam Macdonald insta-called with a slightly resigned look on his face. Flush versus set for a huge pot, well over a million.
Again, it was at the TV table so we couldn't follow the action that well but there looked to be a lot in the middle before the river (around 460,000). Spindler showed K♠J♠ for the flush, Macdonald 9♦8♣ for the straight.
Spindler raked in the 1,300,000 pot while Macdonald, looking somewhat gutted, dropped to 950,000, which is still healthily above the 648,000 average.
And we're well into a 15-minute break. -- RD
4.35pm: Four table tournament
EPT London is now a four table tournament after the elimination of Matthijs Remie. The PokerStars qualifier bluffed off his last 180,000 to Christopher McClung.
We missed the action but McClung recalled most of the action for us. He raised under-the-gun and Remie peeled from the big blind. The flop was checked before the Dutchman check-raised the turn and shoved the river. The final board read [k] and McClung called with K♣T♣, beating Remie's six-seven. One PokerStars qualifier out, the other one is up to 670,000.-- MC
4.29pm: Houghton wins small but vital pot
Laurence Houghton just won a 12 big blind pot from Sam Macdonald, but it was an important one for him, boosting him up to 400,000.
Houghton opened for 20,000 and was three-bet by Macdonald to 47,000. Houghton opted to flat call and both players checked the 9♦2♠4♠ flop. Houghton led the paired 4♥ turn for 45,000 and Macdonald took the safe line of passing. -- RD
4.20pm: Kottler's aces hold for a million
First the disclaimer, this all happened on the TV feature table, the action from which we can only follow by a live feed monitor in the press room. You can only see what the feed shows. Here goes...
Jeremy Kottler got it in all-in with A♠A♦ on a K♦T♥2♦ flop for 468,000 and was called by Adria Balaguer who held a small flush draw with 6♦4♦. I don't what he already had across the line or how it got there. What I do know is that the board blanked out and Kottler moved up to around a million. --- RD
4.15pm: The Sal Bon Fashion Report
Where's the Sal Bon Fashion Report, I hear you ask in unison. Well, I'm glad you did, because I've just taken a good look at the Italian Salvatore Bonavena garb to bring you the following update:
Today, our Sal Bon is resplendent in a tight-fitting royal navy woollen jumper, with v-neck that exposes a hint of white t-shirt underneath. He sports light grey slacks, and is wearing his trademark grey trilby hat. Hanging over the back of his chair is a delightful blue suede jacket that complements his jumper perfectly.
The only disappointment is his white trainers. Surely they should have been blue suede shoes, which would have left us, er, All Shook Up. -- SY
4.10pm: Cserei out
Ramon Cserei is our latest finisher after his A♣[10d] never troubled Ben Jenkins' A♠J♣ on a 3♠3♦Q♠4♣7♠ board. Cserei was all in for 170,000, a tidy sum that sends smartly-dressed Jenkins up to 820,000. -- SY
4.02pm: O'Dwyer dwindling, but still with room to move
Stephen O'Dwyer has just lost a small pot to drop down to 360,000. The American opened for 23,000 and was three-bet by Mattias Bergstrom from the cut-off. O'Dwyer made the call.
Both players checked the 9♠J♥J♦ flop before Bergstrom bet 35,000 at the 4♠ turn. O'Dwyer made the call before checking the Q♦ turn. Bergstrom checked behind and showed K♥K♣.
"You got two kings! How can I beat two kings?" said O'Dwyer.
All this was going on to the backdrop of Humberto Brenes' singing a couple of tables along. The closest description I can conjure is if you could imagine Chewbacca from Star Wars trying to sing underwater after chomping down on a large handful of Valium. O'Dwyer has been left with 36 big blinds. -- RD
4pm: The Romanello ride is over
It was Roberto Romanello's birthday this week and he celebrated by racking up another cash, worth £13,000. These days there is no doubt he would have wanted more but it wasn't meant to be.
We missed seeing the exit first hand but he held ace-king to Neil Pearce's king-queen. The board ran 4♥5♥Q♣J♠J♥ to hand the pot and the scalp to the PokerStars qualifier. -- MC
3.55pm: From Russia with love
Anatoly Gurtovoy banged the table very gently after his stack doubled to around 500,000. He was up against Andre Klebanov and all the chips went in pre-flop.
The board ran 2♥4♥Q♦3♦7♦. -- MC
3.52pm: The fashion report
Salvatore Bonavena speaks to the PokerStars video team.
3.50pm: Brenes triples up
Three players moved all-in and it was Team PokerStars Pro Humberto Brenes who came out smiling (and singing, and playing with his toy shark). Here's how they shaped up pre-flop:
Brenes: A♣J♦ (140,000 chips)
Kevin Iacofano: A♣K♦ (gazillion chips)
Steven Kelly: K♣Q♣ (170,000 chips)
Iacofano had them both covered, and Brenes was the short stack and in need of help. He didn't have to wait long as the flop came 9♠5♣J♠ to shoot him into the lead.
"All riiiighhhtt," he exclaimed, adding, "My God!"
With that, he wound up his toy shark and let it run for the cameras. The turn was a harmless 9♥ and now Brenes, from Costa Rica, needed to dodge bullets on the river.
"Pair the board," he pleaded to the dealer, who did not oblige but instead put out the inconsequential 8♥.
With that, Brenes tripled up to 420,000, while Kelly was eliminated, shifting the remainder of his chips to Brenes and a side pot to Iacofano who still has around 700,000. -- SY
3.45pm: Swart doubles
Andries Swart doubled up when his A-Q held up against Ramon Cserei's A-J. Swart up to 520,000, Cserei down to 300,000. -- SY
3.40pm: Demjan bows out, Hartmann up near the top
Sandor Demjan had been a great player to follow as he'd happily play almost any two cards but that narrative has now come to an end, Pascal Hartmann the player that finally caught the Hungarian.
I arrived on the turn where Demjan was considering whether to call a raise on the J♦6♦2♠5♥ board. Demjan had 75,000 in front of him and Hartmann had raised it up to 180,000. Slowly, ever so slowly, Demjan made the call.
The J♣ hit the river and Demjan made a move towards his chips, stopped and then checked. Hartmann announced that he was all-in for 482,000 - it was marginally more than Demjan's stack but he made the call.
Tough river for Demjan to get away from after calling the flop. Hartmann now up to nearly 1,500,000 and certainly challenging for the chip lead. -- RD
3.35pm: Gale blows chips away
John Gale's poker comeback adventure is over, for now. He moved all-in for his last 100,000 and was called by PokerStars qualifier Christopher McClung.
The board ran 2♥T♦9♥7♦T♠. Gale did a quick piece to camera and headed off with a big smile on his face. -- MC
3.20pm: Adeniya out in front as level 20 begins
Martins Adeniya is our nominated chip leader (we're waiting on the official counts as we couldn't get to the TV table). Adeniya appeared to have around 1,400,000 which makes for a nice increase from the 720,000 he started the last level with. Adeniya had a deep run at EPT Snowfest and has put himself in a good position to go even further than that 15th place finish. -- RD
PokerStars Blog reporting team in London (and their randomly generated wrestling name): Marc Convey (Fusion Blade), Rick Dacey (Lightning Pirate) and Simon Young (Agent Rocket). Photos by Neil Stoddart.