EPT Loutraki: Day 1A, Level 1-2 updates (75-150)

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2.25pm: Break
That's it for a short break.

2.20pm: Magic situation for Vamplew
That David Vamplew, he's always at it. A hijack raise of 400 from Artem Metalidi was called by Theofanis Poziopoylos who called and Vamplew, in the big blind, squeezed to 1,650. Of course, he did.

Metalidi was not standing for the aggression and came back over the top for 3,400. That aggression wasn't going to stand for Vamplew either. He five-bet to 6,975. Metalidi moved all-in and Vamplew couldn't have called quicker.

Vamplew: A♦A♥
Metalidi: K♦K♠

Vamplew flopped an ace and that was that. So, it wasn't a case of macho posturing, simply two big hands going to war. EPT London winner up to 53,500. -- RD

2.10pm: Online interest
Apart from swelling fields to unprecedented proportions, making millionaires of teenagers and revolutionising the game entirely, the technology of the internet era has barely had any effect on poker. One way in which it has made a difference, though, is the increased ease by which information about opponents can be accessed, and Artem Metalidi is making the most of the latest innovations this afternoon. He's sitting with his iPad on his lap and accessing the Hendon Mob database of player results, checking out his table-mates David Vamplew, Kenny Hallaert and Roman Makhlin, among others.

I'm not sure all the information could have much helped in a recent pot against Vamplew. The former EPT London champ made it 400 to play from under-the-gun, which was called in two spots: Hallaert and Metalidi in cut-off and button, respectively.

The three of them saw a flop of [10d]8♣6♣ and Vamplew led at it for 875. Hallaert folded, Metalidi called, and then the turn was J♥. Vamplew checked, Metalidi bet 1,800 and Vamplew called that. The river was [10c] and they both checked that one.

Metaldi tabled J♠Q♠ and it seemed as though he thought that was good. But then Vamplew turned over J♣K♥ and the bigger kicker played. Another small pot into the database. -- HS

2.02pm: Nicht for Nitsche
Dominik Nitsche was just forced to fold aces on a J♣K♦9♦K♥9♠ board after four-bet squeezing pre-flop. Dimitrios Mitzas opened for 300 and was min-raised to 500 by Ilkin Amirov. Nitsche four-bet to 1,500 and was called by both players. The flop was checked round before Nitsche bet 2,200 into the turn. Amirov made the call and led 4,500 into the river. Nitsche folded A♣A♠ face up. -- RD

1.57pm: War of words brewing further
Roberto Romanello and Jason Wheeler are continuing the banter after their earlier episode, and there will probably only be one winner there - the Welshman is famed for his chat antics.

Wheeler did manage to take a small pot off the Welshman after he raised and got called by Riekus Hein Wijermars and Romanello. The flop came down 9♠5♦5♣ and Romanello was the only caller to the Amercian's 600 c-bet. The turn was the 9♦ and both players checked to the 6♥ river which Romanello led for 700. Wheeler snap-called with 5♠6♠ for a full house, beating his opponent's T♥T♠. -- MC

1.45pm: Yawn, double-champion, etc.
In the long (and some might say tedious (but not me)) discussion about who is going to be the first two-time EPT champion, the name Mats Gavatin isn't mentioned much. But he took down EPT Dublin in season two, then followed up by winning one of the only Showdown Poker Tour events, and can clearly play a bit.

For all that, he doesn't appear on the EPT much these days, which accounts for his low profile. However he has silently arrived into the day 1A field at EPT Loutraki and has had it good in the opening stages. Gavatin just opened from early position, making it 350 to go. Ioannis Taramas called in the cut off, taking them to a 9♣6♠Q♦ flop.

Gavatin bet 500, Taramas raised to 1,200 and Gavatin called. The turn was the 4♦ and they both checked. The 5♣ rivered, which drew a bet of 2,500 from Gavatin. After Taramas called, Gavatin tabled A♠A♦, which was good.

It's a small field here, and already three former champions -- Kent Lundmark, Roberto Romanello and Gavatin -- have won decent pots. What are the chances? (Nil.) -- HS

1.35pm: Romanello ruckus
"When something happens at the table, you should be honest about it," said Roberto Romanello, still somewhat aggrieved about the ruling that had just taken place at his table.

Romanello had raised a limp to 250 and had bet 200 into the 7♦8♦A♦ flop. His opponent, Georgios Karakoysis, tossed in a 1,000 chip and said raise, quite possibly after the chip had hit the felt. Romanello asked for the floor but there wasn't a common consensus. The chip stood as a raise which Romanello was far from happy about. He made the call.


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Roberto Romanello on day 1A at EPT Loutraki


Karakoysis bet 3,000 into the 9♥ turn. Call. The K♣ river was enough for Karakoysis to push out 13,600. The EPT Prague winner quickly mucked before remonstrating with his table.

"I understand that you're frustrated but don't apply that statement to the whole table," said Jason Wheeler who looked a little offended to have had a backhanded accusation of complicity leveled at him.

Despite the drama things are going okay for Romanello who - word has reached us - doubled up shortly after. Another good start for a reigning EPT champ (Kent Lundmark has done likewise). -- RD

1.20pm: Kastle demolished
We bumped into a shell-shocked looking Casey Kastle in the corridor and he confirmed that his look was because he was out. He explained that he called a raise from Roman Makhlin while sat in the blinds. He then went on to check-call bets on the flop and turn before check-raising all-in on the river.


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Casey Kastle on day 1A of EPT Loutraki


The final board read [j][j][4][t][4] and Kastle's shove was called by the Russian who had jack-ten for a full house. Kastle didn't show but told us that he had ace-jack for a smaller full house. -- MC

LEVEL UP: BLINDS 75-150


1.10pm: Two more on the scrap-heap
Vincent Attal and Robert Cohen have now joined the ranks of the early departed. We'll be done by teatime.

Speaking of which, the plan for today is to play seven one-hour levels, no dinner break. That will of course be repeated tomorrow for day 1B. -- HS

12.53pm: Building house foundations
Pierre Neuville is off to a winning start after making a full house and getting value from his hand. We picked up the action of the turn where the board read A♥3♠9♠9♦. The Friend of PokerStars was in mid position and bet 800 when Ioannis Papadopoylos checked from the big blind. Call.

The river fell 4♥ and Papadopoylos check-called 1,800 bet but mucked up seeing Neuville's 3♣3♦ for a full house. -- MC

12.50pm: Nervy Nanos
Konstantinos Nanos looked carefree on his way to his €285,000 third place at EPT Vienna in October of last year. He smiled, he laughed, he joked. He even occasionally lent back on his chair and put his hands in the air as if he was on a rollercoaster.

He doesn't look so comfortable here on home territory, perhaps the pressure to perform is weighing down on the Greek. He studies his fingernails, he takes a nibble, he looks at them again, nibbles again. Nanos takes a small pot with ace-high and relaxes for a moment, before going back to studying that troublesome fingernail again. -- RD

12.40pm: Bust!
We were wondering on the flight over here what kind of standard of play we would see in Greece. It didn't take long to learn the answer: someone has just busted on the first orbit with ace-ten, all in pre-flop. Kent Lundmark was the man to profit and Paul Ribaud, a French player, is the man down.

Lundmark opened under-the-gun to 325 and Ribaud made it 1,350 two seats to his left. (There was an empty seat between them.) A third player wanted in to this party, calling from the button, taking it back round to Lundmark.

Lundmark, one of a handful of players in today's field aiming for a second EPT title, four-bet to 4,425, which prompted an all in push from Ribaud. The man in the middle got out of the way, but Lundmark double checked his cards and called.

Lundmark: A♠K♠
Ribaud: A♥[10d]

The flop looked pretty grim for Lundmark's chances of double success. It came 3♦5♥[10c]. But the turn and river soon straightened things out. They ran J♦Q♣ and Lundmark's straight gave him 20,000 to really boost his challenge and send Ribaud looking for alternative entertainment. -- HS


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Kent Lundmark in trademark hoody


12.35pm: Zeus will strike you down
The free coffee (tepid, tasteless) outside of the media room comes with a free Zeus lightning bolt stirrer. It's pretty exciting stuff but given that I have a tendency to snap plastic beverage agitators it could be dangerous. Sharp edges.

Poker chips, on the other hand, are round and smooth and lovely and the thing that everyone is after, but you don't want them stuck in your eye either. There's been a slight change in chip domination here with the yellow 5,000 chips being replaced by an electric blue. Exciting stuff. - RD

12.30pm: Interesting table draws
Around a 160 players have taken their seats so far. Each table has eight players sat down but there is room for nine stacks at each table for the late registrations.

Of the 20 tables, two have thrown up tricky draws. Team PokerStars Richard Toth has to navigate his way around EPT London runner-up Steve O'Dwyer, and Shannon Shorr. Over the other side of the spacious tournament room, David Vamplew has Casey Kastle and Kenny Hallert for company. The latter of these won the €300 Turbo last night for € 8,300. -- MC

12.25pm: Cards in the air
Off we go then. A new dawn has broken on Greece. -- HS

11.55am: Civilisation dawns on Loutraki
Good afternoon all and welcome for the first time to Greece. Civilisation first discovered this landmass in something like 30,000 BC but it's taken until 8 EPT* for the poker world to arrive.

We're now on the fifth stop of the eighth season of Europe's premier poker tour, and we're in Loutraki, a seaside resort in Corinthia. The sun, beach and deep blue sea are present, but so, unfortunately, is a howling gale keeping us buried inside Club Hotel Loutraki.

That's fine. The tournament is due to begin at noon local time, which is very shortly. We'll scoot around the tables momentarily to get an idea on who else is here.

Stick with us for the coming five days.

* Real civilisation only began, of course, on the day the John "Zeus" Duthie created the EPT.

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PokerStars Blog reporting gods in Greece: Marc Convey, Rick Dacey and Howard Swains

Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour