EPT Loutraki: Day 1B, Level 1 & 2 updates (75-150)
That's the end of level two, and we are retiring for lunch. Back in a new post in 15 minutes. -- HS
2.10pm: Exploring the Hairabedian enigma
Roger Hairabedian has put together some pretty serious results in recent years, reaching the final table of the EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo in 2010 (seventh for €200,000) before also finishing third at a $10,000 World Series of Poker Europe (€112,000) and ninth at the Partouche Poker Tour main event this week (€70,000). Yet on the plane over here, a few of us were discussing how we don't actually know much about how he plays. Does he just run good, is he a huge bluffer or does he somehow just manage to extract maximum value from big hands?
I'm not sure this latest hand answers our question, but it certainly shows that he's got an unconventional game. He was just involved in a pot with Dimitrios Mparmpathanasis in which the Greek ended up bluffing with the best hand.
Hairabedian limped from early position and Koen De Visscher made it 650 to play on the button. Mparmpathanasis called from the big blind and Hairabedian also called. That took them three way to a Q♣7♥3♦ flop, and Mparmpathanasis checked. Hairabedian bet 600, De Visscher called and then Mparmpathanasis found the check-raise, making it 1,800.
Hairabedian seemed interested, and sure enough he now raised to 4,600. De Visscher got out the way, but Mparmpathanasis was going nowhere, and he tossed out two blue chips worth 5,000 apiece. Hairabedian couldn't fold quickly enough, and a delighted Mparmpathanasis slammed his 8♥8♦ face up on the table.
Hairabedian nodded, and reached for his mucked hand. He flipped over 4♣5♦ for, er, an inside straight draw, five high. --HS
2.05pm: More from the Team Pro stable
Johnny Lodden's day is going about as well as Vanessa Rousso's, but some of his was his own doing. He 5,125 bet on a 6♠9♠5♥3♠Q♣ board was called by Damian Porebski with J♣J♦. Lodden could only table a losing K♦T♠. He's down to 19,000.
Here's how the other Team Pros are getting on:
Jude Ainsworth - 43,000
Theo Joregensen - 37,000
Randy Lew - 32,000
Arnaud Mattern - 16,000
Eugene Katchalov - 23,000
2.03pm: Word from Rousso
Vanessa Rousso hasn't enjoyed the best start to a tournament as highlighted by her recent tweet:
"Tough start to EPT Greece for me...AK v AA on K high board plus missing w a ton of pocket pairs...18k left of 30k start stack" - @VanessaRousso
Rousso is sat in seat seven of her table and in seat one is heavyweight MMA fighter Heath Herring, a man to whom you might not want to threaten to knock out just in case he takes it the wrong way. -- RD
1.55pm: Table for two
The Jude Ainsworth v Theo Jorgensen show continues, and any experienced poker observer can see exactly how many pots the two of them are playing by glancing at the distribution of green chips around the table. The green chip is the lowest denomination - worth 25 tournament units - and so it's used primarily for blinds and antes. If you've got a lot of them, you're probably picking up a lot of pots uncontested pre-flop.
At the moment, not long into level two, Ainsworth has a tower of more than 20 green chips; Jorgensen has about 18; Jan Collado has something like 13 or 14 and NO ONE else on the table has more than three. In short, those three players are by some measure the most willing to get their chips in early and they are both speculating and accumulating.
That's not to say they're getting out of one another's way. Jorgensen and Ainsworth just played consecutive pots against one another, both going in the favour of the Irishman. On the first, Ainsworth raised to 375 from UTG+1 and Jorgensen called in the small blind. They both checked the flop of 2♣5♥5♦, as they did the turn of 6♣. Jorgensen also didn't much fancy the K♣ river, meaning Ainsworth's bet of 450 took it down.
On the next hand, Ainsworth raised to 400 under the gun. Jorgensen three bet to 1,175 from the small blind and when Ainsworth called, it was a table for two again. The flop came 7♣J♥6♦ and Jorgensen check-called Ainsworth's 1,500 bet.
They both checked the 7♥ turn, but Jorgensen was forced to check-fold the A♦ river when Ainsworth bet 4,250.
Of course, the next hand found Jorgensen on the button and Ainsworth in the big blind, and it seemed worthwhile hanging around to see how that one played out. However, from mid-position, Georgios Yiangou opened to 375 and it was pretty much snap folded all the way round, including Jorgensen and Ainsworth.
Yiangou shrugged, as if surprised and disappointed that at least one of them wouldn't give him a spin. But despite how it might appear, their aggression is measured. They play on their own terms. -- HS
1.44pm: Chasing a flush?
Former EPT Grand Final winner and SCOOP bracelet holder Nicolas Chouity is part hidden behind a large plaster across his nose. We're not going to ask him if he inflicted a bad beat on somebody, in case that's what you were thinking.
He's up to 38,000 chips after Boyan Bonev called a raise pre-flop, a bet on the flop and a bet on the turn. The final board read 6♣K♣4♦5♥K♥ and Chouity had bet 4,600 on the turn and 4,400 on the river. Bonev called the first bet quickly and folded at the same speed on the river. -- MC
1.38pm: Ainsworth off to a solid start
If you'd like to see the EPT Loutraki chip counts for Day 1B then just click on that hyperlink. We'll be tracking the big names and notables from the start and filtering in the bigger stacks as they emerge later in the day.
Among those noted are Randy Lew who has inched his way up to 32,000. -- RD
1.30pm: Collado gets some back
Jan Collado doesn't seem the player to dwell on past hands. When you play as aggressively as he does there will always be someone waiting to pick off bluffs, just like Jude Ainsworth did.
There was a limp before the German raised to 600 and Theo Jorgensen three-bet to 1,500. Collado was having no of it though and four-bet to 3,700. The Danish Team PokerStars Pro made a reluctant looking fold to drop to 34,000. Collado is back up to 22,000. -- MC
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 75-150
1.19pm: Ainsworth off to a solid start
Irishman Jude Ainsworth is up to 38,000 after clashing with German Jan Collado. On a board of 2♦4♦A♥A♦ Ainsworth led for 900 and was raised to 2,500. Ainsworth made the call and checked the 6♦ river over to Collado who bet 2,600. Ainsworth made the call and Collado instantly mucked. -- RD
1.15pm: It's going to be a long day
As expected, it's all kicking off on table Jorgensen, Ainsworth and Collado with each of them itching to be involved in just about every pot. Ainsworth has taken a couple with pre-flop aggression (and a c-bet taking it down if that doesn't work) and Jorgensen has also just strong-armed Tiobor Nagygyoergy out.
Nagygyoergy is in the unfortunate position of having Collado to his right and Jorgensen to his left, and he attempted to fight fire with fire. It didn't work. After Collado opened from the cut off, Nagygyoergy called from the button. Jorgensen made it 1,000 from the small blind, which persuaded Collado out the way.
Nagygyoergy now three-bet to 2,750, but Jorgensen immediately counted out a 7,500 four-bet. Nagygyoergy tanked and tanked but then folded. He's in a hellish spot. -- HS
1.10pm: Family duels
The best fights can be fights between family members; all smiles to the outside world but vicious when they decide to battle. Can the same be said for members of the PokerStars family?
Team PokerStars Pros Arnaud Mattern and Eugene Katchalov are sat at table one, with the latter in position. Just one table across on table two sits Randy "nanonoko" Lew from Team Online and Johnny Lodden from the live team.
These two tables will not break today so we look forward to how these key battles will evolve. One player who doesn't know or care about the latter two's reputation is Agris Klaise. He three-bet from the cut-off after Lodden had raised from under the gun and Lew had called from seats further along. He got respect though as both of them folded. -- MC
12.55pm: Big name
Yesterday we were bigging up Konstantinos Nanos as one of the biggest names in Greek poker. But in more ways than one, Nanos has nothing on Athanasios Polychronopoulos. The latter not only has 25 letters in his name, versus a meagre 17 for Nanos, but Polychronopoulos won a World Series of Poker bracelet in Las Vegas this summer, the first from these parts to win the bling.
Polychronopoulos beat a field of 2,713 players to earn that bracelet in a $1,500 no limit hold 'em event - a victory worth $650,223. Also on the final table was a little known German named Pius Heinz, who would go on to win the Main Event and be crowned World Champion.
Much like Heinz, Polychronopoulos appears to be far more than a flash in the pan. He also made the final table of the Master Classics in Amsterdam this month, finishing fourth for $144,018. He's hogging most of the limelight of the Greek press this afternoon, but now the whole world is watching. -- HS
12.42pm: MacPhee starts again
Kevin MacPhee is back at the EPT and looking for another shot at a second title. The American bust out in ninth place at EPT San Remo for €63,694 and made no bones about how disappointed he was to have bust out (cue Twitter storm). Here's a more gentle tweet from MacPhee:
"New chips, 7 handed tables and people folding hands face up... I think I am going to like this tournament!"
Although he's looking very settled at a table with no standout players that I recognised - always a good starting point - he is down a small amount from his 30,000 starting stack. -- RD
12.35pm: No early trip up for Rettenmaier
Marvin Rettenmaier is a player who doesn't like to hang around and was in one of the first hands at his table. He bet 350 on a 3♦6♣3♠ flop after he three opponents checked to him. He soon folded when there was a check-raise and call behind him. It was just as well as the player in the big blind had trip threes with 7♠3♣.
Rettenmaier has played almost every major live MTT in Europe this year as he aims to become European player on the year. He's near the top of the rankings and every tournament he can play before the end of 2011 can earn him valuable points. -- MC
12.25pm: Late regs and breaking tables
The tables are breaking from the top down so Mick Graydon's table number 25 is likely to be the first to break, unless there's a large glut of players late registering. Play is set up to be eight-handed at the moment to allow the late regs to be spread across nine-handed play. That make sense? Good.
There are 165 players currently on the board. -- RD
12.15pm: Away we go
We're off. By some measure the most immediately attractive table this afternoon features the Team PokerStars Pro duo of Theo Jorgensen and Jude Ainsworth, as well as the young German tyro Jan Collado. All three of those guys are in the overlapping intersection of "fiercely aggressive" and "darn good". Expect pyrotechnics. -- HS
12pm: Set to start
The clock is currently frozen on "Level 1, 60:00". Around 30% of the seats of some 23 tables are occupied with a steady stream of players filtering past the security guards at the door towards those remaining seats and chip stacks. We're expecting a larger turnout today than yesterday's 145 (standard Day 1B behaviour). Give it 15 minutes and we'll (probably) be up and running. -- RD
11.45am: The same but different
Morning all, and welcome back to Loutraki. Weather report: it's bright and sunny in Greece today. Thought you'd be interested.
It doesn't matter a great deal to all of us here as our focus of attention is downstairs in the conference room where we're eagerly anticipating the arrival of the players for day 1B of the inaugural EPT Loutraki.
In case you missed it yesterday, there were 145 players who showed up for day 1A, of whom the German player Julian Herold bagged up the most. There will likely be a larger field today, and we'll find out the payout structure, etc., once everyone is paid up.
Expected in the field today: a smattering of Team PokerStars Pros including Johnny Lodden, Theo Jorgensen, Arnaud Mattern, Jude Ainsworth, Toni Judet and Eugene Katchalov. Also Randy "nanonoko" Lew will be peeling himself out of cyberspace and planting himself at only one table. We'll see how long he can last there.
Plenty more to follow, so stay tuned. Cards are due in the air at noon, so join us not a minute after 12.30pm.
Drinking the ambrosia on the summit of Olympus: Marc Convey, Rick Dacey and Howard Swains.