EPT Loutraki: Day 1B, Level 5 - 7 updates (250-500, 50 ante)
8.10pm: Day done; Puccini leads
They're bagging up, and it looks like Mario Puccini is leading overnight with 159,150. Full wrap to follow.
7.55pm: End of the day is near
There is around 15 minutes left of the day. We'll be down on the tournament for for that period, tracking down the big stacks and looking out for last-minute stories to publish. -- MC
7.45pm: He's qualified
Vitalijs Zavorotnijs is up to 110,000 after a set-over-set scenario. We reached the table as the chips were being slid to the PokerStars qualifier after his K♦K♠ beat Anestis Pantazidis's 8♠8♦. The final board read 8♥A♥9♦K♥4♠ and we're not sure when the chips went in. -- MC
7.25pm: More action from that table
Jens Thorson passed me on the way into tournament room and he told us that he's been eliminated. No more details than that I'm afraid.
A moment later Jude Ainsworth was at risk as well after he was all in, but he managed to double up. Jan Collado raised to 1,125 before the Team PokerStars Pro three-bet to 2,700 from the small blind. Collado asked the Irishman how much he had and when he found out it was 21,150 he four-bet shoved. Snap call.
The board ran 8♥Q♠T♥6♥4♦. Collado dropped to 84,000 after the loss. -- MC
7.21pm: Greek challenge
The video blog team catch up with some of the local talent.
7pm: Juggernaut Judet
We're entering the final level of the day, and the probable chip leader at this stage is the Team PokerStars Pro from Romania, Toni Judet. While the Ainsworth table has been hogging most of our attention in the very middle of the tournament floor, Judet has been quietly chipping up on table 10, tucked against the wall.
Judet has 150,000 at this stage and says that his pivotal hand came relatively early, in level three. He flopped a set of fives on a king-high board and picked off big slick, doubling to about 80,000 at that time.
It's been ever upward since then, and he's looking remarkably happy. -- HS
LEVEL UP. PLAYING 250-500, 50 ANTE IN LEVEL 7
6.55pm: Mattern and Thorson bust
Arnaud Mattern's tournament challenge has come to an end after he shoved all-in on a K♠7♦T♦J♦4♣ board into Ioannis Mperis who made the call with A♣Q♦ for the Broadway straight. Mattern mucked and was left with 2,750, which found itself into the middle shortly after.
The French Team Pro pushed those remaining big blins across the line from an under-the-gun position and was called by... Mperis.
The board bricked out for both players leaving Mperis' ace-high to scoop the pot. Mattern wished the table luck and left the tournament room. William Thorson has also bust out. -- RD
6.45pm: It pays to have position
Mario Puccini is up to 130,000 chips. He raised to 1,000 from early position and called when Zoltan Purak three-bet to 2,800 from the big blind.
The flop fell 9♠3♠T♦ and Purak led for 3,500. Call. The turn was the 6♠ and there was no slowing down Hungarian who fired for 5,800. Call.
The river came J♦ and Purak slowed to a check and was taken off the pot by a 13,800 bet by the German PokerStars qualifier. -- MC
6.37pm: Graydon's long journey
Mick Graydon long journey to Loutraki has mirrored his tournament progress so far; long, jerky and arduous. Graydon set out from Dublin, Ireland around midday yesterday and didn't arrive here until 2am, some 14 hours later (partly thanks to a layover in Paris).
Graydon was down to 7,000 from his starting 30,000 stack within minutes of the whistle blowing today and it's been another tough slog for him. Somehow he's chipped back up to 37,000 just edging past the average. -- RD
6.35pm: Latorre nibbles at Chouity
Toni Judet is flying the highest of all players in the Team PokerStars Pro livery here, despite the stiff competition from the likes of Johnny Lodden and the boy Ainsworth. Judet, from Romania, is sitting with about 92,000 at the moment.
His more immediate challengers -- ie, his tablemates -- include Nicolas Chouity, but the former Grand Final champion is not having the best of days. From a stack of about 44,000, Chouity raised to 1,000 from mid-position, picking up a call from Judet on the button and Norberto Latorre in the big blind.
The flop came A♥7♣2♦ and after Latorre checked, Chouity bet 1,300. That was enough to get Judet out of the pot, but Latorre stayed for the ride. The A♦ turned and the check, bet, call pattern played out again, this time for 2,200.
The 4♦ came on the river and Latorre checked for a third time. Chouity bet 6,350 and Latorre called once more. Chouity looked crestfallen and tabled what looked like pocket tens. It might have been ace-ten (I didn't actually see it clearly) but either way it was behind Latorre's A♠Q♦. -- HS
6.30pm: They all count
Eugene Katchalov is up to 28,000 after winning a small pot. They all count when you have less than your starting stack though. The action was three-way to the turn where the board read 7♣7♦A♥T♦ after the flop had been checked. Katchalov led for 1,500 and was only called by Konstantinos Karelas in the next seat along.
Both players checked the 2♣ river and the Ukrainian opened T♣8♣. It was good for the pot as his opponent mucked. -- MC
6.25pm: A few chips counts
Nicolas Chouity -- 56,000
Salman Behbehani -- 36,000
Mick Graydon -- 37,000
Marvin Rettenmaier -- 25,000
Byron Kaverman -- 44,000
Arnaud Mattern -- 27,500
Kevin MacPhee -- 56,000
William Thorson -- 7,000
Jeff Sarwer -- 45,000
Toni Judet -- 92,000
6.15pm: Lodden races to a double
Johnny Lodden paused his FIFA 12 game to secure a double-up through Panagiotis Gavriilidis. The man from Greece raised to 1,000 from under the gun and then four-bet all-in when Lodden three-bet to 2,500 from two seats along. The Norwegian Team PokerStars Pro made the call all-in for 16,775.
The board ran K♥9♣3♣9♥2♦ to make Lodden the better two-pair. -- MC
6.05pm: Ainsworth avoids Jorgensen
Shortly after making that flush with pocket aces (see below) Jude Ainsworth opened to 950 from early position and found one caller in Theo Jorgensen, who had opted to defend his big blind.
Ainsworth c-bet 1,500 into the 3♥A♠5♣ flop and Jorgensen check-raised to 3,100. The Irishman moved out the way. Jorgensen chips back up to 25,000. Ainsworth still over 60,000.
In other news, Phillipe Plouffe, eighth place finisher at this year's PCA, has just bust out. -- RD
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 200-400 50
6pm: More from the table of excellence
This is not just hyperbole: we have a table here on day 1B of EPT Loutraki that is more stacked with talent that just about any final table across the world. It started with Theo Jorgensen, Jude Ainsworth and Jan Collado, and it now still has all of those three, but with added Jens Thorson and Mohsin "chicagocards1" Charania. And all of them are getting involved.
Collado, as noted below, is the chip leader of the entire tournament, but not to be outdone, Ainsworth and Jorgensen have just taken down sizeable pots to keep their challenges well and truly alive.
On the first hand, Jude Ainsworth opened from early position (he does this pretty much every hand) and was three-bet by Paul Kerr in the hijack seat. It was folded back to Ainsworth, who four-bet to 4,500 and Kerr five-bet shoved for something in the region of 22,000. Ainsworth quickly checked his cards and called.
Advantage Ainsworth, but Kerr was given more than a glimmer of hope. The flop was 5♦7♠3♠ (irrelevant) but the [10s] on the turn seemed to have give Kerr the come-from-behind victory. But no sooner had the door cracked open than it was slammed shut. The 9♠ rivered, filling Ainsworth's flush, and Kerr was done.
Ainsworth stacked up about 85,000.
The very next hand was folded to the short-stacked Jorgensen on the button, and he put in a standard opening raise of 775. Thorson called from the small blind and Ainsworth also called in the big.
The three of them saw a flop of 9♣J♣5♠ and Thorson led for 650. Ainsworth called pretty swiftly, but Jorgensen then moved all in for his last 10,500.
The decision was back on Thorson and after a minute or two, he decided to call from a stack of about 28,000. Ainsworth, who usually acts in the blink of an eye, sat back and thought about his decision for a good long while.
Eventually Ainsworth let it go, which meant that it was Thorson's J♦8♦ against Jorgensen's Q♥Q♦. When the [10c] turned, Ainsworth winced in pain. "I had clubs," he said. "I had the ace-four of clubs."
Both Thorson and Jorgensen breathed a sigh of relief. The former moves back into the mid 20,000s; Thorson has less but is still alive. -- HS
5.45pm: German domination
Mario Puccini is the second German today to break six figures. The PokerStars qualifier eliminated fellow qualifier Christos Patras with pocket fives to ace-queen. The flop had an ace and a five on it but most of the chips went in on the river. -- MC
5.43pm: Collado gifted a six-figure stack
The EPT has been a successful hunting ground for Jan Collado: he's made five cashes and one final table including a ninth place $175,000 finish at the PCA. It's looking to be another good run for him here in Greece.
Collado opened under-the-gun and picked up three callers; Paul Kerr (small blind), Georgios Yiangou (big blind) and Tiobor Nagygyoergy (early position). Kerr checked the Q♥J♥K♥ flop but Yiangou bet 2,750. Collado raised to 7,000 and found a call in Nagygyoergy and Yiangou.
The 3♠ was a major blank. Yiangou checked and Collado bet 11,000. Nagygyoergy shook his head and passed, Yiangou played with his prayer beads for a little while before making the call.
The Q♣ river paired the board and Yiangou checked over to Collado. The young German set Yiangou all-in for his remaining 18,000. The Greek took his time making the call, but eventually pushed his chips across the line.
Collado is now up to 110,000. Maybe if you're at the point of having to reach for prayer beads you should ask yourself if you really want to call? -- RD
5.35pm: Rousso put out of her misery
Vanessa Rousso's painful day has come to an end. The Team PokerStars Pro's final Tweet on the main event read: "Out. Guy raises and I ship 6k w 99 and a third player behind me wakes up w JJ :( never had the best hand all day...side events begin tmrw!" --MC
5.30pm: Chipping away at the deficit
If you've picked up a paper in the past few months, you'll no doubt be aware that the Greece economy has seen better days. In short, the country is about £910 trillion overdrawn on their Abbey National Young Saver account and has been forced to borrow a few quid from its mum, which it will pay back by washing cars at the scout hut. At least that's the gist.
All that said, there's one place that Greece is looking positively robust. And that place is the EPT nationalities pie-chart for EPT Loutraki, where, it has been exclusively revealed, Hellenic players are represented by by far the widest slice of pie.
As you can see below, 31% of the field here in Greece is Greek. After that, 9% is Bulgarian, 6% is Spanish, 5% is British and, well, see below. -- HS
5.25pm: Eliminations are speeding up
Vitaly Lunkin's day came to a premature end after he was ousted by Zoltan Purak. The Russian should have known not to mess with the Zoltan!
Other players who fell this level included: Boyan Asenov, Bill Kontaratos, Yordan Mitrentsov, Evangelos Bechrakis, Andrey Gulyy and Frederik Jensen. -- MC
5.20pm: Thorson lays down the hammer
William Thorson is back in the game with a double-up after a day where all we witnessed from him was bet-folding. He's on 20,000 chips now after his ace-queen bettered Ramon Cserei's king-jack. All the chips went in on a Q♥T♠7♣ flop and the board ran out 7♦8♦. -- MC
5.10pm: And the "fun" continues
As the Collado pot below was playing out, Vanessa Rousso was also involved in a hand on a neighbouring table. This one had got to the flop with about 3,000 in the middle. The three players involved at this stage were Heath Herring, David Elyashar and Rousso.
The board was 4♦2♥[10d] and after Herring checked, Elyashar bet 2,600. Rousso called. The turn was 7♦ and Elyashar bet another 2,600, which Rousso again called. The river was Q♣ and Elyashar upped his bet, making it 3,500 to go this time. Rousso took a good long think before folding, only to be shown Q♦Q♥ for and overpair to the board that had rivered trips.
Rousso didn't show the table, but took straight to Twitter. "And the fun continues! JJ v QQ on ten high flop...7k left." she wrote. -- HS
5.05pm: Collado on cruise control
Jan Collado is easing up the chip count page and now has about 66,000. He just out-muscled Paul Kerr in a recent pot with the young German reaping the benefit of some strong-arm tactics.
Kerr opened from late position and Collado called from the small blind and it was just those two to a flop of A♥9♠7♦. Collado checked, Kerr bet 2,100. Collado raised to 6,000 and Kerr now made it 15,000. Collado then shoved, for about 48,000 and covering Kerr. The British player took a good long while pondering this one, but let it go. Collado opted not to "show the bluff" despite encouragement from everyone around the table. -- HS
5pm: Level 5 under way
We're more than halfway through today's play, with just three more levels left to play. The following players all departed in the last level:
Wai Kwan Yuen, Maroun Jazzar, Ioannis Gkotsis, Santiago Terrazas, Yaron Shtaigmann, Dimitar Danchev (pictured), Nikolaos Segredakis. -- MC
Drinking the ambrosia on the summit of Olympus: Marc Convey, Rick Dacey and Howard Swains.