EPT Loutraki: Day 2, level 8 & 9 updates (400-800, 100 ante)
3.05pm: Ainsworth's wristband conspires against him
There are all kinds of hazards around a poker table, particularly one stacked with as much talent as there is on table 19 at the moment. Johnny Lodden? McLean Karr? Rupert Elder? All tough cookies. But Jude Ainsworth just lost a big pot after he fell victim to his own player wristband.
Here's what happened: Ainsworth opened from early position to 1,700. Tibor Nagygyoergy called from the button and Andrzej Kwiatkowski also called from the big blind. That took them to a flop of 3♥7♣5♥ and Kwiatkowski checked. Ainsworth bet 3,600 and Nagygyoergy was the only caller.
But the danger for Ainsworth had been lying in wait, wrapped around his own right wrist. As the Team PokerStars Pro had returned his hand after making his flop bet, the loose, flailing end of his plastic, player wristband had slid beneath one of his hole cards.
That meant that when Ainsworth reached for chips after the 6♥ turn (as he invariably does), the wristband accidentally flipped one of Ainsworth's cards over onto the felt. Ainsworth quickly covered it over when he saw what had happened, but he feared it was too late.
"Did you see that?" he said to Nagygyoergy. The Hungarian player assessed his options for answering that question but eventually replied with: "I'm better than you," implying that he had seen the card. "But you can try," he encouraged Ainsworth, who seemed keen to continue and bet.
Ainworth did indeed try, much to the amusement of his tablemates. (It seems that even the clear statement that he is behind will not deter the aggressive Irishman.) Ainsworth bet 6,000, but after Nagygyoergy insta-raised to 15,000, Ainsworth snap folded.
Nagygyoergy then showed 7♥7♦ for flopped top set. Ainsworth chuckled at his own misfortune, and immediately asked for some scissors to trim his plastic adversary back to size. -- HS
3.05pm: Railing Judet
Toni Judet is up to 190,000 and is well stuck into the chip lead race. Judet has had a few runs into the EPT money spots but only one deep finish: 16th at EPT Vienna, Season 7 for €20,000.
A player that seems to be on the tighter side--at least at the moment--Judet is unlikely to dust off those chips anytime soon. Especially if he continues to play as he was when I railed him for his last orbit.
Hand one: Judet passes from middle position
Hand two: Judet passes from early position
Hand three: Judet passes under-the-gun
Hande four: Judet passes in the big blind
Hand five: Judet passes in the small blind
Hand six: Judet passes on the button
Hand seven: Judet passes from the cut-off
Hand eight: Judet passes from the hijack
Hand nine: does not take place because the table breaks
Meanwhile, Andrew Teng was getting knocked out by Roberto Romanello but I didn't see it, glued as I was to Judet's raising antics. -- RD
3pm: Don't celebrate too early, Lolis
Grigorios Lolis let out a big celebratory yelp and left his seat after he had seen that he'd flopped top set. By the time he turned back to the table he was out and a little distraught.
He three-bet his last 34,000 chips with Q♣Q♥ from the small blind after Peter Staudacher opened from the button with A♦K♦. The flop that caused the reaction from Lolis was 3♦Q♦J♠, but the board ran out a Staudacher friendly 4♦2♦. -- MC
2.50pm: O'Dwyer's aces cracked
EPT London runner-up Steve O'Dwyer is down to 10,000 chips after his pocket aces lost out to Jason Wheeler. All the chips went in on a 4♥9♣6♣ flop.
O'Dwyer tabled A♠A♦, behind to Wheeler's 4♣4♦ for bottom set. The board ran out Q♦T♦. -- MC
2.35pm: Here's Johnny, here's quads
Heinz Kamutzi and Salman Behbehani may have left table 19, but it doesn't get any easier over there. Johnny Lodden sat down in the seat vacated by Kamutzi - and promptly doubled up. He found 9♥7♠ in the small blind - that's a Lodden hand if ever there was one - and by the time the board had run, the 5♠9♠9♣9♦6♣ were in the middle, alongside all of Lodden's chips and the vast majority of Kyri Patsalos's.
Lodden stacked up 89,000 after that, which is probably his high point for this tournament. With Jude Ainsworth and McLean Karr to his immediate right, and Rupert Elder at the other end of the table, Lodden is probably eyeing another potential revenue stream -- HS
2.30pm: Value bet?
Salman Behbehani made a great call last night with ace-jack high but we didn't get to include it in the coverage as we were wrapping up the end of day chip counts. This left him a little disappointed today as his buddies didn't believe him.
Behbehani just made another big call with the same hand (he confirmed this after as he didn't show down his hand), so it's only fair we cover this one.
He was heads-up with McLean Karr to the river of a 4♥8♦8♠2♥9♣ board. Karr led out for 35,000 which was enough to set Behbehani all-in. He called, laughed, and then mucked when Karr tabled A♣Q♦ to eliminate him. "Was that a value bet?" asked another player? Karr just nodded. -- MC
2.25pm: Double knockout
There was a knockout each from the neighbouring tables one and four, with Mick Graydon departing the former and Ignat Liviu leaving the latter. Graydon got all his chips in pre-flop (about 15,000) with A♠Q♠ but couldn't win the race against Robert Cezarescu's pocket sevens. As for Liviu, he shoved for about 13,500 with Q♦Q♠ but ran into Matthias Kurtz's A♣A♦. Them's the breaks. -- HS
2.20pm: Vamplew squeezes
David Vamplew is battling his way back towards an average stack after squeezing a Walid Bou-Habib 1,800 open and a Steve O'Dwyer call. Vamplew's 5,200 three-bet was enough to take the pot. The EPT London winner is up to 40,000. -- RD
2.15pm: MacPhee on the move
Kevin MacPhee is up to 115,000 after he won a race to eliminate Konstantinos Karelas.
There was an early position raise to 1,600 that MacPhee and one other called before Karelas three-bet all-in for 24,400 from the big blind. MacPhee was the only caller to set up a showdown.
The board ran 2♦3♦J♣Q♣7♠ to pair the American's queen. -- MC
2.10pm: "I get a lot of good hands"
So said McLean Karr just after tabling A♣K♥ against Heinz Kamutzki's A♠[10s] three-bet shove. Karr flopped a king to rake in the German's 10,000 stack to move up to 80,000. -- RD
2.05pm: Two stable players depart
Eugene Katchalov and Pierre Neuville were two early casualties of the new level. We don't have the details of how the Team PokerStars Pro busted but the Friend of PokerStars ran ace-queen into kings for his last 8,000 chips. -- MC
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 400-800, 100
1.34pm: Break time
The players are on a short break before level nine begins. The 25 denomination chips are being raced off and taken out of play.-- MC
1.32pm: One for Karr, one for Marquez
At the lively table McLean Karr won a small pot in the dying minutes of the level after flatting a middle position raise from Rupert Elder with A♦K♦. Elder held A♣Q♦. Both player checked the 9♥9♣8♣ flop before Elder stabbed 2,300 at the 6♠ turn. Karr called and both players checked the 9♦ river. Elder drops to 82,000, Karr continues to climb back up after losing that large flip to Ainsworth.
Ana Marquez is going about her business more quietly and barrelled a 7♥6♣2♣6♦ board to chip back up to 40,000. -- RD
1.29pm: Another couple of bust outs
Another player to bust is former EPT champion Kent Lundmark. The word on the tournament floor is that he ran top set into a flopped straight.
He was followed out of the door by Chris Moorman who's pocket sixes couldn't stay ahead of an opponents ace-king. -- MC
1.27pm: Sarwer bust with aces, again
Jeff Sarwer can never seem to get aces to hold up in an EPT. Most of the time he gets his chips in pre-flop, but this time he had more information available to him before he called all-in.
It seemed as if Sarwer has raised from under the gun and was called by Frederic Hebette and Stefanos Pothoulakis before a K♥T♦8♣ flop was revealed.
Sarwer continued for 2,600 and raised up to 7,100 by Hebette before Pothoulakis shoved for 44,000. Sarwer tank-called and that forced Pothoulakis out of the way. Pothoulakis opened K♦T♠ for two-pair, beating Sarwer's A♥A♣. The board ran out 7♦3♦. -- MC
1.15pm: Suspicious minds
Roger Hairabedian and Mick Graydon (as well as six or seven reporters, one dealer and one floorman) have just been involved in a hand that has definite echoes of one featuring Ivan Freitez at the EPT Grand Final last year. That hand had the whiff of an angle-shoot about it, where Freitez "accidentally" put too many chips into the pot when he said "call", forcing a floorman into making his bet go as mandatory min-raise. Freitez had the nuts at the time, so was wanting to make sure he got maximum value.
Anyhow, there's absolutely nothing provable about the hand we've just witnessed here, but certainly allegations were flying around that Hairabedian had just "pulled a Freitez". Here's what happened:
Thomas Hagmann opened from early position to 1,350 and it was folded to Graydon on the button. Graydon raised to 3,650 and the action moved to Hairabedian in the small blind. Almost simultaneously, Hairabedian said "call" but put in a stack of chips that amounted to something like 8,300. Then things kicked off.
Was this a raise? Or was it a call? A floorman was brought over to arbitrate, and in this instance he said that this went as only a call as Hairabedian's verbal declaration was binding. Hagmann called, so it was three of them to a flop, each paying 3,650, ie, Graydon's raise.
The flop came Q♦4♣9♥ and Hagmann checked. Graydon tossed out a solitary blue chip, worth 5,000, and Hairabedian insta-raised to 19,000. Hagmann folded and when the action came back to Graydon, he turned over K♦K♥ and folded them.
"His angle shoot cost him," said Graydon. Hairabedian flicked his cards hastily into the muck, with most observers thinking they concealed two aces. -- HS
1.10pm: Good call from Elder
Rupert Elder led 4,900 into the river of a A♦J♥4♦8♦6♦ board out of the big blind into aggressive Irishman Jude Ainsworth (yes, him again). Ainsworth, as per usual, plucked out raising chips and made it 14,800. This was not a welcome course of action for Elder who looked more than a little aggrieved, sporting a pained simpering grin. Eventually he tossed in the call, looking half-expectant that he'd been shown the winning hand. He wasn't.
"Good call," said Ainsworth, but neither player showed their hand.
"You got a diamond?" asked Ainsworth who had suddenly thought twice about mucking without showdown.
"Yes," replied Elder, who showed J♦Q♠ to scoop the pot to chip up to 90,000, Ainsworth down to 80,000.
"So many levels. What's going on?" said Salman Behbehani with a shake of his head. -- RD
1pm: Puccini sees poker as art
Mario Puccini has broken the 200,000-chip mark after he eliminated Ari Kliper. The two were heads-up to a 9♣7♦K♣ flop after a three-bet pre-flop.
Kliper was the aggressor and continued for 6,200. Puccini raised to 12,900 and called when the Israeli shoved for around 30,000. Kliper tabled K♦Q♣ for top pair but was behind to the PokerStars qualifier's two-pair with 9♦7♠. Things only got worse for him as the board ran out 4♠9♥ to make Puccini a full house. -- MC
12.50pm: The departed
If you're a supporter of Theodoros Choyntalas, Klodian Nako, Konstantinos Nanos, Adria Balaguer, Damian Porebski, Nikolaos Skiadas, Panagiotis Aravantinos, Anton Asenov, Kenny Hallaert, Ioannis Triantafyllakis, Yossi Maymon, Ioannis Athanassiades, Stefan Raffay, Andrey Markov, Nichan Khorchidian, Tonio Roder, Igor Kutsevol or Bryn Kenney, then I have bad news for you. Your player didn't make it through the first level of day two.
However, if you're a fan of accurate spelling of names, then it's probably for the best. -- HS
12.45pm: Karr runs over Ainsworth
There is one table that leaps out at you as you walk into the tournament room. It's loud and filled with talent; McLean Karr, Jude Ainsworth, Heinz Kamutzki, Salman Behbehani and Rupert Elder all seem to be enjoying the action. Okay, perhaps not Ainsworth given the following hand, but there's plenty of laughter.
Kamutzki had just doubled up to 10,000 after shoving J♠9♦ into the pocket threes of Kristian Edvardsen and flopping a jack when Karr opened under-the-gun to 1,400. Irish Team PokerStars Pro Ainsworth opted to three-bet from the next seat along to 3,500 and the action folded back around to the American who four-bet to 8,475.
Now it was back on Ainsworth. The merriment finally died down, poker back on the agenda as two big players shaped up for war. The Irishman pulled back all but one of his three-bet chips and tossed out a five-bet of 16,000. Karr announced he was all-in. No snap-fold from Ainsworth who had best part of 45,000 behind. He eventually opted to pass as Karr chipped up to around 120,000. - RD
*News fresh in from photographer Neil Stoddart: Ainsworth has just doubled through Karr to 90,000 after getting queens in against ace-king.
12.38pm: Ainsworth talks
12.35pm: Lodden off to a winning start
Johhny Lodden has more than 50,000 chips now after winning a three-bet pot off PokerStars qualifier Pierre Mothes.
The Team PokerStars Pro raised and called when Mothes three-bet to 3,400 from the next seat along. The flop was spread as 7♥Q♦4♣ and Mothes continued for 6,225. Loddon check-called before both players checked the 3♠ turn. The river fell 2♦ and Lodden took over the initiative in the hand when he led for 12,800. His German opponent couldn't stand the heat and folded. -- MC
12.25pm:Hallaert succumbs first
Kenny Hallaert wasn't the first player out today, but was first to bust from Table 19. He raised once but folded to a McLean Karr three-bet. A few hands later he raised for a second time, and was three-bet for a second time. This time it was Jude Ainsworth that three-bet. The Belgian had enough and four-bet all-in for around 20,000. and the Team PokerStars Pro called to create a showdown.
The board ran out A♠Q♠2♠5♣8♥. The Irishman had a sweat but held on to eliminate the Belgian, and in doing so, probably diluted the quality at the table slightly. -- MC
12.15pm: We're off
Play has begun as we play down through the remaining 232 players from the combined day one field of 336. The payout structure has just reached us and we'll be bashing that into an internet friendly shape and getting it online for you shortly. -- RD
11.50am: Quick catch up
If you're after a quick catch up of yesterday's action you can either watch this video (sketchy, rambling) or read last night's wrap of Day 1B of EPT Loutraki (thorough, wordy).
11.30am: Morning all
Morning all, welcome back to Loutraki for day two of the first EPT event to reach these shores. There were 102 survivors from day 1A and 130 from day 1B, meaning for the first time we will see all our remaining field in one place. There are 232 of them and their aim is to last through what is scheduled to be five 75-minute levels. (That is subject to change, but I doubt it.)
Today's seat draw was published last night, and it's worth scanning through that. There are some pretty tasty tables there (I advise looking at No 19 for starters.)
Play will start today at noon, so stick with us.
PokerStars Blog's Grecian delights: Rick Dakos, Moussaka Convey and Halloumi Swains.