EPT Loutraki: Day 3, level 15 & 16 (2,000-4,000, 500 ante)

ept-thumb-promo.jpg6pm: Vamplew survives bubble drama
David Vamplew was staring at elimination on the bubble. He was the man under threat from the first called all in of hand-for-hand play. Jason Wheeler had opened to 8,500, Vamplew made it 19,500 and Wheeler shoved, covering Vamplew's 150,000-odd. Vamplew called.

At that point the tournament was paused to make sure all the participants from the side events, all the other players in the main event, anyone with a faked media wristband, anyone in Loutraki with a camera, anyone from the surrounding islands with a pencil, four dogs, 11 chickens and Konstantinos Alexiou in a fetching orange jumper/trousers combination the tournament director could approach the table to watch the action.

At this point, Vamplew and Wheeler quietly agreed a saver of €1,500 should one of them bust, and they eventually then flipped their cards.

Vamplew: A♦K♦
Wheeler: Q♦Q♠

They were racing, but it was Vamplew who not only needed to hit, but who was also at risk.

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Jason Wheeler and David Vamplew

He soon breathed a little easier on the flop of 9♣K♣4♥ and neither of Wheeler's outs came on the 6♠ turn or the 6♦ river. That meant that Vamplew doubles to around 300,000, while Wheeler is one of the short stacks.

The level 16 clock ticked down to nothing and the players headed off for a 20-minute break. We'll return for hand-for-hand play in level 17. --- HS

5.55pm: In the lead up to the bubble
Thanks to the double knockout taking us to the bubble I didn't get a chance to report back with the following info. So, in brief:

- Roger Haribedean's ace-king was trumped by Panagiotis Koyloykakos' ace-queen to bounce the Frenchman out of the tournament.

- Rupert Elder lost a 165,000 pot to Ioannis Papathanasioy after checking the river of a 3♠T♣2♦J♦5♠ board. Papathanasioy showed down A♦Q♥ for ace-high, much to the annoyance of Elder who is still well chipped with 500,000.

- Kevin MacPhee knocked out Sofianos Vergitsis with pocket fours to ace-four. -- RD

5.45pm: Bubble time
Two players were eliminated in quick succession to take us down to 49 players and the bubble.

Ioannis Papadopoylos went in 51st place after his A♠K♣ failed to hit versus Tobias Garp's 8♣8♦.

A few seconds later Michail Manolakis busted when his 8♥8♦ failed to come from behind to beat Georgios Grigoropoylos' T♥T♦.

There is a break due in a few minutes but they may play on until the bubble bursts. We'll be down on the tournament floor waiting to catch the bubble if that happens, so we apologise for any upcoming silence on the blog. -- MC

5.30pm: Lady not enough to save Marquez
The Team PokerStars Pro Ana Marquez is out of EPT Loutraki, the latest player to bust at the hands of Frederic Hebette.

Hebette opened from the cut-off with ace-king and Marquez shoved from the big blind. She had ace-queen and when he saw it, Hebette announced "Queen for the lady." Sure enough, a queen was the window card on the flop. But only seconds later, a king rivered, meaning Hebette reclaimed the decisive lead.

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Ana Marquez, in happier times

There is now only one woman remaining in the field, Besiana Antoni from Albania, who is sitting next to Marquez's vacant chair. -- HS

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Besania Antoni, the last woman standing in Loutraki

5.25pm: Time to go
The following all fell in this level: Plamen Todorov, Roger Hairabedian, Ilias Zografos, Cornajo Perez, Dimitrios Mpallas and Iliodoros Kamatakis. We're just a few places off the bubble now. -- MC

5.20pm Romanello and Lodden depart
Two media favourites, Roberto Romanello and Johhny Lodden, have been eliminated. We don't have details of how a frustrating day came to an end for the Team PokerStars Pro but we know Romanello busted. He had pocket nines and lost to ace-queen. -- MC

5.15pm: Hebette my bet for the final table
There was at least 40,000 in the pot and four cards in the middle: 8♦2♦7♠J♣. The two players involved at this stage were Frederic Hebette and Rasmus Larsen. Larsen bet 32,000. Hebette called from the button.

The 4♦ rivered and Larsen bet 48,000 at that. "Can I see your stack?" said Hebette and when Larsen moved his arms away, Hebette could see that he had about 85,000 behind. Hebette sucked another mouthful of his ENERGY7 fruit drink from its carton and said: "Call."

Larsen tabled 9♠9♣ and Hebette turned over A♦J♠ for top pair. "I thought about pushing all on on the river," Hebette said. "You can't really call," he added, brandishing the A♦, blocking the nuts.

Hebette has been playing a lot of hands today and has been steadily chipping up, moving now beyond 200,000. But I think that's the first time I've seen his cards at showdown, meaning he's doing all his best work uncontested. That's the sign of a class act, and I have hereby now named him my tip for the final table.

(Apologies in advance for this hexing.) -- HS

5.10pm: Poziopoylos brain pop
Theofanis Poziopoylos was very quick to pull his hood up over his head after this one.

Hauke Heseding had opened from the button and had been called by Poziopoylos in the small blind and Toni Judet in the big. Heseding had c-bet 9,500 into the T♣8♦8♣ flop and was flat called by Poziopoylos before Judet check-raised to 21,000. Heseding made the call.

It was at this point that Poziopoylos decided to try what can only be described as a high variance move as he squeezed it up to 45,000 with around 70,000 behind. It halfway worked, Judet passed. Heseding was not goig to be budged quite so easily. He stared at Poziopoylos and slowly announced that he was all-in for 65,000.

Snap call? No. Snap fold? There wasn't one of those either. Just 20,000 more to call which Poziopoylos grudgingly put in.

Heseding: K♦K♥ for an overpair
Poziopoylos: Q♠9♠ for a gutshot

The A♣ turn and 6♣ river blanked and Heseding shot the rail a wide-eyed look: "I was so confused," he said.

The German is up to 160,000, Poziopoylos down to 50,000. -- RD

5.05pm: Vamplew's stack dented
Former EPT London champion David Vamplew had to hand over around 100,000 chips to Evangelos Armpatsis after an action flop saw the chips go flying. The pot was raised pre and the flop came 9♠T♥J♥.

Armpatsis check-raised the Scot's 16,000 bet all-in for 84,500. Vamplew called with A♠J♦, ahead of his opponent pair and draw with Q♠T♣. The board ran out 8♦T♦ to make Armpatsis a straight. Vamplew down to about 130,00 now. -- MC

5pm: Elder backs into a flush
Every pot on table Elder/Ainsworth etc., has the potential to become absolutely giant. But all of them also know a lot about pot control, so it's fascinating just to stand and watch how they navigate through this stage of the tournament.

Just recently Ainsworth opened to 8,700 from early position and Mario Puccini called from the hijack. Elder also called from the small blind. (Remember, all these three have mountains of chips.)

The flop came Q♣2♣3♣ and after Elder checked, Ainsworth fired a continuation bet of 16,500. Puccini folded, but Elder called, taking them to a 8♣ turn. On went the brakes and both players checked. The J♠ rivered and Elder cut out a bet of 26,000.

Ainsworth looked pained and tossed in what can only be described as a crying call. Elder knew he had won this when he turned over the 7♦7♣ for the baby flush. Ainsworth clearly didn't have a club, and turned over his A♥Q♦ as proof. -- HS

4.55pm: Blind battle to the death
Iliodoros Kamatakis got his money in behind, sucked out and then failed to see the re-suck-out that eliminated him.

The action folded around to Tobias Garp in the small blind and he shoved all-in with A♠5♠. Kamatakis was in the big blind and called with K♠Q♠. The board ran 8♦9♠7♦Q♠6♣ to make the Swede a straight. Kamatakis gave a fist pump but quickly retracted it when his premature celebration was pointed out to him. -- MC

4.45pm: Grigoropoylos busts Mpallas (translation: "The Greek fella beats the other Greek fella")
Dimitrios Mpallas open shoved for his last 40,000-odd and was picked off by Georgios Grigoropoylos, who had him comfortably covered. Mpallas had J♦J♥ and stayed ahead against Grigoropoylos's A♥[10s] through a board of 3♦9♥J♣5♠5♦.

As every player departs, we get significantly closer to the money. There are only 60 of them left, meaning 12 more need to go until we hear the cash register ringing. -- HS

4.42pm: Among those chasing
Among the remaining 62 players there are a number of former EPT champs, Team PokerStars Pros and well known players. Obviously they are not the only players left in this tournament.

One other player to watch is Zimnan Ziyard who went deep in EPT Deuaville earlier this year collecting €23,000 for a 20th place finish. Ziyard played a solid game there, getting his chips quietly and is using that policy successfully here again.

"I started on 240,000, dropped to 150,000 and then won a big flip with queens into ace-king suited. I'm up to 336,000... It would be excellent to go deep because I've been on a big downswing," said Ziyard.

"My table is pretty good," he added.

Good standard of play or good for you? Ziyard showed a level of humbleness not frequently seen in a poker room and chose not to clarify which - but I think we all know what he meant. At a glance Ziyard seems to have one of the softer tables in the tournament: no big stacks, no big names and a great chance to burst through the bubble with plenty of chips. -- Rd

4.41pm: Play resumes
Play has started again with Rupert Elder as chip leader with 697,000.

4.25pm: Short and sweet for Lodden
Johnny Lodden could have looked more excited to get it in with A♣T♦ against A♥6♦. No smile for the J♣T♠6♣ flop either, nor for the blank turn or river. Perhaps that's because that double up leave Lodden with just 70,000 for less than half average. The Norwegian has played enough to poker to know that he's still far from safe and dry with that short stack. -- RD

4.22pm: Break it up
The players are on a short break. News of a Johnny Lodden double-up to come. -- MC

4.20pm: Chips, chips and more chips
Table five had a lot of chips on with the likes of Jude Ainsworth Mario Puccini sat there, but now they have a lot more as Rupert Elder has joined the party. This is how the table lines up:

Seat 1. Sergey Serafimov, 65,000
Seat 2. Rupert Elder, 640,000
Seat 3. Roman Makhlin, 90,000
Seat 4. Jude Ainsworth, 330,000
Seat 5. David Elyashar, 330,000
Seat 6. Ioannis Papathanasioy, 155,000
Seat 7. Mario Puccini, 360,000
Seat 8. Christopher Lastiwka, 75,000

There are eight tables remaining and this table has 20% of the chips in play. How may people from this table will make the final eight on Sunday. I wouldn't bet against two of them. -- MC

4.15pm: Blackjack!
Ioannis Taramas, one of "the top 15 blackjack players of all time" (according to Ioannis Taramas) just knocked out Dimitrios Mitzas after finding an appropriate hand for a man in his line of work: A♠Q♣, or blackjack.

Taramas opened the button, to 8,000, and Mitzas shoved from the big blind, for about 75,000. Taramas didn't take too long before announcing the call and his hand stayed good against Mitzas's A♦7♣ on a board that ran Q♠4♥8♥6♦2♣. -- HS

4pm: Elder huge
Rupert Elder is up to 615,000 despite losing a 140,000 flip with pocket jacks to ace-king.

Elder had won a huge pot flopping the nuts with A♦2♦ on a 6♦9♦Q♦3♠8♥ board. Elder had check-raised Dobromir Nikov up to 21,300 and had fired 36,800 before bombing the river all-in. Nikov made the call with best part of 200,000 behind and was shown the bad news. That put Elder up to almost 700,000 for a stack so large it's becoming difficult to count. The Brit has close to twice as many chips as his closest opponents. -- RD


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Rupert Elder (before he got a huge stack of chips)


3.50pm: Lodden doesn't want to be in this gang
Team PokerStars Pro Johhny Lodden's stack has shrunk to less than 40,000 chips. He was telling us that he has never been so card dead. He can't hand around too long though or he'll joining these players who have busted this level:

Stefanos Pothoulakis, Andrey Danilyuk, Mateusz Szyba and Liviu Catalin Toderita. -- MC

3.40pm: Ainsworth powers past Makhlin
Jude Ainsworth is going great guns here in Greece, where his unique brand of power poker is paying dividends. He just got involved in a pre-flop raising battle with Roman Makhlin before blasting his Russian opponent away after the flop.

Makhlin was on the button and opened to 7,000. Ainsworth, in the small blind, made it 16,000 to go, but then Makhlin four bet to 23,000. Ainsworth called. The flop came 8♣6♠K♥ and Ainsworth checked. That prompted a 35,000 tickle from Makhlin, but Ainsworth was going nowhere.

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Jude Ainsworth

"Is that a hundred k stack?" he asked Makhlin, pointing at a solitary tower of blue chips in front of the Russian. It was, and Makhlin had about 135,000 in total behind. "I'm all in," said Ainsworth, covering Makhlin.

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Roman Makhlin

Makhlin, a PokerStars qualifier, assessed his options and folded. With 69 players left, 21 from the money, he considered hanging around to be the best policy. -- HS

3.35pm; MacPhee risks the lot
Kevin MacPhee put his tournament at risk by moving all-in on the river of a 2♣Q♥K♦Q♠9♠ versus Evangelos Armpatsis.

The hand started with an under the gun raise from MacPhee and a three bet from Armpatsis on the button. The American called and check-called a 14,500 bet on the flop. Both players checked the Q♠ turn before MacPhee shoved for around 45,000 in to the 50,000 pot. His Greek opponent didn't think too long before he folded. -- MC

3.20pm: Three tables off the money
Seventy-two players have returned to their seats for level 15 and 48 of those will finish in the money and earn a minimum of €6,600. As we're playing eight-handed today, that means three tables will have to break before we reach that point.

These players will not be amoung those leaving Greece with a main event payday: Stefan Petrov, Yavor Tutev, Kyriacoa Kyriacou, Norberto Latorre, Jessy Michel Marillaud, Panagiotis Polyzos and Menny Ben Haim. -- MC

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Paul Berende, one of the departed

PokerStars Blog reporters (in Greek): Thanos Papazoglou, Helios Nikolaidis and Nickolas Roubanis. Photos by Zeno Stephanopoulos.

Marc Convey
@PokerStars in European Poker Tour