EPT Madrid: Day 1B, level 3 & 4 updates (blinds 150-300)

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4.32pm: End of the level
That's the end of level 4. Players are now on a 15 minute break.

4.30pm: Hall out, eventually
Galen Hall is out. He was standing up with a board reading Q♣J♣7♦4♦J♠ and his own hand of A♦T♣ face up on the table. He had mucked it, the the dealer had turned it over.

But his opponent Antonin Teisseire had taken that to mean that he needn't show his hand either. The dealer corrected this assumption, saying that with an all-in both hands had to be shown. Teisseire wanted official word on this, as Hall growing more irritated at the delay, packed up his belongings.

An official arrived to confirm that what dealer had said was true. Teisseire then turned over K♥J♦ to win the hand.

This was no surprise to Hall, who had assumed the Frenchman to be ahead anyway. He was. Hall sighed and left. - SB

4.25pm: Williams gone
Team PokerStars Pro David Williams got off to a great start today but a series of cooler hands later and he's out. He lost his last 4,000 chips on a [j][9][3] board with jack-three as his opponent in the hand had pocket nines. Just one of those days for the American. -- MC

4.20pm: Benzimra all-in
Vanessa Rousso and Christophe Benzimra each know what it's like to be holding aloft EPT silverware. Rousso, for winning last season's Grand Final High Roller, while for Benzimra, the camera bulbs flashed at EPT Warsaw.

The pair were playing a make or break hand for Benzimra. On a flop of T♣6♣7♠ Rousso bet 1,200 before Benzimra moved all-in for 6,975, forcing out the big blind who was also in at this point.

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Vanessa Rousso

Rousso began to do the maths in her head while Benzimra turned to the massage therapist working on his back to apologise for what was potentially her imminent redundancy.

Eventually Rousso called, flinging the chips in as if they'd just caught fire. Benzimra showed A♦A♠.

"Oh, that," said Rousso, before turning her own 9♦9♣.

The turn came 2♠, the river 6♦. Benzimra moves back up to 14,000 while Rousso slips to 42,000. - SB

4.20pm: Beware of the Sal Bon
Flrorian Langmann just took on and was defeated by the pure power of Team PokerStars Pro Salvatore Bonavena.

The German raised from mid position to 500 and was called in two spots before the Italian pro three-bet to 2,525 from the small blind. Langmann responded by four-betting to 5,600 and this forced out the other two player but not Bonavena. He put in a decisive five-bet to 11,125 that forced him German opponent to fold. That helped him up to 37,000. -- MC

4.15pm: Into the Vallo of death
Martin Vallo is out, sent to the rail by former EPT Barcelona winner Carter Phillips.
On a flop of Q♣8♠7♥ Christer Johansson bet 4,100 before Vallo moved in for 6,825. Phillips called while Johansson passed, the American showing 8♣8♦ to Vallo's K♠Q♠.
The turn, 2♣ and river 6♦ were no good to the Dane, who departs. - SB

4.12pm: Final numbers and power cuts
We have two pieces of information for you.

1) We have 384 players today making the total number of entries 686. That's quite a clump of players for a €10,000 buy-in. Full prize pool breakdown to come.

2) We just had a small power cut in the press room which shunted us off the internet, which explains the short radio silence. -- RD

4pm: Lew loose
PokerStars Team Online's Randy Lew is down 6,500 after making a crying call on the river of a 3♦4♥5♠T♦J♣. His opponent in the hand was Jean Noel Thorel and he bet a near pot-sized 15,000 on the river from the big blind with A♠2♦. Lew made the call only to see the bad news and he tabled his losing 5♥5♦ for a set. - MC

3.55pm: Itchy trigger finger
"You wanted to pull that trigger too," said Canadian Jason Grad. If Vanessa Rousso had bet almost anything at the 4♣Q♦2♦2♥K♣ board she would have forced Jazzar Maroun off his hand.

Rousso had opened the pot from early position to 500 and had been called by EPT Warsaw winner Christophe Benzimra before Maroun had squeezed it up to 1,350. Both players had made the call. Maroun had c-bet 2,200 into the flop and Rousso had made the call, Benzimra did not.

It was Maroun's turn to slow down and he check-called a 3,500 bet from Rousso on the turn, who couldn't quite bring herself to fire into the river. She checked down with 6♣5♣ for a busted gutshot and Maroun showed down A♦T♦ to win with ace-high. Rousso drops down to 47,000. -- RD

3.45pm: Leon taken out
Mexican Team PokerStars Pro Christian De Leon has just busted out to Salvatore Bonavena after getting it all-in (albeit not for much) with [a][q] to A♦8♥ and losing.

Vanessa Rousso shot him a glance and said: "Unlucky," which is factually correct if nothing else. "Yeah, I was unlucky today," said De Leon a little grumpily before moving round the table to shake hands with Rousso and Florian Langmann. - RD

3.35pm: Stani on the up
EPT Tallinn seems like a long time ago now. Season 7 kicked off in the Estonian capital way back in August, when the poker world got to know Kevin Stani as he raced to victory. He feels part of the EPT furniture now and is free-rolling here courtesy of that victory and is doing very well.

He just bet 2,500 and 7,800 on the turn and river of a A♥J♣8♦9♠J♥ board. His opponent in the hand was Alexander Dovzhenko and he check-called both bets, but folded upon seeing Stani's 8♠8♣ for a full house. The Norwegian is up to 50,000 now. -- MC

LEVEL UP: BLINDS 150-300


3.30pm: Minieri wins pot
It is level three and to our (my) great delight Dario Minieri is still in.

It hasn't been a great year on the EPT for the Italian, who has yet to cash in Season 7. But the Team PokerStars Pro remains one of the most fascinating players to watch; infinitely talented, relying on both cards and character to swagger through the field without the slightest sense of entitlement.

Built pocket-sized by the poker gods, assembled using blueprints taken from the poker legends of the last five decades, Minieri can dazzle and defy, pulling of super-hero antics while remaining vulnerable to a simple bad bluff or lucky draw.

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Dario Minieri

He is either chipped-up and chatty, or low-stacked and serious, like today, as if there's something in his mind competing for his attention.

This may explain his approach to the game. While some players, like Vladimir Geshkenbein, play as though they deserve to win, Minieri plays differently; if he's going to win he will do it quickly and ruthlessly. It's less painful for everyone that way.

Like now it seems. He raised to 500 from the cut off, quietly announcing "raise", and getting no callers.

He did so again a few hands later from middle position. Anthony Maranca called for a flop of T♠3♣T♥. Minieri made it another 650 to play and again Maranca called for a Q♣ turn. Both checked for a 7♣ river card and again Minieri bet, making it 2,100 to play. With only a few seconds pause Maranca called, but mucked when Minieri turned over K♦K♣.

There are few players better to stand and watch. Minieri back up to around his starting stack and potentially here a little longer. - SB

3.25pm: Naujoks and Tran told how it's going to be
Right then, it's going to be like that is it? Sandra Naujoks, quietly tucked beneath a dark cap, opened from middle position to 500 and was called in three spots; middle position, hijack and button. The player with position was one JC Tran, a tournament tearaway of the highest order. Naujoks ceded momentum on the flop to Francisco Gorgolas who bet 2,000. Joao Ribeiro called from the cut-off as did Tran on the button. Naujoks mucked her hand.

It was Gorgolas' turn to slow down on the 4♥ turn with Ribiero making a small 1,600 bet which found calls from both remaining players. The blank 2♠ river was checked round and Ribiero was forced to show K♣T♠ and took the pot. -- RD

3.15pm: Absolutely bananas
"My best ever job was picking bananas," said Irishman Andy Black. That about sums him. Bananas. -- RD

3.10pm: Wu-hoo for Raymond
Team PokerStars Pro Raymond Wu just laid the hammer down on Srinivasan Thavarajah in pot that came alive on the turn.

The board read 4♣3♥8♣A♦ and the German's 1,600 bet was raised to 5,200 by Wu. The action was back on Thavarajah and he bumped it up to 15,650. Wu asked to see how much his opponent had left (20,000) and then moved all-in. Thavarajah procrastinated for a while before conceding defeat and folding. Wu up to 62,000 chips as a result. -- MC

3.05pm: Weisner wiser
With a board of K♥J♣6♠3♠4♠ Melanie Weisner, sitting side saddle in her chair, was looking at a bet of 2,100 from the big blind, three seats to her right. Her face obscured by her big mane of hair, she went for her chips and raised to 6,775. That was good for a pot that takes her back up to around 30,000. - SB

3pm: Gone but not forgotten
Was David Benyamine in the field today? Yes. Is he still in? No.

2.55pm: Luske leaves it to the turn
Team PokerStars Pro Marcel Luske is up to 33,000 after taking a small pot off Kamal Choraria, who cashed in 17th place at San Remo last week for €25,000.

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Marcel Luske

Luske raised to 600 from under-the-gun and was called by the Brit from the cut-off. Both checked the A♥3♠9♥ flop before the Dutchman led 900 into the 6♦ turn. Choraria folded and Luske did him the courtesy of flashing him the A♦. -- MC

2.45pm: Aren't you the guy who won the World Series?
Gloria Balding presents part one of her spotlight interview with World Champion Jonathan Duhamel...


2.40pm: Hip hip...
Sorry Hippy80, we don't really do shout outs. But if we did, owing the the volume of comments you kindly submit, you'd be the first we'd mention. -- SB

2.35pm: Geshkenbein in the house
EPT Snowfest champion Vladimir Geshkenbein has turned up for level three. He sat down at his table and asked what the blinds were before raising to 300 from mid position. He was only called by the small blind to see a 3♥9♦T♣ flop. The Russian's 1,000 c-bet was check-called but his 2,000 bet on the A♥ turn got through. -- MC

2.30pm: Cards in the air
We're playing again with blinds at 100-200.

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The tournament room at Casino Gran Madrid

PokerStars Blog reporting team in Madrid (in order of sandwiches eaten at the break): Marc Convey (a few), Stephen Bartley (a few more) and Rick Dacey (yet to stop chewing).