EPT Madrid: Day 2, level 10 & 11 updates (blinds 800-1,600, 200 ante)

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3.25pm: That's the break
The level ends. Players are on a 15 minute break. -- SB

3.20pm: Wow. Seriously, wow
For only the second time in EPT history, a player has made a decision to call based on a coin-flip, not a percentage calculation of the likelihood of their winning the hand, I mean an actual coin-flip, with a real coin, flipped in the air.

The manoeuvre is officially called "An Ulusu." First, because it is named after its creator, Cengizcan Ulusu, who famously deployed it when calling for his tournament life at the final table in Dortmund, in season five. Second, because after using it, you tend to lose. Ulusu lost that Dortmund hand, and crashed out in eighth.

It's the same story for Artem Litvinov.

If Michael Tureniec was struggling earlier he's back in the saddle now. On a board of [j][4][2][q][9] Tureniec bet, leaving the action on Litvinov. He thought for a moment, then stood up, which was unusual enough as it is. Then, reaching into his pocket, Litvinov pulled out a small coin, about the size of a 10cent piece, flipped it, looked at it, and made the call, folding immediately when Tureniec showed [k][j].

Tureniec up to 210,000. - SB

3.15pm: Pastor doubles, celebrates wildly
Juan Manuel Pastor shoved his last five blinds in from late position with Q♦T♥ and was called by Alex Gomes on the big blind with 5♦4♠.

Pastor is a Team PokerStars Pro on home turf so naturally the TV cameras came rushing and Pastor was not to disappoint. He started with an over the top comedy shake, then riffed with Ana Marquez before winning the hand on the 8♦J♣K♥J♠T♣ board and declaring himself chip leader. Pastor will need to go this process a few more times if he's to make the money (the top 104 places). -- RD


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Chip leader with 15,000? I don't think so


3.05pm: Victor the victor
Victor Ramdin just eliminated Roy Lebbe. On a flop of K♠3♠8♦ the chips went in, Ramdin showing K♣Q♣ to Lebbe's A♦Q♥. The turn came 5♠, the river T♣ to bust Lebbe. - SB

3pm: More words to the Weisner
Melanie Weisner is having a very active day and part of those activities just involved busting Pieter de Korver. She raised and called when the Team PokerStars Pro three-bet his short stack all-in. He was in great shape with pocket queens to her sixes but the New Yorker made a straight to a seven.

His empty seat was filled by the big stacked Mattias Bergstrom and she wasted little time getting involved with him. She raised to 3,500 from the button and Bergstrom defended his big blind to see a Q♥J♠9♠ flop. Both players checked to the 5♠ turn where the Swede led out for 4,000. Weisner was having none of it though and raised to 10,900 to force a fold from her opponent.

She's up to 210,000 now and Bergstrom is cruising high as well on 240,000. -- MC

2.55pm: Identity compromised
Michael Tureniec has doubled-up. On a flop of K♣9♣6♠ Tureniec shoved with K♦J♠ and was called by Jesus Cortes Lizano with A♣2♦.

The turn came 4♠ and the river 8♣. Lizano tapped the table and allowed the dealer to take his chips and give them to the Swede, who moves up to around 150,000.

"You are a pro?" asked a player at the end of the table wearing a gold watch the size of a helicopter pad.

"I like to think so," replied Tureniec. "In my own mind."

The EPT Copenhagen winner's cover may be blown. - SB

2.45pm: Pot to Gomes
Alex Gomes opened for 3,800 before Mikhall Shakhnovich raised to 11,600 in the hijack. Gomes then raised to 22,500 forcing the fold from Shakhnovich. Gomes showed 6♥. - SB

2.40pm: Frustrated Tureniec on the decline
I watched Michael Tureniec dominate a great swathe of EPT Copenhagen on his way to victory and I really can't remember him ever looking irritated or annoyed. Some cracks appear to be showing today though.

After leading 14,500 into a 9♥6♥7♠6♠ board and then calling a check-raise of 30,500 from Ivan Freitez, both he and Freitez checked the 5♥ river. Freitez showed A♣6♣ for trips and Tureniec mucked with irritation, flicking the cards angrily at the board.

It's the closest I've come to seeing the Swede tilted. He has dropped to 80,000. -- RD

2.30pm: An unlikely story
On a board of 4♥J♥5♦6♥ Joel Nordkvist checked to Melanie Weisner, who bet 8,800 and then did that thing where she stares, her eyes heavily mascara'd, at her opponent. Nordkvist called for a 3♣ river card. Nordkvist checked, Weisner staring, before she lumped 16,400 forward.

Nordkvist was unsure, and separated the call from his stack of chips. Finally, he convinced himself to call, dumping the chips in with a kind of "what the hell" flourish. Weisner turned over 5♣8♣. For Nordkvist? 5♣8♥.

Weisner laughed involuntarily. "Real life," she said.

Back to all square. - SB

2.18pm: Brenes busts,
Mr Sharkie-Sharkie Humberto Brenes is out after failing to catch with A♠J♠ against pocket tens. Despite the histrionics of clapping at the dealer and waving his plastic sharks about the board ran 2♣2♠3♦K♥7♠ to bust the Costa Rican. -- RD

2.10pm: Back into it
The players are back in their seats and playing that poker-game-thing-that-all-the-kids-are-talking-about-these-days. -- RD

LEVEL UP: BLINDS 800-1,600, ANTE 200


1.55pm: End of level
It's a 15-minute break for the players. Plenty of table breaks have already taken place and we've lost plenty of players including EPT Vilamoura winner Toby Lewis. -- RD

1.50pm: Baby face sharpening his blades
Our Day 1B chipleader Ole Kristian Nergard is a mere slip of a lad, just 19 years old from what I understand, but he plays like a man, man. Opening pots, three-betting others; it's easy to see why he amassed close to 200,000 yesterday. In the few minutes I stood near his table he was the active player in all three hands that I saw. Two went in his favour, one the other way. It should get messy if we get him on a table with another aggressive big stack. -- RD


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Ole Kristian Nergard


1.45pm: Visser's bubbles run flat
Ruben Visser came back with just 13,200 chips today so wasn't too upset to bust when I spoke to him just now. He told us that he shoved for 11 big blind with pocket jacks from the cut-off and was called by the small blind holding king-queen, who hit on the turn. The Dutch Team PokerStars Pro was considering jumping into a side event. -- MC

1.35pm: Killing him softly
Diego Ivan Arbuello opened for 3,000, which Ayaz Manji raised to 8,000 from the cut-off. Arbuello paused.

"What do you want to do?" asked Manji. "Do you want to push all-in? What do you want to do." This, one imagines, was something along the lines of what Arbuello was thinking already. He called.

The flop came 4♦J♠T♣ which both players checked. The turn came Q♦ and both plaeyrs checked again. On the river card J♥ Arbuello checked once more, leaving it to Manji to bet 5,000.

"I told you I show you," said Manji. "I like you. That's why I'm talking to you." Thing is, he said it in a way that you'd imagine a serial killer would after he tied you to a wooden chair in a basement somewhere, before he got his knives out.

As if to remind Arbuello, he took his bet back and threw it back in, closer to the Argentinian, a reminder of what was at stake. Then he called the clock. Arbuello passed.

"Wanna choose?" asked Manji (a card, not the knife he'd use on him). He picked and saw the Q♠.

"That's enough." -- SB

1.30pm: More for Lyall
Dean Lyall is approaching the 200,000-chip mark after eliminating Aliaksei Vesialou. I approached the table as the cards were on their backs but all the chips went in pre-flop and Vesialou was all-in for his last 50,000.

Lyall: A♥K♥
Vesialou: A♠Q♣

The board ran 8♥6♣J♦T♥T♦ to send the pot the Scot's way. -- MC

1.20pm: No mercy for Mercier
Jason Mercier had the look of a despondent man as he wandered out of the Mandalay room and I don't know about you but that signified bad news to me. The Team PokerStars Pro confirmed the worst and explained how he got eliminated.

He was involved in a battle of the blinds and holding seven-nine. There was betting through the streets and the last of the money went in on the river when the board read [t][7][2][7][q]. Mercier's trips were no good against his opponent's [q][7] for a full house. -- MC

1.08pm: Mattern a lover, not a fighter
Arnaud Mattern was one of our first players out and quickly posted on his Facebook page: "EPT Grand finale Madrid, busted on the very first hand (flip for 35k) : I guess I'm made for love."

Does it show that Mattern is a Frenchman? -- RD

1pm: Against the norm
On the way to the Casino this morning our "Swedish" blogger Lina Olofsson was talking to Tobias Reinkemeier who spoke only of his bad luck against David Sonelin. Then, at the casino, Olofsson, ignoring conventions regarding confidentiality, told this to Sonelin, who laughed, claiming that Reinkemeier always gets it in good against him. Well, the pair just played a hand together, with the German coming out best.

Sonelin opened pre-flop and Reinkemeier called for a flop of 6♣Q♣2♦. Sonelin then bet another 2,800 on the flop which Reinkemeier raised to 6,700. Sonelin then called for a K♠ turn card. He check-called that for 11,800 ahead of a A♣ on the river.

Now Sonelin checked before Reinkemeier raised to 26,700. Sonelin then put him all-in. Reinkemeier paused, perhaps thinking back to his conversation this morning, but then called. Sonelin flipped up K♦K♠ but the German had him beat, turning over 7♣5♣. A double-up for Reinkemeier which takes him to 150,000 chips. That's where Sonelin drops to. - SB


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The TV room is now open for business


12.52pm: Table draws
Let's not get into that table of death thing. I'll let you choose your own by clicking on this link here. As play kicked off I set myself up between table 53 and 54 which contains three former EPT winners in the shape of Team PokerStars Pros Liv Boeree, Pieter de Korver and Sandra Naujoks as well as big stack Alex Gomes.

Unsurprisngly it was the Brazilian big stack Gomes that was busy getting involved from the off; raising and successfully c-betting into Humberto Brenes on a 4♦7♣T♣ flop before losing that and a little more to Imre Leibold who triple barreled a K♦6♣5♦3♦J♠ board for 3,200, 5,600 and 15,500. Gomes gave up on the river. Estonian Leibold has $450,000 in love tournament winnings and has cashed in two EPTs previously, including last year's Grand Final. -- RD

12.45pm: Slight return on investment
Pieter de Korver got his chips in, then got his chips back again. Louis Pouliot opened for 2,600 from under-the-gun before the Team PokerStars Pro moved all-in. Two seats along was Jose Nadal who lumped in what looked to be around 70,000, forcing Pouliot to fold. De Korver turned over A♦K♦, while Nadal turned up A♥K♥.

The board was uneventful, coming 6♣9♠Q♦3♥3♠. Split pot. Almost back to where they started from. - SB

12.40pm: One down
Arnaud Mattern is out. He moved in for 17,300 with 3♦3♥ and was called by the cut-off with A♦T♣, who had raised for a second time in a row.

The board came K♥Q♦7♣K♣Q♣, sending Mattern to the rail. - SB

12.35pm: Play begins
Cards are in the air and chips are on the table. Knockouts and poker gubbins to be festooned in your direction for the next nine hours or so. We're in the 75 minute level section of play now. -- RD

12.25pm: Calm before the storm
In those moments before 'shuffle and deal' is announced you can tell a lot about a player and their intentions. Those that have been here many times before tend to be sat yawning or gazing into their iPhone. The players that haven't been in many big buy-in tournaments tend to look a bit antsy, knowing full well that they could be in the money come the end of the day with the chance for a run at some major cash-dollar.

There's usually more of the latter than the former at most EPTs, but here that's not the case. At every table there's a smattering of well-known players and recognisable online grinders. Today should be interesting, ladies and gentleman, very interesting. -- RD

12.05pm: From the tournament floor
Gloria Balding introduces Day 2 of the EPT Grand Final main event, with a little help from Pieter de Korver...


11.55am: Minutes away
Play should be under way shortly. In the meantime get a recap on the events of yesterday here. -- SB

11.45am: A new look
There's a slight change for players on Day 2. For some it will start in the same tournament area as yesterday, but as the day progresses they'll be moving into the Mandalay room, where the bulk of the players will be from the start. -- SB

10.30am: Welcome to Day 2
After two full flights, Day 1 is now over. Day 2 is about to begin. Today the field of 299 combines to play on towards the money, which kicks in when only 102 players remain in the EPT Grand Final in Madrid. That figure could be reached today.

We're back in the Casino Gran Madrid, an out-of-town parlour of fun and games, topped by big skies and surrounded by magnificent views across the Hoyo de Manzanares. That we can see only as far as the drinks machine is beside the point, we know that it's out there and that's good enough for us.

Leading last night was the Norwegian Ole-Kristian Nergard, who bagged up 198,200. But the overall lead is held by Day 1A leader David Sonelin, some way ahead of Nergard on 275,900. A full list of chip counts can be found on the Official Chip Count Page.

Play is due to begin at 12 noon, with six levels of 75 minute duration on the schedule. Live coverage of all of them will appear right here. -- SB

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The tournament room at Casino Gran Madrid

PokerStars Blog reporting team at EPT Madrid (in order of animosity towards the half-hour shuttle bus ride from the hotel to casino): Stephen Bartley (Detests it, claims it feels like five hours), Rick Dacey (Fine as long as he doesn't have to listen to Joe Hachem playing Chris Rock snippets again) and Marc Convey (can fall asleep anywhere, generally oblivious). Photos by Neil Stoddart.