EPT Madrid: Day 3, level 20 & 21 updates (blinds 8,000-16,000, 2,000 ante)

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10.38pm: Fursov falls as Day 3 ends
Vasily Fursov has just been knocked out by Alessandro Limblici with a one-two punch; doubling Limblici up with A♦J♠ to A♣K♦ one hand then shoving T♣8♣ into the same player's pocket rockets the next. Nice run good for Limblici who finishes the day on around 350,000.

Twenty four players remain and a full wrap of the day's action and chip counts will come your way as soon as they are ready. -- RD

10.25pm: Monster hand as Nergard falters
It has seemed that Ole Kristian Nergard had played an almost faultless tournament so far as he relentlessly built a stack since Day 1B. That was until moments ago when he made a big bluff against Eugene Yanayt that went horribly wrong for him.

Yanayt raised to 32,000 from mid position and called when Nergard three-bet to 102,000 from the button. The flop came T♥A♦Q♠ and both players checked to the 3♣ turn.

Yanayt led for 115,000 and once again he was raised by the Norwegian, to 234,000. Call. The river came 7♣ and Yanayt checked again and this time faced an all-in bet. The Italian had the smaller stack (843,000) so the call was for his tournament life.

He took thirty seconds to a minute to make the call but call he did, with 3♣3♥ for a set. Nergard tabled the losing Q♥4♥ to drop down to 74,000.

Nergard got the rest of his stack in the next hand and doubled-up with pocket fours to ace-four. -- MC

10.15pm: Boucher booted by Maceiras
Juan Maceiras is starting to build the stack he needs if he's going to make a dream final table for him. He's up to 1,300,000 after knocking out Philippe Boucher.

Eugene Katchalov raised to 35,000 before Boucher moved all-in for 140,000 and Maceiras moved all-in as well. Katchalov opened folded K♠J♠ to leave it heads-up.

Maceiras: K♥K♦
Boucher: 4♠4♦

The board ran A♠T♦Q♠8♠2♦.

Katchalov might be wishng he was lucky rather than good. -- MC

10.04pm: Sunar limps into trouble, busts
Despite having a fairly short stack Surinder Sunar had been pretty active. After raising two hands in succession, folding one to a three-bet and winning the other post flop, Sunar found himself in the blinds. Nothing happened in his big blind but come his small, Sunar limped into Pedro Pellicer who checked to the flop.

Sunar checked the 2♦5♦6♥ flop and Pellicer bet 25,000. The Brit quickly check-shoved for around 240,000 and, just as quick, Pellicer made the call. Sunar at risk showed his hand.

Sunar: 5♣4♦ for second pair and a gutshot
Pellicer: A♥6♠ for top pair, top kicker

Sunar was behind but with plenty of outs. The board blanked out with Q♥7♣ and Sunar took his leave, not to make his second EPT final table of the year following EPT Vienna. Spaniard Pellicer joins the million club. -- RD

9.55pm: Katchalov doubles
Eugene Katchalov moved in from the button for 146,000. On the other side of the dealer from him was Philippe Boucher who also moved in, covering the Team PokerStars Pro with 240,000.

The two players waited for the cameras to arrive before turning over:

Katchalov A♣3♣
Boucher 9♠9♥

Katchalov took it on the flop, the board coming A♠T♦6♠J♣K♦. Kathalov climbs back up to around 300,000 while Boucher drops to a critical 100,000. - SB

9.45pm: Hateful eight sets Ferrero straight
Pedro Javier Piazuelo Ferrero was just unluckily eliminated by Ivan Freitez after it looked like he was seconds away from doubling-up.

Tamas Lendavai opened the pot to 36,000 from early position before Freitez three-bet tot 100,000 from mid position. Ferrero was in the small blind and four-bet all-in for 228,000. Lendavai folded but Freitez called.

Ferrero: 9♠9♣
Freitez: 8♠8♣

The board ran 5♦2♥2♠J♠8♦.

You could hear the groans from the Spanish contingent in the crowd when the river fell. This Freitez chap from Venezuela doesn't seem to lose many showdowns. -- MC

LEVEL UP: BLINDS 8,000-16,000


9.40pm: Easy game for Higgins
Simon Higgins is up to 2,800,000 after busting another player. We don't have the full details of the hand but he was up against Kjartan Berger Jonsson and all the chips went in on the flop. Higgins had aces and had to, and managed to, fade the Icelandic's flush draw. -- MC

9.35pm: Play resumes

9.10pm: Cohen knocked out, table break
Lucien Cohen has just been knocked out, at once breaking the tournament down to four eight-handed tables and killing off the chances of a EPT double winner yet again.

Cohen had lost out to Team PokerStars Pro Alex Gomes, doubling the Brazilian, before getting his remaining chips in with [a][q] against Andrew Li's [a][7] who ended up rivering a straight to the seven.


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Lucien Cohen during one of his more exuberant moments


Li not only claims an EPT winner's scalp but, some would say, immediately improves the etiquette levels of this Grand Final; Cohen's celebrations have not exactly been in the spirit of the game and tournament director Thomas Kremser had, I've been told, issued the Frenchman a couple of deserved warnings for his behavior.

The 15-minute break which was due at the end of this level in seven minutes time is taking place now as the tables move around. -- RD

8.55pm: Four-betting
On a flop of 8♣6♠4♣ Torsten Brinkmann raised to 51,000. Next to him was Jose Nadal who called before Pedro Pellicer raised to 150,000. That sent everyone into the tank but only long enough to fold, each in turn. - SB

8.45pm: Ristola swept up in hurricane by Higgins
The last remaining Finnish player, Markus Ristola, has been eliminated by chip leader Simon Higgins.

Ristola raised and was called by Higgins and one other player en route to a T♥9♥7♠ flop. Ristola c-bet for 40,000 before Higgins raised to 110,000. The third player folded but Ristola moved all-in for 450,000 and Higgins called.

Ristola: T♣T♠ for top set
Higgins: 8♠8♥ for a pair and open ended straight draw.

The turn came 6♠ to make the straight and the Q♦ river failed to pair up as Ristola needed. Higgins up to 1,855,000 now. -- MC

8.30pm: Billjammed out
Will Reynolds has just been busted from the tournament after losing a million chip flip against Raemon Sluiter, although it was Pedro Javier Piazuelo Ferrero who put in the final killing blow.

Sluiter had opened for 31,000 from the hijack and had been called by Gerardo Godinez on the button before Reynolds, named 'BillJam' by EPT commentator James Hartigan, squeezed from the big blind to 85,000. Sluiter came back over the top for 156,000, which forced Godinez out of the hand. Reynolds moved all-in for 428,000 (on top of his three-bet which had been pulled in) and Sluiter made the call.

Sluiter: Q♥Q♠
Reynolds: A♦K♠

"It's my first flip of the tournament," said Reyolds.

"Me too," said Sluiter.

"I'm gonna let James (Hartigan) commentate on this one, I'm not getting paid," said Reynolds in reference to his co-hosting duties he often performs alongside Hartigan on EPT Live.


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Will Reynolds, preparing for his tournament afterlife


The 3♣9♠3♥ flop wasn't great for Reynolds, who sat staring at the board with his arms crossed across his body, hands resting on his shoulders like a mummified Egyptian.

Perhaps he felt his tournament life was already over and once the T♠ turn card was dealt, it was. The river dropped a Q♣ just to make sure and a high-pitched squeak shot across the table. Not from Sluiter or Reynolds, but from Team PokerStars SportStar Fatima Moreira de Melo, Sluiter's other half.

The chips were counted, counted again and then once more just to check it. Reynolds had Sluiter covered by just 14,000.


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Raemon Sluiter, up to a million


"It's not a million chips, but..." said Reynolds, who did well to inject a little humour into the moment. He was in the small blind the next hand and committed to whatever he was dealt which, as it happens, was a playable J♥T♠. Unfortunately for Reynolds, an opponent of his made a full house for the second hand on the bounce. This time it was Piazuelo Ferrero making the monster with K♦Q♥.

"And that's all she wrote," said Reynolds, "Back to the commentary booth for me."

Another great tournament run by the man they* call BillJam. --RD

* And by 'they' I mean James Hartigan and Francine Watson, a member of the TV crew, who contests the creatorship of the nickname.

8.15pm: Britto out, but not forgotten
Fernando Britto is out. The EPT Player of the Year elect moved in with A♥J♣ but was called by Pedro Javier Piazuelo Ferrero who happened to wake up with A♣A♦. The flop came 9♦A♠6♣, ending the hand.

"I think he's drawing dead," said William Reynolds, sitting in the one seat. "He'll have to find another ace to win this one."

Alas, the fifth ace failed to materialise, the Q♦ and 8♦ of absolutely no relevance. Britto, at least until Thursday, when he'll reappear at the EPT Awards ceremony. -- SB

8.10pm: Forrest gumped
Ted Forrest's European adventure has come to an end. The "old school" pro is normally seen playing on the other side of the pond but the EPT has enjoyed his company here and in San Remo these last two weeks.

He was down to 56,000 when he moved all-in from the button and he was taken on by Erik van den Berg in the small blind.

Forrest: A♠2♦
Van den Berg: J♥J♣

The board ran J♦6♦7♥9♠6♠ to make the Dutchman a full house. -- MC

8pm: Million dollar Maceiras
Team PokerStars Pro Juan Maceiras is up to nearly 1,000,000 chips after eliminating two players. He was sat in the small blind and had Michael Friedrich to his right and Josef Bachar to his left committing all their chips.

Friedrich: Q♣9♠
Maceiras: Q♣T♣
Bachar: J♥8♦

The board ran K♠K♥7♦3♥4♥ to hand the local hero a double scalp. -- MC

7.50pm: Forks down, cards up
As night draws in here in Madrid the final 40 players resume play. We need sixteen more bustouts before the day is brought to an end. -- RD

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Madrid by night

PokerStars Blog reporting team at EPT Madrid (in order of anticipation at watching Madrid play in a Madrid bar): Marc Convey ("hababafalemmana gaetttfgage" - can't get a word out properly for the excitement), Stephen Bartley (It is el classico, when in Madrid...) and Rick Dacey (Will the place serve beer? Good. Fine). Photos by Neil Stoddart.

Rick Dacey
@PokerStars in European Poker Tour