EPT Madrid: Day 4, level 21 (cont.), 22 & 23 updates (blinds 12,000-24,000, 2,000 ante)


4.22pm: Palovic doubles through Gomes
Dag Palovic has just doubled through fellow Team PokerStars Pro Alex Gomes with A♦K♠ over A♣Q♥. The board blanked and the short stacked Palovic doubles up, but will have to keep getting it. -- RD

4.15pm: Mandavia in shove mode
Ankush Mandavia was down to 500,000 after losing a three-bet pot to Eugene Yanayt. The action folded to him in the cut-off and he moved all-in to scoop the blinds and antes taking him back up to 550,000. It's pretty tense here, but with that €1,500,000 first prize just 14 knockouts away it's hardly surprising. -- RD

4pm: Raise folding
With less than 600,000 chips Italian Alessandro Limblici can't be raise folding too often. He just made it 54,000 to go before tank-folding to Torsten Brinkmann's 125,000 three-bet. -- MC

3.50pm: The final two tables
Play has resumed and the final two tables line up as follows.

Table one
1 Shiraz Soltaninassab, Belgium
2 Alex Gomes, Brazil, Team PokerStars Pro
3 Simon Higgins, United Kingdom, PokerStars qualifier
4 Dag Palovic, Slovakia, Team PokerStars Pro
5 Ivan Freitez, Venezuela
6 Juan Maceiras, Spain, Team PokerStars Pro
7 Andrew Li, USA
8 Pedro Pellicer, Spain, PokerStars player

Table three
1 Alessandro Limblici, Italy
2 Torsten Brinkmann, Germany
3 Ankush Mandavia, USA, PokerStars player
4 Andrey Danilyuk, Russia, PokerStars qualifier

5 Domantas Klimciauskas, Lithuania
6 Eugene Yanayt, USA, PokerStars player
7 Tamas Lendvai, Hungary
8 Thomas Pettersson, Sweden

Play will continue across two tables until we have nine players left at which point a final draw will take place. One more bust out after that, taking us down to eight, and then play will end for the day. -- RD

3.30pm: Pirrotta's exit in 17th (€40,000) makes this a two-table tournament
Ankush Mandavia was down below 400,000 chips and needed to make something happen. That something was the only other player at his table shorter that him (Litterio Pirrotta) moving all-in for 310,000. He was in the big blind with A♠6♣ and made the call.

Pirrotta tabled A♦2♣ and fell further behind through the Q♦T♥5♦6♠Q♥ board.

Table two is now being broken and the players dispersed over the two remaining tables. This will be carried out during a 15 minute break. When we come back the last 15 minutes of the level will play out and before heading straight on to the next level-- MC

3.25pm: Klimciauskas on the ropes
Domantas Klimciauskas opened for 48,000 from the button which was called by Simon Higgins in the small blind and Andrew Li in the big. The flop came A♠6♦Q♠. The action was checked to Klimciauskas who bet 65,000, forcing Higgins to fold.

But Li was interested, and called, for a 8♥ turn card. Both checked that for a 6♥ river, which landed as all the other players begin to leave for the break (following the 17th place elimination). Li bet 149,000. Klimciauskas thought and folded, left with 430,000. - SB

3.20pm: Gomes doubles, Godinez busts in 18th (€40,000)
Our drought of bust outs has just ended with the departure of Gerardo Godinez, although it was almost Team PokerStars Pro Alex Gomes who took the fall. Gomes had doubled up moments earlier after spiking a jack on the river, so it fell to Godinez to go in 18th.

Now, details are sketchy here because it all happened on the TV table which we have little access to. And by little, I mean no. Godinez was on his feet as was Gomes, but it was actually Juan Maceiras who as in against the Mexican. The Spanish Team Pro caught a diamond flush on the turn after it had all gone in pre-flop leaving Godinez was no outs on the river. Down to 18, one more to go before we break to two tables. -- RD

3.05pm: Yanayt on the Brinkmann
A couple of raise-and-takes, one for Andrey Danilyuk, another for Eugene Yanayt. Then Litterio Pirrotta pushed in, then again, without any takers.

Yanayt was in action soon after, opening for 48,000 on the button. Torsten Brinkmann called on the button as did Ankush Mandavia in the small blind, and Daniluk in the big blind, for a flop of Q♠7♣2♥. The blinds checked and Yanayk bet 85,000. Brinkmann raised to 140,000 which, when the blinds folded, Yanayk called.

The turn came K♦. Yanayt checked to Brinkmann who bet 130,000. Slowly, Yanayk called for a 9♣ river card. Yanayt checked again leaving it to Brinkmann to bet another 165,000. Yanayt looked at his cards again, then called, mucking immediately when Brinkmann showed 2♦2♣.

Brinkmann up to more than 2,000,000. - SB

3pm: Two more pots for Li
Andrew Li is up to 1,300,000 chips now after taking down two more pots.

First up he called a button raise and a flop c-bet from Tamas Lendvai on the button. Both checked the turn to leave a final board J♠6♥K♣5♣2♣. Li took over the betting initiative here with a 112,000 bet and that forced Lenvai to fold.

Two hands later Li was on the button and three-bet to 128,000 after an under-the-gun raise to 50,000 from Domantas Klimciauskas. The Lithuanian wasn't finished though as he four-bet to 250,000 but neither was Li as he snap shoved all-in. Klimciauskas onlt have 500,000 chips back but he elected to fold anyway. -- MC

2.51pm: Li takes it to Lendvai
Andrew Li is getting involved in a lot of pots and is generally coming out on top. Tamas Lendvai opened the button to 52,000 and Li slowly made the call from the big blind.

Li check-called 66,000 on the K♦7♦T♥ flop before both players checked the 6♣ turn. Li then pulled out a tall stack of 168,000 chips and pushed it forward. Lendvai counted his 900,000 stack and then passed. Li up over a million. -- RD

2.40pm: Petterson scores a key double
Thomas Petterson, the last remaining Swedish player in the tournament, has just doubled up after shoving from the button with K♣9♠ and getting a call from Torsten Brinkmann with A♣4♥. Petterson received a great 8♠T♦[ jc] flop before catching the K♥ on the turn and the T♠ on the river. He's up to 480,000 now, still less than half the average chip count. -- RD

2.30pm: Limblici in action
Domantas Klimciauskas opened for 50,000 in middle position and Alessandro Limblici from Italy, called for a flop of 6♥2♠5♦. Limblici hasn't played many pots so far today but he bet 63,000 at the flop, prompting Klimciauskas to fold. - SB

2.25pm: Higgins takes a pot
Domantas Klimciauskas opened for 50,000 on the button which Simon Higgons called on the big blind for a flop of 8♠5♣Q♥. Higgins checked before Klimciauskas made it 45,000. Call.

On the 2♣ turn both players checked for a Q♣ river card, with Higgins taking the pot with a bet of 70,000. - SB

2.20pm: Too early to say...
Dag Palovic was all-in on the button, his stack critically short at 138,000. Tamas Lendvai called, showing 2♥2♦ to Palovic's J♦Q♦.

The board came A♥Q♠9♣6♥A♦ to double up the Team PokerStars Pro. But he's still on the critical list with just 280,000. - SB

2.15pm: Play resumes
The 18 remaining players are returning to their seats. -- RD

LEVEL UP: BLINDS 12,000-24,000, ANTE 2,000

1.55pm: That's the end of the level
Players are taking a 15 minute break.

1.54pm: Li mounting a comeback
Andrew Li is up to 900,000 and is in a great position at table two. The American has big stack Simon Higgins to his right and two shorter/tighter players to his left (Dag Palovic and Alessandro Limblici). Now he's got some chips back Li is getting involved in a lot of pots. Should be interesting to see how the dynamic develops between Li and the blustering aggression of Higgins. -- RD

ept madrid_day 3_andrew li.jpg

Andrew Li: has chips, will bet

1.52pm: From Russia with a double
Andrey Danilyuk was moved from the feature table to one of the outer tables and wasted little time in securing a double-up.

He raised to 35,000 from first position to face a three-bet to 110,000 from Litterio Pirrotta in mid-position. Danilyuk wasn't to be budged and put in a four-bet to 265,000 and called off his 862,000 stack when the Italian pushed.

Danilyuk: A♥K♣
Pirrotta: T♥T♦

The board ran 2♥2♣K♠4♥2♠ to make the Russian a full-house. Pirrotta dropped down to 440,000 after the loss. -- MC

1.45pm: Ten minutes later...
Tamas Lendvai opened for 43,000 from the button which Simon Higgins called from the small blind. Andrew Li called from the big blind for a flop of 2♠A♥4♣. The blinds checked to Lendvai who bet 66,000. Higgins passed but Li asked how much, and raised to 147,000 total. Lendvai called.

The turn came 5♦, checked both ways for a 3♦ river card. Li then moved all-in for around 680,000 more. Lendvai, with twice that amount, tanked for several minutes before calling. He showed A♣8♣ while Li showed 5♠K♠ for a split pot. - SB

1.40pm: Higgins has the answer
Simon Higgins speaks his raises, so when you hear "42" you know he's in action. Domantas Klimciauskas doesn't speak at all, but called form the big blind for a flop of 4♥4♠5♣.

Klimciauskas checked to Higgins who said "42" again, the answer to life, the universe and everything, including this pot. Klimciauskas folded. - SB

ept madrid_day 4_simon higgins.jpg

Simon Higgins

1.35pm: Li doubles
Tamas Lendvai opned for 43,000 which Andrew Li raised to 144,000. Lendvai then moved all-in and Li called for about 400,000. Lenvai had him covered and showed A♦Q♣. Li showed 9♣9♠

"I had jack, queen of hearts," said Palovic.

The board came 5♣8♥3♥9♥6♦ to double up Li, who now has 800,000. Lendvai drops to 1,320,000. - SB

1.30pm: Jose Nadal busts in 19th (€40,000)
Mexican Jose Nadal seemed to know that he wasn't going to hit any of his outs once the J♦5♣7♦ flop had been dealt, and slapped the table rail with a small flash of frustration, his A♠K♠ face up on the table in front of his 650,000 stack.

His opponent, Litterio Pirrotta, had three-bet shoved on him from the button with 8♥8♠ and was now looking good to win a huge flip. Tracksuit top undone low enough to show what could be easily be construed as too much bare chest, Pirrotta stepped from side to side, prowling the table, willing the turn and river cards to blank out.

The 5♦ and 6♠ snapped down on the table and Pirrotta was up and away from the table, under a TV crane and into his Italian rail for multiple fist bumps. A stunned Nadal waited as the chips were counted out. It didn't look good, he was just covered. Pirrotta now up to nearly 1,400,000, Nadal out. -- RD

1.20pm: Lemaire out in 20th (€40,000)
Frenchman Hugo Lemaire had little option but to shove with A♠8♣ from the small blind with his last 220,000 when the action passed to him. Tamas Lendvai made the call from the big blind.

Lemaire: A♠8♣
Lendvai: K♥J♦

Lendvai flopped top pair as the board ran out 2♦7♥K♠7♦9♠. Lendavi up to 1,500,000, Lemaire out. Action on the other outer table... -- RD

1.10pm: Yazbeck heads to the rail in 21st (€40,000)
The eliminations continue to come thick and fast this lunchtime and the latest player to join the list was Georges Yazbeck.

He raised to 45,000 on the button and was called by Torsten Brinkmann in the small blind. The two were heads-up to a Q♠5♠2♦ flop where Brinkmann check-called a 180,000 bet.

The turn fell 4♦ and when Yazbeck was checked to again he bet the lot. It was 700,000 for Brinkmann to call, and call he did, with K♦Q♣, after tanking for a couple of minutes. Yazbeck was in deep trouble with the kicker of his Q♥J♣. The 8♠ river failed to come to his rescue and off to the payout desk he went. -- MC

1.05pm: And then the two big stacks went head-to-head
Chip leader Eugene Yanayt opened for 40,000 from the hijack which Torsten Brinkmann raised to 106,000 from the big blind. Yanayt called and the flop came K♦Q♥K♣. There then followed a slow bet of 105,000 from Brinkmann before Yanayt slowly called. The same thing happened on the K♥ turn, Brinkmann betting 155,000 which Yanayt called for a 5♦ river.

Now though Brinkmann put the breaks on, checking to Yanayt who began unpacking chips from his stack, then used two hands to push forward 380,000. Brinkmann passed immediately.

"Quads?" asked Jose Nadal.

"Probably," replied Yanayt without any conviction. - SB

1.03pm: An ace busts Sluiter in 22nd (€40,000)
Raemon Sluiter has been eliminated in 22nd place, getting his kings cracked by the big-slick of Tamas Lendvai.

Both had stacks of around 700,000 when they got their chips in pre-flop.

Lendvai: A♣K♥
Sluiter: K♠K♦

The board ran A♠T♠5♥9♦2♦ to pair the Hungarian's ace. -- MC

1pm: Pot to Yazbeck
Georges Yazbeck opened for 45,000 from under-the-gun which Ankush Mandavia called from middle position. The flop came 3♦6♣7♦ and Yazbeck bet another 45,000. Mandavia said he was all-in and Yazbeck called quickly.

No cards were shown, as players were instructed to wait for the cameras. In the meantime Yazbeck nodded to his wife on the rail and nodded. He had it, and she then began to chant "come on!" quietly to herself.

Yazbeck K♣K♠
Mandavia 9♣9♠

The turn came Q♥, the river 4♣. Yazbeck doubled up to around a million while Mandavia drops to around 380,000. - SB

12.55pm: Maceiras KO's Ramdin in 23rd (€40,000)
Team PokerStars Pro Juan Maceiras is climbing towards the chip leaders after knocking out fellow Team Pro Victor Ramdin. It all went in pre-flop with Ramdin holding ace-queen to the Spaniard's pocket sixes. The pair held up and we wave goodbye to Ramdin in 23rd for €40,000. Another deep run for the American pro. -- RD

LEVEL UP: BLINDS 10,000-20,000, ANTE 2,000

12.47pm: Nergard busts in 24th place
Ole-Kristian Nergard is the first player to be eliminated today and he was a little unlucky to do so.

He moved all-in from the button and was called (again) by Jose Nadal from the small blind.

Nergard: T♥T♣
Nadal: Q♣Q♦

The board ran 6♥A♠A♥K♣5♣ to bring the young Norwegian's eventful and enjoyable (for us at least) tournament to close. -- MC

ept madrid_day 3_nergard.jpg

Former chip leader Nergard is first out today

12.45pm: Higgins throwing his weight about
Simon Higgins has by far the largest stack at his table, some 1,900,000, and is using it to batter his opponents into submission. Twice he's flown into Andrew Li, all limbs flying, both times it has worked.

Li opened for 35,000 under-the-gun and Tamas Lendvai called on the button before Higgins squeezed it up to 86,000 from the small blind. Li passed but Lendvai - who started the hand with 700,000 - wanted to see a flop. He made the call. Both players checked the 5♣8♣[kkc] flop but Higgins fired 140,000 into the 7♠ turn card. It took the pot.

The next hand Higgins opened the button for 36,000 and Li played back from the button with a raise of, I think, 101,000. Higgins insta-shoved and Li passed. -- RD

12.40pm: I made a flush....oh wait
Thomas Pettersson is the latest player to double-up from table three. He moved all-in for a little more than 200,000 from mid-position and found Georges Yazbeck calling very quickly from the next seat along. The rest of the players still to act folded to leave it heads-up.

Pettersson: 5♥5♦
Yazbeck: A♣8♣

The board ran 5♣T♠2♥3♣2♣.

Yazbeck cheered but soon realised the river that gave him flush made his opponent a full house as well. -- MC

12.32pm: First shots in anger
Day 4 gets under way with an all-in from Hugo Lemaire for 292,000. Simon Higgins asked how much it was but passed, as did everyone else.

On the other table Ole-Kristian Nergard doubled up, his J♣8♣ beating his opponent's K♦T♦ on a board of 6♠Q♦J♦2♣6♣. He lives on. - SB

12.25pm: There goes the whistle
The tapes are in the cameras and the lights are on. Play is underway. -- MC

12.10pm: Delay to kick off
We will not be starting on time...

12.05pm: From the tournament floor
Gloria Balding introduces Day 4 of the Grand Final, and talks to Team PokerStars Pro Alex Gomes...

12pm: The Seat Draw

Table 1

1 - Shiraz Soltaninassab, Belgium, 475,000
2 - Alex Gomes, Brazil, Team PokerStars Pro, 655,000
3 - Victor Ramdin, USA, Team PokerStars Pro, 489,000
4 - Andrey Danilyuk, Russia, PokerStars qualifier, 806,000

5 - Ivan Freitez, Venezuela, 1,279,000
6 - Juan Maceiras, Spain, Team PokerStars Pro, 1,308,000
7 - Gerardo Godinez, Mexico, 1,009,000
8 - Pedro Pellicer, Spain, PokerStars player, 1,216,000

Table 2

1 - Domantas Klimciauskas, Lithuania, 1,198,000
2 - Hugo Lemaire, France, 292,000
3 - Tamas Lendvai, Hungary, 787,000
4 - Simon Higgins, UK, PokerStars qualifier, 1,705,000
5 - Raemon Sluiter, Netherlands, PokerStars player, 703,000

6 - Andrew Li, USA, 704,000
7 - Alessandro Limblici, Italy, 554,000
8 - Dag Palovic, Slovakia, Team PokerStars Pro, 244,000

Table 3

1 - Georges Yazbeck, Lebanon, PokerStars qualifier, 692,000
2 - Torsten Brinkmann, Germany, 1,959,000
3 - Ankush Mandavia, USA, PokerStars player, 910,000
4 - Ole Kristian Nergard, Norway, 105,000
5 - Jose Nadal, Mexico, 510,000
6 - Eugene Yanayt, USA, PokerStars player, 2,374,000
7 - Litterio Pirrotta, Italy, PokerStars player, 648,000

8 - Thomas Pettersson, Sweden, 246,000

11.50pm: We're missing something
There are currently no players in the tournament room. In fact only photographer Neil Stoddart is where he should be, but he's put it down to the fact the 24 of them will be stuck in a mini-bus somewhere.

The drivers are quite strict on how they operate, wanting to fill the bus before releasing the hand brake, and as Stoddart predicts, he may be waiting a long time to fill up a bus with 25 players. -- SB

11.45am: Filling in time
As usual there's plenty to get stuck into while we wait for players to arrive. For a start you can catch up on all the events of yesterday in our end of day report, what we like the call "the wrap," by clicking here. You can also find the seat draw for today here, which details the chip counts of the remaining 24 players. -- SB

10.30am: Welcome to Day 4
Good morning from Madrid, where the sun shines, again, and we gird ourselves for the penultimate day of the European Poker Tour Grand Final main event, at the Casino Gran Madrid.

As you read this the blogging team will be en route to the casino, in a mini-bus, having hijacked it and demanded that it be driven to its scheduled destination.

Once in place we'll bring you all the latest from the business end of what is proving to be an exciting finale to the season. Can chip leader Eugene Yanayt hold on? Could Juan Maceiras become the first Spanish EPT winner, in Spain no less? And can Alex Gomes strike EPT gold to win poker's elusive Triple Crown?

That's all coming up. We start at 12 noon. -- SB

The combat between Juan Maceiras and Alex Gomes, cast in bronze by local artisans

PokerStars Blog reporting team in Madrid (in order of arrival): Stephen Bartley (it's amazing how thinking you're late will hurry you up), Rick Dacey and Marc Convey (it's amazing how you can relax and take your time when you know Bartley is getting to work unnecessarily early).