EPT Prague: Day 1A, level 3 & 4 updates (100-200, ante 25)

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4.26pm: Break time
We're at the halfway point of the day and a 15 minute break. More importantly it means that Marc Convey can nip off to do a coffee run. Join us in a new post in 15 minutes by hitting refresh and clicking on the next button above.

4.25pm: Helle Hansen
A prolonged spell moves Gus Hansen up to 28,000 as he takes on the role of table centre-piece. He's also been limping a lot, first ahead of Lubor Dedic who raised to 900 on the button. The action was folded through the blinds and back to Hansen who called for a flop of T♦K♥7♥. Hansen checked, then called Dedic's bet of 1,100.

The turn came T♣. Hansen, whose arm rested on his knee which jiggered up and down, checked again. In comparison Dedic used a strong straight arm to bet 2,500, a show of strength which Hansen responded to by casually looking at his cards again (he's been doing that a lot too) and calling.

On the river, a 4♥, Hansen switched tack, betting 10,100, giving the chips a bit of spin as he threw them forward. Dedic looked again, then passed. Toby Lewis, sitting next to Hansen, grinned.

This marked the start of a Hansen rush which picked up a hand later which this time was opened by Antonios Papadopoulos for 600 which Hansen called as did Lewis. Vlado Banicevic also called in the big blind.

On the flop of 8♠8♦2♣ the action was checked to Papadopoulos who bet 1,200. Hansen called while Lewis stepped aside. Vlado Banicevic then raised to 4,200. While Papadopoulos tanked Hansen read a bit. Both passed.

Hansen wasn't done though, limping in the next in early position, which Lewis made 600. Hansen called for a flop of J♦9♣7♦. Hansen, who spreads his chips out in a line on the table, checked to Lewis who made it 800 to play. Hansen spread his chips out on the table again, working best horizontally rather than vertically you might say, before calling for a 5♣ turn card. Check-check for a 4♥ on the river.

Now Hansen picked out a blue chips, adding a black one to make it 5,100 to play on. Lewis thought about it but passed. He's down to 20,500. Hansen, on something of a minor tear, up to 28,000. - SB

4.19pm: Romanello crippled
"I've just had a bad run," said Roberto Romanello, who had wandered over dejectedly to our press desk on the main stage overlooking the tournament floor.

Word had already reached us and we told him as such. Romanello had got it all-in pre-flop with aces into the kings of Fabrizio Baldassari only to see a king flop on the 3♣K♠5♠6♥7♦ board. The reigning champ is down to 1,925 and will need a series of double-ups and/or unanswered shoves to breathe life back into his title defence. -- RD


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Roberto Romanello is up against the ropes


4.12pm: Adinolfi still on the up
Mario Adinolfi is continuing to stack up, this time at the expense of Armin Mette who stacked off with A♣A♠ to Adinolfi's T♠T♥ on a 5♣K♠T♣6♥ board. The river blanked to push Adinolfi up to 86,000. -- RD

4.10pm: The happy and the not so happy
There's a happy little pocket of the room where life is good. Bryn Kenney is there and we've already explained why he has a smile across his tired looking face. Chris Moorman is sat behind him and he's happy because he had 10% of Kenny's action. The third happy face belongs to Simon Charette. He came to chat to a friend and explained that he folded (correctly) the top-five ranked pairs today and has still managed to increase his stack to 40,000.

The not so happy include: Konstantinov Valerevish, Glen Cymbaluk, Sergii Baranov and PokerStars qualifier Matthias Lotze. They've all departed in this level. -- MC

3.55pm: The resurrection of O'Dea continues
November Niner Eoghan O'Dea was down to 3,000 early on but has managed to get himself back up to 18,250 over the last couple of levels. His most recent double up came courtesy of A♠A♣ holding firm against Mikhail Korotkikh's J♦J♥. I get the impression the rest of the table would rather than O'Dea had bust and been replaced by a softer opponent. Although no-one groaned when he showed bullets I did catch a couple of looks which seemed to express the same bitter sentiment. -- RD

3.50pm: Late arrival
We took Bryn Kenney's name out of the chip count page as we assumed that he had moved his starting day until tomorrow. That was not the case. The American has just turned up late wanting to play and so takes his seat looking to spin up his depleted stack. His reason for being late was a good one: he went to bed at 7am having won a $100 re-buy on PokerStars for close to $60,000. Nice job! -- MC

3.45pm: Cheeky Marvin
Marvin Rettenmaier and Philipp Gruissem are two of the hottest poker players from Europe's hottest poker nation right now - Germany.

Rettenmaier has the chance of being the named the 2011 European poker player of the year if he gets a result in the next few weeks. Gruissem is somewhat of a high roller specialist. He claimed that title at EPT Barcelona and London before final tabling the same tournament in San Remo.

The former just got the better of the latter in a pre-flop pot. He opened to 450 from mid position before Gruissem three-bet to 1,525. The action was back on Rettenmaier and he paused before putting in a four-bet to 3,825. This did the trick as his opponent folded and smiled when an also smiling Rettenmaier showed the 5♣.

The chip count page had recently been updated. Click here to see the current standings. -- MC

3.40pm: Carter plays it safe
Dan Carter has taken some more chips from Sam El Sayed but took his sweet time deciding to what to do with bottom set. The board read K♣9♥T♥A♥6♦ but there had been little perhaps no action, given the size of the pot, across the streets until Sam El Sayed led 1,200 into the river. Carter made the call and was shown A♠Q♠. El Sayed - for a change - said nothing and continued to chew on what must be becoming a very soggy unlit cigar. Carter back to his starting stack. -- RD

3.35pm: Rough with the smooth
Anyone looking for justice in this game should try another game. Make that perceived justice. Daniel Carter just took chips from Sam El Sayed, allowing a flash of a smile to appear on his face while El Sayed shook his head, both sure of their convictions that they were correct.

El Sayed has an unlit cigar in his mouth which he chews on. It's in no condition to be lit, looking more like an exploding cigar from a Yosemite Sam cartoon. Carter's t-shirt has the British V-sign on it.

Elsewhere Gus Hansen has begun to make the most of his stack of 20,000. On a board of 7♣J♣9♠J♠ Hansen checked to Toby Lewis in the seat next to him who bet. Hansen called for a river card 4♠.

Now Hansen bet 1,025 after consideration, putting the pressure on Lewis who was now ignoring the iPad on his lap. He thought a while, then more before ultimately passing. A small pot to Hansen, the first to go his way for a while. - SB

LEVEL UP: BLINDS 100-200, ANTE 25


3.20pm: Brammer and Puchkov tangling
Chris Brammer is sat on the direct left of Konstantin Puchkov and the pair always looked likely to mix it up. Brammer, who was the leaderboard champion of UKIPT Season 1, is currently coming out on top and Puchkov is looking increasingly irritated by the situation.

There was 8,000 in the pot when both players checked the 8♥7♣K♠6♠ turn in a battle of the blinds. Puchkov opted to check again as the board paired with the 8♣. Brammer plucked out a 5,000 blue chip and announced a bet of 3,500. Puchov instantly leant back and locked his hands behind his head. A raise was looking unlikely, the decision between a call and fold a marginal one. Puchkov, as it would turn out, made the wrong choice and made the call: Brammer showed K♦T♥ and took the pot to move up to 38,000. -- RD

3.10pm: Quad you like
If you're lucky enough to become a member of Team PokerStars Pro then it's written into your contract that you make quads at least once every EPT*.

We just arrived at Pat Pezzin's table as his 2,700 river bet was called by Trond Nygaard. Pezzin tabled pocket eights for quads, besting the Norwegian's river two-pair with king-jack. The Canadian is up to 32,000 as a result.

*The Team Pros wish they had this written into their contract. -- MC


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Pat Pezzin: quads not a contractual obligation


3.05pm: It's a jungle out there
Dan Cates has dropped to less than his starting stack after losing two pots in-a-row.

In the first hand he raised to 500 from the cut-off and was called by Leo Armino in the small blind. The flop came down 6♦4♠T♥ and the PokerStars qualifier check-raised Cates' 700 c-bet up to 1,800. Cates called before both players checked through the 9♠4♣ turn and river. Cates lost the hand as the Dutchman opened A♦A♣.

The very next hand Cates called Fabrizio Baldassari's under the gun raise en route to a K♠Q♦3♣ flop. The action went check-check here and on the K♥ turn before the Italian led for 500 in the K♣ river. Cates called and mucked upon seeing his opponent's 7♥7♠ for a full house. -- MC

3pm: Hansen looking for room at the Inn
On a board of A♥J♠A♦9♦ Hansen bet 525, his chips spread out on the table and his knee bouncing up and down. His opponent, Pratyush Buddiga, called for a 3♥ river card. Check-check. Buddiga showed A♠Q♥.

"That's better than my hand," said Hansen all matter-of-fact.

Gus Hansen was a late arrival today, wandering in earlier looking for a place to play. Wearing what looks like the contents of the lost property bin at any local gym, Hansen has tangled in a few pots in level three, all the while reading a book, the story of which has since been made into a successful musical.

He played the next hand too, opening the pot in middle position before Luke Staudenmaier made it 3,000 to play from the cut off. The flop came K♠T♥3♣. Hansen checked to Staudenmaier who bet 3,700. Hansen looked again and called. The others at the table read the news on iPads, looking into space or, in the case of Buddiga, watched Hansen intently.

The turn came 2♣. Hansen checked again leaving it to Staudenmaier to make it 6,600. Again Hansen knew he was beaten and passed. Down to 20,000, but still the main draw on table 12. - SB

2.54pm: Moorman and Adinolfi on the up
Mario Adinolfi, who is sat with his pope-fronted notepad as per usual, is up to 76,000, once again in danger of running over his table early on. The Italian is more than happy to play a big pot as his opponents have since found out.

Chris Moorman, an online grinder of legendary proportions, is also off to a good start and is up to 50,000 after slowplaying jacks on a 2♣4♠2♥2♠9♦ board. Moorman had check-called a 2,500 bet from Leonid Bilokur on the flop, as had EPT Tallinn runner-up Grzegorz Cichocki. All three players checked the turn before Moorman made a 5,700 value bet with J♥J♠ which was called by Cichocki. The Pole was left with 7,500.

This year has been the one that Moorman has finally managed to convert his online prowess into live cashes bagging $2,293,235 in winnings, including a runner-up finish in the WSOPE main event. -- RD


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The tournament floor at the Hilton Hotel, Prague


2.43pm: Action bites

  • Martin Staszko raised to 450 from early position and got two callers. The flop came 9♣5♠6♣ and Maksim Semisoshenko led for 1,100. The Team PokerStars Pro folded but is still going well on 37,000.
  • Mihails Morozovs dropped to 11,000 after he committed most of his chips before folding. He led for 7,100 on a 5♠T♠K♦ flop and called when Petr Targa raised to 15,000. The turn came 6♦ and Targa's 9,825 was enough to force a fold from Morozovs.
  • Eoghan O'Dea managed to double up to 5,000 chips through Tino Lechich. His K♣K♦ stayed ahead of the Australian's A♦6♣ on a 2♥6♦9♠Q♦3♦ board. -- MC

    2.30pm: What's the weather like in Gdansk?
    The modern breed of poker player does one of two things when not in a hand. They either turn back to their mobile phone or iPad, or they go and talk to a friend.

    Konstantin Puchkov spots a pal on the rail, puts his bottle of beer down on the nearest table and goes to greet them, aborting the next hand at his table. He's one of several Russians in the field today, at least two of whom have irritated Danish pro Martin Vallo who is out of his chair complaining that Russian has become the first language at his table, which features Leonid Bilokur, Karen Sarkisyan and Anzor Makhtsev. It doesn't help that Vallo just lost a large chunk of his stack to one of them, down to 15,000.

    Marcin Horecki tried to calm him a bit, pointing out that, using his limited Russian, he'd understood that the Russians had merely been telling each other not to talk Russian during a hand. Vallo takes no comfort from this and wanders off to talk to a countryman who pats him on the back.

    Meanwhile Puchkov is back in his seat. "Nice hand," he says, congratulating the player who just won some of his chips, before reaching for his beer. Only his beer is where he left it a few feet away, too far to reach. He stands, notices that the dealer is already dealing, so sits again. The beer will have to wait.

    Meanwhile Simon Charette is making friends with Philip Meulyzer sitting next to him, trying to place where Belgium is on the map and whether or not he should take a friend's advice and move to Gdansk. The conversation is informative. Charette has never been to Belgium and Meulyzer has never been to Gdansk.

    We play on in level three. -- SB

    2.25pm: First break over, antes on the horizon
    Changes to the EPT structure were well received at the beginning of this season with the earlier introduction of antes - now kicking in at the start of level four - being the main point given a large thumbs up. It has certainly proved to encourage action, promoting ballsy play and punishing those that prefer to simply wait for hands - all good in our book. Those antes kick in next level so the sit-back-and-wait mentality will soon prove to be a painful one. Back to the action. -- RD

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    Team PokerStars Pro Theo Jorgensen

    PokerStars Blog reporting team in Prague (in order of health): Stephen Bartley (in fine fettle, ready to break into a brisk walk at a moment's notice), Marc Convey (his standard could-have-done-with-more-sleep mode) and Rick Dacey (a coughing, spluttering mess of a man). Photos by Neil Stoddart.

    Rick Dacey
    @PokerStars in European Poker Tour