EPT San Remo: Day 1a, level 1, 2 & 3 updates (blinds 100-200)
5.35pm: Spets stacking up
Swede Roger Spets seems to have rushed off to an early chip lead with 90,000, even though he wasn't the player to benefit from an overzealous shove by Amos Angelini who was a couple of seats to his right. Emphasis on was.
Vincenzo Scarpitti had opened from early position to 700 and had picked up one caller before Angelini moved in for his last 5,625 from middle position. The action passed round to Scarpitti who made the call with pocket queens, which stayed well ahead of Angelini's 3♠3♣. Scarpitti climbs up to 50,000. Tablemate Jani Sointula sits on 40,000.
End of level. -- RD
5.25pm: One down
Elsewhere Ivan Freitez is out, taking it well after Andrew Teng saw him to the rail. Teng now up to 55,000. -- SB
5.20pm: All yours, Barbosa Barbosa Barbosa yah-yah*
On a flop of 6♠7♦J♣ Donnini checked to Martin Jacobson who bet 1,025. Two seats along was Joao Barbosa who took a break from tapping at his phone to call Jacobson, as did Danilo Armando Donnini for a turn card A♠.
Now the action was checked through Donnini and Jacobson to Barbosa, who bet 2,500. Donnini called but Jacobson left them to it, the 2♦ landing on the river. Donnini checked and so did Barbosa, neither player showing a card as Donnini mucked immediately. Barbosa up to 52,000.
* Enough with the Kate Bush reference - Ed.
5.10pm: The age of the fold
Sometimes one can watch live poker for an age and only see fold after fold. It's not like the poker you see on TV kids. Here are a few examples of the other side of poker:
It was Round Two for Constant Rijkenberg and Max Lehmanski but this time it was the Dutchman applying the pressure. They were heads up to the river where the board read 3♠7♣4♠5♣T♣ and Rijkenberg bet 7,500 into a 16,000 pot. Lehmanski made the fold.
Martin Jacobson is one of the players of this season after three final table appearances that have included two runner-up spots. Unfortunately for him he just finished second in a pot to drop to 16,000. He defended a button raised into his big blind before check-folding to a bet on a Q♣5♠8♠ flop.
Our third player finding the fold button was Rob Akery in hand versus Almira Scripcenco. He raised from mid position and Scripcenco called from the button to see a J♣3♥2♠ flop. Akery c-bet for 700 and was called before both players checked the J♥ turn. The river came 8♠ and Akery check-folded to 1,200 bet. He dropped to 34,000 and is up to 24,500. -- MC
4.55pm: Throw down walk off
David Sands did not look happy as he stormed off at the break. The American had four-bet from the big blind to 3,350 after a 400 opener from Ludovic Lacay in the cut-off and 1,100 three-bet from Max Heinzelmann on the button. Both the initial raiser and three-bettor moved out of the way leaving Felix Bleiker with a decision in the small blind. The Swiss had already flatted Heinzelmann's three-bet and then decided to toss in the additional 2,250 despite Sands' aggression.
The 2♠5♥A♣ flop proved to be a bit of an action killer as both players checked down through the streets to the T♥4♠ river. Bleiker showed A♠Q♠ for top pair and Sands, looking a little too much like Darth Maul without the face-paint or studs (Ray Park? - Ed), flipped his pocket kings a full 360 before rushing out towards the exit with a snarl. -- RD
4.45pm: Before the break
On a flop of 9♣3♣T♠ Nicolas Levi was in action shortly before the break. He checked in middle position to Andreas Eskeland Sigur who bet 1,300, which the Frenchman went on to call. The turn came 3♥ which both players checked for a T♣ river card. Levi, freed from the restrictions of an earlier massage, bet 1,800, good enough to take the pot. - SB
4.37pm: Cards back in the air
Players are back in their seats for level 3.
4.20pm: Break time
That's the end of the level. Players are now taking a 15 minute break.
4.15pm: Pontus pilots a winning pot
Rupert Elder came 80th in Berlin for his first EPT cash but he's down to 12,000 here after losing out to Swedish player Pontus Almsenius.
The Brit raised to 400 from second position and Almsenius defended his big blind to see the 5♣T♦6♦ flop. He check-called a 450 c-bet from Elder before check-raising an 800 bet on the A♥ turn. The raise was up to 2,050 and it did the trick as Elder folded to help his stack climb to 28,000. -- MC
4.07pm: Defending his title
We've already mentioned that the champion from two years ago, Constant Rijkenberg, is in the field today. He didn't play last year so he could consider this tournament a title defense. Team PokerStars Pro Liv Boeree might have something to say about that, but no one's ever knocked him out of an EPT San Remo.
He was off to a good start but just made a painful looking lay down in a big pot to drop back to 26,000. He was heads-up against Max Lehmanski (small blind) and called a 5,550 bet (from the hijack) after the turn had been dealt to make a T♠8♦7♣K♣ board. The river came K♠ and Lehmanski moved all-in for his last 18,500. The Dutchman put his hands up to cover his nose and thought long and hard before sliding his cards into the muck. -- MC
4pm: Shove love
They're loving a shove here in San Remo. It's not often that you see whole stacks crossing the line this early in a tournament. It must be something in the sea air. It's bracing, don't you know.
Mario Adinolfi (mentioned earlier but not directly below, that's Alessandro Adinolfi) is down to 10,500 after being shoved on by Paolo Di Gennaro on a J♥Q♦Q♣2♥5♣ board and passing.
Frenchman Hugo Lamaire, however, made one of those calls which looked like he knew he was behind but just wanted to find out when he lost the hand. The answer was clearly the river. Lamaire had bet 5,050 into the 2♠A♠4♠7♦7♥ board and was check-shoved on by Arturo Vrenna for the remaining half of his starting stack. Lamaire looked disgruntled and made the call with 8♠7♠ for a flush with a backdoor blocker. Vrenna excitedly showed A♣7♣ for a runner-runner full house. -- RD
3.45pm: One potato, two potato...
Vladimir Kochelaevskiy opened for a standard raise which was then seized upon by Alessandro Adinolfo who three-bet to 1,200. Michael Gathy was next to act, four-betting to 4,200 before the action returned to Kochelaevskiy.
In reply he (where were we...) five-bet to 9,600 which Adinolfo then six-bet to 16,000. Gathy six-and-a-half-bet-folded while Kochelaevskiy then seven-bet shoved for 27,300. Adinolfo called, showing K♥K♠ to Kochelaevskiy's A♠K♦.
The board ran 3♥2♠2♥4♦6♥ to send Kochelaevskiy to the rail, while leaving Adinolfo with more than 65,000 and the likely chip lead. - SB
3.35pm: From around the tournament floor
There are three former champions of EPT San Remo, one of whom is playing today. Constant Rijkenberg was an energetic champion who, in a typically memorable San Remo final, took swagger and disbelief to new levels. He's here today, testing the water again.
Other colourful players litter the field, some in the traditional dress of elasticated nylon and trainers, others adorned with colourful plastic bling; bright coloured sunglasses and headphones, the type of fashion that looks like it was sent off for with a postal order and six coupons form the back of a cereal box.
Others looking smart include Viktor Blom, his hair
neatly fashionable mangled to look young and carefree. It works. And while Max Heinzelmann looks like he's yet to dip in to the €500,000 he won in Berlin two weeks ago, Martin Jacobson has on pristine white trainers, ready to pursue a fourth EPT final table of the season. Two seats a long from him is Joao Barbosa, who reached one back in Season 5. -- SB
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 75-150
3.25pm: Value at the tables?
Some of the tables here look like a value-laden dream, others really not so. There's some starting draw variance for you.
EPT winner Jake Cody is looking a little glum despite having Celine Bastian on his right-hand side. He's sitting in seat nine with Dominykas Karmazinas, who came third at last year's grand final for €700,000, in seat one, and EPT Berlin runner-up Max Heinzelmann in seat three with Felix Bleiker (who I've been assured my a German colleague is a good online player) in the next spot along.
Karmazinas started the action with a raise to 275 and was called by Heinzelmann on the button and Bleiker in the small blind. Karmazinas, the pre-flop raiser, check-raised Heinzelmann's 325 stab at the 9♦5♦5♣ flop to 1,250. Heinzelmann quickly wilted from the action while Bleiker held on, as he did for 2,300 on the 6♠ turn and 10,000 on the Q♠ river.
Karmazinas showed T♠5♠ for trips and Bleiker mucked his hand. The Lithuanian is up to 43,000. Level set to go up. -- RD
3.10pm: Double up or go eat pasta
"I wanted to double-up or go eat pasta", said Arnaud Mattern after he scooped in a pot that doubled him up through Amos Angelini.
The hand started with the Team PokerStars Pro raising to 250 from under-the-gun and Angelini calling from the hijack before Almira Scripcenco three-bet to 850 from the small blind. Both her opponents called to see the 4♥A♣6♣ flop.
Scripcenco checked, Mattern bet 1,250 and Angelini quickly raised to 5,000. This forced the French lady out but not the Frenchman who moved all-in for his last 12,875. Angelini snap-called to set up the show down.
Mattern tabled the flush drawing 7♣5♣, behind to the A♦4♦ two-pair of his opponent. Mattern got instant service on the K♣ turn and the 5♥ river failed to pair the board. The Italian said, "Nice hand" to Mattern and pointed out, in broken English, that he had offered this gesture. Duly noted, sir. -- MC
2.55pm: Mitchell half the man he was
James Mitchell is down to 14,050 after value betting two pairs but Konstantin Bucherl tank-called with a full-house to claim the pot.
The action was three-way to the turn and the board read 5♣A♦6♣6♦. Mitchell led for 5,000 from the small blind and was called by the German. The river fell Q♣ and Mitchell led for 8,050. Bucherl shook his head and looked to the sky before making the call with 5♥5♦. Mitchell tabled A♣Q♦ before seeing his chips being slid the other way. -- MC
INTERNET ISSUES: As we mentioned earlier, the internet is on strike here in San Remo. We are in negotiations with the ethernet cable unions and hope to have normal service resumed shortly.
2.40pm: Mattern mauled
Team PokerStars Pro Arnaud Mattern is down to 12,000 chips already after running into his neighbour's full-house. His opponent made it 250 to go pre-flop and called when Mattern three-bet to 725.
The flop fell 2♦K♥T♦ and Mattern's 1,050 c-bet was check-raised up to 2,750. Mattern called before then calling bets of 3,150 and 6,550 on the Q♠2♥ turn and river. He was shown T♥T♣ and mucked his hand saying, "Nice hand." - MC
2.30pm: Adinolfi back at it
The tournament floor is split into two sections, both of which are crammed with known players, Team PokerStars Pros and swathes of little known Italian players. At every tournament a chunk of these unknown players will get added to our list of 'known and notables' having had a deep run, such as Mario Adinolfi.
Adinolfi finished 22nd at EPT Berlin earlier this month for €20,000 and had looked to be the obligatory eccentric lock-in for the final table (before his knockout, of course). A large bearded man who used a notebook with the pope on as a card protector, it did seem as if a divine spirit was often on his side. He needed a card? He hit it. He didn't want a call? He'd get it and river his draw anyway. That spark appears to have found him again.
After opening the pot from early position to 300 Adinoli called a three-bet of 1,075 before checking down a 6♣6♥Q♣T♠5♥ board to show K♣T♥, beating his opponent's A♠K♠. He raked in the pot as Team PokerStars Pro Martin Hruby looked on with considerable interest from the next seat along... This is my first outing to San Remo, I expect it to be an eventful one. -- RD
2.20pm: Interesting tables from the right
The tournament area is split into two halves, with a bar area acting as the divide between them. I can't tell you much about the area to the left as yet but the area to the right has some interesting tables we'll be keeping an eye on.
Team PokerStars Pro Viktor Blom is already attracting media attention and his table doesn't have many notable faces, but Nicolas Levi is there, his head buried into the baize as he gets a massage.
Sami Kelopuro is in the house and has two French pros to contend with in Marc Inziman and Fabrice Soulier. The same can also be said for Tobias Reinkemeier who will have to navigate his way past, or through, Tristan Clemencon and Antoine Saout. -- MC
2.15pm: The tournament begins
Cards are (finally) in the air and it looks like we'll be playing nine one-hour levels with a split dinner break. -- RD
2.05pm: From the floor
Gloria Balding makes the best of the delay introducing the day and talking to Team PokerStars Pro Arnaud Mattern.
1.45pm: The Trojan workings of the media room
Past the players and behind the felt there is a media room packed full of journalists, bloggers, snappers and camera crews. At the beginning of any EPT this area is a hive of activity, a constant jostle of elbows all trying to mark their territory on that all important first day. Today it's a lot calmer.
While much can be put down to the fact that this media room is two to three times the size of the average one - if you saw us crammed onto the stage at EPT Berlin you'll understand the conditions we sometimes work under - the main reasons is that the internet connection is undergoing some serious problems.
"Someone's Trojan is blocking the internet," claims one media lackey who appears to have been fobbed off by one of the casino's IT support staff. I strongly suspect that the ol' Trojan line is the equivalent to the "Have you tried switching it on and off?" diversionary tactic used in other countries. Coverage will remain sketchy until the pipes have been cleaned and the cables untangled. -- RD
We have issues, and they have issues. First, the internet isn't great here, meaning there may be unintended delays in the coverage. We've also heard that the start of play has been delayed another hour. Jump off is now 2pm. What's more, it just started to rain. Time for some ice cream. -- SB
12pm: Stand down
Official word is that there will be a one hour delay to the start of play. That makes it a 1pm kick off. -- SB
11.45am: Welcome to San Remo
Four years ago the PokerStars European Poker Tour wound its way along the cliff top chicanes overlooking the Mediterranean sea and into the sleepy coastal town of San Remo.
What the locals didn't know about universal internet connection they made up in other ways. In the morning for instance, they served cups of coffee that would defibrillate every muscle in your body. From the lunch deli came inch-thick sandwiches, packed with mozzarella, bright red tomato and green leafy stuff that you've seen growing in garden centres. Then in the evening pasta, pizzas and fresh fish, all served in the sunshine to people who had just spent a week in Deauville, Copenhagen and the Alps.
If that was enough to make you forget the poker you'd come to play, 701 other people that year certainly didn't. The next year that figure stood at 1,178, then 1,240. In that first season San Remo became the most popular event on the European Poker Tour. Now it's back, and thankfully it hasn't changed a bit.
With the Madrid finale a little more than a week away San Remo serves as the last regular season bash before the formalities of the Grand Final, what with its opulence, Morning Dress and chandeliers. We're in the Casino San Remo once again, next door to the hotel that served the coffee, across the street from the sandwich deli, and two floors down from the buffet. If we begin to forget why we're here then the crowd of expressive and hopeful poker playing locals, not to mention the international raiders currently taking their seats, should bring us back.
We're scheduled to start at 12 noon, although judging from the queue at registration that sounds unlikely. -- SB
Casino San Remo
PokerStars Blog reporting team in San Remo (in order of Ice cream runs made at last night's welcome party): Rick Dacey (three), Marc Convey (one) and Stephen Bartley (there was ice cream?)