EPT San Remo: Day 4, level 22, 23 & 24 updates (blinds 15,000-30,000, 3,000 ante)
6.40pm: Play concludes
The elimination of Antonio Russo in 25th place brings an end to this day of poker. Overnight chip leader seems to be Nicolas Yunis on 2,281,000. We'll verify that and all the other counts as soon as we can and a wrap of the day's play will be up for reading shortly. -- MC
6.35pm: Sorry Russo, it's time to go
Antonio Russo had been nursing a short stack for a long time but he had to get his chips in sometime and when he did, he got them in behind and with zero fold equity.
Antonino Venneri raised to 90,000 from the cut-off and Russo moved all-in from the button for 96,000. Both players in the blinds folded to leave it heads up.
The board ran T♠K♥2♣J♦5♦. Russo was down to calling for a queen for a split on the river but it failed to come. -- MC
6.20pm: Ruminating Russo
Antonio Russo is simply refusing to go out. Stalling and blinding down have been his usual tactics but he's just found a new technique: shoving and doubling. The action passed to Russo on the button and he moved all-in (for around two big blinds) and was snap called by Luigi Pignataro in the big blind.
The board flopped him a set with K♠2♣Q♥ and ran out 8♥9♦ to more than double the Italian up to five big blinds. Play continues. -- RD
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 15,000-30,000, ANTE 3,000
Nicola Grieco has just been penalised for unsportsmanlike conduct after mucking his hand and answering his phone. Does that deserve a ten-hand penalty? Yes, it does when Grieco was in the big blind and the under-the-gun player, Dario Nittolo, had just announced that he was all-in.
I've also been reliably informed that Grieco has had 'a minimum one' penalty each day so I don't think we can entirely chalk it up to naivety. Very, very naughty.
That's the end of the level. We'll stay in this post for the next level. -- RD
5.50pm: Respecting Elder's
Rupert Elder is up to nearly 1,700,000 after he dispatched of Dario Nittolo in a preflop all-in encounter. The Italian open shoved for 348,000 and Elder re-raised from the next seat to get it heads-up and it worked as all the players behind folded.
The board ran A♦9♠K♣7♠8♠. The two players shook hands and Elder sorted his stack with a big smile across his face. -- MC
5.45pm: Huber over and out
Fabrizio Cataldi opened from middle position to 52,000 and was shoved on by Stefan Huber in the big blind for 490,000. Cataldi made the count and then made the call.
The board ran out 5♦6♦T♣A♦7♦ to give both players a flush but Cataldi the larger one. He's up over one million now. Huber out in 28th. -- RD
5.41pm: Big squeeze gone wrong
Giuseppe Caciolo is our 29th player finisher (€22,500) after finding a good spot to add 20% to his stack with a squeeze but he ran into problems as Massimiliano Manigrasso had flatted the original raise with a monster.
Stefan Huber opened the pot with a raise to 50,000 from the cut-off that Manigrasso flatted on the button before Caciolo moved all-in for 500,000. Huber folded but Manigrasso called.
The board ran 4♥2♠5♠8♠J♦ meaning ace-high with a king kicker was good for the pot and the scalp. -- MC
5.35pm: Manigrasso puts his trust in tptk
Uruguayan Fabrizio Cataldi sat staring at the 5♥J♠7♣2♥ board and the 460,000 bet that Massimiliano Manigrasso had just pushed into him after check-raising the flop. Cataldi had closer to 800,000 so this was a decision for his stack. He finally decided to pass and Manigrasso showed A♣J♣ for top pair, top kicker. Manigrasso on the up with around 1,200,000. -- RD
5.25pm: Heinzelmann makes another move
Max Heinzelmann must have spikiest chip count graph, he's constantly up and down. Moved from a new table with Thomas Kremser still unpacking his stack Heinzelmann defended his big blind from a Freddy Darakjian open raise of 52,000 before check-raising the Frenchman's 7♦J♣T♣ 80,000 c-bet to 206,000. Darakjian moved all-in and Heinzelmann insta-folded. That still leaves him with some 700,000, Darakjian up to 800,000. -- RD
5.20pm: Lykov snatches chips to send Ribaud out
Xuan Liu was the player of note in the last level, and was set to pick up where she left off in this, before Max Lykov stole her thunder.
Paul Ribaud moved in from early position for a last gasp 130,000. With the action on Liu she raised 200,000 from the cut off only for Max Lykov; show hasn't shied away from taking on the Canadian all afternoon, raised to 407,000 total.
After some discussion about minimum bet sizes Liu folded her cards, taking the hand to showdown between Lykov's A♣K♥ and Ribaud's 8♣8♥.
The board ran 2♣6♣A♦3♦Q♥ to send Ribaud to the rail and take Lykov up to 1,500,000. He slapped hands with some pals on the rail then began stacking his chips, with a wry smile towards Liu. - SB
5.15pm: Million dollar man
Joe Cada's stack is over the 1,000,000 mark now after he eliminated Arturo Pierantoni, hitting a case card. He called a Pierantoni raise in position and called a c-bet on the flop from the Italian before all the chips went in on the turn.
At this stage the board read 9♥A♦K♦9♠ and Pierantoni tabled A♥K♦ for top two-pair. Cada tabled T♣9♣ and stayed in the lead through the 4♦ river. Pierantoni headed off to collect €22,500 and Cada found out how fortunate he was as Xuan Liu told him she folded a nine. -- MC
5.05pm: Manousos mangled
The aggressive Georgios Manousos has just busted in a two stage coup de grace. He was pretty short with 366,000 (15 big blinds) when he called off 226,000 of that with 4♣4♦ from the small blind after Marco Fabbrini shoved from the button with Q♥Q♦.
The next hand involved Antonio Russo shipping it in for a little more than 200,000 and showing A♦Q♠ when it folded around. Manousos then found 3♠3♥ and pushed. Riccardo Lacchinelli picked up A♠K♥ in the big blind and made the call. He flopped a pair, turned a straight and dodged a chop on the river. Lacchinelli up to 450,000. -- RD
4.55pm: Beware the stacking player
It has been said many times that one should be aware of a player who leaves a delicious plate of food to play a hand. The same can be said of any player who plays a hand despite still stacking chips from the previous hand.
Liz Liu was still stacking chips from that last pot when she opened to 51,000 from under-the-gun. Joe Cada was in the small blind and seemed interested (don't do it Joe, don't do it) and he pulled some chips forward to three-bet to 125,000.
Liu studied Cada's stack (660,000 behind) before four-betting to 261,000. Cada (I mentally warned you buddy) slipped his cards swiftly into the muck. Liu is up to 1,600,000 chips now. -- MC
4.50pm: Chips for Liu
More chips for Xuan Liu. Liu opened for 51,000 in the cut off which was called by Freddy Darakjian in the big blind. The flop came T♥A♠8♣ and Liu bet again, 61,000 which Darakjian called for a Q♦ turn card. Liu reached back and bet another 135,000. Again, Darakjian called for a 3♣ river card.
Liu paused, looked at her cards once more and then bet what looked to be around 255,000, two towers, one yellow, one blue, of indeterminate heights. It left her with 700,000 back while Darakjian had just 600,000. Darakjian thought for some time before folding. Liu up now to around 1,450,000. - SB
4.38pm: Play resumes
Play has resumed for what we fully expect to be the last level of the day. Another ten players have to be eliminated to reach the magic number of 24. -- MC
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 12,000-24,000, ante 3,000
4.20pm: Act three
"You can argue with me, I'll still call time," said Nicolas Yunis to Antonio Russo, with whom there seems to be a direct correlation between how much he stalls and how irate he gets. At the moment, he is stalling considerably. Georgios Manousos opened for 44,000 and Yunis made the call before the action folded around to Russo in the big blind. The Italian had 250,000 behind, a little more than ten big blinds. The tournament director gave the count before Russo made the inevitable fold.
The active hands played themselves out and Yunis raked in another small pot, all the time with Russo boring holes into him from across the table. Russo doesn't look like a happy man at the moment.
And that melodrama takes us to the end of the level. Join us in 15 minutes. -- RD
4.12pm: More for Elder
Rupert Elder's revival has continued throughout what has proved to be a great level. He's now up to around 1,300,000 after tangling with Luigi Pignataro. Elder had opened from the cut-off and Pignataro had called from the small blind before check-raising the 2♠T♣3♣ flop from 45,000 to 111,000. Elder made the call before the 9♣ turn and T♦ river were checked down.
Elder swiped the pot pre-flop the next hand with Andy Teng, who has quietly chipped up to nearly 1,800,00, passing the big blind. -- RD
4.10pm: Cada to the Max
We missed the action but Max Lykov was just seen paying off Joe Cada with a board showing J♣4♦4♣9♥4♥. Cada had Q♦Q♣ to Lykov's A♦Q♥. The Russian drops to a still safe 1,750,000 while Cada puts some life back into his stack, up to 600,000. - SB
4.08pm: A load of Bolzoni
On a flop of A♣T♥J♦ Antonino Venneri raised to 90,000 from middle position which Diego Bolzoni called two seats along. Both players checked the 5♠ turn card for a T♣ river. Bolzoni made it 150,000. Venneri leaned back and thought for a while, eventually calling. T♠J♠ for Bolzoni, nothing as good for Venneri who didn't show. He slips to 800,000 while 1206 moves up to around 900,000. - SB
4.06pm: Ludovic not very Lacay
French pro Ludovic Lacay is out after getting very unlucky in a hand. The story that filtered back to us was that he got all his chips in on a Q♥ flop with 5♥6♥. His opponent held pocket kings and things got worse for him on the 4♥ turn as it gave Lacay a flush draw to go with his two-pair. The river was a  though meaning the Frenchman's hand was counterfeited by running cards. -- MC
4.04pm: Torrid time for Manousos
Georgios Manousos finished Day 2 as chip leader and had been going pretty well. Not so now, thanks to a great call from Nicolas Yunis and an unfortunate clash with Riccardo Lacchinelli.
Manousos had opened the pot from late position and had been called in position by Yunis. Manousos bet 42,000 at the T♣5♥K♠ flop and Yunis, slowly, called. Manousos fired again, 74,000 this time, into the J♦ turn. Yunis, again slowly, made the call. The board paired on the river with the J♣ and Manousos
emptied the clip triple barrelled for 122,000. Yunis, head resting on a massage pad and barely peering over his two-tier tower of chips, took his time before making the call.
"Seven high," Manousos said quietly. Yunis turned flipped over a small pocket pair to win the 550,000 pot. Shortly after Manousos doubled up a short stacked Lacchinelli to 450,000 with pocket twos to the Italian's T♠T♦, you would have thought from the celebration had just won the heads-up here. Manousos now in trouble with around 300,000 left. -- RD
3.52pm: Rigano exit, Elder doubles
David Lichentin just knocked out Paolo Rigano in an ace-king to pocket eights flip to chip up to 1,600,000, only to pass a large chunk onto Rupert Elder with a similar ace-king to sixes flip. Elder up to 900,000, Lichentin down to 1,150,000 and Rigano is still out. -- RD
3.49pm: France surrenders to Italy
After Italy, France is the most represented country left in the tournament. Their number has dwindled from five to four though after the elimination of Anthony Picault.
He three-bet all-in over the top of a Rocco Palumbo raise. We're not sure of the initial raise size but it was another 248,000 for him to call, and he did.
The board came 4♠6♠2♥7♠8♠ and ace high was good for the Italian who's up to around 800,000 now. -- MC
3.36pm: Liu passes a million in hand against Cada
In what proved to be a huge hand, Xuan Lin has skittled her way up to 1,350,000 after a hand against former World Champion Joe Cada.
Cada had opened for 45,000 from the cut-off, which Liu called from the big blind for a flop of 7♥5♠2♣. Lui then checked, leaving Cada to bet 55,000 which was called.
On the K♠ turn Lui checked again. Cada bet again; 112,000 this time, leaving Liu to think about it while performing some elaborate riffling with various denominations of chips. Then, she quietly moved all of her blue chips forward, a raise of 240,000.
In the first display of emotion by either player Cada furrowed his brow, then looked confused. Something in this picture didn't look right to him. Liu meanwhile remained poised, even when Cada announced all-in. She called instantly, turning over K♣7♣ for two pairs. Cada winced, flipping over K♥6♥. When the river card came A♠ the dealer slid the chips to the Canadian.
Not a peep out of Liu, who began neatly stacking her chips ahead of the next hand. Nothing from Cada either, who slips down to 350,000. There's always another hand to win. Class from both players. -- SB
Anthony Picault moved all-in for 174,000 with K♦2♥, promptly got a call from Max Heinzelmann who showed A♠7♠. The board came 3♥K♠8♦4♠J♦. Picault doubles to more than 350,000 while Heinzelmann drops to around 210,000. - SB
3.25pm: Nearly a double elimination
Costantino Russo called off 35 per cent of his stack and folded but he was very close to calling. If he had, he would be a chip-rich player right now.
The pot opened with a raise from Massimiliano Manigrasso in mid position before Germano Martucci three-bet all-in for 250,000 from the cut-off. Russo was on the button and called before Manigrasso re-shoved behind for 667,000. The decision was back on Russo and he tank-folded queens (so he said).
The board ran 3♥8♣2♣2♠Q♣ to eliminate Martucci. Russo would've made a set on the river and taken both players out. -- MC
3.20pm: Unnecessary theatrics
At one end of table one you have three Italian players; Riccardo Lacchinelli (seat six), Antonino Venneri (seat seven) and Antonio Russo (seat eight), who all seem to be engaged in a performance; half-poker, half-pantomime. These scenes took place just before the break.
Act one: As the action folded to big stack Nicolas Yunis (1,800,000) in the hijack Antonino Venneri in the big blind started waving. "My big blind," he said with a forced machismo - he was yet to look at his cards. Yunis, unperturbed, tossed in a small 34,000 open raise. The action folded to Venneri who repeated again, this time with a little more fervour as if Yunis had declared war: "MY BIG BLIND." He then looked at his cards and passed.
Act two: Enter the dames. The action passed to serial staller Russo on the button who pushed out a raise to 40,000 (leaving himself around 300,000). Paolo Rigano passed the small blind but Georgios Manousos moved all-in from the big blind, at which point Lacchinelli, obviously no longer in the hand, said something in Italian.
I've since been told it translated as something along the lines of 'He's always raising.' Russo passed A♣6♣ face up before the dealer admonished Lacchinelli for talking in Italian while not in the hand and potentially influencing play. The three Italians took exception to this - a standard EPT rule - and the floor was called at which point Lacchinelli demanded: "Can we change the dealer?" No, you can't.
Not having an issue with the hand in play but wanting to clarify exactly what the rule was, Yunis asked a couple of questions. Russo did not appreciate this further examination and stared at the Chilean waving his pinched hand in that no-nonsense way.
Act three is yet to be written but it should be interesting. -- RD
3.06pm: Cards in the air
Play restarts in level 22.
PokerStars Blog reporting team in San Remo (in order of number of players they think will be lost in this level): Marc Convey (11), Rick Dacey (12) and Stephen Bartley (16).