EPT San Remo: Day 5, level 26 & 27 updates (blinds 30,000-60,000, 5,000 ante)


6.25pm: Pignataro busts in ninth to end play
The first hand hand back after the redraw and Luigi Pignataro shoved 8♥8♦ into the aces of Costantino Russo. It's a tough bust out for Pignataro who has played some great, solid poker here over the last few days. He takes home €50,000 which he can add to the €30,000 he won for finishing 23rd in this event last year.

Full wrap and chip counts to come. -- RD

6.18pm: Play resumes
Apart from the actual bubble, 9th place has to be the most painful position to be eliminated in. Who will be the unfortunate player to get so near to a prestigious EPT final table? Play has just resumed so stayed tuned in to find out. -- MC

6.10pm: Final nine seat draw
Seat 1. Francesco De Vivo, Italy - 1,095,000
Seat 2. Max Lykov, Russia, Team PokerStars Pro -- 1,500,000
Seat 3. Rupert Elder, United Kingdom - 8,010,000
Seat 4. Max Heinzelmann, Germany - 7,890,000
Seat 5. Xuan Liu, Canada - 1,745,000
Seat 6. Roberto Spada, Italy, 4,780,000
Seat 7. Massimiliano Manigrasso, Italy - 2,015,000
Seat 8. Luigi Pignataro, Italy - 910,000
Seat 9. Costantino Russo, Italy - 1,590,000

5.55pm: Venneri calls off with king high to bust in 10th
Antonino Venneri is out after busting to the other shortest stack at the table, Xuan Liu. The two were in the blinds and the pot was limped to the 7♦3♥A♦ flop.

Venneri bet 100,000 here and on the A♥ turn and Liu check-called both times. The river came 7♣ and and Liu moved all-in and Venneri snap called with K♦T♠. Liu tabled 7♥8♠ for a full house, the pot and the scalp.

All the players will reconvene on the feature table now. We lose one more player and that's the final table set for tomorrow. -- MC

5.50pm: Heinzelmann continuing to bash the table
Max Heinzelmann is continuing to exert his dominance and just forced Luigi Pignataro to fold an ace. The Italian opened for 130,000 and Heinzelmann three-bet to 270,000. Pignataro passed his hand flashing a red ace before doing so. -- RD

5.48pm: Marco Bognanni out in 11th
We're playing in a theatre so it's only fitting that there should be some drama, and we have Rupert Elder to thank for that.

It was no great display, no screaming melodrama, just the subtle turning over of a devastating hand.

On a flop of 5♥3♦4♣ Marco Bognanni began a series of check-calling. Elder bet 140,000, which was called. Bognanni then check called a 285,000 bet on the T♠ turn. On the 9♦ river Elder announced "I'm all in." Bognanni leaned back in his chair and folded his arms. Then he said "I call."

At that instant Elder flipped up 6♠2♠ and Bognanni's tournament was over. - SB

5.38pm: Captain Elder
Rupert Elder's running the outer table at the moment and using his big stack extremely well. He has more than 6,000,000 for the first time now and the last million of those have been won without showdown. An example of this is when he three-bet all-in from the big blind after Costantino Russo raised to 130,000 from the small blind. The Italian had a 30 big blind stack and would've needed a very big hand to call seeing as there are four stacks lower than him in the field. -- MC

5.25pm: Tough to get callers
Antonino Vennari has been the most active on the outer table, left with little option but fold or shove. He moved in from under-the-gun leaving it to Xuan Liu to call. She passed though, as did everyone else did when he next moved in from the small blind. - SB

5.20pm: Teng turned over in 12th (€40,000)
Andrew Teng has just been eliminated by Max Heinzelmann, who is putting in a steamrolling performance at this TV table. A short stacked Teng was forced to get it in with A♠3♠ and was looked up by Heinzelmann with A♦5♦.


Andrew Teng

Another exciting flop, 9♥3♦7♦, hit both players destroying the chance of a chopped pot. The turn finished the hand with the Q♦ as Heinzelmann made the nuts. The German, who finished runner-up at EPT Berlin, is stretching out at the top with 7,000,000. -- RD

5.15pm: Heinzelmann takes on Spada
Max Heinzelmann has taken some more chips, this time from Roberto Spada. On a 5♠4♣9♣ flop Heinzelmann led around 125,000 and three-bet after Spada raised to 310,000. Spada passed (cameras cut away from the three-bet amount). Heinzelmann up to 5,300,000. -- RD

5.12pm: Cada out in 13th, Heinzelmann takes chip lead
Joe Cada has just busted out after getting it all-in with K♥9♥ against Max Heinzelmann's J♠J♣. There have been some action-packed flops on this feature table today and the dealer didn't break that trend; A♥4♥5♣. The turn was a blank T♣ but the river gave a flash of red. It was the 4♦ and Cada rose to his feet; so close, yet to so far. The Team PokerStars Pro takes €35,000 for his deep run.


Joe Cada

Heinzelmann up to nearly 6,000,000 and takes the chip lead from Rupert Elder, who is still well chipped on over 5,000,000. -- RD

5.08pm: Aces baby
Massimiliano Manigrasso raised to 130,000 from under-the-gun and called when Francesco De Vivo three-bet to 280,000 from the hijack. The flop came down J♦T♠9♦ and Manigrasso bet 350,000 (out of 900,000) and took the pot down and then showed A♣A♦. -- MC

5pm: Vennari charmed
Antonino Vennari just moved all-in for 450,000 from under the gun. It was folded around to Xuan Liu in the big blind who called immediately, showing A♥7♠. Vennari turned over K♥6♠.

The flop came J♠9♥T♣ to give Vennari more outs. The 2♠ didn't help but the 6♣ river card did. Vennari doubles. Strangely, Massimiliano Manigrasso seemed even more delighted. -- SB

4.57pm: Cada down to 30 big blinds
Joe Cada has slipped a little further down the chip charts after losing a small pot to Max Heinzelmann. The former world champ is down to 1,500,000, some 30 big blinds, so the American Team PokerStars Pro still has plenty of room for manoeuvre. -- RD

4.55pm: Play resumes
Cards are back in the air.

LEVEL UP: BLINDS 30,000-60,000, ANTE 5,000

4.40pm: Level ends
It's break time again. Players are on a 15 minute break.

4.38pm: Bolzoni busted in 14th (€35,000)
The actual last hand of the level was played on the TV feature table and it saw Diego Bolzoni sent to the rail in 14th place. Roberto Spada had done the serious damage earlier, it was the same said Italian to land the final blow.

On a 8♠8♦A♦2♣ board the players got it all-in with Bolzoni's A♣J♣ trailing Spada's A♥[k]. The Q♦ river was not of the nine outs that Bolzoni needed to win or chop the pot. Bolzoni departs as Spada chips up to close to 4,000,000. -- RD

4.35pm: Manigrasso spikes on the river to survive
Massimiliano Manigrasso was all but out the door until the river came to his rescue to double him up.

Antonino Venneri raised to 130,000 from the cut-off and took a surprisingly long time to call when Manigrasso moved all-in for 1,125,000 from the small blind.

Manigrasso: A♥J♠
Venneri: K♣K♠

The board ran Q♣J♦7♥5♦A♦ to make Manigrasso two-pair. This blogger is now deaf thanks to the dangerously high decibel level reached with the celebrations.

That was also the last hand of this level. Join us back here in 15 minutes. -- MC

4.32pm: Bolzoni doubles through Heinzelmann
Diego Bolzoni has just doubled up to 900,000 through Max Heinzelmann. The German had opened from the hijack and Bolzoni moved all-in for around 450,000. The action passed back around to Heinzelmann who made the call.

Heinzelmann: T♦7♦
Bolzoni: Q♥Q♣

The 9♦Q♦K♥ flop gave plenty of possibilities, which was increase with the 8♠ turn. "Too many outs," said a German colleague. Indeed. The 8♦ rivered big hands for both players, the flush for Heinzelmann and a full house for Bolzoni.

Also, Andy Teng joined the feature table a short while ago to fill the void left by Marco Fabbrini's exit. -- RD

4.25pm: Pot to Vanneri
Antonino Vanneri just took down a pot, having opened from the cut off pre-flop. Massimiliano Manigrasso called and it came T♦5♦A♦. Vanneri then bet 150,000 again, lunging it forward like you might reach forward in a game of air hockey. Manigrasso passed. -- SB

4.20pm: Monsters clash, Spada breaks 3m
I'm a little facts-lite here thanks to cameras cutting away before revealing all the action. The feed showed that Diego Bolzoni opened from the cut-off and was either three-bet or called by Roberto Spada on the button (I think it was flatted)>

Bolzoni checked the T♣7♦J♠ flop over to Spada who checked it back. Bolzoni then led into the K♠ turn (again the camera cut before I could see how much) and Spada quickly waved his hands forward to announce that he was all-in for around 1,600,000. Bolzoni made the call.

Spada: A♣Q♦ for the Broadway straight
Bolzoni: K♦K♥ for top set

Bolzoni needed the board to pair. It didn't and Bolzoni dropped to 600,000. Spada is now sitting on 3,200,000. -- RD

4.15pm: Liu finds a jack to double-up
Xuan Liu is back in the game after coming from behind to double-up to over 1,500,000 chips.

The action folded to her in the small blind and she moved all-in for 765,000. Antonino Venneri was her opponent in the big blind and he had already looked at his cards and made a snap call, causing Liu to utter, "Oops".

Liu: J♥2♠
Venneri: A♦T♦

The board ran 4♣K♦J♣9♥9♣ to make Liu two-pair. Venneri was on his feet and backed away from the table, shaking his head in disbelief. -- MC

4.06pm: Fabbrini can't hold on, out in 15th
Short stacked Marco Fabbrini was going to need a little luck to get back into this tournament and when he got it in with J♦J♠ against Max Lykov's A♥Q♥, and flopped top set on a J♣4♠8♠ board, it looked like the opening he was looking for.

Then the T♦ turn brought the possibility of a gutshot, which duly arrived with the K♦ on the river. Lykov chips back up to 2,500,000, Fabbrini takes home €30,000. 14 players left. -- RD

4pm: Yunis out in 16th, Heinzelmann stacking up
Nick Yunis (as I've just been told he prefers) has just busted to Max Heinzlemann. Yunis had opened the button 100,000 and the aggressive young German three-bet to 245,000. Yunis moved all-in (it was difficult to see how much for given that we're following a TV feed but it must have been close to a million). Heinzelmann instantly called.

Heinzelmann: K♥K♠
Yunis: T♥J♣

The 6♠9♠Q♥ flop gave a decent sweat but the Q♦ turn cut Yunis' outs significantly as a king would bring the straight and the full house. Of course, the K♦ arrived. The overnight chip leader takes home €30,000. Heinzelmann now up to nearly 3,700,000. -- RD

3.55pm: Elder and De Vivo
Rupert Elder opened for 100,000 from the button which Francisco de Vivo called in the small blind. The flop came T♠7♣Q♠ which both players checked for a 9♥ turn. De Vivo checked to Elder who bet 120,000, which the Italian called for a 3♦ before checking again. Elder bet another 150,000 which was called. De Vivo won the pot showing K♥Q♣ to Elder's Q♥2♥. - SB

Rupert Elder

3.50pm: Lykov's bullying backfires
Max Lykov opened for 105,000 from the hijack and was three-bet to 290,000 by Luigi Pignataro out of the big blind. The Russian Team Pro thought for a short while before coming back over the top for 475,000. Pignataro would not be budged from his hand and announced that he was all-in for over 1,500,000. Lykov passed allowing Pignataro to scoop half-a-million uncontested. Lykov still well chipped with 2,700,000. -- RD

3.48pm: Russo doubles
Costantino Russo just doubled up through Xuan Liu. Liu had opened for 105,000 before Russo moved all-in for roughly 900,000. With the action folded back to her she asked how much before calling, turning over A♣J♦ to Russo's J♣J♠.

The board ran 2♣9♦4♣K♣6♦ to leave Russo about 2,000,000, while Liu drops to around half of that. - SB

3.45pm: Fabbrini gets it in with kings
Short stacked Marco Fabbrini opened under-the-gun for 125,000 and was called by fellow Italian Diego Bolzoni in the cut-off. Fabbrini c-bet into the 2♦3♥T♣ flop and Bolzoni moved all-in for the remainder of his stack. Insta-call.

Both players held pocket kings and the pot was chopped. Fabbrini looked understandably irritated. He's still short and will have to get it in again soon. -- RD

3.44pm: Spontaneous applause for De Vivo's fold
Francesco De Vivo just three-bet a quarter of his stack and folded whilst holding Q♣Q♥. How he found the fold is anyone's guess but it turned out to be a good fold, for him.

Antonino Venneri opened to 100,000 from under-the-gun before De Vivo three-bet to 250,000 from the button. The action was back on Venneri and he quickly moved all-in. De Vivo had just under 800,000 behind and folded. Venneri showed him K♥K♦ and that is when De Vivo opened his holding and he received a round of applause from the railing Italians. -- MC

3.31pm: No respect for Elder
Xuan Lui just won a pot, then lost a pot. In the first she raised to 260,000 from the cut off after Rupert Elder opened for 105,000 in early position. He then folded.

Xuan Liu

In the next Lui opened for 105,000 in middle position before Antonino Venneri called for a flop of 9♠J♣6♠. Lui bet another 130,000 but Vanneri raised to 400,000, forcing her out. - SB

3.26pm: TV table draw
We have an incredible feature table.

Seat one: Team PokerStars Pro Max Lykov - 2,941,000
Seat two: Roberto Spada - 1,630,000
Seat three: Team PokerStars Pro Joe Cada - 2,180,000
Seat four: Marco Fabbrini, 400,000
Seat five: Luigi Pignataro - 2,112,000
Seat six: Nicolas Yunis - 1,165,000
Seat seven: Max Heinzelmann - 1,875,000
Seat eight: Diego Bolzoni - 2,217,000

Max Heinzelmann is getting incredibly close to making back to back final tables. -- -RD

3.25pm: The look of the outer table
After the table balancing here's how the outer table now looks:

Seat 1. Andrew Teng
Seat 2. Rupert Elder
Seat 3. Francesco De Vivo
Seat 4. Marco Bognanni
Seat 5. Xuan Liu
Seat 6. Antonino Venneri
Seat 7. Costantino Russo
Seat 8. Massimiliano Manigrasso

3.21pm: Re-balance
With this most recent departure just 16 players remain. That means three tables become two, with a new line up at each coming right up. -- SB

3.20pm: Kamal Choraria out in 17th place
Kamal Choraria is out, having moved in for 475,000 behind a bet of 105,000 from Rupert Elder. Elder called showing K♦7♠ to Choraria 's 6♥6♣ which he threw face up towards Elder.

The board ran 4♣K♥3♠J♣4♠. Choraria was out of his chair on the turn, and out of the tournament on the river. -- SB

3.16pm: Farbbrini flips back up to 10 big blinds
Marco Fabbrini is still in. Just. The short stacked Italian shoved from the small blind just before the break, into Luigi Pignataro for his last 300,000 and was quickly called.

Fabbrini: K♠7♠
Pignataro: Q♣J♠

The window card was a queen but the board ran out K♣A♠Q♦3♦A♥ to double Farbbrini up. Fabbrini's exultation was quickly reigned in when the realisation set in that he was still very short with around ten big blinds. -- RD

3.15pm: Into Level 26
The new level is about to begin.

Francesco de Vivo doubling up in the last level