EPT8 San Remo: Day 1A, level 1 & 2 updates (blinds 75-150)
4.18pm: First break
That's the end of the first passage of play and the players have 15 minutes in which to soak up some autumnal sun here in Italy. Find the next post by clicking here. -- RD
4.15pm: Vamplew vanished
David Vamplew is out, sent to the rail by Leonid Bilokur.
Vamplew opened for 400 under-the-gun and the action was folded around to Bilokur on the big blind who raised to 1,500. Vamplew then raised to 2,400 before Bilokur made it 11,000, prompting Vamplew to move all-in with his last 8,700. Call.
It was A♦A♥ for Bilokur and A♠K♠ for Vamplew who watched powerless as the board was dealt 2♣4♥9♣6♥8♠. Vamplew was out of his chair on the turn, and gone on the river. - SB
4.10pm: More MacPhee antics
Kevin MacPhee decided not to reveal his cold four-betting range, which is a sensible if not annoying decision from my point of view. MacPhee did say that he passed ace-king pre-flop to someone that showed kings though. MacPhee in the zone. -- RD
4.09pm: Cainelli blows his tournament in style
If you're going to bust, then do so all guns blazing. It's something you see a lot in Italy so Luca Cainelli was fitting in well to the style of his homeland.
Daniel Negreanu raised from early position and c-bet the 9♠K♥5♠ flop. He was called both times by Andrea Finotti and Cainelli in the big blind. The turn fell to give a 7♥ which Negreanu fired another bullet at for 3,100. Finotti made the before Cainelli check-raised to 9,000. Both players called. A Q♥ hit the river.
Cainelli thought for a minute before moving all-in for around 23,000. Negreanu huffed and puffed before passing, but Finotti made the call with 8♥9♥ for a flush. Cainelli could only muster a losing A♠9♦. Finotti is clear chip leader on 79,000 chips now. -- MC
4.04pm: MacPhee heroing
EPT winner Kevin MacPhee is up to 48,000 and I know that because of the tweet below:
"Up to 48k. I cold 4 bet and cbet a J23dd flop, turn 5 chk/chk, riv 3 and he overbets then snap folds when I hero call. #gotmycapeontoday" - @KevinMacPhee
I'll see if he reveals what he hero'd with. Good start for MacPhee who hasn't had the best year in live tournaments (although a third place in the WCOOP $10,000 High Roller certainly helped his annual results). Has 'Imalucksac' got his mojo back? -- RD
3.54pm: Mattern on image
Arnaud Mattern has bled a few chips in these first couple of levels and looks to be on around 28,000 of his 30,000 starting stack. Just a couple of seats on from him is Rupert Elder, the reigning champion of EPT San Remo who has enjoyed a better start, possibly at Mattern's expense, and is up to 38,000.
The French Team PokerStars Pro, who had his aces cracked to finish just off the final table at the WSOPE main event this week, made his way over to me to say: "It's not the best table draw but the dealer really compensates."
Without being too lecherous I'll give a quick description: imagine a feline featured Holly Valance wearing a tight fitting black shirt and matching tie. Mattern makes a fair point. -- RD
3.52pm: Angelo on Angelo
"I'm the worst," shouted Ryan D'Angelo after he tried and failed to get Angelo Tarallo off a marginal hand.
The American three-time WCOOP winner raised from the hijack and bet the flop, turn and river. His turn and river bets were around a pot-sized 1,800 and 5,700. His Italian opponent called quickly on the turn but took longer to make the good call on the river of the 4♥8♠J♠6♣2♣ board.
D'Angelo tabled a busted flush-draw with A♠9♠, losing out to Tarallo's 8♥8♣. -- MC
3.45pm: One million up
On a board of J♦4♠6♥2♣4♥ David Fernando moved all-in. Still in the hand was Vanessa Rousso in the seat next to him, who threw her arms up in exasperation, looking around as she did so for someone to share her concern. Fernando looked bashful and it was all rather charming.
"I'll give you a million dollars if she folds," said one member of the media.
The all-in was for 22,000 with 5,000 in the pot. Rousso began talking to Fernando. It was difficult to hear what she was saying but Fernando wasn't listening anyway, or at least didn't show it if he was.
"If I fold will you show me?" asked Rousso, still looking at Fernando. At least it appeared so; the bill of her cap was pointed in that direction but the kids wear hats at jaunty angles these days.
Rousso moved in even closer, trying to catch a glimpse of anything that might give something away. But it was an entirely one way process.
"I'll give you a million dollars if she doesn't call," said the same member of the media.
"Nothing," declared Rousso. "I don't have anything to go on. I know nothing of this man!" A phrase which I believe is one of the chapter headings in "Men are from Mars..."
Eventually Rousso folded, Fernando showing 6♦6♣ and getting a tap on the shoulder from Rousso in return. - SB
3.35pm: Half-stack Negreanu
Daniel Negreanu is down to 13,500 already after tangling in a pot with, and folding to Andrea Finotti. We picked up the action on the turn but here had been a raise, call and three-bet from Finotti in the big blind. Negreanu was on the button and called before raising a c-bet on the flop.
The board was 4♥7♥3♣6♠ and Finotti led for 5,000 only to face a raise up to 12,200 from the Team PokerStars Pro. The Italian responded by moving all-in and that prompted Negreanu to yell, "Damn it, you have a five! That sucks. Nice hand."
He folded and his opponent showed the 5♦ and Negreanu added, "That's good". -- MC
3.32pm: Negreanu in the moving image
3.30pm: Duthie in command
Joe Elpayaa, one of few people to be able to put the word "Big" in from of his name, is dancing at his table. He doesn't use the whole of his body, more like the nipples up, his head rolling this way and that and one loose headphone dangling into his lap.
At the same table someone is listening to music far too loud, making the tournament room sound like a branch of London public transport.
A table along sits John Duthie in the now customary "Duthie position", chair reversed and a massage therapist working the follicles on his scalp. On a board of 3♣8♦4♣8♠4♠ and with 15,000 in the middle, Duthie moved all-in from middle position for just short of 20,000. Gaetan Le Cavorzin was on the button and went into the tank, long enough for Martin Jacobson to arrive at the table and fill out the necessary paperwork.
After a few minutes of thought Le Cavorzin suddenly came to life, leaning forward. Duthie began to say something to him, but quickly stopped when this coincided with the massage therapists rubbing his cheeks, making Duthie sound like he was under water, so he stopped. Sensing this, the therapist went back to rubbing his neck.
"I know what you've got," said Duthie. "Jacks, queens or tens maybe."
Le Cavorzin looked back at Duthie and said something that was difficult to understand, although I heard "impossibol" a few times.
"What is it?" asked Duthie.
"Queens" replied Le Cavorzin.
Eventually he folded. Duthie showed the A♠ and Le Cavorzin did well to hold back a scream. "Impossibol" he said again.
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 75-150
3.20pm: Kabrhel being true to himself
Martin Kabrhel is known on the EPT as being a scarily aggressive player. He was just involved in a relatively large pot with his neighbour Andrei Stoenescu, who was to his right and that's a bad place to be unless you have the button.
The turn had been dealt to give a 8♦4♣9♥Q♠ board and around 18,000 had made it into the middle. Stoenescu checked to face a small (relative to the pot) 4,500 bet. It didn't take him long to slide his cards towards the dealer. - MC
3.15pm: Quiet at the back!
There are eight tables at the far end of the tournament area, in what constitutes a third section of play. Scattered amongst those seated are Daniel Negreanu, Joe Ebanks, Craig McCorkell, Mathew Frankland and Luca Cainelli. Team PokerStars Pro Negreanu and Cainelli are sat at the same table and not for the first time. The pair were involved in a large three-way hand that saw Martin Hruby win a huge pot that all but sealed his place heads up at EPT Vienna last season (see 6.35pm Incredible scenes, really). -- RD
3.05pm: Irish abroad
In the main part of the tournament room are two Irish players that I felt were worthy of mention. First there's Nicholas Newport who has suffered more than his fair share of EPT bubble heartbreak. He's come close to the money several times before fate has transpired to send him to the rail. Will EPT San Remo see him shirk off ill fortune and make a decent run into the money? Newport is sat at Team PokerStars Pro Lex Veldhuis' table so there will certainly be some chances to play some big pots.
The other Irishman that leapt out (not literally) was Jason Tompkins, fifth place finisher at UKIPT Dublin last month for €17,800. Tompkins had started the final table as chip leader and had cut a frustrated figure, his obvious talent not coming through to the fore when it most mattered. It may prove to be part of an important learning curve and I could certainly see him making an impact here if he picks up some chips and momentum. -- RD
2.55pm: Lex and Lewis
Toby Lewis and Lex Velduis are both in action today.
We witnessed Lewis heads-up with Robert Scott and the two had made it to the turn where the turn read 8♠4♠9♥4♦. Scott led out for 1,050 but folded when Lewis raised to 2,530.
A few moments later the Team PokerStars Pro called a 300 raise while on the button. Dan Kelly had made the raise from mid position and c-bet 450 the K♠3♣4♦ flop. Veldhuis called and then bet 1,200 on the T♦ turn when checked to him. Call. The river came T♦ and Velduis checked and mucked, seemingly knowing he was beat.
He was as Kelly tabled T♥9♣ for two-pair. -- MC
2.45pm: Great Scott
Scott Siever just wrangled himself a pot worth more than 3,500, making a pot sized bet on a board of K♥T♠J♠5♣2♥. His opponent, Andreas Johansson, removed his headphones and thought about calling, then passed and put his headphones back on. - SB
2.40pm: Packed to the rafters
You don't have to go far to see the talent that this event has attracted. On the first few tables you can see Jen Harman and James Dempsey (who is sat three seats around), former EPT San Remo winner Jason Mercier, Scott Siever and Jon Spinks. Last year's third place finisher Xuan Liu is also in attendance, conceding position to Spinks by two seats. It's not her fault, that's just the table draw. -- RD
2.30pm: Binger runner-runner
I saw Nick Binger twice before the tournament began, once last night and once around noon today. Both times he was sporting running gear and an obvious post-exercise sheen of sweat. Is his exercise regime helping his tournament performances? His results may indicate so.
The American won his first WSOP bracelet earlier this year for $397,073 (and a further score in another tournament a week later) and looking to break his continental duck at the EPT. As of yet his only score on the tour has come at the PCA. -- RD
2.25pm: Rousso rumbled
Vanessa Rousso, whose jewelry sparkled under the chandelier lighting, just lost an early pot, her opponent flopping quad tens to make it into an exercise in minimising losses for the Team PokerStars Pro. -- SB
Shuffle up and deal has been announced to kick off Day 1A. Each player starts with a 30,000 stack giving them 300 big blinds at this first level of 50-100. As per usual we'll start things off by tracking named and notable players and pick up bigger stacks as the day wears on. -- RD
2.12pm: On your marks
Play looks set to start shortly. The majority of the tables that are in our direct view when we step outside of the media room are fully occupied (Team PokerStars Pro Victor Ramdin and EPT winner David Vamplew leap out). -- RD
1.30pm: Welcome to Italy
The European Poker Tour is back in San Remo, returning after just six months since its last visit, for another week's worth of poker on the Italian Riviera.
For locations San Remo near impossible to rival. No return is too soon when there are temperate climes, elegant shops and exquisite food on tap, and all at prices that don't hurt any more than the hangover the following morning.
So welcoming is San Remo that nothing can really spoil it, and one senses the town wrapping you in its matronly arms, quietly telling you to shut off the outside world and bask instead in San Remo's unique environment, while a waiter cuts up your food for you.
Downtown San Remo, which we've seen, because there was no daylight in the hotel
The lack of natural light in the bedrooms just nudges you to go outside into the sunshine? Everything has been thought of, even down to the church bell outside your window that is struck with an old hammer every 25 minutes. They know that you wouldn't want to sleep in and miss anything.
In terms of things not to miss, the main event at EPT San Remo is a must see. Ever since the EPT's San leg was invented players have flocked here in their droves to take on a field pushing four figures with an eclectic bunch of participants able to enthuse and infuriate in equal measure.
It's an event unique in its ability to conjure up some formidable champions. It was the event that made a name of Jason Mercier, a place where Constant Rijkenberg grinned his way to success, where Liv Boeree couldn't believe her eyes and where Rupert Elder stepped into the limelight.
What's in store this year will be determined over the coming six days, with live coverage right here on the PokerStars Blog. For now we start at the later than normal time of 2pm.
PokerStars Blog reporting team in San Remo: Rick Dacey, Marc Convey and Stephen Bartley.