EPT8 San Remo: Day 3, level 18 & 19 updates (4,000-8,000, 1,000)
7.30pm: We have 64, 64. Ooooo 64
That's right, we have 64 player left and that means play ends for the day with all remaining players now guaranteed a minimum of €12,000. Bagging and tagging is now taking place and I can tentatively say that Chris McClung is the chip leader - he was last spotted with 1,100,000. Full chip counts and wrap of the day to come - take a look at our video recap in the meantime. Check the written wrap now. -- RD
7.28pm: End of the day wrap
Wrapping it up quickly and not-so-cleanly in moving pictures.
7.25pm: Lodden riding high
Johnny Lodden is up to 655,000 after hitting a two-outer against Pier Paolo Ruscalla. Lodden opened from early position and Ruscalla defended his big blind. Lodden c-bet 26,000 into the J♦6♠6♦ flop and the Italian check-raised to 62,000. Lodden came back over the top and it all went in.
The turn was the 3♣ and the river the Q♣ to fill Lodden up. -- RD
7.20pm: Broberg binks on the river to double
Frida Broberg was in early position and moved all-in for 152,000. Daniel Neilson was in the next seat and he looked at his cards before studying the stack sizes of the players behind him still to act. He moved all-in as well and that was enough to isolate Broberg.
The board ran T♣9♥J♠4♣A♠. The board got better and better for Neilson and she quietly clapped in delight when the river came. -- MC
7.10pm: Boatman ground down by the machine
Barny Boatman is back down to 250,000 after losing a chunky pot to Ayaz Manji.
Manji, aka Mr Machine, opened the hijack for 16,000 and Boatman three-bet his button to 39,000. Manji made the call and checked dark. Boatman looked at the 3♦2♦J♦ flop, checked Manji's stack - it was around 195,000 - and set his opponent all-in. Call.
Horrible situation for Boatman who needed running cards to win the pot. The turn blanked and Manji stood up and cried out: "Yes! Yes! Come on!"
Boatman just sat and shook his head. The Brit still has plenty of chips but that was a miracle flop for Manji.
In other news, Shaun Deeb has bust out. -- RD
7pm: Eli books another win
There was no tanking from Eli Bohbot in the hand where he eliminated Fernando Cimaglia just now. He raised to 18,000 from first position and Cimaglia three-to 53,000 from the cut-off. The action folded back around to Bohot who quickly moved all-in. Call.
The board ran 2♣8♠K♥6♦T♠. Bohot leaped out his chair and started clapping his hands together loudly in celebration. He's up to 530,000 chips. -- MC
6.55pm: Italiano etiquette
The art of the graceful win is yet to reach Italian shores. In as many minutes two players have won all-in pots and taken to their feet to start clapping their own survival. Salvatore Salzano is the most recent having outflopped Frida Broberg with A♣J♠ against red sevens. That double up puts him up to 120,000 and Broberg down to 70,000, who is now very much at risk with just nine big blinds. -- RD
6.52pm: What Lodden thinks...
We catch up with Johnny Lodden. See! There's his face talking.
6.45pm: Playing down to 64
We have 77 players left and each of those is now guaranteed at least €10,000. We'll be playing down to 64 today. The full payouts page can be found here with some of the initial busted players - the full list has yet to be released to us but it will be updated as soon as we get it. Full chip count from the break coming through shortly. -- RD
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 4,000-8,000, ANTE 1,000
6.30pm: Break time
Just before the end of the level Italian Poker Tour player of the year Mustapha Kanit dropped a chunk of chips into Pedro Piazuelo's lap check-calling down on a 4♦K♣3♥3♦9♣ board. Piazuelo chips up to 650,000 as we go to the break. -- RD
6.25pm: Kanit can't when faced with McDonald
Another tense hand for Mike McDonald, this time with a board reading 5♠7♠4♥9♣8♣. With a sizeable pile of chips in the middle McDonald had checked to his opponent, Mustapha Kanit, who had bet 67,000 from the button. McDonald replied by raising to 177,000 in middle position, sending Kanit deep into the tank.
Minutes passed, then more. McDonald sat quietly, blinking slowly and looking into space rather than at anything in particular. Finally, Kanit passed.
McDonald moves up to 620,000. - SB
6.20pm: Lodden laments his play
Johnny Lodden was just telling us how he played a hand really badly to double-up Gianluca Cedolia. He opened to 12,000 to face a 36,000 c-bet from the Italian. The Team PokerStars Pro looked at Cedolia's stack and estimated it to be 130,000. He moved all-in with pocket eights and Cedolia called all-in for 190,000 with pocket aces which held. Ooops. He's down to about 300,000 chips.-- MC
6.10pm: Cheong stacks Thorson
Joseph Cheong has stacked William Thorson in a pot that looked to be around 550,000. Thorson had led the river of a K♣9♥6♥A♥5♦ board for 43,000 and Cheong had slowly announced that he was all-in, his stack covering the 200,000 that Thorson had back. The action was back on Thorson and slowly made the call.
"Straight," said Cheong, showing 8♥7♣.
Thorson mucked his hand. Cheong up towards the chip lead yet again with over 700,000. -- RD
6pm: Fiorini in a smash and grab
Luca Fiorini just got lucky to double-up through Lex Veldhuis and his celebration was a little over the top.
There two were heads-up to a K♣T♦6♠ flop and the Team PokerStars Pro led for 16,000 from under the gun. His Italian opponent was on the button and flat called to the Q♥ turn. Lex led again, for 41,000 and Fiorini moved all-in for 180,000. The Dutchman checked his cards once more and called.
Fiorini tabled J♥J♠ and was behind to Veldhuis' set with 6♥6♣. The river came A♠ to see the Italian make a straight and he reacted by smashing both fists down on his stack causing chips to fly across the table. It was a jerk reaction to the sense of relief he was feeling at the time and he realised his mistake and temporarily paused his hyper-ventilating to apologise to Veldhuis, who's down to 290,000. -- MC
5.50pm: Not this time
There are all-ins that are called and there are those equally tense shoves that are not. Such as that involving Mike McDonald and Pedro Piazuelo.
When the action was folded to McDonald in the small blind he made it 17,500 to play. Piazuelo was ready for him in the big blind, raising to 48,000 and then covering his mouth with his hand.
McDonald stared at him in that way he does, blinking slowly, slightly threatening. He passed this time. - SB
5.44pm: Weisner out
Melanie Weisner has busted out in, we believe, 91st place for €8,500 after running [a] into pocket queens in a battle of the blinds. The American had been pretty short at the break with a little over 100,000. -- RD
5.40pm: A tanker and a second ruling
Toby Lewis is frustrated at his table and at one player in particular, at how long he is tanking over every single decision. This a frustrating position to be in especially when you're in need of a double-up.
The player is question was Eli Bohbot and he was just involved in a slightly controversial hand that was escalated unnecessarily. He was in the big blind and called an under-the-gun raise from Vladimir Kochelaevskiy. The flop came T♣J♣K♣ and he checked to face a 22,000 c-bet. He took two minutes before flicking the calling chips over the line.
The turn came 7♣ and this time Bohbot check-raised Kochelaevskiy's 31,500 bet up to 66,500 (30k back). The Russian took his time and set his opponent in for the rest. Bohbot stood up and said, "Okay" whilst tabling A♣T♦. Kochelaevskiy tabled A♥A♦ and the river came 2♠.
Kochelaevskiy now had an issue that his opponent didn't say call, all-in or slide his chips over the line. He believed that technically the hand should be mucked. He asked for a ruling, disagreed with it and asked for another ruling. The second ruling confirmed the same as the first; it was clear he intended to call and his hand was deemed live. This whole process took five-to-seven minutes longer that it should have done. Kochelaevskiy wasn't happy but had to face tournament life with just 25,000 chips in front of him. -- MC
5.35pm: Graydon staying on course
Mick Graydon isn't the kind of player to expect to make any big mistakes. He's a SuperNova sit-and-go grinder who knows his numbers and his ICM and has position on Jon Spinks and Daniel Neilson. The Irishman is up to 200,000 after a tidy little pot against Frida Broberg.
Graydon (presumably) had opened the action with A♠K♦ in middle position and had been called by Broberg in the small blind. I'm not sure whether any betting took place on the K♠9♠Q♦ flop but Graydon definitely bet 16,000 into the 6♦ turn, Broberg called. The 2♣ river was led for 33,000 by Broberg and Graydon called with top pair, top kicker. Broberg showed down 7♣7♦ and Graydon raked in the pot.
5.25pm: Smoke and mirrors
Is Timothy Marsters a master of subterfuge?
While his stack, piled up in reds and purples with a couple of yellows out front, is only worth around 200,000, he plays it like it's worth three times that amount, moving towers of chips, which are in effect only about 10,000 strong, like massive game changing amounts with which to bully his opponents..
This smoke and mirror tactic has worked for him over a few pots now, pre-flop raises being taken as good and earning Marsters the blinds and antes.
He opened another on the button for 12,000 which was called by Alexandru Cezarescu in the big blind for a flop of 5♥7♦J♥. Cezarescu then checked to Marsters who made it 14,000 to play. Call.
On the J♦ turn Cezarescu bet 26,000. Then Marsters came into his own, reflecting on the situation for a while before acting, and when he did, pulling out "three towers of chips" (a raise to 52,000) he did it with gravitas, moving them slowly as if these little stubs might topple over. Cezarescu had Marsters covered easily but it felt like Marsters was dominating. Whether it was for this reason or not Cezarescu passed.
Marsters now up to 260,000. - SB
5.10pm: Play starts again
Level 18 begins and with 98 players remaining thoughts and dreams turn to making the final table, possibly lifting that trophy. Three players left in the field don't have to imagine what that feels like having claimed EPT glory before; Kevin MacPhee, Toby Lewis and Mike McDonald. We won't get excited about someone doing the double quite yet, but it's still on at the moment... -- RD
PokerStars Blog reporting team in San Remo (in order of 'My alarm was on silent' claims in San Remo): Marc Convey (one, par the course), Rick Dacey (zero, gets woken by the church bell every morning at, ironically, an ungodly hour) and Stephen Bartley (zero, is woken by his personal valet with a freshly pressed copy of The Times at the crack of dawn). Photos by Neil Stoddart.