EPT13 Malta: €10,000 single re-entry coverage archive

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CHIPS | PAYOUTS | STRUCTURE | IPT MAIN EVENT

7:50pm: Fast finishes off Buldygin!
Level 24 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (5,000 ante)

It's all over here in Malta as Dietrich Fast has finished the job against Viacheslav Buldygin. After the two of them traded all-in shoves, with the opponent folding, they finally found hands to play for it all.

Fast shoved with A♠3♠ and Buldygin called for his last 400,000 with 6♦6♣. The pocket pair was ahead at the start of the hand, but the flop of A♦J♠2♣9♦J♥ soon ironed it out in Fast's favour.

That's that. Fast is the wire-to-wire champion and takes €174,600 for first. Buldygin, who has had a blast, gets €126,300 for second.

Here's the full event wrap up.

7:45pm: Fast river raise
Level 24 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (5,000 ante)

The next few hands were either all-in and folds, or limped pots that didn't go anywhere. Then Dietrich Fast won with a river raise to reduce Viacheslav Buldygin to 460,000 chips.

Fast limped in and Buldygin checked. The board ran out T♥5♥3♣A♥5♦. The flop was checked before Buldygin led for 40,000 and 100,000 on the turn and river. Fast called the firs bet and then tanked before raising to 330,000 on the river. Buldygin ran for the hills. --MC



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7:30pm: Oh for a hole card camera
Level 24 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (5,000 ante)

Who knows what these two had here. They have just played out one of those captivating heads-up pots that ends with a fold and all of us on the rail none the wiser as to who was besting whom.

Viacheslav Buldygin completed from the small blind and Dietrich Fast, with the option, raised to 120,000. Buldygin called, which took them to the flop of 8♦K♦J♣. They both checked.

The turn was the A♥ and Fast led 130,000. Buldygin then raised to 260,000--a click back min-raise (but only after he had not quite put out enough chips for the raise and was told to add a few more to make it legit. These online players, huh.) Anyway, Fast called.
dietrich_fast_heads_up_malta.jpg

The pendulum swings back to Dietrich Fast

The 2♥ came on the river and Fast shoved. Buldygin only had about 660,000 behind but folded fairly quickly, leaving himself with another mountain to climb. -- HS

7:20pm: Second bullet downs Fast
Level 24 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (5,000 ante)

Viacheslav Buldygin couldn't believe that the counts were exactly 2:1 when he came back from break. He's gone a messed that up though by winning a pot.

The Russian raised to 80,000 and Dietrich Fast defended his big blind before going onto check-call a 75,000 c-bet on a Q♠6♥K♦ flop. The turn was the 2♦ and Buldygin upped the calibre with a 225,000 bet. Fast made a quick check-fold. --MC

6:55pm: Break time
Level 24 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (5,000 ante)

Chips counts:

Dietrich Fast - 2 million
Viacheslav Buldygin - 1 million

6:50pm: Optimal heads-up play
Level 23 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (5,000 ante)

As soon as they got heads up, Dietrich Fast and Viacheslav Buldygin started to get to know one another a bit better and Fast quickly established that Buldygin is a heads-up online specialist, who plays the high stakes games. "But not with this stack," Buldygin said, pointing at his meagre holding.

"Yeah, but you'll play optimally," Fast said, with an air of trepidation.

viacheslav_buldygin_heads_up.jpg

Viacheslav Buldygin: Heads up demon

I'm sure it was optimal was happened next, which was a shove from Buldygin with K♥9♦ and a call from Fast with A♠T♦.

It was looking good for a pre-7pm finish when the flop brought the Q♥4♦7♠ and then the 7♥ on the turn. But the 9♠ emerged on the river to double up Buldygin and keep this one alive.

Buldygin's shove was for 455,000 and he now has 900,000 to work with. -- HS

6:45pm: Heads up chip counts
Level 23 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (5,000 ante)

Heads up quickly got underway. Here's how they stand:

Dietrich Fast: 2,635,000
Viacheslav Buldygin: 365,000

6:45pm: Sammartino races away in third, wins €81,480
Level 23 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (5,000 ante)

For long periods, it looked as if the trophy had Dario Sammartino's name on it, but it wasn't meant to be and he busted in third.

Dietrich Fast opened to 60,000 on the button and then made a considered call after the Italian three-bet all-in for 665,000.

Sammartino: 4♣4♠
Fast: A♦7♦

The board ran 3♦5♠9♠A♣T♠ to pair Fast's ace. --MC

Dario_Sammartino_EPT13Malta_10k_RE.jpg

Great performance from Sammartino

6:35pm: Buldygin shoves on Fast
Level 23 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (5,000 ante)

Viacheslav Buldygin got a river shove on Dietrich Fast through to see his stack rise to a still short 620,000.

He was in the big blind and called a 60,000 button raise from Fast before both players checked a Q♣4♦T♠ flop. The turn was the 2♣ and Buldygin led for 100,000. Call. The board completed with the 4♠ and Buldygin went into a painful looking tank and then moved his last 270,000 forward using both hands. Fast took a second to fold. --MC

6:20pm: All-in x 4
Level 23 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (5,000 ante)

Someone said, "All-in" in four consecutive hands, but none were called and nobody won very much.

The first was probably the most interesting: After Dario Sammartino limped from the small blind, Viacheslav Buldygin checked his option. They checked the flop of 6♣3♥A♣ and then they checked the turn of 9♠.

Then the 4♣ came on the river and Sammartino checked again. Buldygin bet 35,000 and then Sammartino said he was all-in. His 750,000-ish covered Buldygin's 500,000-ish and the latter folded.

On the next two hands, Buldygin shoved pre-flop at the earliest opportunity. No one called. And then on the hand after that, Sammartino shoved and got it through.

After a couple more small pots, Buldygin was left with 440,000. Sammartino had 600,000 and Dietrich Fast had the rest. (about 1.95 million). -- HS

6:10pm: One moment in time for Buldygin
Level 23 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (5,000 ante)

There may well be something in what my colleague Howard Swains has been alluding to. This Viacheslav Buldygin chap could well be way more accomplished than anyone is giving him credit for (not that anyone was thinking he was anywhere near bad - just less experienced in a situation like this).

First up, let's look at this hand. It's a small one but the reactions after its conclusion makes one think a certain way. Buldygin was on the button and moved all-in. He got the shove through and then let out a huge breath of air. Dietrich Fast smiled and said, "Real emotions!"

Then this happened the very next hand.

Dario Sammartino completed from the small blind and called after Buldygin raised to 70,000 from the big blind. The both ran out 2♦5♠9♦A♥3♦ with no chips going in until the river. There, Sammartino led for 65,000. Buldygin had 280,000 behind and stared at the board.

"Going to call with king high?" Sammartino asked after 30 seconds.
"I'm sorry for this moment," replied Buldygin.
"Take you time and fold!" Sammartino came back with a smile.

Buldygin then rested his chin on his arms as he thought for two more minutes. Then, all of a sudden, he announced he was all-in. Sammartino's eyes opened as wide as physically possible in shock, and then he stretched his arms back over his head as he thought. He called with 9♠9♥ for a slow-played flopped set but Buldygin had got there on the river with 8♠4♦ for a straight.

That dropped Sammartino down to 760,000. Buldygin doubled to 695,000. --MC

5:55pm: Colour up at level end
Level 23 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (5,000 ante)

That's the end of Level 22 and the players head into Level 23 with the following stacks:

Dietrich Fast: 1,535,000
Dario Sammartino: 1,160,000
Viacheslav Buldygin: 300,000

The 1,000-denomination chips have been taken out of play. They've been devalued into obscurity as quickly as the British pound. -- HS

5:50pm: Fast three-bets Sammartino again
Level 22 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (4,000 ante)

The last time I witnessed Dietrich Fast three-bet Dario Sammartino; he was treat to a four-bet shove. He just tried the same again, and although the positions were the same, the stack sizes were different, and so was the result.

Viacheslav Buldygin, for one, was even shorter on just over 500,000 and Sammartino had 1.08 million compared to the 800,000 last time. Sammartino opened to 62,000 from the button before Fast three-bet to 225,000 from the big blind. Sammartino tanked for a while and decided to fold that time around. --MC

5:35pm: One to Buldygin, then back to Fast
Level 22 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (4,000 ante)

It's fascinating watching both Dario Sammartino and Dietrich Fast in their attempts to outwit Viacheslav Buldygin, their less-experienced opponent. However, I think both of them are also aware by now that Buldygin might like play-acting that he is overawed while secretly feeling quite at home.

vlacheslav_buldygin_three_handed.jpg

Vlacheslav Buldygin: A natural?

In a recent hand, Buldygin was vocally lamenting that he missed out on a double up having not moved all-in pre-flop in a previous hand. He was doing this as it was his turn to act and Fast looked keenly at the cards in front of Buldygin, heavily implying that he should make a bet or fold rather than getting hung up on what had long gone.

Buldygin suddenly said, "All-in" as if he was always intending to do this. Fast quickly folded.

Shortly after Buldygin completed from the small blind and Fast checked his option. The took in the 8♦8♠T♠ flop and Buldygin bet 26,000. Fast bet 65,000 and Buldygin three-bet to 130,000. That was good enough.

However Fast was keen to make sure he didn't lose the momentum and played bully himself on the next hand. Fast raised his button, making it 50,000 to play. Buldygin three-bet the big blind, making it 156,000 and Fast four-bet shoved, covering Buldygin. Buldygin folded. -- HS

5:20pm: Then Sammartino shoves on Fast
Level 22 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (4,000 ante)

Dietrich Fast knows he's in a great position to bully both players, especially Dario Sammartino, as he knows he won't take too many high-variance lines in an attempt to get heads up with him. The thing is: Sammartino is world class and knows all of this, and when the timing is right, can use that to his advantage.

Maybe we're seeing something that's not there but....

Sammartino opened to 62,000 from the button and faced a three-bet to 200,000 from Fast in the big blind. The Italian waited for a few moments and then jammed for around 800,000. Snap fold from Fast who dropped to 1.35 million. --MC

5:15pm: Wish I was a little bit taller
Level 22 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (4,000 ante)

Viacheslav Buldygin was still whispering that he was "so short" when he called a raise from Dietrich Fast in the big blind. (Fast made it 40,000 from the button.) So it was Fast and the short-stack to the flop of A♠4♠T♣ and Buldygin check-called Fast's 40,000 c-bet.

They both checked the 9♥ turn. And they also both checked the 2♦ river. Buldygin's 7♥T♠ was good and he built his stack to 570,000. It's still short, but a little taller than it was. -- HS

5:10pm: Sammartino shoves on Buldygin
Level 22 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (4,000 ante)

Viacheslav Buldygin opened the button, making it 50,000 to play, and Dario Sammartino gave him action from the big blind. Nobody seemed interested in either the 2♥Q♥T♦ flop or the Q♠ turn. But then, after the T♠ came on the river, Sammartino check-raised all-in, with Buldygin bet 50,000 between the check and the raise.

Bulgyin folded, muttering, "I'm so short. I'm so short." -- HS

5pm: Pots staying small
Level 22 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (4,000 ante)

The pot are staying small post break, and - with the stack sizes and players the way they are - we're expecting it to stay that way for the most part.

Viacheslav Buldygin has dropped a little more (to 605,000) and is the player most at risk. He lost a small pot to Dietrich Fast to get there. He completed from the small blind and Fast checked his option. The flop fell K♦7♥5♦ and Fast called a 25,000 bet before the T♥7♠ turn and river where checked through.

"Jack high," said Buldygin"
"No good," responded Fast but didn't show.

dietrich_fast_three_handed.jpg

Dietrich Fast

He waited until Buldygin opened J♦2♥ before he showed his A♣3♥. --MC

4:55pm: Extracting the minimum
Level 22 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (4,000 ante)

Dario Sammartino just won a tiny pot with what will probably be the biggest hand he sees all week. On the first hand back from the break, he was in the small blind and went to a cheap flop with Viacheslav Buldygin. It came 8♣8♠8♥. They both checked. The 5♣ came on the turn and they both checked. And then the 4♦ came on the river.

Sammartino tossed out one green chip, worth 25,000. "Twenty five?" an incredulous Buldygin said.

"What you have, a four?" Sammartino said back.

Buldygin threw a green chip forward to call and Sammartino revealed his 8♦5♠. He flopped quads and then even turned the other one of his cards. (Is that a kind of "Full House Extra"?)

"I don't know how you play this hand," Sammartino said. It kind of played itself, but wasn't worth very much. -- HS

4:35pm: Break-time chips
Level 22 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (4,000 ante)

Dietrich Fast added a million chips to his stack in the past couple of levels. He leads this tournament once again:

Dietrich Fast - 1.38 million
Dario Sammartino - 953,000
Viacheslav Buldygin - 739,000

4:30pm: Fast flops big, rivers better but can't ensnare Sammartino
Level 21 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (3,000 ante)

If you defend your big blind with 3♥5♠, you're going to be delighted to see a flop of 8♥5♦3♣. That's exactly what happened to Dietrich Fast, who decided to play fast and loose with the notion of appropriate starting hands in poker after Dario Sammartino opened his button to 45,000.

Both players checked that flop and then Fast bet 75,000 on the Q♠ turn. Sammartino called.

The river was the 3♠, which made it even better for Fast. However, his cheeky check didn't work because Sammartino checked behind and then mucked when shown the winning full house.

Fast, by the way, has also bought into the IPT Main Event now and is multi-tabling. He headed over there at the start of the 20-minute break in the €10K. -- HS

4:30pm: Big shove, out of the blue
Level 21 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (3,000 ante)

Most of the recent pots have been played out small-ball, even when aces and kings match up as we saw in the 3:40pm post. Maybe Viacheslav Buldygin is in the mood to switch that up.

Dietrich Fast opened to 50,000 on the button and Buldygin twitched his head in the big blind before moving all-in. Fast's eyes opened wide and he sat back into a thinking pose after he asked the dealer to count Buldygin's stack. It came to 821,00, or more than 40 big blinds.

Fast must have had a decent hand as he gave it a lot of thought before folding. "Ace-king?" asked Dario Sammartino of Buldygin. He didn't get a conclusive reply. --MC

4:20pm: Sammartino responds
Level 21 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (3,000 ante)

Dario Sammartino responded to losing his chip lead by turning on his afterburners and getting aggressive pre-flop. After Viacheslav Buldygin opened to 40,000 from the button, Sammartino made it 150,000 from the big blind and won. Then after Dietrich Fast opened to 50,000 from the button, Sammartino made it 160,000 from the small blind and won that too.

However, those chips soon went back to Buldygin when Sammartino opted for a more passive line. He called in the big blind after Buldygin raised to 45,000 from the button. And they both then checked the flop of Q♥5♣7♦.

Sammartino bet 75,000 at the turn of J♣ and Buldygin called, taking them to the 8♠ river. Both players checked and Sammartino said, "You win." Buldygin showed A♣K♥ and did indeed win the pot.

4:15pm: Fast leapfrogs Sammartino
Level 21 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (3,000 ante)

Pocket queens have featured a lot today, and have always been the winning hand - until now. Dario Sammartino couldn't make them work and lost a pot to Dietrich Fast to hand him the chip lead.

He raised to 50,000 off the button and Fast defended his big blind en routé to an A♥6♦4♦ flop. Sammartino continued for 75,000 and Fast check-called before both players checked the A♦ turn. Fast checked again on the 9♣ river and snapped off a 178,000 bet from Sammartino, who opened Q♥Q♠. Fast tabled A♣7♣ foo trips and scooped to rise to 1.36 million. Sammartino dropped to 840,000. --MC

4pm: Fast leapfrogs Buldygin
Level 21 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (3,000 ante)

Dietrich Fast now has a full tower of 25,000-denomination chips again, having won a decent pot from Viacheslav Buldygin. It also puts him back into second place and breathing down Dario Sammartino's neck.

Sammartino folded from the button and Buldygin opened from the small blind, making it 60,000 to play. Fast defended and they saw a flop. It came Q♥2♣8♥. Buldygin bet 60,000 and Fast called. Then they both checked the 5♣ turn.

When the J♣ fell on the river, Buldygin bet 150,000 and Fast called. Buldygin showed his A♣J♣ but Fast had flopped better with his 7♣Q♦.

That put Fast up to about 1.1 million and cut Buldygin down to 750,000. -- HS

4pm: Sammartino gets back over a million
Level 21 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (3,000 ante)

"Such tough spots for me today!" said a tanking Viacheslav Buldygin.
"Me too!" responded his opponent in the hand, Dario Sammartino.
"Yes, I understand," came the reply.

Dietrich Fast just sat there smiling at the exchange. It's very hard not to like Buldygin, and any of these finalists for that matter.

The hand started with a button raise from Buldygin and a big blind defend from the Italian. Both players checked the 8♥6♠T♥ flop before Sammartino led for 48,000 and 128,000 on the Q♦9♦ turn and river. Buldygin ultimately mucked to drop to 890,000 and Sammartino got back up to 1.1 million. --MC

3:40pm: Fast's aces hold
Level 21 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (3,000 ante)

Dietrich Fast just doubled up through Dario Sammartino with the coldest cooler in poker: aces versus kings. However, they didn't get all their chips in until the river, with various chunks of Fast's stack going into the middle at each stage of the hand.

I'm not sure how they didn't get it in pre-flop, but by the time I picked up action, they were at the turn with the board reading 9♠2♦2♣T♥. Fast checked, Sammartino bet 104,000 and Fast called.

Then the J♥ came on the river and Fast checked again. Sammartino said that he was all-in, covering the 361,000 Fast still had behind. Fast called and showed his A♠A♦, which had always been leading Sammartino's K♥K♣.

Fast now has 886,000 to play with and is close to building up to the 900,000 with which he started the day. -- HS

3:35pm: Chips at level up
Level 21 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (3,000 ante)

The tournamnet has come of age as it turns 21. Here's the rough chip counts:

Dario Sammartino - 1.42 million
Viacheslav Buldygin - 1.15 million
Dietrich Fast - 400,000

EPT13MALT_chips_6418_JulesPochy.jpg

3:35pm: Level ending bluff fail
Level 20 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (2,000 ante)

The last hand of the level saw Dario Sammartino catch a small bluff from Dietrich Fast.

The German raised to 38,000 from the button and Sammartino was the only caller from the small blind. The board rolled out 9♥K♦9♣4♣A♥ with no chips going into the river where Fast bet 35,000. Sammartino check-called with Q♣T♣ which was good to bear Fast's J♦5♦. --MC

3:25pm: Buddiga out in fourth, taking €61,690
Level 20 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (2,000 ante)

Pratyush Buddiga is heading to the payouts desk, the latest victim of Viacheslav Buldygin.

Buldygin has been raising a lot of pots pre-flop, usually then c-betting, getting a fold, and picking up a few additional chips. It's happening so frequently that the main subject of conversation at the moment is his chip stacks. Not usually a live player, he's having some trouble in keeping them in neat stacks of 20s.

As all this has been going on, Buddiga has been nursing a stack of about 12 big blinds, waiting for a spot. He found one, he got his chips in, and then he lost a race on the river.

pratyush_buddiga_ept13_malta_10k_out.jpg

Pratyush Buddiga

Buldygin started this one, as is the familiar pattern. He raised to 35,000 from the cutoff/under the gun. Buddiga moved all in for 171,000 and Buldygin called.

Buddiga: 7♥7♦
Buldygin: K♦Q♦

The flop seemed good for Buddiga. It came 4♥5♠9♥. He won't have minded the 5♦ on the turn either. However the K♥ on the river was a killer blow and Buddiga was left to mutter, "Good game" as he packed his things and departed. He'll get €61,690 for fourth.

Buldigin now has about 1.1 million. -- HS

3:15pm: You can't push me around, big fella!
Level 20 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (2,000 ante)

Just because Dario Sammartino has half the chips in play, it doesn't mean he's going to get it all his own way. He folded three hands he was involved in to drop back to 1.45 million.

He raised to 54,000 from the small blind and Viacheslav Buldygin peeled from the big blind to see a 7♦T♣8♦ flop. The action was checked there and on the A♠ turn. Sammartino checked for a third time on the 3♥ river and watched as his opponent counted out a bet. It started as 80,000 (behind the imaginary line) and grew as Buldygin kept adding a chip - all the while looking at Sammartino - by chip. He was smiling as he did it and stopped at 116,000 before pushing them forward.

"I was gong to check-call but the size is too big," commented Sammartino as he mucked.

The next hand Sammartino got involved in was when he defended his big blind to a Dietrich Fast Small blind raise. Both players checked the 6♥A♥7♠ flop and the Italian folded to a 70,000 bet on the 9♥ turn.

The very next hand he completed from the small blind and folded when Buldygin raised from the big blind. -- MC

3pm: Time to catch up on your reading
Level 20 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (2,000 ante)

Dietrich Fast and Pratyush Buddiga are finding a lot of time to catch up on emails, listen to podcasts or read through the news sites on their cellphones as back-to-back pots just played out between Dario Sammartino and Viacheslav Buldygin that took an absolute age.

In the first, Sammartino raised to 35,000 from under the gun and Buldygin called on the button. The flop brought the 3♥3♦9♣ and Sammartino bet 30,000. Buldygin called. Both players checked the K♥ on the turn, then Sammartino's bet of 50,000 after the T♥ river won it for him. It might sound simple, but it took far longer than you'd think.

It was nothing compared with the next hand, however, which went on even longer. This one started when Buldygin raised to 35,000 from under the gun and Sammartino called in the big blind. The flop this time around was 4♠3♠4♣ and Sammartino checked to yield the betting lead to Buldygin. He made it 40,000 to play and Sammartino called.

The 9♣ came on the turn and Sammartino checked. Buldygin bet 78,000 and Sammartino called. Then they saw the 4♥ on the river. Sammartino checked for a third time and Bulydgin bet 85,000. Sammartino tank-folded.

Again, it seems like a very tedious hand when you look at the bare bones, but it played out in icy, slow silence like a Bergman film or something. We learned similar lessons about the futility of life and man's existential struggle for meaning. -- HS

2:40pm: Check, check, boom
Level 20 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (2,000 ante)

Dietrich Fast needed chips badly, and managed to get some off chip leader Dario Sammartino. It put him back above the 20 big blind mark with 382,000.

The latter opened to 33,000 from under the gun and Fast peeled from the big blind. The flop fanned 8♦4♦J♦ and Sammartino continued for 24,000. Fast check-called and did likewise - for another 58,000 - on the 7♥ turn. The 3♦ filled out the board and Fast tanked before moving all-in for 136,000. Sammartino smiled as he made a quick fold. --MC


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2:30pm: Counts going into Level 20
Level 20 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (2,000 ante)

Dario Sammartino - 1,516,000
Viacheslav Buldygin - 817,000
Pratyush Buddiga - 368,000
Dietrich Fast - 299,000

2:20pm: Break time
Level 19 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (2,000 ante)

There were no more significant pots before the level ended, and players are now heading on a ten-minute break. We'll have the official chip-counts shortly.

2:05pm: Fast doubles back
Level 19 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (2,000 ante)

On the very next hand after the massive skirmish described below, Dietrich Fast doubled up through Dario Sammartino. Fast shoved with 5♠5♥ and Sammartino called with 7♣7♠, but Fast flopped a five. Sammartino also flopped a straight draw but whiffed. -- HS

2pm: Huge pot sends Sammartino clear
Level 19 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (2,000 ante)

Dietrich Fast began today as the only player with a full tower of green 25,000-denomination chips, and he just dug into them for the first time to play a massive pot against Dario Sammartino. It didn't go too well for him.

Sammartino opened to 28,000 from under the gun and Fast called in the big blind. The flop came 3♦K♠5♦ and Fast checked. Sammartino bet 24,000 and Fast called.

The T♥ came on the turn and Fast checked again. Sammartino bet 39,000. Fast now reached into that tower of green chips and pushed out a check-raise to 165,000, which Sammartino tank-called.

The 9♥ came on the river and Fast took a long time before pushing another 12 green chips forward. That was 300,000. Sammartino shoved over the top, covering Fast's remaining 175,000 and Fast instantly folded.

That gave Sammartino a stack of 1.6 million and left Fast with only 175,000. Pratyush Buddiga has 405,000 and Viacheslav Buldygin has 880,000. -- HS

1:55pm: Ramin Hajiyev wins €47,720 for busting fifth
Level 19 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (2,000 ante)

Viacheslav Buldygin almost seemed a little embarrassed by his success after he found queens again to bust Ramin Hajiyev. His English is broken but he seemed sad that he knocked out a "nice guy".

Hajiyev was down to around 270,000 when he moved all-in from first to act. The action folded to Buldygin in the big blind who made an instant call after looking at his holding.

Buldygin: Q♦Q♠
Hajiyev: A♠Q♣

The board ran 4♣6♦4♠2♦6♣ to see the queens hold. That put Buldygin up to around 850,000. --MC

ramin_hajiyev_ept13_malta_10k_final.jpg

Ramin Hajiyev: Nice guys finish...fifth

1:45pm: Sammartino gets some back from Buddiga
Level 19 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (2,000 ante)

Despite winning that pot against Viacheslav Buldygin, Pratyush Buddiga has not been permitted to run away with things. He lost a pot to Dario Sammartino soon after to make sure everyone was aware that this is still anyone's game.

Buddiga opened his button, making it 30,000 to play. Sammartino called in the big blind. The 3♥3♦7♠ came on the flop and Sammartino check-called Buddiga's bet of 27,000.

They checked the 2♠ turn and then Sammartino moved 90,000 into the middle after the 7♥ river, and that big bet was too rich for Buddiga, who folded. -- HS

1:35pm: Buddiga halts Bulgygin momentum
Level 19 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (2,000 ante)

Someone had to put a stop to the runaway train that was Viacheslav Buldygin, and it fell to Pratyush Buddiga to do the deed. "It's random," Buldygin said more than once at the end of the hand, confused by Buddiga's line in an intriguing hand.

Buldygin opened to 26,000 from the cutoff and Buddiga called in the big blind. Then they checked the 5♥8♦4♠ flop. The Q♥ came on the turn and Buddiga bet 90,000 into a pot of 68,000. Buldygin was perplexed already here, but called, and saw the 6♣ come on the river.

Buddiga now reached for his two towers of blue chips, worth 100,000 each, and left two 25,000-denomination chips on top. The bet was 250,000. Buldygin blew out his cheeks and said, "I need time."

He took it, contorting his face into all manner of expressions indicative of a man trying to untangle a tight, cognitive knot. Eventually, and with a refrain of "It's random" he folded, allowing Buddiga to add about 150,000 to his stack. -- HS

1:25pm: Davidi Kitai goes first, takes away €37,250
Level 19 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (2,000 ante)

Viacheslav Buldygin had built a chip stack big enough to do some real damage. The fourth stage of his build saw him acquire his neighbour's land and everything contained within its borders.

The action folded to Buldygin on the button and he raised to 26,000. Davidi Kitai was in the small blind and three-bet all-in for 237,000. Buldygin snap-called when the action was back on him.

Kitai: A♣J♠
Buldygin: Q♠Q♣

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Bad news for Davidi Kitai

The board ran 2♥K♣2♠3♠8♥ and the queens held. Buldygin moved up to around 750,000 while Kitai is the first to bother the cash-out cage today, looking for €37,250. --MC

1:20pm: Buldygin building Part III
Level 18 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (1,000 ante)

Dietrich Fast raised to 23,000 from the button and Viacheslav Buldygin called from the big blind. They saw the 9♦A♥2♥ fall on the flop and Buldygin checked. Fast bet 20,000 and Buldygin called.

They checked the 8♣ turn but then Buldygin bet 37,000 at the 8♥ river and Fast folded. Another boost for Buldygin, sufficiently so that he was able to do this a few hands later...update coming...

1:15pm: Buldygin building Part II
Level 18 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (1,000 ante)

Despite being the least experienced player at the table (at least in terms of recorded results; who knows what he gets up to in private games) Viacheslav Buldygin is among the most active players at this final. He just won another small pot from Dario Sammartino.

Buldygin raised to 25,000 from under the gun and Sammartino called in the big blind. The flop brought the 7♥Q♦2♠ and Sammartino checked. Buldygin bet 20,000 and Sammartino called.

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Vlacheslav Buldygin: the master builder

They both checked the 9♥ turn and followed up with a check of the J♦ river too. Buldygin suggested that he was probably beaten with a rueful chuckle. Sammartino hopefully said, "I have a deuce."

"Deuce?" Buldygin said. "Oh, I have six." He then exposed his 6♥6♠ which was a winner. -- HS

1:10pm: Fast puts pressure on Hajiyev
Level 18 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (1,000 ante)

Ramin Hajiyev opened to 24,000 from the button and after Pratyush Buddiga had folded his small blind, Dietrich Fast said that he was all-in from the big blind. Hajiyev was the effective stack. He had 290,000 behind. He decided to preserve it with a fold. -- HS

1:05pm: Buddiga makes a big squeeze
Level 18 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (1,000 ante)

Pratyush Buddiga hadn't been too involved in the action so far, and that had seen him lose around 100,000 chips off his stack. In one big squeeze just now though, he got most of them back.

Dario Sammartino opened to 23,000 and was called by Davidi Kitai (button) and Ramin Hajiyev (small blind) before Buddiga paused in the big blind and announced (loudly due to his headphones) that he was all-in. It looked for about 37 big blinds (370,000) which was too much for all three opponents to call. --MC

12:55pm: Buldygin building
Level 18 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (1,000 ante)

Wow, this is almost like a totally different tournament to the one being played yesterday. Not only is it now almost silent, but it's also taking place at a snail's pace. Thank goodness for one shred of consistency: the huge river bet, which has characterised this tournament from the off.

The following hand took at least five minutes to play out, possibly much longer. It was a slow burn that ended with that chunky bet on the end.

Viacheslav Buldygin got things moving with a raise to 23,000 from the cutoff. Pratyush Buddiga decided to call from the big blind and they saw a flop of 4♣2♦K♠. Buddiga's check, followed by Buldygin's bet (of 18,000) set a pattern that would repeat three times.

Buddiga called and they saw the K♥ on the turn. Check. Bet. This time 27,000. Buddiga called. The J♦ came on the river and Buddiga checked again. Buldygin bet again, this time 107,000. That was more than 70 percent of the pot.

Buddiga didn't take too long to fold. Buldygin has around 400,000 now. -- HS

12:45pm: Sammartino moves into the lead
Level 18 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (1,000 ante)

Second blood also went to Dario Sammartino. He moved into the chip lead with over 900,000 after taking a big pot off Dietrich Fast who dropped to 622,000.

Fast opened to 23,000 before going on to empty the clip with bets of 26,000, 55,000 and 110,000. The final board rested as 9♣3♠9♥6♠J♦. Sammartino called fairly quickly on the flop and turn, but agonised over his river call. He looked to the skies and gave Fast an intense star down at close quarters. Eventually he called and was shown Q♣Q♦ by Fast. He opened a trickily played A♠A♣ and has to be the new favourite for the crown now. --MC

12:40pm: First blood to Sammartino
Level 18 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (1,000 ante)

First hand to Dario Sammartino. After Vladimir Troyanovskiy went out in the big blind last night, the first hand of today meant there was no small blind in play, meaning only Dietrich Fast was obliged to invest more than the antes pre-flop. But then Sammartino, the first man with a decision, raised to 23,000.

Four folds later and the decision was on Fast. He called, taking the two big stacks to the flop of 4♠6♥3♦. Fast checked and Sammartino bet 25,000. Fast called. Then the T♠ fell on the turn and Fast checked again. Sammartino bet 50,000 this time, with a double-handed flourish, and Fast quickly folded.

12:35pm: Herding of the high value players
Level 18 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (1,000 ante)

Takes a bit of time to get these "high rollers" into the poker pen. After a few calls of encouragement over the PA system, they're in place and cards are in the air. --MC

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Final six in Malta

12:3pm: Ready to go
Level 18 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (1,000 ante)

There's 43 minutes left in Level 18 and the tournament director's finger is hovering over the button to start it ticking again. Stick with us as we play to a winner in Malta.

11:30am: The final six

Good morning everyone and welcome back to Malta. This EPT festival is now three days old and it's high time we had a major final table.

We kick off at 12:30pm today with the concluding stages of the €10,000 single re-entry hold'em event, satisfactorily numbered Event 1. There's €174,600 up for grabs for first place, and that will make the rest of the trip a freeroll for whichever of the following manages to go all the way:

NameCountryChips
Dietrich FastGermany900000
Dario SammartinoItaly654000
Pratyush BuddigaUSA479000
Viacheslav BuldyginRussia328000
Ramin HajiyevAzerbaijan324000
Davidi KitaiBelgium315000

In truth, all of them are going to be happy. They're guaranteed a minimum of €37,250 already, which is a fine way to start a festival. And even for such luminaries as Dietrich Fast, Dario Sammartino, Pratyush Buddiga, Ramin Hajiyev and Davidi Kitai, that's a significant chunk of change. As for Viacheslav Buldygin, who is playing only the sixth live tournament of his career, he can double his total live career earnings if he finishes fourth or better.

Play gets under way at 12:30pm and we'll go all the way to a winner. No doubt they'll talk about a dinner break as and when it becomes necessary--and it's not a foregone conclusion that this will be quick. Fast's chip lead represents 90 big blinds; Kitai's short stack is 31. There's a lot of play left.

Stick with us until the end. We're the only outlet covering this, so this is exclusive.

Take a look at the official website of the EPT, with tournament schedule, news, results and accommodation details for EPT13 Barcelona and the rest of the season.

Also all the schedule information is on the EPT App, which is available on both Android or IOS.

PokerStars Blog reporting team on the EPT13 Malta €10K single re-entry: Marc Convey and Howard Swains. Photography by Jules Pochy. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter:@PokerStarsBlog

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Whose boat is coming in today?

Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour