EPT13 Malta: Patrick Leonard leads €25K High Roller event

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• PLAYERS: 27 of 60 tbc (inc 16 re-entries)
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1:10am: Patrick Leonard leads Super High Roller going into Day 2

Apparently Twitter went down for long stretches of today, leaving poker players bereft of anything to do during those idle moments between hands.

Who knows, perhaps those kinds of things take their toll, turning talented players previously entertained by 140 character aphorisms, and pictures of lunch, into directionless dependants forced to actually wait when the guy opposite tanks for five minutes rather than find amusement elsewhere. And if this is so what about those less dependent on phones? Players like Patrick Leonard maybe?


patrick_leonard_22oct16.jpgChip leader Patrick Leonard

We've no idea if Leonard is the type of player to concentrate wholly on events in front of him, rather than the distractions of the online world. But if he is this was his day. For while the internet buckled he bagged up 260,000 tonight, good for the chip lead.

If such a thing were true though, the chase pack would be among the best multitaskers in the world, able to perform a the highest level while scrolling down.

Of the 60 entrants so far just 27 remain, but it's some field, as the chip count page demonstrates.

They bring a long day to a close, with play set to resume tomorrow (Saturday) at 12.30pm local time. That's when we'll play down to a final table with or without Twitter, but with Leonard setting the pace.

Join us tomorrow to discover how that turns out. Hashtag true story.

1:05am: Khoroshenin leads with 29 left

It looks like it's Oleksii Khoroshenin who has the chip lead. Details coming up.

12:55am: Last four hands
Level 10 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

Four more hands at each table and this long day of high stakes action will be over. --MC

12:45am: Khoroshenin crushing
Level 10 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

EPT Vienna champion Oleksii Khoroshenin has had a crushing few levels and just knocked out Behzad Ahadpour to soar clear of the field on 280,000.

After an under-the-gun raise and a flat call from Ahadpour, Khoroshenin squeezed to 12,500 from the button. The original raiser folded but Ahadpour moved all-in for 14,000. Call.

Ahadpour: Q♦J♦
Khoroshenin: 8♥8♦

The board ran K♥9♣2♦2♥9♦ to see the eights hold. --MC

12:30am: Kozlov all-in
Level 10 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

Scott Seiver opened from the button. He bet 4,000 and the action moved one seat along to Martin Kozlov in the small blind. He promptly announced he was all-in, which meant a count for Andras Nemeth waiting in the big blind. The full amount was 27,800.

Nemeth then announced he too was all-in, the effect of which was to electrify Scott Seiver's chair, who folded, irritated. But then not so irritated.

Nemeth: A♠K♠
Kozlov: 9♦9♣

They waited as the board was dealt...

7♥J♥Q♦5♠5♣

That was it for Kozlov, who stood to leave while Nemeth stacked his new found chips. He asked Seiver what he folded ("ace-nine") and then tried his luck asking him what he had the hand before that. HE's up to around 160,000 now, with half a level left to play. - SB

12:25am: Leonard gets to 200k after talking Kitai into a fold
Level 10 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

Patrick Leonard is back into the lead after an epic one-way river chat with Davidi Kitai.

Around 35,000 had made it into the middle by the time the board rested as A♦K♣3♦Q♣K♥. Leonard bet 35,000 from the cutoff and that sent Kitai into the tank. Leonard said so many things that we can't write them all down, so here's a selection:

"Give me some credit!
"You can't let me get to 200k without showing down once!"

After that he ran through the range of hands he could have.

"Can I show one?" he asked floor person Kate.
"Penalty," was the short, sharp and effective answer.
"Always hero folding - so sick!"
"He went from crazy calling station to huge nit!"

This went on and on until Adrian Mateos called the clock. Kitai let it get down to 20 seconds and then folded to drop to 110,000. Leonard showed the 3♣. --MC

12:10am: Khoroshenin won't Bujtas
Level 10 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

Laszlo Bujtas was all in. He called across to his pal and countryman Andras Nemeth with the news. Nemeth didn't move or anything, but he showed an interest.

Bujtas was up against Oleksii Khoroshenin, a former EPT winner, known to show very little emotion (see his winner's pic). So while Bujtas was up and out of his chair, nervously pacing Khoroshenin calmly awaiting fate.

Bujtas: 4♥4♠
Khoroshenin: 6♥6♣

The flop came 2♦A♠4♦. I thought I saw Khoroshenin's shoulders drop an inch. I'm not sure, but they might have.
Then the 9♠ turn. Then the 6♦ river, at which point I thought I saw Khoroshenin's shoulders lift an inch. Again, I'm not sure but they might have.

Regardless, Khoroshenin moves up to around 180,000, which is good for the chip lead. Bujtas meanwhile is headed for the rail, trying his best not to let the disappointment show. - SB

12:05am: Chidwick comeback continues
Level 9 - Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

Stephen Chidwick's comeback shows no sign of slowing down. A level ago he was the shortest stack with 17,000, but he doubled up twice and just won a pot off Vladimir Troyanovskiy to rise to 95,000.

EPT13Malta_Stephen_Chidwick_25k_Day1a.jpg

Comeback kid

He raised to 2,500 from the cutoff and Troyanovskiy defended his big blind. The flop spread Q♦A♥8♣ and Chidwick continued for 2,500. Troyanovskiy check-called before both checked the 6♦ turn. The river was the 6♦ and Troyanovskiy led for 12,400, then opened J♣J♠ when called. It was no good though as Chidwick tabled A♣4♣. Troyanovskiy dropped to 80,000. --MC

11:55pm: Philbort doubles Loosli
Level 9 - Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

"I didn't know you were so short! But I should've done as it was me that did it to you," said Philipp Gruissem after he doubled up Sylvain Loosli.

The German raised to 3,000 and then tank-called after Loosli moved all-in for 12,300 from the big blind.

Loosli: 7♥6♥
Gruissem: A♣9♦

The board ran 4♥4♦A♠6♦2♣ to send the chips the Frenchman's way. --MC

11:50pm: Nemeth from the button
Level 9 - Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

Scott Seiver opened for 3,000 in middle position. Watching him in the eight seat was Andras Nemeth on the button, who raised to 9,000, which Seiver called.

The flop came 7♠5♦K♣ which Seiver checked to Nemeth, who bet 10,000. Seiver called, and then checked the 9♣ turn, as did Nemeth. On the 3♣ river however, Nemeth bet 20,000 when Seiver left him to act. Seiver thought about it, and nodded with his lower lip stuck out. Then passed.

He drops slightly to 90,000 while Nemeth has 165,000. - SB

11:45pm: Leonard folds to Kitai river raise
Level 9 - Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

Patrick Leonard has dropped out of the chip lead (down to around 150k) after he bet-folded on the river to Davidi Kitai.

Around 35,000 had made it into the middle by the time the board rested as 7♥6♥A♥5♠K♥. Leonard was under the gun and bet 14,000. Kitai was on the button and went into the trance-like state he gets into. When he came back around, he raised to 55,000 and Leonard folded. The Belgian moved up to around 140,000. --MC

11:30pm: Juha Helppi himself to a double up
Level 9 - Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

Adrian Mateos is the chip leader at his table, and could easily absorb doubling up Juha Helppi.

Helppi raised to 3,000 from under the gun before Mateos three-bet to 8,000 off the button. Helppi jammed for 20,600 and the Spaniard called.

Helppi: A♦Q♦
Mateos: A♣J♦

The board ran 7♦2♠2♥T♠8♦ missing both players. Mateos dropped to 145,000. --MC

11:20pm: Love for the game
Level 9 - Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

Ali Reza Fatehi, Ben Heath, Pratyush Buddiga, Niall Farrell and Jean-Noel Thorel were the last four players to be eliminated.

Buddiga has already re-entered; we wait to see if Farrell and Heath will do the same tonight or in the morning.

EPT13Malta_25k_day1_Jean-Noel_Thorel.jpg

JNT loves his cards

Fatehi and Thorel have both busted twice so can't re-enter. Thorel - who gave his chips to Patrick Leonard (up to 195k) - left the High Roller area with a big smile on his face. Maybe it's because he loves a Hyper Turbo - the €550 version he's went and jumped into. That's love for the game right there! --MC

11:10pm: Flying start for Newey
Level 9 - Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

Weirdly almost every super high roller was back in their seat a full two minutes before the ninth level of the day began, so eager they were to play, or to be around when their drink arrived. The beer is flowing like wine right now.

Paul Newey opened the level by moving all in for around 19,000. The action was folded to Behzad Ahadpour who agonised before deciding, almost as if on a whim, to move all in himself. He made an uncertain noise when he saw Newey's J♦J♠. Ahadpour showed Q♥K♥.

The board ran out 8♦A♦6♥A♣5♥ to keep Newey alive. - SB

11:05pm: Last two levels of the night
Level 9 - Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

Two more levels to play tonight. Below are the top ten counts. Click here for the full list.

EPT13Malta_25k_day1_David_Yan.jpg

Yan's on top

NameCountryStatusChips
David YanNew Zealand 163500
Adrian MateosSpain 158000
Andras NemethHungary 150000
Patrick LeonardUK 143000
Frederik JensenDenmark 132800
Charlie CarrelUK 132000
Dario SammartinoItaly 125000
Scott SeiverUSA 123400
Oleksii KhorosheninUkraineLive satellite winner120300
Davidi KitaiBelgium 120000

10:45pm: Break time

That's the end of another level. Players are now on their last break of the evening. They'll play two more levels when they return.


10:40pm: Steady, steady, whoa, and back to steady
Level 8 - Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

Behzad Ahadpour watched the action folded around the table to him. We'll never know exactly what he had, but he figured it was good enough to call with, so he did. Next to him was Paul Newey in the small blind who figured what the hell, and called himself. That left Adrian Mateos in the big blind who checked.

The saw a flop: 6♦J♥A♥

That was checked round. So too was the K♠ on the turn. At this point it looked like curtains for any drama in the hand. But then the [qs[ on the river. Mateos bet 3,000, Ahadpour folded, before all the chips went in. I'm not exactly sure in what amounts or how, but the back and forth was quick between Newey and Mateos, who each allowed themselves a grin when the each turned over jack-ten.

A chop pot, and back to where they started. Except for Ahadpour, obviously. - SB

10:30pm: O'Dwyer and Drinan hit the rail, or bar
Level 8 - Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

Steve O'Dwyer and Connor Drinan were the last two players to exit the tournament. We missed O'Dwyer's exit but Drinan's was full of colour.

Connor_Drinan_EPT13_Malta_25k_Malta.jpg

Drinan still has a entry if he wants to jump back in

He raised from the hijack and David Yan defended his big blind to see a 6♦T♣Q♣ flop. Before he could check Drinan checked out of turn. The floor was called and a ruling made that Yan could still bet, but if he checked then Drinan's would stand. He did check and the A♥ appeared on the turn. Yan check-called 5,000 and the 5♦ was the river card. Once more, Drinan acted out of turn by moving all-in for 15,000. The floor was called over again and the same ruling was given. Yen checked and then went into the tank as Drinan downed the rest of his beer.

"Nice call," said Drinan after Yan called with Q♠9♥. Drinan opened 6♣7♣ after left the table. Yan moved up to 175,000. --MC

10:10pm: Reza sharp
Level 8 - Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

Stephen Chidwick's view of the tournament is different to everyone else's for the simple reason that he sits up better than anyone else. Chidwick is literally and figuratively no slouch.

He opened for 2,500 in middle position and, back ramrod straight, he looked down on those who might dare to challenge him. Out of position, Ali Reza Fatehi was undeterred, and called for a flop.

Ali_Reza_Fatehi_EPT13_Malta_25k_Day1.jpg

Fatehi on the up

It came 7♦Q♠K♦ which was checked for the 4♠ on the turn. Fatehi bet 2,200 which Chidwick called for the J♠ river card.

Fatehi bet again, 3,600 this time, delivered in the same way the last bet was, arm out, chips dropped from up high. Chidwick didn't flinch. Instead he went for his chips and called.

8♠7♠ for Fatehi, enough to make Chidwick fold. He's down to around 20,000 while Fatehi moves up to 60,000. - SB

10:12pm: Carrell needs a minute
Level 8 - Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

Charlie Carrell was agitated. The board was laid out in from of him 9♦K♠5♦2♥Q♦, that much he understood. The trouble was working out what to do next. IT had been a few minutes since the action was sent to him by Dan Shak, who sat patiently. Carrell asked for a minute.

Eventually he called, tossing in three blue chips worth 15,000. Shak turned over 3♠5♠ for a small pair. Carrell's call though was a good one. He flipped up A♥Q♥ to win the hand. - SB

10:10pm: River tanking
Level 8 - Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

River tanking is a bit like River Dance except you sit down. Lower half leg movements are allowed but not always encouraged by the players either side of you. Fredrick Jensen and Sylvain Loosli both did a bit of river tanking at the same time on different tables. Neither impressed with their moves as they both folded.

Jensen was battling Ole Schemion. They were heads up to a to a 7♣K♦7♥ flop where Jensen bet 2,200 from the hijack and was check-called by Schemion (UTG). Schemion then became the lead with bets of 5,100 and 14,500 on the T♠4♠ turn and river. Jensen thought for several minutes before folding. He dropped to 111,500 and Schemion moved up to 50,000.

Loosli's river routine was longer as he was still thinking two minutes after Schemion on tan adjacent table. He was heads up with Andras Nemeth and the board read A♦T♣8♦7♠3♥. Loosli bet 3,200 from the hijack before Nemeth check-raised to 15,000 from the hijack. Loosli dropped to 40,000 after folding, and Nemeth rose to 110,000. --MC

9:50pm: Drinan up, in chips and beer
Level 7 - Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

It's quiet in the tournament room right now, a bit like a library, albeit the best type of library, the type that serves beer.

Conor Drinan just ordered another as he took part in a hand, prompting Ole Schemion to order one too. "And a still water," he added. You can never be too careful.

Drinan was up against Frederik Jensen, a former EPT winner, who got Drinan to check call the flop of 9♠K♣Q♥. Both players checked the A♥ turn card for the 9♣ on the river. No more action to come, Drinan turned over Q♦J♣ to win the hand. He merrily takes his stack up to around 46,0000 now. -SB

9:50pm: Kolonias cleaned out
Level 7 - Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

Alexandros Kolonias had a short stack and needed to get going. Unfortunately for him it was his body he got going, towards the exit.

Vladimir Troyanovskiy opened from second position and called after Kolonias three-bet all-in for 15,100.

Kolonias: 9♣9♦
Troyanovskiy: A♣T♥

The board ran A♥J♠7♦K♣7♣ to make the Russian two pair. --MC

9:25pm: Hand reports
Level 7 - Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

A quick spate of no frills hand reports for you, the most interesting of which I've left until the end.

First up, Davidi Kitai raised his button, making it 2,300 to play. Patrick Leonard called from the big blind and they surveyed the 5♦7♥3♦ on the flop. They both checked.

The 8♣ came on the turn and Leonard stabbed 2,100 at it. Kitai called. Then they both checked the 2♦ river. Both then turned over the same hand: K♠9♦ for Leonard; K♦9♠ for Kitai. That was the dullest of all eventualities: a chopped pot.

Still on the same table, Ramin Hajiyev opened to 2,000 from the hijack and Anthony Zinno three-bet his big blind, making it 5,500. Hajiyev called. They weren't interested in the 9♦K♣J♠ flop but after Zinno checked the A♣ turn, Hajiyev bet 7,500. Zinno called.

This one went to the river too. It was the 9♣. Zinno checked, Hajiyev bet 12,000 and Zinno folded.

So, one table along now and we meet Charlie Carrel on the button, raising to 2,000. Dan Shak called from the small blind and Ali Reza Fatehi called in the big. The flop brought the 5♥8♦3♦ and both of the blinds checked to the raiser. Carrel bet 4,000 and only Shak called.

The A♥ came on the turn. Check. Check. Then the Q♠ came on the river. Check. Check.

Shak went to muck, but then decided to show his 7♠6♥ just on the off-chance. Not this time, Dan. Carrel showed 9♠9♦.

So, one more table along, and here's Carrel's mate, Ben Heath. Old Benny's going to give us a hand, right? Come on, Benny. You can do it.

Heath raised to 2,000 from early position and then Laszlo Bujtas three-bet to 5,300. Heath called.

The 5♠T♥7♦ flop was shared by just those two and Heath checked it. Bujtas bet 4,200 and Heath called.

The J♠ came on the turn and after Heath checked, Bujtas put on his glasses so he could see Heath's stack. Heath raised his arms to give a proper view and Bujtas, learning it was about 16,100, bet 5,000. Heath called.

The T♠ came on the river and Heath checked again. Bujtas moved in. He had only about 19,000 in his stack, but it was more than Heath's 11,100. Heath folded, leaving himself that meagre offering. -- HS

9:15pm: Jensen doubles in four-bet pot
Level 7 - Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

Those suited one-gap connectors are hard to lay down. Good job Fredrick Jensen didn't then as they've helped him to double up through Connor Drinan.

Drinan opened to 2,000 from the cutoff and then four-bet to 11,700 after Jensen three-bet to 6,300 from the next seat. The flop fanned 5♣2♦6♥ and Drinan continued for 7,900. Call. Drinan bet another 7,900 on the K♣ turn and still couldn't shake of the Dane. The A♣ completed the board and Drinan set Jensen in for his last 32,700, who made a quick call with 6♣4♣ for a flush. Drinan dropped to around 40,000. --MC

9:05pm: AMD battles CEO
Level 7 - Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

David Yan has moved into the lead again after winning a flip (ace-king versus sixes) to send Orpen Kisacikoglu out the door. Not long later, the Turkish player bought back in.

Over on a neighbouring table, Adrian Mateos was involved in a personal war of attrition with Behzad Ahadpour, with the latter, who is the CEO of a Dubai-based design firm, getting the better of the EPT Grand Final champion. At least based on this tiny sample size.

adrian_mateos_ept13_malta_day1_25k.jpg

Adrian Mateos: Can't win one from the businessman

I saw two pots. In the first, Ahadpour raised to 1,600 from the cutoff and Paul Newey called on the button, as did Mateos in the big blind. After the 7♥3♥5♠ flop, Mateos tried to represent that it had smashed his big-blind hand. He bet 2,300.

Ahadpour didn't believe him. He raised to 8,000 and both Newey and then Mateos folded.

Shorting after, Ahadpour opened from UTG+1 (it's a seven-handed table at the moment), making it 1,800. Mateos three-bet to 5,000 from the button but Ahadpour responded with a four-bet to 21,800--four blue chips thrown high and handsome into the pot--and Mateos folded again.

Niall Farrell on that table. He came jogging back from an extended dinner break, just missing his big blind. He had apparently been slow-rolled on change from a waitress at a restaurant. -- HS

9pm: JNT back in and Heath waiting with the snap
Level 7 - Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

Ben Heath lost a heads up pot to Davidi Kitai and has dropped to around 30,000 as a result.

He opened to 2,000 from under the gun and Kitai peeled from the big blind. Both players checked the 4♣7♥8♠ flop before Kitai led for 2,600 and 1,500 on the 9♠8♠ turn and river. Heath called both times and mucked upon seeing Kitai's Q♠9♣.

Phil Gruissem, sat down the other end of the table, was too busy grilling Anthony Zinno about what social media apps he uses (Facebook still a winner btw) to see what the river action was.

"Was it checked?" he asked.

"No, he bet 1,500. I was waiting with the snap," said Heath.

Jean-Noel Thorel has re-entered post dinner and been drawn to the right of Heath. --MC

8:45pm: Back to it
Level 7 - Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

Players have returned, sated, and are now heading into Level 7. There will be four more levels of play today before they bag up. Registration remains open until the start of play tomorrow. -- HS

8:30pm: Leonard leaps into the lead

Patrick_Leonard_EPT13Malta_25k_Day1.jpg

Leonard on top

Patrick Leonard, who narrowly missed the money in the €10,000 event this week, has leapt into the lead at the dinner break. The full counts are over there on the chip-count page, but here's the top ten:

NameCountryChips
Patrick LeonardUK148,000
David YanNew Zealand134,000
Charlie CarrelUK131,000
Scott SeiverUSA118,000
Adrian MateosSpain98,800
Oleksii KhorosheninUkraine94,500
Connor DrinanUSA92,400
Mikita BadziakouskiBelarus92,000
Dan ShakUSA92,000
Nick PetrangeloUSA80,600

table_branding_ept13_malta_day1_25k.jpg

7:15pm: Dinner break
Level 6 - Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

That's it for the first portion of this event. Players are heading off for a 90-minute dinner break. We'll have full stacks when they're back, but there are few stacks bigger than the following at the moment:

David Yan -- 139,000
Patrick Leonard -- 135,000
Charlie Carrel -- 120,000
Connor Drinan -- 105,000
Scott Seiver -- 105,000
Dan Shak -- 101,000

7:05pm: Fold, fold, call
Level 6 - Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

There was a fair bit of folding going on and then a nice call so we could see a showdown.

Pratyush Buddiga opened to 1,300 from early position before Steve O'Dwyer three-bet to 3,800 from the cutoff. Max Silver was on the button and four-bet to 9,400. That scared off Buddiga but not O'Dwyer who jammed for 26,000. Fold

Connor Drinan and took to a 5♣8♠8♦ flop with 12,000 already in the middle. Drinan led for 4,000 from the small blind and Khoroshenin called from early position. The turn was the 7♠ and Drinan check-folded to a 12,500 bet.

And then there was the call. It was from Scott Seiver and helped him pass the 100k mark. The board rested as A♠5♥Q♠A♣4♦ and Laszlo Bujtas led for 19,000 from the small blind. Seiver called with A♦J♦ to beat the Hungarian's K♥J♠. --MC

6:45pm: Carrel hits his kicker
Level 6 - Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

Charlie Carrel is living a charmed life at the moment. He's the main challenger to David Yan at the top of the counts and, with about 140,000, the two of them are pretty much neck-and-neck.

When things are going right, hands like this occur: Carrel raised to 1,500 from the button and Ali Reza Fatehi called in the big blind. They saw the 5♥T♠4♣ fall on the flop and Fatehi check-called Carrel's bet of 2,000.

charlie_carrel_ept13_malta_25k.jpg

Charlie Carrel

They both checked the 3♥ turn. And they both checked the K♣ river. Fatehi showed A♣Q♦ which was dominant against Carrel's Q♥4♥, but had fallen behind after Carrel hit his four. -- HS

6:40pm: Michalak strong-arms Yaghmai
Level 6 - Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

Nariman Yaghmai opened to 1,300 from the cutoff and Jakub Michalak three-bet to 4,400 from the small blind. Yaghmai called and they saw the J♣3♦9♠ exposed on the flop.

Michalak quickly bet 4,000 and Yaghmai called, buying them both the 4♥ on the turn.

"How much you play?" Michalak asked. Yaghmai lifted his arm to reveal a stack of around 75,000. Michalak had about 10,000 less than that behind.

Michalak pushed forward a mixed-up stack, which seemed to be 9,825 in total, although Yaghmai wasn't interested in an exact count. He tank-folded. -- HS

6:35pm: Schemion plays back
Level 6 - Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

The dust hadn't settled on the table following Jean-Noel Thorel's elimination and David Yan was still stacking up his chips when he decided to raise again, this time 1,600 from the button. Ole Schemion was in the big blind and he called.

The Q♣6♦4♣ flop brought a check from Schemion, but he wasn't done with this hand. Yan bet 1,400 and Schemion raised to 6,400. Yan didn't want to mess with Schemion and folded. Playing back at the tournament chip leader can sometimes pay dividends. -- HS

6:30pm: News in brief
Level 6 - Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

-Paul Newey took a small pot off Martin Finger to move up to 38,000 and drop the German down to 86,000. Finger raised to 1,500 from the hijack and both blinds called. He continued for 2,300 on a T♠6♠3♦ flop and only Newey check-called from the big blind. The 8♦9♦ turn and river were checked through and Finger mucked upon seeing Newey's Q♣T♣.

- Vladimir Troyanovskiy took a pot off Dan Shak to move up to 68,000. They were at the river and the board read 2♦A♥K♠A♠T♦. Shak checked from the big blind and then open-folded K♣2♣ after the Russian bet 7,000. He dropped to 135,000 and felt better about life when Troyanovskiy flashed him an ace.

- David Yan is on a charge on his second bullet. Word on the tournament floor is that he has eliminated the formerly big-stacked Jean-Noel Thorel. Yan is now the big stack on 140,000. --MC

6:20pm: Seiver back, level up
Level 6 - Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

Scott Seiver bought straight back in and will get to see the start of Level 6. They are taking a 90-minute dinner break at the end of this level.

6:15pm: Yan busts Seiver with perfect timing
Level 5 - Blinds 250/500 (75 ante)

Correct bet sizing is obviously a huge part of successful poker, but perhaps not enough is made of bet timing. David Yan just knocked out Scott Seiver, and the timing of his shove on the river seemed just about spot on.

david_yan_ept13_malta_25k.jpg

David Yan: Perfect timing

Seiver got things moving pre-flop with a raise to 1,250 from the hijack. Yan called in the cutoff and they went to a flop of 5♥4♥6♠. Seiver bet 2,700 pretty quickly and Yan called after only a short hesitation.

They both checked the 2♥ on the turn and did so in fairly quick succession, taking them to the K♦ on the river.

Seiver pondered a little while, then bet 6,500. Yan went into the tank--even though Yan in the tank is very similar to Yan outside the tank. He is a particularly composed presence at the table.

scott_seiver_ept13_malta_25k.jpg

Scott Seiver put to the test

After just about the right amount of time to make it believable, Yan asked to see Seiver's remaining stack. He had about 16,500 back. And then after another period of time that just about made it seem he was making an aggressive move in a bid to get Seiver to fold, Yan moved all-in. He comfortably covered his neighbour.

Seiver muttered what sounded like, "I think I have to call." And he then followed through on the intention. Yan turned over his A♥8♥ for the nut flush and Seiver flashed his K♠Q♠ as he headed out of the door.

This had reminded me of the pot in which Yan burst the bubble in the recent Eureka Hamburg Main Event. In that coup (see 3:50pm post here), Yan flopped trips but managed to convince Gareth Chantler that his Ace-high was good. Chantler called all the way and was knocked out in the worst spot in the tournament.

Yan did something similar here to Seiver. He plays big hands very, very well. --HS

6:10pm: Always have it, bro!
Level 5 - Blinds 250/500 (75 ante)

You may be thinking this is post will be about Mustapha Kanit, but it's actually about his "bro" Dario Sammartino.

The newly entered player and Stephen Chidwick had made it to the river where a board read K♥A♣4♥J♠7♦. Around 9,000 was in the pot and Sammartino (SB) checked to Chidwick (UTG) who bet 4,000. Then the Italian then made a surprise all-in move for 46,175. It sent Chidwick into the tank and he came out a few minutes later, electing to fold.

"Show the bluff!" requested tablemate Charlie Carrel.

"I have it!" came the response before Sammartino opened the 2♣. "Always have it, bro!" he continued with a smile. --MC

6:05pm: Yan all-in again
Level 5 - Blinds 250/500 (75 ante)

David Yan wasted little time in getting his stack in the middle, but this time he managed to survive.

Fredrik Jensen raised to 1,300 from middle position and was called by Yan (button) before Jean-Noel Thorel raised to 3,500 from the small blind. Both opponents called and the flop fell K♣3♥A♣ before Thorel continued for 6,000. Yan was the only caller, and he called another 15,000 on the Q♥ turn. The board completed with the 2♦ and Thorel check-tank-folded to Yan's 20,600 shove. His stack dropped to 65,000 as a consequence. --MC

5:55pm: Newcomers and re-entries
Level 5 - Blinds 250/500 (75 ante)

Martin Kozlov, Juha Helppi and David Yan have re-entered this event having dusted off their first stacks. Ramin Hajiyev and Dario Sammartino have also arrived for the first time, with the latter telling his table that he only got up an hour ago. That's the poker life, kids. -- HS

5:50pm: Petrangelo wins this race
Level 5 - Blinds 250/500 (75 ante)

It was A♠K♠ for Nick Petrangelo and T♣T♦ for Pratyush Buddiga with the pair of them in the blinds. They got it all-in pre-flop, as you might expect, and Petrangelo earned a double for his 45,075 stack after the board ran K♦J♥5♥9♦2♣.

Max Silver, the lone Brit on that table, shortly afterwards pondered aloud whether any of his mostly American opponents will be voting for Donald Trump in the election next month. Suffice to say, if any of Petrangelo, Buddiga, Connor Drinan or Steve O'Dwyer plan to put a tick next to Mr Trump's name, they were denying it this afternoon in Malta. -- HS

5:45pm: Farrell dressing for the rail
Level 5 - Blinds 250/500 (75 ante)

Niall Farrell told everyone at the start of play today that he had chosen his day's attire very carefully. "I've worn a shirt so I can go out if I bust," he said. (Farrell prefers a T-shirt if he expects to stick around for the day.)

Although he's a short stack, he is still very much involved at this stage--the clubs aren't exactly getting going yet, so it's worth hanging around.

He played two small pots recently, losing both of them. The first played out after he called from the big blind after Sam Greenwood raised to 12,000 from the cutoff and Behzad Ahadpour called on the button.

There was no more betting, not on the flop of J♥3♥8♣ nor the turn of Q♣ nor the river of Q♥. Farrell turned over his A♦5♠ with what seemed to be moderate expectation that it was good. "Ah, so close," he said after Ahadpour turned over his 2♣3♣ which was actually the winner.

Not long after, Farrell raised his button to 1,200 and Martin Finger called in the big blind. They checked the flop of 9♦9♠K♥ and then Finger bet 1,500 after the A♠ turn. Farrell mucked.

Farrell is the defending EPT Malta Main Event champion, so grew well acquainted with the nightspots in a celebratory booze-up this time last year. It remains to be seen if he'll be back. -- HS

5:30pm: The executioner becomes the executed
Level 5 - Blinds 250/500 (75 ante)

David Yan came back with just 8,000 chips and it wasn't long before they were gone; his K♥Q♣ couldn't come from behind to beat Martin Kozlov's A♦K♠.

8G2A8561_Dan_Shak_EPT13_Neil Stoddart.jpg

I'm the daddy now

It's a funny old game this poker lark as Kozlov was soon out the door as well, falling to Dan Shak. The latter was in the hijack and checked all three streets of a K♣5♥3♦T♠4♥ board over to Kozlov on the button. The Australian bet 2,400, 6,500 and all-in for 16,000 on each street. Shak called all the bets with K♥J♥, beating Kozlov's A♣Q♥. Shak moved up to around 115,000 - good for the chip lead. --MC

5:15pm: Carrel leads at second break
Level 5 - Blinds 250/500 (75 ante)

At the break, the tournament officials were kind enough to provide us with a full chip count of the remaining 39 players. You can see how they all stack up on the chip-count page.

The top ten are as follows:

NameCountryChips
Charlie CarrelUK101000
Martin FingerGermany97500
Nariman YaghmaiIran85000
Dan ShakUSA82000
Max SilverUK81000
Davidi KitaiBelgium80000
Ben HeathUK78000
Mikita BadziakouskiBelarus77000
Oleksii KhorosheninUkraine74800
Adrian MateosSpain73000

8G2A8589_Chips_EPT13_Neil Stoddart.jpg

4:50pm: Break time
Level 4 - Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

That's the end of Level 4. Players are taking a 20-minute break and we'll have some chip counts with you shortly.

4:40pm: Fast "back in the game"
Level 4 - Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

A matter of seconds after David Yan doubled with pocket sevens against ace-queen, Dietrich Fast did so on a neighbouring table. Fast opened to 1,000 from the hijack and Davidi Kitai three-bet the button, making it 2,800. Fast shoved for 14,150 and Kitai called.

Fast: 7♦7♣
Kitai: A♠Q♠

The board ran K♥K♣3♥9♦8♠ and those sevens were good again.

"Back in the game," Fast said. -- HS

4:30pm: Yan doubles with sevens
Level 4 - Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

David Yan was down to around 13,000 but he found a good spot to move all-in. Ali Reza Fatehi opened his button, making it 1,000 to play, and Yan shoved from the small blind. Fatehi called.

The cards were on their backs:

Yan: 7♥7♠
Fatehi: A♠Q♣

After a board of 8♣3♦T♥3♥5♠ Yan was counting his precise stack -- 12,850 -- and getting it doubled. Fatehi still has around 51,000. -- HS

4:25pm: Fatehi beats Shak
Level 4 - Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

Dan Shak opened to 1,000 from the button and Ali Reza Fatehi called in the small blind. David Yan also called in the big blind and the three of them peered at a 6♦Q♥3♠ flop.

Fatehi and Yan both checked and Shak bet 2,000. Only Fatehi called.

The K♣ came on the turn and Fatehi checked. Shak bet 5,000 and Fatehi called again. The river was the 9♣ and now they both checked. Shak looked very disappointed when Fatehi showed his Q♦4♦, mostly because it was a winner. -- HS

4:20pm: Two players hit the rail
Level 4 - Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

Jakub Michalak and Satish Sanan both busted within minutes of each other on different tables. Sanan busted to Martin Finger (who has a 140k stack as a result), and Michalak was eliminated by Kitai in a very interesting hand.

He opened to 1,000 from first position and was called by Kitai in the next seat and a player in the cutoff before Deitrich Fast squeezed to 4,500 from the big blind. Michalak then reraised to 14,000 and Kitai min-raised on top of that. That forced out the cutoff and Fast, but not Michalak who jammed for 14,000 more. Call.

Michalak: Q♦Q♣
Kitai: A♣K♦

The flop came A♦3♦4♦ and Fast could be heard from the other end of the table, "Ah, I would've flopped a straight!" The board ran out 8♣5♣.

Anthony Zimmo is sat next to Fast and the two had a funny exchange. Fast was heard adding, "I wouldn't have done it if they were off-suit!"

Kitai, meanwhile, has 104,000 chips. --MC

4:15pm: Balancing hurts Silver
Level 4 - Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

Remember that great table that Max Silver had at the start of the day. Well, it's not quite so great any more. Silver is still there, but the balancing of the tables as new players have entered means it now looks like this:

Seat 1 - Jean-Noel Thorel
Seat 2 - Orpen Kisacikoglu
Seat 3 - Patrick Leonard
Seat 4 - Frederik Jensen
Seat 5 - Oleksii Khoreshenin
Seat 7 - Scott Seiver
Seat 8 - Max Silver

Edit: Leonard got moved from the table and was replaced by Ole Schemion no less. The German star recently busted from the IPT Main Event. Then Silver himself was moved to the table that includes Morten Mortensen, Connor Drinan, Pratyush Buddiga, Steve O'Dwyer and Nick Petrangelo. So the good times are really over for him.

4:10pm: Private game
Level 4 - Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

Dietrich Fast, Vladimir Troyanovskiy and Davidi Kitai have turned EPT Malta so far into their private game. All of them made the final table of the €10K earlier in the week, and now all of them are playing against one another in the €25K today. Here are three hands featuring those three exclusively.

Dietrich_Fast_EPTMalta13_25k_Day1.jpg

Fast amongst familiar faces

In the first Kitai opened to 1,000 from the hijack and Fast called in the big blind. The flop came 6♣8♦K♠ and Fast checked. Kitai bet 1,800. Fast made it 4,800 and Kitai called.

The turn was the Q♣ and Fast checked again. Kitai bet 4,800 and Fast snap-folded.

Next up: Kitai raised to 1,000 from under the gun and Troyanovskiy raised to 2,800 from one seat to his left. Kitai folded.

Then, to complete the set, we had a hand between Troyanovskiy and Fast. Troyanovskiy opened to 1,000 from under the gun and Fast made it 3,000 from the button. Troyanovskiy called. The examined the 7♣7♦T♣ flop and Troyanovskiy check-called Fast's bet of 3,000.

The 9♦ appeared on the turn and Troyanovskiy checked again. Fast bet again, making it 7,500, but Troyanovskiy emerged with a big check-raise, making it 35,000. That was more than Fast's 21,000 total stack and yesterday's big winner folded. -- HS

4:05pm: New table, new players, new big stack
Level 3 - Blinds 150/300 (50 ante)

As a new table was being opened to accomodate the likes of Sam Greenwood, Fredrik Jensen, Morten Mortensen, Davidi Kitai and 10k Re-Entry Champion from yesterday - Dietrich Fast, Charlie Carrell was concentrating on winning a big pot off Ali Reza Fatehi.

They were in the blinds and Carrel had a 5,000 chip out on front of him. Fatehi raised to 10,000 from the big blind and Carrell called. That was on the turn and the final board read T♣7♦9♠T♠2♣. Carrell checked and snapped off a 12,100 bet to hear those beautiful words, "Good call!" The Brit opened T♥5♥ for trips and Fatehi mucked to drop to 70,000. The win put Carrell over the 80,000-mark. --MC

3:55pm: Bujtas gets some back off Farrell
Level 3 - Blinds 150/300 (50 ante)

Laszio Bujtas backed into a flush to get some much-needed chips back off Niall Farrell.

Niall_Farrell_EPT13Malta_25k_day1.jpg

Main Event champ from last season - Farrell

The board read Q♠5♦A♣T♣ at the turn and Farrell (UTG+1) check-called 1,300 from his opponent on the button. The river was the 6♣ and checked to face a 3,300 bet. He tank-called and was shown J♣7♣ and mucked to drop to 38,500. Bujtas upped his stack to 18,000. --MC

3:40pm: Eyes everwhere
Level 3 - Blinds 150/300 (50 ante)

Here's a multi-table update. This takes real talent.

• On Table 1, Ben Heath raised his button, making it 800 to play. The blinds folded and the chips went to Heath.
• On Table 2, Connor Drinan raised his button, making it 800 to play. Martin Finger called from the big blind and the flop came T♣K♦4♠. Finger checked, Drinan bet 700 and Finger folded.
• On Table 1, Paul Newey opened to 750 from under the gun. Paul Newey is currently watching YouTube videos on his phone. The videos are of people playing slot machines. Dietrich Fast called in the big blind and the flop came 5♦9♦6♦. Fast checked and Newey bet 1,050. Jackpot. Fast folded.
• On Table 2, Steve O'Dwyer opened to 750 from UTG+1. Pratyush Buddiga called in the big blind. The flop came Q♠Q♣J♣ and the both checked. Then Buddiga bet 2,500 at the 5♠ turn. O'Dwyer called. They checked the 7♥ river and O'Dwyer's A♣8♠ was good. -- HS

3:30pm: O'Dywer frustrated
Level 3 - Blinds 150/300 (50 ante)

Word on the street was that Steve O'Dwyer lost a pot to Sylvain Loosli the hand before we witnessed him lose a pot to Martin Finger.

The "Irishman" raised to 750 from early position and called after Finger three-bet to 3,200 from the small blind. The flop spread J♦Q♦4♥ and Finger had a 3,800 c-bet called before both players checked through the 5♥ turn. The river came as 8♣ and Finger led for a chucky 11,500. O'Dwyer tank-folded to drop to 29,000. The win put Finger over 70,000. --MC

3:25pm: Jack the lad Farrell
Level 3 - Blinds 150/300 (50 ante)

Niall Farrell is looking to add an EPT Malta title to the Main Event title he won here last season. His start wasn't so good, but a recent pot win has gotten him back to starting stack.

He was heads up with Laszlo Bujtas and we picked up the action on the 9♥5♣4♠ flop. Farrell bet 1,000 from the cutoff and called after Bujtas check-raised to 2,300 from the small blind. The turn was the Q♥ and Bujtas check-called 1,700 to head to the 3♥ river. He checked and waited for a coupe of minutes as Farrell thought. Then he called a 3,700 bet and mucked when the champ opened J♠J♣. The Hungarian dropped to 38,000. --MC

3:15pm: Big call from Silver earns maximum reward
Level 3 - Blinds 150/300 (50 ante)

Max Silver is not having it all his own way any more, with Scott Seiver and Oleksii Khoreshenin now sharing what is, by most estimations, the least fearsome table of the tournament. But Silver just demonstrated that he has the chops to play against anyone who sits down, making a gutsy call against some Seiver aggression.

Action folded to Satish Sanan on the button and he raised to 300. Seiver, in the small blind, three-bet to 1,300 and Silver, in the big blind, four-bet to 4,300. It looked to the casual observer as though Seiver was wanting to go heads-up with Sanan and Silver, thinking that too, had denied him the chance. But after Sanan folded, it soon transpired that perhaps the pros actually both had hands. Seiver called.

max_silver_ept13_malta_25k.jpg

Strong call from Max Silver

The flop fell 5♣5♠3♦ and Seiver instantly moved a tower of blue chips over the line, meaning Silver would need all of his remaining 27,375 if he was to call.

"Pretty gross," Silver said.
"Aces to kings usuall," Seiver said. "That would be gross."

Silver took his time and said, "Unfortunately this is not a slowroll." He apologised to the table for taking his time. Seiver started talking with Khoreshenin and Silver asked if he could have a bit of quiet while he pondered his decision. Seiver said that was fine and fell silent.

"I feel you have it," Silver said. But he then ran through a few possibilities in his head, counting chips, mouthing calculations, etc. He then picked up his remaining chips and plonked them over the line to call.

Seiver turned over his 9♥9♣ and Silver exposed his T♠T♣.

"What a call," Sanan said. "Can I cash out now?"

The 2♣ on the turn and the 8♣ on the didn't help Seiver catch up. Silver doubles back to beyond his starting stack and will be buoyed by a terrific call. -- HS

3:05pm: Good start for Loosli
Level 2 - Blinds 150/300 (50 ante)

Sylvain Loosli has joined the fray for level 3 and tanged in a pot with Andras Nemeth. There was action at the beginning, action at the end, but not a lot in between.

The Frenchman - who has a very good record in these high rollers - opened to 650 from the hijack and called after Nemeth three-bet to 2,200 off the button. No more chips went in until the river where the board rested as Q♣9♦9♠4♠7♣. Loosli led for 2,600 and opened J♣J♠ when called. Nemeth mucked to dropped 60,000 and Loosli's moved up to 58,000. --MC

2:33pm: First break of the day
Level 2 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

The players are taking 15 minutes.

2:25pm: Finger moving and clicking buttons
Level 2 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Martin Finger, just like Ben Heath, has been balanced off his original table to a new table where Steve O'Dwyer was in wait to play a pot with. Finger had better luck than Heath though.

The German raised to 600 off the button and O'Dwyer (BB) slid the calling chips off the top of his stack. The flop fanned 7♦7♥Q♦ and Finger continued for 600. O'Dwyer used the same slide method to check-call. The turn wad the 9♦ and O'Dwyer check-called another 1,500, using a few more muscles that time. The K♠ filled up the river and there was no stopping Finger who bet 2,500. O'Dywer tanked before check-folding to drop to around 40,000. Finger rose to 68,000. --MC

2:10pm: Two hands, 20 minutes to type
Level 2 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

I don't know whether Orpen Kisacikoglu and Vladimir Troyanovskiy knew each other before this week, but they are certainly well acquainted now. They went all the way to the final table of the curtain-raising €10K and are sitting together again in the €25K.

They just played a couple of pots too--although Kisacikoglu's involvement in the second wasn't massively significant. It's worth reporting though.

Troyanovskiy opened the first pot, making it 600 from the button and Kisacikoglu called in the big blind. The 4♣3♦2♦ came on the flop and Kisacikoglu check-called Troyanovskiy's bet of 700.

They both checked the 5♠ turn and then Kisacikoglu's bet of 1,200 on the Q♦ river took it down.

Troyanovskiy wasn't done. On the next hand, Nariman Yaghmai opened to 525 from under the gun and Troyanovskiy called in the cutoff. Kisacikoglu called in the small blind and three of them saw the flop of 7♣J♦8♣. Both Kisacikoglu and Yahgmai checked and Troyanovskiy bet 1,000. Only Yaghmai called.

They both checked the 3♦ turn and then after the 3♥ came on the river, Yaghmai checked again. Troyanovskiy bet 1,525 and, after a little period in the tank, Yaghmai called.

That turned out to be a shrewd move. Troyanovskiy was at it. He showed 6♥9♥. Yaghmai showed A♠K♣ and won.

Tip to wannabe poker bloggers, by the way. Try to steer clear of hands featuring players called Vladimir Troyanovskiy, Orpen Kisacikoglu and Nariman Yaghmai. It's a bloody nightmare to type. --HS

2:05pm: Biggest heist of the year?
Level 2 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

"Oh my goodness, biggest heist of the year!" said Max Silver after he realised he had won a four-way pot with fourth pair.

The pot started with a Satish Sanan early position limp. He picked up Silver (button), Jean-Noel Thorel (SB) and Dan Shak (BB) en route to a 9♣3♠6♥ flop. The action checked around to Silver who bet 400. Both blinds called and Sanan left them to it. No more chips made it into the middle as the T♣8♦ turn and river were checked through.

jean_noel_thorel_ept13_malta_25k.jpg

Jean-Noel Thorel

Thorel opened 3♦4♦ for bottom pair, which had Shak beat, but not a happy Silver, who opened 6♣5♦. --MC

1:55pm: Fatehi straight back at it
Level 2 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Say what you like about Ali Reza Fatehi, but he is not afraid to play big pots. Despite being the only player so far to fire a second bullet (having lost the last of his first set of chips to Martin Finger), Fatehi is straight back at the big bets.

ali_reza_fatehi_ept13_malta_25k.jpg

Ali Reza Fatehi: First man out, first man back in

I didn't see the pre-flop action here, but it looked like Fatehi opened his button and then called after Nick Petrangelo, in the small blind, made a three-bet. They had about 13,700 in the pot pre-flop.

They both checked the flop of A♦7♣3♠ and then Petrangelo also checked the 9♦ that came on the turn. Fatehi bet 4,700 and Petrangelo called, which bought him the T♠ on the river.

Petrangelo checked again and Fatehi bet 26,000. (The starting stack is 50,000 don't forget.) Petrangelo took a long time to assess his options, and double-checked his cards too. But eventually he decided to save it for another day. He folded. -- HS

nick_petrangelo_ept13_malta_25k.jpg

Nick Petrangelo: Lay-down

1:50pm: Man down. Man back in
Level 2 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Ali Reza Fatehi has become the first player to bust, but he immediately re-entered. Martin Finger was the opponent who did the damage and he recounted some of the details of the hand.

Jean-Noel Thorel opened to 550 from under the gun and was called by Fatehi in the next seat before Finger squeezed to 2,600 from the small blind. The flop came 9-8-6 with two diamonds and Finger continued for 4,500. Thorel folded but Fatehi moved all-in for 13,000 with 9♣6♣ for two pair. Finger opened pocket tens and got lucky when a third appeared on the turn. --MC

1:35pm: Run better Ben
Level 2 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

We wrote about Ben Heath taking an early lead, and the young Brit seemed very at home on his table. And why wouldn't he be? Often in these high rollers, one can be surrounded by sharks, but today he found himself surrounded by businessmen. Then you should have seen the look on his face when a floor person walked behind him with empty racks. "Noooo, please don't balance me to a new table!" is something we imagined he was saying inside.

Don't worry Ben; we're sure your new table will be just as fruitful, and hands like the one below will happen. Who's that with you now? Oh, you seem to have Steve O'Dwyer, Anthony Zinno, Orpen Kisacikoglu and Vladimir Troyanovskiy for company. Good luck!

Almost immediately he got into a multi-street battle with O'Dwyer. The latter raised from the button before going on to bet 1,200, 2,700 and 4,300 on each street. The board read 3♣5♦8♠J♦J♣ and Heath called all the way to the river where he check-tank-folded. --MC

1:15pm: Out-of-turn Thorel profits with queens
Level 1 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Max Silver seemed delighted with his table assignment. "Playing Malta 25k. One other pro on my table :)" he tweeted. He was referring to Ben Heath, who was to his right on a table also featuring Jean-Noel Thorel, Satish Sanan, Behzad Ahadpour and Ali Reza Fatehi. Not long after he'd hit send, Heath was off--moved to another table to leave Silver with the less-experienced players.

And then this happened.

Jean-Noel Thorel limped from the cutoff and Fatehi raised to 750 from the hijack. Sanan called in the small blind and that persuaded Silver to call too from the big blind.

Action got back to Thorel and he now raised, making it 3,500 to play. Fatehi called, Sanan called and Silver saw the value and called from the big blind as well.

So they went to a flop four-handed: 3♦J♦4♥. Sanan checked and then before Silver could act, Thorel threw out 6,000. The dealer indicated that Silver was yet to act. "Did you check?" she said. "I do now," Silver said, pointing at Thorel's bet.

Fatehi called and Sanan called too. Silver muttered something about how he wished he had better cards and mucked.

The J♥ came on the turn and Thorel instantly checked. The dealer reminded him that it wasn't his turn, but then Sanan checked, Thorel's check was binding and Fatehi checked behind.

The 6♠ then came on the river and Thorel checked again. For a third time, the dealer told Thorel that it wasn't his turn, but Sanan checked anyway and Thorel's check stood again.

Fatehi wasn't done with it. He now bet 10,500. Sanan made a reluctant fold, but Thorel quickly called. Sanan showed A♥Q♥ which was a busted draw, ace high. Thorel was able to turn over Q♠Q♣ and scoop it.

Sanan said that he folded A♦K♦. That could have been even more costly for everyone concerned.

As this played out, Martin Finger sat down, so Silver doesn't have them all to himself any more.-- HS

1:10pm: Small ball Helppi
Level 1 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Charlie Carrel sat down on Table 3 and saw Steve O'Dwyer to his right, Paul Newey and Juha Helppi to his left. About two minutes later, a tournament official came over and told Carrel to move tables and he offered an exaggerated "Phew!" as he left this particular frying pan. (A fire awaits.)

As these manoeuvres were taking place, Helppi was winning a small pot from Newey. Newey, fresh from the One Drop in Monaco, opened to 500 and Helppi called. Newey continued for 800 on the flop of 6♦J♦5♠ and Helppi called. And then the 6♥ came on the turn. Newey checked, Helppi bet 2,000 and that was enough.

juha_helppi_ept13_malta_25k.jpg

Juha Helppi

O'Dwyer won the next hand with a button raise -- to 600 -- that got both Newey and Helppi to fold. -- HS

12:50pm: Big blind special
Level 1 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Ali Reza Fatehi might have lost the first 10,000+ pot of the day (see below), but he's just taken a chunk back. This was a gift, to be honest, and there wasn't a lot he could do to lose the hand, even if he'd have wanted.

Satish Sanan limped from early position and a couple of others limped behind: Orpen Kisacikoglu on the button and Max Silver in the big blind, which allowed Fatehi to check his cards in the big blind then rap the table.

Four of them then surveyed a 2♣2♥J♣ flop and both Silver and Fatehi checked. Sanan bet 700, which got folds from both Kisacikoglu and Silver, but Fatehi stuck around.

The Q♦ came on the turn and Fatehi checked again. Sanan bet 1,300 and Fatehi called. Then the 6♦ came on the river.

Fatehi threw a 5,000-denomination chip forward, announcing the bet as 4,000 as he did. Sanan called quickly, but was then shown the 9♠2♦ for flopped trips.

A frustrated Sanan exposed his J♠T♦, but his flopped top pair was never ahead. -- HS

12:45pm: Heath off to a flier
Level 1 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Charlie Carrel and Max silver turned up and that was enough for the floor staff to open a third table. Carrel had been sat at Ben Heath's table but failed to play a hand before he was balanced off to another one. He was there long enough to see his friend win one of two pots that have propelled him into an early lead.

In the first hand, Satish Sanan and Heath had made it to the river where a 9♦3♦7♥A♦6♣ board rested. Heath led out from the small blind and opened A-3 for two pair when called. Sanan showed A-4 and mucked.

Heath won the very next hand too, and it was a bigger one.

A 5♣3♠8♠ flop was out and Ali Reza Fatehi led for 700. He was called by Sanan before Heath raised to 3,200. Fatehi was the only caller and he went on to check-call a 7,400 bet on the Q♣ turn before leading for 6,500 on the 4♠ river. Heath flicked in a chip to call and was shown J♥8♥ by Fatehi, but Heath opened K♣K♥ and scooped.

Fatehi came third in the €100,000 Super High Roller at last season's Grand Final so he'll be able to shake off the early loss. If not, he'll always be able to re-enter. -- MC

12:40pm: A slow start
Level 1 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Players are gradually arriving to take their seats in the €25,000 event. It's always more of a dribble than a torrent. Among the first to sit down were Ben Heath, Mikita Badziakouski, Paul Newey and Niall Farrell. They were quickly joined by Alexandros Kolonias, Martin Kozlov, Stephen Chidwick, Ali Reza Fatehi, Charlie Carrel, Juha Helppi and Orpen Kisacikoglu.

12:33pm: Shuffle up and deal
Level 1 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Excited much? We are, as the biggest buy in tournament of this poker festival is under way.

12pm: Satellite winners

Six players won their seat to this event in a satellite last night. They were:

Laszlo Bujtas, Hungary
Martin Kozlov, Australia
Morten Mortensen, Denmark
Marcin Chmielewski, Poland
Jakub Michalak, Poland
Oleksii Khoroshenin, Ukraine

Also, there was a hyper-turbo satellite, won by Ali Reza Fatehi of Iran.

11:30am: Strap in for the €25,000 event

Good morning everybody and welcome back to Malta for the start of the €25,000 High Roller event. This is a three-day affair, with one-hour levels throughout and a 50,000 starting stack. Registration is open to the start of Day 2.

Action gets under way at 12:30pm and we'll play 10 levels today, with a dinner break after six. That means we'll wrap at around 12:45am.

We don't have any confirmed player lists yet, but we're expecting some of the world's best to feature. So stick around and share the excitement.


Ready to embark on your own poker adventure? Sign up for PokerStars and begin your journey. Click here to get an account.

Take a look at the official website of the EPT, with tournament schedule, news, results and accommodation details for EPT13 Malta 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 Main Event: Marc Convey and Howard Swains. Photography by Jules Pochy. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter:@PokerStarsBlog

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