EPT Barcelona: Day 1B, level 1-3 updates (100-200)

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3.28pm: Level up
That's the end of the level. We're now on level four, with blinds at 100-200 and a 25 ante. What's more, it means we have to set up a new post for the next three levels. -- SY

3.20pm: Isildur None
Railers, prepare to weep. Viktor 'Isildur1' Blom is out, bluffing off his chips with A-K despite not having hit on the board. The hand started with Dominik Nitsche making it 400 from the under the gun. Blom then three-bet to 1,175 only for Denis Pisarev to four-bet to 3,150. Nitsche shrugged his shoulders and got out of the way, but Blom called.

The flop came 2♦Q♦8♣, and Blom check-called Pisarev's 3,600 bet. On the Q♠ turn Blom tried to seize the initiative with a bet of 5,450, but Pisarev called. On the 7♦ river, Blom reached for his remaining stack and shoved the 13,125 over the line. That had Pisarev thinking, but with a fair chunk committed to the pot anyway, he wasn't going away. Call.

Blom: A♦K♥
Pisarev: K♦K♠

Blom gave a polite tap of the table, removed his headphones, and left the tournament floor. -- SY

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Viktor Blom - but he's not smiling now

3.15pm: Steely Strassmann knocks Balog off
Adam Balog opened for 425 in middle position prompting Johannes Strassmann to call on the button. The flop came 7♣8♣Q♥ and Balog added another 625 to the pot.

Strassmann had more in mind and raised to 1,875, which Balog called for a 4♠ turn.
Now the action was checked to Strassmann who began staring at Balog, a cold threatening stare, which Balog was oblivious to, protected from these elements by a baseball cap and some thick black sunglasses. Strassmann checked.

On the 4♥ river more checking. Strassmann was still staring as Balog tapped the table. Still staring, still staring. Then he bet 6,350.

Balog looked again. "How much?" he asked and duly paid. Strassmann turned over his cards, throwing them on the table in Balog's direction, 4♣3♣. Balog laughed knowingly and passed his cards to the dealer.

Strassmann up to 64,000. - SB

3.08pm: Negreanu/Blom watch
Daniel Negreanu was gazing off into the distance, head cocked to one side, muttering under his breath. You know what we're talking about, you've seen him do it on High Stakes Poker.

The Canadian Team PokerStars Pro had 24,000 left in his stack and was musing over whether to call the river shove of Chris Lastiwka for 12,700. The board read 5♣6♦K♣3♥K♥ and with over 20,000 in the middle it was an attractive call to make. Negreanu raised his eyebrows and took a swig from his bottle. He passed.

"Big fold?" asked Dominik Nitsche.

"Yeah," replied Negreanu.

"King?" preseed Nitsche.

"No," said Negreanu. -- RD

2.58pm: Points of View
Don't forget your comments are welcome on today's coverage, which can be sent to us using the area at the bottom of this post. For the next hour we're having an amnesty on correct grammar and punctuation, so let us have it. Text speak, gibberish, it's all welcome. -- SB

2.55pm: Quiet spell
For those on Blom watch it's been a quiet spell for the Team PokerStars Pro since the start of level 3, a period of folding with the Swede currently playing a stack of 26,000. Daniel Negreanu is doing the same, up a little though on 31,000.

A table along sits Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, looking tanned slightly, which accentuates his peroxide white hair.

He opened a pot in middle position for 425 which Boris Becker, sitting next to him, called in the hijack. Mohamed Hannaoui then called in the cut off followed by Oleksandr Gnatenko on the button, who plays a game on his iPad between hands. To make it a five-handed flop Benjamin Fenn also called in the big blind. Grospellier grinned.

The flop came 6♦3♣3♥ and the fun came to a halt. All five players checked for a 6♠ turn card which was checked to Gnatenko who bet 1,025, good to win the hand. - SB

2.50pm: Chips
There are a whole heap of top class players here today and we're trying to keep a handle on the chip movements of the majority of them. Check the chip count page for the movers and shakers by clicking here.

Sam Razavi is one of the players that we're tracking but if you're not from the UK you may not have heard of him. Razavi won UKIPT Cork earlier this year and is up to 53,000 after getting aces in against the mighty six-seven off. Razavi's a theatric type, he'll often break out a Michael Jackson impression after winning a big pot - he moondanced across the stage on his way to his UKIPT victory. Surely that's reason enough to hope he goes deep? - RD

2.40pm: Duthie is out
Word reaches us that Team PokerStars Pro and EPT Godfather John Duthie is out. We'll try and get the nasty details. -- SY

2.25pm: Back
Players are back in their seats, level three is under way with blinds at 100-200. -- SY

2.10pm: First break
That's the end of level two, and players are now on their first break of the day. They get 15 minutes to do with as they please. -- SY

2.08pm: Negreanu/Blom watch
Here's the table draw for Negreanu/Blom watch.

1. Dominik Nitsche
2. Rob Stain
3. Viktor Blom
4. Denis Pisarev
5. Chris Lastiwka
6. Daniel Negreanu
7. Zsolt Pentek
8. Dmitry Vitkind
9. tbc

Sat behind Nitsche in seat one is Jason Mercier who himself is sat opposite Sorel Mizzi. Lots of tournament talent down in that corner of the room. Contrary to what you may initially have thought it's not Blom or Negreanu who is most active at the moment. Kudos to Rob Stain who takes that title, he's pushing his chips into the middle of the table as if he couldn't stand the sight of them. He's been all-in at least one. -- RD

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Daniel Negreanu

2.05pm: De Melo's pot
We just caught the tail end of the preflop action, walking up as Fatima Moreira de Melo was making a four-bet from the hijack seat, and Kambiz Kashi was making the call next door in the cutoff. We were too late to see the exact amounts, but it looked like ~3,100 chips apiece went into the middle as the two battled toward the flop.

The dealer spread out 4♣3♦2♠ and de Melo continued out with a bet of 3,500. Kashi flatted, and they'd both check through the K♦ turn. On the river, the Q♣ drew another check from the lady, and Kashi took his cue to make a 6,500-chip bet of his own.

De Melo spent a couple minutes making sure, then slid in the call for nearly half her remaining stack.

Kashi showed up A♠K♣ or top pair, but de Melo could beat it. Her A♥A♦ was the best, and that pot moves her up over starting stack to about 36,000 now. - Eric Ramsey

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Fatima Moreira de Melo

2pm: Eldjoudi to the Max
Max Lykov was left looking a little sour after a hand against the giggly Hocine Eldjoudi. On a board of K♦4♦K♠9♠A♠ Lykov bet 1,750 which Eldjoudi called. Lykov turned over what he must have figured to be the winner, K♥8♥, but then Eldjoudi flipped up K♣3♣ for a split pot. Eldjoudi looked delighted. Lykov looked deflated. Then annoyed.

"Good player, eh?" said Eldjoudi. It wasn't clear who he was talking about, but he was laughing. Lykov paid him the courtesy of raising his eyebrows for a second. - SB

1.50pm: Controversy
A new rule for the EPT is in force at Barcelona, and it has got the backs up of several players. The new rule states that players must be at their seat when the dealer deals the first card to the first player at the table. If they are not, they are dealt out. Elsewhere, so long as players are in their seat when they receive their second card they can play on.

Over in railer heaven corner - featuring Negreanu, Blom, Mercier, Mizzi, ElkY etc, there has been some heated debate. As if to prove their point, Mizzi was then dealt out for standing up and shaking a friend's hand when the first card was dealt.

Negreanu is never one to keep quiet when something irks him. When he speaks, the powers that be generally listen.

"It's a dumb rule," he said. "I guarantee everyone hates it. So I can't stand up and have a picture taken for a fan, or go and sign and autograph. Instead I have to sit here."

Mercier agreed, as did Mizi and Dmitry Vitkind. Vitkind even called over tournament boss Toby Stone to remonstrate, and Negreanu joined in.

"I know you don't like it," Stone said. "But it's the correct rule. It's the same for everybody."

Negreanu was not happy, with even the lovely massage therapist working on his back failing to relax him. -- SY

1.45pm: Well, hello there
The list of tough match-ups goes on. On a table in the middle of the room sits Team PokerStars Pro and WSOP bracelet winner Eugene Katchalov - and on his immediate left, fellow Team PokerStars Pro and defending WSOP Main Event champion Jonathan Duhamel. -- SY

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Jonathan Duhamel

1.41pm: First world problems
"Should I buy an apartment or a house?" Anton Wigg asked Liv Boeree.

Now, it's hard to tell whether it was a genuine question or a glib one but wandering around the tournament floor you often pick up snippets of half-cooked conversations. Over the riffle of chips it's not always easy to determine what's being said and to whom. Given some of the comments made, perhaps it's best we can't report on everything after all...

Wigg went on to take a small pot from Boeree firing two barrels at a 3♣K♦2♥A♣ board, Boeree passed on the turn. -- RD

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Liv Boeree

1.32pm: Another departure
Dmitry Stelmak has become one of the early departures today, following his former table mate Chris Moneymaker. While Stelmak made his way to the door a table along Jason Mercier was standing to take in his surroundings, talking briefly to Andrew Malott, both of whom use words like "kid" and "bro". -- SB

1.25pm: Save one for Nitsche
Dominik Nitsche, playing the role of unknown man on the Negreanu/Blom table, opened for 825 in middle position which was called by Zsolt Pentek in the big blind for a flop of 6♥4♦3♣. Pentek checked to Nitsche he bet 900, which was also called.

On the Q♣ turn though Nitsche put the hand to bed. Pentek checked leaving it to Nitsche to bet 2,150. That was enough. - SB

1.22pm: Negreanu/ Blom watch
Viktor Blom opened for 400 on the button which was called by 605 in the big blind. The flop came 3♦K♦8♥ which Chris Lastiwka checked. Blom announced "five-fifty" and put some chips in. Lastiwka paused, then raised, making it 1,300. Blom was quick to fold. -- SB

1.20pm: Internet fail
EPT champ Kevin MacPhee just tweeted:

"Was having difficulty googling to find out who the Spanish Pro Team 770 guy on my right is & then I realize his name is printed on his shirt" @KevinMacPhee

Observation powers running on max. -- RD

LEVEL UP: BLINDS 75-150


1.10pm: Negreanu/Blom watch
In many contests of skill there is often a nailed on winner, think of tennis. Poker isn't so clean cut as we all know, the best players will most frequently make the optimum decisions and action, exploiting situations and opponents to their benefit - but those chips must be earned, they're not granted simply by status. Here's an example:

Dominik Nitsche, a player well known on the EPT, opened for 300 from middle position and was called by a player called Rob Stain in the next seat along. Daniel Negreanu three-bet squeezed from the small blind to 1,250. Nitsche made the call. Stain did not, he raised again and tossed in a yellow 5,000 chip, signaling two thousand on top. Both Negreanu and Nitsche passed.

Just because you're not a name doesn't mean you can't beat the big boys. After a little rumbling around on the internet I've seen that Stain has one big cash to his name: $167,365 for 2nd place in the 2007 Doyle Brunson Five Diamond Classic. -- RD

1pm: Wigging it
Taking on the Negreanu/Blom table for appeal is that featuring Liv Boeree, Allen Bari, Ivan Demidov and Anton Wigg, not to mention Jonathan Spinks.

Allen Bari opened for 200 which Wigg raised to 650. After some debate Alexandre Karguine managed to raise also, making it 1,100 after the amount he needed to put in (the difference between the first and the second raise) was debated for a few minutes. Wigg lead the explanation for the dealer, perhaps a bad sign for Karguine. Bari passed but Wigg called for a flop of A♣3♣J♣.

Wigg checked to Karguine who tried to bet 1,500 but again was the source of confusion. Karguine had a red and purple chip in his hand but seemed to place them in the middle one at a time, a clear strong bet, which was highlighted by the dealer, then the other players, the dealer again, then the floor, the players again, and then the floor before Karguine was grudgingly convinced. Wigg called the 500.

The turn came 4♠ and again Wigg checked. Karguine bet 2,500, this time announcing the amount to the dealer well in advance. Wigg called for a 8♦ river card, which both players checked. Wigg turned over A♥Q♦ to take the pot. Karguine passed. - SB

12.55pm: Tolerable cruelty
On a flop of J♦A♣8♠ Praz Bansi was betting again against Mikhail Soltanov, who had called Pansi's pre-flop raise from the blinds. In reply Soltanov raised to 1,300 which Bansi quickly re-raised to 4,300. Soltanov got the point and mucked.

"Do you want to see?" asked Bansi. Soltanov nodded, Bansi mucked. - SB

12.50pm: Cooler sends Moneymaker to the rail
Chris Moneymaker, in Barcelona as part of his 'world tour' of events, is out in the first level. It was a horrible hand as well, one that will hurt for many weeks. The Team PokerStars Pro had [10c]9♣ and loved the [10h][10d]9♦ flop. His opponent, Juan Manuel Copani, had A♠[10s] and all the money went in. Lovely. The turn? An innocent 3♠. The river? You guessed it, A♣ to give lucky Copani the bigger full house.

That's an awful blow for Moneymaker, but he left the tournament floor with a rueful shrug of his shoulders. Let's hope he manages to enjoy some down time in this beautiful city. -- SY

12.40pm: It's good to talk
Remember, readers, comments are open. Feel free to give us a shout using the comments box at the bottom of the page. -- SY

12.35pm: More tough tables
As mentioned earlier, Day 1B has more big names than Day 1A. As a result, they tend to clash early. On the table behind the Negreanu/Isildur1 show sits Team PokerStars Pros Jason Mercier and Juan Manuel Pastor, and Sorrel Mizi. You'll also find Arnaud Mattern and Johannes Strassmann next to each other, while Chris Moneymaker sits to the left of Friend of PokerStars Poli Rincon, the former Spanish international footballer. -- SY

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Jason Mercier

12.30pm: Isildur1 and Daniel Negreanu
Every day on the EPT, the table draw throws up some fascinating pairings. Today, Team PokerStars Pros Daniel Negreanu and Viktor 'Isildur1' Blom have been matched (the Canadian three places to Blom's left), with the young German Dominik Nitsche sitting there for good measure, too.

Amusingly, when Negreanu first sat down, he thought he had a good draw. "About to start Day 1 EPT Barcelona. Don't recognize anyone on my table yet," he Tweeted.

Moments later he added: "Spoke too soon. Viktor Blom just joined us and I know that guy!"

Early orbits were quiet, with Blom picking up a few uncontested pots. Negreanu was keen to grill his online phenom opponent. "I'm back online," he said. "I've got myself a place in Canada. What are you playing at the moment?"

"PLO 1-2," replied Isildur1. That will be $100-200, not $1-$2, obviously.

"That's a fun game," Negreanu said. "More action and more gamble."

They both then quietened down again as another hand was dealt. This will be a fascinating tussle today, and the table is not due to break at all. With Negreanu being the old school poker play with live winnings to die for, Isildur1 typifies the young online breed of player. Who will come out on top? -- SY

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Viktor 'Isildur1' Blom

12.25pm: Packed field
The large conference room here at the Gran Casino Barcelona is packed full of poker tables and each of those tables is at or near capacity. We had 346 runners yesterday, we'll be smashing that today (500? we'll confirm it when registration closes). Among the hopefuls as of yet mentioned are Sorel Mizzi, Team PokerStars Pro Ivan Demidov, Manuel Bevand, Toni Ojala, Santiago Terrazas and UK grinders John Eames, Jon Spinks and James Mitchell. Lots of tough players but plenty of juicy value spots too. -- RD

12.15pm: Late arrivals to the Ball
Among the late arrivals this afternoon is Team PokerStars Pro Salvatore Bonavena, who chats with a few friends on his way to his seat. Before he gets there EPT host Neil Johnson welcomes him, affecting a pretend Italian accent, the one used in bad pizza adverts, which Bonavena plays along with before finally sitting down.

Elsewhere another player arrives, trailed by two tall women with Gucci skin and who score low on the body fat index. He stands for a short while before taking his seat, his two friends - too old to be his kids - slope off. -- SB

12.05pm: Cards in the air
Play gets under way.

11.50am: Big day, big field, big names
Without wishing to belittle those who played Day 1A, Day 1B is going to be so much bigger in every way. We're expecting a bigger field (346 yesterday), and as has become the norm for these things, we'll be covering a shed load of huge names. How's this for a little group? Daniel Negreanu, Chris Moneymaker, Jason Mercier, ElkY, Eugene Katchalov, Viktor 'Isildur1' Blom, John Duthie, Liv Boeree and, of course, our very own sporting superstar Boris Becker.

Good luck if you get drawn on their table.

Aside from that, today will mirror yesterday in that we'll play nine one-hour levels with a split dinner break, meaning we'll be done at around 11.30pm local time. Today's players have a target of 182,100, the stack set by overnight chip leader Michael Schliech. Having said that, most will be happy to progress to tomorrow's Day 2 with any amount of chips.

You can see the full overnight 1A counts here.

While we wait to get going at noon, here's an oddity...

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Rick Dacey A lobster in Barcelona

PokerStars Blog reporting team: Simon Young, Stephen Bartley and Rick Dacey

Simon Young
@MrSimonYoung in Barcelona