EPT Loutraki: Day 5, level 26 - 34 updates (80,000-160,000)

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1.25am: Zimnan Ziyard wins EPT Loutraki and €347,000
Zimnan Ziyard is the EPT Loutraki champion having defeated the never-say-die tactics of Hauke Heseding heads up to claim the €347,000 winner's purse.

Heseding had opened to 325,000 from the button and was called by Ziyard in the big blind. Ziyard check-called 325,00 on the 6♣3♣2♣ flop, 575,000 on the A♠ turn before leading 1,075,000 into the 7♠ river.

Heseding quickly raised all-in and Ziyard, not for the first time, went into the tank working back through the hand and finally deciding that his top two pair was good. A fold would leave him with 2,600,000, a correct call would give him the title. Call.

Ziyard: A♣7♦
Heseding: J♥5♣

A brave shove from the German which had certainly gave Ziyard plenty to think about. As the stacks were pushed into the middle it took a few moments for Ziyard to realise that he'd won what had unexpectedly turned into one of the most captivating final tables of EPT history. Huge congratulations go to Heseding who would also have been a worthy winner and takes €221,800 for his runner-up spot. -- RD


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EPT Loutraki runner-up Hauke Heseding


1.10am: Heseding races to a double
Hauke Heseding has claimed the chips lead three hands into this level. He took the blinds when he open shoved the first hand. The second hand he received a walk and the third hand saw him open shoving again.

Zimnan Ziyard found a hand and made the call.

Heseding: A♥9♣
Ziyard: 4♦4♥

The board ran 8♥2♠T♠A♦T♣ to pair Heseding's ace on the turn.

The German is up to 5,700,000 and his British opponent has 4,100,000. -- MC

LEVEL UP: BLINDS 50-100


12.45am: Chips at break
The two remaining players are on a short break. Here's how they stack up:

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Chips ahoy

Zimnan Ziyard -- 7,490,000
Hauke Heseding -- 2,651,000
--MC

12.30am: Ziyard chipping up
It's still slow going here in Loutraki, but the slight prevailing breeze is blowing in the favour of Zimnan Ziyard. He just took down another pot that was small by the standards of what we've seen before, but the likes of which is becoming increasingly relevant in the wider scheme of things.

Ziyard raised to 250,000 pre-flop and Heseding called. They both checked the 3♣2♣3♥ flop, but after Heseding fired 250,000 at the 6♣ turn, Ziyard bumped it up to 750,000. After a long pause during which Heseding attempted to read minds with a deep stare, he folded. -- HS

12.18am: Ziyard keeping Heseding at bay
Hauke Heseding had won two pots back-to-back with a button raise to 250,000 and then a pre-flop three-bet to 750,000.

The German opted to limp his next button, which Zimnan Ziyard checked. The Brit led 125,000 into the 7♠3♥2♥ flop. Call. The T♦ was checked by both players before Heseding bet 250,000 on the A♥ river. Ziyard check-raised to 625,000 and picked up a fold.

Perhaps Hauke should have kept with the policy of pre-flop aggression. Heseding on 3,800,000, Ziyard on 6,300,000. Still tight at the top. -- RD

12am: Any showdown is a good showdown
These guys know how to play heads up, which means they're probing this way and that pre-flop and rarely getting anywhere near a showdown. Just by virtue of its scarcity, this next hand is relevant - although it's hardly one for the all-time record books.

Heseding opened the button to 250,000 and Ziyard three bet to 635,000. Call. The flop came J♠A♦6♣ and after Ziyard checked, Heseding bet 450,000. Ziyard called. The turn brought the 7♥ but no more betting. And the [10d] river didn't get either of them to volunteer anything else.

Ziyard showed his 9♥7♦ and it was good. As you were. -- HS

11.45pm: Two level stacks
Most of the pots over the last 20 minutes have been played pout pre-flop. Hauke Heseding took down two three bet pots and the only pot that went to a flop. He raised to 250,000 and then bet the same amount on the A♣Q♠9♥ flop. Zimnan Ziyard called pre-flop but check-folded on the flop. Both players have around five million chips-a-piece now. -- MC

11.35pm: Heseding battling back
Hauke Heseding has been grinding his way back into contention after winning a series of pots, twice rivering a pair of jacks to win checked down pots.

The only pot with siginicant post-flop came after a 250,000 button raise from Heseding and call from Zimnan Ziyard, who then led 275,000 into a A♣J♣5♥ flop. Heseding made the call and then bet 375,000 into the 9♣ turn after Ziyard checked the board to him. Heseding back up to 4,200,000 to Ziyard's 5,900,000. -- RD

11.25pm: We're back even again
After some small-ball back and forth in the early exchanges of heads up play, all of a sudden they were all in. Zimnan Ziyard opened, Hauke Heseding shoved and Ziyard called instantly.

Heseding had A♣7♠ but was looking upward and muttering, "Come on," when Ziyard tabled A♦K♥. Ziyard had 3,110,000 in his stack.

The flop didn't kill it totally dead. It came K♣3♦9♣. But Heseding needed either running clubs or running sevens and the Q♠ fitted neither of those bills. I didn't even write down the river. Sue me.

Ziyard now has 6,220,000 and Heseding the rest. That's something like 3,860,000. -- HS

10.45pm: Counts

Heads up counts:

Zimnan Ziyard: 2,850,000
Hauke Heseding: 7,230,000

Play will resume at approximately 11.15pm local time.

10.30pm: John Taramas out in third for €134,400
Arguably the most fascinating passage of three-handed play we have ever witnessed on the EPT is now at an end. John Taramas has bust. He was down to 1.5m and shoved pre-flop - his only move - and Hauke Heseding snap-called.

Taramas was live with 9♣7♣ against Heseding's A♠[10c]. And after the flop came [10s]Q♣J♦, he was still alive. "King, king, king!" bellowed the Greek rail, at least until one of them realised that that was the last card they actually wanted. (It would have given Heseding a higher straight.) "Eight, eight, eight!" came the modified chant, but it didn't help. The 3♦ turned and the Q♦ rivered. That is finally the end of a long and twisting road for Taramas.

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Tamaras provided a lot of colour before he busted

He is out in third and we now go heads up between the two players who have earned it most. They will take a 45-minute dinner break, and we'll then return for that duel. Counts to come. -- HS

10.18pm: The Heseding show
It was all Zimnan Ziyard in the last level but this level undoubtedly belongs to Hauke Heseding who has gone from having less than three big blinds to being the chip leader. He's winning most of the pots but two were significant.

Heseding raised to 200,000 from the button to face a three-bet to 500,000 from Ziyard in the small blind. Once John Taramas folded from the big blind, Heseding four-bet shoved. The Brit aimed a couple of questions at his German opponent before he folded.

The very next hand Ziyard opened to 200,000 from the button and called when Heseding three-bet to 700,000. A rare flop came 9♠6♦3♣ and Heseding checked to Ziyard who bet 500,000. Heseding wasted little time in shoving and forcing a fold from Ziyard to take the chips lead.

Hauke Heseding - 4,700,000
Zimnan Ziyard -- 4,300,000
John Taramas - 1,100,000
--MC

10.05pm: Lots of movement, no major swings
So here's a barrage of hands that have just taken place:

- Hauke Heseding shoved 3,000,000 from the small blind to win the pot.
- Zimnan Ziyard rasied 200,000 from the small blind, wins the pot.
- Ziyard opened 200,000 from the pot, John Taramas three-bet all-in for 1,650,000 from the small blind to chip up to 2,000,000.
- Taramas opened the button to 215,000, Heseding moved all-in from the small blind to win the pot.
- Ziyard raised from the small blind, Taramas passed.
- We saw a flop as Heseding defended a Ziyard button raise of 200,000. The German passed to a 250,000 c-bet on the A♣J♣4♣ board.

Taramas is back down to around 1,650,000, Ziyard close to 5,500,000 and Hauke a little over 3,000,000. Fascinating and tense three-way action. -- RD

9.50pm: Heseding gets lucky to double again
Hauke Heseding is up to more than 3,300,000 chips now after getting lucky to double through Zimnan Ziyard.

The Brit opened to his usual 200,000 from the button and called when Heseding shoved from the big blind.

Ziyard: A♣K♥
Heseding: K♣T♦

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Hauke Heseding and Zimnan Ziyard, with John Taramas, seated, looking on

The board ran K♠5♠T♣J♠3♦ to make the German two-pair. Ziyard may have to adjust his strategy now as he's down to around 5,400,000 chips. -- MC

9.35pm: Near treble up for Heseding
After a series of hands which included Hauke Heseding getting a walk and Zimnan Ziyard scooping several blinds a major pot was played out.

John Tamaras opened for 300,000 from the button and was shoved on by Heseding in the small blind for 550,000. Ziyard three-bet from the big blind to 1,100,000 and Taramas moved out the way.

Heseding: A♦J♣
Ziyard: K♥K♦

If the kings held Ziyard would be taking a four-to-one chip lead into the heads up. The board ran out 7♣9♦T♣A♣9♥ and the German nearly trebled to 1,400,000. Taramas drops to 2,100,000 and Ziyard still ahead with 6,600,000.

The dance continues. -- RD


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Hauke Heseding


9.20pm: Heseding doubles
Hauke Heseding moved all-in for 295,000 from the small blind and Zimnan Ziyard called from the big blind with A♥3♠, behind to the German's A♠4♣.

Before the board ran Ziyard said, "I don't know which way to root"

The dealer gave them 8♥3♥4♦T♥J♣ to hand the pot to the German, who's up to 600,000. -- MC

LEVEL UP: BLINDS 50,000-100,000, 10,000


8.55pm: Heseding crippled as the level ends
A nightmare level for Hauke Heseding ended in almost the worst possible way as he was crippled.

Zimnan Ziyard opened to 160,000 and saw both players move all-in from the blinds. The Brit folded to leave them to battle it out with similar sized stacks.

Taramas: 8♦8♥
Heseding: 7♥7♣

The board ran J♦6♣9♣T♥4♣ to give Taramas a double-up to 2,890,000. Heseding was left with just 295,000. When he comes back from break he will have less three big blinds. -- MC

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Taramas celebrates

8.50pm: Ziyard, pied piper of Loutraki
Zimnan Ziyard could be likened to the pied piper, he is making his two opponents dance to his music how he wants them to. Both Hauke Heseding and John Tamaras are looking a little soul-crushed at the moment with the Greek holding 1,300,000 and the German just shy of 2,100,000 to Ziyard's monstrous 6,700,000.

Ziyard has passed to one three-bet shove from Heseding and an open shove from Taramas but apart from that has won five of the last seven pots. Although many may argue about some of the merits of his moves Ziyard is performing an absolute master class in situational domination. -- RD

8.40pm: Taramas triples as Heseding's disbelief reaches new heights
The dynamics of this three-way battle are quite fascinating and we're seeing Zimnan Ziyard play a game that seems to be aimed at reaching heads-up with a big lead over, rather than taking the conventional route of getting to heads-up as quickly as possible. The Brit is taking the small risk of coming third to give himself a much greater chance of the top prize.

John Taramas was on the button and moved all-in for 440,000. Hauke Heseding was in the big blind and tanked before calling. The action was now on Ziyard and he asked the German, "Why was it such a tough decision? Are you trapping me?" He didn't get a response and then he moved all-in to force Heseding to fold.

Taramas: J♣T♥
Ziyard: 6♥2♣

The board ran J♠T♣Q♦5♠7♣ and the the local man tripled-up. Heseding was stood with his hands on his head as his dream day is slowly unraveling. He must've thought that he was a lock for a minimum top two finish but now he has a greater chance of coming third as his 2,900,000 stack indicates. -- MC

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A disbelieving Heseding

8.20pm: Crazy fold or smart strategy from Ziyard?
Hauke Heseding couldn't believe what he'd seen, which you could by the height to which he threw his arms up in the air with exasperation.

Zimnan Ziyard had opened the button for 160,000 and had been three-bet all-in to 470,000 by John Tamaras. Ziyard asked how much it was and passed his hand allowing Tamaras' stack to swell to 740,000 unopposed. Heseding continued to shake his head as the Greek short stack raked in the pot.

So was it a crazy fold or sound strategy? It seems that Ziyard is happy to keep the short-stacked Tamaras alive as he has position on Heseding with his 6,500,000 far outweighing the 3,000,000 of the German - factor in that no deal has been made and maybe Ziyard is playing it smart with a large €87,000 pay jump coming up next. -- RD

8.10pm: ICM explain this hand?
Our two big stacks, Hauke Heseding and Zimnan Ziyard, just played out a hand in the blinds that caused many of the rail to "Ooooh" and "Ahhhhh" on showdown at the river.

Heseding raised to 200,000 from the small blind and Ziyard defended to see a 9♠9♥9♣ flop. He led for 200,000. Call. The turn came 3♣ and Heseding fired again, for 400,000. Call again. The board was completed with the 2♦ and Heseding fired a third bullet, for 850,000. Ziyard took about three seconds and called again.

Heseding proudly tabled Q♥Q♦ for a full house and seemed a little shocked that A♠A♦ was tabled in front of him. That put Ziyard up to around 6,300,000 with Heseding dropping to around 3,100,000. John Taramas is still our short stack with around 800,000. -- MC

7.48pm: Taramas doubles, wins another
John Taramas is up to 1,000,000 after winning a short-stacked all-in and a small pre-flop pot. On the first hand back Zimnan Ziyard opened his button to 210,000 and Tamaras leant back exhaling loudly.

"Time has come. All-in," he said pushing his 440,000 across the line. Call.

Ziyard: 7♥4♠
Taramas: K♥6♥

The board ran out 2♥2♠3♦J♦2♦ to a chorus of 'bravo's from the Greek rail. The next hand Ziyard limped the small blind and was shoved on. He passed and Taramas flashed the A♠. -- RD

7.42pm: Play resumes
The final three take their seats once again.

7.25pm: Break
The chip counts are up-to-date and can be found on the EPT Loutraki chip count page. -- RD

7.20pm: Ziyard soars, Tamaras short
Ziyard raised from the small blind to 160,000 and was called by Tamaras in the big blind.

Ziyard c-bet 175,000 into the K♦3♦3♠ flop and Tamaras slowly made the call. There was a very noticeable eyebrow raise from Ziyard who then checked the 9♠ turn card.

"All-in," declared Tamaras very quickly, setting Ziyard all-in for his remaining 1,950,000.

There was no snap-fold from Ziyard.

"You got king-nine? That's the only hand that I'm worried about," said Ziyard.

Tamaras, it has to be said, didn't look thrilled to hear that news.

"I'll have to check," said Tamaras who looked down at his cards, "I'm all-in, sir," he confirmed again.

Ziyaard made the call.

Ziyard: A♦K♥ for two-pair, top kicker
Tamaras: 9♦T♦ for a smaller two-pair and flush draw

One card remained and Tamaras had a lot of outs: any nine and the eight remaining diamonds. None came, the Q♣ keeping Ziyard out in front. Ziyard is up to 4,600,000, Tamaras down to 345,000. -- RD


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The final three players


7.10pm: Score draw between Taramas and Ziyard
In one orbit Zimnan Ziyard and John Taramas tangled in two pots with each winning one.

Ziyard completed from the small blind and Taramas checked his option. The flop fell 5♠T♥5♦ and Ziyard check-called a 60,000 bet. Both players checked the 4♠ turn to head straight to the Q♠ river. The Brit took his opportunity and led for 250,000 which was enough to make Taramas fold.

Two hands later Taramas raised to 120,000 from the button and Ziyard defended to see a T♠K♠5♣ flop. Ziyard went for the old check-raise maneuver after the Greek had c-bet for 125,000. It was bumped up to 300,000 and Taramas responded by moving all-in for around two million chips. It looked as though Ziyard was going to call but he mucked instead. -- MC

6.50pm: Tefal coated Taramas
There's just no shifting John Taramas, especially when he finds his favourite king-eight. This time it was K♥8♥ and it was good enough for a shove from the big blind after Hauke Heseding had opened to 120,000 and Zimnan Ziyard had called in the small blind.

"All in!" Taramas bellowed, sweeping his arms forward as if shooing a stray dog out of the kitchen. Heseding took a long time over his decision - he still had Ziyard to act behind him too - but eventually announced a call. It was 1,120,000. That put Ziyard into the tank, and for a moment he too seemed on the verge of calling. But he didn't, leaving just the two of them for it.

So, Taramas showed his favourite hand and Heseding tabled A♣7♣. The flop, though, brought the bad news for the young German. It came 6♠3♣8♠. Although the 6♣ gave him flush outs as well, the K♠ was a blank and Taramas's rail celebrated with their man again.

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Heseding mimed punching the felt, then held up three fingers to Taramas, one for every perceived injustice secured by the Greek blackjack ace. But that's the way these things go - and they remain three handed in Loutraki.

Tamaras has 2,240,000. -- HS

6.40pm: Heseding jacking up the pressure
Hauke Heseding is turning the screw in Loutraki. The German is up to 6,300,000 consolidating his lead over Zimnan Ziyard (2,600,000) and John Tamaras (1,180,000).

It's mainly been small ball play with the one significant pot being played out three-way. Ziyard limped the button and Tamaras completed his small blind, check from Heseding. Ziyard bet 75,000 into the 7♦2♣K♣ flop and was called by Tamaras before Heseding check-raised to 225,000. Ziyard passed.

"You check the flop then you raise?" asked Tamaras.

Heseding said nothing. -- RD

6.35pm: More videos
Here are some more moving pictures:













6.30pm: Clock watcher
John Taramas is first to act every time he's on the button. When he has been on the button in the last two orbits, he's taken to staring up at the tournament clock for anywhere between 30 seconds and a minute. He can't be forgetting what the blinds are every time and we are wondering what he's up to, and it looks as if his opponents and the TD are having the same thoughts.

Both times he ended up raising, to 230,000 and 125,000 respectively to take down the blinds and antes. The Greek also got a walk when he was in the big blind and someone on the rail shouted, "Johhny Walker!" -- MC

6.20pm: Easing back into action
After prolonged negotiations about a three-handed deal, which stopped only just short of inviting Kofi Annan out of retirement to arbitrate, our survivors could not broker an agreement. We play on. On the first hand back, John Taramas opened from the small blind to 150,000, but Hauke Heseding shoved from the big blind. Fold.

Soon after, Heseding opened from the only seat not in the blinds (ie, under-the-gun and the button at the same time) to 120,000 and Zimnan Ziyard called from the small blind. The two of them checked a 4♥9♣9♦ flop, then they also checked a J♣ turn. Ziyard bet 205,000 at the 5♠ river, and it was good. -- HS

6.10pm: Video interlude
We interrupt these negotiations for a video update:













LEVEL UP: BLINDS 30,000-60,000, 5,000


6pm: Deal negotiations rumble on
The remaining three players (and a very vocal and elbow-heavy Greek contingent 'advising' John Tamaras) are still discussing a deal. The sticking point seems to be between Hauke Heseding and Zimnan Ziyard, neither of whom want to budge much from a chip chop to an ICM split. We'll let you know when normal service has resumed. -- RD

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Deal negotiations enter their 14th hour

5.50pm: Play resumption delayed
The John Taramas campaign to get a deal out of his opponents has spilled over the allotted break time. We'll be back with news any deal or the resumption of play. -- MC

5.25pm: Break
The final three players left in at EPT Loutraki are:

Seat one. John Taramas, 1,520,000
Seat two. Hauke Heseding, 5,850,000
Seat three. Zimnan Ziyard, 2,775,000

If you want to be a true poker geek you can stick their counts in an ICM calculator with the payouts to see their expected value. We considered it.. but not for long. -- RD

5.10pm: Another man down; Schleps busts in fourth for €100,800
Florian Schleps is out, losing a huge flip against Hauke Heseding. It was folded to Heseding in the small blind and he raised to 125,000. Schleps three bet in the big blind, making it 275,000 and Heseding shoved all in, covering Schelps approximate 1.5m. But Schleps called.

Schelps: 7♠7♣
Heseding: A♥Q♥

So off they went to the races, and the flop vaulted Heseding in front. It came Q♠5♠Q♥. Schelps was dead to a seven, but the 5♣ turn wasn't it, and neither was the [10h] river.

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Florian Schelps, in happier times

So Schelps hits the rail and Heseding moves to 5.8 million. It's him versus John Taramas versus Zimnan Ziyard for the trophy. -- HS

5.05pm: Sixes good for Tamaras this time, doubles back in
On the hand directly after doubling up Florian Schleps John Tamaras was dealt pocket sixes again - this time they held. Zimnan Ziyard opened from the cut-off for 100,000 and Tamaras shoved from the button for 675,000. Ziyard made the call with A♠J♣. The Greek was given instant service on the 6♦K♣9♥9♦8♦ board to climb back over 1,500,000. -- RD

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John Taramas

4.55pm: Schelps doubles; Taramas on the ropes
Florian Schleps open shoved his stack of 980,000 and it was quickly folded to John Taramas's big blind. The Greek player went through what is now a common routine, thinking through the mathematics - and plenty else - aloud for something like three minutes, occasionally hearing encouragement from his packed rail. When he eventually announced "call", he received an ovation from his supporters, and they might have hope their man was about to vault into the lead when the cards were exposed.

Taramas: 6♥6♣
Schleps: [10s]8♥

It looked ugly for Schelpps, but it wasn't all that much worse than if he'd had ace-king. And with both overcards live, he knew he had a pretty chance of doubling up. So it proved. The flop brought the [10h] as well as the K♦4♥ and the Q♠J♥ were blanks.

The pocket pair was beaten; the rags hit; Schelps doubled to more than two million and Taramas has 675,000 left. -- HS

4.50pm: Small pot and deal discussions
Hauke Heseding was happy to pot control in a hand against fellow big stack Zimnan Ziyard. The Brit raised to 105,000 from the button and Heseding peeled to see a 2♣A♥6♠ flop. He check-called Ziyard's 110,00 c-bet to see the 7♥ turn. The action was checked here and on the Q♥ river. Heseding opened A♣9♣ and took the pot as his opponent folded.

After the hand John Taramas' campaigning to discuss a deal finally got through to the other three players and the clock has been paused while they see if an agreement can be reached. -- MC

4.40pm: Schleps playing the waiting game?
Is Florian Schleps trying to outlast John Taramas? Schleps appears to have tightened up and with Tamaras still actively three-betting it could be a wise policy. Zimnan Ziyard opened to 100,000 and Tamaras three-bet to 325,000 from the button. Ziyard passed. Shortly after Tamaras started tapping up Hauke Heseding about a deal. It is four-handed after all. -- RD

4.30pm: The final four
Our final four players are chipped up as follows:

1. John Tararmas, 1,400,000
2. Hauke Heseding, 3,300,000
3. Florian Schleps, 1,500,000
4. Zimnan Ziyard, 3,850,000

Each player is now guaranteed a minimum of €100,800 and up to €347,000 if they win. -- RD

4.20pm: Even cooler cooler sends Mothes to the rail in fifth (€67,200)
This one is mighty chilly, as two of the three huge stacks just got them all in with genuine hands. The bad news for Pierre Mothes is that he had marginally the worst of it, and is now our fifth placed finisher.

Zimnan Ziyard opened the button, making it 110,000 to go. Mothes called from the big blind, and only those two saw a flop of Q♣J♣9♣. Mothes checked, Ziyard bet 135,000. All was standard at this point. But then Mothes announced that he was all in, shoving for 1.7 million total, and after a quick double check of his cards, Ziyard called.

Ziyard had flopped a flush with his 5♣7♣. And Mothes had flopped top two pair with his Q♦J♠. Mothes had outs, but Ziyard had a big lead. And neither the 4♣ nor the 5♦ on turn and river helped him.

In the immediate run up to the hand, Mothes had found a role as mediator in an escalating discussion between Florian Schleps and John Taramas about whether they should cut a deal. (Taramas wants to; Schleps does not.) Mothes said: "Look, we have 52 minutes left on the level, lets discuss it at the break."

It's now a break Mothes won't see. He is out of here. -- HS

4.25pm: Heseding tries for back-to-back bust outs
In the very next hand Hauke Heseding found himself with the opportunity of busting another player. He made it 100,000 to play from under-the-gun and snap called when John Taramas shoved for 720,000 from the small blind.

Heseding: J♣J♦
Taramas: Q♣T♣

The Greek crowd ignored all the barriers keeping them out and huddled around the table to see the fate of the one remaining Greek player. They need a hero right now in Greece and it seems he'll do. There will may well have helped him as the board ran 3♥Q♥3♠7♣Q♦. Huge cheers could be heard all the way to Athens when the queen appeared on the flop and when a third one dropped on the river. Heseding's stack dropped to about 3,100,000 after that hand. -- MC

4.15pm: Andre Kovacs busts in 6th (€53,700)
Hauke Heseding has rocketed into the chip lead after busting Andre Kovacs in the most classic of flips. Pierre Mothes opened under-the-gun, his second raise on the bounce, and was three-bet to 250,000 from Heseding in the hijack. Kovacs looked at his hand and jammed for 1,450,000 forcing Mothes to fold.

Heseding, who had been sat back in chair with arms crossed, said: "I can't fold. I call."

Kovacs: A♦K♦
Heseding: Q♦Q♣

Both players stood up to watch the which way the 3,000,000 pot would fall - Kovacs the player at risk. The 5♦6♣J♥ flop was blank but the 7♦ turn brought extra flush out. The 2♥ river bricked out and Heseding double fist pumped the air. Kovacs comeback had been finished but considering he started the day as the short stack with eight big blinds he takes home €26,300 more than he would have if he'd lost his first flop.

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Andras Kovacs, in grey, left

Heseding walked over to commiserate with Kovacs and then followed that up directly by asking what he'd had on an earlier. Kovacs shot him a look which said 'too soon' and didn't answer.

Mothes told Heseding that he'd passed pocket sevens, which would have hit a set to scoop the pot. -- RD

LEVEL UP: BLINDS 25,000-50,000, 5,000


3.40pm: Ziyard's aggression takes us to break
First Hauke Heseding and then Florian Schleps raised from the cut off on successive hands, but neither got their 80,000 bets past Zimnan Ziyard in the blinds. When Ziyard was in the big blind, he three bet to 225,000, which persuaded Heseding out of it. And he did exactly the same, with the same result, from the small blind when Schleps had his crack.

Those were the last two hands of level 26, and we're heading to a 15-minute break. -- HS

3.30pm: Mothes holes in Heseding's stack
Pierre Mothes has started to move up through the gears of aggression. Zimnan Ziyard opened to 80,000 and Mothes three-bet all-in for about 1,400,000!

The very next hand it was Mothes opening, to 95,000 from the cut-off. Hauke Heseding was in the next seat and put in a quick three-bet to 250,000. The action was back on Mothes and he announced raise and put in a four-bet to 510,000. Heseding gave up and folded and was shown A♣Q♥ by his opponent. -- MC

3.10pm: A three hand Heseding experiment
Hauke Heseding is trying to get something going, raising three consecutive pots. All he had to show for it was one set of blinds and antes as his lost the other two hands.

First up, he raised from the button to 80,000 and was three-bet from the small blind by Florian Schleps. Heseding didn't want to put in the extra 145,000 and so folded.

Undeterred, he raised to 80,000 on the next hand too and this was the one he got all the way through. And so he tried it again on the next hand, opening to 80,000 again. This time Andras Kovacs called on the button, and the two of them saw a 9♥[10d]6♠ flop.

Heseding checked, Kovacs bet 105,000, which Heseding called. That brought a 2♥ turn. After Heseding checked again, Kovacs fired 250,000, which was too rich for the young German. He let it go.

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Hauke Heseding, left, and Florian Schleps

Even though these hands didn't go precisely as planned, I don't expect he'll stay out of the saddle long. Action is certainly hotting up. -- HS

3pm: Tanking Taramas makes a big call, doubles Mothes
John Taramas is a methodical player taking time over every decision, which might well be why Pierre Mothes was so shocked by the call he just made to double him up.

Zimnan Ziyard opened from the hijack for 80,000 and was three-bet to 185,000 by Taramas in the cut-off. Mothes could not have got his chips in faster, snap-shoving all-in for 730,000.

"Good hand?" asked Taramas.
"Maybe, it's possible," said Mothes as he took to his feet, "It could be aces."

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Pierre Mothes (head in hands) and Hauke Heseding

After some deliberation Taramas made the call.

Mothes: Q♠Q♥
Taramas: K♦8♦

"What? Please, king-eight," cried Mothes in an obvious state of shock.

A member of the German's rail shouted out to find out his hand.

"I have queens, of course. One more time, please. It's so sick," Mothes called back, rocking from side to side.

The flop dropped 8♥5♣2♥ .

"That's five outs," he said and then ran into the crowd.

The river blanked with the 4♦ to boost Mothes - now shouting in celebration - up to 1,500,000. Taramas down to 755,000. -- RD


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John Taramas shrugs: 'I got outs'

2.50pm: Taramas free-rolling
It should probably be noted at this point that John Taramas is now free-rolling this tournament. Having already guaranteed at least €53,700 for sixth place, he is now also going to get his buy-in back, courtesy of Skrill, the official partner of the European Poker Tour. If you buy in to one of these events via Skrill, then wear their patch, you are included in a freeroll last longer. The last Skrill patch in this field is on the arm of Taramas, and so he will get his buy-in back. --HS

2.45pm: Shift
Following the double elimination - and that of the unpredictable Charalampos Kapernopoulos in particular - the dynamic around this table has altered dramatically. The remaining six players are now gradually shifting this arena onto the internet, where small-ball, multiple street poker is more the order of the day.

They also might have picked up something on John Taramas. Just recently, Taramas raised to 90,000 from the button. Pierre Mothes three bet to 235,000 from the small blind and almost immediately Hauke Heseding announced he was all in from the big blind.

Taramas and Mothes snap-folded, and although nothing can be certain, it did seem a little as though Mothes was making a move and Heseding was re-stealing, a kind of "I know that you know" between the two blinds, both after Taramas's chips.

Just after that, Zimnan Ziyard also did something that has been very rare on this final table so far: he limped pre-flop. Heseding made up the small blind and Florian Schleps checked his big.

The three of them went to a flop of 5♣6♦8♣ and Heseding checked. Schleps bet 80,000, which got Ziyard out the way. But Heseding called for a 6♠ turn. They both checked that, and when the 8♠ rivered, they both checked that too. Schelps showed K♠5♠, but Heseding had a six in the hole (with a ten) and won.

Onto the next hand. This time, Mothes opened to 90,000 and Andras Kovacs called in the big blind. This took the two of them to a flop of Q♠[10s]6♠, which they both checked, and on to a 3♣ turn. Kovacs led at this for 110,000, but Mothes returned the salvo with a raise to 250,000. Kovacs called.

The river was 8♠ and Kovacs took the lead again, pushing out 250,000. Mothes said: "You had a flush draw?" with slight incredulity in his voice, but folded when he got no response.

This table has changed a lot. -- HS

Charalampos Kapernopoulos eliminated in 7th place (€40,300)
One can wait an age for a bust and then two come along at once. A similar occurrence took place here as a long wait for our first elimination was followed up by one the very next hand.

Charalampos Kapernopoulos open shoved for around 500,000 and was cold called by Hauke Heseding from mid position. The Greek winced as he saw the call and that was before the remaining players had acted. They folded to leave it heads-up.

Kapernopoulos: J♥T♣
Heseding: K♠K♦

The board ran K♣Q♥8♠J♣8♣.

Heseding flopped top set but also had to sweat his opponent's open ended straight draw. It missed and the young German celebrated the scalp and his 2,200,000 stack. -- MC


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Charalampos Kapernopoulos


2.25pm: Mario Puccini out in 8th (€27,000)
Mario Puccini is our first casualty of the day after jamming all-in for 480,000 with K♠Q♠ from the small blind over a 80,000 button raise from Florian Schleps who made the call with A♣8♥.

The board ran out T♥T♣4♣7♥7♦ to send the Day 1 chip leader to the rail. Puccini had played a solid game of tournament poker and we expect to see his name again. -- RD

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Mario Puccini, out in 8th

2.15pm: Level up
So, all eight players managed to navigate their way through the first level and a bit, meaning the following come back for level 26 with the following stacks:

Seat 1 John Taramas 1,755,000
Seat 2 Charalampos Kapernopoulos 530,000
Seat 3 Pierre Mothes 1,285,000
Seat 4 Hauke Heseding 1,645,000
Seat 5 Florian Schleps 910,000
Seat 6 Mario Puccini 490,000
Seat 7 Andras Kovacs 1,010,000
Seat 8 Zimnan Ziyard 2,370,000

We're now playing 20,000-40,000 blinds, with a 5,000 ante. The red 1,000 value chips are no longer required. -- HS

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PokerStars Blog's greecy trio: ∏arc CΩnv∑y, ¶ick D∆c∃y and H∆w∀rd SwÆins. Photographs by Ne¶l St Ωdd∀rt.

Howard Swains
@howardswains in Day 5