EPT Tallinn Day 1B: Level 3 & 4 updates (100-200, ante 25)
4.25pm: Break time
That's the end of the level. Players are now taking a 15 minute break.
4.20pm: Sierra Oscar to control
Our almost certain chip leader at this stage is Oscar Lima, a man perhaps Christened over a police radio. He has 139,000. -- HS
4.15pm: A stack as long as his locks
Yesterday it took several hours for any player to accumulate more than four or five golden, 5,000-denomination chips. But already today several towers are growing significantly and there are certainly more than a handful of players with upwards of 70,000.
The most recognisable of those is probably Jani Sointula, the distinctive Finnish player, who has been coming to EPT events since the earliest days and has picked up decent results across the globe. Sointula is already sitting with a stack of yellows that compare favourably with the length of his characteristic blonde locks. He has about 80,000, give or take.
Just recently, Sointula extracted about the maximum from a pot with his countryman Veli Alakorva. Alakorva made it 525 from the hijack and Sointula, on the button, was the only caller. The flop came A♥2♣4♣ and after Alakorva checked, Sointula bet 1,200. Call.
The turn was the 3♦ and the pattern repeated. Alakorva check-called a bet of 1,700 this time.
The river was 3♠ and that prompted Sointula to re-check his cards. But after Alakorva checked for a third time, Sointula bet 4,000. Alakorva called and Sointula flipped 4♠4♥ for the flopped set and rivered boat.
Alakorva showed a naked ace as he mucked. -- HS
4.10pm: Bullets for Baroni
Irene Baroni may be sporting Hello Kitty headphones but she's certainly not playing like a pussycat. As I arrived at the table Croatian PokerStars qualifier Vedran Premuzic was sat contemplating life with 3,100 of his chips across the line in front of him and a huge stack, more than covering him, pushed out ahead of Baroni. It looked like a five-bet shove, that would certainly make sense given the chip amounts. Premuzic looked troubled, the big decision obviously weighing down on him. He finally opted for the call button and moved the rest of his 19,000 stack forward. Let's face it, folding is no fun.
Tough break for Premuzic who was sent to the rail as Baroni chipped up to 60,000. EPT Berlin third place finisher Vadim Kursevich seemed to find something hilarious about the situation, perhaps it was the length of time it took Premuzic to call, or that he called at all. Not being an authority on Belarusian poker humour I'll have to leave that one hanging. -- RD
4pm: The hour of Minieri
Dario Minieri moved up to 41,000 then slipped down some after two pots against Irishman John O'Shea.
After winning a hand on the river against Mark Pukhov, with a board reading Q♣2♥Q♠4♣8♥, Minieri then took on O'Shea. But while the Italian had had success against opponents around the table, O'Shea is proving to be a difficult obstacle.
O'Shea opened from under the gun for 550 which Minieri raised to 1,825 from the big blind. O'Shea was having none of it, re-raising another 4,200 on top. A few moments prior the Italian had been weaving his head from side to side playing a game on his iPhone. Now he waited dead still, Minieri ultimately passing.
A few hands later Minieri was doing the same. This time he'd raised to 1,600 in the cut-off which O'Shea raised to 6,250, again forcing Minieri out.
But a few minutes ago Minieri restored his stack to 40,000 in a hand against Pukhov who passed to Minieri on a board of J♣2♥6♠3♦6♥. Minieri is in form and fast becoming the action player of the level. - SB
Annette Obrestad has rivered a monster to start her assault on EPT Tallin. Sami Moilanen was the man to get the action going with a 500 under the gun raise. He picked up four callers; Eugen Wagner, Ignat Liviu, Andrey Subbotin and, of course, Obrestad.
The 6♦K♦2♣ flop was checked round, despite Obrestad flopping top two with K♠6♠. The 2♦ turn may have brought the flush but it also gave Obrestad a larger two pairs if someone else held a king, she bet 1,500 and both Wagner and Liviu made the call.
A K♥ on the river was a great card for the young Norwegian and Obrestad checked it over to Wagner who also checked. Liviu did not, he tossed 5,500 into the middle and Obrestad raised to 16,500. Liviu snap-called before angrily mucking his hand, while Obrestad chipped up to 61,000 with her full house. -- RD
3.40pm: Double Deutsch
Sebastian Ruthenberg has been moved to the same table as his countryman Benny Spindler, which is almost certain to result in some kind of fireworks before the end of the day. For now, Ruthenberg is happy to joust in small pots with some of the other players on the table - but he's still keen to win them, of course.
Ruthenberg opened to 500 from mid-position and Marc Donnell made it 1,100 from the big blind. The decision was passed back to Ruthenberg and he looked a little disgusted that someone would dare tangle. He called.
The flop came A♠A♣[10h] and Donnell bet 1,200. That slight appearance of disgust didn't shift as Ruthenberg tossed out three red chips, a raise to 3,000. Donnell folded immediately.
A few hands later, Ruthenberg was under the gun. He raised to 400 and this time attracted only Christopher Ulsrud in mid-postion. Ulsrud raised to 1,300 and Ruthenberg called.
The flop came [10s]A♥4♠, which they both checked, and they also both checked the Q♦ turn. But when the K♥ rivered, Ruthenberg fired 1,550 and took it down.
Spindler looked on emotionless. I give it two hours. -- HS
3.35pm: Zapletin shakes it off
Kirill Zapletin made the final nine of EPT Vienna last year scoring €44,000 in the process. He's a man that plays with conviction, his thick mane of hair tossed with satisfaction or dismay at the end of every pot. This was certainly a case of the latter.
On a flop of A♦9♥T♥ Zapletin bet 1,300 but was swiftly check-raised to 3,750. A shake of the mane later and Zapletin's cards were in the muck. The Russian is still healthily chipped up with 48,000. -- RD
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 100-200, ANTE 25
3.25pm: Minieri passes the Testud
A brief tear from Dario Minieri, playing three pots in succession. In the first he pushed Runar Runarsson out of a pot on a flop of 2♠8♠J♥. Then, in the next, he did the same to Mark Pukhov.
Minieri opened the next hand for 450 in the hijack which Paul Testud then raised to 1,050 on the button. Minieri called for a flop of 7♥6♥2♥ which both players checked. The turn came 4♣ and Minieri bet 1,125. Testud called for a 8♣ river which Minieri tackled with a bet of 9,000. Too much for Testud, who mucked. - SB
3.12pm: Kelly looking to break past 24
Team PokerStars Pro JP Kelly was a late arrival to this party - having started at a different table - but is already up to 48,000 at the table with fellow Team Pro Dario Minieri, John O'Shea and Johan van Til. The Englishman arrives fresh off the back of a 26th place finish at the WSOP Main Event which saw him pick up $302,005, his largest tournament score to date. Although he has made four World Series final tables, scoring two bracelets in the process, he's yet to make it past a 24th place finish in an EPT main event. Could he go further here? -- RD
3.05pm: One over Obrestad
Jeff Sarwer just got the better of Annette Obrestad along with Eugene Wagner, moving up to 36,000 chips.
He raised to 425 from early position and was called by Wagner in the next seat before Obrestad raised to 1,600 from the button.
Both players called to see the 9♠6♦2♣ flop where they both check-called a 2,200 c-bet from the Norwegian. All three checked the 7♣ turn before Sarwer led for 6,625 on the Q♣ river. His two opponents folded to give him the pot.
The Canadian showed the 2♥ and Obrestad commentated, "I like how you didn't check to see which one was the deuce!"
"Maybe I did," he smiled back. -- SB
3pm: Pot to Penna
Emiliano Bono just raised JP Kelly out of a hand after the Englishman made a tentative opener. When Bono lumped in chips Kelly tossed him the purple chip he'd opened with as Bono proudly held up a pair of aces.
"I folded Kings," said Kelly, which Janne Nevalainen in the seat next to him found amusing.
Nevalainen was involved in the next hand which was opened by Nichlas Mattssan in early position. Nevalainen was next to him and called before Dalle Penna raised to 1,925 in the cut-off. The others called for a flop of J♣K♥7♠ as the Tournament Director arrived to break the table.
The flop was checked, as was the T♠ turn card. On the T♥ river Mattssan and Nevalainen checked again leaving it to Penna to have a last stab, betting 3,325. Mattssan passed while Nevalainen exhaled deeply. He might not have wanted the decision and when he called it was with some reluctance. When he mucked it was with eyebrows raised as Penna showed Q♦Q♠ to win the hand. - SB
2.50pm: Moreira de Melo mashing them up
Fatima Moreira de Melo may have some talent at her table but she's certainly not affording them any respect. Kevin Stani, who claimed his EPT title here in Tallinn last year, has been the player to most recently feel the might of Moreira de Melo.
The Dutch Team PokerStars SportStar opened for 525 from middle position and Stani three-bet to 1,500 from the hijack. Moreira de Melo came back over the top for 4,500 and Stani retorted with a five-bet to 8,000. The former hockey pro was not phased and, following a short pause, pushed a tall stack of chips forward to set Stani in for his remaining 20,000. He quickly mucked. Moreira de Melo up to 55,000. -- RD
2.45pm: Chopping all the way
After some certain, but unknown, pre-flop action Vadim Markushevski (under the gun) and Victor Suarez (small blind) were at a flop of J♠A♥Q♣. Suarez check-called Markushevski's bet of 675, and both of them looked a little deflated by the K♥ on the turn.
Suarez checked again, Markushevski bet 1,325 and Suarez called once more. The river was the [10d]. That, my years of experience at the sharp end of poker reportage informs me, put the nuts on the board, and so there was little surprise that Suarez checked.
Markushevski smirked, seemingly threatening a bet, then said, "You're never going to fold." He checked behind. Turns out they had been playing the same hand all along as each then table ace-jack. Ho hum. -- HS
2.45pm: Registration closed
The end of level two meant the end of registrations for EPT Tallinn, and the total number of players today is 190. That gives us a two-day tally of 282. The full breakdown of the prize structure will be with us shortly. -- HS
2.30pm: Play restarts
We're into Level 3 with blinds now 100-200. This will be the last level before the antes kick in.
The tournament room in Tallinn