EPT Tallinn Day 1B: Level 5, 6 & 7 updates (250-500, 50 ante)

ept-thumb-promo.jpg8pm: Day done
A full wrap up of the action will follow, but this much is known for sure: Oscar Lima, a 23-year-old from Zaragoza, Spain, is our chip leader. He has 132,000.

That puts him marginally ahead of Jani Sointula (123,950) and then Anatolii Ozhenilok (108,125).

Ahead of that comprehensive wrap, why not spend a few minutes sandwiched between Laura Cornelius and Marcin Horecki.













7.50pm: "Six more hands! Six more hands!"
Okay, the players weren't exactly chanting for six more hands to be played - we certainly weren't - but that's the number we'll be playing before the bagging and tagging takes place. Juha Helppi was offered a selection of cards. He chose... unwisely. Six more. -- RD

7.44pm: Sointula puts the hurt on Baroni
Irene Baroni took off her headphones, crossed her arms and sat back staring the board and at Jani Sointula. She was not happy. Baroni had three-bet Sointula to 2,800 out of the big blind and had been four-bet to 6,800. The Italian had made the call to see a J♣8♣5♠ flop and check-called 9,500. The 4♠ turn changed little and Sointula fired 17,000. This was obviously not part of the game plan for Baroni and that's the point she went deep into the tank. She had enough to raise, but certainly very little fold equity for anything that Sointula held bar complete air.

The clock was called and was counted all the way down to two seconds, at which point Baroni mucked her hand leaving herself with around 40,000.

"Dame, dame," said Baroni to a friend on the rail - or that's what her Italian sounded like to me.

Did that mean queen-queen? If so, it was a big tough fold. Sointula up to around 115,000. -- RD

7.30pm: Hair today, gone tomorrow
Into the final level of the day Jani Sointula was in sight of the lead, but he just took a knock, slipping down to 85,000 from his previous position on more than 100k.

Few players can chart the evolution of the EPT like Jani Sointula, whose long blond hair, about two feet long from the scalp, marks the passage of EPT time like rings around a tree. Just to put it in perspective, the halfway point of his long mane came out of his follicles at about the time of EPT Kyiv two seasons ago. While the bits next to be cut (he had a few inches lopped off a few weeks ago) emerged sometime around the time Sander Lylloff won EPT4 Barcelona.

For reference an EPT starting stack back then was 10,000 and Ryan Air didn't charge you any extra to check-in at the airport. -- SB

7.15pm: Baroni fails to barrel river on table of big stacks
There are a lot of stacks of 80,000 or more now and three of are on Jani Sointula's table (including the big man himself). Dmitry Vitkind, who final tabled this event last year, is one of them as is Anatolii Ozhenilok who is moving along nicely on 87,000 after tangling with Irene Baroni after holding on with pocket eights after an early position raise.

Baroni would almost certainly have moved Ozhenilok off his hand had she fired a third barrel on the 5♦A♥5♣2♥5♠ board. She didn't and was forced to showdown T♦7♦, snorting with derision at Ozhenilok's pocket pair.

Any of the three - Sointula, Vitkind or Ozhenilok - could easily finish the day as chip leader, especially if they clash with each other. -- RD


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Jani Sointula: stacked up early, still going strong


7.10pm: Stelmak sticks around
Two hands ago, Dmitry Stelmak had about 3,000 chips. But he flopped two pair with his mighty ten-seven off-suit and got paid off by Vicenzo Apicella's top-pair of tens. Then he doubled again through the same player.

It was folded to Stelmak on the button and he moved all for what was then 6,900. Apicella called from the small blind, and had the perfect chance to wrest back what he had lost the hand before.

Stelmak had K♣J♥ which was behind Apicella's A♣3♥. But when the board ran K♦[10s]Q♠9♥A♥, Stelmak had made a straight. He now has close to 30 big blinds, so can start moving again. -- HS

7.05pm: Minieri gets the prize
Just before the break Dario Minieri added a little more to his stack. He opened for 850 in middle position, not a rare sight today, which was called by John O'Shea in the hijack and Eric Friedmann - who looks a little like The Kurgan from Highlander, in the big blind.

The flop came K♥2♣2♠ which Friedmann checked to Minieri who bet another 1,425. O'Shea called, forcing out Friedmann before the 8♠ turn card. Minieri bet again, using two hands to toss out 2,625. Too much for O'Shea. - SB

BLINDS UP. PLAYING 250-500 (50 ANTE) IN LEVEL 7

Before that, a 15-minute break.
6.45pm: Markushevski shelvedThe day is done for Team Pro Russia's Vadim Markushevski. After a min-raise to 1,000 under the gun, and a call from one seat along, Rolands Norietis three bet to 3,200 from the button.

Markushevski, in the big blind, moved all in for 17,500 or therabouts, which put the decision back with Norietis. He didn't seem massively happy about it - he was playing for most of his stack - but Norietis did indeed call.

He was considerable happier when Markushevski showed his pocket eights. Norietis's pocket queens stayed good. -- HS

6.40pm: Kyllonen smells a rat, remains unbitten
Jens Kyllonen, one of a clutch of former EPT champions in the midst, just wriggled out of a trap set by Janne Nevalainen, a countryman who perhaps thought he could rely on the ultra-aggressive Kyllonen to hang himself. Not so.

Kyllonen opened to 1,025 from the cut off and Nevalainen called in the big blind. The flop came 2♠J♥7♦ and both players checked. The 9♣ turned and Nevalainen checked again, which was, of course, all Kyllonen needed to see. He bet 1,600. Nevalainen called.

The river was A♣ and Nevalainen checked again. Kyllonen peered over with a wry grin and checked behind. An exasperated Nevalainen slapped A♥J♦ onto the table, representing flopped top pair and rivered top two. Kyllonen chuckled and mucked. -- HS

6.35pm: Moreira de Melo back on the up
Fatima Moreira de Melo had taken a slight dip after her early chip charge but is now up to 73,000 after brutalizing Ron Paltto. Moreira de Melo had check-raised Paltto from 2,325 to 5,000 on a J♣T♥6♠ flop. The Norwegian called.

Moreira de Melo pushed out 7,500 on the J♥ turn and again Paltto called. The A♦ on the river was certainly no blank and the Team PokerStars SportStar clipped a 11,000 bet across the line, leaving her with 22,000 behind. Paltto went deep into the tank and finally mucked his hand. -- RD

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So that's what Fatima's war face looks like


6.30pm: JP Kelly picking up where he left off
Down to 25,000 Team PokerStars Pro JP Kelly has had a tough afternoon since moving to the table featuring Dario Minieri, John O'Shea, Johannes Van Til, Runar Runarsson and Mark Pukhov.

It's a change of scene for Kelly who only four weeks ago was one of the 27 most watched poker players in the world, featuring on one of the last three tables in the World Series of Poker Main Event. But with the final table in sight Kelly crashed out in 26th place, earning a career best $302,500.

"It's almost like coming third in a regular big tournament," said Kelly with an air of pragmatism. "It's such a big tournament. That's more than the first prizes that I've won, so I can't be disappointed with that. But obviously it would have been nice to make the November nine."

Did he arrive today with any Main Event what if's still on his mind?

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JP Kelly

"No not at all," he said. "It might be different if I'd come tenth or 11th or something, but I feel like I played well. There's no point sitting sulking about it. Just get on with the next tournament. Take the positives from that. It's still a good result at the end of the day." - SB

6.25pm: Prizes
The winner of EPT Tallinn Season 8 will take home €275,000. All that and more is now on our prizewinner's page.

6.20pm: Kelly takes on Minieri
Team PokerStars Pros Dario Minieri and JP Kelly saw a flop. Kelly has been kept quiet since moving to this table early in the day, or perhaps opting for caution on what has proved a difficult table.

Minieri checked the A♣K♠2♥ flop before Kelly made it 2,400 to play. Minieri called for a 3♦ turn card and then checked again, leaving it to Kelly to bet, 5,300. Again Minieri called and checked again on the 2♣ river. Kelly did the same, showing Q♦Q♣. It wasn't a great flop for the Englishman, with Minieri showing K♥T♥ to win the hand.

Kelly down to 24,000 while Minieri shoots up to 66,000, although Kelly would take a couple of red chips back a few hands later, re-raising Minieri off a hand pre-flop. - SB

6.10pm: Spin(dler) up
Some players are happy nursing short stacks, Benny Spindler is not one of them. A look of utter dejection accompanied his three-bet shove from the small blind for 7,500 over Georgios Tzimas' cut-off open. The Greek made the call.

Spindler: A♥J♣
Tzimas: Q♠Q♣

An ace hit the flop and Spindler doubled up to a little more than 15,000. Suddenly the German perked up. -- RD

6pm: Tureniec turned over
EPT Copenhagen winner and general tournament terror Michael Tureniec has been knocked out. Ivan Kudriavtsev was the man to claim the Swede's scalp after winning a pre-flop coin toss with pocket threes to Tureniec's A♠T♦. -- RD

5.55pm: Gold chip good
John Eames and Mikhail Shahnovitch got involved, with Eames's persistence eventually winning the day. But he had to work for this one, needing to dip into his reserve of gold in order to prevail.

Shahnovitch opened from mid-position, making it 800 to go. Eames called in the cut off and both the blinds came along too. However, they both bailed early, checking and then folding after Eames called Shahnovitch's be of 1,800 on a 8♥8♣2♣ flop.

The J♦ turned, and Shahnovitch checked. Eames bet 3,300, which Shahnovitch called. The river was the Q♥, and Shahnovitch checked again. Eames dug for 6,100 chips - a gold one, a red one and a black one - and only then did the obdurate Russian yield. -- HS

5.50pm: Cornelius and Kelly













5.45pm: On the Runarsson
Dario Minieri continues to orchestrate, or at least keep involved with, the action on his table, this time tangling with Runar Runarsson.

Runarsson opened for 600 in early position which Minieri raised to 1,700 - two-handed - two seats along. Runarsson called for a flop of T♦4♦K♦ and then checked to the Italian. Minieri intended to keep Runarsson on the run and bet another 1,450, not quite enough to force the Icelander out.

On the 7♣ turn both players checked for a 5♥ river. This time though Runarsson bet out, 2,100 total. The momentum suddenly swung away from Minieri who in previous hands had rarely had to contest this stage. He passed, dropping slightly to 58,000.

He was down a little more after the next hand. Again Runarsson opened for 700 which Minieri couldn't resist. He called, taking a sip of orange juice from the table next to him, then a few mouthfuls of Caesars salad. In the meantime John O'Shea called and Mark Pukhov raised to 2,700 from the cut off.

That was as far as this one would go. First Runarsson folded, then Minieri, then O'Shea. Pukhov up to around 75,000. - SB

LEVEL UP: BLINDS 200-400, ANTE 50


5.40pm: Fighting for the Unknown-ese
It's that wonderful time of the day when the nationality statistics of EPT Tallinn are released, and anyone with a peculiar fixation on whether Lithuania is better represented than Latvia, or who wins between Mexico and Malta, can see the full breakdown of representative countries on this interesting spreadsheet.

The best represented country here in Estonia is...wait for it...Finland, with 32 players. Russia is next, with 27, then Sweden (21) and Germany (19). The host country comes in next, with 18, and then we're into the also rans.

The best news is that Unknown has made a solid showing again. Despite the baggage handlers' strike at Unknown International Airport, as well as the prohibitive exchange rate between the Unknown Shilling (USH) and the Euro, two players have made it over from Unknown to Estonia. Good luck; all of Unknown is right behind you; it's about time we heard the Unknown national anthem again. --HS

5.35pm: Linde left looking for wireless
EPT Copenhagen runner-up Per Linde is out of the tournament and already looking for an internet connection to get grinding online. That's what we've been led to believe by his t-shirt which reads 'I NEED WI-FI' in large block capital letters. Playfully ironic or just plain helpful? -- RD

ept tallinn_day 1b_per linde.jpg

What do we want? WI-FI! When do we want it? When we get knocked out!

5.28pm: The usual suspects
Mention the name Ronnie Kaiser to anyone who knows anything in poker these days and you'll usually watch them tap the side of their nose, lower their voice and say something like: "Good player". The conspiratorial tones only heighten the impact - and make you feel as though you're discussing the similarly-named Mr Soze of cinematic lore.

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Ronny Kaiser on day 1B at EPT Tallinn

Kaiser has now filled a chair on the table already featuring Jeff Sarwer, Annette Obrestad and Nicolo Calia today, and he is already making his presence felt. He took back-to-back pots from Sarwer, with Clark Charles also losing a little in collateral damage as the two went at it.

On the first occasion, Sarwer and Kaiser were already at a turn, with the board showing 2♥A♦Q♥A♥. Sarwer bet 2,000 and Kaiser called. The river was Q♣ and Sarwer checked. Kaiser bet 5,050 and that was enough.

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Jeff Sarwer: Nothing to laugh about

The very next hand, Kaiser opened to 650 from the cut off and Clark Charles called on the button. Sarwer also called in the small blind, taking three of them to a flop of 2♦5♦8♥. Sarwer checked and that prompted a bet of 1,300 from Kaiser, which Charles called.

Sarwer found a sort-of squeeze check raise, and made it 6,525. Kaiser, munching through a plate of spaghetti bolognese and swigging on a bottle of water, paused long enough to count out 23,300 from his stack and pushed it over the line. That was more than either Charles or Sarwer had left.

Charles chuckled. He looked over to Sarwer, attempting to get an idea of the Canadian's future plans for the pot, but predictably determined nothing. After clearly contemplating the call that would have put his tournament at risk, he folded. Sarwer flung his cards into the muck too.

Kaiser stacked up all the shrapnel, leaving Charles and Sarwer with about 21,000 each. -- HS

5.20pm: Ruthenberg shown the door
Team PokerStars Pro Sebastian Ruthenberg is out. He was sent to the rail by Cristiano Blanco who's A♥A♠ got the better of Ruthenberg's A♦K♠. -- SB

5.15pm: Never-Nevalainen
Emiliano Bono opened for 900 which Martin Hansen called before Seppo Parkkinen announced "re-raise," from the button, making it 5,200 to play. Janne Nevalainen was in the big blind and paused before acting, first asking Bono how much he had ("12" he said, holding up fingers on one hand) before asking the dealer how much the original raise was. Then he bet 9,500.

Bono passed, as did Hansen, but Parkkinen called for a flop of 3♣8♣4♦.

Nevalainen led the betting, making it 5,500. This ultimately proved overkill as looking over at Parkkinen he realised 2,500 would have done. Less so, Parkkinen sitting with less than 2,000 chips and with a decision to make, with 21,000 chips waiting in the middle.

"You have a pair of kings or a pair of aces," said Parkkinen. And with that in mind he announced "fold."

"Fold?" asked Nevalainen, needing confirmation. When he got it he showed J♦J♣. Sitting next to Parkkinen, Jens Kyllonen grinned. Nevalainen up to 33,000. - SB


ept tallinn_day 1b_jp kelly.jpg

JP Kelly


5.05pm: Pukhov leaves Kelly bewildered
Mark Pukhov has just won a large 33,000 pot off JP Kelly leaving the British Team PokerStars Pro looking thoroughly confused.

Pukhov had opened for 750 from the hijack and Kelly had three-bet to 2,000 from the cut-off. Call. Pukhov check-called a 2,200 c-bet on the 8♦J♣4♣ flop before leading 2,600 into the J♦ turn. Kelly opted to call.

Pukhov checked the T♠ river and Kelly grabbed two yellow 5,000 chips and pinged them between his finger and thumb onto the table. Pukhov gave the 10,000 bet some serious thought before making the call.

Kelly: A♣K♣
Pukhov: 2♦2♠

Kelly looked surprised by the call, which also got a curious look from John O'Shea. Pukhov up to 80,000, Kelly down to 37,000. -- RD

4.50pm: Facts and figures
A total of 190 players bought in for Day 1B, 173 of them remain. We play three more levels today before the field unites for Day 2 tomorrow.

4.45pm: Play continues
Play restarts in Level 5 with blinds at 150-300 with a 25 ante.

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Kevin Stani

Reporting team in Tallinn: Stephen Bartley, Marc Convey, Rick Dacey and Howard Swains

Stephen Bartley
@StephenBartley in Day 1B