PokerStars Marbella Festival: Day 1B Level 1-4 updates (100-200 ante 25)
4.15pm: End of level four - 15 minute break
The booming baritone of the tournament director just announced the end of the level over the tannoy and the players needed little encouragement to bolt out of the darkened recesses of the casino into the blazing sunshine outside.
We'll be back shortly for level five! -- RS
3.56pm: Back from the brink
Team Online member Grzegorz "DaWarsaw" Mikielwwicz finished the level with a vengeance.
"I think my lowest point was 2,700," he told us.
Well that's all in the past - he is now stacking 28,000. The capper came in his small blind, facing an early position open to 400 and two calls, Grzegorz made it 1,600. The man had previously been seen squeezing queen two of clubs from the blinds, so its no surprise that he got zero respect. The first two players called and the third, on the button, decided to play for it all - 6,600 total - which got the pot heads up with Grzegorz's pocket aces. As much equity as his nines had, there would be no sweat here for the button, and a huge rush of "good spots" puts DaWarsaw back in the mix. -- GC
3.48pm: Georgy aces the competition
Some hands just play themselves and the conflict that erupted preflop between Georgy Gukasyan and one of his tablemates was unsurprising when all the chips flew into the middle and the pair turned over aces and kings respectively.
No king arrived to sour his cooler and he whooped and high-fived as he collected his brand new chip-challenging stack of 38k.
His morose opponent meanwhile looked ready to make a dent in the bar's supplies of hard liquor - a pittance left for him to try and spin back up. -- RS
3.31pm: Chattha slips the noose
Chaz Chattha just faced a tough decision - his opponent having led for 5k on the river of a Q♠Q♥A♣3♥4♥ board.
Chaz faced him down and mulled hard about his decision, ultimately choosing to throw his hand away - a decision validated when his opponent triumphantly flipped up pocket queens for quads!
"Nice hand," Chaz quietly agreed, licking his wounds with his stack down to 14k. -- RS
3.12pm: Notables and their progress
A few quick counts from around the tables:-
Surinder Sunar - pensive and in credit --- 24k
Leo Margets - chatty and in slight decline --- 16k
Kevin Williams - newly arrived, chipstack almost untouched --- 20k
Martins Adeniya --- rising inexorably ---28k
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 100-200 ante 25
2.58pm:Gutierrez surprised once more by boon to his stack
Gutierrtez had an eye for the quick pass when he was part of Real Madrid's talented emsemble of players, but he was unwilling to lay down his pocket queens facing a 1k bet from Aleksandr Kniazev on a K♣8♦7♠5♥T♦ board - pulling a face as if to suggest he might have just scored an own goal.
His bravery was rewarded however as Kniazev showed down a narrowly-pipped pair of jacks to yield the pot to Guti.
The Spaniard is up to 22k and moving in the right direction, though still someway off the current chip leaders... -- RS
2.34pm: Getting ground down
We caught up with Grzegorz Mikielewicz -- that's DaWarsaw to you -- after a rough first two levels, leaving him with about half of starting stack. His most recent orbit went something like this:
UTG - folds
BB - An MP player opens the pot for 300 and the BTN calls. Grzegorz squeezed to 900 and both players called. Not dissuaded, the Team Online member continued for 1,000 on a 8♦ 6♠ 2♥ flop, thinning the field to a single villain. The dealer turned the Q♥ which elicited another bet and call, 1,300 this time. Finally the board completed with the K♥, which Mikielewicz thought was worth 2,000. It was for both players, DaWarsaw showing Q♣ 2♣ for queens up, second best to his opponent's 8♥ 9♥.
"All day like that. I get full value." Grzegorz lamented to us.
SB - a hand off was in order.
BTN - Our hero called a late position raise and the small blind came along. On a J♠ 4♣ 2♣ flop he fired 450, but was called in both spots. The turn A♦, a nice bluffing opportunity surely, was turned down by all as it checked through. All sorts came in on the 8♣ river and the small blind lead out for 800, a bet the initial raiser flat called without consternation. It was nothing close to the head rubbing that the Polish pro on the button was experiencing. DaWarsaw gave it up and was rewarded, the small blind tabling 6♣ 5♣ for a small flush.
CO to MP - Grzegorz decided some folding was in order after all that damage, his stack has been ground down to 3,000 chips.
EP - It is at this point Grzegorz took a walk. Steam break? Not exactly. Nature called. -- GC
1.52pm: Sexy river bluff all in vain for Wealthall
Nick Wealthall has had some ups and downs over the first few levels, one of the downs seeing him go for three streets of value with aces, only to run into a rivered two pair in the hands of his opponent.
However he did make what he insisted we describe as a "sexy river bluff" to compensate for the damage done to his stack.
"It's all worthless though because the image I'd been carefully cultivating means nothing now as I've just been moved from my table!"
Wealthall has 21k... -- RS
1.28pm: Hogwood empties the Basin and soars up the leaderboard
Andrew Robert Hogwood is flying the flag for the UK here and he's just deprived tablemate Yonatan Basin of most of his stack, his pocket queens connecting sweetly with a queen-high flop.
The pair went to war but Basin was unable to table a superior hand, leaving Hogwood to sweep up a monster pot and reach the giddy heights of 33k, whilst Basin was left with the proverbial bowl of rice. - RS
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 75-150
2.20pm: Walk away from the light
Break's over meaning the courtyard full of players basking like lizards in the sun has dispersed as they return to their tables to take up the gauntlet once more.
2.05pm: End of level 2: Break it up
The end of level 2 means the players are now indulging in a 15 minute break to quench their thirsts for sunshine, caffeine, nicotine and maybe even fresh air.
We'll be back soon! -- RS
1.49pm: Alternate universe
There's a thronged rail of want-to-be players crossing their fingers and biting their nails on the sidelines, clutching their alternate tickets with sweaty fingers, desperate to see a host of early bust-outs.
Well their prayers appear to be coming true - already we have seen a number of eliminations in what must be one of the fastest starts for a 20k event ever seen.
35 hopefuls have already been able to take their places at the table and with alternates running for four levels, this number looks set to rise
even higher. -- RS
1.35pm: A snap-shot from the casino
A heavily tatooed Gutierrez sighs as he prepares to relinquish a pot with K-Q on an ace-high board, only to break into a smile as he realises he's chopping the pot - 18k...
Chaz Chattha barrells his opponent off an ace-high board before tapping out a few emails on his ipad - 21k...
Leo Margets happily chats to her tablemates who seem irrepressibly keen to make her acquaintance - 20,500...
Martins Adeniya is impassive and focussed as always as his laser eyes study every action at his table - 18k... -- RS
1.21pm: Margets back on track
The dynamic Leo Margets is back in Marbella to play cards for the second time this year.
"It might not be my first choice for vacation, but I understand it being a perfect poker location. You can party here and the beach is probably one hundred meters away. "
Margets juggles a diversity of passions, taking 'time off' to train for a marathon. That is until her effort got sidetracked by a bout with chicken pox.
"I'm feeling better, but not one hundred percent. It's a bit more serious when you get it as an adult."
"So I have been looking forward to this tournament," she added.
Leo couldn't be more pleased with her addition to PokerStars' prestigious Team Pro.
"I see it as a career achievement. It feels good to be in. It feels a lot like a family."
In a sea of blokes who just rolled out of bed, Margets is radiant, hard to believe she's been under the weather. -- GC
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 50-100
1.05pm: Wealthall spies a touch of value
Nick Wealthall was very excited and bounded over to us as we passed his table with an interesting hand he wished to share between two of his tablemates.
A raise preflop and a call was pretty standard but when the initial raiser led a T-9-6 rainbow board, was raised and now 3-bet his opponent, who called, suddenly an interesting pot was in the making.
An offsuit four on the turn saw a bet from the pre-flop raiser induce a mighty shove from his opponent.
An easy snap-call followed as the PFR held the nuts, whilst his overly enthusiastic companion could only table a tad overplayed ace-ten for top pair - drawing dead going into the river.
"An 800 big blind pot with top pair! I've never seen anything like it. It's incredible - and great!" gushed Wealthall as he dashed back to re-take his seat. -- RS
12.42pm Jewels in the crown
Many of the players will have bustled up to the casino as unknowns looking to write a page in history but there are some players here who have already made their mark in the world one way or another.
These include the multitalented Nick Wealthall who has taken off his media hat to don the metaphorical baseball cap and hoody of the poker player. Some big names from the UK poker scene to have made the trip to Spain include James Mitchell, Martins Adeniya and Surinder Sunar.
Spanish hopes lie partly in the vast numbers they have in attendance and partly in the presence of players such as Team PokerStars Pro Leo Margets, who made a memorable deep run at the 2009 WSOP Main Event. Another Spanish player who will likely attract attention is Jose Maria Gutierrez - the ex-Real Madrid footballer, commonly known as "Guti", boosting the star quality of the field.
We have barely scratched the surface - there are a host of big names duking it out on the felt and we can expect some incendiary face-offs as the day advances. -- RS
12.31pm: DaWarsaw pacing himself
A regular of the Estrellas Poker Tour, Poland's Grzegorz "DaWarsaw" Mikielewicz "loves playing in Spain," treating live MTTs as "like a bonus, something extra," from his usual insane six-max zoom grinding. Mikielewicz typically pours in monster volume, playing millions of hands per year while representing PokerStars' Team Online. He's also a fanatic of the Miami Heat, the team currently trailing the San Antonio Spurs, two games to one, in the NBA finals. Games start at three in the morning European time.
"During the night I go to the hotel lobby to watch. But if I make Day 2, I will skip the game. I will be professional," he told us between pots.
What about action on the outcome?
"Yes... but I bet small," he smiled. -- GC
12.10pm: Cards are in the air!
So a short hiatus to iron out a few procedural gremlins and the tournament is underway - the tournament arena is awash with the sounds of chip riffling - let's get it on!
11.58pm: Bursting at the seams
It looks like we're in for another full day here as tournament staff hurry up the tardy crowd of players and satellite qualifiers. Today is more than sold out; there is a deep list of alternates. Who knew paradise was the place to attract poker players? -- GC
Welcome to the PokerStars Marbella Festival for Day 1b!
Day 1a proved an out and out success - Casino Marbella pulling in a bumper field of 352 for the opening day of this inaugural joint UKIPT ESPT venture.
With the sun beaming down outside the players inside were working up a sweat of their own, and it was Russian Andrey Vladimirovich Shubin who put his chips to best effect, reaching a monumental 202,500 by the close of play.
113 of the 352 entrants made it through the day's play and with another sell-out field promised for today, we anticipate another cracking day of poker.
Sun, sea, sand, sangria and poker - all the ingredients for a compulsive day are here for us and we intend to keep you abreast of all the exciting developments as the race for the title continues.
We're moments away from the start so good luck everyone! -- RS
PokerStars Blog reporting team at PokerStars Marbella Festival brought to you by UKIPT and ESPT: Rod Stirzaker and Gareth Chantler. Photos by Eric Vogel.