PokerStars Marbella Festival: Day 3, level 23-25 updates (20,000-40,000, ante 5,000)

9.05pm: Geilich leads PokerStars Marbella Festival final table field
Day 3 of the PokerStars Marbella Festival was always guaranteed to be a cracker and after a tough day's poker, it was Ludovic Geilich who beat off all and sundry to claim the chip lead.


Geilich proved a conundrum impossible to solve

A busy day's poker saw an aggressive field of 48 players return to vie for the final table spots, the UK's Chris Derrick the man leading the pack.

Derrick was the sole player to cap one milion chips yesterday and must have slept like a baby last night but there are no guarantees in poker and a series of lost showdowns crippled his stack - Fernando Curto Gonzalez applying the finishing touches to send the unlucky Derrick glumly to the cashout desk with his dreams in tatters.

James Mitchell was another UK player looking to claim glory on Spanish soil, but his fortunes took a nose-dive when he ran into the brick wall that was Kamil Hrabia, the Pole seeing off Mitchell on his way to a deep run that took him all the way to the final table.

The two remaining Irishmen - Season 3's UKIPT online Qualifier of the Year Dara O'Kearny and the experienced Dave Masters both made it deep, the latter seemingly fuelled by a sole diet of beer, though the pair came up just short of the final table.

Popular bullfighter Miguel Abellan Hernando looked set to add a marquee name to the final table roster, but in this arena he was unable to swish his cape and evade the horns of variance, gored with the final in sight.


Hernando gave a bullish performance at the felt

Whilst others were stalling, the man who entered the day in second spot, Ludovic Geilich - the German with a glaswegian accent - was on an inexorable rise. He proved a thorn in the side of everyone he faced off against, creating a number of adversaries throughout the day, but in the final reckoning he bested them all to top the chip counts.

Here are the men who will return for the final tomorrow along with their chip stacks.

Ludovic Geilich Germany 4100000
Kamil Hrabia Poland PokerStars Qualifier 2815000
Pablo Rojas Spain PokerStars Qualifier 2155000
Jorge Eguaras Paniagua Spain 2095000
Asier Crespo Spain PokerStars Qualifier 1410000
Fernando Curto Spain 1190000
Jonatan Soderstrom Sweden 660000
Lucas Blanco Spain PokerStars Qualifier 440000

...and here are the prizes those players will be gunning for - a whopping €158,200 awaiting the winner.

1st € 158,200
2nd € 102,550
3rd € 62,250
4th € 48,520
5th € 35,710
6th € 23,800
7th € 17,580
8th € 12,820

We'll return at 12:00pm tomorrow as the bid to crown the latest joint UKIPT and ESPT champion continues but for now thanks for following!. -- RS

8.15pm: When the levee breaks, Lopez eliminated in 9th (€ 9,890)
Players combined on one table of nine, looking to make a final elimination to end play for the day. Nearing the end of level 25, with 20,000-40,000 blinds, it folded all the way to Sergio Lopez in the small blind. He had been playing with a decent amount of trepidation since two tables left. So when he open shoved for twenty-one big blinds, 850,000, he probably had something worthy of a wager. Kamil Hrabia, however, could never possibly fold Q♣ Q♠ in the big blind.

"I didn't expect ace-king in that spot, not trying to induce or anything," Hrabia later opined.

But that was exactly the hand he confronted, A♣ K♦, one of the few in the deck he didn't dominate.

Play of the final nine had been cautious since the table started, and few hands had actually been played before this hell broke loose. Everyone stood as the dealer peeled fate off the deck.

T♣ T♦ 2♣ flopped. Lopez stood silently.



The board completed sans drama but the players didn't need an injection to break out in cheers. Lopez shook Hrabia's hand and exited.

"What does relieved mean?" Hrabia answered a question with another question.

"Yes, I am happy," he replied. "It's always nice to hold."

And there you have it. In short order this bloodbath of Saturday poker has taken our field from 48 pretenders to 8 contenders. -- GC


Lopez has 10,000 Euros to get his chip up

8.22pm: Hrabia mounts a recovery
Devastated by their earlier hand versus Ludovic, some players would have lost their composure and blown their stack away.

Kamil Hrabia is made of sterner stuff though, and shrugged off defeat to turn his fortunes round within a few hands.

When the busy Gonzalez opened to 105k, Hrabia took little time to cut out a couple of chunky stacks and re-pop the Spaniard to 255k.

Gonzalez called out of position and the pair saw a flop of K♥K♦7♠ peel off.
A check from Gonzalez was met with a 255k c-bet from Hrabia. Gonzalez called.

The turn was the 2♥ and both players made cautious checks.

Come the apparently meaningless 4♦ on the river, Gonzalez now led for a meaty 450k. Hrabia squirmed in his seat but couldn't lay down his pocket tens and the relief on his face when Gonzalez tabled ace-jack high was there for all to see.

He's back to 1.7 million. -- RS

8.15pm: Hernando bows out 10th - € 9,890
It's official - bull fighting is easier than winning poker tournaments.

If you need the proof, witness the demise of Miguel Abellan Hernando, who is used to getting the best of his bovine opposition but the collection of humans standing in his way proved a tougher nut to crack.

His exit hand was simple. He moved in from the button and his compatriot Jorge Eguaras Paniagua shoved to isolate.

Cards on their backs:

Miguel Abellan Hernando: A♠ 9♦
Jorge Eguaras Paniagua: A♣K♣

A K♠5♥7♣A♦J♣ board meant aces and kings for Paniagua was just the ticket to send Hernando through the exit doors.He received generous congratulations from the remaining players, who will now coalesce onto one table - one more elimination signalling the "official" final table has been reached. -- RS


Not quitting his day job

7.48pm: Geilich duels Hrabia
Play is five handed on each table and Fernando Gonzalez folded his button, which led to a no holds barred confrontation between Kamil Hrabia and Ludovic Geilich in blind versus blind. This hand had an air of savagery from the start, and savagery is what we got.

Hrabia, who has kept a low profile while navigating this often boisterous field, opened the pot to 90,000 and Ludovic, sitting on a huge stack and involved in most hands, probably would have played anything. He called.

The flop was dealt, T♣ 3♦ 2♠ and the dry board elicited a 85,000 chip continuation bet. Ludovic raised without too much hesitation, to 195,000. Something smelled premeditated. Hrabia cut out a call.

The turn was the 9♦, Hrabia checked to the raiser and Ludovic did not slow down, firing 315,000. Surely he was representing a small range of value hands -- top pair or better. In the tension it appeared as if Hrabia knew Ludovic was bluffing. Actually given Ludovic's reputation, just about everyone though he was bluffing.

The river? The harmless 7♥. Hrabia checked one last time and Ludovic sat. He counted his many stacks, he shuffled some chips, and he made a tiny balk at the pot. Eventually the tension was relieved when he checked, and had to be prompted to show his hand, 7♦ 5♥.

Hrabia was devastated. He slunk back in his chair and held onto his cards, performing that slow motion muck that signifies a player who considers himself on the wrong side of this chaotic universe's cruelty. Ludovic remains in the driver seat. -- GC


Hrabia might never bluff-catch again

7.39pm: Gonzalez dances with Geilich again
Fernando Gonzalez and Ludovic Geilich played a massive four-bet pot just one level ago that featured an all-in on the flop. This time, Gonzalez opened on the button to 105,000, quite a large size. This didn't deter Geilich, who bumped it up to 270,000 from the big blind. Gonzalez called and both players checked the Q♥ J♣ 9♦ flop.

The turn was a quiet 4♠, Ludovic bet 265,000 and Gonzalez moved all-in. A count was requested and the total was 770,000 for 505,000 more. As has been Ludovic's habit on the river, the questioning began. He was perturbed, tilting his head to the side, giving looks of uncertainty. It seemed reasonable to assume he had a hand like AJ.

"Pocket fours?" Ludovic inquired as he laid it down.

"Show me pocket fours."

Gonzalez, ever the gentleman, let him pick one, and it was the Q♦.

"I had you crushed preflop... crushed." -- GC

7.30pm: Back for level 25!
The players are so close they can smell the final table.
Here's how they stand as they home in on the final eight - Ludovic Geilich leading the way...

Ludovic Geilich Germany 3635000
Pablo Rojas Martínez Del Mármol Spain PokerStars Qualifier 2025000
Sergio Sanchez Lopez Spain 1860000
Asier Crespo Spain PokerStars Qualifier 1665000
Kamil Hrabia Poland PokerStars Qualifier 1660000
Fernando Curto Gonzalez Spain 1115000
Per Jonatan Soderstrom Sweden 835000
Jorge Eguaras Paniagua Spain 750000
Miguel Abellan Hernando Spain 725000
Lucas Blanco Oliver Spain PokerStars Qualifier 565000

LEVEL UP: BLINDS 20,000-40,000, ante 5,000

7.18pm: Colour up!
Players are on their way back to the final two tables and there are now only two colours in play, 5,000 chip blues and 25,000 chip greens. -- GC

7.08pm: End of level 24
Another two levels, another 15 minute break. Just 10 remain now - the intention of course to reach that magical number of eight runners for our final table.

We'll have official chip counts when we return.

7.02pm: For once the ladies love Rojas
Earlier on, Pablo Rojas suffered in an all-in coup with queens, but he has battled on well, building his stack up and moments ago - it all paid off.

Once again queens were in Rojas' hands, a preflop war with Lucas Oliver seeing him move all-in and once again he held a major equity advantage.

Oliver had pocket jacks this time but a 9♦2♥5♠4♥3♦ board did nothing to alter the direction of the pot and once the chips were tallied - an 800k dent had been put in Oliver's stack - the Spaniard down to 580k, whilst Rojas has recovered with aplomb - up to 1.6 million -- RS

6.41: Ludovic cannot be stopped; Yalcin busts in 11th (€ 8,060)
What can be said of this hand? Ludovic Geilich is conductor of the pain train and he is on track to smash this final table bubble to smithereens.

The hand prior he had open raised, once again, to fold to a three-bet from Soderstrom.

Under the gun, he was undeterred, and this time his resistance came in the form of a call from Moris Yalcin's button.

The flop, 8♦ 4♦ 3♦ held plenty possibilities, and Geilich continued for 78,000.

Yalcin called quickly, smoothly even.

The turn? The 4♥.

An all-in on the order of 280,000 produced a quick call -- Yalcin, in Phil Hellmuth style, had trapped the big bully with A♠ A♣. But his trickery had left him vulnerable, for the A♦ 3♣ on the other side of the table had plenty of river cards on which it could improve.

And improve that hand did, in an awfully painful way, on the 3♠ river.

Ludovic was sure to keep two fingers on his cards until the dealer pushed him the remnants of Yalcin's tournament life. Ludovic now holds 3,630,000 chips. -- GC


Yalcin's heart sunk with his aces cracked

6.32pm: Ludovic continues his rise
Ludovic is well over 2 million now, raising pre-flop and bareling three streets of a T♦7♥3♠8♥2♠ board, picking up the pot on the river as his opponent folded with a sigh.

This is becoming commonplace, Ludovic is really distressing his tablemates with his consistent aggression and will be a tough man to stop if this pattern continues... -- RS

6.25pm: David Arrenas Delagdo busts in 12th (€8,060)
Another crucial race has gone the way of Ludovic Geilich. Crucial, that is, for David Arrenas Delgado. He needed to hit when his A♣ J♥ found itself representing the last of his short stack, all-in preflop against Geilich's 4♦ 4♠. The board did not oblige, running out 3♠ 5♠ K♣ T♦ 6♠. He can go home happy at least to have made the final dozen out of a field of 763.

6.13pm: Jesus Rodriguez out in 13th (€ 6,600)
The alacrity of eliminations is unabated. Tonight we will form a final table of nine and then knock out one more before ending the day. There is a players party tonight here tonight and it is Saturday, a plausible explanation for the rapid decimation of the field? Perhaps it is in the cards, the latest knockout one Jesus Rodriguez, at the hands of Lucas Oliver. The match-up?

A♠ K♣ for Oliver
Q♦ T♦ for Rodriguez

The flop was queen high, Q♣ 4♣ 8♣ but Oliver still had as good a chance of scooping as his opponent. The turn was a brick, the 3♠, but the river notched it -- the 9♣. -- GC

5.59pm: Ludovic is cold-blooded
The biggest pot of the tournament without a showdown was just played and as you might expect, it involved sizable bets.

Asier Crespo started things off with an open to 50,000 in early position. Play was seven handed and Fernando Gonzalez three-bet to an oversized 142,000, on the button. Ludovic Geilich was an interested observer turned participant, cold four-betting to 291,000. Crespo ducked out quickly, and Gonzalez, who started the hand with close to two million, called.

Ludovic hadn't been covered for a while, his stack a healthy 1,700,000. The flop came 7♥ 8♥ 6♦ and Geilich shuffled chips in his right hand at a feverish pace. Gonzalez intently tracked his every move. Eventually, he checked.

Gonzalez didn't take nearly as long to lay out a huge number of wagering units, 350,000 of them. Once the dealer spread them into a countable arrangement, Geilich said two magic, hyphenated, words.


The all-in triangle plunked before him -- he had just check-shoved to a shade over 1,300,000.

Gonzalez looked at Ludovic, looked at the ceiling, and looked at his cards. None provided comfort and he folded with displeasure. -- GC


Ludovic Geilich, not afraid of big pots

5.52pm: Kamil Hrabia leads PokerStars Marbella Festival
With the final table in sight, it's Kamil Hrabia who is the favourite for the title right now, his stack a highly impressive 1.8 million. -- RS

5.45pm: Ladies not so hot - Lopez doubles
When Sergio Lopez three-bet all-in for 500k with pocket tens, it was a shock when the initial raiser Rojas made the call and showed up with pocket queens.

WIth Lopez' tournament on the line, his body visibly shook as he spiked a set on the ten-high board to stay in contention.

A remarkably placid Rojas took the beat well, shook hands with his compatriot and continued with 450k of his own. -- RS

5.38pm: Rudi Buntinx doubles Sergio Lopez, busts
Rudi Buntinx and Sergio Lopez were very close in stacks. So close that it was in question who was going to bust who when all the money went in preflop, Lopez's 3♣ 3♥ against Buntinx's A♦ K♣. As usual a player celebrated prematurely, when the flop came 3♦ 2♣ 5♠ Lopez acted as if his lead was unassailable.

"Vamooo!" he cried as the J♥ peeled off on the turn.

The 2♥ meant the end of Buntinx, who was gracious in his exit, good for 14th place, and €6,600. -- GC


A good run for Rudi Buntinx

5.28pm: Cambianica goes for broke...and succeeds
Renzo Cambianica had around 270k and folded to him on the button, he moved all-in with 8♦6♦ - only for Rudi Buntinx to tank-call from the small blind with K♣Q♦.

When Cambianica revealed his relatively weak holding, Buntinx victory-slammed his hand down although he had some work to do before he could lay claim to the pot.

A board of A♥T♦4♠5♠9♥ did the trick, Cambianica slipping out of contention in 15th spot. Once Buntinx had padded his stack with the Italian's chips, he was up to 800k. -- RS

5.11pm: A slew of bustouts
The pace here is unbelievable. We just lost four players in the space of four minutes.

First, Sergio Lopez buoyed his short stack when his 7♦ 7♣ held up against the similarly short Joan Suasi's 5♠ 5♥.

Next, a crippled Francisco García moved all-in preflop from the button with K♦ 2♣ and was called by Per Soderstromin's pocket eights in the big blind. The window card was the 8♣ and that was that. The rest of the board running out J♠ A♥ 6♣ K♣. All smiles here, Garcia was pleased with his finish.

"I have to say, I'm happy with the day, full stop," Dave Masters, rather prophetically, told us impromptu.

He would not long after three-bet all-in from the big blind with Q♠ J♦, for eleven big blinds, over the button raise of Jorge Paniagua, who called with A♥ T♦. The first face up card was the Q♣ by virtue of the dealer's unorthodox style, it took a moment before the flop's A♦ and 6♥ joined. The turn was the A♠ and Masters shook everyone's hand in good spirits. The reporting team likely the most devastated at the loss of this eloquent quote machine.


In his element

Finally, one of the last UK players alive, Richard Milne Senior, was facing a river bet of 115,000 on A♠ 2♣ J♦ K♣ K♦ and decided to move all-in over the top for 330,000 total. When he was called after a long tank, his J♠ 7♣ could not match the K♥ 6♣ of his currently unidentified opponent. We'll get the mystery man's name soon, as it appears he's been misnamed on today's list of runners. -- GC

5.08pm: Hrabia critiques Mitchell's line
Kamil Hrabia was the man who put paid to James Mitchell's chances earlier and he was less than complimentary about Mitchell's line. (moving all-in with pocket sevens on a Td-8d-8s board.)

"He never gets called by worse and doesn't fold out anything better. I thought he had a diamond draw and was surprised when he turned over sevens."

Asked about why the Poles seem to have been doing well recently, Hrabia said, "we have a good community, we all know each other and discuss strategy a lot."

Hrabia is looking for his best live result here and is in with a realistic shout of advancing further, up to 800k with the last two tables in sight. -- RS

5.02pm: Level 23 in effect
The break's over and 20 players remain. The final table is just in sight and there will be a few sweaty palms out there (and not just from clutching icy bottles of beer - not looking at anyone in particular Mr Masters.)

To read updates from levels 19-22, click here.

PokerStars Blog reporting team at PokerStars Marbella Festival brought to you by UKIPT and ESPT: Rod Stirzaker and Gareth Chantler. Photos by Eric Vogel.