PokerStars Marbella Festival: Day 4, level 26-29 updates (50,000-100,000, ante 10,000)

End of level 29 - Time for a pause
We've scarcely been able to snatch a breath of fresh air, so blistering has been the start but the end of level 29 means the clock has been paused and the players, rail and media have all been given time to rest, refresh and recuperate.

Back in 45 minutes as we play for a finish.

4.52pm: Geilich pressure silences Rojas
The story of this final table has been the pressure Geilich has been able to inflict on his competitors. Up till now Rojas has cut an amiable chatty figure, seemingly unaffected by all this and happy to engage in regular verbal exchanges with the glaswegian, but he is done talking for now.

The stakes are high and the earphones have been put in but so far, this has done the Spaniard no good - Geilich making hay in the early stages and building a large chip lead.

A big hand of note that has given Geilich the advantage saw Geilich raise the button to 200k and Rojas call.

come the 8♥4♠7♦ flop, Rojas led for 200k - smooth-called by his opponent in position.

The turned T♥ caused some carnage.
Check from Rojas, 475,000 from Geilich and a sneaky check-raise to 1,150,000 from Rojas. This apparent show of strength didn't deter Geilich however and he made the call.

River: T♦
A bet of 1,150,000 was delivered from Rojas, and Geilich wasted little time announcing all-in.

Shake of the head and wince from Rojas and he mucked his cards.

"Ludoooo, Ludoooo," echoed round the hall, as Geilich's ever-growin Scottish rail found their voice, their man flying into a 3-1 chip lead. -- RS


Rojas is wilting in the early exchanges

4.31pm: Kamil combusts in 3rd for €95,000 - Rojas and Geilich heads-up for glory!
If Kamil Hrabia was permanently scarred by that monumental bluff from Geilich, he wore those scars internally, his face re-adopting the inscrutable mask we have grown accustomed to over the last few days.

His stack though showed visible damage, hovering around the 15BB danger zone - postflop play not really an option for the Pole anymore.

He briefly threatened a comeback, picking up a blind or two with preflop shove steals, but when Rojas raised the button to 200k and Hrabia shoved for his one and a half million stack a snap-call from Rojas was never likely to be good news.

Indeed, so it proved - what preflop was a pretty-looking K♣Q♣ for Hrabia looked like Cindarella's ugly sister when compared with the perfectly-formed A♠A♦ that Rojas held.

A king-high board with one club brought faint hope - a turned club more still - though a brick river shut the door on Hrabia's chances.

Hugs from his fellow players, applause from the crowd and a lucrative trip to the cash desk awaited though all eyes now swiveled on the pair remaining.

Pablo Rojas and Ludovic Geilich will contend the right to call themselves the PokerStars Marbella Festival champion. They're close to even in chips so this should be a riveting battle. -- RS


Luck deserts Kamil in the home stretch

4.12pm: The hand of the tournament
What's that acronym, AINEC? That's short for 'and its not even close' last we checked our interweb dictionary.

In short this hand will look down at any other played today. Everyone is talking about it -- jaded veterans and jejune railers alike.

It all began with Kamil Hrabia opening the button to 200,000 and Geilich three-betting to 485,000. Nothing new here. Hrabia has been surrendering to a lot of Geilich three-bets throughout the tournament, but especially the final table. When there were many, Hrabia was out of position, but that had changed. He called.

The flop came Q♦ 6♣ 3♠ and Geilich continuation bet 595,000.

Hrabia called without much pause.

The turn was the 8♦. Funny how a dry board can get wet in a hurry.

Geilich checked and Hrabia bet 800,000. If we had to guess, he was looking to look strong.

"All-in," said Geilich, he covered Hrabia but not by that much. His bet was about 3,600,000 total and represented Hrabia's tournament life.

Kamil Hrabia was agonized. If you read yesterday's coverage you'll be aware that this was not the first time Geilich threw Hrabia into the meat grinder. His left hand went to his face, then to rub the bridge of his nose. Three minutes passed. He was gutted. But it was about to get so much worse.

Hrabia folded and Geilich slickly held aloft the 7♦ 2♠. His rail exploded.

Whoa. The space was absolutely electrified. No one could believe Geilich's commitment to his read with absolutely zilch in the way of equity.

"I had a six," Hrabia answered Rojas later.

Geilich has a habit of telling his opponents why he made a good play and you can bet this was no exception.

"You should have checked," he told his punching bag.

Hrabia simply looked at the ceiling in disbelief. -- GC



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

3.58pm: Geilich doubles Rojas
It began with a button raise from Geilich to 160,000 and a small-blind three-bet from Rojas. Geilich simply moved all-in for around 2,500,000 effectively. Rojas called.

Rojas: A♣ J♣
Geilich: A♠ 5♠

The Spanish rail was calling "Jota! Jota!" -- in other words, for a jack.

It came right on the flop J♥ 6♠ 9♦ and the crowd went wild. Too quickly.

3♠ was the turn and those jumping for Rojas' joy were suddenly squeamish.

False alarm though, the Q♦ completed the board, and the rail stutter stepped back to jubilation. -- GC

3.41pm: Kamil delivered three barrels of value
Geilich has come off best over their various exchanges so far, but Kamil Hrabia finally turned the tables and made a dent of his own in the Scot's stack.

It took a big hand to do the damage, the Pole raising preflop from the button and flopping a set with a pair of sixes on a Q♦T♠6♦5♣8♥ board.

His bets of 175k, 395k and 960k over the streets were called all the way by Geilich - the latter causing him some consternation before finally he put out the requisite stack of chips, only to muck on seeing Hrabia's stellar holding.

That hand leaves Geilich down to 6.2 million and Kamil rising on 5 million. -- RS

3.32pm: Swift pace leads deep-stacked tigers circling
The fast start and subsequent eliminations have resulted in the players sitting relatively deep at this stage with the shortest stack a healthy 40 big blinds.

This has provided ample room for Rojas, Geilich and Hrabia to dance post-flop and they have been doing just that - regular raises from the buttons peeled and played down the streets.

"This is how I like to play poker," said Rojas who is a man who doesn't just let his cards do the talking at the table.

So far the status quo has been maintained - we await a big hand v big hand confrontation that will cause a shift in the chip standings. -- RS

3.15pm: A turn four bet
With deal in hand Pablo Rojas raised on the button and Geilich defended his big blind.

The flop came 8♣ 5♠ 4♠ and both players checked quickly.

The turn was a J♥ and fireworks went off.

First Geilich led for 195,000. Rojas raise to 500,000. Geilich did not take too long to three-bet to 1,100,000 chips.

"All-in," was the instant reply from Rojas.

Geilich folded.

Nothing like a deal to get the action back on track! -- GC

2.55pm: Negotiate, negotiate, negotiate... settle!
All three players were tardy coming back from the break, but before play started talk of a deal broke out.

"I want to play a little bit more," said Rojas casually, of the proposition.

But Geilich made the case that Rojas couldn't know if he would be out in second or in third.

"I'm going to win. I can feel it," countered Rojas.

Perhaps contradicting that, he had the ICM (that's independent chip model) numbers on hand, just in case.

"I don't do ICM," stated Geilich bluntly.

"I'll do a chip-chop."

A chip-chop for the chip leader, quelle surprise!

What followed was extensive quibbling over each player's chances of winning the tournament. The TD was on hand to provide everyone with the parameters for making a deal in this situation, at least 14,000 Euros would have to be put aside to play for.

Geilich got his chip-chop numbers: 122,000, for him, 95,000 for Rojas, and 92,000 for Hrabia.

"That's perfect!" he concluded.

"No, that's perfect for you," Rojas corrected him.

It was a real lovers quarrel; the two had been growing so close today.

"Let's play, for the glory!" Rojas added as cards got in the air.

Everyone was dealt their holdings, but the talking didn't stop. In fact, no action was taken as the conversation ran on. It was pretty clear that everyone wanted to make a deal here, the stakes too high to not warrant a reduction in variance.

"I would like to deal," confided Hrabia, who has no rail today, while the other two took their respective councils.

"You can put under my pictures 'Forever Alone," he joked. Kamil has been the most calm and collected of the players for some time and this tense period was no different. There are Poles here, should he win, maybe he'll collect some countrymen. In fairness Hrabia has a rail of one, an alluring maiden in a dress of ankle-length.

The dialogue wore on, believe me, we are truncating this report.


Six-figures can buy a friend, surely

"Let's play. If you get 60,000 out in third its a pity," Rojas told Geilich.

Finally cooperative action began to emerge.

"One hundred is my number," was Rojas' resolute position earlier, but it softened as they crept somewhere between the ICM numbers and the chip-chop.

It looked like they had settled on a proposal, 116,000 for Geilich, 98,000 for Rojas, and 95,000 Euros for Hrabia, with 14,000 left to play for. Certainly with money that substantial on the line, one could appreciate their back and forth. After going back to their rails Geilich and Rojas shook on it and Hrabia followed suit. A deal was struck! Only ten total minutes was lost from the tournament clock on account of two separate pauses. -- GC


Thou seest these lovers seek a place to fight

2.35pm:End of level 27 - Current chip stacks
Whilst the players take a break at the end of that level, here's the lay of the land - Geilich still holding dominion over his fellow competitors. --RS

Ludovic Geilich - 7,420,000
Pablo Rojas - 3,800,000
Kamil Hrabia - 3,635,000

2.28pm: Crespo's ship grounded in 4th spot - €48,520
Asier Crespo has survived a few all-in moves today but Kamil Hrabia eventually got the better of him.

Whilst the big stacks Rojas and Geilich can have fun playing post-flop poker, the smaller nature of Crespo's stack has meant pre-flop moves have been the way forward for him and once again we witnessed him moving all-in from the button.

A quick reshove from the quiet Hrabia left the pair heads-up and once the cards were exposed it was Hrabia's pocket queens that had a palpable edge over Crespo's A♥Q♠.

"Ass, ass, ass" yelled Crespo's vociferous supporters, not yelling obscenities but calling for the ace that would see his tournament continue.

It failed to arrive however over a J♣8♠5♦T♠7♦ board that opened up a host of possibilities on the turn, none of which came to fruition on the river.

Crespo smiled, evidently happy with his €48k payday and we were left three-handed after a blistering opening two levels. -- RS


Crespo and his reflective shades are no more

2.05pm: Lights out for Blanco - 5th for €35,710
The wrecking ball that is Geilich continues to pummel the stacks at the table - Lucas Blanco the latest casualty of the feisty young glaswegian.

Blanco kicked off proceedings with a now customary 120k open - Geilich peeling on the button.

A Q♥T♦4♣ board was met with a 130k c-bet from Blanco - Geilich peeling in position.

The 5♣ turn looked innocuous but was the catalyst for dramatic activity, Blanco leading for 250k, Geilich "clicking it back" to 500k before a final ship all-in for Blanco's entire 1.4 million stack.

Snappity-snap from Geilich who quickly flipped over pocket fives for a fortunately-spiked turned set, and Blanco could only table the drawless, drawing dead A♣Q♦ as he prepared to make his exit, barely registering the salt-in-the-wound A♦ on the river that gave him aces-up.

Loud and fulsome applause from the Spanish rail but Blanco bows out and Geilich consolidates his chip lead - up to 7.3 million.

"Man, stop winning chips!" yelled Rojas genially in Geilich's face. -- RS


Top, top no good versus Geilich

1.56pm: Geilich baits Rojas
Pablo Rojas and Ludovic Geilich have been a chatty little pair since play began. They have talked continuous, often showing their other hole cards once a heads-up confrontation is over. Rojas might show more cards than he keeps to himself.

"You got to go to Vegas man, its the best place to spend your money." Rojas advised Geilich on how to manage his winnings.

It was under that backdrop that Geilich opened to 120,000 and Rojas three-bet on the button to around 355,000. The two were quite deep. Geilich dwelled and called, the flop came K♥ 4♦ 3♠. A check produced a bet from Pablo, 180,000, and shortly thereafter, another call from the chip leader.

The turn was the T♣. If you aren't excited yet, just you wait. Geilich checked and Rojas rolled out 185,000 effortlessly. The running conversation had dropped to whispers, inaudible over the clamour of the rail. Geilich called again.

"Queen" Rojas requested.

Not this time, the river was the 8♣. With no possible flush, Ludovic decided to lead out 570,000. But three bets preflop and three bets postflop were not enough for his opponent.

Rojas cut out 1,300,000 and slid them across the betting line. Geilich snapped with one pair. That's top pair, top kicker: A♥ K♦.

"Why didn't you three-bet preflop?" asked Rojas.

"I knew you had ace-jack when you called for a queen," divulged Geilich. "I didn't three-bet because you fold ace-jack." -- GC

1.44pm: Soderstrom out in 6th -- € 23,800
The hand following Eguaras' elimination Jonatan Soderstrom moved all-in under the gun for 555,000. Kamil Hrabia called next to act and it folded around. The matchup?

Soderstrom: K♥ 8♠
Hrabia: A♥ 9♥

Hrabia had judged well, with the recent elimination of Eguaras and the blinds approaching, Soderstrom had a wide range in this spot.

The flop was a seemingly decisive A♠ J♠ J♣, but the turn delivered the 3♠ for a good old sweat.

The river peeled off the T♣ and the affable Soderstrom shook everyone's hand with a smile, making a gracious exit. He has been working a short stack for many an orbit here and 6th must count as a fantastic result. -- GC


One cool customer

1.36pm: Huge move sinks Eguaras in 7th -- € 17,580
The flop went three-way after Geilich opened, Rojas called on the button, and Eguaras completed the action in the big blind. The flop came 6♣ 5♥ 2♠, Geilich continued for 160,000 and got action in both spots.

The turn was a sweet one, the 4♥. Geilich gave up on the pot and Pablo Rojas bet 200,000 when checked to. This prompted an instantaneous all-in raise from Eguaras. Rojas sat up in his chair, didn't ask for a count (it was 1.05M), and called as if he had no choice.

He didn't. He had turned a straight with A♦ 3♦.

In his boldness Eguaras was not drawing dead, he needed a seven, any seven, to make a higher straight with 9♣ 8♠. The river 9♦ bestowed a useless pair and like that Eguaras was out in 7th. Pablo was happy to announce he had more chips to no one in particular. -- GC


Did you say call?

1.28pm: Fun, fun, fun in the sun, sun, sun
It may have been cold outside for the crew of Red Dwarf (apologies to those for whom that reference is too obscure) but here the combination of warm sunshine and golden, sandy beaches has enticed poker players to attend the Marbella Festival in their droves.

The Main Event here had a field far in excess of what was expected and the simultaneously-running €300 PokerStars Marbella Cup has proved to be a big hit also - 642 hopefuls flicking in a buy-in for a shot at the title.

If you didn't make it this year, clear a space in your diary next year and you won't regret it. Vegas can wait for one more week, surely? -- RS

1.15pm: Crespo rides the fortune train to double up
WIth his fearless attitude, giant stack and accomplished poker skills, Ludovic Geilich will be tough to outplay today. The others have to make some inroads into his stack however or they will be all be shooting for 2nd place.

Well if you can't outplay someone in poker, you either lose or you get lucky.

Crespo just did the latter.

Witnessing a Geillich open to 100k from the button and a Rojas small blind call, he pulled the trigger and shipped his 20 big blind stack into the middle. Geilich requested a count before also moving all-in to isolate the hand heads-up.

It worked, Rojas folded and the players showed their holdings.

Geilich: A♠9♠[
Crespo: K♣J♠

With a two million pot waiting for a new owner,. the board came Q♥6♣3♦9♥.....J♣.

The previously subdued rail exploded into life as Crespo hit one of the cards he needed. Loud roars and high fives were the order of the day.

Geilich looked unfazed as his stack took a relatively minor hit - down to 5 million but still comfortably covering the table. Crespo up to 2 million... -- RS


Crespo: Hitting cards and rising high

12.55pm: Fernando Curto Gonzalez eliminated 8th --€ 12,820
Gonzalez opened the cutoff to 110,000 and Ludovic Geilich (naturally) made a small three-bet to 225,000. There was a quick rejoinder for 950,000 more from Gonzalez. Have you heard the term "insta-call" dear reader?

The cards were on their back and Geilich is firing on all cylinders now -- big stack, big hands, and big pressure. He had the black death -- A♠ A♣.

Geilich was still going to survive one time in five with 6♦ 6♥.

The flop produced no sweat, 8♣ 8♠ Q♠. The turn was the T♥ as the Spanish contingent began to increase the volume on "seize!"

But it was not to be. The river was 'close' (but oh so far), the 5♠. What else is new? Ludovic Geilich has surpassed 5,500,000 chippies. -- GC


Calm before the storm

12.45pm: The ten minute hand
It appeared that a leveling war had broke out after our chip leader Geilich opened under the gun and Crespo three-bet in middle position to 250,000. After a long think, Ludovic was all-in. Crespo took an even longer think and we watched five minutes tick off the tournament clock. Had he made that fatal mistake of re-raising without a plan? Surely this was too long to ponder with a weak holding. The longer it took, the more relaxed and confident Geilich became. Crespo finally mucked. -- GC

12.40pm: Blanco squeezes
Lucas Blanco three-bet shoved from the small blind for 550,000, eleven big blinds, over a Geilich open and a Pablo Rojas flat call. Both bigger stacks instantly let it go. That's respect! -- GC

12.35pm: Blanco looks to boost his chances
With just 440k at the start of the day, Lucas Blanco will need to win a few showdowns before he becomes a realistic threat for the title.

For now though, he has got a couple of blind-stealing shoves through - his stack rising to over 600k. -- RS

12.24pm: Rojas aims to derail Geilich steamroller
If anyone was in any doubt of Ludovic Geilich's intentions prior to the tournament, those doubts have been firmly shelved. The opening hand served as a poignant reminder that this man has come to play and will fearlessly commit his stack if he feels the time is right.

The same can't be said for the rest of the table so far as Geilich has started to raise regularly, meeting no resistance to his 100k opens, picking up a chunky 115k each time he pulls the trigger and gets away with it.

Only one man has given Geilich any trouble, that man Pablo Rojas. When Kamil Hrabia opened for 100k and Geilich called, Rojas now executed the first squeeze play of the day - making it 285k to go.

Hrabia pulled out, but Geilich wasn't as easily dismissed and made the call.

The flop came K♠J♠7♠ - Geilich checking to Rojas who now cut out a chunky 375k bet. A short period of contemplation ended with a fold from Geilich.

"Nice hand," he offered as Rojas showed down the A♣ - Geilich tabling A♦Q♦. -- RS

12.15pm: First hand produces curiosity, all-in
Jorge Eguaras open the pot for 110,000 and its chip-leader Ludovic Geilich's big blind. He defends and the players see a J♠ 2♦ 8♦ flop. Ludovic check-calls an 180,000 chip bet from Eguaras. The turn was the J♦ and Ludovic pondering the development, the board getting soggy, began cutting out chips. It looked as if he had between 325,000 and 340,000 ready, but Eguaras beat him into the pot with 275,000. The out of turn bet stood should Geilich elect to check, which he did, after he scrunched his face.

Not too much time passed before Geilich moved all-in, putting Eguarias' stack at risk. The unhappy Spaniard folded Q♦ Q♣ face up, a hand with massive potential down the muck. -- GC

12.05pm: Introductions and pleasantries
Players are taking photos around the table in front of the twenty-something spectators who have showed up early, braving hangovers and sunlight. Introductions are made and there is plenty of applause. Smiles galore. -- GC

11.55am: Final table ready to go - Geilich leads the way

We've had four full days of poker here already, but for eight there is still a long way to go before they climb that mountaintop. We have a final table full of personalty and contrast. Four players, Pablo Rojas, Ludovic Geilich, Jonatan Soderstrom, and Lucas Blanco consider themselves professionals, but the way Kamil Hrabia plays, this 'student' could easily be thrown into that mix. Two are true amateurs, Fernando Curto, a forty-year old corporate manager from Salmanca, and Jorge Eguaras, a programmer from a little place near romantic Pamplona. The lineup is rounded up by Asier Crespo, another suspiciously card-savvy university student who manages to keep a non-poker part-time job.


Your final eight, fresh out of bed

Here is the cartography of those eight, on this, your final table:

Seat 1: Asier Crespo, Spain (PokerStars Qualifier) - 1,410,000
Seat 2: Pablo Rojas, Spain (PokerStars Qualifier) - 2,155,000
Seat 3: Lucas Blanco, Spain (PokerStars Qualifier) - 440,000
Seat 4: Fernando Curto, Spain - 1,190,000
Seat 5: Jonatan Soderstrom, Sweden - 660,000
Seat 6: Kamil Hrabia, Poland (PokerStars Qualifier) - 2,815,000
Seat 7: Ludovic Geilich, Germany/United Kingdom - 4,100,000
Seat 8: Jorge Eguaras, Spain - 2,095,000

Geilich, who vacillates between German and Scottish ancestry, fended off all comers on his way to the final table. Hrabia and Curto came out on the wrong end of those confrontations, but weathered the tempest. Moris Yalcin (11th), David Delgado (12th), and Day 1a chip leader Andrey Shubin (26th) were not so lucky. Stuart McDonald, who departed 21st, dubbed him "the best player I played with."

Handsome and rugged Pablo Rojas, winner of the Estrellas Poker Tour's Season 3 stop in Ibiza, is the most dynamic of our personalities. Apparently once a firefigher, now a professional gambler, with a little soap opera stint in between, Rojas caught our eye early with his chip stacking artistry. By day 3 however, Tournament Director Toby Stone made a Wittgensteinian threat to colour Rojas up to the point where no creativity would be expressible. -- GC

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