Eureka6 Hamburg: Holke in pole position to defend title


Tom Holke: Leads in back-to-back bid

It seemed to be too much to hope for, but it has just come to pass.

After Jan von Halle bagged the chip lead at the end of Day 1A, it was pretty remarkable when George Danzer did the same at the end of Day 1B. This is not a tournament stacked to the gills with household names, but we certainly knew all about those two.

Then today, as 200 players arrived for the third and final opening flight of the €1,000 Eureka Hamburg Main Event, we saw another familiar face race into an early lead.

Tom Holke, who won this tournament last season, was making all the early headlines. And by the time the klaxon sounded for the close of another 12 levels, Holke had the biggest stack in the room.

The man who is sitting beneath the most distinctive get-up--a lei and stetson, in the colours of the German flag--also has the most distinctive pile of chips. It's worth 333,000, bigger than Danzer and Von Halle, and he goes into Day 2 in pole position in the attempt to defend his title.

This was a day full of Holke. Early on, he brought into play a tip glass on his table into which any player could put €5 if they wanted to see his cards at the end of a hand. The money would go to the dealers.

He went back and forth with Thang Duc Nguyen over this, but Nguyen was soon knocked out. Holke then dipped below Jonn Forst's stack when he found some turbulence late in the day, but he recovered and ended up with that mighty stack.

By that point, tournament administrators had done their bean counting and established that the winner of this event will get €69,120. There were 367 entries in total, comprising 327 unique players and 40 re-entries. (All the information is on the prizepool page.)

Tournament staff are presently counting up all the stacks...stop press, here they are:

Tom HolkeGermany333000
Johnny HansenDenmark197100
Edgaras KancaitisLithuania183200
Erik ScheidtGermany171700
Jonn ForstAustria171500
Goran MilovanovicSerbia168200
Seung Hyun KangSouth Korea167200
Miomir SaricSerbia160000
Usman SiddiqueUK156800
Robin Kazemieh-AghdamGermany152600
Marcel SchauenburgGermany137200
Ercan AtmacaNetherlands135500
Walid Abdi-AliGermany129800
Damir VasiljevicGermany123000
Tamas GoncziHungary110100
Rinaldo Radler AquinoUK107000
Quang Vu NguyenGermany105100
Benjamin BussenschuttGermany103700
Bartolomiej GrabowskiPoland102900
Kai SchusterGermany102600
Andrey DemidovRussia102200
Andreas BremerGermany98600
Georges YazbeckLebanon92100
Fabian SchaackGermany83700
Walter BeckmannGermany83100
Sebastian HomannGermany80600
Konstantin KarikovRussia76300
Frank DebusGermany74600
Jürgen Horst DobrindtGermany72900
Michael JacobsGermany72500
Marc HameningGermany70600
Marco FreeseGermany70300
Johannes Max De HondNetherlands69900
Lauri LaastEstonia69000
Hans Schmitz WoyrschGermany64300
Ludvik Jossund StrandenNorway57900
Darius SimkusLithuania56500
Jörg BlohmGermany54500
Alin PuscasGermany51600
Nicholas SchreckGermany46500
Jasminko HasanovicBosnia and Herzegovina45100
Aviad RegevIsrael42900
Jan PetersGermany42000
Dennis KrausGermany41200
Hermann BehrensGermany39900
Berend BosNetherlands37900
Gareth Mccord ChantlerCanada37800
Yun ChoiGermany36300
Thorsten WalkGermany34200
David LappinIreland31000
Sascha SteffensGermany26100
David UrbanSlovakia21900
Dennis NitzGermany20900
Marc Andrew HunterUK20700
Nikolas MenkeGermany11200

As you can see, 55 finished today, meaning we'll have 108 in the room tomorrow. Redraw details will be here soon.

Come back tomorrow when we'll play eight levels and probably get into the money. It starts at noon.

10:15pm: News from the Hamburg Cup
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

There's been a small change to the schedule for the Hamburg Cup. Everybody who has been eliminated on Days 1A, 1B can re-enter on Day 1C. And if you bust during Day 1C during the first six levels, you can re-enter. It's a €330 buy-in event, so get yourself over to Hamburg for this one.

In the meantime, spin through all the coverage from the day in the post below:

10:10pm: Holke has us on tenterhooks
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

I'm not going to lie, we're on tenterhooks over here. We're approaching the end of play--they've just paused the clock and said they'll play the last four hands--and we're waiting for confirmation that Tom Holke is chip-leader. He has 310,000 at the moment, but with his loosey-goosey style, and Johnny Hansen to his left with 210,000, it's not a foregone conclusion that the defending champ will be our day-end leader. But we're hoping, because that would be neat.

9:50pm: Dobrint doubles
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

Jurgen Dobrint has doubled up, taking the vast majority of Marc Hunter's stack in the process. Dobrint opened to 6,100 from mid-position and Hunter, one seat to his left, shoved for around 60,000.

Action folded around to Jan Peters in the big blind who had about 30,000 in his stack. He seemed to be pondering a call, but folded and quickly seemed to regret it. Dobrint called off his 38,400 stack with A♦T♦ and was up against Hunter's 7♥7♦. (Peters' reaction seemed to suggest he was in good shape against those two hands.)

The board ran A♠8♠5♥2♦3♠ and the ace in the window doubled up Dobrint.

9:40pm: Scything through
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

We are down to 67 players now after two more were eliminated early in the last level of the day.

After Seung Hyun Kang opened to 5,100 from early position, Do Chung Tran shoved from the button for his last 12,400. Kang called and Tran immediately got up and put his coat on, even though his 7♥7♣ was favourite against Kang's K♥J♥.

Admittedly, the favouritism didn't last long as the flop came A♦3♠J♦. The 2♦ turn and 4♦ river ended it and he didn't have to take his jacket off after that.

Over on Tom Holke's table, the defending champion was one of three players at the flop of 2♥J♥9♦. Holke bet 7,000 and Johnny Hansen, also with a big stack, called. Sonke Jahn moved all-in, for 42,000, and that quickly got Holke out of the way. But Hansen called and tabled K♣K♠. Jahn had A♥[J♦ and missed on turn and river, sending him home.

9:30pm: Prize pool info
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

It's the moment you've all been waiting for: the announcement of the prize pool information. There was €355,990 in the prize pool, with 55 players getting paid and €69,120 for the winner. All the information of the full payout schedule is on the payouts page.

9:20pm: Appmann beaten, but not broken
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

Adrian Appmann was all-in for his last 11,100 and in a race against Yun Ho Choi. Appmann had A♣Q♥ and Choi had 7♥7♣.

I'm not sure when they had arrived, but Appmann had a couple of friends on the rail at this point too, who gave their buddy all the support he could possibly hope for--that is, if you consider treating it like it was heads up for the World Series Main Event title. They ironically gasped when the hands were shown, then moaned again when the flop brought a gutshot straight draw. (It was T♠K♠8♥.) They winced at the 8♦ turn and then they snapped their hands over their faces in anguish when the 3♣ sealed Appmann's fate.

By this point, Appmann was chuckling away at the mock-histrionics and they therefore appear to have served their purpose of providing a sympathetic cushion. Appmann headed away into warm embrace.

8:55pm: The Big Squeeze
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

The squeeze play. They're all at it. Proof:

On Table 8, Sven Reichardt opened to 3,600 from under the gun and Jonas Jorgensen called from one seat to his left. Kai Schuster three-bet to 8,400, the first squeeze, but he himself was then squeezed further by Bartolomiej Grabowski's cold four bet shove for 34,500. They all folded.

On Table 5, Alin Puscas opened to 3,200 and Usman Siddique called. Action made its way to Michael Jacobs, who squeezed to 15,000 and got two folds.

On Table 9, it was a similar routine. After an open to 3,300 under the gun by Marc Philipp Hamening, Thorsten Walk called on the button. Marcel Schauenburg, in the small blind, raised to 11,400 and the other two folded.

8:40pm: It goes up to 11
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

We've cranked this one up into Level 11, the penultimate level of the night. Seventy-nine players are still involved.

8:40pm: Chantler's vigil continues
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

It's been a rough day for Gareth Chantler, who began his day in what almost seemed like a satellite office over on the far side of the tournament room, and was on one of the first tables to break. That brought him to sit to the immediate left of the fast-and-looseRinaldo Aquino, where he has been for the best part of five hours now. Chantler has never had many chips and was down to his last 7,500 not so long ago. He open-shoved from mid-position and picked up blinds and antes, but he'll need a few more of those to still be here at the end of play.

8:40pm: Chip counts
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

Here are some of the big stacks. We know all about Tom Holke and Jon Forst, but Marcel Schauenburg is also worth highlighting. He is one of only three players to fire three bullets at this one. If he goes all the way to the final, he can say he played every single day.

Tom Holke - 188,000
Marcel Schauenburg - 164,000
John Först - 160,000
Georges Yazbeck - 135,000
Yun Choi - 132,000
Benjamin Büssenschütt - 117,000
Edgaras Kancaitis - 112,000
Robin Kazemieh - 110,000
Fabian Schaack - 96,000
Sebastian Homann - 84,000
Sven Reichhardt - 60,000
Erik Scheidt - 67,000
Sönke Jahn - 30,000

8:35pm: No respect
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

Absolutely nobody seems to respect Tom Holke's raises, but that's exactly the way he seems to like it. However after losing a recent pot, having three-bet pre-flop, Holke had to show a big hand as he folded, just to make sure people knew he wasn't always sticking his chips in with air.

Sami Jacobs opened to 3,300 from mid-position and Andreas Bremer called from the hijack. Holke, in the cutoff, raised to 8,300 and after the blinds folded, both his opponents called pretty quickly. This was a Holke position raise, after all.

The flop brought the 7♥7♦J♦ and Jacobs led at it, putting 13,000 into the middle. Bremer folded and then, after some deliberation, Holke opted to fold his A♠Q♥ face up. A legitimate squeezing hand, seemed to be the message.

8:20pm: Forst on Holke's tail
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

Just after Tom Holke won the pot against David Wiese, Jonn Forst won one on the neighbouring table to draw himself within about 10,000 again. Dennis Nitz opened to 2,500 from UTG+1 and Lauri Laast called from the hijack. Forst, in the cutoff, three-bet to 6,300 and perhaps acknowledging how wide the chip leader might be squeezing, both players called.

The three of them all checked the flop of 3♦9♠]K♥ but then after Nitz and Laast checked the A♠ turn, Forst bet 4,000. Only Laast called.

The river was the J♣ and both checked. Laast had good reason to think his A♥T♥ could be a winner, but it wasn't. Forst had A♦Q♠ and now has about 160,000 in his stack.

8:10pm: Easy game
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

It's an easy game for Tom Holke, who is bossing his table around with the kind of abandon that only a big stack with an impossibly loose image can manage. He acts quickly, almost as if without thought, and the strategy is working wonders.

Case in point: Action folded to Holke on the button and he raised to 3,000. David Wiese called from the big blind and both players then checked the 2♣9♥9♣ flop. The 6♣ came on the turn and Wiese checked again. Holke doesn't usually need even two invitations, so he bet 4,000. Wiese called.

The 2♠ came on the river and Wiese checked again. Holke bet 7,000 and Wiese's curiosity could only be sated one way. He called but mucked when Holke showed A♠7♠.

Holke now has about 170,000 again.

7:50pm: Break time
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

That's the end of Level 9 and the remaining 92 players have gone on a 15-minute break.

7:45pm: Scratch that, Forst back in lead
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

No sooner had the ink dried on that last update, metaphorically speaking, than Jonn Forst sprung back into action and put himself back into the lead. Forst checked a board of 7♥8♦4♦9♠K♥ but then shoved after Norbert Seefeldt bet 6,400, with 36,000 behind.

Forst covered Seefeldt, but the latter made a crying call with A♥K♦. Forst had 9♣9♥ and that felted Seefeldt.


Norbert Seefeldt

That coup coincided with Tom Holke losing two pots without showdown on the neigbouring table and slipping to about 150,000. Forst has 170,000.

7:40pm: Big stack for Holke
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

At the end of Day 1A, arguably the best-known player in the field, Jan von Halle, was the chip-leader. At the end of Day 1B, arguably the best-known player in the field, George Danzer, was the chip-leader. If things continue as they have been going over the past couple of hours, Tom Holke, the defending champion, could end up chip-leader at the end of Day 1C. On a recent sweep of the room, Holke had about 190,000. No one else is close.

7:20pm: Last woman standing
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

This has been an excellent tournament in all ways but one. From a field of 327 players here in Hamburg, only three were women. That's a desperately low number for a game that tries to be inclusive. There were no women on Day 1A, one yesterday and only two today, one of whom has been knocked out.

That means that Brynn Kvinlaug was the last woman standing by the beginning of Level 9 on Day 1. But here's better news: she has just tripled up.


A triple for Brynn Kvinlaug

Yun Choi opened the button, making it 2,200 to play. Then Torsten Pook called from the small blind. Kvinlaug squeezed all-in from the big blind for 11,075. Choi then re-shoved for 36,275 but, if he was trying to isolate, it didn't work. Pook called after a few minutes of head shaking, lip squeezing and visible "math-doing" in his head.

So the three hands went on their backs:

Kvinlaug: A♠K♠
Choi: A♥T♣
Pook: A♦Q♠

The dealer didn't over-dramatise. She burned through the following five cards: K♦8♦8♥3♠T♦ and while that left Kvinlaug delighted, it was cruel on Pook who had made a good call but had finished third, losing both main and side pot. He now has fumes, while Choi moved up beyond 50,000.

7:10pm: Getting busy
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

We've entered that slightly mad period on a Friday night where the crowds arrive to play slot machines, roulette and cash games and players with short stacks in the poker tournament wonder if they might be better off joining them.

Marco Ditmann had only six big blinds when he saw a raise from Grabowski Bartolomiej on the button, to his direct right. He looked down at T♠9♠ and moved all in. (It was 6,500 total.) The big blind folded but Bartolomiej called with A♣J♥.

The flop came K♥J♦K♦ and Ditmann asked for a queen. ("Dame," to use the native lingo.) Neither a queen nor a Dame appeared on turn or river, though, and he was knocked out.

The Eureka player's party gets started in an hour or so, so he can drown his sorrows over at Lustis.

6:50pm: Cash game Charlie
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

"Are there cash games?" Charlie Carrel said as he stepped away from Table 12 having fired his second bullet in the Eureka Main Event and missing the target by a country mile. He didn't do a whole lot wrong in his elimination hand, and won't lose much sleep about it, one suspects. But he has drawn a blank from his trip to Hamburg so far.


The back of Charlie Carrel, what we have just seen

This one began when Robert Saffran opened the cutoff, making it 1,800 to play. Carrel, on the button, called and then swigged down a big mouthful of coffee, asking, "How long does it take for the caffeine to kick in?"

He got no educated reply to that, but both the blinds folded and it was just Saffran and Carrel to see a flop of Q♠4♥8♠.

Saffran bet 2,000 and Carrel called, which meant they saw the A♠ on the turn. Saffran pushed 15,000 chips over the line, which he knew covered Carrel's 9,000-ish. Carrel called all-in.

Saffran had J♠J♦ and was, at this stage, an underdog to Carrel's Q♦9♦. But the 3♠ on the river completed Saffran's flush and that sent Carrel looking for alternative entertainment.

6:40pm: Shah lives to fight another day
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

Alem Shah was all-in and drawing, but spiked his card on the river to stay afloat, taking a dent out of Dragan Simeunovic as he did so. Shah just called from the hijack pre-flop and Erik Scheidt made up the small blind, allowing Simeunovic to check his option.

The flop was queen high and all clubs. It came 9♣5♣Q♣. Scheidt checked but Simeunovic bet 1,300. Shah instantly moved all-in for 12,175. Scheidt folded but Simeunovic tank-called, showing Q♠T♣. Shah had A♣6♠ and looked forlorn after the J♠ turn. However the 7♣ on the river earned a yelp of delight.

6:30pm: Forst the bully
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

Jonn Forst has the chips to allow him to play as he pleases and he just showed some strong-arm to push Lauri Laast out of a pot. Well, in truth, I don't know if that's the result he was looking for. Perhaps he wanted a call. But he managed to add another 20,000 to his stack regardless.


Jonn Forst

I picked up the action on the turn, by which point the J♥7♣3♥8♣ were exposed and there was about 15,000 in the middle. Laast checked, Forst bet 10,000 and Laast called.

The 4♥ came on the river and after another check from Laast, Forst announced that he was all-in, knowing full well that Laast's 27,000 was the effective stack. Laast folded and Forst built his stack to more than 130,000.

6:20pm: Number crunching
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

The complete list of players for this event has now been confirmed. There were 327 unique players, plus 40 re-entries. Three players (Andrew John Pierz, Enis Hodaj and Marcel Schauenburg) played every day.

Not surprisingly, the vast majority of players were German with the second-most represented country, Denmark, proving only 10. Here's how it breaks down:


Click to expand

The payout information will be with us soon.

6:15pm: More for Forst, more for Holke
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

In the 15 minutes since those two last came to our attention, Jonn Forst and Tom Holke have both won about 30,000 chips apiece. Forst now has 120,000 and Holke about 115,000.

6pm: Forst to be reckoned with
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

Jonn Forst is becoming, ahem, a force to be reckoned with, sitting with 80,000 after picking up a big pot against Christian Golze. This didn't seem like it had much potential when it began, but it grew and grew.

Golze made all the running. He opened to 1,400 from UTG+1 and Forst called in the cutoff. Benjamin Bussenschutt (who I'm assuming was born an old German man and gets younger as time goes by) called too, on the button.

The flop came 2♣A♠J♠ and Golze rifled 2,300 at it. Only Forst called. Then the 4♣ came on the turn and Golze bet 4,200. Forst called. Then the 6♠ came on the river and this time Golze bet 11,000. Forst called again, and Golze was reluctant to show.

The reticence prompted Forst to turn over his A♣T♠ and that allowed Golze to muck his hand and spare some blushes.

5:55pm: Nguyen beats Holke at his own game
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

Thang Duc Nguyen and Tom Holke are mixing it up all the time on Table 2 with Nguyen having the best of it in the most recent two pots. Holke can handle it, though. Even after doubling up Nguyen, then losing another pot to the EPT Baden champion, Holke still has about 75,000.

On the first of those two hands, they got it in pre-flop with Holke's A♦Q♦ in good shape against Nguyen's K♦J♥. But there was a jack on the flop and another on the river and Nguyen doubled his 13,200 to a little more than the starting stack.

They tangled again on the next hand, however, when Holke opened from early position, Nguyen three-bet to 5,000 from the cutoff and Holke called. The flop came A♣2♠5♣ and Holke led 8,000 at it. Nguyen instantly slammed his two fistfuls of chips over the line, indicating quite clearly that he was all-in, and Holke suddenly didn't look so chipper.

The defending champion took a little while but then made a reluctant fold. Nguyen then stole Holke's thunder and said he would show his cards to anyone prepared to put €5 in the tips jar (see 1:25pm update).

Holke himself couldn't get his hand in his wallet quickly enough. He fished out a fiver, shoved it in the jar, and got the instant gratification of knowing he had made a good fold. Nguyen turned over 4♦3♦ for the flopped nuts.


Thang Duc Nguyen shows his flopped nuts

5:45pm: We will never know
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

Philipp Lutkemeyer made a pretty good case that he had at least a full house in a recent pot, and possibly even quads, but Nikola Brankovic wasn't prepared to pay the price to let us all find out. It was, after all, for all his chips so we can forgive him.

Brankovic started things going with a raise to 1,300 from UTG+1 and Lutkemeyer, one seat to his left, was the only caller. After the T♠2♠T♣ fell on the flop, Brankovic bet 1,500 but was faced with a raise to 3,100 from Lutkemeyer. He called.

The T♥ came on the turn and Brankovic now checked. Lutkemeyer bet 4,000 and Brankovic called again.

The J♠ appeared on the river and Brankovic checked again. Seizing his opportunity, Lutkemeyer moved all-in for 10,675, which was almost exactly what Brankovic had behind. Brankovic spent about two minutes pondering his decision, but folded. Lutkemeyer quickly pushed his cards face down to the dealer.

5:35pm: The shutters come down
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

Registration has just slammed shut on the Eureka6 Main Event. At time of writing, the tournament board shows 200 players in the field for the day, but it will take some jiggery pokery (by which I mean adding up and taking away) before we know for certain how many have entered.

Remember, there were 69 on Day 1A, then 98 on Day 1B, which puts our total field at around 367. But that is to be confirmed, as is the payout schedule.

4:45pm: Dinner time
Level 6 - Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

There's the bell for 4.45pm and that can only mean one thing. Dinner! We'll be back in 45 minutes.

4:35pm: Yazbeck loses one
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

Georges Yazbeck, who has four EPT side-event titles to his name, has built a stack close to 70,000 already today. He just lost a small pot to Johannes De Hond, but it won't put too much of a dent in the Lebanese dentist's pile.


Georges Yazbeck

Yazbeck opened from the hijack, making it 1,200 to play and both blinds -- Arman Zonobi and De Hond -- called. They all checked the flop of Q♦Q♠4♣ and then Zonobi checked the 3♥ turn too. De Hond bet 3,500 and Yazbeck was the only man to call.

The T♠ came on the river and De Hond bet another 3,500. Yazbeck called again, but mucked after Zonobi turned over Q♥J♠.

4:20pm: Homann misses draw, pays Olsen
Level 6 - Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

"That escalated quickly," David Lappin said as, in a flash, Jan Olsen and Sebastian Homann got all their chips in the middle on a board of Q♥5♠3♥. Olsen had Q♦K♠ for top pair, while Homann had K♥J♥ for the flush draw.

The turn and river came 4♣ and A♣ and the pair stayed best, meaning Homann had to count out 14,525 from his stack and pass them over.

4pm: Volume turned up as Theilemann among two to bust
Level 5 - Blinds 150/300 (25 ante)

Only a matter of minutes after giving his stack a boost in the hand described at length below, Joshua Theilemann is now out, getting sent to the rail in a three-way sickener. Virgo Laanso was also knocked out.

Theilemann had aces. Virgo Laanso had jack-queen and a very short stack. And Robin Kazemieh-Aghdam had A♣K♣. They got it all in pre-flop and the first three community cards were all clubs.

That blockbuster raised the volume on the already excitable Table 4.

4pm: Silent Theilemann takes some from Aquino
Level 5 - Blinds 150/300 (25 ante)

Rinaldo Aquino has the biggest stack in the room--at least he did, before this latest encounter. But whether or not he is still the chip-leader, he is certainly among those making the most noise. The chirping chips adage is in full effect on his table, and he's enjoying his time yukking it up with Miri Hamza.


Rinaldo Aquino

The dealer actually had to step in during the following pot, just to make sure their conversation didn't overstep the mark. The reason was that a third player, Joshua Theilemann, was also involved in the hand, but not in the conversation, and the dealer had to ensure that the other two remembered and respected that they were not alone.

Action folded pre-flop to Hamza on the button and Aquino, from the big blind, said, "Come on. Don't be shy." This drew the first friendly rebuke from the dealer, who indicated that Aquino might be influencing action when Theilemann, in the small blind, still had cards.

Hamza opted just to call, but then Theilemann silently raised to 1,200. "How much do you have?" Aquino asked Hamza, drawing a second interjection from the dealer, who pointed to Theilemann's raise. Aquino said that he had seen it, and just called. So did Hamza.

All three players then checked the 9♦Q♥J♠ flop, and then the 5♦ came on the turn. Theilemann checked. Aquina bet 2,200 and said, "I don't bluff!" when Hamza was pondering his decision. The dealer again reminded Aquino of Theilemann's presence.

"I'm just talking to myself," Aquino said.
"I will do it for you," Hamza said, as he called. Theilemann also called.

The 5♣ came on the river and Theilemann checked again. Aquino then said, "Come on, I let you bluff the river", indicating that he was checking too. The dealer had just about given up her attempts to keep it in order.

Hamza opted to check as well and that led to Aquino finally turning to Thielemann and saying, "Come on, show your ace king." Theilemann, delighted maybe to have his presence acknowledged, turned over A♦Q♠ and got two mucks. "Oh, queens," Aquino said. "I hit the flop. I had a pair."

Aquino still has close to 75,000 so there's plenty more chit-chat sure to come.

3:45pm: Gami comes unstuck
Level 5 - Blinds 150/300 (25 ante)

Sonke Jahn, who is firing his second bullet, opened to 700 from the cutoff but Milad Gami three bet to 2,000 from the small blind. Jahn called.

Those two saw a flop of Q♦6♠3♦ and Gami bet 1,550. Jahn called. The 9♦ came on the turn and, after Gami slowed down, Jahn shoved for 6,500 and Gami folded.

3:40pm: Big stacks
Level 5 - Blinds 150/300 (25 ante)

The biggest stacks in the room look to be in front of the following players:

Marc Hamening - 80,000
Rinaldo Aquino - 80,000
Ricky Christensen - 75,000
Thorsten Guerra - 72,000

Charlie Carrel is now in the field again too.

3:30pm: Big call
Level 5 - Blinds 150/300 (25 ante)

As the regular reader(s) of PokerStars Blog will know, it's not always possible for us to get the full details of every hand that plays out. Sometimes it's a case of piecing together incomplete information or, more often, simply admitting that we saw almost nothing.

That is certainly the case in this next pot, but we got a big clue as to what had happened when Vedran Mandic, who wasn't in the hand, said "Nice call." He was congratulating Blazej Przygorzewski, who was busy scooping up at least 35,000 chips and watching his opponent, Moussa Khanafer, head out of the door.

Khanafer's beaten hand was still in front of him. It was 6♦7♦. Przygorzewski's hand was there too. It was A♥T♦. The board read 4♠3♥T♥7♥2♦ and it seemed, given Mandic's comment, that Khanafer had had a big old stab at it with his pair of sevens.

Przygorzewski had called for what would have been his tournament life too with top pair. (The two of them had very similar stacks.) But as it was, he had been right and Khanafer was knocked out.

3:20pm: Into Level 5
Level 5 - Blinds 150/300 (25 ante)


3:15pm: Ace-high bluff
Level 4 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

If you're going to bluff, you've got to bluff big. And Yun Choi just demonstrated that he was prepared to bluff for all of it.

I arrived when they were already at the turn with about 9,000 in the pot and three players involved: Choi (SB), Rudy Raveyts (mid-position) and Erik Scheidt (cutoff). The four exposed cards were Q♠2♥3♥T♥. Choi bet 4,400 and Raveyts thought long and hard before he folded. Scheidt thought for a slightly shorter amount of time before calling.

The river brought the 7♠ and Choi moved all-in for his last 10,550. Scheidt now went into the tank. He counted out calling chips, then counted how much he would be left with if he was wrong (about 7,000). He opted to fold and glared at Choi.

Choi frowned a little and shook his head as he peeked again at his cards. Scheidt encouraged him to turn them over. Choi obliged, revealing the A♥K♣, for ace high. It was, in this instance, good.

3pm: The King of Schenefeld
Level 4 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Thang Duc Nguyen, the only man from Schleswig-Holstein with an EPT title, is back in action in the Eureka Poker Tour event today. He fired his first bullet yesterday, and lost, but returns for a second crack of the whip. They love him around here. He lives close to this casino and is a regular. He's greeted with handshakes wherever he goes.

Nguyen is sitting on Tom Holke's table. Other relatively recent arrivals include David Lappin and Rasmus Agerskov.


David Lappin and Phil Huxley

2:45pm: Holke barrels into trouble
Level 4 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Say what you like about Tom Holke's big-pot approach, but it can be very tricky to play against. At the start of the following hand, he had built his stack close to 50,000--double what he started with--but he ended up losing a chunk to the unflappable Jevgeni Libovych.

There were four players at the flop of 7♥J♣K♣ but after Hans Peter Jacobi, Libovych and Van Thinh Pham all checked, Holke bet 2,000. Only Jacobi and Libovych called which meant they were three-handed to the 6♦ turn.

There were two checks and then Holke bet 5,200, which got rid of Jacobi. But Libovych stuck around to see the 4♣ river. Libovych took over the betting lead and fired 7,000 at it.

Holke tanked for a bit and asked to see Libovych's stack, learning that he had only 7,000 behind. Holke folded.

2:45pm: Big pair, bigger pair
Level 4 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Leonardo Ebeling opened to 400 from under the gun but faced resistance from Aviad Regev, who three-bet to 1,000 on the button. Imad Fakhro called from the small blind and so did Ebeling.

Those three saw the flop fall 8♠8♣6♦ and both Fakhro and Ebeling checked. Regev bet 1,300 and although Fakhro folded, Ebeling wanted to play for more. He raised to 2,600. Regev called.

The turn brought the A♥ and Ebeling bet 2,500. Regev called. They then both checked the J♦ river and Ebeling was asked to show first. He tabled T♥T♣, but they were turned into the muck when Regev showed his Q♣Q♠.

2:15pm: Break time
Level 3 - Blinds 75/150

That's the end of the first three levels of the day and players are taking a 15-minute break. Registration is open for another three levels, plus the 45-minute dinner break.

2:05pm: Alawy busts to Seefeldt
Level 3 - Blinds 75/150

It's quite difficult to determine exactly what happened in this hand, but the headline news is that Seyed Alawy becomes our third player eliminated today. He checked on the turn, with 5♣6♥7♣K♦ exposed, and Norbert Seefeldt shoved. Alawy called all-in with a stack of about 15,000, and his A♠K♣ was drawing dead against Seefeldt's 8♣4♣.

It turns out after later investigation that there were three players at the flop, the third of whom bet-folded after Seefeld check-raised. But even that sounds a little fishy. Anyway, Seefeldt won a big pot there with that mighty suited eight and Alawy can make other plans for Friday night.

1:45pm: Yag v Yaz
Level 3 - Blinds 75/150

Play on Day 1A here seemed often to be quite passive. There was a lot of pre-flop limping and we would frequently get to a river without anything much more than the bare minimum being invested. Day 1B was a little bit more aggressive, and today has ratcheted it up a notch once more.

Just recently, I saw two hands. One was short: Joshua Theilemann opened to 300 from the cutoff, Rinaldo Aquino three-bet to 800 from the button and Theilemann responded with a four-bet to 2,500, which took it down.

The second hand was a little longer, but no less aggressive. On this one, Georges Yazbeck opened to 425 from under the gun and got three callers: Andreas Wright, in the hijack, Gokhan Yagmur, on the button, and Hael Al-Labani, in the big blind. They saw the kind of flop that didn't seem likely to help anyone. It came 3♦8♥2♠.

After Al-Labani checked, Yazbeck bet 1,400 and Wright folded. Yagmur raised to 3,300 and Al-Labani got out of the way. "How much you have?" Yazbeck said, now they were heads up. Yagmur indicated that he had 13,200. "All-in," Yazbeck said, covering his opponent.

Yagmur passed.

1:35pm: Level 3
Level 3 - Blinds 75/150

We're into Level 3 now, with 166 players seated. One player, Hans-Peter Jaeger, has gone bust towards the end of the last level.

1:25pm: You want to see? You have to pay
Level 2 - Blinds 50/100

Players on Table 2 this afternoon have the pleasure of playing alongside Tom Holke. As we have already established, his chips are readily on offer as he plays just about every hand. Those players now also have the chance to see exactly what two cards Holke is playing--provided they are happy to pay a €5 fee, a tax that Holke is collecting for the dealers.


Paying the €5 tax

It's true. If anyone gets to showdown in a hand with Holke and he gets them off the pot, they can put €5 in a glass on the table and see his hand anyway. He will then put everything he collects into the dealer tokes.

There's €10 in there so far, but Holke still has chips so that could swell significantly by the time the day is done.


Tom Holke angling for a sponsorship deal

1:25pm: Classic race
Level 2 - Blinds 50/100

The tournament board shows that we're coming to the end of Level 2 and that all 156 of the players who have registered so far are still seated. That might not have been true had a big flip on Table 9 gone the other way, but as it was Marc Hamening survived and doubled up.

When I got to the table, Hamening, in the cutoff, had 5,100 in front of him and Tobias Rohe, in the small blind, had 1,800. That was clear evidence of an open from late position from Hamening, then a three-bet from Rohe, then a four-bet from Hamening.

And now the five-bet. Rohe moved all in, for his stack of about 35,000. Hamening, who had only 17,425 of that, made the call.

Rohe: A♣K♦
Hamening: Q♥Q♦

Neither will have been entirely happy about the coup, but both will also have probably thought it could be worse. But there can only be one winner, and it was Hamening when the board ran 9♥5♠T♦6♦3♦.

Rohe still had about 17,000 left, while Hamening has slightly more than double that.

1:10pm: Any two will do
Level 2 - Blinds 50/100

Jurgen Dobrint opened to 225 from the cutoff but Marco Leopizzi didn't want to surrender the advantage of position at the table. He three-bet to 650 from the button. The blinds folded, but Dobrint refused to surrender. He called, paying for a flop of 4♠6♥2♣. Dobrint checked.

Leopizzi continued with his story. He bet 1,050. Dobrint had a quick double-check of his cards, but elected to call, and that took them to the 8♠ on the turn.

Dobrint checked again and Leopizzi bet again. He made it 1,800 to play. Dobrint called once more.

After the 4♥ came on the river, Dobrint checked again. Leopizzi clearly wanted to bet again, but eventually thought better of it. He checked and Dobrint turned over K♠2♠ for a pair of twos. It was good, however, as a miffed Leopizzi mucked.

1pm: Another on three bullets
Level 2 - Blinds 50/100

Marcel Schauenburg has taken his seat for the third time in this tournament. I suspect there are more, but that's at least two players on three bullets.

12:50pm: Big call breaks knuckles
Level 2 - Blinds 50/100

This pot brought two firsts of the day: the first deployment of a yellow 5,000-denomination chip and, following it, the first deployment of the celebratory punch of the table.

Three players were at the flop, which read: 6♥T♥8♥. Hans Woyrsch, who would have been in the small blind, bet 1,400 and Jens Tehrani, one seat to his left, called. Matthias Haenel, who would have been the cutoff, folded.

The A♥ came on the turn and Woyrsch bet again, this time 2,200. Tehrani called again.

After the K♣ completed the board, Woyrsch now checked. Tehrani fished to the bottom of his stack to find a 5K chip, married it with a few others, and threw out a bet of 5,325. Woyrsch thought about this one for quite a while, but then called. Tehrani instantly mucked and Woyrsch punched the table with some force as he turned over his J♦J♥ in a combination of delight and relief.

12:35pm: The lesser-seen 60X pre-flop raise
Level 1 - Blinds 25/50

Erik Scheidt only recently sat down at Table 3 and he was still filling out his waiver form when he received his first two cards, under the gun. Scheidt took a quick peek at them, but was clearly not properly engaged when he dipped into his stack and found three black chips, tossing them forward for a raise.


Erik Scheidt

All of his table-mates sat up quickly in their seats and began chuckling. The black chips here are worth 1,000 each and Scheidt had just made a 60X pre-flop raise of the 25/50 Level 1 blinds. Quickly noticing the error of his ways, Scheidt sheepishly apologised and said that on the EPT, the black chips are worth 100 and he hadn't noticed.

Action folded very quickly to Michal Mrakes, in the small blind, but he was busy taking a photo of the 60K raise, presumably heading to Facebook or Twitter quite soon. Although Enrico Bonke was still to act in the big blind, Mrakes was happy to consider this a virtual mis-deal and showed that he was mucking K♣Q♣. "You should call!" Bonke said, but also mucked his hand allowing Scheidt to pick up the blinds, learning a lesson in the process.

12:25pm: Three bullets
Level 1 - Blinds 25/50

This is the last of three flights to this €1,000 event, and players could, if they wanted, play all three. That would require them to bust on Days 1A and 1B, of course, which itself would might make a player wonder if this was really their week.

However, there is at least one man who is on his third bullet. Andrew Pierz is in action again, having also spent his Wednesday and Thursday at Casino Schenefeld. He is likely not to be alone, but his passing resemblance to the British politician Jeremy Corbyn means he stands out of the crowd, at least to the British contingent here. He'll be hoping for better from his last chance.

12:20pm: Holke again again
Level 1 - Blinds 25/50

It's proving quite difficult to actually get into the main tournament area today, largely because of Tom Holke. The defending champion is sitting within two yards of the press area. He's the first person you see when you wander over to the tables. What's more, he is in every pot and it's always worth seeing how it plays out.

In the latest, he was in the big blind and was at a turn with two players: Thomas Merten (his previous adversary) and Oliver Rinc.

Holke bet 500 with the 3♥8♦9♣2♠ exposed and only Rinc called. Then the 4♦ came on the river. Holke bet 2,050 and Rinc called. "Vier," Holke said, showing the 4♥. "Set," Rinc replied, revealing the 3♦3♠ and taking the pot.

12:10pm: Holke again
Level 1 - Blinds 25/50

Tom Holke is back again, firing a second bullet in his attempt to defend the title he won here last season. It doesn't take long to realise that Holke is an action player (he is in just about every hand) but it doesn't always go according to plan.

In a recent pot, Holke was involved with Thomas Merten and they were at the turn. The four exposed cards were 7♥2♦J♦6♥ and there was about 1,200 in the middle. Merten, who would have been in the big blind, checked in the dark before the 6♥ appeared and that prompted a bet of 1,100 from Holke.

Merten now snapped into action. He check-raised to 2,550 and Holke, after a little bit of one-sided chit chat (ie, he asked a question and Merten didn't answer), folded.

12pm: More than 100
Level 1 - Blinds 25/50

Cards are in the air and this is already bigger than yesterday. There are 104 players already seated and the number continues to tick upward.

Remember, it's 12 45-minute levels today. Starting stack is 25,000. Registration closes just before the start of Level 7, which is also the end of the 45-minute dinner break.

11.30am: Back once again

It's Friday in Hamburg and that means Eureka Poker Day. It's Day 1C of this €1,000 buy-in Eureka Poker Tour Main Event and it represents the last chance for poker players of this region (and beyond) to join the party. More than that, anyone who has already been eliminated can re-enter, like a drunken reveller booted out of a bar stealthily finding a fire door down a side alleyway and sneaking back in.

We are expecting a much larger crowd than even the 98 who showed up yesterday, and the rumour is that we might have to go 10 handed. That is unconfirmed and will be number dependent, but the capacity is 250 and that may be strained.

Dealers are going through their early preparations and cards will be in the air in 30 minutes. In the meantime, read how George Danzer took the chip lead yesterday, and how Jan von Halle did the same all the way back on Wednesday.


Packed to the gills in Hamburg

Howard Swains
@howardswains in Eureka Poker Tour