Eureka2 Latvia: Day 1A, Level 1-4 updates (blinds 100-200)
5.30pm: Break time
That's four levels down, players are now on a 15 minute break. You'll find level five updates in a new post.
5.20pm: Zero Sum game
Contrasting fortunes for two players at table one both of whom have made final tables at UKIPT events. Irishman Peter Barrable, who finished fourth at UKIPT Killarney, is down to 3,000.
Heading in the opposite direction is Mantas Puidokas, runner-up to Nick Abou Risk at UKIPT Edinburgh, the Lithuanian is up to 36,000.
5.05pm: Pots for Dowling and Goulder
Score one for the UK and score one for Ireland as I just saw Alex Goulder and Chris Dowling rake in pots, the latter's hand was more interesting so let's start there.
I joined the action to see a board of J♠3♥6♦9♥ on the felt, Dowling (button) called a bet of 1,300 from his opponent (small blind). The 4♦ completed the board and the small blind bet a chunky 4,500. At this point Dowling cut the 4,500 out from his stack, checked his remaining stack (around 8,000), shrugged and then made the call. The small blind showed just the K♣, Dowling could best that and showed A♠6♣ to take the pot and climb to 24,000.
Meanwhile...I saw an in position Goulder bet 1,200 (around half pot) on the river of a K♦9♥6♦Q♣A♣ board and get a call from the player to his immediate right. The Englishman announced "Ace" and showed A♦4♦, his opponent tossed his cards into the muck upon seeing the bad news.
4.50pm: Two rooms
Play is currently split between two rooms, albeit two rooms separated by about six stairs. Tables are being broken from the upper room, originally there were six in use, now just three remain. Petar Zografov (10,050) and Chris Dowling (24,000) are among those still plying their trade up there...for now.
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 100-200
4.35pm:Mac the strife
I just saw Sam Macdonald take a small hit.
He called bets of 700 and 950 respectively on the turn and river of a 5♠4♣9♦3♦5♦ only to be shown [10d]8♦ by his opponent.
4.20pm:Scores on the doors
The total player number has been confirmed as 136, although there are currently a few no shows, which means that number could climb a notch or two before the day is out.
4pm: Misterek on the up
This is the third event of season two of the Eureka Poker Tour and one player is looking to make it three cashes from three events.
Courtesy of a 16th place finish in Zagreb and a 5th place finish in Bulgaria Michal Misterek is in first place on the Eureka Poker Tour leaderboard and he's still in with a shout of making it three from three. He's currently chugging along on 20,300, the Pole is on the same table as Alex Goulder and Neil Rawnsley.
A few chip counts I gathered just before the break: James Keys (40,000), Alex Goulder (15,600), Antonio Dieguez Rodriguez (15,800), Neil Rawnsley (34,000), Petar Zografov (16,000) Zvonimir Zoric (31,000) and Keith Johnson (19,000).
3.35pm:Back from the break
Players are now back from the break, late registration is closed so I'll bring you the total number of runners as soon as possible.
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 75-150
That's two levels in the books. Players are now on a 15 minute break.
3.15pm:Barrable bruised but not busted
Players can register up until the end of level two and one player to do just that is Ireland's Peter Barrable. When he's not playing poker he can be found racing rally cars at a pretty decent standard. He told me: "I've had two big accidents to year. Both driver error, one of them was pretty bad. I was driving too fast and drove into a stone wall infront of a house. I ended up in hospital will a bruised brain and broken ribs." Ouch.
Barrable isn't the only Irishman in the field today, Chris Dowling - who's gone deep in a few UKIPT events - and Gary Clarke are also playing.
2.55pm: Rawnsley flush with chips
Neil Rawnsley is a familiar face on the Eureka Poker tour and in fact many others as he's a dab hand at qualifying online to the many PokerStars tours all around the world. His best result so far on this tour is a 12th place finish at Eureka Bulgaria in season one.
He's off to a good start here in Riga though, as he's got up to around 40,000 early doors, courtesy of a cooler that was witnessed by Eureka Poker Tour head honcho Jonathan Raab. On a A♥4♥[10h] flop Rawnsley and three others all put chips into the middle to create a pot of roughly 15,000. The turn was a black king and the player first to act moved all-in, Rawnsley then tanked, perhaps wary of the two players still to act behind him, before moving all-in, the other two players gave it up.
The initial shover was first to show and opened 8♥7♥, Rawnsley showed Q♥J♥ for a superior flush to leave his opponent drawing dead. There then followed a bit of chat about it being a slow roll from the eliminated player, that is debatable but what isn't is that Rawnsley is up to 40,000.
2.45pm: ZZ top
Zvonimir Zoric is the early chip leader, he's up around 27,000 after eliminating a player who scuttled off sharpish before I could get his name.
I only saw the action from the flop, but the unknown player had apparently raised under-the-gun with 4♥3♥ and Zoric defended from the big blind with 4♠4♦. The 4♣3♣2♥ flop was therefore an action inducing one. The chips flew in, the 7♥6♥ turn and river kept Zoric in the lead and he's now top of the chip charts.
2.30pm: Easy as 1, 2, 3
As level two starts I'm told that 123 players have paid their money so far today. It's quite cramped in the tournament area making a couple of tables hard to reach.
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 50-100
2.15pm: Lithuanians love Latvia
It's not just the British who have a strong contingent here in Latvia. According to PokerStars staff there's also a lot of Lithuanian qualifiers, players from that country won the highest percentage of seats in the qualifiers.
It's less than 300 kilometers and about three and a half hours drive between the two respective capitals (Vilinius and Riga) so perhaps not that much of a surprise that they've come out in force. Sadly I'm yet to spot the most successful Lithuanian player of all-time, one Tony G. Shame.
2pm: Goulder takes a hit
Alex Goulder is down to 9,000 after losing a pot early on here in Riga.
There was an open, a three-bet, the cut-off four-bet and then Goulder cold five-bet to 3,000 on the button. Only the cut-off made the call and the two of them took a [10h][10c]9♦ flop. It was checked to Goulder who bet 3,000, call from the cut-off.
The J♠ hit the turn, both players checked it through and the 8♣ completed the board. The cut-off decided to lead for 3,000, Goulder mulled it over said something that sounded like: "Have you got queens," to his opponent, before mucking his hand. He's down to around 9,000 now and obviously ruing his decision as he tweeted (@cambridgealex): "What possessed me to cold 5b A6o in level 1 of a soft Latvian 1k? What is wrong with me?! Grinding half starting stack now."
1.45pm: The British are coming
There's a strong British contingent in the field today as well as the aforementioned Keith Johnson, Mitchell Johnson, Alex Goulder, James Keys, Sam Macdonald and Neil Rawnsley are all playing today.
Macdonald is actually lucky to be here, he qualified online by accident and then managed to miss two flights to Latvia in as many days, eventually making it out here last night.
1.30pm: Plan for the day
Tournament Director Toby Stone just informed the players how today will work. There will be ten one hour levels to negotiate to reach Day 2. To help with that players will have a 15 minute break every two levels and a one hour dinner break after level six. My rough guesstimation is that'll result in finishing around 1.30a.m local time.
1.20pm: Action underway
After a short delay play has now started, I've just spotted Michal Misterek who is currently atop the Eureka Leaderboard in the field today. The overall leaderboard winner will win a seat to a EPT season nine main event.
1pm: Eureka2 Latvia set to start
Hello and welcome to coverage of the main event of the Eureka Poker Tour Latvia from Riga. I'm here at the Royal Casino near the centre of Riga as are somewhere in the region of 150 poker players. This is the second season of the Eureka Poker Tour and the first time that it's stopped off here in Latvia.
Amongst those vying to be crowned the inaugural Eureka Poker Tour champion come Sunday evening are a number of former Eureka champions. I'm told that Keith Johnson (Prague, season one), Antonio Dieguez Rodriguez (Nova Gorica, season one), Alija Filipovic (Croatia, season two) and Petar Zografov who won last time out in Bulgaria, back in June should all be in attendance over the two starting days.
We're expecting a field of around 300 over the two starting days, players are still registering and completing waiver forms, but it looks like action should be starting shortly.
PokerStars Blog reporting team in Lativa: Nick Wright. Photos by Rene Velli.