Eureka2 Latvia: Day 1A, Level 9-10 updates (blinds 500-1,000 ante 100)
1.50am: Latvian leads Day 1A field
The third stop of Season two of the Eureka Poker Tour saw us welcomed to a new venue, the Royal Casino Spa and Hotel resort in Riga, Latvia. After ten frantic levels of play, during which more than 100 of the 137 players were eliminated, it was Latvian Guntis Aleskins who ended the day on top. He bagged 216,400 to finish clear of Sam Macdonald (162,000) and Zvonimir Zoric (145,400).
Although Aleskins was comfortably stacked for much of the day he took the chip lead late on courtesy of a crazy hand against James Keys. From the hijack Keys made it 2,000 to go, the button then three-bet to 5,200 only for Aleskins to cold four-bet to 9,500 from the small blind. Back on Keys he made it 19,500 to go, the button folded and Aleskins then six bet(!) to 29,500 total. Keys flat called leaving himself 70,000 back.
The flop fell 9♦7♦5♦ and Aleskins led for 16,000, Keys shoved all-in and Aleskins made the call. Keys showed A♦[K] whilst Aleskins had flopped the second nuts with K♦8♦, his hand held to send Keys crashing out and rocket the Latvian to over 200,000.
Keys and Macdonald were among a strong British and Irish contingent who headed to Riga to play. And it wasn't just Macdonald who had a good day, Chris Dowling (137,000), Paul Jenkinson (65,100), Tom High (58,900), Neil Rawnsley (54,700), Gary Clarke (44,500) and Alex Goulder (34,100) all made it through.
There were three former Eureka Poker Tour champions in the field today, all hoping to become the first to win a second title. Only Keith Johnson (11,800) would make it to Day 2. The Spaniard, Antonio Dieguez Rodriguez fell early on, whilst Petar Zografov ran his A♥K♥ into Aleskin's pocket aces in the last level of the day.
A 33 strong Lithuanian contingent (nearly 25% of the field) entered the tournament today, some fell, whilst others prospered. In the latter category was Ingrida Klassen, she finished the day on 69,800.
She and 34 others will return on Saturday for Day 2 at 1pm local time, we meanwhile will be back for Day 1B which begins at 1pm local time on Friday. Full chip counts will be posted on the chip count page as soon as they are made available.
1.10am: Play is over
Players have bagged and tagged their chips, the overnight chip leader is Guntis Aleskins who finished on 216,400. The board was showing that 35 players have made it through the day. A wrap of today's play will be posted in this post shortly.
12.50am: Final four hands
With 13 minutes left on the clock, it has been paused and players will play four more hands before bagging their chips.
Just 35 players remain amongst them are: Michal Misterek (18,000), Alex Goulder (33,000), Gary Clarke (47,300), Keith Johnson (11,500), Oliveira Cassio (27,300) and Ingrida Klassen (73,000).
12.40am: Crazy hand creates new chip leader
My thanks to Alex Goulder for relating this hand to be, it's one that busted James Keys from the tournament and has made Guntis Aleskins the new chip leader.
From the hi-jack Keys made it 2,000 to go, the button then three-bet to 4,200, only for Aleskins to cold four-bet to 9,400. Back on Keys he made it 19,500 to go, the button folded and Aleskins then six bet(!) to 29,500 total, Keys flat called leaving himself 70,000 back.
The flop fell 9♦7♦5♦, Aleskins led for 16,000, Keys shoved all-in and Aleskins made the call. Keys showed A♦[K] whilst Aleskins had flopped the second nuts with K♦8♦ after six betting pre-flop with it! The turn and river were bricks and Aleskins, who just had Keys covered is now up to around 200,000.
12.30am: 36 squared
There are 36 players left and 36 minutes left in the day. Somehow I doubt we'll end up with one player at the end of the day, but I suspect a few more players will take a double up or go home line before the day is done.
12.20am: Bulgarian champion busts
And we've just lost another former Eureka Poker Tour champion.
There was a raise to 2,000 from under-the-gun, on the button Guntis Aleskins three-bet to 4,700. Next to act Eureka2 Bulgaria winner Petar Zografov cold four-bet to 9,500 total. The under-the-gun player folded, Aleskins announced all-in and Zografov, who was the shorter of the two stacks, called all-in for around 39,000.
The board ran [10c]9♥5♠8♠6♦ and that means Keith Johnson is the sole surviving Eureka champion left in today.
12.10am: Chip leaders
Two players appear to be clear of the pack right now. They are Sam Macdonald (138,000) and Zvonimir Zoric (147,500).
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 500-1,000 ante 100
12am: Chip counts
A few chip counts from around the room: Gary Clarke (32,500), Oliveira Cassio (27,000), Alex Goulder (41,000) and Neil Rawnsley (35,000).
11.45pm: Klassen moves nearer top of the class
There were 33 players from Lithuania in today's field, more than any other nation. One of their number who's doing well is Ingrida Klassen, she just took a decent pot from Alex Goulder.
She raised pre-flop to 1,700 and an in-position Goulder made the call. The two of them saw a 4♦9♠K♦ flop, bet from Klassen, call from Goulder. The 2♣ fell on the turn, bet of 4,400 from Klassen, call from Goulder. The 9♣ completed the board, Klassen emptied the clip, betting 11,500.
The look on Goulder's face told you that he suspected three barrels meant he was behind, but he made no snap decision. He cut out the calling chips, then counted the rest of his stack (around 40,000) before placing the requisite calling chips over the line.
Klassen flipped 4♣4♥ for a set, Goulder took a rueful look back at his hand, another player asked to see, Goulder didn't mind and the dealer flipped K♣Q♠.
11.30pm: Former champion update
There are two former Eureka Poker Tour champions still in the field today, Petar Zografov (Bulgaria, season two) is on 55,000, whilst Keith Johnson (Prague, season one) is on 12,300.
11.15pm: The Riga 49ers
Just 49 of the 137 players who started today remain. Amongst them is Zvonimir Zoric, he's up to around 108,000.
11.05pm: Back in their seats
During the break tournament staff raced off the 25 chips, the big stacks at each table were asked to collect the green 25 chips. One such big stack is Lithuanian PokerStars qualifier Stanislovas Kavoliunas who has 90,000.
PokerStars Blog reporting team in Lativa: Nick Wright. Photos by Rene Velli.