Eureka2 Latvia: Day 2, Level 20 - 23 updates (blinds 10,000-20,000 ante 2,000)
5.18pm: Break time
The two remaining players are now on a 15 minute break. You'll find level 24 updates in a new post shortly.
5.15pm: Mac daddy
A couple of small to medium sized pots in a row for Sam Macdonald have seen him stretch his chip lead once more. Roughly 2,300,000 plays 1,800,000 right now.
5.05pm: Back and forth we go
And now it's Valtteri Merikallio's turn to win a large pot.
Pre-flop he opened to 45,000, Sam Macdonald three-bet to 116,000 and Merikallio made the call. On the 5♣J♥[10h] flop Macdonald c-bet 106,000 and then called when Merikallio made it 275,000 total. Both players checked the 9♣ turn to see the 6♦ fall on the river. It was checked to Merikallio and his bet of 400,000 was enough to take the pot.
4.55pm: Macdonald gets some back
A mid-size pot for Sam Macdonald has given him a chip lead once more.
He bet 136,000 into a pot of around 220,000 on the turn of a 3♠6♠6♦8♠ board and Valtteri Merikallio made the call.
The 9♦ completed the board, it was checked to Macdonald and although he seemed to contemplate a bet he rapped the table and showed A♥Q♦. Ace high was good as Merikallio mucked his hand. Chip counts are roughly 2,300,000 plays 1,950,000.
4.45pm: Merikallio gets some back
From the button Valtteri Merikallio made it 45,000 to go and Sam Macdonald made the call. On the K♣J♣7♥ flop Macdonald check-called a bet of 45,000. The 7♦ hit the turn and again Macdonald check-called, this time for 80,000. The 6♣ completed the board and this time Macdonald led, firing a bet of 162,000 across the line. The Finn let out a sigh, but made the call.
Macdonald showed K♠2♥ but Merikallio had A♠K♦, after that hand stacks are right about even.
4.35pm: Macdonald reclaims chip lead
I joined the action live to see a complete board of K♥A♥3♣A♣4♣ on the felt. Sam Macdonald had led for 146,000 into a pot of roughly 325,000. Action was on Valtteri Merikallio and he announced raise and made it 300,000 total. Back on Macdonald he checked his cards and then called.
"Queen high," said Merikallio, showing Q♦8♠, Macdonald showed 6♣2♣ for the rivered flush, he now has around 2,400,000 to Merikallio's 1,800,000.
And we've just had our first all-in of the final table...
Sam Macdonald opened to 51,000 on the button, Valtteri Merikallio three-bet to 130,000, Macdonald four-bet to 356,000 and Merikallio went into the tank. He counted his stack, got confirmation of Macdonald's bet size and then announced all-in, Macdonald swiftly released his hand.
With that pot Merikallio has taken the chip lead.
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 10,000-20,000 ante 2,000
4.20pm: Early skirmishes
No big pots as of yet but in the first four heads-up hands three of them have been three-bet pre-flop. No one has yet to call a three-bet though. So it's as you were.
4.10pm: Heads-up chip counts
The players aren't back in their seats yet but heads-up chip counts are:
Valtteri Merikallio: 1,969,000
Sam Macdonald: 2,152,000
Both players have over a 100 big blinds, Sam Macdonald has a slight chip advantage and is hoping to become the second Englishman to win a Eureka title, whilst Valtteri Merikallio is aiming to become the first Finn to win one.
4pm: Dariusz Paszkiewicz eliminated in third place (€ 24,300)
We're now heads-up here in Riga. From the button Dariusz Paszkiewicz raised to 39,000 and called after Valtteri Merikallio set him in from the big blind.
The board ran 6♥4♦A♦6♠[10h] to send the start of day chip leader out in third. There's now a short break in play whilst they re-position the stacks, I'll be getting official chip counts shortly.
There's been precious few showdowns in three handed play but we just had one.
From the button Sam Macdonald made it 32,000 to go and Dariusz Paszkiewicz peeled from a stack of around 14 big blinds. On the A♠2♥9♠ flop Paszkiewicz check-called a bet of 32,000. But that was all the betting as both shut down on the 5♠ turn and 7♥ river, Macdonald showed K♥[10h] but Paszkiewicz had K♣2♣. He's still in deep trouble though as he has around 275,000.
3.40pm: Chip counts
Rough chip counts of the final three:
Seat 4.Valtteri Merikallio, Finland, 1,550,000
Seat 6.Dariusz Paszkiewicz, Poland, 400,000
Seat 7.Sam Macdonald, United Kingdom, PokerStars qualifier, 2,300,000
3.30pm: Joni Nenonen eliminated in fourth place (€ 18,880)
From the button Sam Macdonald opened to 32,000, Joni Nenonen then moved all-in for around 180,000 from the big blind and Macdonald made the call.
It looked like a chop was likely, but the 2♠8♥4♣ flop gave Nenonen the advantage. The Q♥ turn was a blank, but the 3♣ river gave Macdonald a straight. This super quick final table is now been reduced to three in a little over two hours.
3.25pm: Final table profiles
Want to know which of our final eight is also a magician? Of course you do, to find out who that applies to and more information on our final eight click here.
3.15pm: Gary Clarke eliminated in fifth place (€ 15,770)
Sam Macdonald is absolutely running over this final table and he just claimed another victim.
He opened to 32,000 with A♠7♦ and called when Gary Clarke jammed for 230,000 with pocket fives. The board ran [10c]K♦8♠K♠A♣ and we are down to four now in Riga, Macdonald has roughly half the chips in play.
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 8,000-16,000 ante 2,000
3.05pm: Chip counts
Players are now back in their seats, here's the chip counts of the final five.
Seat 3.Gary Clarke, Ireland, PokerStars Qualifier, 281,000
Seat 4.Valtteri Merikallio, Finland, 1,316,000
Seat 5.Joni Nenonen, Finland, 219,000
Seat 6.Dariusz Paszkiewicz, Poland, 512,000
Seat 7.Sam Macdonald, United Kingdom, PokerStars qualifier, 1,793,000
The players are now on a 15 minute break.
2.45pm: Vitalijs Tarhanovs eliminated in sixth place (€12,950)
The last remaining Latvian player just got mightily unlucky to exit this tournament.
From the button Vitalijs Tarhanovs opened to 26,000 and Valtteri Merikallio called from the big blind. It checked to Tarhanovs on the 7♣9♥6♠ flop and he moved all-in, Merikallio tool one look at his cards and announced call.
The 2♦ turn changed nothing but the 9♣ river swung the pot Merikallio's way and eliminated Tarhanovs.
2.35pm: More for Macdonald
Sam Macdonald is racking more chips and again it's at Dariusz Paszkiewicz's expense.
The Brit opened to 24,000 under-the-gun and called when Paszkiewicz three-bet to 62,000 from the big blind. On the A♣7♦[10c] flop Paszkiewicz c-bet 82,000 and Macdonald made the call. The 5♠ hit the turn, it was checked to Macdonald and his bet of 108,000 was enough to take the pot. He's up to 1,400,000 whilst Paszkiewicz slopes to 480,000.
2.25pm: Pole on the slide
Start of day chip leader Dariusz Paszkiewicz has not had a good start to the day and he just lost back to back pots.
In the first he opened to 26,000 on the button and then called when Sam Macdonald three-bet to 62,000 from the small blind. On the 8♣J♠3♣ flop Macdonald c-bet 56,000 and Paszkiewicz folded.
The very next hand Valtteri Merikallio opened under-the-gun to 26,000, next to act Joni Nenonen smooth called and Paszkiewicz then three-bet to 55,000. The original raiser folded but Nenonen then moved all-in for 400,000 and Paszkiewicz gave it up.
2.10pm: Clash of the chip leaders
Valtteri Merikallio just won a sizeable pot from Sam Macdonald.
Macdonald opened from the cut-off and then called when Merikallio three-bet from the big blind. The Finn bet every street of the 8♣K♣[10h]3♠K♦ board, 60,000, 100,000 and 200,000 respectively. On the river Macdonald said: "I don't know if that king has saved me or if I've got unlucky!" Either way he mucked his hand and the pot went to Merikallio.
2pm: Zvorimir Zoric eliminated in seventh place (€10,250)
From under-the-gun Zvonimir Zoric raised to 24,000, leaving himself around 250,000 behind, it folded all the way round to Sam Macdonald in the big blind and he moved all-in, Zoric made the call.
The 6♠5♥K♣ flop was innocuous enough, the 4♠ turn was interesting though. "Always a sweat," said Macdonald. The 7♣ completed the board and the pocket pair held up to boost Macdonald to around 1,400,000. For his seventh place finish Zoric collects €10,250.
1.50pm: Short stacks go at it
The two shortest stacks left in belong to Zvonimir Zoric and Vitalijs Tarhanovs and the two just played a pot of sorts.
From the button Zoric raised to 24,000 and Tarhanovs then moved all-in for 177,000 more. Back on Zoric he tanked then asked Tarhanovs, "King-queen no good?" Played with his cards for a bit and then mucked. They've both got less than 20 big blinds.
LEVEL UP: BLINDS 6,000-12,000 ante 1,000
1.35pm: Finn knocks Pole down
We have a new chip leader - Sam Macdonald - although he wasn't involved in the hand that took him to the top of the chip charts.
From under-the-gun+1 Valtteri Merikallio opened to 21,000,Dariusz Paszkiewicz flat called from the cut-off and Vitalijs Tarhanovs did likewise from the big blind. On the 8♠[10d]6♥ flop Merikallio c-bet 31,000 and Paszkiewicz was the only caller.
The 5♣ fell on the turn, bet of 76,000 from Merikallio, call from Paszkiewicz. The Q♦ completed the board, Merikallio emptied the clip, betting 116,000 and Paszkiewicz called. The Finn rolled over 6♣6♦ for a flopped set and Paszkiewicz mucked his cards.
After that hand Paszkiewicz slips to around 815,000, whilst Merikallio climbs to 800,000. Macdonald has 980,000.
1.22pm: Normunds Rumba eliminated in eighth place (€ 8,090)
Normunds Rumba's stay of execution didn't last long. From the button Dariusz Paszkiewicz raised to 21,000, Sam Macdonald flat called from the small blind and Rumba then moved all-in for around 200,000. Back on Paszkiewicz he tank-folded, but Macdonald made a swift call.
The 5♠[10d]J♥ flop saw Rumba rise to his feet, the 2♥ turn and Q♣ river sealed his fate and the Latvian is first out of the final. Hopes of a home win now rest with Vitalijs Tarhanovs.
1.15pm: Normunds Rumba doubles through Joni Nenonen
A shortstacked Normunds Rumba moved all-in for 91,000 from under-the-gun+1 with A♥[10c] and Joni Nenonen made the call from the small blind with pocket queens. The board ran 2♣2♥9♠9♦A♣ and the river kept Rumba dancing. He's up to around 200,000 whilst Nenonen slips to 620,000.
1.10pm: Cards in the air
Play has started, there's 38 minutes left in the current level.
1pm: Welcome to Eureka Latvia final table
Well this is it ladies and gentleman. Over three days of action 278 players have been whittled down to just eight. It's an eclectic final table featuring two Latvians, two Finns, an Englishman, Irishman a Bosnian and a chip-leading Pole.
With 1.068,000 Dariusz Paszkiewicz holds the chip lead, the final table is about to start as the preamble has been completed. Below is the seat draw and chip counts as it stands.
Seat 1. Zvorimir Zoric, Bosnia and Herzegowina, PokerStars Qualifier, 293,000
Seat 2.Vitalijs Tarhanovs, Latvia, 236,000
Seat 3.Gary Clarke, Ireland, PokerStars Qualifier, 391,000
Seat 4.Valtteri Merikallio, Finland, 579,000
Seat 5.Joni Nenonen, Finland, 716,000
Seat 6.Dariusz Paszkiewicz, Poland, 1,068,000
Seat 7.Sam Macdonald, United Kingdom, PokerStars qualifier, 738,000
Seat 8.Normunds Rumba, Latvia, 95,000
PokerStars Blog reporting team in Lativa: Nick Wright. Photos by Rene Velli.