IPT8 Malta: Johan Guilbert tops Day 1B survivors, including Schemion

A high roller champ playing two tournaments at once; a player making noises reminiscent of that scene from When Harry Met Sally; Kassouf's coconuts getting cracked; this day had plenty of worthy anecdotes. But before we get to those, let's cover the important stuff.

A total of 556 players entered Day 1B of the IPT8 Malta Main Event, which when combined with yesterday's 219 entrants means we had a total of 775 players creating a total prize pool of €751,750. All of the runners took a shot at winning the last ever Italian Poker Tour title (before it gets re-branded under the PokerStars Festival banner), and there's a nice prize waiting for the winner - €101,940. You can see the whole prize pool structure here.


EPT13Malta_IPT_Main_Event_Manuel_Kovsca 24.jpg

Johan Guilbert ended Day 1B on top

A total of 151 players will make the money, with a min-cash worth €1,500. But that won't happen until Day 2 tomorrow, so let's get back to today. All Day 1B players were striving to reach the almost-300K summit climbed by yesterday's Day 1A chip leader Stefan Jedlica (299,100). In the end, the closest anyone got to that it was Johan Guilbert, who ended play with 294,000. Other big stacks in the bags belong to Dimitrios Avdoulos (263,500), Francesco Leotta (255,300), Cornelis Van Gent (252,000), Leonardo Armino (246,100), Nihat Karyagdi (233,800), and John Farrell (233,000).


Thumbnail image for EPT13MALT_Luca Pagano_6369_JulesPochy.jpg

No luck for Luca

There were plenty of big names in the field, including Italy's Team PokerStars Pro Luca Pagano and Team Online Pro Giada Fang. Neither of them could survive until Day 2 though, joining the likes of Charlie Carrel, Steven van Zadelhoff, Sylvain Loosli, Martin Finger, Antoine Saout, and Benny Spindler on the rail. Oh, and Will Kassouf - who provided some good table banter, but in the end was knocked out when his pocket aces - "the coconuts" - were cracked.

One good story came courtesy of Dietrich Fast. He was registered in this event despite also playing the final table of the €10K, which he ended up winning for €174,600 just before 8pm. He didn't go out and party though; he sat and grinded his 20K-ish stack for another few hours, ultimately busting before play was over.


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Fast and furious

Those that will be back tomorrow include Ismael Bojang (178,000), Ole Schemion (101,000), Martin Staszko (97,700), Ben Heath (47,200), and Simon Trumper (28,300). The 171 Day 1B survivors will merge with the 52 Day 1A survivors on Day 2, which kicks off at noon local time. So until then, ciao!

P.S. If you want to find out about the When Harry Met Sally thing, scroll down to our 6:02pm post. --JS


Day 1B coverage:

11:05pm: The day is done

The bags are out, so we'll be back with a full recap shortly. --JS

10:49pm: Clock paused - last five hands
Level 12 - 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

There'll be five more hands of play before action stops and the chips get bagged. --JS

10:48pm: Tens over queens and jacks
Level 12 - 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

"It's an incredible game."

So said one of the players not involved in a big three-way all-in just now, eliciting several nods from others in response.

We arrived only at the end, when it was easy enough to see that Samuele Moschetti with T♦T♥ had knocked out both Makram Saber with J♣J♦ and Victor Vasquez with Q♣Q♠.

Moschetti had the worst starting hand of the trio, but the 2♣A♣K♣T♠4♥ board had made him best. He has about 110,000 now as the field gets reduced by two. --MH

10:42pm: Schemion down to dust
Level 12 - 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

Ole Schemion has just a handful of big blinds left after losing a pot against Maxi Lehmanski. The latter was all-in for 30,800 holding A♦K♦ and had Schemion's A♠Q♣ dominated. A 2♥5♥J♠9♣3♦ board kept Lehmanski ahead and he doubled up.

Schemion is down to 13,000. --NW

10:35pm: Bojang amongst the big stacks
Level 12 - 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

Ismael Bojang is one of poker's true all-rounders, as proficient at hold'em as he is at Triple Draw and other mixed games.

He's amongst the big stacks here as Day 1B draws to a close, with his stack of 190,000 about 2.5x the average. Antonino Intravaia (195,000), Johan Guilbert (160,000), and Abdelkader Benhalima (155,000) also are sitting well as the night nears its conclusion. --NW

10:25pm: Puglia goes down fighting
Level 12 - 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

Oliver Hede opened for 4,500 and got a couple of callers in John Farrell and Francesco Leotta. It folded around to Giampaolo Puglia in the blinds who shoved all-in for about 30,000. That scattered everyone but Leotta who after some thought made the call.

Puglia had A♠J♦ and needed to improve versus Leotta's 6♣6♦, but the 4♠3♠5♣9♥2♥ runout improved Leotta to a straight and ended Puglia's tournament.

Leotta has about 235,000 now. Meanwhile after the hand Farrell was inquiring about who the chip leader might be. He's still a little below 300,000, which makes us suspect he himself is the answer to his own question, at least for now. --MH

10:20pm: Farrell flying high
Level 12 - 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

What is it about Farrells and doing well in Malta?

Niall Farrell is the reigning EPT Malta Main Event champion and now John Farrell is the chip leader of the IPT Main Event here on the archipelago, and by some distance. He's up to around 317,000 after stacking an opponent with K♥Q♥ against [Ax][Qx] on a Q♣K♦4♠6♦4♦. No clues as to when the money went in, I'm afraid, as I arrived as Farrell was being pushed the chips. --NW

10:12pm: Last level
Level 12 - 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

With the Day 1B field having shrunk to less than 200 players, the last level of the night has begun. --MH


LEVELSMALL BLINDBIG BLINDANTE
1210002000300


10:07pm: Farrell in first
Level 11 - 800/1,600 (200 ante)

John Farrell of Ireland has surged ahead of the Day 1B field with a few minutes to go in Level 11. He's up around 280,000 now, well clear of the chase pack hovering around 200,000. --MH

10:01pm: Huge pot for Cammilleri
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

I joined the action to see a 2♣8♣3♣5♠ board on the felt and a pot of 24,400 in the middle. There was a bet of 7,700 in front of Maxi Lehmanski, a call of that bet in front of Robert Cowen and a shove of just over 31,000 in front of Gaetano Cammilleri.

Action was on Lehmanski and he folded to the grey-haired Italian's shove, but Cowen was not so quick to decide on his action. He cut out the calling chips, dwelled for a while and then called.

Cammilleri showed A♣7♣ for the nuts and Cowen indicated that he was drawing dead. He (very) briefly showed what I think was five-four and then turned his cards face down. He can afford that loss, though, as he still has 176,000. --NW

9:49pm: Three-way all-in
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

Action had folded to Ivan Gabrieli in the cutoff and he looked down at the A♣T♥. He decided to apply some pressure to his opponents by moving all-in, knowing he had them all covered, but unbeknownst to him there were some big hands lurking in the shadows of the blinds.

The button player folded, and Iceland's Gudjon Oskarsson peeked at the A♦K♦ in the small blind. He called all-in, only for Umut Picakci to call all-in, too, from the big blind with the K♥K♣.

The 5♥9♦Q♥ flop was safe for Picakci's kings, while Oskarsson also was safe unless a ten hit. The turn came the 7♦ and the river the 3♠, and that secured Picakci a treble-up. Meanwhile, Gabrieli still had to pay off Oskarsson. In the end he slid 25,200 to Picakci, 13,500 to Oskarsson, and was left with around 50,000. Picakci now has 76,000, and Oskarsson has 27,000. --JS

9:46pm: Ciao and bye-bye and f&#!
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

Daniele Cuomo of Italy has been eliminated here in the day's penultimate level. In his last hand Cuomo held Q♣Q♥ versus American Jeffrey Blenkarn's A♣K♠, and a runout of 3♦J♦K♦T♣J♠ meant a better two pair for Blenkarn and the end of the road for Cuomo.

"Ciao," he told the table. Then, for the English speakers, he added "bye-bye." Finally, turning away the table and speaking largely to himself, he said one more word starting with the letter "f" that speakers of many languages understand.

Blenkarn is up around 140,000 now. --MH


LEVELSMALL BLINDBIG BLINDANTE
118001600200


9:33pm: Trumper trumps Sfakianakis
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

Following a Simon Trumper open, Dimitrios Sfakianakis went all-in for his last 8,300. There may have been others involved as well who eventually scattered, but in any event the price for Trumper to call was right and he did, turning over 6♣5♦ while Sfakianakis had A♥3♠.

A runout of 8♦6♥T♥K♦Q♦ gave Trumper a winning pair and Sfakianakis headed to the exit. Trumper bumps up around 120,000 on that one. --MH


EPT13MALT_Simon Trumper_6551_JulesPochy.jpg

Trumper thriving

9:30pm: Rizzo survives
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

Pietro Rizzo moved all-in for 14,000 with A♦Q♠ and Alex Brand gave him a spin with pocket eights. A 7♠2♠Q♥9♦7♥ board gave Rizzo the win and he survived. Brand drops to 75,000. --NW

9:25pm: Kicker good for Kerusauskas
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

When you're all-in against multiple opponents and there's betting into the side pot you've always got to fear the worst if you've got a semi-decent hand. So a penny for the thoughts of Miguel Gutierrez during the following hand.

David Dill opened to 3,500 from middle position, Tsveterina Pavlova three-bet to 9,500 from the button, and Gutierrez then moved all-in for 8,500. When action got back to Dill he asked how much extra it was, and then called.

The A♦2♦6♠ flop checked through, Dill then bet 2.500 on the Q♣ turn and Pavlova smooth-called. There was no further betting on the 3♣ river and it was time for showdown. Dill showed K♥Q♥, Pavlova had K♠K♣ but Gutierrez had them both trumped with A♠J♠ and he trebled up. --NW

9:23pm: Akenhead owns Picone
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

Gianfranco Picone made it 2,700 to play, but the only player who wanted to take him up on it was James Akenhead in the big blind. They both saw a Q♥3♣4♠ flop and Akenhead did a so-called "donk lead" by betting out for 3,200, which Picone called.

The turn came the A♦ and Akenhead led again. He made it 5,600 to play, and Picone went nowhere. Finally the T♦ river landed and Akenhead wasn't done yet. He counted out a bet of 17,800 and tossed it in the middle, and after a minute or so Picone made the call. Akenhead flipped over the 3♥3♦ for a flopped set and Picone mucked with a sigh.

After that, Akenhead has around 82,000 while Picone is playing 23,000. --JS


EPT13MALT_James Akenhead_6362_JulesPochy.jpg

More for Akenhead

9:20pm: More Hwang for the buck
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

Yung Hwang looked like he was on his way out the door. He jammed for his last 16,900 with the A♣2♦ and was called by Neil Higgins' A♣Q♠. He needed help.

And he got some. The 4♣5♠Q♠ flop gave Higgins top pair but Hwang a gutshot, which he'd hit on the 3♥ turn. The river was inconsequential (it wasn't a deuce, I can tell you) and Hwang doubled to around 36,000. Higgins has 57,000 now. --JS

9:15pm: The field gets smaller
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

They're down to just over 250 from the 556 who began Day 1B. Among those who won't be making it tomorrow's Day 2 are Benny Spindler, Sylvain Loosli, and Steven Van Zadelhoff. --MH


EPT13MALT_Steven Van Zadelhoff_6343_JulesPochy.jpg

Van Zadelhoff down to zero

9:08pm: Chip and a chair
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

As I strolled past Table 29 I noticed a player was all in. What made it interesting, though, is that he had just one solitary 100 chip in front of him.

It turned out that Kryzsztof Dulowski had lost all but one of his chips in the previous hand, and after a player opened to 2,800 he decided to stick in his last 100 chip. After all, 66.6% of his stack was already in the middle courtesy of the antes. Action was then on Nicola Bonu and he put in a three-bet, which got the original raiser to fold. Dulowski had king-deuce, Bonu had ace-queen, and a king on the flop was good enough at the end to give Dulowski the win. He'd gone from a single 100 chip to 2,300, still less than two big blinds, but it was a start.

In the next hand Dulowski was under the gun and moved all in for 2,100 (after his ante). It folded to Endre Sagstuen and he decided to re-jam, which got everyone else to fold. Dulowski now had the Q♥5♠ and would need to hit against the A♣T♦. Hit he did, as the board ran out 4♦2♣5♦4♠6♦. The pair of fives was good for another double-up. Now Dulowski had 7,200.

He was in the big blind in the next hand, so that left him with 6,000 behind. Could it be three double ups in three hands? Sadly not. He'd give up his big blind to another shove from Sagstuen. Interestingly, the dealer accidentally exposed the A♦ when dealing Sagstuen's hand, so he had to get another card. After his jam got everyone to fold, he showed A♣Q♠. Yep - he would have had aces. Not that it mattered in the end, though. --JS

9:04pm: Kicker good for Kerusauskas
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

On one of the first hands of the level Aivaras Kerusauskas scooped a nice pot against Xavier Mouysset.

The Lithuanian player opened to 2,400 and picked up calls from Mouysset (small blind) and the big blind. On the J♣7♣3♦ flop Kerusauskas bet 3,000 and Mouysset was the only caller. Mouysset called a further 5,200 on the 7♦ turn, before the potential-flush-completing 5♣ river meant both players opted for a free showdown.

Mouysset showed J♥T♥ but Kerusauskas had him outkicked with A♣J♠. --NW

8:59pm: Some more counts
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

Following up on that big stack report, here are some others we've been following and some updated counts on them, post-dinner.

Ismael Bojang - 110,000
Simon Trumper - 80,000
Ole Schemion - 70,000
Dominik Panka - 70,000
Yury Gulyy - 67,000
Ben Heath - 43,000
James Akenhead - 38,000
Dara O'Kearney - 27,000
Ka Kwan Lau - 25,000

Also, Dietrich Fast -- after winning the just completed €10K Single Re-Entry while this event was on break -- has made it back over and is playing a stack of about 20,000. --MH

8:54pm: Current big stacks
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

We have some updated chip leaders to share with you among the players who have returned from the dinner break. 

Dimitrios Avdoulos currently sports what appears the biggest stack by a decent margin at the moment, as he's moved up around 240,000 -- nearly 10 times the starting stack. Here are the big stacks at the moment:

Dimitrios Avdoulos - 240,000
Christophe Vincent - 165,000
Guiseppe Di Mauro - 136,000
Thomas Lentrodt - 135,000
John Farrell - 130,000
Lawrence Andreys - 130,000
Tomasz Doktor - 130,000
Gaetano Preite - 130,000
Vladimir Shabalin - 121,000
Luca Moschitta - 120,000

Avdoulos is already within shouting distance of the Stefan Jedlicka who ended Day 1A with a leading stack of 299,100. We'll see if he or anyone else can manage to surpass Jedlicka during these last three levels. --MH

8:45pm: Play resumes
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

Day 1B players have returned from their dinners to the Portomaso Casino to continue their IPT Main Events. Three more 45-minute levels to go, then those who remain will be bagging up for tomorrow's Day 2. --MH

LEVELSMALL BLINDBIG BLINDANTE
106001200200


7:28pm: Dinner time

Having reached the end of Level 9, the Day 1B players are off for a 75-minute dinner break. When they return they'll play three more levels, then call it a night. Talk again post-meal. --MH


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7:21pm: Rubino doubles through Andreys
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

Fabio Rubino was all-in for his last 13,700 and standing from his chair, looking as though he was preparing a quick getaway here just a few minutes before the dinner break.

He had A♦T♠, though, which was ahead of the K♦Q♣ of Lawrence Andreys. Five cards later -- 3♠4♥7♣4♣J♣ -- Rubino's hand was still best, and he sat back down to a little under 30,000. Meanwhile Andreys continues to be one of the big stacks with about 125,000. --MH

7:15pm: Bad winner
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

The term bad loser is commonly used, but perhaps we need to create an entry for "bad winner" in the poker dictionary, too. An example. Finley Hall was all-in for his tournament life with A♠Q♥ and in great shape against Adriano Santulli, who held A♥J♥. The 9♣6♥4♥T♣8♥ board meant Santulli rivered a flush to win the hand and eliminate Hall.

"Yes, yes. Back to me," he exclaimed as he won the pot. It was a rub down Hall didn't deserve and it's not the first time Santulli has been vocal when winning a pot. --NW

7:08pm: Life in the Fast lane
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

Imagine you had Dietrich Fast's life. You final table the high roller, but buy into this event anyway, knowing full well that you'll only be able to play it in your breaks from the other event.

Then you get to heads-up in that high roller, guaranteeing you a €126,300 payday. You go on break, sit down with your dwindling IPT stack, and decide you need to make a move quickly as you haven't got long. You call an open from the big blind with A♦3♣, then check-shove on a 6♠5♥2♣ flop with nothing but ace-high and a gutshot. You then get snap-called by 8♣9♣ -- a gutshot that you're actually beating.

The turn comes the Q♦, the river the 2♦, and just like that your ace-high is good.

Fast doubled his stack to 22,000, which is enough for him to survive another level or two if play moves slow. However, this is life in the Fast lane. With five minutes left on the high roller break as I type, don't be surprised if Fast hasn't doubled up again or been eliminated before play in that event restarts. --JS

6:56pm: Dejaunte dents Debus
Level 9 - 500/1,000 (100 ante)

A clash of two short stacks to tell you about, which left one medium stack and one very short stack.

After a raise to 2,600, Dejuante Alexander moved all-in for 13,900 from the small blind, only for Alexander Debus to shove for 19,000 from the big blind. The original raiser folded and it was time for a showdown. Alexander showed 7♣7♦ in a manner which suggested he thought he was behind. But Debus held A♣K♠, so it was off to the races.

An 8♣J♦6♠9♦2♦ board favored Alexander and he doubled, while Debus is now very short on chips. --NW

6:51pm: Loosli loses a chunk to Vincent
Level 9 - Blinds 300/600 (100 ante)

"How much?" asked Sylvain Loosli. "Fifteen?!"

That's right Sylvain. Christophe Vincent of France had just bet 15,000 into a 10-11k pot on a Q♥3♦4♦6♠7♥ board. The overbet usually means one of two things: the nuts or nothing. Loosli couldn't quite work out the bet but eventually decided to look up his fellow Frenchman. It would be the wrong decision, however, as this time it was the nuts. Vincent had 5♣4♥ for a straight and Loosli mucked.

"Oh dear," Loosli said, as he stacked his remaining 17,000 chips. Vincent is up to 95,000 now. --JS


EPT13MALT_Sylvain Loosli_6564_JulesPochy.jpg

Loosli slips

6:49pm: The amazing technicolor player nationalities wheel
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

Right on the heels of that prize pool and payouts information (listed just below the Blog Supporting Level BarTM), we have some additional data to share regarding the 775 entrants in this last-ever IPT Main Event.

Italy unsurprisingly sent the most players with 219 or about 28% of the field, with France (77), the United Kingdom (51), Poland (45), and Spain (33) next in line. All told players came from 53 different countries to participate in this one, including 18 from Malta. 

Here's that graphical representation promised by the post headline (click to embiggen). --MH


IPT8_Malta_Main_Event_player_nationalities.JPG


LEVELSMALL BLINDBIG BLINDANTE
95001000100


6:41pm: Prize pool and payouts
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

Alert! We have prize pool information to pass along. 

With 556 entries today, that made for a total field of 775 which adds up to a total prize pool of €751,750. The top 151 finishers will split the loot, with a cool €101,940 awaiting the winner.

Here's how the final table payouts look:

1st: €101,940
2nd: €75,690
3rd: €56,200
4th: €41,720
5th: €30,970
6th: €23,000
7th: €17,070
8th: €12,670

They're nearing the end of Level 8, after which they'll play one more 45-minute level, then go for dinner. --MH

6:38pm: Exits
Level 8 - 400/800 (100 ante)

Will Kassouf isn't the only big name to have been eliminated today (see below, 6:17pm post). Victor Ilyukhin, Gareth Chantler, Martin Finger, Konstantin Puchkov, and Eric Nhouyvanisvong are all out. 340 of 556 entrants remain. --NW

6:31pm: Bacioi takes a lotta from Liotta
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

Cilril Bacioi kicked this one off with a 2,000 bet and that got two callers in Antonio Liotta and Dimitrios Avdoulos, who was the big blind. A 3♣8♣T♣ flop was dealt and Avdoulos checked to Bacioi who continued for 3,000. Liotta then bumped it up to 8,000 and Avdoulos let his hand go. Bacioi stared at his hand, stared at the flop, and moved all-in for 28,300. That amount was too much for Liotta who gave it up, leaving him with 50,000. --JS

6:22pm: The ace-face, ahem, face-off
Level 8 - 400/800 (100 ante)

There are many different ways to react when you learn you're all-in and behind. Some players exude confidence, saying that then can feel the card(s) they need are going to come. Some stand up and put their coat on, convinced this "trick" will result in them hitting a card and surviving. That's sort of what Luca Taranzano just did when he was all-in with A♠Q♦ against David Lasierra, who had A♣K♦.

He took it one stage further, though, by actually leaving the vicinity of the table well before the river card of an A♦6♦3♣2♦8♣ board had been delivered. He's out, while Lasierra is up to 49,000. --NW

6:17pm: Kassouf gambles with the nuts... and is out
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

Syzmon Wysocki opened for 1,800, and it folded to William Kassouf who three-bet to 5,200. The action folded back around to Wysocki who thought for a moment, and Kassouf took the opening to discuss the situation. 

"Don't call," said Kassouf, suggesting two other options for the big-stacked Wysocki. "All-in or pass," said Kassouf, who had about 6,000 left behind. 

Wysocki did decide to reraise all-in, and Kassouf called right away to commit his remaining chips.

"I have the nuts," Kassouf said as he did, and indeed he did have the best starting hand in hold'em -- A♦A♣. Meanwhile Wysocki turned over 4♠4♥.

"Brick brick brick," Kassouf requested of the dealer, who promptly spread the flop -- 3♠4♦K♠. "Standard," said Kassouf, noting the four that had given Wysocki a set.

The turn was the Q♦ and river the 2♥. "Marvelous," said Kassouf as he took a picture of the board with his phone. "I gamble with nuts... gamble with the nuts! This is how I always go out of tournaments -- gambling with the nuts."

Kassouf wished the table well before departing. Meanwhile Wysocki is doing very well, having chipped up around 115,000 now. --MH


LEVELSMALL BLINDBIG BLINDANTE
8400800100


6:02pm: Wu's woo hoos
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (100 ante)

I didn't see this hand. I don't even know for sure which players were in it. But it's still worth mentioning due to the celebrations that took place afterward.

There had been a three-way all-in. Sai Wu from China held ace-jack, another player held pocket queens (the shortest stack of the three), and the third player had ace-four suited. The board ran out 7♠7♥5♥T♣5♦ which meant the queens were still in front. Wu thought she was out.

Turns out Wu was so focused on the queens she forgot that there was a side pot between the two ace-high hands (as they both had bigger stacks). She would have actually won the whole thing had the board not paired on the end, but instead of being upset, she was ecstatic just to still be alive in this tournament.

"Yes! Yes! YES!!! A chop! It's a chop!" she yelled, turning a few heads. After the hand my colleague Howard Swains came over. "What happened over there?" he said. "It sounded like that scene from When Harry Met Sally."

A weird hand, and I didn't even catch it all. Nevertheless, it's one that leaves Sai Wu with 32,000. --JS

5:51pm: The latest among the greatest
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (100 ante)

Taking another gander at the big stacks, it appears Antonio Intravaia has surged in front after building up to more than 120,000. Here's a look at the current toppermost of the chippermost. --MH

Antonio Intravaia - 123,600
Lawrence Andreys - 110,000
Trevor Lee - 105,000
Ole Schemion - 90,000
Antonio Leotta - 86,000
Krysztof Stuchlik - 85,000
Mehmet Serhat Kacar - 80,000
Guiseppe Di Mauro - 77,000
Julian Toniolo - 72,000
Adriano Santulli - 70,000

5:50pm: Dietrich's stack dwindling away fast
Level 7 - 300/600 (100 ante)

If you hadn't already heard, Dietrich Fast is multi-tabling. He entered the IPT Main Event when he was the short stack in the €10,000 single re-entry event. He's now the chip leader with three left and there's €174,600 up for grabs there.

So, it's no surprise that he's concentrating on that event. His seat in the IPT is actually very close to his IPT table, but he's actually not allowed to run between tables and so is playing the IPT during any breaks in play.

As a result, his stack in the IPT is simply blinding off and he's down to 18,000. --NW

5:48pm: Mutti over Hansen
Level 7 - 300/600 (100 ante)

From middle position Ole Hansen raised to 1,400 and picked up calls from Matteo Mutti on the button and Thibault Letort in the blinds.

On the 6♠Q♣K♦ flop Hansen c-bet 2,200 and Mutti was the only caller. The 8♥ fell on the turn, and Hansen slowed down and checked the action to Mutti, who bet 4,800. Hansen then check-raised all-in for 13,800 total and Mutti called.

Hansen showed A♣K♠ for top pair, top kicker, but Mutti had him beat with K♥Q♠. It stayed that way on the 8♣ river and Mutti climbs to 64,000. --NW

5:38pm: Harmens harms Ersoy's chances
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (100 ante)

Cagdas Ersoy saw that the action had folded to him, and with the button placed in front of his chips he pulled a couple off the stack and made it 1,700 to play. Tobias Peters was in the small blind and he came along, and Sjors Harmens defended his big blind.

When the J♥6♥Q♦ flop fell Peters decided to do what's commonly referred to as a "donk bet," leading out into the raiser for 2,600. Both Harmens and Ersoy would call to see the 8♣ turn, and that slowed Peters down. He checked, and Harmens assumed the aggressive line with a 5,700 bet. It didn't take Ersoy long to call, leaving him less than a pot-size bet behind. Peters got out of the way.

The river was the 2♥, completing any flush draws that may have been out there. Harmens checked quickly, and Ersoy put no more into the pot. When he saw Harmens' Q♠J♣ for top two pair, Ersoy mucked his hand with all the frustration of a man with a fork in a world of soup. He has just 6,800 for 11 big blinds, while Harmens is up to 57,000. --JS

5:29pm: Bang, bang, two fall to Yang Zhang
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (100 ante)

After Pascal Froment open-raised all-in for his last 8,300 from early position, Alexander Ivarsson reraise-shoved for about 25,000 from the next seat over. It folded to Yang Zhang who after getting counts decided to reraise all-in himself for just a little more than Ivarsson's stack, and everyone else stepped aside.

Ivarsson quickly turned over his A♦K♥ and Zhang tabled T♠T♥, then with a wince and a reluctant look Froment turned over A♥Q♠. The board brought no help to the all-in players, coming J♦8♠8♦6♣4♣, and Zhang scored two eliminations while boosting his stack up around 65,000. --MH

5:23pm: Aces work for Panka
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (100 ante)

With the board showing K♦T♦Q♣, Cagri Tek fired 3,000, then 2014 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Main Event champion Domink Panka reraised all-in with his last 10,000. Upon hearing the size of the bet, Tek called, turning over A♦8♦ for flush and straight draws. Meanwhile Panka had A♠A♥ and was currently ahead.

Panka stayed ahead through the 7♣ turn and 6♣ river, and he's at a little under 25,000 now while Tek slips to less than 5,000. --MH

5:14pm: Back at it
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (100 ante)

Players are back and cards are in the air again. The big board is showing a total of 556 Day 1B entries, which would put the overall number at 775 for the event. We'll see what the official number turns out to be. --MH


LEVELSMALL BLINDBIG BLINDANTE
7300600100


4:54pm: Break it up

That's six levels down, and now it's time for another 20-minute break. They'll return for three more 45-minute levels, then it'll be dinner time. --MH


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4:50pm: Ole, Ole, Ole!
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (75 ante)

It's one thing to get dealt a big hand, another thing entirely to win a big pot. Well, Ole Schemion managed both, two hands in succession. Both times he had kings and both times he stacked his opponent. The first of those was Antoine Saout, who held A-10, while in the second hand his unknown opponent held A-K. Easy game. --NW

4:37pm: Fast feet
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (75 ante)

Dietrich Fast is one of three players left in the €10,000 single re-entry event, but that hasn't stopped him entering the IPT Main Event. Indeed when the bigger event went on break a short while ago, Fast took his seat and played a few hands in the IPT, but until he busts, or wins, the €10,000 event his stack will continue to blind off. --NW


EPT13MALT_Dietrich Fast_6411_JulesPochy.jpg

Dietrich Fast (from over in the €10K)

4:35pm: A few counts from the downstairs section
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (75 ante)

Here's how some of the names and notables are fairing now we're halfway through the day:

Ted Jackson-Spivack - 58,000
Iliodoros Kamatakis - 39,500
Victor Ilyukhin - 38,000
Simon Trumper - 33,000
Charlie Carrel - 32,000
Sylvain Loosli - 26,000
Martin Finger - 25,600
Ben Heath - 20,700
Will Kassouf - 18,500

4:31pm: You won't believe the hands these two turned over...
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (75 ante)

Apologies for the click-bait headline, but I thought this hand was quite interesting, so maybe you will, too.

It started with a 1,200 open from Nicolino Di Carlo in the hijack and that got calls from Marc Hunter (small blind) and Eric Nhouyvanisvong (big blind). The trio watched the dealer spread the K♣5♣3♣ flop and it checked to Di Carlo. He continued for 2,000, which got rid of Hunter but got a call from Nhouyvanisvong.

The turn was the J♦ and it checked to Di Carlo again. This time he made it 3,400 and Nhouyvanisvong came along to see the T♥ river card. That got both players to check, meaning it was showdown time.

Nhouyvanisvong gingerly turned over A♥3♥ for bottom pair, but that was no good. Was he beat by a king? A jack perhaps? Even a ten? Nope. Di Carlo had the 7♠5♠ for a pair of fives. He has 31,000 now, while Nhouyvanisvong is down to 16,500. --JS

4:24pm: Senisin senses it
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (75 ante)

Arriving on the river with more than 30,000 in the middle and a board showing A♠2♥K♠2♦8♠, Philip Fjastad Senisin sensed that betting his last 13,750 would be the best of his options. After getting a count, Antoine Degiorgio decided his best choice was to call.

"Flush," said Senisin while tabling his 7♠5♠. That beat Digiorgio's A♦J♠ for aces and deuces, and Senisin is now up around 58,000 while Degiorgio slips to 14,000. --MH

4:15pm: Lee in the lead
Level 6 - Blinds 250/500 (75 ante)

Trevor Lee of the U.K. has bounded up over everyone here by Level 6 to be the first Day 1B player over 100,000 chips. 

The chase pack behind Lee's at present includes Antonino Intravaia (78,000), Lawrence Andreys (75,000),  and Clement Coulanjon (68,000). --MH


LEVELSMALL BLINDBIG BLINDANTE
625050075


4:09pm: Saout takes a hit
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

With around 6,600 in the pot and a K♥3♥2♦T♠ board on the felt, Antoine Saout bet 2,500 and Ondrej Vinklarek, who won the EPT8 Player of the Year title, shoved all-in for 8,500. This sent the former November Niner into the tank, but the French player did make the call.

Vinklarek turned over T♥T♦ for a turned set, while Saout held K♣Q♦ and was drawing dead. The meaningless A♠ completed the board, and now Saout is down to 27,000. --NW


EPT13MALT_Antoine Saout_6338_JulesPochy.jpg

Saout loses a few

4:07pm: Kassouf at work
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

We all know about William Kassouf's table talk prowess by now, so here are his latest efforts. It doesn't always work for him though... in fact, he lost these two pots consecutively.

In the first hand, a limp from Francesco D'Alena led to a 1,100 raise from Kassouf which was then called by Sylvain Loosli in the big blind. D'Alena came along too to see the 7♥T♠3♠ flop and Loosli checked. D'Alena then opted not to check to the raiser, instead leading out himself for 1,300. Kassouf didn't say anything yet, he just raised it up to 4,000 and Loosli wriggled loose. D'Alena called.

"King-ten?" Kassouf asked as the chat commenced. "I've got the best hand."

The turn came the Q♣ and D'Alena checked.

"If you've got queen-ten you're winning, otherwise I'm winning," Kassouf continued before checking back. The river came the J♦ and D'Alena checked once more. "Ahhh okay," Kassouf said, giving up and showing his 5♠7♠ for a missed flush draw. D'Alena turned over J♥T♦ for two pair and took that one down.

In the next hand Kassouf opened to 1,000 and got three callers. A Q♥5♠Q♦ flop was spread and action checked back to the Brit who continued for 3,000. Fernando Gonzalez was the only caller.

"You have a queen you're winning," said Kassouf, which didn't say much really. "I have a big pair, preflop." The turn was the 6♣ and it went check-check, resulting in a T♣ river card. Now Gonzalez led out for 5,500 and Kassouf started thinking.

"You have pocket sixes. It can be no other hand. I don't think you're bluffing."

Kassouf folded face down, and Gonzalez showed him only one card -- the 4♣. After that action, Kassouf was left with 26,000, just above the starting stack. --JS

4:03pm: Martinuzzi hangs on
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

Paulo Martinuzzi was all-in and at risk, but you couldn't really tell by looking at him. Having committed his super short stack behind a meager Q♦6♦, he didn't give himself much of a chance against Mecit Turan's T♣8♣, especially after the flop came 3♦T♠T♦.

"Oh," he said, looking up from his phone to notice just a moment before the turn fell that he had a flush draw. Then the 2♦ completed it, and after the 5♠ river he'd survived. The dealer pushed the chips his way, though he was still a little preoccupied with his phone.

"You posted on Facebook you lost?" cracked a player from across the table, and Martinuzzi grinned in response before returning to the text conversation he'd left hanging.

He only has 3,000 or so, while Turan isn't in much better shape with about 10,000. --MH

3:55pm: Siddique sent on his way
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

Down to just 7.5 big blinds Usman Siddique raised all-in from early position and awaited his fate. The UKIPT6 London champion would get action as Nick Newport raised to 6,000. Siddique would have the chance to more than triple up as Mario De Leo re-raised all-in and Newport folded.

Siddique: Q♦J♠
De Leo: A♦K♥

The 9♠7♥A♥7♠4♥ runout kept De Leo in front, and Siddique is done. --NW


EPT13MALT_usman_suddique_6333_JulesPochy.jpg

Siddique sunque

3:44pm: Carlino's way
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

You don't need to spend long at a table with Joseph Carlino to get a good read on his personality. The line labeled "outgoing" is a mere dot to this man. When he's not practicing martial arts or trying to engage the table in a sing-song, he's not too bad at this card game either.

He just won a pot against Sai Wu and they engaged in some friendly banter. "You hit the turn, I hit the river," joked Carlino.

He seems in a good mood today. It's a bit chilly in the tournament room with Carlino wearing a coat and a scarf, for which there's not much call for outside, where it's a balmy 25 degrees. --NW

3:41pm: Big stack report
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

We saw Anton Bertilsson leap up close to 70,000 a little earlier today, although he's now slipped back under the 50,000-chip mark. Meanwhile below is a look at the biggest stacks thus far on Day 1B. --MH

Giorgio Bellanca - 65,000
Laszlo Papi - 65,000
Nihat Karyagdi - 62,000
Matteo Mario Mutti - 55,000
Paolo Martinuzzi - 55,000
Antonino Vitale - 54,000
Nan Che - 54,000
Julian Toniolo - 53,000
Giussepe de Rosa - 51,000
Joachim Lob - 51,000

3:29pm: Leonardo leaves
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

We noted at the end of the last level how the Leonardo Pires -- 13th-place finisher at the 2016 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure back in January -- had lost a chunk of chips after a quick start here today.

Alas for the Braziilan, he lost a few more as the level concluded, and Pires has been eliminated, joining the 30 or so who have so far lost their starting stacks on Day 1B. --MH

3:23pm: New level, late registration closes
Level 5 - Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

With the start of Level 5 that means late registration has closed, with the big board showing 550 Day 1B entrants at the moment. We'll keep an eye on it and see just how many came today to join the 219 who played Day 1A. --MH


LEVELSMALL BLINDBIG BLINDANTE
520040050


3:18pm: Ace-ah king-ah no good, ah?
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (50 ante)

Joseph Carlino from France opened to 775 and was instantly three-bet to 2,100 by the man to his left, Greece's Dimitrios Sfakianakis. It folded back to Carlino and he came along, giving Sfakianakis a good stare from just a few inches away as he did so.

The dealer put out a 9♥Q♣J♠ flop and Carlino checked it, letting Sfakianakis in for a continuation bet worth 2,000. That bet was called and the turn came the 4♥. A similar pattern happened with a check and another bet of 5,000. However, that was too much for Carlino and he folded, tapping the table.

Sfakianakis then flipped over the Q♥Q♦, to show that he'd flopped top set. Carlino then, in what at the time seemed to be an excellent Italian accent, said "Ace-ah king-ah no good, ah?" revealing that he folded his gutshot. --JS

3:15pm: Pires loses to Laugt
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (50 ante)

Leonardo Pires had been up over 50,000 in the early going, but he just sent some chips across the table after a hand with Quentin Laugt.

Having arrived only on the river and after the betting was done, we must speculate a bit about how it happened. But the Q♥6♥ before Pires added up to a busted flush draw on a A♣4♥9♥7♠K♠ board, while the K♦9♠ before Laugt meant two pair and the best hand. You can try to retrace the possible paths leading to that conclusion, if you like.

Laugt is up around 35,000 now while Pires tumbles to 15,000. --MH

3:09pm: They'll let anyone in
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (50 ante)

Late registration closes at the end of this level and plenty of big names have hopped in since level four got underway. Most of them are getting seated downstairs, with the likes of Charlie Carrel, Ben Heath, Ismael Bojang, Michael Kane, and Benny Glaser among those who've just bought in.

We've also spotted Sylvain Loosli and Benny Spindler... 

EPT13MALT_Benny Spindler_6506_JulesPochy.jpg

Spindler takes a seat

...and Dominik Panka and Iliodoros Kamatakis. --NW


EPT13MALT_Branding_6470_JulesPochy.jpg

Day 1B continues

3:03pm: A Bertilsson bounce
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (50 ante)

Felix Schlott opened for 600 from under the gun, then it folded around to Anton Bertilsson in late position who made it 2,100 to go. Everyone else stepped aside, Schlott called, and the flop came 7♣4♥4♦. Schlott checked, Bertilsson continued for 2,100, and Schlott called. 

The turn brought the 9♣ and another check from Schlott, and this time Bertilsson bet 4,600. Schlott thought a moment, then called again, then both quickly checked the 5♥ river.

Bertilsson tabled Q♥9♥ for nines and fours, and that was good as Schlott mucked his hand. Bertilsson bounces up to 68,000 with that pot while Schlott has about 40,000. --MH

2:53pm: Lots of limping (some accidental) at Doke's table
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (50 ante)

Dara O'Kearney's last few months in poker have been very impressive -- five final tables since the beginning of September, including a runner-up finish in the £500 UKIPT Super Series for £26,800. The man known online as Doke is sat at what seems to be quite a friendly table today, judging by the amount of limping that's going on. That being said, in these last two hands a limp didn't mean you got to see a flop.

The first hand started with two limps, before Nicolino Di Carlo made it 1,100 to go on the button. O'Kearney was in the small blind and he opted to raise it up. He placed four orange 1k chips in the middle and announced a raise which I didn't quite catch. It didn't matter in the end as everyone folded and O'Kearney moved up to 30,000.

In the very next hand, Eric Nhouyvanisvong from France was under the gun and went to fold his hand. As he did, though, he accidentally put a 1,000 chip in the middle, and because of this the dealer had to take it as a call. There was some chatter between the players as to whether this could be an angle, but it was jovial in nature and Nhouyvanisvong didn't think anything of it.

The accidental limp brought in Di Carlo and O'Kearney (in the cutoff and button positions) and the small blind limped, too. The action was now on the UK's Marc Hunter -- who has been chatting with O'Kearney since they joined the same table -- and he squeezed from the big blind up to 2,000. Interestingly enough, the only player who called was Nhouyvanisvong!

The flop fell Q♦9♦3♦ and Hunter continued for 2,000. That was enough to get Nhouyvanisvong to fold, which is a shame as I'd love to know what he held. --JS

2:42pm: Back in action
Level 4 - Blinds 150/300 (50 ante)

Players are back from the break and with 517 registered so far for Day 1B, cards are in the air once more. Late registration lasts to the end of this 45-minute level. --MH


LEVELSMALL BLINDBIG BLINDANTE
415030050


2:20pm: Get some fresh air

Three levels have come and gone and the players are now on a 20-minute break. --NW


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2:18pm: Schemion gets outkicked into the break
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Ole Schemion opened to 500 and picked up one caller in Nicolay Langfeldt, who had the button in front of him. That meant it was heads-up to the flop, which read 5♠8♠9♦, and Schemion opted not to c-bet. He checked, letting Langfeldt take the betting lead for 600, which Schemion called.

The turn was the 6♠ putting four cards to a straight out there, and Schemion checked again. Langfeldt didn't slow down, making it 1,500 to see a river card, and the German paid up. That river card was the 4♣ and it killed the action. As both checked, Schemion showed his Q♠8♦ first for second pair, but he was out-kicked by Langfeldt's A♠8♣. Schemion smiled and tapped the table, having dropped to 17,000. --JS

2:12pm: Wake up!
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Always follow the action!

Esref Govsa raised it up to 500 from middle position, Joris Ruijs three-bet to 1,350 from the lojack, and Sarah Herzali then cold four-bet to 3,000.

Action folded to Giovanni Musumeci in the small blind and he seemed to have a real decision. He placed his hands on his face, took a look around at the tournament clock (possibly) and then sat there fairly motionless. Just how big was his hand? A minute or so passed and he seemed no closer to a decision, in fact, he didn't really seem to be thinking about anything. Did he realize action was on him? No, no he didn't.

Govsa was the first to figure this out and gestured at Musumeci. The penny dropped and the Italian checked his cards before mucking, Govsa followed suit and Ruijs was the only caller. On the 9♣3♦3♣ flop Herzali c-bet 2,600 and she took the pot. --NW

2:04pm: Schemion and Finger join field
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Another trip down to the lower level finds a few more late comers as the Day 1B field swells toward 500 players, with a couple of European Poker Tour standouts among them.

Ole Schemion is here, winner of the EPT12 Grand Final Super High Roller in Monaco (April 2016), the EPT10 Sanremo High Roller, just part of his career tournament cashes of more than $11 million.  Martin Finger has also taken a seat, hoping to add to a résumé that includes the EPT8 Prague Main Event title, a win in the EPT12 Barcelona High Roller, and first place in the EPT10 London Super High Roller -- part of his nearly $6.7 million in tournament winnings. --MH

1:55pm: Postel survives
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

I joined the action at table nine to see Iwan Postel all-in for 11,225. There was about 13,000 in the pot and Paolo Pellegrini was eyeing up a 6♣5♣Q♥7♦ board as he weighed up his decision. He eventually let his hand go and Postel is almost back to starting stack. --NW

1:49pm: Pagano up, Fang out
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Our two red spades -- Luca Pagano (Team Pro) and Giada Fang (Team Online) -- have had quite different starts to this event. Pagano just took down a pot and is up to 32,000 now, while Fang is out. We didn't catch the bust out, but she was saying her goodbyes around the room while her former seat stood empty.

The Pagano hand in question started with a 550 open from Uwe Schrieber. That got a call from Giuseppe Spitale on the button and Pagano from the big blind. The three saw a 7♣8♦5♣ flop and it checked around to the 5♦ turn. With the board paired Pagano led out for 850 and both others called, taking us to the 9♣ river. Pagano fired once more for 1,200, and that was enough to get two folds. --JS


EPT13MALT_Luca Pagano_6369_JulesPochy.jpg

A game of skill and Luca
 

1:45pm: All-in Andreys
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Lawrence Andreys of France has collected a handful of EPT cashes over recent years. Just now he collected some chips here on Day 1B of the IPT Main Event in a multi-way hand. 

After four players saw a flop come a very wet T♦J♦K♥, it checked to Aharub Khatri who made a three-quarter pot-sized bet of 6,500. At that Andreys pushed all-in, and though it took a while everyone folded, including Khatri.

Andreys chips up close to 40,000 with that pot. --MH

1:40pm: Enter Kassouf
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Since his deep run in the WSOP Main Event William Kassouf has probably had more written about him than any of the players who went on to reach the November Nine. Much of that has centered around his table talk and a couple of key hands (and rulings) that occurred during his deep run.

He's here in Malta but for now the table talk is being kept to a minimum, in fact he was totally silent when I passed by his table. --NW

1:35pm: We hardly knew ye
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200, Ante 25

It was a short day for Antonio Mitrotta, Frans Van Staalduinen, Roger Szarek, Pierre Merlin, Elena Yasyuchenya, Atononino Russo, and Alfio Bonaventura as they all busted out during the opening two levels. --NW

1:34pm: Ante up!
Level 3 - Blinds 100/200, Ante 25

With 465 now registered they move on into Level 3 without a break. Hello, antes! --MH


EPT13MALT_Full room_6327_JulesPochy.jpg

Day 1B continues


LEVELSMALL BLINDBIG BLINDANTE
310020025


1:25pm: The red spade club
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

Joining Team PokerStars Pro Luca Pagano in today's red spade club is Italy's Giada Fang, a member of Team PokerStars Pro Online. Her biggest live cash so far came in the IPT2 San Remo Main Event where she finished 14th. Let's see if she can best that here in Malta in the last ever IPT. --JS

1:15pm: Mariano down, but not out
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

It must have been a terrible opening level for Giovanni Mariano as he found himself with just 6,300 chips remaining. Just now he opted to shove them all-in over the top of Stephan Zesiger's open from the small blind, and Zesiger felt like gambling a little. He called with the K♣7♣, but Mariano had found the perfect hand to get his double up -- the A♥A♦.

The board ran out 8♥2♠T♠9♣9♥ so the pocket rockets managed to fade the up-and-down straight draw on the turn. Mariano is a little healthier now, but will need another double-up to get back over the starting stack. --JS

1:05pm: More faces
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

The tournament information board is telling us that 436 players are now in the field. Some of the notable newcomers are:

Gavin O'Rourke -- finished 10th in the EPT12 Prague Main Event and also was part of a $1,000,000 Spin and Go while still in that event.

Tobias Peters -- over a million in live tournament earnings and won back to back High Rollers on the Eureka Poker Tour in 2015.

Luca Pagano -- the man needs no introduction, as the Team PokerStars Pro is one of the godfathers of the Italian poker scene and won a IPT Main Event in Season 3.

Leonardo Pires -- led the PCA Main Event this year for a long time and played a brand of poker that was fascinating to watch. Has the ability to run up a big stack and use it to devastating effect. He's up to 36,000 already here.

Yury Gulyy -- the Russian regular on the EPT who has racked up a number of cashes on the tour, including a side event victory at EPT9 London. --NW

12:55pm: Owen's ladies are best
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

It's been quite a year for Adam Owen. The Brit won his first 'COOP title back in May in a 5-card Omaha Hi/Lo event, and then at the EPT13 Barcelona stop he finished third in the Main Event for $731,000. He's off to a decent start here in Malta, having just took a small pot from the busted flush draw of Argentina's Francisco Araujo.

It was a blind vs. blind hand I picked up the action on a K♠6♠A♥ flop. Araujo checked to Owen who made it 2,800 to go, and Araujo came along. The turn came the 9♣ which both checked, followed by the J♦ river.

Again, both decided to check and Owen showed the Q♣Q♥, which despite a bad flop with two over cards was still the best hand as Araujo mucked. A player asked to see what he held, however, so he had to show the T♠9♠. --JS

12:50pm: Korchenskiy collects
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

There were four spades on the board in a hand between table neighbors Pablo Rodriguez and Anatoly Korchenskiy -- 9♠K♠J♠3♦2♠ -- and with about 9,000 in the middle Rodriguez had fired 5,000 in an attempt to earn the pot.

Korchenskiy didn't act right away, and after falling into and then climbing back out of a spell of contemplation made his decision -- to raise! The bet was 12,600, and Rodriguez didn't need to think at all as he instantly tossed his cards to the dealer.

Korchenskiy bumps up over 40,000 as the second level starts while Rodriguez is down to 13,000, just over half the starting stack. --MH

12:49pm: Level 2 begins
Level 2 - Blinds 75/150

There are more than 430 in action as the day's second level begins. Late registration is open through the start of Level 5. --MH


LEVELSMALL BLINDBIG BLINDANTE
2751500


12:42pm: Don't do it Gareth
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

Good friends David Lappin and Gareth Chantler find themselves as neighbors today, with Chantler having position. However, tonight they'll be more than neighbors, as Lappin -- who lives in Malta -- is giving Chantler a place to crash for the night.

Well, at least that's the plan as there's been a friendly threat of eviction issued should Chantler stack Lappin. "You might be cooler up on the roof anyway," said Lappin with a smile. --NW

12:37pm: Kisacikoglu bets the pot
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

Orpen Kisacikoglu is wearing his traditional poker garb -- a hoody with a scarf pulled up over his mouth to the tip of his nose. Perhaps it's to hide tells, perhaps it's because he's chilly, but whatever the reason behind it it seems to work for him.


EPT13MALT_Orpen Kisacikoglu_6380_JulesPochy.jpg

Orpen Kisacikoglu, in full view (for the moment)

I just caught him in a hand on the river of a 6♣2♣J♣K♠K♥ board. Lucio Gentili had checked to him, and with around 10,000 in the pot Kisacikoglu put out 10,500. Gentili seemed a little confused and opted to lay it down. --JS

12:30pm: News from downstairs
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

We're up to 380 players now and that means play is spread over two floors. There's only eight tables in use downstairs at the moment but there's room for more.

Ted Jackson-Spivack is among the players down there. The 24-year-old won the final ever UKIPT just days ago and is now looking for a victory in the final ever IPT. I also spotted Victor Ilyukhin and Marc McDonnell. The latter finished second in a WSOP event in the summer of 2015 and had a deep run at EPT12 Prague, while Ilykhin is a regular on the UK circuit and has over $500,000 in lifetime cashes. --NW

12:24pm: Much ado
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

After Fabio Rubino raised from the button and the small blind called, Claudio Rotondo three-bet from the big blind, then Rubino made it 2,850 to go with another reraise. That chased the middle man, but Rotondo called and the remaining pair saw the flop come 3♣Q♠T♥.

Both checked, then after the 5♠ turn Rotondo tossed out a blue chip for a bet of 5,000 and Rotondo called without much hesitation. Both checked the K♠ river, then tabled their hands -- A♠K♥ for Rotondo, A♣K♣ for Rubino.

The pot was big, but split between the pair, and everyone was back close to the 25,000-chip starting stack with which they'd begun. --MH

12:20pm: Names for the list
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

So, who's here so far?

Well, we've got Gaelle Baumann who seems to go deep in just about every big-field tournament, as well as the bearded Dutchman Steven van Zadelhoff and high stakes regular Orpen Kisacikoglu (who min-cashed the High Roller event yesterday).


EPT13MALT_Gaelle Baumann_6361_JulesPochy.jpg

Gaelle from the get-go

Joining them are Ireland's Dara O'Kearney and Daragh Davey, both of whom are well known on the UKIPT circuit (O'Kearney has been on a tear recently), and Usman Suddique, who took down UKIPT6 London in April this year. Adam Owen has also taken his seat early on, still fresh from his third-place finish in the Main Event at EPT13 Barcelona in August.

Also in the mix is the man known as "Maltese" -- Joe Grech. The all-time Czech Republic money winner and former November Niner Martin Staszko is here, too. Staszko, you'll recall, finished second in the WSOP Main Event back in 2011 for just under $5.5 million. --JS

12:07pm: Looking down on the field
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

A lot of the time, when we're reporting on the EPTs, the sheer amount of players take up so much room that us PokerStars bloggers are stored away in another room. Sure, it means we take lots of steps and lose a few calories, but it also means that to find new action we have to dash between rooms.

That's not the case here in Malta as we're positioned on a balcony overlooking the Day 1B field, and I've already spotted a few well knowns. Team PokerStars Pro Luca Pagano has taken his seat, as has former WSOP November Niners James Akenhead and Antoine Saout.


EPT13MALT_James Akenhead_6365_JulesPochy.jpg

Akenhead makes it here

We'll take a more close-up look at who's here in a sec. --JS

12:05pm: Day 1B begins
Level 1 - Blinds 50/100

The initial instructions have been given and the order to dealers to "Shuffle up and deal" delivered. Lots of players are already in their seats for the first hands of Day 1B. --MH


LEVELSMALL BLINDBIG BLINDANTE
1501000


10:45am: The bigger Day 1

It's a tale as old as time itself (or at least since poker tournaments got big enough that they could have two starting Day 1s): Day 1A always kicks things off nicely, but it's usually Day 1B where you really bring in the players.

We expect nothing less here at the Portomaso Casino in St. Julian's today, as it's the second starting flight of the IPT8 Malta Main Event. Yesterday drew a total of 219 players, and when all was said and done after 12 levels of play it was Stefan Jedlika who led the pack, having increased his stack from 25,000 to 299,100. He's the man they'll all be chasing today, while others who made it through to Day 2 yesterday include Pierre Neuville, Cate Hall, and Harry Lodge.

Play kicks off at noon local time -- in the meantime, you'll find all the key info below. --JS


EPT13MALT_IMG_5569_JulesPochy.jpg




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Key IPT 8 Malta information:

- 25,000 starting stack
- Blinds starting at 50/100 for 250 big blinds
- Levels are 45 minutes on Day 1. The original schedule called for 13 levels on Day 1, but they only played 12 on yesterday's Day 1A, which means that will necessarily be the plan for Day 1B as well.
- Day 1B is today (Day 1A was yesterday) and then Day 2 on Friday is when we'll reach the money. On Saturday it's all about getting to the final table, which will take place on Sunday
- Full IPT8 Malta schedule here

PokerStars Blog reporting team on the IPT Main Event: Nick Wright, Martin Harris, and Jack Stanton. Photography by Manuel Kovsca and Jules Pochy. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog

Live reporting team
@PokerStars in Malta