IPT8 Malta: Francesco Leotta leads Main Event final six; Panka and Bojang among them

The weather forecast for Day 3 of the IPT8 Malta Main Event would have read something like this: 'Heavy showers of eliminations with the occasional extreme dry spell'. All I know is Italy's Francesco Leotta must have brought the thickest umbrella to the Portomaso Casino, because he's leading our final six players (which include Dominik Panka and Ismael Bojang) going into tomorrow's final table.


EPT13Malta_Francesco Leotta_IPT_Main-Event_Manuel_Kovsca 6.jpg

Final table chip leader Francesco Leotta

We had just 31 players at the beginning of the day and each had the same goal: make it to the six-handed final table, and ultimately take down the €101,940 first place prize. The action started off thick and fast. Day 2 chip leader Stefan Jedlicka was the first to bust (in the first or second hand), which kicked off a string eliminations that didn't really slow down until we reached 13 players. Some of those we lost along the way included Benjamin Bonnardot (26th - € 4,540), Robert Cowan (19th - €5,800), and Daragh Davey (15th - €7,470).

Thirteen. That number is considered by many to be unlucky, and if Cate Hall didn't think it was before today then she certainly might now. We had two hours of play with 13 players before Hall busted to Dominik Panka, and just like that the eliminations kicked off again. Including Hall, in ten minutes we lost four players - Raffaele Sorrentino (12th - €7,470), Erwanna Pecheux (11th - €9,690), and Yaniv Peretz (10th - €9,690) - and we were down to our unofficial final table of nine.


EPT13Malta_Lambic Gerard_IPT_Main-Event_Manuel_Kovsca 24.jpg

Unlucky 13 for Hall

It was a pretty stacked bunch, what with the aforementioned 2014 PCA Main Event winner Dominik Panka in the chip lead, joined by Ismael Bojang and Alexander Lakhov (both of whom have millions in poker winnings), Danish pro Rasmus Agerskov, and the second player in PokerStars history reach 10 million VPPs Vladimir Shabalin. The end of Day 1B chip leader Johan Guilbert, Daniel Portiansky, and Filip Demby rounded out the table.

EPT13Malta_Dominik Panka_IPT_Main-Event_Manuel_Kovsca 46.jpg

Smooth sailing for Dominik Panka

EPT13Malta_Ismael_Bojang_IPT_Main-Event_Manuel_Kovsca 13.jpg

And a fine showing from Ismael Bojang

With nine left the eliminations dried up once more. For more than a level we lost no one; then Rasmus Agerskov's unfortunate exit opened up the bust-out clouds. He jammed with ace-queen but ran into Bojang's pocket aces. Then things got crazy: the last hand of the night was a double elimination.

Daniel Portiansky shoved his short stack; then the even shorter stack of Filip Demby jammed too. Alexander Lakhov looked at his cards, said "Let's go" and he was all-in as well! Lakhov had pocket queens while Portiansky and Demby both had ace-king. The queens were never at risk and Portiansky was out in seventh (as he had more chips), while Demby was our eighth place finisher.

Here's how the final six stack up:

NameCountryStatusChips
Francesco LeottaItaly 5,310,000
Ismael BojangAustriaPokerStars player4,285,000
Dominik PankaPolandPokerStars player3,200,000
Johan GuilbertFrance 2,465,000
Alexander LakhovRussiaPokerStars qualifier2,180,000
Vladimir ShabalinRussia 1,850,000

We'll be kicking off this final table at 12pm tomorrow (Sunday) so make sure you join us for what's sure to be an entertainment day of play. Until then, goodnight! --JS


Day 3 coverage archive:

8:44pm: Daniel Portiansky eliminated in 7th place (€17,070); Filip Demby eliminated in 8th place (€12,670)
Level 28 - 40,000/80,000 (10,000 ante)

Daniel Portiansky open-raised all-in from middle position, and it folded around to Filip Demby sitting in the cutoff who set out his remaining chips -- about 380,000 -- as an all-in call.

The action got to Alexander Lakhov in the small blind and he asked Portiansky how much his raise was for, and he promptly responded "700." A count confirmed it was indeed for 700,000 even. Lakhov had that covered, and he decided to call to put both Portiansky and Demby at risk.

Lakhov: Q♥Q♦
Portiansky: A♥K♦
Demby: A♦K♠

The rail began to get excited at the prospect of a sudden end to the evening, and the players were riveted as well as the dealer spread the 7♠7♦2♥ flop, the 6♣ turn, and... the... 9♠ river! 

Lakhov's queens had held, and he bumps up over 2.1 million.


EPT13Malta_Alexander Lakhov_IPT_Main-Event_Manuel_Kovsca 16.jpg

Alexander Lakhov finishes off Day 3

As Portiansky made sure to confirm before leaving, he had more chips than Demby and so finishes seventh (making a pay jump).


EPT13Malta_Daniel Portiansky_IPT_Main-Event_Manuel_Kovsca 51.jpg

Daniel Portiansky - 7th place

Meanwhile, Demby takes eighth.

EPT13Malta_Filip Demby_IPT_Main-Event_Manuel_Kovsca 10.jpg

Filip Demby - 9th place

With that just six remain and play concludes for the day. Back shortly with a recap of this exciting Day 3! --MH

8:35pm: More for Leotta
Level 28 - 40,000/80,000 (10,000 ante)

Dominik Panka raised to 175,000 from under the gun, and the table folded around to Francesco Leotta in the small blind. Leotta leaned over to get a look at Panka's stack -- the nearest challenger to Leotta's lead at the moment -- then called. Alexander Lakhov folded the big blind, and the pair saw the flop came 7♣Q♠Q♥.

Leotta checked, Panka bet 175,000, and Leotta called. The turn brought the 8♣ and another check from Leotta, and when Panka bet 300,000, Leotta called again. The river was the 6♥, eliciting quick checks from both.

Leotta tabled his hand, revealing he'd only called Panka's preflop raise holding K♠K♥, and Panka mucked.

Panka slips to just over 3.3 million, while Leotta adds more to his lead as he's stacking up 5.35 million. --MH

8:45pm: Hey, presto for Guilbert
Level 28 - 40,000/80,000 (10,000 ante)

There's a definite sense of the medium stacks playing cautiously and waiting to see if Filip Demby (475,000) or Daniel Portiansky (750,000) double their stacks or die trying. That was in evidence in a recent hand in which the action folded around to the button. It was Johan Guilbert who had the best position in poker, but with Demby to his direct left (albeit separated by a dealer) he wanted to see his chips before making a decision so he leaned forward. His decision was to raise to 180,000, Demby folded but Francesco Leotta called.

On the 8♦J♣8♣ flop Guilbert c-bet 175,000 and Leotta stuck around. The 6♥ turn and K♥ river checked through and Guilbert's pocket fives proved best as Leotta had T♦9♣ for a busted straight draw. --NW

8:27pm: Rasmus Agerskov out in 9th (€12,670)
Level 28 - 40,000/80,000 (10,000 ante)

Could the eliminations be picking up again after the recent dry spell? Well, we're now one down and two more to go before play ends for the night.

Action folded to Rasmus Agerskov in lojack and he moved all-in for 1 million. Ismael Bojang was to his left in the hijack and he asked for a count, before moving all-in himself. That got folds all around and the cards were flipped.

Agerskov: A♥Q♠
Bojang: A♠A♦

"I'm in bad shape," said Agerskov when he saw pocket rockets. Things didn't get any better on the J♠7♥9♠5♥2♦ board, and the Danish pro was sent to the cage. Meanwhile Ismael Bojang has now got a stack of 4.375 million which might be good for second place right now. --JS


LEVELSMALL BLINDBIG BLINDANTE
2840,00080,00010,000


8:19pm: Portiansky slips into the danger zone; Leotta in the lead
Level 27 - 30,000/60,000 (10,000 ante)

Daniel Portiansky began the day as chip leader, but he's now the second-shortest stack after losing a chunk of chips to Francesco Leotta.

The Italian raised to 125,000 from middle position and Portiansky called out of the small blind. The A♦T♦8♥ flop was checked through and the K♥ fell on the turn. Portiansky led for 150,000 and Leotta smooth-called. The J♣ river put four to a straight on board and Portiansky slowed down. He checked the action to Leotta who bet 375,000, and Portiansky thought for a short time before calling.

Leotta rolled over A♣Q♠ for a Broadway straight and Portiansky looked to the heavens before mucking.

He's down to 900,000, while Leotta has retaken the chip lead, moving up to 4,650,000. --NW

8:04pm: Pushing Portiansky
Level 27 - 30,000/60,000 (10,000 ante)

Daniel Portiansky has been trying to push the action of late, but others keep pushing back. He's opened on a couple of occasions only to be three-bet or forced off hands on the flop. The start-of-day leader has just under 1.25 million right now. --MH

7:55pm: Filip needs chips
Level 27 - 30,000/60,000 (10,000 ante)

The slow pace continues, and Filip Demby continues to fold hands while nursing the shortest stack at the table. Just now he paid both the big and small blinds, which along with the antes has cut his stack down to 470,000. --MH

7:45pm: Taking it slow
Level 27 - 30,000/60,000 (10,000 ante)

Twenty minutes have passed in the current level and, well, there's not much to report to be honest. There's been one three-bet pot, which didn't make it to the flop. Two small pots that made it to the river, but not showdown and one flop check-raise shove from Rasmus Agerskov that saw Dominik Panka release his hand immediately.

It's still Filip Demby who's the shortest stack. --NW

7:24pm: Play resumes
Level 27 - 30,000/60,000 (10,000 ante)

Players are back and play as resumed, with plan being for the final nine players to play down to six before play will conclude this evening. Dominik Panka returns to the chip lead -- he's over 4 million now. Full chip counts can be seen here. --MH


Meanwhile dinner plans are tentative at the moment, depending on just how far this group goes. --MH


LEVELSMALL BLINDBIG BLINDANTE
2730,00060,00010,000


7:04pm: Let's take a break

The final nine are off for another 20-minute break. --MH


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7:02pm: Leotta puts Lakhov to the test
Level 26 - 25,000/50,000 (5,000 ante)

The first big pot of the unofficial final table involved Francesco Leotta and Alexander Lakhov. The Italian opened to 110,000 from the cutoff and Lakhov nearly beat him into the pot with a raise to 300,000. Call from Leotta.

The J♥5♠3♠ flop was checked through and the 9♦ fell on the turn. Leotta bet 325,000, call from Lakhov. The 5♣ completed the board and Leotta moved all-in. His shove was for an effective 1,550,000, as that's what Lakhov had left.

The Russian player understandably took his time over such a big decision, even apologizing to the table at one point. He ultimately elected to fold. Pot to Leotta. --NW

7pm: Seating assignments for the nine-handed table
Level 25 - 20,000/40,000 (5,000 ante)

They've redrawn for a final time, and the last nine players are readying to continue battling for the IPT Malta Main Event trophy. A reminder -- the plan today is to play down to six players, so they'll be continuing on after reaching the official eight-handed final table with the next knockout.

Dominik Panka enjoys the chip lead at present. Here's a look at where everyone is sitting and what stacks they are sitting behind:

Seat 1: Filip Demby (Poland) -- 1,100.000
Seat 2: Francesco Leotta (Italy) -- 2,800,000
Seat 3: Alexander Lakhov (Russia) -- 2,250,000
Seat 4: Dominik Panka (Poland) -- 3,830,000
Seat 5: Vladimir Shabalin (Russia) -- 1,550,000
Seat 6: Daniel Portiansky (Israel) -- 1,800,000
Seat 7: Rasmus Agerskov (Denmark) -- 1,360,000
Seat 8: Ismael Bojang (Austria) -- 1,780,000
Seat 9: Johan Guilbert (France) -- 2,050,000


EPT13Malta_Dominik Panka_IPT_Main-Event_Manuel_Kovsca 44.jpg

Dominik Panka very much

There are about 10 minutes left to go in the level, after which there will be a 20-minute break. --MH

6:49pm: Yaniv Peretz eliminated in 10th place (€9,690)
Level 26 - 25,000/50,000 (5,000 ante)

Another elimination means the unofficial final table of nine has been reached and it was Yaniv Peretz who has just missed out.

In his exit hand, Johan Guilbert opened to 100,000 from under-the-gun, Daniel Portiansky flat-called, and Peretz then moved all-in for 770,000 total. Guilbert requested a count and then tanked for a minute or so before announcing all-in. Portiansky made up his mind to fold within a few seconds and it was time for showdown.

Guilbert: A♣A♠
Peretz: J♣J♦

Players from the other table crowded round and watched on as the dealer spread a 7♠T♣3♦ flop, the Q♦ turn and 4♦ river didn't change anything and Peretz was eliminated.

They'll now be a short break while the tournament staff combine the players at one table. --NW


EPT13Malta_Yaniv Peretz_IPT_Main-Event_Manuel_Kovsca 13.jpg

Yaniv Paretz - 10th place

6:45pm: Erwann Pecheux eliminated in 11th place (€9,690)
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (5,000 ante)

We waited a while for some eliminations and then three come along at once! Erwann Pecheux is the latest to fall, having got his 680,000 chips in pre-flop with A♠K♣ against Dominik Panka's 8♣8♦. The board ran out J♣3♦5♦2♥5♣ and that was all she wrote for the Frenchman, who is off to collect his €9,690. Panka meanwhile is up to 3.55 million which is likely good for the chip lead. Ten left. --JS


EPT13Malta_Erwann Pecheux_IPT_Main-Event_Manuel_Kovsca 4.jpg

Erwann Pecheux - 11th place

6:39pm: Raffaele Sorrentino eliminated in 12th place (€7,470)
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (5,000 ante)

Not a lot to say about this elimination hand. It folded to the short stack of Raffaele Sorrentino on the button and he jammed with the 4♣6♣. Ismael Bojang woke up in the big blind with the 9♦9♥, and a nine-king-king flop gave him a full house and a lock on the hand. --JS


EPT13Malta_Raffaele Sorrentino_IPT_Main-Event_Manuel_Kovsca 12.jpg

Raffaele Sorrentino - 12th place

6:35pm: Cate Hall eliminated in 13th place (€7,470)
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (5,000 ante)

A couple of hours since the last elimination, there has finally been another to report, bringing the field down to 12 players.

The hand started with a raise to 100,000 from Dominik Panka sitting in the cutoff. It folded to Cate Hall who after a bit of thought reraised all-in with the approximately 1 million in her stack. Once the action got back to Panka he didn't wait very long before calling.

Panka tabled 8♣8♦ and Hall A♣9♥, and the race was on. The 4♥Q♦J♦ flop didn't help Hall, nor did the 2♦ turn. The dealer then burned and turned over the river -- the 7♦ -- and Hall is out in 13th place.

Panka is up around 2.75 million now. --MH


EPT13Malta_Cate_Hall_IPT_Main-Event_Manuel_Kovsca 58.jpg

Cate Hall - 13th place

6:22pm: All quiet on Table 2
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (5,000 ante)

Not much to report on Table 2 as there have been zero showdowns and no really big pots. The two most interesting hands of late both involved Daniel Portiansky, though.

In the first notable pot, he raised to 90,000 from the hijack and Rasmus Agerskov called from the big blind. On the K♠5♦J♦ flop, Portiansky c-bet 110,000 and Agerskov smooth-called. Agerskov called a further 250,000 on the 6♥ turn, but folded to a bet of 400,000 on the 4♥ river. He drops to 1,500,000, while Portiansky climbs to 2,200,000.

On the next hand Vladimir Shabalin raised to 100,000, Portiansky called and Alexander Lakhov then three-bet to 305,000 from the big blind. Fold by Shabalin, call from Portiansky. On the A♥8♦6♦ flop, Lakhov bet 325,000 and Portiansky went into the tank. He spent so long over the decision that Lakhov called the clock and when almost half of his allotted minute was up Portiansky mucked his cards. --NW

6:08pm: Now it's Pecheux's turn to double
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (5,000 ante)

Just before the blinds went up, Dominik Panka opened to 80,000 and Erwann Pecheux shoved for 360,000. When it got back to Panka he tilted his head and made the call with the Q♦J♠, but was trailing Pecheux's A♠Q♥. The board ran out 6♠6♥9♦8♦7♣ and that brought Pecheux up to just over 800,000, while Panka is playing 1.7 million. --JS


LEVELSMALL BLINDBIG BLINDANTE
2625,00050,0005,000


5:48pm: Short stack watch
Level 25 - 20,000/40,000 (5,000 ante)

Not much happening over the last orbit or so at either of the two remaining tables as they move toward the latter stages of Level 25. 

The two shortest stacks at the moment are at the same table -- Filip Demby and Erwann Pecheux. Demby recently open-raised all-in, but didn't get any takers.

Meanwhile after losing that all-in to Raffaele Sorrentino a little while ago (see just below), Pecheux has been folding hands, looking for something with which to begin the work of chipping up.

Demby has about 740,000 at present, while Pecheux is sitting behind 580,000. --MH

5:38pm: Pecheux doubles another
Level 25 - 20,000/40,000 (5,000 ante)

It's been a bad level so far for Erwann Pecheux as he's now doubled up two opponents and, as a result of that, he is down to just 10 big blinds.

It was Raffaele Sorrentino who was the beneficiary this time, the Italian player committed his final 590,000 by three-bet shoving with 2♦2♠ and Pecheux, who had raised to 90,000, got a count and called. He held A♦9♣ but couldn't connect with the 4♦J♥5♦J♠K♠ board. He's down to 390,000 now. --NW

5:30pm: Demby gets a walk
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (5,000 ante)

These are frustrating times for Filip Demby. He's the shortest stack left right now with 550,000 and when he just got a walk in the big blind he couldn't believe it, flipping over pocket kings. --JS

5:21pm: Hall monitors a win
Level 25 - 20,000/40,000 (5,000 ante)

Fans of classic races read on, as that's how Cate Hall just now scored a double-up.

Ismael Bojang lit the blue touch paper, raising it up to 80,000 from early position. Erwann Pecheux had position, and a hand he liked, as he bumped it up to 215,000 from the button. Hall then shoved for 415,000 from the small blind and, after Bojang folded, the Frenchman called.

Hall opened Q♣Q♠ and was looking to hold against A♣K♠. She did just that as the 2♣9♠6♥4♥7♦ board kept the pair in front. She's up to 965,000 which is just less than Pecheux's 975,000. --NW

5:15pm: Leotta new leader; 13 remain
Level 25 - 20,000/40,000 (5,000 ante)

Over the last break we gathered a new round of updated counts, and they reveal Francesco Leotta has grabbed the lead with a stack of 3.2 million. Here's how the final 13 stack up as Level 25 begins:

             
NameCountryStatusChips
Francesco LeottaItaly 3200000
Alexander LakhovRussiaPokerStars qualifier2500000
Daniel PortianskyIsrael 2100000
Dominik PankaPolandPokerStars player2090000
Vladimir ShabalinRussia 1900000
Rasmus AgerskovDenmarkPokerStars qualifier1600000
Erwann PecheuxFrance 1310000
Ismael BojangAustriaPokerStars player1230000
Johan GuilbertFrance 1200000
Raffaele SorrentinoItalyPokerStars qualifier855000
Cate HallUSA 475000
Filip DembyPolandPokerStars player410000
Yaniv PeretzLatviaPokerStars player400000


EPT13Malta_Francesco Leotta_IPT_Main-Event_Manuel_Kovsca 9.jpg

Francesco Leotta, new leader

The next two players out will be earning €7,470 each, then comes another pay jump. Remember, €101,940 awaits the winner. --MH


LEVELSMALL BLINDBIG BLINDANTE
2520,00040,0005,000


4:45pm: Break time

Players are on a 20-minute break. --JS


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4:42pm: Portiansky wins a big pot
Level 24 - 15,000/30,000 (5,000 ante)

Daniel Portiansky will be feeling pretty damn good as he heads off on the 20 minute break, as for Yaniv Peretz, well, not so much.

On the final hand of the level Portiansky raised to 65,000 and called after Peretz had three-bet to 160,000 total. On the Q♥K♣Q♠ flop Portianksy elected to lead for 200,000 and Peretz smooth called.

There was now over 750,000 in the pot, Portiansky had about 1,005,000 back, Peretz about 700,000. The 6♣ turn was checked through and the J♠ completed the board. Again Portiansky reached for chips and he bet 300,000. Peretz eyed the board up for a long time before flicking in a single chip to announce a call. Portiansky opened T♦9♦ for a rivered straight and Peretz looked disgusted. "You got very lucky, very very lucky," and he flashed just the T♣ as he mucked. --NW


EPT13Malta_Daniel Portiansky_IPT_Main-Event_Manuel_Kovsca 44.jpg

Portianksy collects

4:40pm: Hall tanka to Panka
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (5,000 ante)

Dominik Panka made it 60,000 to go on the button and Cate Hall came along from the small blind. It was heads up to the 3♥Q♠6♦ flop and Hall checked before calling the 60,000 c-bet.

The dealer burned and turned the A♣ and Hall checked once more. Panka barreled again for 160,000 which got another call from the American, taking us to the 9♠ river. Hall checked a final time and Panka produced a third barrel worth 350,000.

Hall went into the tank and was thinking for a good few minutes. Her thought process led her to make the call, but she'd muck when Panka quickly flipped over the A♥K♣, confident he was best. He was, and now has 1.96 million, while Hall slips to 500,000. --JS

4:38pm: Bojang loses a lotta to Leotta
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (5,000 ante)

Francesco Leotta opened to 60,000 from the cutoff but was three-bet to 180,000 by Ismael Bojang on the button. Leotta made the call and the pair saw a 5♥3♥T♠ flop, which was checked to last aggressor. Bojang continued for 215,000 and was called, taking us to the turn which came the A♥. That temporarily killed the action.

After both checked the river was the 2♣ and Leotta chose this point to lead out for 475,000. Bojang had a good few minutes of thinking time and eventually made the call, but mucked with a sigh when Leotta turned over the J♥T♥ for a flush.

Bojang has 1.07 million now, while Leotta is up to 3.15 million. --JS

4:30pm: Samuele Moschetti eliminated in 14th place (€7,470)
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (5,000 ante)

We're edging ever closer to our final table as we're now down to 13 players. Samuele Moschetti is the latest to leave, shoving all in under the gun with K♣8♣ and getting looked up by Vladimir Shabalin in the big blind with A♣T♣.

Once again, Shabalin left to table as he couldn't bare to watch the runout, which started off badly for him. The flop came K♥3♥6♦ giving Moschetti the lead. The turn was the 2♦, but the river was the A♠ putting Shabalin back in front. Standing behind the dealer (and therefore behind Moschetti) Shabalin let out a silent "Yes!" and a fist pump but kept his celebration to a minimum. Gracious in victory, while Moschetti was gracious in defeat. Shabalin has 1.8 million now. --JS


EPT13Malta_Samuele Moschetti_IPT_Main-Event_Manuel_Kovsca.jpg

Samuele Moschetti - 14th place

4:25pm: Domination nation for Shabalin
Level 24 - 15,000/30,000 (5,000 ante)

Facts you need to know about Vladimir Shabalin:
1) He was the third player to break the 10,000,000 VPP barrier at PokerStars
2) Despite playing thousands upon thousands of high stakes sit & go's online, when it comes to live poker he can't stand to watch the board run out in all-in situations.

We know that because it's happened a couple of times already and just occurred again. He raised to 75,000, Samuele Moschetti shoved all-in and when it folded back to Shabalin he made the call.

Shabalin: A♥K♦
Moschetti: A♠Q♠

Like a naughty kid Shabalin wandered off to the corner so didn't see the T♣7♠9♦J♥J♠ board delivered that kept him alive. He was all-in for 735,000 and so doubles to around 1,500,000. Moschetti is down to about 550,000. --NW

4:19pm: Updated chip counts; 14 remain
Level 24 - 15,000/30,000 (5,000 ante)

Just two seven-handed tables remain, and right now Francesco Leotta and Alexander Lakhov are battling for the lead as the only players over 2 million. A glimpse at the current counts:

               
NameCountryStatusChips
Francesco LeottaItaly 2200000
Alexander LakhovRussiaPokerStars qualifier2150000
Ismael BojangAustriaPokerStars player1950000
Daniel PortianskyIsrael 1580000
Johan GuilbertFrance 1470000
Rasmus AgerskovDenmarkPokerStars qualifier1460000
Vladimir ShabalinRussia 1450000
Dominik PankaPolandPokerStars player1420000
Erwann PecheuxFrance 1350000
Yaniv PeretzLatviaPokerStars player1280000
Cate HallUSA 1240000
Raffaele SorrentinoItalyPokerStars qualifier760000
Filip DembyPolandPokerStars player560000
Samuele MoschettiItaly 310000

There are 10 minutes to go in Level 24, after which will come another break. --MH

4:07pm: Double for Demby
Level 24 - 15,000/30,000 (5,000 ante)

We can file this one under "hands that play themselves." Erwann Pecheux opened with A♦Q♠, Filip Demby shvoed for 290,000 with T♥T♣ and Pecheux swiftly called. A 8♣9♠5♠2♥9♦ board kept the Pole in front. After that hand he's up to 640,000, Pecheux drops to 1,300,000. --NW

4:02pm: Daragh Davey eliminated in 15th place (€7,470)
Level 24 - 15,000/30,000 (5,000 ante)

Yaniv Peretz opened to 52,000 from under the gun, then it folded around to Daragh Davey in the cutoff seat. He paused just a beat, then announced he was all-in, and the action quickly circled back to Peretz.

Peretz looked up at Davey. "Eight?" he asked. "Seven," answered Davey, indicating the stack of about 700,000 he'd pushed forward. At that Peretz called, turning over J♣J♥. Davey meanwhile showed he had two live cards with A♥K♦.

The board rolled out nine-high -- 4♥8♠5♥9♥5♦ -- no good for Davey who departs in 15th. Peretz meanwhile is up to 1.74 million. --MH


EPT13Malta_Daragh Davey_IPT_Main-Event_Manuel_Kovsca 11.jpg

Daragh Davey - 15th place

4pm: Velibor Jakovljevic eliminated in 16th place (€5,800)
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (5,000 ante)

There wasn't much to this hand. It folded to Alexander Lakhov in the small blind, and he put 290,000 in the middle, basically an all-in move against the short stack of Velibor Jakovljevic. He'd make the call with the A♦6♠, and was up against the Q♥T♥. The 9♠T♠8♦ flop put Lekhov in front, but the A♠ turn switched the lead back. The T♦ river secured the pot and the knockout for Lekhov, who is now up to 2.18 million. --JS


EPT13Malta_Velibor Jakovljevic_IPT_Main-Event_Manuel_Kovsca 1.jpg

Velibor Jakovljevic - 16th place

3:55pm: Davey doubles
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (5,000 ante)

It folded to Daragh Davey and he moved all-in for 377,000, only for Vladimir Shabalin to re-shove from Davey's left. Nobody else called and the cards were flipped: Q♥J♣ for Davey and A♣K♦ for Shabalin.

The Q♠J♦8♥ flop was very good indeed for the Irishman, but Shabalin could hit a ten to make a straight. Instead, the J♠ turn gave Davey an unbeatable boat. "Thanks," said Shabalin jokingly, as the T♥ river gave him a pointless straight anyway. That hand brought Davey's stack up to 76,000. --JS

3:45pm: Seating assignments for final two tables
Level 24 - 15,000/30,000 (5,000 ante)

Table 1
Seat 1: Raffaele Sorrentino
Seat 2: Francesco Leotta
Seat 3: Rasmus Agerskov
Seat 4: Ismael Bojang
Seat 5: Filip Demby
Seat 6: Dominik Panka
Seat 7: Erwann Pecheux
Seat 8: Cate Hall

Table 2
Seat 1: Samuele Moschetti
Seat 2: Daniel Portiansky
Seat 3: Yaniv Peretz
Seat 4: Alexander Lakhov
Seat 5: Velibor Jakovljevic
Seat 6: Johan Guilbert
Seat 7: Daragh Davey
Seat 8: Vladimir Shabalin

Level 24 has just gotten started, so they're close to an hour before the next break. --MH

3:40pm: Adrian Veghinas knocked out by Vladimir Shabalin
Level 24 - 15,000/30,000 (5,000 ante)

We're down to the final two tables here in Malta as just 16 players remain. Adrian Veghinas was the player to leave in 17th, with Vladimir Shabalin the one who took him out.

Down to just 312,000 Veghinas shoved from the button with A♥T♣, Shabalin got a count and then reraised all-in, which got the pot heads-up.

Shabalin: 7♦7♠
Veghinas: A♥T♣

Shabalin couldn't watch and wandered away from the table. The 8♥2♦J♠6♦8♠ board meant he stayed in front, but just for kicks Franceso Leotta made a loud "ooh" noise and Shabalin came running back. He thought he'd lost and scanned the board with a confused face as he tried to work out how'd he'd lost. When he realized Leotta had been joking, he took it in the spirit intended. He's up to 1,200,000 now.

There'll now be a short break while tournament staff conduct a redraw of the final 16 players. --NW


EPT13Malta_Adrian Veghinas_IPT_Main-Event_Manuel_Kovsca 6.jpg

Veghinas vanquished


LEVELSMALL BLINDBIG BLINDANTE
2415,00030,0005,000


3:35pm: Davey not happy about the clap
Level 23 - 12,000/24,000 (4,000 ante)

Much like poker rules, poker etiquette seems to differ from country to country. However, wherever you may find yourself playing cards, the actions of Velibor Jakovljevic in a recent pot - that he wasn't even involved in - crossed the line.

Davey had opened to 50,000 and picked up two callers. On the Q♠6♦K♦ flop Davey bet 90,000 and Johan Guilbert - who had position on Davey - was the only caller. The turn was the 2♣ Davey checked pretty quickly - which I think Jakovljevic may have missed - and then remaining motionless as Guilbert weighed up his decision. The Frenchaman had been thinking for about 90 seconds or so when Jakovljevic - who has about 250,000 left - leaned forward and clapped at Davey as if to say 'wake up' or 'act quicker'. This incensed Davey who asked for the floor to be called at the end of the hand.

There was still a pot going on of course, Guilbert checked, the 2♠ fell on the river and Davey check-folded to a bet of 100,000. With the hand over the floor was called and the situation explained. Jakovljevic received a warning and the tournament director said to him. "If you think someone is taking too long then call the clock, but you can't clap or get involved in hands you're not in." --NW

3:30pm: Aces help Hall
Level 23 - 12,000/24,000 (4,000 ante)

In the last hand of Level 25, Rasmus Agerskov opened for 55,000 under the gun, and it folded around to Cate Hall in the big blind who checked her cards, then three-bet to 140,000. Agerskov leaned forward to see how much Hall had behind -- around 780,000 -- then called the reraise, and the pair watched the flop come 6♣3♠Q♦.

Hall checked, and Agerskov took the opening to bet 140,000. Hall called. They both then checked the Q♥ turn and 2♦ river. 

Hall tabled her hand -- A♥A♣ -- and with a sheepish grin Agerskov looked at his cards once more before tossing them into the muck. Hall is up around 1.3 million now, close to Agerskov's 1.39 million. --MH

3:32pm: More bad luck for Portiansky
Level 23 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (4,000 ante)

Cate Hall opened to 50,000 in the cutoff, and was called by Rasmus Agerskov on the button and Daniel Portiansky in the big blind. The dealer put down the A♥T♠9♣ flop and it checked to Hall, who made a c-bet worth 70,000. Agerskov and Portiansky called.

We went to the 5♣ turn and that slowed things down, as so many turn cards do. Everyone checked this street, taking us to the Q♠ turn. Portiansky now opted to lead out for 200,000, and Hall made the call. Agerskov then went into the tank for around four minutes, but never really looked under much stress. It seemed to be a call or raise spot, and that's indeed what it was as he called and showed the J♥8♥ for a rivered straight. Hall also had a straight with her J♠8♠, meaning both beat Portiansky's 6♠6♦.

Hall and Agerskov chopped the pot, while that river card meant Portiansky dropped lower. He now has 700,000, while Hall has 955,000 and Agerskov has 1.53 million. --JS

3:20pm: Karyagdi KO'd in 18th
Level 23 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (4,000 ante)

It was just about the wettest board going. Nihat Karyagdi stared at his cards, then back at the board, then back at his cards, for around five minutes. He faced a tought decision; Franceso Leotta had bet enough to put him all-in (440,000) and there was 230,000 in the middle already. We all waited for his decision. And then...

SLAM. Karyagdi stomped down a stack of chips indicating a call. The brief adrenaline rush would soon turn to regret though, as he saw his T♦J♦ two pair had lost to Leotta's 2♠4♠ flush.

Karyagdi made his way out the room, having been eliminated in 18th, while Leotta now has 1.93 million. --JS


EPT13Malta_Nihat Karyagdi_IPT_Main-Event_Manuel_Kovsca1.jpg

Karyagdi cut down

3:10pm: Moschetti straightened out by Vladimir Shabalin
Level 23 - 12,000/24,000 (4,000 ante)

Samuele Moschetti just couldn't keep his emotions in check and slammed his fist on the table after losing a pot to Vladimir Shabalin. In the hand in question, the Italian player opened to 55,000 from early position and Shabalin called from the big blind.

The 3♥4♣Q♠ flop is where this hand started to get interesting, Moschetti bet 50,000, Shabalin check-raised to 135,000 and, after a brief dwell, Moschetti decided to stick around. The A♥ turn slowed the action as both players checked through to see the 2♠ land on the river. Shabalin decided to bet 100,000 and Moschetti almost beat him into the pot. The Russian player showed 5♥2♥ for a rivered straight and upon seeing Shabalin's cards Moschetti banged the table in anger. It's never fun being rivered.

After that hand Shabalin is up to 980,000 while Moschetti drops to 910,000. --NW

2:55pm: Cowen cut down in 19th
Level 25 - 12,000/24,000 (4,000 ante)

Robert Cowen committed his last 347,000 behind A♥T♣, but needed help against Rasmus Agerskov's A♠K♦.

The flop came K♠7♥6♣ to improve Agerskov to a pair of kings, and after the 2♦ turn Cowen was drawing dead to finish in 19th. Agerskov bumps up around 1.45 million with that one. --MH

2:51pm: Armino ousted in 20th
Level 25 - 12,000/24,000 (4,000 ante)

Johan Guilbert opened for 50,000 from under the gun, and it folded around to Leonardo Armino in the big blind. Armino checked his cards, sat in contemplation for about 10 seconds, then announced he was reraising all-in.

Guilbert got a count -- the push was for 261,000 total -- and after thinking nearly a minute decided to call with K♦Q♦. Armino turned over A♦Q♣ and appeared in good shape until the flop came 4♣T♠K♠ to pair Guilbert. The turn was the Q♠ and river the 3♥, and Armino wished the table well before departing in 20th.

Guilbert has about 1.35 million now. --MH

2:44pm: Chisu runs kings into aces, out in 21st
Level 23 - 12,000/24,000 (4,000 ante)

After those battles with Vladimir Shabalin just now, Danut Chisu finds himself on the rail in 21st after a final hand -- and a bit of bad fortune -- against Francesco Leotta.

Chisu was all-in for his last 260,000 or so versus Leotta, and probably thinking K♠K♦ was a good enough to give himself a good shot at a needed double-up. Alas for Chisu, Leotta had A♠A♥, and when the board failed to help Chisu he hit the rail in 21st.

Leotta is up to 1.32 million. --MH

2:42pm: Hall's well that ends well
Level 23 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (4,000 ante)

If you see Cate Hall with a big smile on her face, here's why.

First, Daniel Portiansky opened to 50,000 and Dominik Panka just called. Hall then shoved for around 250,000 and Portiansky reshoved, which Panka called.

Hall: 6♣6♥
Portiansky: 6♠6♦
Panka: Q♥Q♠

Panka just about had this one wrapped up unless clubs or diamonds ran out. So guess what happened?

The flop came T♣J♣8♣. And the turn? The 9♣.

Hall had turned an unlikely flush and left the others drawing dead, despite the fact Panka had turned a straight. The 8♦ completed the board and Hall trebled up to around 800,000, while Portiansky dropped way down to 550,000 as he also had to double up Panka, who sits with 1.65 million. --JS

2:40pm: Shabalin doubles through Chisu, then vice-versa
Level 23 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (4,000 ante)

When you've got two short stacks sat next to each other, the blind versus blind pots become a lot more simple. It's usually all-in or fold, and as such we've two all-in pots in which all that happened were the chips got passed back and forth.

First Vladimir Shabalin - who was the second player ever in PokerStars history to reach 10 million VPPs - moved all-in for 230,000 when it folded to him in the small blind. Danut Chisu called with the 8♠8♦ and was up against K♠9♣, but the A♥T♣9♥6♣9♠ board gave Shabalin the win. That left Chisu with 135,000.

He'd soon double up though. Shabalin opened to 50,000 and Chisu jammed, while everyone else folded. This time it was A♠J♠ for Chisu against the K♠T♣, and the Q♠T♠3♠ gave Chisu the nut flush and a royal flush draw. The 8♣ came on the turn followed by the K♦ on the river. Basically, the chip counts are back where they started ten minutes ago. --JS

2:28pm: Updated counts; 21 left
Level 23 - 12,000/24,000 (4,000 ante)

Players are back and cards are in the air once more. The chip counts have been freshly updated -- here's a look at the top five, with Raffaele Sorrentino still leading:

NameCountryStatusChips
Raffaele SorrentinoItalyPokerStars qualifier1800000
Daniel PortianskyIsrael 1700000
Ismael BojangAustriaPokerStars player1700000
Yaniv PeretzLatviaPokerStars player1600000
Erwann PecheuxFrance 1400000

Johan Guilbert is next in line with 1.1. million, with Rasmus Agerskov (1 million) and Dominik Panka (900,000) not far behind. Cate Hall is currently 21st of 21 with 280,000. --MH


LEVELSMALL BLINDBIG BLINDANTE
2312,00024,0004,000


2:07pm: Break time
Level 22 - 10,000/20,000 (3,000 ante)

The players are now on a 20-minute break. --NW


Opening a PokerStars account is easy. Click here to get an account in minutes.

2:05pm: Panka doubles
Level 22 - 10,000/20,000 (3,000 ante)

On the final hand before the break Dominik Panka doubled through Daniel Portiansky. The Isreali player opened to 40,000 on the button and Panka smooth called out of the big blind. On the T♠4♦9♦ flop Portiansky fired out 50,000, Panka check-raised to 135,000 total, Portiansky moved all-in and Panka called all-in for 380,000 total.

Panka: K♦T♠
Portiansky: 3♥3♦

It was a misstep from Portiansky as he'd been caught bluffing, the 4♣ turn and K♣ river further improved Panka's hand and he's up to around 868,000. We'll be getting full chip counts during the break. --NW


EPT13Malta_Dominik Panka_IPT_Main-Event_Manuel_Kovsca 46.jpg

Panka picks up pot

1:54pm: Sorrentino hits his straight, surges ahead
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (3,000 ante)

Raffaele Sorrentino opened for 42,000 from under the gun, then it folded to the button where Alexander Lakhov three-bet to 150,000. Velibor Jakovljevic called the reraise from the small blind, and after some thought Sorrentino called as well.

The flop came Q♥T♠2♥ and it checked around to Lakhov who continued for 210,000. Jakovljevic let go of his hand, but after tanking some time Sorrentino chose to check-raise to 500,000, leaving himself about 215,000 behind. Lakhov announced he was pushing all-in, and Sorrentino called with what he had left.

Lakhov tabled A♣A♦, then expressed surprise when Sorrentino showed J♣9♣ for an open-ended straight draw. More expressions followed from Lakhov when the K♦ fell with a thud on the turn, and he suggested Sorrentino must have known what was coming. The river was the meaningless 4♣, and Sorrentino won the big pot.

Sorrentino jumps up to about 1.9 million and what looks like the chip lead with 21 left while Lakhov slips back to almost 1 million even. --MH


EPT13Malta_Raffaele Sorrentino_IPT_Main-Event_Manuel_Kovsca 45.jpg

Straight to top for Sorrentino

1:40pm: Szczotka sunk by Bojang
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (3,000 ante)

Jakub Szczotka open-pushed his short stack from the button and got looked up by Ismael Bojang in the small blind. Szczotka had A♣6♥ but unfortunately for him had run into Bojang's A♥Q♣.

The Q♦5♦K♥ flop put Bojang further in front, and after an eight fell on the turn the river was no matter. Szczotka is out in 22nd, while Bojang bumps up to 1.38 million. --MH

1:33pm: Kane KO'd
Level 22 - 10,000/20,000 (3,000 ante)

Towards the end of Level 21, Michael Kane lost about two-thirds of his stack to Filip Demby when he bluffed the river and got picked off. That left him with about 150,000 and he blinded down before finding a spot to get his chips in.

He shoved for around 105,000 from the cutoff with 6♠6♥, Dominik Panka folded, Cate Hall did likewise and he just had Robert Cowen to get through. The two are pals and Cowen looked at one card, then the other. "Sorry," he said and turned over A♣A♥.

The Q♣6♣7♣ flop vaulted Kane into the lead but Cowen had the nut flush draw which completed on the 8♣ turn to eliminate Kane in 23rd place. "He's my friend," said Cowen to explain why he'd said sorry. --NW

1:25pm: Sorrentino on the up
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (3,000 ante)

Raffaele Sorrentino was nursing a short stack of 296,000 but thanks to some help from pocket rockets he's just doubled up. He open-jammed with the A♦A♠ and was called by Alexander Lakhov holding 7♦7♣. The dealer dealt a 3♠9♣T♥9♦K♣ board and he increased his stack to around 631,000, while Lakhov is playing 2.1 million. --JS

1:15pm: Di Mauro clears tomorrow
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (3,000 ante)

Giuseppe Di Mauro will have to find some new plans for his Sunday in Malta, as he won't be making this final table. After Alexander Lakhov opened under the gun to 50,000, Di Mauro moved all-in from the utg+1 seat for 215,000 and it folded back to the Russian who called. Di Mauro's Q♦J♠ was in bad shape against the A♠K♠ but at least he had live cards. However, the 7♣9♠7♥8♠4♥ runout brought him no help. He went out in 24th, while Lakhov moved up to 2.4 million in chips. --JS


LEVELSMALL BLINDBIG BLINDANTE
2210,00020,0003,000


1:07pm: Seating assignments for final three tables
Level 21 - 8,000/16,000 (2,000 ante)

The final 24 players have redrawn and resat around the final three tables. Here is where everyone is sitting:

Table 1
Seat 1: Daniel Portiansky
Seat 2: Franceso Leotta
Seat 3: Samuele Moschetti
Seat 4: Erwann Pecheux
Seat 5: Nihat Karyagdi
Seat 6: Adrian Veghinas
Seat 7: Vladimir Shabalin
Seat 8: Danut Chisu

Table 2
Seat 1: Filip Demby
Seat 2: Jakub Szczotka
Seat 3: Ismael Bojang
Seat 4: Michael Kane
Seat 5: Dominik Panka
Seat 6: Cate Hall
Seat 7: Robert Cowen
Seat 8: Rasmus Agerskov

Table 3
Seat 1: Velibor Jakovljevic
Seat 2: Raffaele Sorrentino
Seat 3: Daragh Davey
Seat 4: Leonardo Armino
Seat 5: Johan Guilbert
Seat 6: Alexander Lakhov
Seat 7: Giuseppe Di Mauro
Seat 8: Yaniv Peretz

There are five minutes to go in Level 21. --MH

12:58pm: Brooks bounced in 25th
Level 21 - 8,000/16,000 (2,000 ante)

After Francesco Leotta opened from middle position, Patrick Brooks reraised all-in for his last 250,000 or so from the button and when it folded back to Leotta he called right away.

Leotta tabled A♠K♠ while Brooks needed help with A♣9♣. The flop came J♥Q♠K♣, making a chop possible, but the J♠ turn and 2♥ river were no good for Brooks and he's out in 25th.

There will be a pause now as a redraw is in order with 24 left. --MH

12:57pm: Bonnardot busts to one-outer
Level 21 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (2,000 ante)

Benjamin Bonnardot has just been eliminated in brutal fashion in 26th.

He open-shoved for around 280,000 and when it got to Daniel Portiansky he made the call. Everyone else folded and Bonnardot was thrilled to see his 4♠4♥ was ahead of the 3♥3♦. The 6♠T♣7♣ flop was safe, as was the Q♣ turn. But the 3♠ river brought a few grossed-out oohs and ahhs. Yaniv Peretz told Portiansky after the hand that he'd folded a three, so it was a one-outer. Portiansky has 2.1 million now. --JS

12:53pm: Barbato busts to Pecheux
Level 21 - 8,000/16,000 (2,000 ante)

A huge pot to tell you about between Antonio Barbato and Erwann Pecheux, which took quite some time to play from start to finish. The Italian opened to 32,000 from under-the-gun, Pecheux three-bet to 103,000 from the small blind and Barbato made a reasonably quick call.

The K♦Q♥6♥ flop was where the action first slowed down, Pecheux took a decent amount of time to decide on his flop action, when he did, he bet 93,000. Call from Barbato. On the 5♦ turn Pecheux wanted to know how much Barbato had left (around 400,000). Having digested this information, he checked and Barbato moved all-in. At this time Pecheux puffed out his cheeks, took off his sunglasses, re-checked his cards and then called.

Barbato showed Q♦9♦ for second pair and a flush draw, while Pecheux had A♠K♥. The 6♠ river changed nothing and Barbato was eliminated in 27th. Pecheux is now up to 1,580,000. --NW


EPT13Malta_Antonio Barbato_IPT_Main-Event_Manuel_Kovsca 54.jpg

Antonio Barbato

12:49pm: Petrice is outta here
Level 21 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (2,000 ante)

Pages Petrice started the day with 366,000 and 45 minutes into the first level he had made no improvements, dipping to 340,000. He open jammed and it folded to Yaniv Peretz in the small blind, who began glancing over at the big blind (and big stack) of Daniel Portiansky. After half a minute Peretz announced just a call, but he needn't have worried about Portiansky as he made a quick fold.

Petrice had A♥J♥ which needed help against Peretz's K♠K♣, and although he had hope of a gutshot on the turn of the 5♣9♦T♠K♦3♦ board he'd ultimately fall short to the set, going out in 28th. Peretz has 1.12 million now. --JS

12:42pm: Big stack aggression
Level 21 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (2,000 ante)

Alexander Lakhov is the chip leader right now and he's putting his big stack to work.

After Benjamin Bonnardot opened to 35,000 it folded to Lakhov who three-bet to 100,000. Action back on Bonnardot, he counted out a four-bet to 230,000 and slid it across the line, only for Lakhov to then five-bet jam. Bonnardot had just 268,000 behind and thought long and hard about calling, but in the end decided to fight another day.

Bonnardot has got 16 big blinds now (about 250,000), while Lakhov is hovering around the 2 million-chip mark. --JS

12:35pm: Armino doubles through Chisu
Level 21 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (2,000 ante)

Danut Chisu opened to 35,000 in mid-position before Leonardo Armino shoved for 182,000 to his immediate left. When it folded back to the Romanian he made a quick call showing the A♦Q♣, which trailed the at-risk player's Q♠Q♥.

The 4♥6♠7♠6♣3♥ board meant the queens were good and doubled Armino up to 402,000, while Chisu is down to around 470,000. --JS

12:25pm: Blenkarn blanks out
Level 21 - 8,000/16,000 (2,000 ante)

Jeffrey Blenkarn was the shortest stack at the start of play, with just 80,000 to his name. He got the last of his chips in from the small blind with J♥3♥ and Dominik Panka put him at risk with K♦T♦.

The 7♣Q♦K♠J♠A♦ board meant Panka made a straight and Blenkarn headed to the payout table to collect his 29th-place cash. --NW

12:22pm: Kane scores a triple
Level 21 - 8,000/16,000 (2,000 ante)

Leonardo Armino open-raised all-in for 160,000 from the cutoff, then it folded to Michael Kane in the small blind who went all-in as well for bit less -- 126,000.

When Kane pushed, Armino began to open his hand prematurely, but Ismael Bojang in the big blind alerted him not as he was still to act. Bojang -- who had both players well covered -- then chose to call, and the trio each showed their hands.

Kane: 6♥6♦
Bojang: 8♥8♦
Armino: K♥7♠

Bojang could score a double-knockout, but the flop was a different kind of knockout for the all-in players, coming Q♠6♣K♦ -- a set for Kane and top pair for Armino. The turn was the 4♠ and river the 9♦, and Kane tripled up over 400,000, Armino was left with about 100,000, and Bojang still has a comfortable 750,000. --MH

12:18pm: Jakovljevic takes from Karyagdi
Level 21 - 8,000/16,000 (2,000 ante)

Nihat Karyagdi opened for 35,000 from early position and got three callers in Velibor Jakovljevic (cutoff) and Johan Guilbert (button), and Dominik Panka (big blind). The flop came 2♥T♦3♦, and it checked to Karyagdi who bet 55,000. Jakovljevic called and the others folded, making it heads-up to the A♥ turn. Karyagdi fired another 100,000 at that card, and Jakovljevic stuck around.

The river was the J♠, and this time Karyagdi checked. Jakovljevic put out a bet of 150,000 and after a long tank Karyagdi let his hand go.

Karyagdi still has about 1.05 million, while Jakovljevic pushes up over 900,000. --MH

12:17pm: Eychenne knocked out by Pecheux
Level 21 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (2,000 ante)

Antonio Barbato open-raised for the minimum to 32,000 from UTG+1, then Thomas Eychenne reraised all-in for his last 221,000 from the next seat over. It folded around to Erwann Pecheux in the small blind who after a bit of thought called the reraise, then Patrick Brooks tanked for a good while in the big blind before folding. Barbato stepped aside, and the remaining players tabled their hands.

Pecheux: A♣Q♠
Eychenne: K♣K♠

Eychenne was fine through the 3♠9♠7♣ flop, but the A♠ turn put Pecheux out in front. The river was the 8♥, and Eychenne is out in 30th.

Pecheux is up to 980,000 now. --MH

12:12pm: Jedlicka's the first to fall
Level 21 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (2,000 ante)

He led the pack coming into yesterday's Day 2, but Stefan Jedlicka is the first to exit here on Day 3. After Ismael Bojang opened to 36,000 Jedlicka shoved for 266,000 only for Adrian Veghinas to re-shove immediately to his left with a bigger stack. Everyone else folded, including Bojang, and the cards were flipped: A♣9♣ for Jedlicka against the J♠J♣ for Veghinas.

The K♦4♥5♦6♥9♥ board gave Jedlicka a pair but that wasn't enough. He went to collect his 31st-place winnings and find another way to spend his day (the weather is wonderful here in Malta, so that shouldn't be hard), while Veghinas stacked up 783,000. --JS

12:04pm: Double-up for Hall
Level 21 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (2,000 ante)

What a perfect start to Day 3 for Cate Hall. After Dominik Panka opened from the cutoff she jammed for 147,000 from the big blind, and when it folded back to Panka he made the call. It was the A♦T♣ for Hall, who was at risk, but she was ahead of Panka's A♣8♦. The board ran out K♥9♦5♦Q♥6♥ and Hall's up to 318,000, while Panka slips to around 540,000. --JS


EPT13Malta_Cate_Hall_IPT_Main-Event_Manuel_Kovsca 48.jpg

Good start for Hall

12pm: Day 3 underway
Level 21 - 8,000/16,000 (2,000 ante)

And they're off! All 31 players are in their seats and the first one-hour level of Day 3 is underway. --MH


LEVELSMALL BLINDBIG BLINDANTE
218,00016,0002,000


10:30am: Portiansky leads final 31 into Day 3

Good morning from Malta! We're looking at clear blue skies today with the sun reflecting off the nearby bay.

EPT13MALT_IMG_5503_JulesPochy.jpg

And here in the Portomaso Casino things remain relatively bright as well for the 31 players who've made it to Day 3 of the Italian Poker Tour Malta Main Event, each of whom still has a chance to make tomorrow's final table and earn the €101,940 prize awaiting the winner.

When the first hands are dealt today, the player best positioned to advance to Sunday's final will be Israel's Daniel Portiansky who returns to a leading stack of 1.54 million.


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Daniel Portiansky, pacesetter

Not far behind him will be Alexander Lakhov of Russia and Johan Guilbert of France, with Ismael Bojang, Rasmus Agerskov, and Erwann Pecheux among those lurking in the chase pack. Also returning to shorter stacks today are Daragh Davey, Stefan Jedlicka, and Cate Hall.

You can check the counts to start Day 3 here, although just like those rippling waters on the surface of the bay, everything will be in constant flux once the action begins at 12 noon today.

Join us then for start-to-finish coverage as we'll bring you all the big hands, photos, and update those chip counts as they play down to the eight-handed final table tonight. --MH


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Key IPT 8 Malta information:

- Blinds on Day 3 start at 8,000/16,000 (2,000 ante)
- The plan today is to play down to an eight-handed final table and then continue until just six players are left
- 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