Friday, 24th March 2023 06:45
Home / Uncategorized / EPT Barcelona: Justin Ligeri leads Day 1 after massive four-way all-in

It’s hard to top a field like this one, and throughout most of the day, there were several contenders, but no clear leader.

Then Justin Ligeri won a massive pot towards the end of the night and finished on top of this high-rolling field with 375,000.

It was a massive four-way all-in between Nan Hong, Nick Petrangelo, Cary Katz, and Ligeri. Ligeri was behind with A4 against two overpairs and Petrangelo’s dominating AJ. But Ligeri hit two-pair on the A43 flop and took the lead with 350,000.

Justin Ligeri stacks up at the end of Day 1

Ligeri then knocked out Katz a few minutes later with the same hand.

Ace-four suited baby.

Gianluca Speranza is in a close second with 373,500 and Daniel Nielsen will also come back with a hefty 358,000. Team PokerStars Pro Jeff Gross also survived today’s 11 levels. Gross finished the day with 186,000.

Gross with the most (well, not quite, but…it rhymes…well, not quite…)

Gross was eliminated earlier in the day but managed to ride his second bullet to Day 2. Several other players used up both their bullets though. Patrik Antonius was a double eliminee today as well as Maria Lampropulos and Sam Greenwood.

We’ll probably have a few more entries tomorrow but the current number of entries currently stands at 419. Out of those, only about 150 made it through the day. They’ll all be coming back tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. CEST

We’ll be trying to get as close as we can to a final table and the EPT Barcelona Main Event will definitely be playing down to one. Only 13 players remain in that event, so join us tomorrow for a day packed with poker action right here at the PokerStars Blog.

Scroll down for live coverage archive from Day 4

• PLAYERS: 160 OF 419 tbc (inc. 103 re-entries)
DOWNLOAD POKERSTARS | Follow @PokerStarsBlog on Twitter

12:45am: Four more
Level 11 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (BB ante: 2,000)

The clock has stopped and we’re playing four more hands before we bag for the night.

12:35am: Ligeri leaps into the lead with double KO
Level 11 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (BB ante: 2,000)


So said Justin Ligeri from the back corner of the room as he picked up what has to be one of the single biggest pots of the day. It went a little somehting like this.

Nan Hong opened the action for 5,000. Nick Petrangelo was already all-in for his last 100 chips behind Hong, so the rest of the action went on the side. Ligeri called behind, as did Juha Helppi, before Cary Katz bumped the bet to 17,400.

Hong then jammed for 53,700 and the action was back on Ligeri. He decided to call that bet, too, which chased Helppi and put Katz, the 2018 PCA Super High Roller champ, to his own decision. He used a time bank card and then called, setting up a massive showdown:

Hong: 99
Petrangelo: AJ
Ligeri: A4
Katz: QQ

Ligeri let out his battle cry on the A43 flop. He wasn’t out of the woods yet, but the 8 turn and 4 river led him there.

“Ace-four?” asked Katz as Petrangelo and Hong departed the table and the pot was being divided up. “Really?”

“Suited, baby!” said Ligeri. “Isn’t that what you said to me earlier about that three-five?”

That puts Ligeri on 350,000 — easily one of the largest stacks in the room — as the end of the night approaches. –JK

12:25pm: Luca finishes off Margereson
Level 10 – Blinds 800/1,600 (BB ante 1,600)

Scott Margereson and Ivan Luca tussled earlier today and Margereson came out on top that time.

Now Luca’s exacted his revenge and finished Margereson off. Margereson started things with a raise to 5,000 from the hijack and Luca three-bet to 11,500 from the cutoff. Margereson the moved all-in when action folded back to him and Luca quickly called.

Margereson turned over A10 and Luca showed a dominating AQ. Both players hit an ace on the 33A48 board and Luca’s kicker took it down for him. Margereson was eliminated late in the day while Luca is up to 70,000. –AV

12:05am: Last level of the night
Level 11 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (BB ante: 2,000)

One more hour of poker and then we’ll call it a night. –JK

12am: Kozlov sinks Sam
Level 10 – Blinds 800/1,600 (BB ante: 1,600)

It’s all over for Sam Greenwood in this tournament. We arrived just as he moved all-in from the big blind for 75,000 over the top of a raise from Martin Kozlov and what looked to be a call behind him. Kozlov decided to call, which got him heads-up with Greenwood:

Greenwood: AQ
Kozlov: 99

The Q93 flop gave Kozlov a set of nines but left Greenwood with the other two queens for outs to a full house. The 4 turn and K river didn’t fit the bill, though, and Greenwood headed for the exits. Kozlov, who took sixth in the €10,300 PLO event here three days back, climbs to 235,000. –JK

11:55pm: Lim channels Greenstein, knocks out Kobayashi
Level 10 – Blinds 800/1,600 (BB ante 1,600)

Hirokazu Kobayashi was down to 20,600 tried to get a double up with 66. He got a customer, Aaron Lim, who called with AQ.

The 1087 flop looked good for Kobayashi and the 4 on the turn did too. But then an ace came on the river to end his high roller run. The rivered Kobayashi left the tournament area while Lim’s stack crossed the 100,000 mark. –AV

11:45pm: One outer to stay alive
Level 10 – Blinds 800/1,600 (BB ante 1,600)

Things weren’t looking good for Dmitrii Grinenko. He pushed his final 21,200 in with JJ and got called by Teun Mulder’s AA.

Grinenko then filled up on the 5QQJ10 board to stay alive. Another player at the table told Grinenko that he folded a jack, meaning Grinenko hit the last one in the deck on the turn. He’s now up to about 45,000 while Mulder dipped to 30,000. –AV

11:35pm: Chudapal chases Beresford
Level 10 – Blinds 800/1,600 (BB ante: 1,600)

Siarhei Chudapal just knocked Conor Beresford out of the running, unless Beresford decides to fire another bullet.

We arrived to the table with Beresford having raised to 3,500 UTG+1, Shannon Shorr having called in the hijack seat, and Chudapal having re-raised in the cutoff. Beresford thought for a bit and then put the rest of his chips on the line. That shook Shorr from the pot but Chudapal snap-called.

Chudapal: AA
Beresford: JJ

Beresford was already out of his chair wishing his now-former tablemates luck when the turn of the 975A8 board made Chudapal a set of aces. Chudapal is now up to 145,000. –JK

11:30pm: Another dose of Gross
Level 10 – Blinds 800/1,600 (BB ante 1,600)

There are still players buying into the high roller and one of our most recent additions is Team PokerStars Pro Jeff Gross. We’ll see if he can ride this bullet till the end of the night. –AV

11:25pm: Start big, finish big
Level 10 – Blinds 800/1,600 (BB ante 1,600)

Sometimes you gotta start with a bang and end with one.

It’s ok if you don’t do much in between. That’s how the most recent hand between Ivan Luca and Scott Margereson played out. Margereson started things off with a raise to 3,200 from the hijack and Luca three-bet to 8,800 from the cutoff. Action folded back around to Margereson and he called, bringing a JQK flop.

Both players calmed down for a bit. They checked the flop and checked again after the J came on the turn. Then the 7 came on the river. Margereson bet 25,000 on the river and Luca thought. He used a timebank card and thought some more. Then he folded.

Margereson chipped up to 80,000 while Luca dipped to 75,000. –AV

11:15pm: Nedved moving higher
Level 10 – Blinds 800/1,600 (BB ante: 1,600)

Johnny Nedved is stacking up — well, more like stacking wide, since he’s building mini-towers of ten chips each. The latest chunk of those chips came from Alexander Ivarsson.

Ivarsson opened the betting for 3,200 under the gun and Nedved, in the big blind, was the lone caller. Nedved check-called 2,500 on the 488 flop and then both men checked the J turn. Nedved took the lead for 7,000 when the 7 fell on the river, but Ivarsson wanted nothing to do with it and folded.

That moves Nedved up to 225,000, one of the larger stacks in the room at the moment. Ivarsson, meanwhile, slips to 62,000. –JK

Johnny Nedved is on the rise

11:05:pm: We’re back
Level 10 – Blinds 800/1,600 (BB ante 1,600)

Players are back, the blinds are up, and cards are in the air. We’ll be playing for two more levels before we call it a night.

10:45:pm: Break it up

Players are now on the final 20-minute break of the day.

10:40:pm: Neves nixed before break
Level 9 – Blinds 600/1,200 (BB ante 1,200)

Adrian Mateos raised to 2,500 from under the gun and then Helio Neves moved all-in for 23,400 from middle position. Marcin Chmielewski rejammed from the cutoff and Mateos quickly got out of the way.

Neves turned over A10 and was dominated by Chmielewski’s AQ. Neves stood up and said bye as the 9J248 board was dealt. Neves left the tournament area while Chmielewski chipped up to 70,000. –AV

10:35pm: Yan yanks the rug from under Jones
Level 9 – Blinds 600/1,200 (BB ante: 1,200)

Ben Jones’s stack has been swinging up and down all day. He was back up but just took a big hit from David Yan to drop once more.

We arrived at the table before the flop with Jones in the cutoff seat and 21,000 chips already in front of him. Yan, in the lojack, had already bet 7,600, and the action was on Xia Lin, who had already bet 2,500 in the big blind.

Lin looked like he really wanted to get involved, but he thought better of it and got out of the way. Yan then called, bringing a 104A flop. He checked, Jones bet 16,000, and Yan called. Both players checked the 5 turn, which brought the 5 on the river. Yan checked again, trying to get Jones to bet, but he didn’t bite. Good thing for him, too — Yan rolled over AA for aces full of fives and took down the pot.

Yan is now up to 150,000. Jones drops to 65,000. –JK

10:25pm: Kashyap keeps on rising
Level 9 – Blinds 600/1,200 (BB ante 1,200)

Nauvneel Shivm Kashyap raised to 2,500 from middle position and Ricardo Vasconcelos called from the cutoff. Ming Juen Teoh three-bet to 9,700 from the big blind and both players went along for the ride.

The flop came down 479 and a round of checks brought us to the 3 on the turn. Kashyap then bet 14,000 when checked to and only Vasconcelos called.

A 5 completed the board and Kashyap, who had the bigger stack, moved all-in. Vasconcelos let it go and Kashyap chipped up to 130,000. –AV

10:10pm: Peters picks off Patrik
Level 9 – Blinds 600/1,200 (BB ante: 1,200)

We didn’t catch any of the action or any of the cards, but David Peters just took out Patrik Antonius, which ends the Finn’s stay in this tournament since he was on his second bullet. We did get an idea of what happened during the hand, though, thanks to birthday girl and honorary table commentator Kitty Kuo.

“You tried to bluff him,” she was saying to Antonius as he rose from his seat. “I can’t believe you tried to bluff him.” Antonius wasn’t bothered though — who could be bothered by the genial Kuo? He just collected his things and left the room.

“I can’t believe he tried to bluff you!” she said to Peters as he stacked up to 100,000. –JK

Patrik Antonius is down two bullets

10pm: Leong lets ’em know
Level 9 – Blinds 600/1,200 (BB ante: 1,200)

Chan Wai Leong may already be on his second bullet, but he’s making the most of it so far.

Leong opened for 2,600 in the hijack seat a few moments ago and was re-raised to 7,600 by Alex Foxen on the button. Igor Yaroshevskyy then stepped in from the big blind and re-raised them both to 18,500, leaving himself almost three times that much behind.

It was back to Leong then and he used a time bank card before announcing he was all-in. Foxen, more than covered by the bet, quickly folded. That put the action back to Yaroshevskyy, who looked like he was thinking of a call before eventually letting it go.

Leong grabbed the pot to chip up to 155,000. Yaroshevskyy falls to 50,000, while Foxen has 45,000. –JK

9:45pm: Movin’ on up
Level 9 – Blinds 600/1,200 (BB ante 1,200)

It’s time to bump up the blinds (and big blind ante) again. Three more levels to go tonight. –JK

9:40pm: Nielsen nearing the top
Level 8 – Blinds 500/1,000 (BB ante 1,000)

Daniel Nielsen has been chipping up throughout the day and has one of the larger stacks so far with about 190,000.

He recently won a bit of those chips from Felipe Darsa. Nielsen raised to 2,200 from the cutoff that hand and Darsa called from the button. The big blind called as well and the flop came K510. Nielsen bet 2,700 when checked to and Darsa raised to 8,000. Only Nielsen called and a 10 came on the turn. Both players checked and then Nielsen bet 8,000 after the 4 came on the river.

Darsa let it go and Nielsen saw his stack grow to nearly 190,000. –AV

Daniel Nielsen, stack currently larger than pictured

9:35pm: Gross vs. Motte
Level 8 – Blinds 500/1,000 (BB ante: 1,000)

We just dropped by to check on Team Pro Jeff Gross and found him heads-up against Fabien Motte. The board already read 10K108 with about 10,000 chips in the pot and Gross, sitting in the big blind, checked over to Motte. The Frenchman considered his options and then bet 6,500; Gross considered his and then folded.

That moves Motte up to around 130,000. Gross, meanwhile, is on 42,000. –JK

9:30pm: Yaghmai doubles through Lin
Level 8 – Blinds 500/1,000 (BB ante: 1,000)

Nariman Yaghmai has already collected a cash in the EPT National High Roller here in Barcelona. He’s still a ways off from a cash here in this tournament, but he just picked up a nice pot from Chen-An Lin.

Yaghmai opened under the gun for 2,300 and Lin, in the hijack seat, made it 6,300. That cleared out the rest of the field and Yaghmai gave it a good think before calling. He checked the 1043 flop to Lin, then called his bet of 4,100 to bring the Q on the turn.

Another check, another Lin bet of 8,200, and a 30-second wait before calling took Yaghmai to the 9 river. He checked a final time and Lin set a stack of blue 5,000 chips forward. It was more than enough to set Yaghmai all-in and the Iranian quickly called. Lin turned up AA but the rockets were no good — Yaghmai showed down 44 for a flopped set of fours.

Lin looked a sick to his stomach and dropped to 38,000. Yaghmai stacks up to about 110,000 with the win. –JK

9:20pm: Fast makes quick work of Antonius
Level 8 – Blinds 500/1,000 (BB ante 1,000)

Patrik Antonius and Dietrich Fast were as casual as you can get in a high roller. They were both treating the tournament like a distraction from their main focus: sports. Antonius had his laptop out and was watching tennis while Fast was watching football on his iPad.

Antonius moved all-in for 13,000 from the button while still listening to the game and Fast barely looked up from his iPad to call. Antonius was in the lead with A2, but Fast had K10 and hit a king on the 3K68Q board.

Antonius closed his laptop and asked how many levels we were playing today before he exited while Fast chipped up to 62,000. Fast also put away his iPad after Antonius left. –AV

Dietrich Fast, peeking up for a quick bust.

9:10pm: Andersson drops Deyra
Level 8 – Blinds 500/1,000 (BB ante: 1,000)

Ivan Deyra’s first bullet has missed its target.

Xixiang Luo opened the action under the gun for 2,500. Fredrik Andersson and Michiel Brummelhuis decided to join him before the action reached the button, where Deyra jammed for 21,900. Luo got out of the way but Andersson wasn’t going anywhere. He announced that he, too, was all-in, chasing Brummelhuis from the pot to set up a pre-flop showdown:

Deyra: KQ
Andersson: KK

The board ran out 78997, Andersson chipped up to 62,000, and Deyra exited the tournament. We’ll have to see if exercises his option to fire a second bullet. –JK

Fredrik Andersson

9:00pm: Roy outpairs Lampropulos
Level 8 – Blinds 500/1,000 (BB ante 1,000)

Maria Lampropulos came back from dinner a bit short and moved all-in for 25,700 from the button. Jonathan Roy had raised to 2,500 from early position and he called when action folded back around to him.

Lampropulos showed 1010 while Roy tabled QQ. Queens held up on the A7744 board and Lampropulos hit the rail while Roy’s stack grew to 80,000. –AV

8:50pm: Lin doubles through Jones
Level 8 – Blinds 500/1,000 (BB ante: 1,000)

We’re not quite sure what the action was before the 983 flop, but when we showed up Jeff Gross had already checked under the gun, Ben Jones had bet 6,200 behind him, and Xia Lin was in the process of moving his 28,300-chip stack forward for an all-in bet in the cutoff seat.

Gross thought for a few seconds but let his hand go, putting the action back to Jones, who thought a bit longer before making the call with Q9 for top pair. He got bad news when he saw Lin’s hand: A9 for the same pair with a better kicker and a spade flush draw on top of it. Jones was drawing thin and the 4 turn and 8 river offered him no assistance.

Lin doubles to 119,000 with the win, while Jones dips to around 65,000. –JK

8:43pm: We’re back
Level 8 – Blinds 500/1,000 (BB ante 1,000)

The 75-minute dinner break is done, our well-fed players are back and ready for more poker action. Blinds are 500/1,000 with a 1,000 BB ante and we’ll be playing four more levels before we call it a day. –AV


7:28pm: Top five at dinner
Level 7 – Blinds 400/800 (BB ante 800)

Players are about to head on a 75-minute dinner break. Before you go too, here’s a look at the top five chip stacks. –JS

Name Chips
Justin Ligeri 324,000
Preben Stokkan 280,000
Marc Macdonnell 230,000
Luis Rodriguez Cruz 205,000
Pedro Cairat 160,000

7:20pm: Motte if I have anything to say about it
Level 7 – Blinds 400/800 (BB ante: 800)

Aymon Hata opened the action for 1,800 in the lojack seat and drew calls from Benjamin “jenbizzle” Jones in the small blind and Fabien Motte in the big blind. Jones checked the 1046 flop, prompting Motte to bet 1,000 and Hata to call. Then Jones check-raised to 7,400. It looked like that might shut down the action then and there, but Motte called. Hata got out of the way and things got fun.

Jones led for 16,200 on the Q turn and that sent Motte to the tank. He used one time bank card, then measured out the chips for a call. Jones finally slowed down on the 6 river, checking to Motte. The latter took about 10 seconds to cut out 7,200, but Jones declined to come along to showdown.

Jones dips to 130,000 with that loss, while Motte climbs to about 80,000. –JK

7:15pm: Garcia, we hardly knew ye
Level 7 – Blinds 400/800 (BB ante 800)

Sergio Garcia’s run in this tournament has come to an end for the second and final time. The golf legend will have to find another way to spend his evening.

Down to 10,000, he managed to spin it up to 47,000 during Level 6. But Level 7 proved to be his downfall.

Defending his big blind with king-ten after an open and a call, the flop came king-six-eight with one heart, and Garcia check-called a c-bet. He’d then check-shove on the 3 turn, and his opponent tank-called with AQ for a flush draw. A third heart hit the board on the river, delivering a huge blow to his stack.

He then got his last 8,000 in with ace-ten against ace-queen, but couldn’t overtake the better hand.

GG Sergio. –JS

Garcia’s gone

7:10pm: Lipauka outpairs Chidwick
Level 7 – Blinds 400/800 (BB ante 800)

Things just kept on getting bigger and bigger.

Laszlo Molnar started things off with a raise to 1,800 from the cutoff and Eder Takashi called from the button. Stephen Chidwick was on the small blind and then three-bet all-in for 18,900. Vadzim Lipauka had about 45,000 and used a time bank card before re-raising all-in himself.

The other two players got out of the way and players tabled their hands. Chidwick turned over 44 and Lipauka turned over a bigger pair with 88. The board ran 2Q677 and Chidwick was eliminated.

Lipauka is now up to 70,000. –AV

Stephen Chidwick

7:05pm: Ligeri loaded with loot
Level 7 – Blinds 400/800 (BB ante 800)

As we approach the dinner break, our chip leader is Justin Ligeri. We didn’t even have to count his stack.

“324 thousand,” he told us as we walked past and clocked his towers of 5K chips. “I only know because he [points at Juha Helppi] just asked me.”

“How did you get them all?”

“I knocked one guy out, then had a three-way all-in with two short stacks,” he said.

While things are going great for Ligeri, they’re going less so for Stephen Chidwick. He’s just been seen exiting the room, off to re-enter no doubt.

PCA champ Maria Lampropulos just doubled up though. She had AQ and the board ran 965K6 to bring her up to 95,000. –JS

6:51pm: Shyngys slays Julien
Level 7 – Blinds 400/800 (BB ante 800)

Sam Greenwood raised to 2,100 from the hijack and Julien Martini moved all-in for 18,600 from the cutoff. Shyngis Satubayev called from the button and action folded back to Greenwood, who had about 22,000 behind. He folded A10 face up and immediately regretted it.

“Nooooooo,” Greenwood said after Satubayev tabled 99 and Martini showed KQ.

It worked out for Greenwood though since the board ran J4783 to keep Satubayev in the lead. Martini hit the rail while Satubayev chipped up to about 125,000. –AV

6:40pm: Toma time
Level 7 – Blinds 400/800 (BB ante 800)

Tsugunari Toma turned up around 15 minutes ago, and he’s wasted no time putting all his chips in the middle.

When we arrived he had a bet of 7,500 in front of him, with the board showing 65J. Anatoly Filatov made the call, and Luc Greenwood folded.

The 5 hit the turn, and Toma continued for 14,000. Filatov didn’t budge, and this pot was already large by the 8 river. Toma counted through his stack, then slid the entire 25,700 over the line. Filatov folded quickly.

He’s down to 34,000, while Toma is up to 87,500. –JS

6:30pm: Greenwood attacks, his table slacks
Level 6 – Blinds 300/600 (BB ante: 600)

Sam Greenwood is on his second bullet of the day and his starting stack from it has already been cut in half. He just added a bit to it, but probably not as much as he would’ve liked.

Julien Martini opened the action under the gun for 1,500 and the action folded around to Oleg Larichev on the button. Larichev called, the small blind folded, and the action was on Greenwood in the big blind.

Greenwood checked his cards. Then he checked his opponents’ faces. And then, without about 10 seconds left on the shot clock, he plopped his remaining chips down in front of him: all-in. Martini and Larichev folded almost immediately, giving Greenwood a boost to 24,000. –JK

6:20pm: Boivin gets there against Grinenko
Level 6 – Blinds 300/600 (BB ante 600)

Dmitrii Grinenko’s stack just took a big hit, courtesy of a nasty river card.

He’d opened to 1,400 and both blinds called. The dealer spread a 6KA flop, and it checked through to the 5 turn. It checked to Grinenko and he fired big: 5,100. Thomas Boivin was in the small blind, and he shoved over the overbet for 33,400, which shook off the big blind but got a snap-call from Grinenko.

He had good reason to call so quickly: top two pair with his AK. But he wasn’t out of the woods, as Boivin had 57 for bottom pair and a flush draw. The 6 hit the river, completing the flush and doubling Boivin to 71,000.

Grinenko dropped to 28,300 after that one. –JS

6:15pm: My winner with Andre
Level 6 – Blinds 300/600 (BB ante: 600)

Things are pretty quiet on Andre Akkari’s table and the action is relatively sedate, too. Take this recent pot as an example.

Akkari opened the action for 1,500 in the hijack seat and got calls from the button and both blinds. That was the end of the betting, though. All four players checked down the entire 1074K8 board and the standoff to see who’d show down a monster began.

Recent arrival Lauren Roberts mucked her hand. Siarhei Chudapal was the first to turn his cards over, slamming down his 43 for a pair of fours in mock triumph. Akkari, with a smile, took a cue from his tablemate and slammed down the 2, then flipped over the A alongside it. Nobody else could beat that baby flush so Akkari added everyone’s pre-flop calls to his stack. –JK

6:10pm: Ikeda falls to Fast
Level 6 – Blinds 300/600 (BB ante 600)

Satoshi Ikeda was down to about 30,000 and looking to get a double up with 1010, but Dietrich Fast woke up with KK. Ikeda was hoping for a set of tens, but the J55K7 board filled Fast up instead.

Ikeda was eliminated while Fast’s stack rose to about 100,000. –AV

6:05pm: Yotsushika’s back
Level 6 – Blinds 300/600 (BB ante 600)

All this writing about Kazuhiko Yotsushika has really made me hungry for, you guessed it, sushi. Luckily they serve it here at Casino Barcelona, and it’s not too bad.

Yotsushika is back on a second bullet having busted earlier on, and he’s having a better go of it this around. He just opened to 1,500 under the gun and picked up two called, including Antoine Saout in the big blind. The flop fell 8QA and he continued for 2,500 when it checked to him. Saout was the only caller.

The turn was the 8 and both checked it, bringing the A on the river. Saout checked again, and Yotsushika fired 3,700. That was enough to take it down, bringing his stack up to 90,000. –JS

5:55pm: It ain’t over till the river falls
Level 6 – Blinds 300/600 (BB ante 600)

Andrey Konopelko tapped the table and was on his way out, resigned.

He’d moved all-in for 7,700 with 44 and got called by Fahredin Mustafov and his J10. Mustafov then hit a ten on the 3610 flop and Konopelko started his exit. The 8 fell on the turn as he was gathering his things, but then a gasp accompanied the 4 on the river.

Konopelko sat straight back down and is back in the game with about 17,000. It’s not over till it’s over. –AV

5:45pm: Yaman doubles through Imsirovic
Level 6 – Blinds 300/600 (BB ante 600)

Mohamed Yaman was just all-in for his 26,100 stack with 88, flipping versus Ali Imsirovic who held AQ. The A78 flop gave Yaman a set, and while the A turn improved him to a full house it gave Imsirovic some outs.

Any queen or the case ace would do it, and the 9 river was neither.

Yaman was back in action the next hand opening to 1,500, and Conor Beresford was his only caller out of the big blind. The two checked down the 55JAK board until the river, when Yaman took it down with a 2,000 bet.

He’s back up to starting stack now with 50,000, while Imsirovic has 18,000 and Beresford has 45,000. –JS

Ali Imsirovic

5:40pm: Kitai triples up
Level 6 – Blinds 300/600 (BB ante 600)

There was about 6,800 in the pot and a J7A3 board on the table. Yiannis Liperis bet 2,300 from the small blind and Frederic Delval called from middle position. Then Davidi Kitai moved all-in for 11,900 from the cutoff.

Liperis thought for a bit and called. Delval followed suit. A 9 came on the river and both players checked. Kitai showed 33 for a set of threes while Liperis showed JQ and Delval tabled J10.

Kitai tripled up and now he’s up to about 45,000. –AV

5:30pm: Back to the action
Level 6 – Blinds 300/600 (BB ante 600)

The sound of chips riffling again can mean only one thing — we’re back from the break. –JK


5:10pm: Malec and Murata clash before the break
Level 5 – Blinds 200/500 (BB ante: 500)

This hand took place just as the break was beginning, lasting nearly five minutes after the room had emptied of everyone but a couple of tablemates and a few curious onlookers who wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

Laszlo Molnar opened the action for 1,200 in the hijack seat. Eder Murata called in the cutoff seat and then things blew up when Sebastian Malec made it 5,400 to go from the big blind.

Molnar got out of the way and Murata called, bringing a 6Q8 flop. Malec took the lead with a bet of 5,300 and Murata called after about 15 seconds, which brought the K on the turn. Malec maintained his line with another 8,000 and Murata called again.

The river was the 4 and Malec didn’t waste any time moving in for his last 17,900 chips. Murata had that covered but it didn’t make his decision much easier. He used three time bank cards and ran the clock all the way down on the last of them before tossing in a single chip to signify his call. Malec turned up AK for a lone pair of kings. Murata pushed his cards to the dealer but, because this was an all-in situation, his QJ for a pair of queens had to be exposed.

Murata left to take his break with 35,000 chips remaining, while Malec stacked up to 74,000. –JK

5:05pm: Akhundov’s AK takes down AA
Level 5 – Blinds 200/500 (BB ante 500)

Murad Akhundov raised from the button right before the break and then Kazuhiko Yotsushika re-raised to 3,000 from the big blind. Akhundov four-bet it up to 17,000 and then Yotsushika raised again. Akhundov quickly six-bet jammed for 43,900 and Yotsushika snap-called.

There’s rarely a preflop six-bet without aces or ace king and this one had both.

Yotsushika turned over AA while Akhundov showed AK. The 3392J board brought enough clubs to give Akhundov the flush and he doubled up to about 90,000 while Yotsushika dipped to 96,000. –AV

5:00pm: Boeken gets there against Delval
Level 5 – Blinds 200/500 (BB ante 500)

There was a 49JA board out there when we arrived, and Noah Boeken had led out for 8,400. Frederic Delval then set him all-in for 26,800 total, and Boeken was giving it a good once over.

Eventually he’d make the call with K9 for a pair and flush draw, while Delvel had AJ for top two. The 6 completed Boeken’s flush, and he punched the air as the pot shipped his way.

He’s up to 73,500 now, while Delval is down to 90,000. –JS

4:55pm: Peters sends Silver packing
Level 5 – Blinds 200/500 (BB ante 500)

Max Silver was down to just 4,500 and he moved it all-in from the cutoff.

Action folded to David Peters in the big blind and he took it upon himself to try and take out the short stack. He succeeded. Peters turned over A9 and Silver showed a dominated A2.

The Q863J board brought no help for Silver and he hit the rail while Peters is now up to 110,000. –AV

4:50pm: Kuo keeps on keepin’ on
Level 5 – Blinds 200/500 (BB ante: 500)

Kitty Kuo’s comedy partner Mustapha Kanit (see 4pm) has moved on to another table. That’s dampened the conversation but not her knack for finding ways to win more chips.

Michiel Brummelhuis opened under the gun for 1,100 and drew calls from Kuo in the cutoff, Xixiang Luo on the button, and Max Silver in the big blind. Silver and Brummelhuis checked the JQ8 flop and Kuo quickly bet 2,500. Only Luo opted to come along for the 3 turn, and both he and Kuo checked the 3 turn.

Kuo led for another 2,500 on the A river and Luo, after a brief think, let his cards go. That moves the quieter-than-usual Kuo up to 75,000. –JK

4:48pm: Akkari busts Tariq with Staples’s least favourite hand
Level 5 – Blinds 200/500 (BB ante 500)

Pocket fours worked out terribly for Team PokerStars Pro Jaime Staples yesterday. He flopped a set with them deep in the Main Event, only for Ben Heath to flop a bigger set and bust him.

Anyway, back to this event. After an open to 1,000 and four callers, including Team PokerStars Pro Andre Akkari, the dealer spread a 532 flop which checked all the way around.

It then checked to Akkari on the 8 turn, and he led out for 3,100. Only Ali Tariq called to see a 6 river, and Akkari asked to see how much Tariq had left (13,500). He tossed in a bet of 15,000, and Tariq used a time bank card before calling it off.

Akkari turned over 44 for a straight, and Tariq mucked before heading to the rail.

The fours worked out well for Akkari, who’s up to 92,000 now. –JS

Akkari: “But Jaime, sometimes you river a straight with pocket fours…”

4:45pm: Adapour’s blind faith
Level 5 – Blinds 200/500 (BB ante 500)

“Can I go all-in before they act?” asked Behzad Ahadpour. The dealer was getting the flop ready and Ahadpour had his stack in his hand, ready to plunk it in the middle. The answer was no.

Ahadpour was second to act in a four-way pot and Aram Sargsyan was first. The dealer fanned out a 2Q5 flop and Sargsyan bet 3,000. Ahadpour did move all-in for about 25,000 and two players got out of the way.

Sargsyan quickly called and showed deuce-five for two-pair while Ahadpour showed AA. A 4 came on the turn to give Ahadpour a straight draw, but the J on the river just gave him defeat.

Ahadpour busted while Sargsyan chipped up to about 60,000. –AV

4:35pm: Lin can’t lose Farrell
Level 5 – Blinds 200/500 (BB ante: 500)

Niall Farrell is a fairly active player. That can cause others to play a bit wider against him at times, which might explain the action we just witnessed between him and Chen-An Lin.

The 83K flop was already on board with about 3,000 chips in the pot as we arrived to see the dealer add the 2 turn. Lin checked to Farrell, who bet 1,600 to put the action back on Lin. Lin thought for about 20 seconds and then check-raised to 4,700. Farrell didn’t need quite that long to call.

The river was the 6 and both players checked. Lin showed A10 for ace-high, but Farrell’s 98 took the pot down with a pair of eights. –JK

4:15pm: Chen’s done
Level 5 – Blinds 200/500 (BB ante 500)

James Chen is the first player to bust both of his bullets. This one’s over for him. –JS

4:10pm: Helppi! He needs a rebuy. Helppi! Not just any rebuy
Level 4 – Blinds 200/400 (BB ante 400)

Juha Helppi is off to the cage after getting his aces cracked by Guntis Aleskins.

When we arrived Aleskins had 2,000 in front of him, most likely a three-bet, and Helppi had a raise to 4,000 in front of him. Aleskins called and the two went to a 749 flop, on which Helppi continued for 5,000 when checked to. Aleskins then moved all-in for what seemed like 40,000, and Helppi snap-called.

Helppi: AA
Aleskins: 56

Aleskins had an up and down straight draw, and he’d hit it instantly on the 3 turn. The K landed on the river, sending Helppi off for a re-entry and bringing Aleskins up to 92,000. –JS

Helppi (left) in happier times

4:05pm: Yosifov with six figures
Level 4 – Blinds 200/400 (BB ante 400)

Dimitar Yosifov now has more than 115,000.

His most recent victory started with a multiway pot. He raised to 1,000 from early position and got three callers. The number of players in the hand then shrunk by one each street.

Yosifov bet 1,700 on the QK3 flop and only Stephen Chidwick and Sebastian Malec called.

A 5 came on the turn and Yosifov upped the bet to 5,000. Malec folded, Chidwick called and a 3 completed the board. This time both players checked and Yosifov showed AK. Chidwick mucked and was left with 23,400 while Yosifov chipped up to about 115,000. –AV

4:00pm: The Kanit & Kuo Comedy Hour
Level 4 – Blinds 200/400 (BB ante: 400)

Kitty Kuo arrived in the field during this level. She’s seated between Mustapha Kanit and David Peters and keeping things chatty — especially during the hand we just walked up on.

There was about 6,000 in the pot and the full 53254 board had already been dealt. Kanit bet 6,000 on the river only to have Kuo pop him back to 16,000. Kanit used three time bank cards before finally folding, at which point Kuo moved both of her cards forward and said, “Pick one.”

Kanit selected his card and shook his head as he revealed it was the A. Kuo began laughing and said, “I played that hand bad. I should’ve raised pre-flop.”

“I don’t give a sh*t,” replied Kanit with a grin, which cracked Kuo up even more. –JK

Kanit: no sh*ts to give

3:50pm: Filatov takes from Ferreira
Level 4 – Blinds 200/400 (BB ante 400)

Jean Ferreira opened to 1,000 and picked up two callers in Anatoly Filatov, and Marcin Chmielewski on the button. The three saw a JK6 turn and now Ferreira checked. Filatov took over the betting for 6,600 which was called, before firing again for 13,200 after it checked to him on the 5 river. Ferreira weighed his options but opted to lay it down.

He’s on 53,000, while Filatov moves up to 71,000. –JS

Anatoly Filatov

3:40pm: Luc funnels some off Francois
Level 4 – Blinds 200/400 (BB ante 400)

Luc Greenwood raised to 1,000 from the cutoff and Francois Evard three-bet up to 3,500 from the button. The blinds got out of the way and let the Canadian and Swiss player duke it out.

The flop came 27Q and Greenwood check-called a 2,700 bet. The 4 came on the turn and Evard bet 4,400 when checked to. Greenwood called again and a fourth club, the K, came on the river. Greenwood checked one more time and this time Evard checked behind.

Greenwood turned over JJ for a flush and Evard mucked. Evard dipped to 75,000 while Greenwood chipped up to 60,000. –AV

Greenwood: of the Luc variety

3:30pm: Akkari scares off Spindler
Level 4 – Blinds 200/400 (BB ante: 400)

Lots of chips means lots of room to play the way you want, and Andre Akkari just took advantage of that fact.

The action opened with Chen An Lin, who made it 1,000 to go under the gun. The table folded to Benny Spindler in the cutoff, where he bumped the bet to 3,500 and put the decision to Akkari on the button.

Benny Spindler

Akkari looked like he was in something close to pain, but that was almost assuredly because he was deep in the midst of a massage session. It certainly wasn’t because of his cards — he tossed in 8,500 chips and immediately chased Lin from the pot. Spindler didn’t go as quickly, but at the end of his shot clock he reluctantly slid his cards into the muck.

Akkari is now on 57,500. –JK

Akkari gets a fold

3:25pm: Feestra feasts on a Yotsushika platter
Level 4 – Blinds 200/400 (BB ante 400)

Nick Petrangelo and Rens Feestra were chatting about beer, when Feestra led for 1,000 on an 883 flop. The conversation was paused when Petrangelo three-bet to 3,000 from the small blind seat, and then even more so when Kazuhiko Yotsushika four-bet to 12,000.

Feestra enquired about both stacks, and then made the call. “OK friends,” said Petrangelo, as he laid his down.

The 9 hit the turn and Yotsushika fired out 24,000. Feestra used a time bank card before shoving, which Yotsushika snapped off.

Feestra: Q8
Yotsushika: K6

Feestra flopped trips while Yotsushika was drawing to hearts. He’d miss on the 4 river, sending him to the rail and bringing Feestra up to 130,000.

Then the beer conversation picked back up. “I had a Belgian beer, Duvel, it was super strong.”

“Yeah, 8.5%,” replied Feestra. –JS

3:10pm: Back to business
Level 4 – Blinds 200/400 (BB ante 400)

We’re up to 233 players now, with the likes of Dan Smith, Niall Farrell, Scott Margereson, Joao Vieira, Jean Ferreira, Benny Spindler, and Mathias Eibinger all entering throughout the break. –JS


2:45pm: Ahadpour busts to Peters
Level 3 – Blinds 100/300 (BB ante 300)

David Peters has claimed his first victim.

He raised to 700 and and was three-bet to 2,000 by Behzad Ahadpour. Peters called to see a 106J flop, then called a 3,000 c-bet bringing the 7 on the turn. Ahadpour fired 10,000 when checked to, and Peters took his time, using a time bank card before matching it.

The board was completed by the 2, and when Peters checked again Ahadpour moved all-in. Peters snapped it off with KJ for a flush, while Ahadpour had 55 and was outta here.

He’ll no doubt be back, while Peters is up to 110,000. –JS

2:35pm: Getting busy
Level 3 – Blinds 100/300 (BB ante 300)

The room is filling up, with 208 of 213 remaining (with five re-entries).

This one is shaping up nicely. –JS

2:25pm: Bozzano busto
Level 3 – Blinds 100/300 (BB ante 300)

A ‘pre-flop raising war’ is an overused poker reporting term. But if there ever was a definitive version of it, this is it.

Francois Evard opened to 700 from the cutoff, and was three-bet to 2,400 by Enio Bozzano on the button. Back to Evard, he four-bet to 6,100, only for Bozzano to come back over the top with a five-bet to 27,400. Evard six-bet shoved, Bozzano called, and the pre-flop raising war was over.

The hand wasn’t though. Evard had KK and was in good shape against Bozzano’s AK. The board ran out J7665, keeping the cowboys in front.

Bozzano departs, while Evard is up to 83,000 now. –JS

2:10pm: Hot start for JNT
Level 3 – Blinds 100/300 (BB ante 300)

Jean-Noel Thorel has more than doubled up, eliminating a player in the process. We’re not sure who the casualty is just yet, as he understandably left quite quickly with his ID in hand.

We arrived to an A95 flop, on which Thorel led out for 20,000 into two players. Only the player who would bust called, bringing the 4 turn. JNT then moved all-in and was called, showing AJ up against A8. He was ahead but would need to dodge a heart.

The J was not only safe but it improved his hand to two-pair, and Thorel secured the KO. He’s up to 110,000 now. –JS

2pm: Level 3 begins
Level 3 – Blinds 100/300 (BB ante 300)

As we enter the third and final 45-minute level, we can tell you that Xioxang Luo is still chip leader with 105,000, having busted James Chen in one of the first hands of play.

He’s followed by Paul Newey, who has got off to a good start with 85,000. Then there’s Team PokerStars Pro Jeff Gross, who is up to 77,000. –JS

Gross with the most (well, not quite, but…it rhymes…well, not quite…)

1:55pm: Fleshing out the list
Level 2 – Blinds 100/200 (BB ante 200)

Here are some more names for you:

Thomas Hueber, Joao Barbosa, Chris Dowling, Kristina Holst, Saar Wilf, Julien Martini, Dinesh Alt, Govert Metaal, Lauren Roberts, Javier Gomez, Sam Cohen, Fahredin Mustafov, Kyle Keranen, Daniel Neilson, Aaron Lim, Goran Mandic, Noah Boeken, Antoine Saout, Jack Salter, Stephen Chidwick, and Imad Derwiche are all in action. –JS

1:50pm: Another victim
Level 2 – Blinds 100/200 (BB ante 200)

Hati Janneh busted a few minutes ago, and is now back in along with Andrey Andreev, bringing the re-entry list up to three. –JS

1:45pm: Ace is good for Konnikova
Level 2 – Blinds 100/200 (BB ante 200)

Maria Konnikova has a fun, chatty table, but it’s not necessarily one she would have picked, what with Timothy Adams, Martin Kozlov, Matas Cimbolas, and Luc Greenwood surrounding her. Then again, there are players like Adnan Chamaa there too, who was getting some help from Adams prior to play beginning about how the shot clock works, showing he might be new to this High Roller scene.

Konnikova tangled with Chamaa in a pot just now. She’d opened to 500 from UTG+1 and it folded to Chamaa on the button. He made the call, and the two went to an 872 flop. Konnikova continued for 600, and Chamaa came along.

The turn was the 6 and Konnikova fired 1,300 which was called once again. Both then checked the 8 river, and Konnikova showed AQ for ace-high with the eights on board. Chamaa took a good look at his hand, and glanced back and forth from the board to Konnikova’s hand, then mucked.

Ace-high was good in this one. –JS

Konnikova claims it

1:35pm: Andreev second to fall
Level 2 – Blinds 100/200 (BB ante 200)

Andrey Andreev couldn’t forge a comeback after that last hand, as we’ve just seen him make a speedy exit out the poker room. He has a single re-entry option, and could join James Chen on the re-entry list soon enough. –JS

1:30pm: AA beats AA
Level 2 – Blinds 100/200 (BB ante 200)

Andrey Andreev has just got rather unlucky, doubling up Joao Velli.

All of Velli’s money went in on a KJ5 flop, and Andreev called with [5x][5x] for a flopped set. Velli had AA, and hit a very fortunate A turn. The 4 river changed nothing, and Velli doubled up.

He’s playing 69,000 now, while Andreev is still in with 20,800. –JS

1:10pm: They keep on comin’
Level 1 – Blinds 100/200 (BB ante 100)

Team PokerStars Pro Andre Akkari, Shannor Shorr, Sam Greenwood, Oliver Price, Aaron Been, Igor Yaroshevskyy, 2016 EPT Barcelona Main Event champ Sebastian Malec, Rocco Palumbo, Thomas Muehloecker, Vladimir Troyanovskiy, and Yevgeniy Timoshenko are just a few to arrive near the end of Level 1. –JS

1pm: Lin wins
Level 1 – Blinds 100/200 (BB ante 100)

Sorry to spoil it for you, but Chen An Lin would indeed take this one down.

It started with a hijack open to 500 from Andrew Christoforou which Michael Soyza three-bet to 1,500 from the cutoff. Lin called on the button, and Christoforou came along too to see a 7Q7 flop. It checked to Soyza who continued for 1,500, and both Lin and Christoforou called quickly.

The dealer burned and turned the Q, double pairing the board. This time it checked through, bringing the 5 on the river. Christoforou took his full 30 seconds before checking, and Soyza opted to check this time too. Lin tapped the table, and both Soyza and Lin looked to Christoforou to show. He stood up and jokingly slammed down the K6, which Soyza had beat with his AK.

But as you already know, Lin wins this one. He had 1010 for a better two pair than the board, and increases to 63,000. Christoforou has 37,500, while Soyza has 47,000. –JS

12:55pm: More names for the list
Level 1 – Blinds 100/200 (BB ante 100)

Daniel Dvoress, Paul Newey, Ivan Leow, Nick Petrangelo, Marc MacDonnell, Adrian Mateos, opening €10K High Roller champ Michael Soyza, Max Silver, Martin Kozlov, Mark Teltscher, Winfred Yu, Luc Greenwood, and Luke Reeves are all now playing.

As for Team PokerStars, Jeff Gross and Maria Konnikova are repping the red spade. –JS

12:45pm: Chen’s first bullet lasts just 15 minutes
Level 1 – Blinds 100/200 (BB ante 100)

We’ve already had our first elimination in this one, as James Chen found himself on the colder side of a cooler against Xioxang Luo.

There was a 7285J board out there and around 50,000 in the middle. Chen check-called a 25,000-or-so shove with 77, but Luo had 46 for a flopped flush draw and gutshot which improved to a straight on the turn.

Luo is an early chip leader with 100,000, while Chen has already exercised his single re-entry option. –JS

Chen’s back in

12:38pm: Action at Garcia’s table
Level 1 – Blinds 100/200 (BB ante 100)

Sergio Garcia was the only player at his four-handed table to sit out this one. Mohamed Yaman made it 400 to go on the button and Andrew Christoforou (sb) and Chen An Lin (bb) called to bring a 47K flop. It checked to Yaman and he fired 700, which both called.

The 2 hit the turn (as it did in the last hand we reported) and all three checked. That brought the 8 river, and when it checked to Lin he led for 3,000. Yaman got out of the way, but Christoforou gave it some thought and then called.

Lin flipped 65. “Is that a straight?” asked Christoforou, and when the answer was confirmed the pot shipped Lin’s way. –JS

12:32pm: Ahadpour draws first blood
Level 1 – Blinds 100/200 (BB ante 100)

All the pots are pretty small at this earliest of early stages, but it’s still nice to get off to a good start.

Behzad Ahadpour has taken down the first meaningful pot we’ve seen. There was 2,100 in the pot by the [3D][QH][8D] flop and all four players at the table were in. It checked to Ahadpour who led for 1,200, and only Rens Feestra made the call to see the 2 turn. Both checked.

The J river completed things and Ahadpour fired 2,200. Feestra made the call, but mucked when he was shown QJ for top two. –JS

12:30pm: And they’re off
Level 1 – Blinds 100/200 (BB ante 100)

They’re shuffling up and dealing in the €10K High Roller for the first of three 45-minute levels. After that, levels increase to one hour.

Other players to have arrived for the first hand include Ryan Riess, James Chen, Behzad Ahadpour, Daniel Neilson, Chen An Lin, and golf superstar Sergio Garcia. –JS

12:20pm: Ten minutes to go

Play will be kicking off in around ten minutes time, and players are starting to arrive. There are 74 entries on the screen so far, with Timothy Adams, Juha Helppi, Jimmy Guerrero, Orpen Kisacikoglu, and Johan Guilbert among the early arrivals. –JS

11am: It’s the most wonderful time of the year (for a €10K High Roller player)

The Main Event is down to just 56 players, but hundreds of players will be returning to Casino Barcelona today. That’s because today sees the beginning of what has historically been one of the largest €10K High Rollers you’ll find anywhere in the world.

Barcelona: a High Roller’s oyster

The €10,300 High Roller in Barcelona is always a star-studded, jam-packed event, and as a result it creates some massive prizes. It was Ronny Kaiser who emerged on top last year, chopping three-ways with Markus Durnegger and Benjamin Pollak to bank €735,000.

Kaiser outlasted 557 entries in that one (431 unique, 126 re-entries), while in 2016 it was Connor Drinan who came out on top. The last official EPT Barcelona €10K was a record-breaker with 591 entries, and Drinan overcame them all to beat Mihails Morozovs heads-up and win the €849,200 first-place prize.

Drinan won record-breaking €10K High Roller at EPT Barcelona 2016 for €849K

Aside from winning lots of money and defeating many of the world’s best players to do so, a common thread between those two victories is that both winners were enjoying a drink or two during the latter stages of the final table. When asked how he did it, Drinan told us: “I drank a lot of beer, and that helped.”

It’s just the way you do it here in Barcelona. Play some poker, enjoy yourself, and become a High Roller champ. If the Main Event numbers are anything to go by, this event is expected to be enormous too.

All the action kicks off at 12:30pm CEST, so stick with us on PokerStars Blog over the next three days for the best live coverage. Here’s all the info. –JS

Buy-in: €10,300 (€10,000 to prize pool, €300 fee)
Starting stack: 50,000
Starting blinds for Day 1: 100/200 (with 100 big blind ante)
Day 1 Schedule: Three 45-minute levels, then eight 60-minute levels
Dinner break: 75-minute dinner break after Level 7
Entry info: Players have the option of a single re-entry
Shot clock: 30-second shot clock in play, with six time bank cards per day for players

Download the PokerStars LIVE! app with all tournament information. Available for IOS and Android.

PokerStars Blog reporting team on the €10,300 High Roller: Jason Kirk, Jack Stanton, and Alex Villegas. Photography by Neil Stoddart and Rene Velli.

Ready to sign up for PokerStars? Click here to get an account.

Related Articles

Latest Articles

Study Poker with Pokerstars Learn, practice with the PokerStars app