Monday, 6th February 2023 04:00
Home / Uncategorized / IPT8 Malta: Daniel Portiansky ends Main Event Day 2 leading final 31 

After a couple of overcast days here in Malta, the temperature was higher today on the archipelago. The action heated up as well on Day 2 of the Italian Poker Tour Main Event here at the Portomaso Casino, where 211 players from a 775-starting field returned to battle their way to this weekend’s final table. 

We saw some wild hands today, including a straight flush, a three-way all-in won with rivered quads, and a couple of unlikely runner-runner survivals — see below, “Whole lot of hearts,” “A hot one,” “A doozy from Sintuzzi,” and “So you’re saying there’s a chance” — if you’re curious.

Emerging at night’s end were just 31 IPT title-seeking hopefuls, with Israel’s Daniel Portiansky the one bagging the most chips with 1,540,000.

EPT13Malta_Daniel Portiansky_IPT_Main-Event_Manuel_Kovsca 1.jpg

Daniel Portiansky

Stefan Jedlicka began the day sitting behind the biggest stack of the returners, and the Austrian would continue to build during the early going, cruising up toward the 1 million-chip mark as the short stacks were swiftly scattered.

It only took a level-and-a-half for the field to whittle down to the money. One spot from the cash, three players were all-in at once on separate tables, with Raffaele Carnevale and Tonny Van Eck both losing theirs to split a min-cash.

The pace continued to be a quick one thereafter, with nearly 50 players going out in less than an hour for the field to shrink to 100. 

Shortly thereafter Ole Schemion’s run ended in 93rd, with Martin Staszko (79th), Yury Gulyy (75th), and Pierre Neuville (71st) among the next wave of eliminated players.

Meanwhile Jedlicka had fallen back to the pack as Israel’s Daniel Portiansky surged forward, crossing the million-mark and then some to peak at more than 1.8 million late in the day before concluding the night with a bit less. The eliminations continued, with John Farrell (63rd), Benjamin Pollak (56th), and Gaetano Cammilleri (41st) among them.

Finally at night’s end just those last 31 remained, with Portiansky still on top of the counts. Also bagging big to end play were Alexander Lakhov (1,449,000), Johan Guilbert (1,307,000), Nihal Karyagdi (1,164,000), Yaniv Peretz (1,118,000), Ismael Bojang (895,000), Rasmus Agerskov (741,000), and Dominik Panka (700,000). Meanwhile Stefan Jedlicka (294,000) and Cate Hall (151,000) are both still in the mix as well.

Click here for the complete start-of-Day-3 chip counts and here is the Day 3 seat draw. Also, check the prize pool and payouts page to see who has cashed thus far and for how much.

Then tomorrow at 12 noon we’ll be back again to bring you start-to-finish coverage as we find out who among the remaining group will make Sunday’s final table and have a shot at the €101,940 first prize up top.

Until then, good night from Malta! –MH

Day 2 coverage:

9:04pm: Day 2 concludes

The final four tables are all done, and it appears Daniel Portiansky has held onto the chip lead among the final 32. Back shortly with a recap of an exciting day of poker. –MH

8:55pm: Redschlag sent to the rail
Level 20 – 6,000/12,000 (2,000 ante)

I joined the action at Table 2 to see that Malte Redschlag was all-in for his final 330,000 with A8 and Johan Guilbert had him bang to rights with a dominating ace — AK — to be exact.

The J10374 runout sent the German’s chips over to Guilbert and, while it’s not going to be enough to give him the chip lead, he’s now got one of the biggest stacks in the room. –NW

8:48pm: Five more hands
Level 20 – 6,000/12,000 (2,000 ante)

With 35 left they have paused the clock and announced they’ll be playing five more hands before bagging up. –MH

8:40pm: All gone for Brignone
Level 20 – 6,000/12,000 (2,000 ante)

Gaetano Brignone had shoved for 148,000 and action was now on Filip Demby. He was in the big blind so was closing the action. He requested a count, double-checked it, and then called.

Brignone: 44
Demby: A7

The 89J flop gave Demby a straight draw to go with his pair outs, the Q turn opened up some chopportunities, then the 7 river gave Demby the outright win. Brignone tapped the table and it made a loud clang as a finger ring connected with the table. 36 players remain. –NW

8:32pm: Two eliminations
Level 20 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (2,000 ante)

With half an hour left of play, it’s do-or-die time for the short stacks. Sadly for them, we’ve just lost two in quick succession.

First to fall was Clement Coulanjon. After Erwann Pecheux opened to 26,000 in the cutoff, it folded to Coulanjon in the small blind. He had just 40,000 and opted to go all-in, naturally getting called when it got back to Pecheux, who had ace-three. Coulanjon had jack-ten but a three on the flop was all it would take to bust him. Pecheux has 650,000 after that.

EPT13Malta_Erwann Pecheux_IPT_Maint_Event_Manuel_Kovsca 49.jpg

Pecheux pushes out Coulajnon, pushes upwards in counts

Shortly after it a similar story. Day 1B chip leader Johan Guilbert opened to 28,000 and got called by Vladimir Shabalin on the button. Lawrence Andreys then moved all-in for his last 43,000. “I have a question,” said Guilbert. “Can I raise now or is it just fold or call?”

When he was informed he could only fold or call (and the table had a giggle about the thought of him folding for just 15,000 more), he just called, as did Shabalin. The flop fell 373 and Guilbert bet 50,000 when it checked to him, which got Shabalin to fold.

Andreys turned over the K6 but was in bad shape against the KJ. The 3 and 4 completed the board which meant the jack kicker played and eliminated Andreys. Guilbert has 830,000 now. –JS

8:24pm: Into the final 30 minutes
Level 20 – 6,000/12,000 (2,000 ante)

Just 30 minutes remain in the day and the field has shrunk to 38 players. Daniel Portiansky is still the player to catch, he looks to have 1,800,000, Alexander Lakhov is on 1,600,000 and Jakub Szczotka completes the podium at present with 1,200,000. –NW

8:09pm: Bojang’s rockets bust Cammilleri
Level 20 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (2,000 ante)

Nobody had called or raised by the time it got round to Ismael Bojang in the cutoff, so he did the betting himself. He made it 28,000 to play and got one call from Gaetano Cammilleri out of the small blind.

The dealer spread a 737 flop and Cammilleri checked, letting Bojang continue for 25,000. The Italian then moved all in for his 160,000 stack and Bojang almost beat him into the pot. He turned over the AA and that was miles ahead of Cammilleri’s K10, and with no help on the 5 turn or Q river Cammilleri hit the cage. Bojang has 1.03 million now. –JS

20 6000 12000 2000

8:01pm: Johan Guilbert wins a huge pot
Level 19 – 5,000/10,000 (1,000 ante)

This hand took a while, but for good reason. The preflop action is unknown but there was enough already in the pot that it suggested this was a three-bet pot. On the 8K10 flop Clement Coulanjon (under-the-gun) checked the action to Johan Guilbert (cutoff) and he fired out a bet of 45,000. It was a France-vs.-France battle and Coulanjon considered his action for a long time. He cut out enough chips to raise but instead settled on a call.
The 3 fell on the turn and this time Coulanjon called again and did so more quickly, with the price to see the river being 82,000. The J fell on fifth street and Guilbert emptied the clip, betting 214,000 of his 394,000 stack.

“Sorry guys, I’m going to need some time,” said Coulanjon as he asked the dealer to spread the pot. He thought it over for over a minute — call and lose and he’d be down to three big blinds, call and win he’d be up to around 800,000, fold and he’d have around 25 big blinds.

A short time later he placed the necessary chips across the line to signify a call. Guilbert opened 108 and Coulanjon nodded before mucking.

After that hand Guilbert is up to roughly 950,000. –NW

EPT13Malta_Johan Guilbert_IPT_Maint_Event_Manuel_Kovsca 14.jpg

Guilbert gets a big one

7:55pm: Filling the lull
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (1,000 ante)

We’ve experienced a bit of a lull in this past orbit, but here are two hands I thought I’d share.

First, Robert Cowen doubled up through the chip leader Daniel Portiansky. The latter opened to 22,000 and immediately Cowen jammed to his left for 140,000. When it folded back to Portiansky he made the call with the J9, which was up against the AQ.

The flop was a good’n for the man at risk as he’d paired up on the Q23 board. The 4 turn, however, presented some problems, and any club would mean his elimination. The river came the Q though and he got the double he needed.

Then on another table, Jakub Szczotka opened to 20,000 and again immediately faced a three-bet by the man to his left. Daragh Davey made it 52,000 to play and when it folded back to Szczotka he made it 120,000. Davey shoved, and was called.

Turned out both had ace-king, but on the Q23 it was Davey who was freerolling. Running diamonds would give him the win with a flush but the board bricked out for the chop. Davey has 315,000, while Szczotka has 950,000. –JS

7:40pm: So you’re saying there’s a chance?
Level 19 – 5,000/10,000 (1,000 ante)

What a hand! If there were TV cameras around this would, in this reporter’s humble opinion, be the hand of the day.

All the chips went in preflop with Vladimir Shabalin at risk for his final 228,000 holding 77. His opponent was Pages Petrice and the Frenchman had QJ.

The race got decidedly one-sided on a 910K flop as Petrice flopped the nuts and left Shabalin with just a 2.83% chance of winning the hand. The K turn gave him hope and the K river realized this hope as Shabalin went runner-runner to improve to a full house. He’s up to 575,000 while Petrice drops to 345,000. –NW

7:27pm: Banter with Benhalima
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (1,000 ante)

Abdelkader Benhalima is up to his old tricks again. Action folded to Julian Toniolo in the small blind and he made it 22,000 to go, only for Benhalima to move all-in for 131,000 total. He then started his loud chatting to just about anyone who would listen, and Toniolo ultimately laid his hand down, flashing the A as he mucked.

“Yes! See?” said Benhalima, turning over his J9. “I was going to make a flush!” –JS

7:15pm: Barbato joins the millionaires club
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (1,000 ante)

We’re starting to see some seven-figure stacks emerge (the average is 365,000) and Antonio Barbato is the latest player to join the millionaires club behind Daniel Portiansky and Alexander Lakhov.

Facing a raise of 21,000 from Dominik Martan, Barbato three-bet to 61,000 and instantly called when Martan shoved for 210,000 total.

Martan: A10
Barbato: JJ

The Q564K run out kept Barbato in the lead and he’s now up to 1,075,000. –NW

7:11pm: All for one and one for Hall
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (1,000 ante)

Filip Demby limped on the button which led to Rafal Lubczynski completing in the small blind and Cate Hall checking to see a cheap flop from the big blind. That flop showed 294 and Lubczynski led straight out for 17,000, only for Hall to move all-in for 111,000.

Demby made a fast fold but Lubczynski had a genuine decision. In the end he decided to fight another day and gave it up, allowing Hall to show her big blind special. She held the 95 for top pair and a flush draw. Hall’s back up to 162,000 now. –JS

7:04pm: Updated counts; 53 remain
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (1,000 ante)

As noted below, Daniel Portiansky is well ahead of everyone at the moment with that big 1.6 million-plus chip stack. Here’s a look at the current top 10:











Name Country Status Chips
Daniel Portiansky Israel   1618000
Alexander Lakhov Russia PokerStars qualifier 1125000
Antonio Barbato Italy PokerStars qualifier 860000
Raffaele Sorrentino Italy PokerStars qualifier 730000
Rasmus Agerskov Denmark PokerStars qualifier 714000
Ismael Bojang Austria PokerStars player 600000
Yaniv Peretz Latvia PokerStars player 573000
Daragh Davey Ireland PokerStars qualifier 568000
Erwann Pecheux France   500000
Danut Chisu Romania PokerStars qualifier 490000

Dominik Panka is also doing well with 485,000.

EPT13Malta_Dominik Panka_IPT_Maint_Event_Manuel_Kovsca 21.jpg

Panka stacking

Meanwhile earlier leader Stefan Jedlicka is still in but down now from where he was before with 254,000. –MH

7:01pm: Your chip leader
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (1,000 ante)

The man who almost certainly has the chip lead right now is Israel’s Daniel Portiansky. He’s currently playing a stack of around 1.64 million. –JS

19 5000 10000 1000

6:48pm: Let’s take a break

The 53 remaining players are off on one more 15-minute break, after which they’ll return and play two more one-hour levels, then call it a night. –MH

6:47pm: Pollak out
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

Not long after that hand between Filip Demby and Malte Redshlag (just below), Benjamin Pollak lost the last of his short stack to go out in 56th. –MH

6:45pm: Filip wins a flip
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

“Show the cards guys,” says Benjamin Pollak as both Filip Demby — who was all-in for 152,000 — and Malte Redschlag seemed reluctant to do so. Demby showed first, flipping 77, he was ahead of the AK of Redschlag and it was off to the races to decide a winner.

The 9Q2Q10 board meant Demby doubled to around 320,000 and Redschlag dropped to 148,000. -NW

6:42pm: Action flop
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

On a 10AQ flop Gonzalo Araujo and Konstantinos Gkimpis created an all-in pot with Araujo committed for a stack of what looked like 90,000. It soon became clear why the flop had led to so much action. Araujo had Q10 for two pair, while Gkimpis was holding J8 for a combo-draw.

Whatever the opposite of classic race is, we had one happening here with Gkimpis a 49.9% favourite to take the pot, Araujo had a 49.19% chance of winning the hand with a 0.91% chance of the hand being a tie. The 5 turn and 6 river meant Araujo clung onto the lead to double-up. –NW

6:38pm: Another five-bet pot
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

Rafal Lubczynski opened to 18,000 but was three-bet to 41,000 by Malte Redschlag. Action folded to Benjamin Pollak and he made a cold four-bet to 92,000, only for Lubczynski to five-bet shove for 197,000 total. Redschlag tanked for a bit but thought better of calling, and then it was Pollak’s turn to think. He took his time but eventually felt priced in, calling with the A7 which trailed Lubczynski’s AK.

The 96A flop paired both, but the king kept the Polish player in front. Nothing changed on the Q turn, nor the 8 river, and Lubczynski now has a stack of 455,000. Pollak has dropped to 146,000. –JS

6:26pm: Big pot goes to Szczotka
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

The pot between Jakub Szczotka and Freek Scholten was already 100,000 when I arrived. The board showed the 27107 and Scholten had checked, letting Szczotka in for a 54,000 bet.

After some thinking time Scholten made the call to see a 9 river. Both decided to check, and Scholten turned over the J10 for top pair, but was outkicked by Szczotka’s A10.

Scholten dropped to 180,000 and Szczotka moved up to 521,000. –JS

6:15pm: Rollercoaster of a hand
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

“All-in and call,” was the cry and I wandered over to see that Francesco Leotta and Armin Mette had reached showdown.

Mette was the all-in player, he’d got his final 177,000 in with QQ and was up against Leotta’s KQ. The 985 gave no indication as to what was to come. The K turn left Mette with one out — an out he hit on the Q river to survive. –NW

6:06pm: Agerskov needs green chips
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

Rasmus Agerskov and Vadim Ukhanov were involved in some all-in preflop action that saw Ukhanov at risk (for his 150,000 stack) with ace-king against Agerskov’s pocket tens.

The flop brought two jacks but no ace or king, and the ten on the turn sealed the win for Agerskov with a full house. Ukhanov went to collect his winnings while Agerskov stacked up his.

“Maybe I can get some green chips,” he said, referring to recently introduced green 25,000 chips and the fact that Agerskov now has close to 150 orange chips. “Floor!” –JS

6:03pm: Lodge gets unlucky
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

A deep run for Harry Lodge has come to an end as he was just eliminated by Erwann Pecheux. 

In one of the latter hands of the previous level, the Frenchman opened to 13,000 from UTG+1 and Lodge then three-bet to 37,000 from the small blind. When action got back to Pecheux he tanked for a decent amount of time before moving all-in. He had Lodge covered, the Englishman took a look back at his cards and then called all-in for around 180,000 total. 

Pecheux showed A7 and Lodge was ahead with 99. However, the 56A flop saw Pecheux leapfrog Lodge into the lead. Neither the 5 turn or A river helped Lodge though and he exits in 69th, while Pecheux is up to 540,000. –NW

EPT13Malta_Harry_Lodge_IPT_Maint_Event_Manuel_Kovsca 34.jpg

Lodge on the rail

5:58pm: Lakhov over Kramer
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

A short time ago Kilian Kramer doubled through Alexander Lakhov, when the two clashed again it was Lakhov who had the last laugh. Kramer was all-in for about 60,000 with A10 and up against Lakhov’s pocket sixes. The pair held on the 87482 board and Kramer was eliminated in 70th. –NW

5:49pm: See ya, Staszko; no more Neuville
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

They’ve begun Level 18. Among the recent knockouts was 2011 WSOP Main event runner-up Martin Staszko, who here finished 79th.

EPT13Malta_martin_staszko_IPT_Maint_Event_Manuel_Kovsca 45.jpg


Also among the most recent wave of eliminations was another November Niner, 2015 WSOP Main Event seventh-place finisher Pierre Neuville, who went out in 71st.

EPT13Malta_Pierre Neuville_IPT_Maint_Event_Manuel_Kovsca 32.jpg


18 4000 8000 1000

5:39pm: Five-bet pre-flop hands are like buses…
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (1,000 ante)

No, I didn’t wait for ages and then two turned up at once. But if you knew what the bus services were like where I live you’d know that people wait for ages and then feel lucky when one turns up at all.

Yep, there didn’t seem to be much to write about for a good few minutes until this hand. The first (or second bet, if you will) bet came from Maurizio Melara which was then three-bet by Leonardo Armino to 34,000. A few people folded before Andreas Anastasiades cold four-bet jammed for 65,000, only for Melara to then five-bet to 120,000. Armino was in the tank for quite some time before eventually making a fold.

He told everyone later on that he’d folded queens, so it was a good fold as Melara had the AA against Anastasiades’ 77. The board ran out 9835J so the rockets held up, eliminating the man from Cyprus and increasing Melara’s stack to 320,000. –JS

5:21pm: A hat-trick of exits
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (1,000 ante)

Frantic, that’s the only way to describe the action on the tournament floor. From standing in the same spot I saw three all-in-and-calls, on three separate tables in under three minutes. Here’s a recap of what happened.

1) Pasquale Grimaldi shoved all-in from late position for 58,000 with K3. Velibor Jakovljevic was in the big blind, and after requesting a count he called with QJ. After the 9J6 flop hit the felt, Grimaldi rose from his seat and watched on as the 6 turn and 5 river fell, and Grimaldi is out.

EPT13Malta_Pasquale Grimaldi_IPT_Maint_Event_Manuel_Kovsca 17.jpg

Grimaldi gone

2) Cornelis Van Gent had almost three-bet shoved on the previous hand, but folded to Ismael Bojang’s open. On the next hand action folded to him in the small blind, he moved in for 48,000 and Julian Toniolo called to put him at risk.

Van Gent: J5
Toniolo: QJ

The 934K6 board kept the best hand in front and Van Gent was on his way.

3) Another short stack and another shove as Yury Gulyy pushed for just under 100,000 with pocket nines, only to run into the pocket aces of Patrick Brooks. There was no help on the board for Gulyy and he wished his opponents good luck as he left the table. –NW

5:11pm: More bustouts
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (1,000 ante)

The bustouts continue in rapid fashion, with Antoine Degiorgio (82nd), Sarah Behja Herzali (81st), and Christophe Vincent (80th) the most recent to go. –MH

EPT13Malta_IPT_Maint_Event_Manuel_Kovsca 22.jpg

Herzali hits the rail

5:04pm: Cruel twist for Di Mezza
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (1,000 ante)

Clement Coulanjon opened to 14,000 in the cutoff and Pierre Neuville made the call on the button. Fausto Di Mezza came along, too, from the small blind and checked when the dealer put down a 1094 flop. Coulanjob continued for 26,000 and that got rid of the Belgian, but Di Mezza didn’t budge.

The turn came the Q and Di Mezza checked again. Coulanjon didn’t stop and fired 36,000 this time, but Di Mezza had other ideas, moving all in for 111,000. After a little bit of thinking time, Coulanjon made the call and saw that his 99 flopped set was now behind the KJ straight of the Italian.

However, a river can change everything. Fifth street came the 10, giving Coulanjon a winning full house and eliminating Di Mezza in 83rd place. The Frenchman now has a stack of just over 500,000. –JS

4:55pm: King Kramer
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (1,000 ante)

If only Kilian Kramer could get dealt the hand that matches his initials every hand, then he’d be a very rich man. As it is, he had to settle for a double-up against Alexander Lakhov.

The Russian player opened to 13,000 and Kramer defended from the big blind. “How much do you have left?” asked Lakhov to Kramer. The German played had about 64,000 left and watched on as a 1033 flop fell on the felt. He checked, Lakhov bet 16,000 and Kramer called.

The 10 turn checked through and the Q fell on the river. “All-in,” announced Kramer and Lakhov threw in a single chip to signify a call. Kramer showed KK and had Lakhov’s AQ beat. “Lucky river,” said Lakhov. “You would’ve got it all preflop,” he added. –NW

4:45pm: Updated chip counts; Jedlicka leads
Level 16 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (1,000 ante)

We have some updated chip counts from the break to share. Start-of-day leader Stefan Jedlicka leads all at the moment with 650,000, with Ismael Bojang, Dominik Panka, and Rasmus Agerskov among the top 10, shown below:











Name Country Status Chips
Stefan Jedlicka Austria PokerStars player 650000
Antonio Barbato Italy PokerStars qualifier 540000
Gianluca Escobar Italy   480000
Ismael Bojang Austria PokerStars player 460000
Dominik Martan Czech Republic PokerStars qualifier 430000
Dominik Panka Poland PokerStars player 422000
Rasmus Agerskov Denmark PokerStars qualifier 416000
Francesco Leotta Italy   415000
Johan Guilbert France   400000
Clement Coulanjon France Live satellite winner 391000

Cate Hall sits just outside this group with 370,000. Other notables still in include Benjamin Pollak (251,000), Pierre Neuville (166,000), Koray Aldemir (145,000), Erwann Pecheux (99,000), Yury Gulyy (88,000), and Martin Staszko (85,000). –MH

17 3000 6000 1000

4:34pm: Break time

With 86 players left they’re off once more on another 15-minute break. –MH

4:27pm: Two double-ups for ya
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

Right before the break, Carlos Olmos doubled up through Cornelis Van Gent with the AK against the QQ. The board ran out K2AJA and the full house meant Olmos now has 270,000, while Van Gent drops to 130,000.

Meanwhile on the next table along, Kilian Kramer moved all-in with the 66 and was called by Fernando Cimaglia with the KQ. The 226 flop just about gave Kramer the nuts, and he’d hold onto the lead to double to 70,000, while Cimaglia was left with 61,000. –JS

4:18pm: Schemion’s gone
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

Ole Schemion was standing up and pulling his bag over his shoulders. When I got to the table I saw he was all-in and at risk with the AJ against James Grogan’s K9 on a KK7A board. Only an ace could save him, but the river came the 9 giving Grogan a boat and sending Schemion to the cage. –JS

EPT13Malta_Ole Schemion_IPT_Maint_Event_Manuel_Kovsca 29.jpg

Another cash for Schemion

4:11pm: Merci mon ami
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

I heard an “All in and call!” as soon as I entered the room. That’s what the dealers call out to floor staff when we’re playing hand-for-hand. Thing is, the bubble burst ages ago. This was no dealer.

Instead, it was Algeria’s Abdelkader Benhalima, who had moved all-in for his last 73,000 and was trying to encourage the next player to act — Carlos Olmos — to call him. Benhalima seems to be providing the entertainment on his table, and everyone got a kick out of his yelling.

Olmos obliged and did indeed match the bet, and when everyone else folded we saw it was Benhalima’s QQ against Olmos’ 1010. The Q8A flop was a great one for Benhalima, and the set stayed in front after the 2 turn and 3 river.

“Merci, mon ami,” said Benhalima who has 158,000 now, while Olmos drops to 89,000. –JS

4:04pm: Agerskov flush with chips
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

From early position Aivaras Kerusauskas opened to 10,500, Rasmus Agerskov smooth-called from the small blind, and Adriano Santulli put in the extra from the big blind.

On the A35 flop, Kerusauskas c-bet 16,500, Agerskov flat-called and Santulli then moved all-in for 36,000. That escalation got rid of Kerusauskas, but Agerskov snapped with 97 and Santulli was in horrible shape as he had A6. The 6 turn kept him alive, but the 8 river didn’t complete the miracle runner-runner that he needed and Santulli is out.

Agerskov is up to 460,000. –NW

3:59pm: A doozy from Sintuzzi
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

It’s always very kind when players who have just been knocked out recap their bustout hand for you. I arrived to this one right as the turn came down, so thanks go to Andrea Sintuzzi for filling me in — and this hand was fantastic.

Gaetano Brignone kicked the hand off by opening, which got two callers in Sintuzzi and Francesco Leotta. The flop came down 7JQ, and let me you, it was an action flop. Leotta checked, Brignone put out a continuation bet, Sintuzzi jammed, and Leotta shoved over the top. Brignone made the call and the cards were flipped.

Brignone: AA
Sintuzzi: 109
Leotta: 77

Brignone’s aces had been overtaken by Leotta’s set of sevens, while Sintuzzi had the straight flush draw. The turn was going to be crucial, and it changed everything. It came the 6, giving Sintuzzi the flush. Now Brignone had the nut flush draw with the A so needed a heart (but not the straight-flush giving king or eight), while Leotta would need the board the pair to make a full house.

Neither of those things happened. Instead, the river card was the 7, giving Leotta quads for the near-treble up. “WOW!” he said as the case seven hit home. He even had to get out his chair and take a moment away from the table.

Sintuzzi was eliminated and headed to get his money, while Brignone let out a sigh. He was down to 265,000 after that hand, while Leotta now sits with 395,000. –JS

3:52pm: It made the blog, Joe
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

“I hope you’re going to report that,” said a smiling Joe Grech to me. You wouldn’t know it but “The Maltese Joker” had just been eliminated by Robert Cowen. “Make sure you say that I didn’t flop him dead,” said Cowen. Let’s rewind.

Christophe Vincent was the original catalyst to this hand, as he opened to 10,500, Grech then shoved for 59,000 and Cowen came over the top and raised all-in. Vincent passed what he said was pocket sixes, and it was time for showdown.

Cowen: A10
Grech: KJ

Grech was happy to see he had live cards but not overjoyed by the 101010 flop. Cowen was correct to point out that Grech could go runner-runner for a straight flush or royal flush. The 7 turn left him drawing dead though, and he headed to the payout line. Cowen is up to 260,000. –NW

3:35pm: A hot one
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)


That was the comment made by a player following a preflop all-in between Robert Cowen and Christophe Vincent. Kind of an understatement, really.

That’s because Cowen was all-in and at risk with 1010 versus Vincent’s 109, and the JJ5 flop and 6 turn had given Vincent a flush. But the river was the J to make a full house for Cowen, enabling him to survive the hand.

Cowen is up to 195,000 and wiping his brow, while Vincent slips to 125,000. –MH 

3:31pm: New level; 106 remain
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

They move on into Level 16 without a break, with just 106 players remaining. That means 44 went out during Level 15. –M

16 2,500 5,000 500

3:27pm: Topolinski toppled
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

Oliver Hede opened to 8,500 and right next to him Dawid Topolinski jammed all-in for just over 65,000. Armin Mette was in the small blind and he reraised all-in, which prompted Hede to fold.

Topolinski showed 22 and the smallest of pairs was in front of Mette AQ. Not for long, though, as the 8AK106 board hit Mette’s hand and sent Topolinksi to the rail. –NW

3:22pm: Blank board bounces Blanco
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

It’s been an incredible level with almost 40 players eliminated in 55 minutes of play. Now Jokin Blanco is one of the scores of players who’ve been eliminated.

In Blanco’s exit hand, Daragh Davey opened to 8,500, Blanco shoved for what looked to be around 90,000, and when it folded back to Davey, he called.

Davey: QQ
Blanco: 1010

The KJA5K board kept Davey in front and the double UKIPT leaderboard winner is up to 305,500. –NW

3:20pm: Hall and Schemion: A tale of two tables
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

Sometimes when you arrive at a table at the end of an all-in multi-way pot and the action is still going, it can take a little to figure out what exactly is going on. Once I’d put it all together, I could see that Andre Joutotte was all-in against Cate Hall and Massimiliano Rosi, and that main pot was worth roughly 80,000. There was a side pot between Hall and Rosi worth 32,000. The board showed the 9A589, and Hall had bet 23,000 on the river.

The action was on Rosi, and he was in the tank. 

EPT13Malta_Massimiliano Rosi_IPT_Maint_Event_Manuel_Kovsca 25.jpg

Rosi on the brink, has to think

He eventually folded, and Hall showed AQ, which was outkicking Joulotte’s A7. He was eliminated, Hall increased to 310,000, and Rosi dipped to 155,000.

EPT13Malta_cate_hall_IPT_Main_Event_Manuel_Kovsca 30.jpg

More chips for Hall

“Would you have called if I’d shoved?” Rosi asked Hall. “Probably, yeah,” replied Hall, honestly. “You have about 100 right?” He actually had 155,000 – even more reason to give her hand up.

On the adjacent table, Ole Schemion was in a hand with Salvatore Agliozzo that had also reached the river. The board showed Q7222 and there was 45,000 in the middle. Schemion made a pot sized bet of 45,000 and Agliozzo was in the tank. He’d give it up though, and Schemion increased to 155,000. –JS

3:16pm: The shrinking field
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

They’re down to 114 players, meaning nearly 40 have cashed already since the bubble burst at the end of the previous level. Among the eliminated (whom we haven’t mentioned) were Zoltan Szabo (146th), Tomasz Doktor (141st), Ondrej Vinklarek (137th), Alfonso Amendola (129th), and Allan Sannier (122nd). 

They’re still in the min-cashing zone, although the pay jumps will begin after the next couple of knockouts. Check the prize pool and payouts page to see who is finishing where. –MH

3:12pm: Gulyy doubles
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

Yury Gulyy is a regular fixture on the EPT and, having made the money, the Russian was looking to get his stack out of the danger zone. When action folded to him in the small blind he sensed an opportunity and shoved all-in for around 10 big blinds with [Jx][7x]. Luke Marsh was in the big blind and he called it off with pocket threes.

It was looking good for Marsh until a jack appeared on the river, sending the pot Gulyy’s way and dropping Marsh into the danger zone. –NW

2:59pm: The fun stops for Fundaro
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

Giacomo Fundaro moved all-in for 26,000 and action folded all the way to Gaetano Cammilleri, who was in the big blind. He made the call with 44 and was way behind Fundaro’s QQ.

The 4A10 flop sent Cammilleri into the lead, but Fundaro still had a redraw to the flush and two queens. The 9 turn and K river didn’t help Fundaro though and he’s yet another player to be eliminated (in 136th) in the usual post-bubble carnage. –NW

EPT13Malta_Giacomo Fundaro_IPT_Maint_Event_Manuel_Kovsca 3.jpg

Fundaro felted

2:53pm: Double for Davey
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

Daragh Davey is the latest player to secure a double-up with pocket jacks. He moved all-in from the small blind over the top of Kamil Szoen’s open with the JJ, and was up against ace-jack off. The board ran out 42QQ10 and Davey increased to 94,000, while Szoen drops to 54,000. –JS

2:47pm: Gulyy doubles as Neuville feels generous
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

Yury Gulyy open-jammed for his last 21,500 and the action folded to Pierre Neuville in the big blind. I’d say he’d already been thinking for a while when I showed up on the scene, as Gulyy was beginning to look a little frustrated, but eventually Neuville counted out calling chips and carefully placed them over the line.

Gulyy turned over his hand immediately — JJ — and Neuville leaned over to get a look at them. He turned over 74, and everyone at the table seemed a little confused by his call. Nevertheless, the board ran out 6A998 and the jacks held up. Neuville has 65,000 now. –JS

2:39pm: Uhkanov versus Kamatakis
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

Play along.

You arrive at a table with the river having been dealt. The board shows 7A396, a player has open-bet all-in fromeearly position for his last 50,500 (about the size of the pot), and the player on the button is in the tank.

What’s that look like?  

As you piece it together, you’re probably noting how river card potentially completes either a flush or a straight. Looks a little like an “all or nothing” kind of bet, yes?

Perhaps that’s what Vadim Uhkanov was thinking, too. He was on the button, and his opponent Iliodoros Kamatakis had made just such a bet. Finally, after a couple of minutes, Uhkanov banked on “nothing” and called, and Kamatakis smiled as he showed his hand — KJ for king-high.

“Ace-ten?” asked Kamatakis, in response to which Uhkanov turned over A9.

“Ace-ni-i-i-ine,” said Kamatakis, still smiling and shaking his as he wished the table well before leaving to visit the cashier to collect 145th-place prize money. The bet had nearly done what it had meant to do — even versus Uhkanov’s two pair — but his opponent had ultimately been able to come up with the call.

Uhkanov has 310,000 now. –MH

15 2000 4000 500

2:11pm: Break time

With the bubble safely burst, the 150 remaining players are now taking a 15-minute break. –MH

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2:10pm: Bubble bursts just before the break
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (500 ante)

On the final hand before the break there were three all-in-and-calls and the bubble was burst.

First up was Raffaele Carnevale. The Italian shoved from the small blind for 42,100 with A8 and Michael Kane called from the big blind with AQ.


Raffaele Carnevale is in green, on the left (before he left)

The Q3KK2 board eliminated Carnevale, and he moved over to the rail, hoping at least one of the other two players would bust, as if they did they’d chop the payout(s).

Over on the other side of the room, Nihat Karyagdi had opened to 6,500 from under the gun plus one and he then faced a 30,400 shove from Frenchman Frederic Delval. Karyagdi had a “I think I have to call!” look on his face, and after a minute or so he made the call.

“And now we wait!” said Delval. While this hand was paused, the bubble was officially burst, but we still needed to know the outcome. The hand was restarted and the cards flipped: KK for Delval, and AJ for Karyagdi. The J82 flop paired the Romanian, but the K turn gave Delval a set for the win. The 9 river changed nothing, and Delval doubled.

Last, but not least, Tonny Van Eck was all-in for his final 96,600 with QQ and he’d walked into the pocket aces of Gursan Okan.

EPT13Malta_IPT_Maint_Event_Manuel_Kovsca 2.jpg

Tonny Van Eck is in gray, on the left (before he left)

The latter had him covered by just 700 and held on the 91028A runout. That means Van Eck and Carnevale will at least get €750 back each. –NW

2:04pm: Caution on the bubble from Marsh
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (500 ante)

It folded around to Harry Lodge on the button who leaned forward to check the stacks of the two players in the blinds — Yury Gulyy (small) and Luke Marsh (big) — both of whom were on the short side. Lodge then raised to 6,500. Gully folded, but after checking his cards Luke Marsh tossed out chips to call. 

The flop came A56. Marsh checked, Lodge continued for 5,500, and Marsh called. Both checked the 5 turn, and without too much hesitation they both again checked the 7 river.

Marsh tabled his hand first — KK — and Lodge mucked. They then shared a look and a laugh at Marsh having woken up with such a hand, though he’d been tempered postflop by his short stack and the ace on board.

Marsh sits with about 85,000 while Lodge is up around 230,000. Meanwhile, it sounds like there are multiple all-ins on this hand — the last one before the break — so the bubble’s bursting may be imminent. –MH

1:50pm: Schemion brings the bubble closer
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (500 ante)

With 154 players left, Tobias Hausen found himself all-in and at risk for his last 60,000 or so with 88 versus the KK of Ole Schemion. The board came an uneventful 72AJ6, and Hausen was eliminated a couple of spots shy of the cash as Schemion bumped back up around 150,000.

Another elimination swiftly followed on the other side of the room, after which the tournament was paused as they’re down to 152 — just one knockout from payday. Hand-for-hand plays is coming… stay tuned! –MH

1:39pm: Amendola survives
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (500 ante)

Down to just 25,500, Alfonso Amendola moved all-in with A8 and Fernando Cimaglia had him bang in trouble with KK. Amendola was walking away from the table but had to come back as the river of a 52Q2A board saved him at the very last.

However, Kimmo Eskelinen is out. 155 players remain. –NW

1:23pm: A Vulpix match
Level 14 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (400 ante)

Humberto Brenes has the shark; Greg Raymer has the fossil; well, welcome to the new generation of poker players: Harry Lodge’s card protector is a toy of Vulpix.

EPT13Malta_Chips_IPT_Maint_Event_Manuel_Kovsca 37.jpg

Meet Vulpix

In case you don’t know (and I’m not necessarily embarrassed to admit that I had to Google “fox Pokemon” in order to find out its name, and then go double check with Lodge), Vulpix is indeed a fox Pokemon, with a fiery head of hair and tail. Therefore, it’s a redhead, just like Lodge.

“What is that?” asked a player at Lodge’s table.

“Vulpix!” the Brit replied, giving the table a reason to giggle.

“I expected it to be a stranger one…” said Mehmet Kacar.

“Well, it matches my hair!” said Lodge, who is currently playing a stack of 245,000. –JS

1:17pm: 162 left
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (500 ante)

Paolo Pellegrini, Kresten Hougaard, Danilo Casalvieri, and Umut Picacki are among the players most recently going out here shy of the cash as the tournament continues to race toward that money bubble. 

Just 162 left now. –MH

1:11pm: Neuville making moves
Level 14 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (400 ante)

Pierre Neuville just took down a pot with a cheeky check-raise. Having defended his big blind to an open from Fausto Di Mezza, the flop came down 9AQ. The Belgian checked and Di Mezza continued for 7,000, only for Neuville to raise it up to 16,000. The aggressive play worked out, and Neuville claimed the pot.

Neuville has increased his stack from around 100,000 to 150,000 so far today. –JS

1:05pm: New level, 20 off the money
Level 14 – Blinds 1,500/3,000 (500 ante)

They’ve played one hour’s worth of poker on Day 2, during which exactly 40 players fell to the felt, chipwise. That means 171 are left — just 20 eliminations from the cash. –MH

14 1500 3000 500

1pm: The first card’s an ace, but what’s the second?
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (400 ante)

We all love to squeeze our cards from time to time, but squeezing your second card after you’ve already had your all-in shove called is perhaps the squeeziest squeeze of them all.

Gaetano Preite just demonstrated this, having shoved under the gun for his last 28,100 and been called by Chi Zhang. When everyone else had folded Zhang showed the KK, and Preite lifted his cards up, one tucked behind the other. We all saw the first one was the A — and presumably that’s the only one Preite had seen to prompt the jam. He slowly peeled the top ace to the side, praying the other one would be a rocket, too.

It wasn’t. It was the 6.

The board ran out Q5827 and the kings held up. Preite is out, and Zhang has 238,000 now. –JS

EPT13Malta_Gaetano Preite_IPT_Maint_Event_Manuel_Kovsca 4.jpg

Preite pushes, gets pushed out

12:57pm: Whole lot of hearts
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (300 ante)

What a fun hand! Lucas Blanco opened to 5,200 from middle position and called after Aivaras Kerusauskas three-bet to 13,200 from the lojack. On the 6104 flop, Blanco checked, Kerusauskas fired out a bet of 10,500, Blanco check-raised all-in for 44,300 total, and Kerusauskas made a swift call.

Kerusauskas: KK
Blanco: 87

The 5 river was a blank but the 9 sure wasn’t as it made a straight flush for Blanco! The Spaniard got his phone out and took a photo of the rare occurrence. He’s up to just over 100,000 while Kerusauskas drops to 30,000. –NW

12:54pm: Avdoulos the likely chip leader
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (300 ante)

Dimitrios Avdoulos started the day fourth in chips with over 265,000. Well, he’s had a great start to the day and is up to 420,000, which looks good for the chip lead. –NW

12:49pm: A Schlott in the dark
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (400 ante)

Whatever else happens to Felix Schlott in this Main Event, he can look back at this call with pride.

Picking up the action on the river of a 1034A9 board, Robert Cowen checked to Schlott who put out a bet of 12,000. Cowen then check-raised it to 43,600 and Schlott went deep into the tank, so much so the clock was eventually called. With around half a minute to go he made the call, and exhaled a sigh of relief as he saw his K10 for second pair was best against the 87 busted flush draw of Cowen.

After that hand Cowen drops to 140,000, while Schlott is up to 150,000. –JS

12:46pm: Parmar doubles through Grogan
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (300 ante)

They’re down to 180 now with about 15 minutes to go in the day’s first one-hour level. The recent knockouts Antonio Scuderi, Fabio Rubino, and Bertrand Crouzille were among the last eliminations. So, too, has Szymon Wysocki hit the rail. –MH

12:43pm: Parmar doubles through Grogan
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (300 ante)

There’s been a lot of short-stacked carnage in the early going, but a few players have been able to improve their situations, chip-wise, including Taran Parmar.

Down to just under 40,000, Parmar open-raised all-in from under the gun, and after it folded all of the way around to James Grogan he checked his cards, then quickly set out calling chips.

Parmar had pinned his fate to AK while Grogan had 1010. The flop came A46 to give Parmar a pair and a flush draw, then after the 4 turn and 7 river he’d doubled back up over 80,000. Grogan meanwhile slips to about 50,000. –MH

12:25pm: Oops works out for Trumper
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (300 ante)

“Oops,” said Simon Trumper when his turn shove of 19,700 was called by Cate Hall. There was a 66J8 board on the felt, Trumper had made his move with 97, and Hall had put him at risk with 108.

“Make her two pair please,” asked Trumper, but the dealer produced the 9 on the river.

There was a bit of confusion over who’d won the hand with the dealer pushing the pot to Hall, however it was Trumper’s pot and his all-in bet had been pulled into the pot. So the dealer reverse engineered the betting and all was well.

“Don’t worry about it. I was looking for the five or ten, even though I knew I’d hit the nine,” said Trumper to the dealer. He’s up to around 60,000 while Hall drops to 110,000. –NW

12:32pm: Early bustouts
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (300 ante)

They’re not even a half-hour into Day 2, and already two dozen players have hit the rail. Among the early busts who fall shy of the cash are Yang Zhang, Mecit Turan, Rotondo Claudio, David Dill, Ben Heath, and James Akenhead. –MH

EPT13MALT_James Akenhead_6365_JulesPochy.jpg

Akenhead out

12:22pm: Chip and a chair, but no player
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (300 ante)

With only 8,000 in chips to start the day, it was always going to be an arduous task for Lorenzo Amendola to get a workable stack. He made it damn near impossible though, as he wasn’t in his seat at the start of play. It’s all well and good having a chip and a chair, but when there’s no player, well that’s something else. It looked as if perhaps he’d opted to just let his stack blind off, but he did actually show up and just in time to see a huge pot take place.

There was already 60,000 in the pot by the time the dealer fanned a Q9J flop. Alexander Lakhov (under-the-gun) checked, Yang Zhang bet 30,000, Lakhov check-raised all-in (he was the covering stack), and Zhang tank called. Lakhov showed AJ and was ahead of Zhang’s A10. So middle pair against a big draw then, and the 6 turn and 2 river meant Lakhov held. He’s up to 290,000 as a result.

On the next hand, Amendola was basically forced all-in from the small blind and Lakhov, who was in the big blind, called without looking. He had Q5 and Amendola hadn’t picked a great time to be dealt 72. A 1010A43 board sent him for an early bath. –NW

12:14pm: Lucky treble up for Grimaldi
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (400 ante)

“Yes!! YES!!” shouted Pasquale Grimaldi from across the room. Such excitement couldn’t be ignored, and when I got to his table I saw why he was so happy — he’d just hit a runner-runner flush to survive.

Grimaldi was all-in with A7 against another player’s J10. A third player was all-in, too, but his hand was so inconsequential it had been mucked before I got there. The flop brought a ten and one heart, followed by the 10 on the river, giving Grimaldi a flush draw. He then hit a heart on the river and raked in almost 100,000. –JS

12:12pm: Bojang straight in the action
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (400 ante)

Ismael Bojang is surely one of the most talented all-round poker players left in the field, and he wasted no time making his presence felt here today.

Having defended his big blind to an open from short stacked Marco D’Amico, the two saw a 794 flop and Bojang checked. D’Amico continued for 5,200 and Bojang came along to see the 2 turn, which he’d check once more. D’Amico also checked, so we went to the river — the J. Bojang thought for about 30 seconds before putting D’Amico all-in, who had 25,300 behind or a little over ten big blinds.

He thought for a heck of a lot longer — around five minutes — and eventually Carlos Olmos called the clock. It ticked all the way down to six seconds before D’Amico folded, leaving Bojang to rake in some more chips. –JS

EPT13Malta_ismael_bojang_IPT_Maint_Event_Manuel_Kovsca 44.jpg

“Call me” ~Ismael (Marco D’Amico declined)

12:05pm: Day 2 begins
Level 13 – Blinds 1,200/2,400 (400 ante)

With 211 players returning, Day 2 is underway. Remember, the top 151 get paid, so that bubble should be approaching sooner than later. –MH

13 1200 2400 400

10:45am: Bubbles, payouts, and a whole lot of eliminations

Welcome to Day 2 of the IPT8 Malta Main Event. We have 211 players coming back today, all looking to push their edges and pick up a little luck as they attempt to build big stacks and make a run towards making the big bucks. The bubble will burst when we hit 151 players, so we’re guaranteed to reach the money today and see a ton of eliminations in the process.

The man leading the charge right now is Day 1A chip leader Stefan Jedlicka with 299,100, closely followed by Day 1B chip leader Johan Guilbert with 294,000. You can view all of the start of Day 2 chip counts here, or take a look at the seat draw here.

Play kicks off at 12pm, and the plan right now is to eight one-hour levels. Meet us back here at noon for what’s sure to be a great day of action. –JS

EPT13Malta_Location_Manuel Kovsca-28.jpg

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Key IPT 8 Malta information:

– 25,000 starting stack
– Blinds on Day 2 start at 1,200/2,400 (400 ante)
– The plan today is to play eight 60-minute levels
– Day 3 on Saturday is all about getting to the final table, which will take place on Sunday
– Full IPT8 Malta schedule here

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

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