EPT13 Malta: Macnamara bursts bubble, goes on to chip lead

October 26, 2016


Tomas Macnamara: Peeks down at the chip lead

EPT Malta played through another four levels today and it kept up its unremitting pace. Although they played extended hand-for-hand last night, and the stone bubble period went on for about an hour-and-a-half today, the rate of eliminations was such that 90 players became 30 in a full level fewer than had been planned.

The quantity may be low, but the quality remains high. Former champions Dominik Panka, Davidi Kitai and Frederik Jensen have chips, and a fellow named Ole Schemion eased through the gears today too. They will all return for a battle to the last two tables tomorrow.

None did quite well enough to head the field, however. That accolade falls to Tomas Macnamara, a British player whose only previous final table appearance came in a UKIPT High Roller event in Dublin this year. He also finished 13th in the Main Event in the Irish capital, and has rediscovered that form here in Malta.

Macnamara bagged 1.028 million chips tonight, and is the only player into seven figures at this stage. Dmitry Yurasov, a previous visitor to three EPT High Roller final tables, has 844,000. Sarah Herzali has 753,000. As for those champions: Jensen has 481,000, Kitai has 627,000 and Panka 368,000.

The full counts for the final 30 are on the chip-count page already.

So, to dwell briefly again on the bubble: the last player to head out the door without a cash was Benjamin Philipps, from the United Kingdom. Late last night, during the hand-for-hand period, Philipps might have had a more joyous role in bursting the bubble when he took his A♠J♥ against Alexadru Baron’s pocket queens.

But he could’t hit the ace and Baron doubled up, leaving Philipps deep in the mire when they returned today. He had only an ante behind after posting the big blind at one point, but managed to win that hand. However, the rest of the field had the wisdom to wait it out until Philipps was all-in for a second time, and this time it was that man Macnamara’s pocket sevens that beat Philipps’ Q♦2♣.

8G2A2392_Bubble_OneDrop_Neil Stoddart.jpg

The traditional bursting of the bubble ceremony

The prompted the usual flurry of bust outs, and Maria Ho, Dietrich Fast, Stephen Chidwick, Sylvain Loosli, Roberto Romanello and James Akenhead were among those swept away. We also lost the first ever EPT Malta champion, Jean Montury.

All of the players down on their luck, but with bank accounts boosted, can be found on the payouts page.

Enjoy your evenings, everybody, then join us tomorrow at noon when we’ll play down to 16 players. It could be another short day, but high on drama without a doubt. – HS

Day 3 coverage archive:

7:22pm: Macnamara up top

As play ends on Day 3 it looks like Thomas Macnamara has the chip lead. A full report of the day is coming up shortly.

7:21pm: Wow for Zhao
Level 18 – 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

On one of the last hands of the day Dong Zhao doubled through Ismael Bojang. The Chinese player raised from the button and Bojang called from the big blind. On the 7♣3♥Q♥ flop Zhao bet 22,000, Bojang check-raised to 65,000, Zhao re-raised to 165,000 and Bojang smooth called.

On the 6♥ turn Bojang checked and Zhao shoved all-in for 161,000. This sent Bojang deep into the tank, where he stayed for over two minutes. When he emerged it was to call and Zhao showed 7♥2♥ for the turned flush. Bojang had K♠Q♣ and was drawing dead. –NW

7:20pm: Gulyy gets Shak birthday present
Level 18 – 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

It was the last hand of the day on Dan Shak’s table, and down to just 120,000 he shoved all-in. Yury Gulyy re-raised all-in and everyone else folded. The Russian showed A♦K♦ and Shak opened 9♥3♥. “It’s my son’s birthday on Friday,” explained Shak. “I’m rooting for you.”

The K♣A♥6♣7♣K♠ board ruled decisively in Gulyy’s favour and Shak can’t get back home in time to light the candles. –NW

7:18pm: Good poker all round

“Everyone was at their best!” said EPT Media Coordinator Jan Kores after watching the hand where Miguel Suarez was eliminated in 32nd place.

The Spaniard raised to 60,000, leaving himself just 5,000 back before Armin Mette reraised all-in for 196,000 from the hijack. The action got back to Suarez who looked up at the clock and paused. You see, 31 is the next pay jump, so Suarez was stalling before calling in the hope that a player at another table would bust, earning him an extra €4,100.

Mette picked up on this and called a quick clock, and when floor man Olivier came over he put Suarez straight on a 30-second clock. Suarez waited 20 seconds and then flicked in the 5k chip.

Suarez: Q♥J♥
Mette: A♥Q♣

The board ran 5♣4♠10♦7♦10♣ to see Mette’s hand hold. –MC

7:16pm: Three more hands
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

Tournament officials have announced there will be three more hands played tonight before player bag up. — SB

7:15pm: Luo keeps his seat
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

After Elie Saad opened for the minimum from the hijack, Xixiang Luo reraised all-in with his last 100,000 from the cutoff and when it folded back around Saad called.

It was K♦Q♣ for Saad and A♠K♥ for Luo, and after a somewhat sweaty 10♣7♣7♠K♣2♠ runout, Luo is still alive with about 215,000. Saad now has 315,000. –MH

7:12pm: Valle takes from Shak
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

Dan Shak opened from under the gun and it folded around to Guillaume Valle who called from the button.

Shak would subsequently lead all three postflop streets, earning calls from Valle all the way. You want details? It was 28,000 on the 8♠A♥K♠, 40,000 on the 5♥ turn, then 100,000 on the 10♣ river.

Time for showdown. Shak tabled 7♣7♥, which we learned was behind the whole way as Valle had K♦10♦ for a flopped pair and a second one on the end.

Valle has 560,000 now, while Shak slips to 195,000. –MH

7:10pm: Current TV chip counts
Level 18 – 4,000/8,000 (500 ante)

Sarah Herzali, 776,000
Dmitry Yurasov, 754,000
Ole Schemion, 637,000
Guillaume Diaz, 580,000
Konrad Abela, 387,000
Dominik Panka, 371,000
Walter Treccarichi, 252,000
Peter Ockenden, 197,000

7:05pm: More for Schemion
Level 18 – 4,000/8,000 (500 ante)

Another pot to Ole Schemion after a hand against Dmitry Yurasov takes him up to 639,000, second in chips at the TV table. — SB

7:01pm: Two in a row for Pollak
Level 18 – 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

The big names are building big stacks with Benjamin Pollak the latest of the bunch to start plotting a course marked ‘final table’. He’s now got over 700,000 after winning back to back pots.

In the first he opened to 19,000 from under-the-gun and Louis Cartarius called from the button. The 5♠10♥Q♦ flop was checked through and the 10♦ hit the turn, Pollak bet 19,000 and Cartarius stuck around. The Q♥ river double paired the board, Pollak checked and Cartarius bet 53,000. The Frenchman mulled over his decision for a fair number of riffles and then committed calling chips. The jig was up for Cartarius and he mucked face-down meaning Pollak didn’t have to show his hand either.

So deck shuffled a new hand was dealt and this time it was Dan Shak who was the raiser, he made it 20,000 to go from the hijack and Pollak defended from the big blind. The K♣7♠5♠ flop was checked through and the 5♦ hit the turn. Pollak elected to lead, he bet 24,000 and Shak called. The K♥ completed the board and Pollak bet again, this time the price was 58,000, Shak called again, but mucked when Pollak opened Q♦Q♣. –NW

7:00pm: Suarez called out for tanking
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

They’re not seeing many hands over on the far table, mainly because Spain’s Miguel Suarez is tanking in every hand, according to Usman Suddique and other players at the table. With 32 left there’s a 3K pay jump after the next elimination, so Suarez is nursing his 68,000 in the hope there’s a bust out.

The one hand I did see of any note was opened to 18,000 on the button by Suddique, Armin Mette called from the small blind, then Davidi Kitai squeezed it up with a three-bet to 60,000. That took it down and brought Kitai’s stack to 670,000. –JS

6:59pm: Jensen waits until tomorrow to bet
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

The delayed, delayed c-bet worked out okay for Frederick Jensen as Elie Saad paid him off on the river.

The former EPT Madrid champion raised to 17,000 from early position and Saad called from one seat along. The board ran out J♦7♣10♥10♠5♦ with Jensen waiting until the river to commit any more chips. Saad called 25,000 and mucked upon seeing Jensen Q♠J♥. That put Jensen up to 285,000 and Saad dropped down to 302,000. –MC

6:57pm: Hurdles and ladders
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

With 32 players left the tournament has reached another “money jump” — that is to say, the 32nd-place finisher stands to earn €12,340, while those finishing 31st on up to 24th will all get €15,540.

To carry the metaphor further, it’s as though players in their tournament runs jump the same-sized hurdles most of the way, but occasionally the hurdle is higher. And for some of the short stacks, their progress necessarily slows down as they contemplate just how to get themselves up over the sucker.

Over at the far table, Tomas McNamara is the big stack with 965,000. Meanwhile Miguel Riera Suarez is the shortest with just about 100,000, clearly hoping to ladder up another run on the payout schedule.

Just now Suarez was under the gun, eyeing the big board across the room and the big blind creeping close to his left. He sat motionless for several minutes, then finally someone called the clock. Another minute of stasis followed, and his hand was declared dead.

There are about 35 minutes left in the level as the clock moves onward, even if not every player is moving so much. –MH

6:50pm: Big pot for Schemion
Level 18 – 4,000/8,000 (500 ante)

A big pot for Ole Schemion which is almost as good as a double up. After Konrad Abela opened and Dmitry Yurasov three bet, Schemion four bet to 108,000 which Yurasov called for a 9♥7♥3♥ flop.

When the action was checked to him Schemion bet 85,000, which was good enough to force a fold from Yurasov. – SB

6:40pm: Seven figures
Level 18 – 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

Dmitry Yurasov becomes the first player to break the million mark. He has the lead and 1,109,000.

6:37pm: Double knockout for Dohler
Level 18 – 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

Oh boy, this one is going to sting Viatcheslav Ortynskiy for quite some time we suspect as he just had kings cracked to lose a big pot deep in this Main Event. Bastian Dohler opened to 20,000, Zoltan Szabo then shoved for 76,000, a bet that Ortynskiy flat called. Back of Dohler he shoved all-in for around 250,000 and Ortynskiy snap called.

Ortynskiy: K♦K♠
Dohler: J♠J♣
Szabo: A♦10♣

The 8♣J♦10♥A♥4♥ board meant that the best hand pre-flop finished last! Dohler just had Ortynskiy covered and is up to around 585,000 after that hand. That double knockout reduced the field to 32 and there was a short break while one table was broken. We’re now down to the final four tables. –NW

6:35pm: Easy come easy go for Karlsson
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

After winning that big pot against Frederik Jensen, Mats Karlsson has just given a chunk away to Daniele Colautti, who had also just doubled through Jensen.

Karlsson made it 18,000 under the gun and it folded to Colautti in the cutoff. He made the call, and Xixiang Luo defended his big blind to see a K♠10♥7♥ flop. It checked to the raiser and Karlsson continued for 22,000, and only Colautti came along to see the 8♥ turn. Now Karlsson shut down and checked, letting Colautti in for a 40,000 bet. Karlsson called.

The 4♣ river was a bit of a brick, but that didn’t stop Colautti from shoving for 151,000 when it checked to him. Karlsson thought for a while but in the end he let it go and dropped to 618,000, while Colautti is up to 310,000. –JS

6:32pm: Popovic out
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

Marco Popovic is out on the TV table, shoving with pocket fives for 90,000 and getting a call from Guillaume Diaz with pocket jacks. There were rumours of a flush draw on the turn but they were nothing more than gossip. — SB

6:30pm: Schemion through the 500,000 mark
Level 18 – 3,000/6,000 (1,000 ante)

Be worried, Malta. Ole Schemion has a stack.

The former German wunderkind, who has probably now graduated to wunder-adult, just knocked out his countryman Thomas Lentrodt in 36th place.

Schemion opened the hijack, making it 17,000 to play, and Lendrodt called on the button, followed by Dan Shak also calling, from the small blind. (Shak lent back to his ubiquitous laptop and turned a cell on a spreadsheet from yellow to blue. Beware Wall Street.)

The flop appeared, and there was lots of paint. It was A♣Q♠J♣. Shak checked but Schemion bet 39,000. Lendrodt shipped for 112,000 and Schemion called fairly quickly.

Schemion had flopped two pair with his Q♥J♠. Lendrodt had A♠5♠, so wasn’t quite dead.

The 9♣ on the turn kept Schemion ahead and then the J♥ on the river made him a boat.

He has 550,000 chips now, which is 69 big blinds. He’s on the prowl. — HS

6:26pm: Colautti doubles
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

Right after losing that hand to Mats Karlsson (just below), Frederik Jensen suffered another hit after Daniele Colautti doubled through him.

Colautti committed his last 108,000 behind A♣J♥ and was able to outlast the calling Jensen’s A♠8♠ following a 9♠4♥3♠2♦9♦ runout.

Jensen slips further to 350,000 while Colautti is now up to 210,000. –MH

6:25pm: Sergeev adds to masseuse funds
Level 18 – 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

It looks like Sergey Sergeev’s masseuse might be getting paid after the short-stacked Russian eliminated an ever-shorter stacked player.

Stefano Terziani moved all-in for 86,000 from UTG+1 and was followed into the middle by Sergeev and his 158,000.

Terziani: A♠9♣
Sergeev: 7♦7♥

The board ran J♥J♠7♣J♣5♠ to make Sergeev a full house. –MC

6:22pm: Karlsson collects from Jensen
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

Mats Karlsson opened for 18,000 from middle position and it folded around to Frederik Jensen who made it 66,000 to go from the big blind.

The flop came 10♥10♦6♥, and Jensen chose to lead for 40,000. Karlsson called. Jensen bet another 127,000 after the 2♥ turn card fell, and Karlsson thought a while before calling again, leaving himself 221,000 behind.

With the 2♠ river Jensen slowed down with a check, and after sitting quietly for about a minute Karlsson pushed all-in. Jensen exhaled in response.

“Don’t tell me you had that two,” he said, but Karlsson didn’t answer. After a while in the tank Jensen folded, and now Karlsson is up to 660,000 while Jensen slips to 470,000. –MH

6:20pm: TV counts
Level 18 – 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

Dmitry Yurasov, 904,000 (current tournament chip leader)
Sarah Herzali, 631,000
Guillaume Diaz, 476,000
Konrad Abela, 442,000
Dominik Panka, 330,000
Peter Ockenden, 234,000
Marko Popovic, 96,000

6:17pm: Shak attack
Level 18 – 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

A big pot for Dan Shak to tell you about now. The action was started by Thomas Lentrodt, he raised to 18,000 from the cutoff and picked up calls from Shak (button) and Usman Siddique (big blind). The 10♦A♣Q♦ is certainly one of those that falls into the ‘actiony’ category and so it proved. It checked to Shak, he bet 25,000 and both opponents called.

The Q♠ turn paired the board and again action checked to Shak. The American bet 85,000 and only Lentrodt called. The TV cameras had arrived at this point and the 6♦ completed the board, and the diamond flush draw. Again Lentrodt checked and once more Shak would bet. He moved all-in for 202,000, although it was an effective 130,000 as he had Lentrodt covered. The German player tanked for an age before folding. Shak puffed out his cheeks as he took the pot, relieved it was over! –NW

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6:15pm: Just enough outs, thanks very much
Level 18 – 3,000/6,000 (1,000 ante)

Here’s another poker adage that’s actually a load of bol- untrue: “You had too many outs.”

Frederik Jensen just muttered that he thought tournament short stack Daniele Colautti had too many outs when his A♣8♥ was up against Viatcheslav Ortynskiy’s 5♠5♥ and the flop came 10♠J♥9♣.

They got it in pre-flop–Colautti only had 61,000–but he now had an open-ended straight draw and two over-cards to give him hope. He was now a favourite for the hand.

The J♠ on the turn was not one of his 14 outs, but it meant that he went to the river with 20 outs–any ace, queen, ten, nine or eight would do the trick (even if he was now only 45 percent to win the hand).

The 8♣ was one of them, and we can now finally put the “too many outs” adage to bed. Colautti found the double up. — HS

6:12pm: Schemion the up and up
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

Make that two hands in a row for Ole Schemion (well, almost in a row). First he opened to 17,000 and was called by Dan Shak. The two saw a 4♥J♥5♥ flop and Schemion continued for 17,000 again when it checked to him, which Shak called. The turn came the 9♣ and Shak check-folded to the German’s 42,000 second barrel.

ole_schemion_malta_main_26oct16.jpgOle Schemion

Then one hand later Schemion called Dong Zhao’s 17,000 open. They went to a K♣Q♣4♥ flop and Zhao made a 23,000 c-bet which Schemion called to see the A♦ turn. Now Zhao slowed down and Schemion took the betting lead for 39,000. After Zhao called the board was completed by the 5♦ and both players checked. Zhao showed the A♠8♣ but that was no good as Schemion had the A♣J♠. He’s up to 385,000 after those hands. –JS

6:10pm: Kitai flying high
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

Davidi Kitai has passed the 600,000-mark after getting there on the river in a hand versus Sergey Sergeev. The Russian dropped down to 150,000 and it’ll be devastating for him if he busts soon as he’s got to make the top 23 just to be able to pay for the continuous massage he’s been receiving for the last five days straight.

Kitai opened to 20,000 from the hijack and Sergeev peeled from the big blind. Both players checked the flop before Sergeev check-called 18,000 and 31,000 on the turn ad river. The final board read 10♣10♦8♠10♣7♦ and Kitai opened 9♦7♣. Sergeev shook his head and mucked. –MC

6:05pm: Yurasov sends Katchalov to the rail
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

That’s the end of Eugene Katchalov’s Main Event. He shoved with Q♣J♦ and got a call from Dmitry Yurasov with A♣9♠. The board came 3♣10♥5♦6♣7♠ to send Katchalov to the rail. Yurasov up to 800,000. — SB

5:55pm: Jensen takes from Luo
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

Frederik Jensen raised from the button, Xixiang Luo defended his big blind with a call, then the flop came 3♠10♦4♦. Luo led for 25,000 and Jensen called, then after the 4♠ turn Luo led again for 55,000 and Jensen called once more.

xixiang_luo_malta_main.jpgXixiang Luo

The river was the K♣. Luo bet again — it looked like 93,000 — and Jensen called in a flash. Luo opened A♥10♠ and appeared dismayed to see Jensen turn over K♥10♥ for a rivered pair of kings.

Jensen is up around 710,000 now while Luo is down to 160,000. –MH

6:55pm: Another faller
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

Mikita Badziakouski is out. He moved in for his last 74,000 with Q♥J♣ and got called by Peter Ockenden with A♦K♣. The board ran out 5♠10♣4♠4♣8♣ to send Badziakouskis out in 40th place. — SB

mikita_badziakouskis_malta_main.jpgMikita Badziakouskis from earlier today

5:45pm: Play resumes

We’re into the last level of the day. 40 players remain.

5:28pm: Break time

Players are on their final break of the day. When they return they will play one more level before bagging up for the night.

5:26pm: Macnamara faring well, Schemion keepin’ on
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (1,000 ante)

A quick trip to the far table finds Tomas Macnamara raising from late position, watching Miguel Riera Suarez reraise a small stack all-in from the blinds, then letting his hand go. Suarez survives with about 135,000 while Macnamara continues to thrive with 675,000.

Walking back through the rest of the bunch, Ole Schemion was betting a river on a four-flush board and getting Dong Zhao to fold and preserve his 425,000. Schemion continues to maintain, sitting with just over 250,000 as the next break nears. –MH

5:25pm: German on German action
Level 17 – 3,000/6,000 (500 ante)

Thomas Lentrodt was the latest player all-in and he managed to survive and double up.

Louis Cartarius opened to 14,000 and then tank called after Lentrodt three-bet all-in for 146,000.

Lentrodt: Q♥Q♦
Cartarius: 10♠10♦

The board ran K♦6♦3♣J♦5♠ and Cartarius dropped to 395,000. –MC

5:22pm: Curtains for Staszko
Level 17 – 3,000/6,000 (500 ante)

Martin Staszko’s departure was just confirmed in two hands. In the first he moved all-in for 93,000. Xixiang Luo asked for a count and then called. Waiting in the big blind was Viatcheslav Ortynskiy, whose day was about to get much better. He too moved in for 89,000 and the cards were turned over.

Staszko: A♣10♣
Luo: A♠10♦
Ortynskiy: A♥K♥

The dealer did the honours, 6♦Q♥5♦9♠2♥.


Martin Staszko: The laughing stops

Ortynskiy didn’t say anything, or jump up and down, but he’d tripled up to more than 300,000. Staskzo meanwhile was left with 4,000, which he pushed in on the next hand with 5♣4♥ only for Mats Karlsson’s 7♥10♣ to prove good enough on a K♣7♦6♦Q♦2♠ board. – SB

5:20pm: Juni-Er
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (1,000 ante)

Remember Zorlu Er? He finished in fifth place in the Main Event back at EPT13 Barcelona (good for €431,550). Well, his son Zorlucan Er (surely Juni-Er? –Ed) has enjoyed a deep run here in Malta, but unfortunately his tournament has come to an end.

He was down to just 24,000 and jammed, which Tomas Macnamara called out of the big blind. Er had the A♠J♣ and was ahead of the A♣5♣, but the 6♣10♥10♣8♣K♥ board gifted Macnamara a flush and sent Er out. He nipped over to see his dad to tell him what happened – oh yeah, did I not mention? Zorlu Er is currently in the last three of the €10K PLO event, where he’s guaranteed €47,280 and aiming for the €107,670 first prize. –JS

5:17pm: The cards take over
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (1,000 ante)

Occasionally poker hands arise in which instead of the players playing the cards, the cards seem to be playing the players. For example…

Chi Zhang opened for 13,000 from the under the gun and it folded to Stefano Terzani on the button who called. So, too, did Konrad Abela (small blind) and Elie Saad (big blind), their cards having compelled them to do so.

The flop came a wetter-than-wet Q♠J♠10♠ and, well, everyone just had to check because look at that board. The cards were taking charge.

The board built further on its hand with the K♣ turn. Abela led for 20,000 and after Saad stepped away both Zhang and Terzani just had to call.

Fifth street was the 9♣. The board didn’t need the players at all, having made a straight all by itself. At this point it checked to Zhang who bet, Terzani had to fold, and Abela had to call. It was A♠Q♥ that made Abela play that way, and A♣7♠ for Zhang. Tallying the post-hand counts: Zhang 545,000, Saad 338,000, Abela 265,000, and Terzani 90,000.

The dealer gathered the cards back up and began shuffling them. Or was it the cards reordering themselves in the dealer’s hands? –MH

5:15pm: Double sweat for Altman
Level 17 – 3,000/6,000 (1,000 ante)

We don’t know if Brian Altman wanted a call or a fold, but when you’re all-in for your tournament life and two players put you through the wringer then you deserve the chips that come your way.

Elie Saad was the original raiser, he made it 12,000 from under-the-gun, Usman Siddique flat called and Altman then shoved all-in from the button. It folded around to Saad and he requested a count. So Altman’s chips were cut down and it was established htat he had exactly 145,000.

With this information digested Saad mulled it over for at least a couple of minutes, he had 380,000 back, and elected, eventually, to fold. There was no snap call or fold from Siddique as he too tanked over the decision. But, like Saad before him, the Englishman elected to fold. –NW

5:10pm: How to make €12k and save €2k at the same time
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (1,000 ante)

Taran Parmar was one of the only people in the room sad that the day’s schedule of play was cut from five to four levels.

“I’ve got a flight booked for tonight and it’ll cost me 2k to change it,” he said.

That issue is no longer a problem after he busted. He was down to 117,000 when he moved all-in from the button. Walter Treccarichi was in the small blind and moved all-in as well, for 160,000.

Parmar: K♦10♣
Treccarichi: A♦J♣

The board ran 3♠5♠5♣9♣2♠ and Treccarichi’s hand held. Parma earned himself €12,390 and said, “At least I saved myself 2k!” –MC

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5:05pm: Montury mortal after all, Boika up
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (1,000 ante)

Guillaume Valle kicked off the hand with a 15,000 open, which was called by Bastian Dohler. The action was then on Jean Montury in the cutoff and he jammed for his short stack of 64,000, only for Aliaksei Boika to isolate him with a four-bet to 115,000. Both Valle and Dohler folded and the cards were flipped.

Montury – A♦Q♠
Boika – Q♥Q♣

Montury would need an ace but got no help on the 8♥2♦J♥8♠7♥ runout. He hit the rail, while Boika stacked up 670,000. –JS

5pm: Challenges delivered, challenges declined
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (1,000 ante)

Standing in between two tables, big bets occurred on each, followed by reluctant folds.

On one it was Walter Treccarichi open-raising all-in following an opening raise by Thomas Lentrodt. The latter asked for a count, sat quietly for a half-minute, then passed, keeping his stack of 145,000. Treccarichi remains short as well with 160,000.

On the other the board showed 4♥9♦3♠ when Xixiang Luo fired 43,000 as about a half-pot bet, then Ismael Bojang responded with a silent raise to 120,000. Luo thought about a half-minute as well, and he, too, passed.

Contrasting with the first pair, those two are up at the top of the counts list, with Luo at 560,000 and Bojang at 525,000. –MH

4:55pm: Bartolini doubles
Level 17 – 3,000/6,000 (500 ante)

A double up for Marco Bartolini through Martin Staszko. He shoved with 10♣10♦ and found himself up against Staszko’s A♥Q♥. With the cameras in place the board was dealt 4♣6♣10♠5♥6♠. Bartolini was all in for 102,000 so now has more than double that with 45 players remaining. – SB

4:50pm: Suarez shoves his way to a raising stack
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (1,000 ante)

Miguel Suarez hit a hot run of cards, and he needed them as his stack was short. He played four hands on the trot and shoved the first three before he had enough just to raise standardly on the fourth hand.

His first all-in was from the cutoff and no one called.

He second all-in was from the hijack (for 90,000) and it came after a Tomas Macnamara raise to 12,000. Macnamara folded and was shown A♥J♠.

Macnamara tried again the very next hand but, once more, Suarez three-bet all-in. “It was only 80,000 to call last time, now it’s more!” commented Macnamara before folding. Suarez said he had queens.

The fourth hand saw Suarez open-raise to 12,000 and then open-fold 6♣6♠ after Sergey Sergeev three-bet to 39,000 from the big blind. Sergeez showed his Spanish opponent pocket kings. –MC

4:45pm: Luo stacks Visalli
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (1,000 ante)

Gianfranco Visalli and Xixiang Luo have been clashing in big pots all day–many of which you may have seen when they were on the feature table together. Well, here’s one rivalry that for now has been well and truly quashed, as Visalli is now out, and Luo played executioner.

We didn’t catch the action but by the end of a J♣Q♠7♣4♦A♠ board Visalli was all-in with the Q♣6♣ against Luo’s A♥Q♦. It’s probably safe to say the money went in on the flop. While Visalli made his exit, Luo put together a huge stack of around 840,000. –JS

4:40pm: Jensen finds the answer versus Visalli
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (1,000 ante)

The board showed 5♠2♣5♥, and upon arriving it appeared Gianfranco Visalli had check-raised Frederik Jensen to build a sizeable pot of around 200,000. The turn then brought the 8♣ and a big bet from Visalli, one large enough to require Jensen to commit the entire 158,000 he had behind if he wanted to continue.

The tank from Jensen that followed was epic, lasting 10 minutes at least. No shinola. It was long enough to invite seemingly infinite speculation about what had gone before. And, well, about other things, too… you know, the human condition and we’re all connected on this spinning globe but somehow all on our own as well because really if you think about it whatever each of us experiences individually in this life can only be communicated partially with another because of the limits of consciousness and knowledge and…



Frederik Jensen: Snap out of it

Whew. Okay. In at least 60 seconds something was going to happen.

For almost another minute, Jensen sat in the same quiet pose he’d held for the previous 10. So, too, did Visalli sit underneath his hood, covering his mouth and peeking warily at Jensen.

At last Jensen called, and after Visalli tabled his 7♣7♥, Jensen showed 8♠6♠ to reveal he had a better pair and had correctly thought through his own particular condundrum.

The river was the 3♣, and suddenly Visalli is down to about 75,000. Meanwhile EPT8 Madrid champion Jensen now has around 540,000 and one of the biggest stacks in the room.

Makes you wonder. –MH

4:38pm: Domination nation dispatches Hulyk
Level 17 – 3,000/6,000 (1,000 ante)

From under the gun, Xixiang Luo opened for a raise, Darya Hulyk then shoved for what looked like 80,000 and when it folded back round to Luo he called without asking for a count.

That’s never a particularly good sign when you’re holding A♣8♦ and indeed Luo had her dominated with A♦Q♣.


Cheerio Darya

Neither player improved on the 2♣K♠K♦6♥4♠ board and Luo is now up to 630,000. –NW

4:32pm: A level off
Level 17 – 3,000/6,000 (500 ante)

Owing to the small field and the fact it’s being razed like Amazonian rainforest*, tournament officials have announced to the room that we’re going to play only four levels today instead of the previously scheduled five.

*The size of Wales every week. — HS

4:30pm: Three to a flop
Level 17 – 3,000/6,000 (500 ante)

Three players to a flop of 7♥10♠Q♦ after Ismael Bojang opened to 14,000 from under the gun and the blinds — Aliaksei Boika in the small, and Guillaume Diaz in the big – called.
It was here things got cagey.

Boika bet a modest looking 6,000, which Diaz called, as did Bojang.

All of them checked the 6♣ turn, and it looked like going the same way on the K♣ river. Boika and Diaz checked to Bojang who must have thought it was worth a go. So he did, betting 42,000.

Boika paused for at least a minute. Then raised to 150,000 to which Diaz and Bojang wasted no time folding. – SB

4:28pm: King Colautti
Level 17 – 3,000/6,000 (500 ante)

A double up for Daniele Colautti whose kings glided past the J♣Q♠ of Elie Saad. The board came A♦5♣2♣4♦5♥ to keep Colautti in the tournament. – SB

4:27pm: Katchalov doubles through Panka
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (1,000 ante)

On the TV table, Eugene Katchalov just doubled through Dominik Panka. Panka had K♠J♦ and Katchalov had A♥J♠ and they turned a jack. But that didn’t help anyone. Katchalov had 100,000 behind and Panka about 320,000, so they have now found themselves with similar sized stacks. — HS


Eugene Katchalov

4:25pm: Queens cost Altman
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (1,000 ante)

Brian Altman shook his head after he lost a pot holding pocket queens. His stack dropped to 110,000 as a result.

Chi Zhang opened to 13,000 from the hijack and then called after Altman three-bet to 36,000 from the small blind. The flop fanned A♣7♦10♣ and both players checked. The turn was the 7♣ and Altman check-called a 42,000 bet from his British opponent.

The 5♦ completed the board and both players went back to checking. Altman opened Q♣Q♥ but lost out to Zhang who tabled A♠4♠. He moved up to 340,000. –MC

4:20pm: Schemion gets paid
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (1,000 ante)

Ole Schemion made it 14,000 to go from UTG+1, and his only caller was the player in the big blind, Alexander Debus. They went to a A♣3♠7♦ flop and Schemion continued for 14,000 again after it checked to him. Debus didn’t budge.

The turn came the A♦, pairing the board, and both guys checked as so often happens on fourth street. The 9♠ river hit and Debus checked a final time. Schemion began counting out some chips and in the end the amount was 46,000. It didn’t take Debus long to call, but he was even quicker to muck when he saw that Schemion had the A♠5♥. The German is up to 300,000 now, while Debus slips to 120,000. –JS

4:18pm: Green is the dream
Level 17 – 3,000/6,000 (1,000 ante)

We’ve said goodbye to the purple T500 chips but hello to the green T25,000 chips. They’re the ones you want. –NW

4:15pm: Seeing double
Level 17 – 3,000/6,000 (1,000 ante)

By our count there are four EPT champions left in the final 48 players. They’re suffering contrasting fortunes at the moment with Jean Montury the shortest of the lot with around 65,000. He’s going to have to go some if he’s to become the first man to win two EPT titles and the first player to do the double at the same venue.

At the other end of the scale is Davidi Kitai, the Belgian has a stack of just over 600,000 and is handily placed as is Dominik Panka, who has just over 400,000. Last, but not least, Frederik Jensen is playing a stack of 240,000. (We said goodbye to Roberto Romanello earlier today.) –NW

4:15pm: Mystery man
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (1,000 ante)

“Who’s the guy in seat four on table two?” I thought to myself. It’s Day 3 of this event and I swear I’d never seen this guy before. Did he late late reg or something?

Oh no. Wait. My bad. It’s Sergey Sergeev – I didn’t recognise him without his masseuse behind him. She arrived a little late after the break. –JS

4:10pm: Chips!
Level 17 – 3,000/6,000 (1,000 ante)

The full chip counts from the most recent break are over there on the chip-count page. It was Guillaume Diaz who led at the start of the day, but he’s passed on the baton to another Guillaume, Guillaume Valle, now.

4:05pm: Szoen szent out
Level 17 – 3,000/6,000 (1,000 ante)

The ghastly table featuring Eugene Katchalov, Dominik Panka et al has claimed its first victim after being moved to the television stage.

It was Dariusz Szoen, who got it all in with K♠Q♠ against Mikita Badziakouski’s 8♦8♣. The flop was all Badziakouski: 9♥7♣6♥. And although he didn’t improve on either the 3♥ turn or A♦ river, he didn’t need to. — HS

3:55pm: Back to it
Level 17 – 3,000/6,000 (1,000 ante)

Fifty-one players have returned to the tables to play Level 17. We’ll have their full chip counts very soon. — HS

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3:40pm: Break time

With 51 players left, players are off on another break. –MH

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3:40pm: Ace-Queen vs. Eights, Round 2
Level 16 – 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

Ole Schemion has had a short stack for a lot of the past couple of days and, like a newcomer to the game rather than a man who has won more than $11 million, he’s actually been playing it cautiously. Not for Schemion a devil-may-care shove-with-junk mentality.

The good news for Mr Schemion is that papa has just doubled up in this tournament, potentially bringing home a lot more bacon yet.

This was a near repeat of the hand in which Longobardi doubled up Alexandre Debus, immediately previously. Schemion opened to 11,000; Alessandro Longobardi raised and Schemion shoved for 119,000. Longobardi called.

This time is was Longobardi with the A♠Q♣ and Schemion 8♥8♦. And the eights won again. The board ran a blank 6♥5♥9♣K♦J♠.

Schemion has about 250,000 now which is a high point for him. — HS

3:40pm: Nikolov wins a big one
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

Martin Nikolov isn’t looking quite as snazzy today as he did yesterday in his crazy tracksuit, but chip-wise he’s looking very snazzy indeed after taking down a big four-way pot.

It started with a 12,000 open from Armin Mette and that got calls from Nikolov on the button, Sergey Sergeev in the small blind, and Tomas Macnamara in the big blind. They saw an A♥3♠9♦ flop and it checked to Nikolov, who fired 23,000. Sergeev called, then Macnamara squeezed it up to 75,000. Mette let his hand go, but both Nikolov and Sergeev called.

The turn was the 5♠ and there’d be no action on this street. After it checked around the 6♣ river landed and once again everybody checked. Sergeev tabled A♠Q♥ for top pair, and Mette said “Ace queen is good!” It wasn’t though — Nikolov had A♦3♦ for two pair.

Macnamara mucked and is down to 410,000, Sergeev has 330,000, and Nikolov is up to 540,000. –JS

3:35pm: Longobardi busts from the big blind
Level 16 – 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

Alessandro Longobardi found a nice spot to get all-in and had the chance of a triple-up, but it wasn’t meant to be and he hit the rail.

Alexander Debus raised to 11,000 from the button before Walter Treccarichi three-bet to 32,500 from the next seat. Longobardi only had 42,500 and in they went from the big blind. Debus called and got calcification that he couldn’t raise before calling too.

The K♦8♠6♦ came and went without any betting before Treccarichi check-folded to a 32,000 bet on the 3♣ turn. Longobardi opened A♥Q♦ and was already drawing dead to Debus’ 8♥8♦ for a set. The inconsequential K♣ river was dealt and Debus moved up to around 300,000 chips. –MC

3:35pm: Don’t Panek
Level 16 – 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

Another player makes his way to the rail. Tomasz Panek looked down at Q♠Q♥ which is not the worst hand to put your tournament life on the line for, and shoved for his last 60,000. Guillaume Valle meanwhile was in the small blind with K♥J♣ and called, his stack already close to 600,000. 

The board came K♠6♥5♠5♦A♣ to send Panek out, and take Valle’s stack up to around 650,000 — one of the biggest for certain at present. – SB

3:30pm: Another one gone
Level 16 – 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

It doesn’t seem to matter if the short stack gets it in with the best hand or the worst hand, the result is the same. Take this latest example, Walter Treccarichi opened to 11,000 from early position with K♠9♥, Stale Eggen three-bet all-in for 53,000 with A♥J♥ and, after getting a count, Treccarichi called.

The 6♠K♦4♥ flop sent Treccarichi from worst to first and the 2♥ turn and J♠ river didn’t change that. He’s up to 285,000 while Eggen is another casualty of this insane level. –NW

8G2A2120_Walter_Treccarichi_OneDrop_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Treccarichi treacherous to Eggen

3:25pm: Better than dominated
Level 16 – 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

Taran Parmar needed two goes at it, but he eventually got his double-up.

Ole Schemion raised to 10,000 from under the gun and Parmar shoved from the cutoff. Schemion asked for a count, but balked at the 60,500 he was asked to pay to call.

On the next hand, Parmar open-shoved from the hijack and Walter Treccarichi repushed from the button. The blinds folded and Treccarichi showed 6♣6♥.

Parmar tabled K♥J♣ and said, “Coin flip. It’s better than dominated I guess.” And it got even better for him when the J♥ was nestled on the flop.

The four other community cards — 3♣9♦A♠3♥ — didn’t trouble him and Parmar doubled to more than 160,000 now. — HS

3:20pm: Bojang moves in front
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

Aliaksei Boika opened to 11,000 and was called by Guillaume Diaz, IPT8 Malta Main Event champ Ismael Bojang, and big blind Freek Scholten. They all saw a 3♣6♣8♣ flop, and it checked around.

The turn came another club — the 9♣. Once again, it checked around.

Finally the 9♠ completed the board, and put a pair out there, too. Yep, you guessed it: it checked around once more.

Nobody had a club; Scholten showed the Q♠6♥ in hope his six might be good, but Bojang had actually rivered trip nines with the A♥9♥ and he took it down.

Bojang has 522,000 now. If he has a very deep run in this event, too, then his Malta trip will have to be considered one of the best EPT performances of recent times. –JS

8G2A2177_Ismael_Bojang_OneDrop_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Bojang bounds ahead

3:10pm: Aching Akenhead
Level 16 – 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

James Akenhead just spent several minutes thinking on the river after Mikita Badziakouski put him to the ultimate test. He folded and dropped to 97,000.

Badziakouski opened to 10,000 from middle position and was called in two spots, one of them being Akenhead in the big blind. The flop spread J♣5♣J♦ and Badziakouski continued for 10,000. Only Akenhead check-called to the 2♦ turn.

“How much do you have?” asked the Belarusian before betting 20,000. Akenhead called once more and checked over the 4♦ river. Badziakouski wasted little time in moving one stack of high society forward. Akenhead really looked like he wanted to call but couldn’t pull the trigger. Badziakouski moved up to 230,000. –MC

3:10pm: Carnage, utter carnage
Level 16 – 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

I can’t remember a level like this on a Day 3 of an EPT Main Event — 40 players have been eliminated in about 55 minutes! Two of the latest to exit were John Gulino and Konstantin Kazaev.

In his exit hand Gulino got his chips in with A♣Q♠ and was racing against Usman Siddique’s pocket eights. The UKIPT6 London champion’s hand held up on the 6♣K♦4♠5♦5♣ board.

Seconds later, at an adjoining table, Kazaev three-bet all-in for about 60,000 holding A♠7♦ and Alexander Debus made the call with J♦J♠ and the jacks held on a 6♣5♠2♠5♣4♦ board. –NW

3:10pm: Moby, Moby, Moby, Moby, Moby, Sylvain Loosli
Level 16 – 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

Sylvain Loosli showed up this week as though auditioning for a part in Adam Buxton’s brilliant Moby song. Give a bald man a pair of black-rimmed glasses, and that’s what happens.

Loosli now free to pester the British comedian for a role in the reboot as he has hit the rail in around 60th place. –HS

EPT13MALT_Sylvain Loosli_6564_JulesPochy.jpg

Loosli, Loosli, Loosli

3:05pm: D’Amico in need
Level 16 – 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

More eliminations, this time with Marco D’Amico of Italy heading for the door.

He was sent there by Usman Siddique, now up to 260,000, whose A♠Q♣ connected with the flop quite marvelously — Q♦5♣Q♥, with the 6♦ turn and K♣ river doing little to improve D’Amico’s 10♥10♣. — SB

3pm: Chidwick’s out, field gets softer
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

If you asked any of the remaining players who they thought were the best five players left in the field, Stephen Chidwick has a great chance of being on every list. Well, if that’s the case the field just got a whole lot softer as Chidwick has busted.

He opened to 10,000 on the button and Aliaksei Boika raised all-in from the small blind with the bigger stack. Back on Chidwick, he went into the tank for a good few minutes but eventually called off his 118,000 stack, tabling A♦10♥, which was up against Boika’s 5♥5♣.

The J♥Q♣9♠ didn’t give Chidwick the lead but it did give him more outs; any ace, ten, eight or king would win it for him. However, it wasn’t meant to be as the Q♥ and 3♠ rounded out the board. Boika is up to 420,000. –JS

8G2A2277_Stephen_Chidwick_OneDrop_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Chidwick out of chips

2:55pm: Cartarius knew it was coming
Level 16 – 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

For every elimination, there seems to be two double-ups, even though we’ve flown down to 64 players in the blink of an eye. Here’s the latest:

Nicolino Di Carlo pushed for 77,000 on the button and Louis Cartarius, in the small blind, repushed. It was only those two involved after the big blind folded and Di Carlo needed help.

Di Carlo: K♣J♦
Cartarius: A♠9♠

The flop offered nothing. It came Q♦7♥6♦. The 3♠ turn was a blank, too. But after the J♥ emerged on the river, Di Carlo offered a tiny nod of appreciation, as if he had known it was coming all along. — HS

2:55pm: DiFelice felted
Level 16 – 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

Andre DiFelice’s day is done. He was ousted just now from the feature table after getting his sub-20,000 stack all-in behind 5♥4♥, finding himself up against Darya Hulyk’s A♠K♦, and watching a board unhelpfully come 2♦8♥2♣8♣K♥.


Andre DiFelice

Hulyk is up around 180,000 at present. –MH

8G2A2136_Darya_Hulyk_OneDrop_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Hulyk setting sights high

2:55pm: Montury immortal in Malta
Level 16 – 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

Jean Montury’s first EPT Malta experience was as good as it gets. He triumphed the first time that Europe’s premiere poker experience landed on these shores–and got a celebratory tattoo on his forearm of a PokerStars spade inside a Maltese cross.

He is now in the money the third time the EPT has come to Malta, too, and has just doubled his short stack to keep his two-time hopes alive.

Montury shoved from under the gun with about 30,000 and got it through. And then, two hands later, he was in the small blind when Chi Zhang shoved his button. Montury reshoved, even though it was actually an under-raise, and the rest of the table left them to it.

Zhang: 4♣4♥
Montury: 10♦10♠

The overpair was looking splendid preflop, and it looked even better after the flop of Q♠10♥3♠. Zhang needed to hit runner-runner quads to knock Montury out and, safe to say, that did not happen. — HS

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2:50pm: Baron bereft of chips
Level 16 – 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

Table 2 is a fertile source of action this level. It’s the table at which the bubble burst, and Alexandru Baron became the fourth player to bust from that table during Level 16 as he’s followed Mario Ho and Ollie Price in exiting the tournament in the money.

Baron fell victim to Tomas Macnamara. The Brit raised to 10,000 on the button and called after Baron shoved for 42,000 from the small blind. Baron showed Q♣10♣ and was in the deep stuff as Macnamara held Q♠Q♦. A 3♣10♥4♠9♦Q♥ run out didn’t save the Canadian, and he wished the players at the table good luck.

With the amount of bustouts occurring around that particular oval, they’ll need it! 66 players remain, and there’s a pay jump at 63rd. –NW

2:45pm: Borkowski out
Level 16 – 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

And so departs Dawid Borkowski in something like 69th place. He moved all-in from the cut off with 10♥J♦. Alexander Debus of Germany was on the button and also moved all-in with 9♣9♥, covering Borkowski. The board was dealt with haste, coming A♣A♥6♥4♣3♥. Borkowski leaves the main event while Debus moves up to 200,000. – SB

2:45pm: Fist bump for a double-up
Level 16 – 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

It’s nice to see players being respectful of one another. Marko Popovic’s all-in was called by Taran Parmar and before a board was dealt, the two players fist-bumped each other.  

Popovic was down to 32,500 when he moved all-in from the small blind. Parmar was in the big blind and called after tanking for a few moments.

Popovic: A♥2♠
Parmar: K♦J♥

The board ran 5♣10♠A♦3♠5♥ to double the Bulgarian up. Parmar’s stack dropped to 73,000. -MC

2:40pm: His name… is Michael Kane… and he’s out
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

Actor-turned-poker player* Michael Kane from the UK is out. He called all-in for his last 40,000 from the big blind with A♦10♥ after Aliaksei Boika jammed from the button, and he was ahead against Q♣10♠. That is, until the Q♠3♦K♠ flop. He needed an ace or a jack, but the 6♥ turn and 8♥ river changed nothing. Boika is up to 310,000 now.

*Correction, Kane is actually a young poker pro, not the veteran actor. –JS

2:35pm: Packing them around Table 1
Level 16 – 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

The table breaking order is high to low today, which means the only way to leave Table 1 this afternoon is to be knocked out.

That also means that by far the toughest table in the room will remain intact. Tough? How about:

Mikita Badziakouski – 170,000
Sarah Herzali – 510,000
Dmitry Yurasov – 450,000
Eugene Katchalov – 200,000
James Akenhead – 130,000
Dominik Panka – 410,000


Dmitry Yurasov: One sixth of a very tough table

The last five are all in a row, from seats 4-8. — HS

2:35pm: Romanello and Fast out
Level 16 – 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

The chatty Roberto Romanello and Dietrich Fast have hit the rail. There are no details of Fast’s exit but Romanello informed the blog of how he busted.

He completed from the small blind with A♥3♥ and then moved all-in after his big-blinded opponent raised. Unfortunately for the Welshman, his opponent had raised with A♣K♠, made the call and survived a 8♦4♥2♦J♦4♦ board. –MC

8G2A2337_Roberto_Romanello_OneDrop_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Roberto Romanello rolls out

2:30pm: Quadruple up for Gulyy
Level 16 – 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

While plenty of short stacks have busted out — we’re down to just 75 players now — Yury Gulyy was one of the lucky ones to survive and he essentially just quadrupled up.

He shoved for 8,500, Sarah Herzali three-bet to 21,000, Dmitry Yurasov four-bet to 52,000, Herzali then five-bet to 146,000 and Yurasov folded.

Gulyy: 10♦9♥
Herzali: A♦K♥

The Russian had live cards and he hit one of them on the 8♠4♦9♦ flop. He held onto the lead on the 2♣ turn and 8♦ river and is now up to 36,000. –NW

2:25pm: Ho must go
Level 16 – 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

Joining the fast growing group of in-the-money finishers is Maria Ho. She’d started the day with just 40,500 and had dwindled down to just 18,500 by the time the bubble burst.

In her exit hand Yung Hwang opened to 12,000 from the cutoff with 8♥8♠, Ho shoved for 18,000 with 10♥9♥ and Hwang called the extra. The A♦5♠4♠J♠5♥ board kept the pair in front and Ho headed to the payout desk to collect €8,070. –NW

8G2A2230_Maria_Ho_OneDrop_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Maria makes the money

2:20pm: Akery out
Level 16 – 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

Joining the flurry of eliminations is Peter Akery. He shoved with 10♣10♦ and Ole Schemion called with A♣9♣. The board was dealt J♦8♥A♠5♠K♠ to eliminate Akery, who joins a long queue of the recently departed. – SB

2:20pm: Like leaves from autumn trees
Level 16 – 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

And away they go. Time for players to start falling like needles from a Christmas tree in January.

Paul Gresel shoved for 11,500 from the button and Dominik Panka, in the small blind, re-shoved to isolate. Panka had about 30 times that amount.

Gresel had Q♠9♦ and Panka had K♣4♥. The board ran J♠J♥A♦2♠8♥ and Gresel was ground to dust. — HS

2:20pm: Pustula first out in the money
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

We’re expecting a lot of players to follow Ben Philipps out of the door now that the bubble had burst. The first of those to go was most probably Jacek Pustula.

The Polish player was very short and moved all-in from the hijack with A♣Q♣. UKIPT London champion Usman Siddique was in the big blind and called with A♦Q♦. The board ran J♠5♦4♦2♦7♣ to make the Brit a fortunate flush. –MC

2:15pm: The curious case of Benjamin Philipps, our bubble boy
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

As expected, Benjamin Philipps was just about all-in in the big blind in the first hand back. He had just a single 500 chip behind after he posted the 5,000, and Tomas Macnamara opened to 10,000 from under the gun. It folded to Philipps and he didn’t act quickly, looking around the room to see if any action was taking place on the other tables.

“Can I get confirmation that if two people bust this hand we split the prize?” asked Philipps. That was confirmed, but still we waited. “Nothing else going on over there?” he asked, after every other hand was over. That was confirmed, too, and he tossed in his 500 chip to call.

8G2A2392_Bubble_OneDrop_Neil Stoddart.jpg

He had the Q♦2♣, while Macnamara had 7♣7♥. The pocket pair held up on the 10♣8♦5♦8♠J♠ runout and Philipps was out on the bubble. The Brit came ninth in the EPT Grand Final Main Event back in early May for €71,620, but there would be no prize here today. –JS

8G2A2400_Bubble_OneDrop_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Ben Philipps finishes one out of the money

2:10pm: Play resumes
Level 16 – 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

With the blinds up and hand-for-hand still in effect, play has resumed.

While Dmitry Yurasov (496,500), Davidi Kitai (476,000), and Guillaume Diaz (460,000) top the counts currently, everyone is eyeing Ben Philipps who is currently 88th out of 88 with just 6,000 chips — just over one big blind. And unfortunately for him, he’s in the BB for the first hand of Level 16.

Check out the chip count page for updated counts. –MH 

1:50pm: Break time

With the bubble still intact, the final 88 are taking a 20-minute break. –MH

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1:50pm: Phillips still the shortest
Level 15 – 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

Despite more than doubling up once, Benjamin Phillips is still the shortest stack in the room. He’s down to just 6,000 and will be in the big blind on the next hand, meaning 5,500 of his stack will be in the middle. Yury Gulyy is another player hugging the bubble as he’s down to 10,000. Fortunately for the Russian he’s on the button next hand so has five more hands before the big blind reaches him again. –NW

1:45pm: Kitai vs. Ockenden
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

Davidi Kitai and Peter Ockenden are in neighbouring seats at Table 7 today, getting involved in pots a bit more often than others. They ended the level with a couple more smallish skirmishes.

In the first, Kitai raised to 10,500 from the cutoff, Ockenden called from the button, and the flop came 9♣8♥2♥. Kitai check-called a bet of 14,000 from Ockenden, then both checked the 4♥ turn. The J♠ river brought a bet of 22,000 from Kitai and a wry look from Ockenden who couldn’t resist pitching out calling chips.

Ockenden flashed his A♣9♥, saying Kitai couldn’t have a jack, and in fact Kitai didn’t — he had 8♦4♦ for two pair.

The last hand of the level saw Kitai again open and get called by Ockenden, then take it down with a preflop c-bet. Kitai is up to 495,000 going to the break while Ockenden has 305,000. –MH

1:35pm: Luo and Visalli Part II
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

Another fascinating hand on the feature table, again between Xixiang Luo and Gianfranco Visalli. Luo raised to 9,000 from early position and Thomas Lentrodt also called in the hijack. Visalli called in the big blind.

The flop came 7♦7♠8♥ and Visalli took over the betting lead. He bet 13,500. Luo called and Lentrodt folded.


Gianfranco Vissali

The 10♥ came on the turn and Visalli, as he had done in the previous hand these two played, led at it. He bet 31,500. After a long period in the tank, Luo called again, taking them to the 5♠ on the river.

Both players then checked and Visalli mucked. Luo also mucked so we never got to see those cards either.

1:30pm: Bubble behaviour
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

John Gulino is playing open face Chinese poker on his phone; Dan Shak is running back and forth from his table to his laptop to look at spreadsheets; Davidi Kitai is checking straights; this is how this lot spend their time throughout the bubble.

In the Kitai hand, the pot was checked on every street by him and Peter Ockenden. “I have a straight,” Kitai said nonchalantly. He wasn’t lying; his pocket fours had turned a straight but he failed to get any value in this one. “You’re joking!” Ockenden said as he mucked. “What’s wrong with you!” –JS

1:20pm: Saad is happy
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

Elie Saad has won a couple of pots off of Dominik Panka here during hand-for-hand play, assuming the chip lead at that table and then some.

In the most recent, Saad led for 9,500 pre-flop from middle position and Panka defended his big blind, then Panka check-called a bet of 15,000 from Saad following a 10♠8♥5♥ flop. Both checked the 2♠ turn, then Panka took a stab following the 6♣ river by betting 28,000.

After confirming the bet amount Saad called, and Panka showed his J♠9♠. Saad turned over 3♦3♣ for the only pair, and the table chuckled, with Panka also grinning.

“I play every hand, I cannot have it always,” said a still smiling Panka, who is now down around 310,000. Saad, also smiling, nodded as he stacked up his 436,000. –MH

1:15pm: Philipps recharged
Level 15 – 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

“Don’t think I’ve got a choice, there’s no other shorties,” Ben Philipps said to his table. “I’m going to have to go with it guys!”

Philipps wasn’t wrong. He was the shortest stack in the room with 2,500 and 2,000 of that was posted in the small blind. Tomas Macnamara was in the big blind and had the audacity to take a photo of Philipps’ stack before the hand was dealt. Karma would also play a part in the hand.

The action folded to Philipps and he called all-in. Once hands were completed on all the other tables, TD Toby Stone came over to call the action.

Philipps: A♥4♣
Macnamara: K♣3♣

The board ran A♠Q♦6♥10♥4♥ to make Philipps two pair. The Brit has enough chips to survive another orbit now, and seemed understandably happy about that.

A bit of extra information about Philipps: late last night, during the slow “last five hands” period, Philipps could have knocked out Alexandru Baron when the pair of them were all-in. This hand did not make the coverage at the time because it didn’t seem hugely important, but it explains Philipps’ super short stack.

In that hand, Pawel Brzeski opened to 6,500 (that was in the previous level, remember) and then Philipps moved all-in for about 45,000. Sitting behind him, Baron shoved for 19,300 and although Brzeski folded, Philipps’ chips were in the middle already.

Baron: Q♦Q♣
Philipps: A♠J♥

“Nice time to wake up with the ladies,” Philipps said.

The queens held through a board of 5♠9♦5♣2♣4♠ and that explains how come Phillips came back to only 27,500 today. — MC/HS

1:10pm: Chidwick with a decision
Level 15 – 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

The board was already dealt – 8♥6♣A♦J♦Q♦ — and two players remained in the hand. Given that it was the only hand still to play out, it got a lot of attention. What the cameras found was a bet of 100,000 from Tomasz Panek of Poland which sent Stephen Chidwick into the tank.

Chidwick, who had around 55,000 behind, stared at the board for a while but eventually dropped his cards into the middle, folding.

At first it seemed like Panek was happy just with that, but he soon realised he couldn’t contain himself, and flipped up A♥10♥. Chidwick didn’t flinch. – SB

1:05pm: Blog posting light
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

Not a lot happening during these hand-for-hand hands, if we’re being honest.

Each hand is taking approximately four or five minutes — enough time for Konrad Abela to run downstairs, get a smoothie and a sandwich, and return to his seat without missing a hand.

When my colleague Jack Stanton noted to me recently he wasn’t getting any good hands, I suggested basic tournament strategy — namely, to open up his range. After all, when you aren’t getting good hands, you have to become creative and accumulate in different ways.

He might also consider outright bluffing, although that wouldn’t be so honest. –MH

12:50pm: Huge stacks battle
Level 15 – 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

A big hand this on the EPT Live feature table, where the two biggest stacks–Gianfranco Visalli and Xixiang Luo–went at it.

Luo raised to 9,000 and Darya Hulyk called in the small blind. Visalli called in the big blind too and they took a flop of 7♥9♠4♣.

Hulyk checked and Visalli bet 10,500. Luo almost immediately raised to 28,000 and Hulyk folded. But Visalli wasn’t done. He three-bet to 57,500. Luo called, and this was becoming a huge pot.

The 8♣ came on the turn and, with 147,000 in the pot, Visalli over-potted it. He made it 148,500.

Luo had 350,000 behind; Visalli had an additional 248,000 after this bet. Luo wanted a count, but he then decided to fold and potentially wriggle out of a very tight spot.

He took more than two minutes to make the decision, but did let it go. There’s no hole cards visible on EPT Live at the moment, so no one is any the wiser as to what they had.

Andre DiFelice was sitting on the table with five big blinds and praying for a cooler.–HS

12:45pm: Flauri out in 89th, bubble time
Level 15 – 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

It seems like this tournament has been on the bubble for days, when in fact we’ve not been on it at all despite two days of tension. However, we now actually are on the bubble as Alain Fluri has been eliminated in 89th place.

He only had 7,500 left and committed them to the pot after Dmitry Yurasov had already raised to 10,000. Mikita Badziakouski called from the big blind and so it was three to a 6♦J♦5♦ flop. No bets to be had here and the Q♦ fell on the turn. At this point Yurasov bet and Badziakouski folded. The Russian player turned over A♦10♦ for the nut flush and Fluri, who had A♥Q♥ was drawing dead.

The Swiss player took his leave and went straight to the bar and ordered a beer. “Half or pint?” the bartender asked him. It was a very silly question. –NW

12:40pm: Panka pressure
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

Dominik Panka isn’t making life easy on his neighbours to the left, short stacks Mark Anthony Vella and Dietrich Fast.

Just now he open-shoved from the small blind on Vella, forcing a fold. Then on the next hand he did the same thing from the button, and Vella (after about a minute) and Fast (after a half-minute) let their hands go.

Both Vella and Fast persevere with about 45,000 each, while Panka is now up to 440,000. –MH

8G2A2159_Dominik_Panka_OneDrop_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Panka raising and taking

12:35pm: Action from table No 1
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

Let’s be honest, tanking is a tool that players use to try and get in the money. It’s in that grey area between being legal and gaining an unfair advantage. Table 1 played three hands total in the first 20 minutes of play, but in that time, there was a player with a genuine decision and a bust-out.

The action folded around to Dmitry Yurasov in the small blind and he set Alain Fluri in for his last 15,000. Fluri went into the tank and everyone probably had suspicious thoughts. Fluri must have picked up on that, as when he folded, he flashed pocket fours. Yurasov started giggling and showed his opponent pocket deuces!

The very next hand, Jerry Odeen moved in from UTG+1. It was only for a few thousand chips and he was isolated by a Mikita Badziakouski raise in the next seat. Everyone else folded and Odeen opened K♣K♠. He was in good shape against Badziakouski’s A♠7♠ but not after the board ran A♥5♠J♥3♣8♦. Just two off the money now. –MC

12:30pm: Brzeski doesn’t zap Szabo
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

Seated next to one another to start the day, Zoltan Szabo and Pawel Brzeski were just involved in a hand together. The pair might have a lot of zees in their names, but the hand was anything but a snoozer.

After Szabo opened for 10,000 from the cutoff seat, Brzeski three-bet to 26,000 and it folded to Alexandru Baron in the big blind. Baron tanked for some time before letting his hand go, then Szabo took about a half-minute to count out his remaining chips before jamming all-in.

Brzeski got a count to confirm the all-in bet was for exactly 100,000 and he called, then saw he’d need improvement with his A♣K♠ to overcome Szabo’s K♥K♦.

The board came 6♦10♣Q♥10♥2♠ — a bit of a sweat on that flop — and Szabo now has 209,000. Brzeski now slips to 55,000 and just above the danger zzzzzone. –MH

12:20pm: Can’t call, won’t call
Level 15 – 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

A lot of shoves at this stage of the tournament don’t get called, largely on the basis that if anyone is prepared to commit the lot pre-flop, they must have it. Felix Schlott just shoved his button with about 75,000 and got it through. Andre DiFelice, in the small blind with eight big blinds, did not want to tangle.

On the next hand on that table, Xixiang Luo opened to 9,000 and Thomas Lentrodt three-bet shoved from one seat to his left. That also got all the way through.– HS

12:15pm: Eggen survives
Level 15 – 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

Stale Eggen started the day with only 22,500 and he had already paid a set of blinds by the time he made a move to double up. Louis Cartarius opened to 8,500 with A♣3♦, Eggen shoved for 13,500 with 8♠8♦ and Cartarius called the extra. The 5♥4♣6♥ flop gave Cartarius a few more outs, but he missed them all on the 6♣ turn and Q♥ river.

Eggen, from Norway, is still short on chips, but he’s still in. Ninety players remain. –NW

12:10pm: A novel way to avoid bubbling
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

None of Piotr Franczak, Marco Bartolini and Guillaume Valle have arrived to take their seats yet this afternoon, which is a good way to make sure they do not bubble. The strategy requires a stack big enough that you won’t be blinded out, and those three have 103,500, 69,000 and 363,000, respectively. Bartolini is not 100 per cent guaranteed with that stack.

12:05pm: Fast is slow
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

Still three off the cash, they aren’t playing hand-for-hand to start the day, by the way. That became evident enough to perceive when one table took a bit longer to get through an early hand than the others just now.

Following a Dominik Panka minimum open to 8,000 from under the gun, it folded to Dietrich Fast two seats over who took long enough to act the clock was called. The tournament director came over, counted down the entire minute, and Fast’s hand was declared dead. Everyone else immediately folded thereafter, and they are onto a new hand.

Fast returned to a short stack of 50,500, and so is among those in danger of perhaps not getting into the payout zone. Meanwhile Panka still has one of the bigger stacks with nearly 400,000. –MH

12pm: Day 3 under way
Level 15 – Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

Off they go on Day 3. We are not yet playing hand-for-hand. They’re playing normally until the next two players go out, which will leave us on the stone bubble. — HS

11am: Bubble approaching on Day 3

The weather reporters on Maltese television were in a tizzy last night: satellites had picked up a grossly abnormal cloud formation above Casino Portomaso in St Julian’s. They were at a loss to explain it. Even celebrity weatherman Phil Connors was called up in Punxsutawney and asked to give his impression. He couldn’t explain it, but was pretty sure he’d seen it before.

This rare meteorological event is actually known as “The Bubble” but it had parked overnight above the tournament room of the EPT Malta Main Event. Last night, with the end of the last level approaching, there were 90 players left in this tournament and only 87 player due to be paid. The bubble had been ordered to arrive for the end of Day 2, but it turns out it isn’t actually needed until first thing today. They have tethered it like a Zeppellin over the bay.

So our first order of business as the field returns to Malta to play four or five more levels (tbd) is to burst that bubble. We will most likely be hand-for-hand until that is done.

All the information you need about the tournament so far is available via the links at the top of the page, or in the panel to the right. You’ll see that Guillaume Diaz is leading the way, ahead of Gianfranco Visalli and Peter Ockenden, and that former champions Dominik Panka, Davidi Kitai, Frederik Jensen, Jean Montury and Roberto Romanello are also still involved.

8G2A2162_Guillaume_Diaz_OneDrop_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Diaz starts day on top

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Take a look at the official website of the EPT, with tournament schedule, news, results and accommodation details for EPT13 Malta and the rest of the season.

Also all the schedule information is on the EPT App, which is available on both Android or IOS.

PokerStars Blog reporting team on the EPT13 Malta Main Event: Stephen Bartley, Marc Convey, Martin Harris, Jack Stanton, Howard Swains and Nick Wright. Photography by Neil Stoddart. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter:@PokerStarsBlog



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