Prague Confirmed for PokerStars Championship, Big Barcelona GTDs

One of the most popular tournaments on the now-defunct European Poker Tour will make a triumphant return to the PokerStars Championship schedule.

PokerStars Championship Prague will take place Dec. 8-19, 2017 with the €5,300 buy-in Main Event set for Dec. 13-19.

The festival has always taken place in December with the city providing a picturesque winter backdrop to the event, complete with a Christmas market.

The stop will include 12 separate tournaments so there should be something for everyone with a €200 buy-in PokerStars Open on the low end and a gigantic €50,000 high roller on the high end.

Prague was actually the location for the final stop for the EPT last year leading some to wonder if PokerStars would make another appearance in the Czech city.

PokerStars Cranks Up PSC Barcelona Guarantees

Meanwhile PSC Barcelona is still set to take place Aug. 15-27, 2017, with 10 different events but PokerStars just announced the various guaranteed prize pools for the ultra-popular festival.

sebastian malec ept barcelona main event winner 8

Sebastian Malec winning EPT Barcelona.

The Main Event will carry an eye-popping €7,000,000 guaranteed prize pool but that shouldn’t be too hard to crack considering last year’s EPT Barcelona Main Event attracted 1,785 players last year to form a €8.6 million prize pool.

Sebastian Malec won the record-setting tournament for a staggering €1.1 million.

PSC Barcelona will also offer guarantees on four different events including the 1,100 National Championship, which will feature a guarantee of €4,000,000.

The Main Event for PSC Barcelona will take place Aug. 21-27 while the National Championship will run Aug. 16-21.

As usual there will also be a €50,000 Super High Roller, which will run Aug. 19-21.

Sochi Rolling with Moneymaker, Lykov Among Early Leaders

The first-ever PokerStars Championship Sochi event kicked off from Casino Sochi yesterday with Day 1a.

Chris Moneymaker

How do you say Moneymaker in Russian?

As expected the event attracted a large number of Russian players including pros Alexander Kostritsyn, Maxim Panyak and Max Lykov.

Also in the field on Day 1a were Chris Moneymaker, Felipe Ramos, Luca Pagano, Nacho Barbero, Aditya Agarwal and others.

Moneymaker was actually one of the most dominant players on the day and ended with 115,000 chips, which put him in the top 10.

At the time this article was published Day 1b was partially complete and the overall field had already swelled to 220 runners.

Aditya Agarwal, Jason Wheeler and Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier were among the early leaders on Day 1b.


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PokerStars Live Reverts to Old Payouts, Overhauls Online Rewards

It’s been a busy week for PokerStars with the introduction of a new position, an old payout structure for live events and a new rewards program for online players.

PokerStars started by announcing Garry Gates as the New Senior Consultant of Player Affairs. Gates, a poker industry veteran, promptly posted a blog where he talked about how he hopes to serve as a link between the company and players.

In the blog post Gates also mentioned he’s already hosted a Players Advisory Council meeting, which is a first for PokerStars.

The result of that meeting was PokerStars shifting the payout structure back to the old, more top-heavy, 15% for all its upcoming live events. Many big-name poker pros were highly critical of the company when it switched to 20% back in 2016.

Stars Rewards Emulates Video Game “Chests”

The new PokerStars rewards program should be familiar to anyone who plays video games like Overwatch or Hearthstone.

Simply called Stars Rewards, the new program awards randomized chests to players based how many real-money hands they play. The more you play the bigger the chest.

Garry Gates

Garry Gates

Each chest represents a chance at winning big. There are a variety of potential rewards that could drop in chests including cash, StarsCoin or seats to live events like the PokerStars Championship.

The rewards will be personalized for each player and a tournament player will be more likely receive MTT tickets in their chests.

The program will also have cross-platform functionality so that if you’re a sports bettor with BetStars you could potentially receive a sports-betting reward from your chests.

Players will also be able to acquire boosts, which will double the speed of acquiring chests.

PokerStars plans to roll out Stars Rewards in Denmark later this month with Italy shortly thereafter. Other markets are planned for late Summer.

SCOOP Outage Leads to $105k Freeroll

Earlier this week PokerStars was down during a particularly busy day of SCOOP and the site is going to run a $105,000 freeroll for players who were hampered by the outage.


The freeroll will run Thursday, May 18, and will award 100 in tickets to a $5m-GTD SCOOP event.

The free tournament is open to anyone who was playing on a scheduled tournament as of 17:00 ET on May 15. That’s one minute before the nearly two-hour outage on PokerStars began.

PokerStars will send an email to all eligible players with an exact time for the freeroll.

Interestingly SCOOP will be extended by one day, next Tuesday, in order to play out the events that were originally scheduled for May 15.


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Sorrentino Stymies Klatt to Win PSC Monte Carlo Main Event

Italian Raffaele Sorrentino has won the main event of the first PokerStars Championship in Monte Carlo.

The winning prize was €500,800 but Sorrentino and runner-up Andreas Klatt struck a chip-chop deal that left €15,000 to play for.

Klatt was guaranteed €402,768 while the chipleader at the time had €451,714 locked up. As it went, Sorrentino took the extra cash and the title, too.

A Dream Come True

“It’s a dream come true,” said an exhausted but happy Sorrentino after his win. “I was feeling like I could do this one week ago, and the closer it got, the more I believed in it.” 

rallaele sorrentino psc monte carlo 2017 ME winner 1

“I was really tired in the end. I re-raised too high with my aces but I was lucky that the other guy had queens.”

Sorrentino, an Italian who lived in Malta (he made the money in last year’s Battle of Malta) but flew in to play this week from Mexico, took over the chip lead early on Day 6 and slowly but surely extended it all the way to the end.

With 200 big blinds still on the table it took a major set-up for the heads-up to finish. Both players had shown to be the strongest at the table and it looked like this could become a very long finale.

Instead, after a quick deal, it took just around two hours until it was all over. The Italian picked up pocket aces and while his opponent believed his pocket queens would have to be the best hand, little did he know.

The chips went in and the board ran dry so Sorrentino claimed the title with the best starting hand in Texas Hold’em.

Runner-up Andreas Klatt, however, was the player who made the most headlines in Monte Carlo. He won the PokerStars National Championship a few days ago only to almost repeat the feat in the main event.

Main Event Numbers

Buy-In: €5,300 NLHE
Dates: April 29 – May 5
Field: 727 players
Prize pool: €3,525,950

Final-Table Payouts






Raffaele Sorrentino




Andreas Klatt




Andrey Bondar




Maxim Panyak




Michael Kolkowicz




Diego Zeiter




Davidi Kitai




Romain Nardin



*2-way deal

Bryn Kenney, Adrian Mateos Take Big Paydays

The largest pay-outs in Monaco this week went to Bryn Kenney (€1,874,500) and Vlacheslav Buldygin (€1,290,800) who came first and second in the €100k Super High Roller.

Julian Stuer defeated John Juanda to win the 3-day €25k High Roller event for €1,015,000 and Adrian Mateos (€908,000) took down the €50k event.

PSC Monte Carlo High Roller results

€10,300 NLHE, April 25-27, 110 entries






Ole Schemion




Murad Akhundov




Koray Aldemir




€100,000 NLHE, April 27-29, 61 entries






Bryn Kenney




Vlacheslav Buldygin




Daniel Dvoress




€50,000 NLHE, April 30, 64 entries






Adrian Mateos




Daniel Dvoress




Erik Seidel




€10,300 PLO, May 1-2, 60 entries






Imad Derwiche




Sampo Ryynanen




Sylvain Loosli




€25,500 NLHE, May 2, 85 entries






Philipp Gruissem




Steve O’Dwyer




John Juanda




€25,750 NLHE, May 3-5, 187 entries






Julian Stuer




John Juanda




Thomas Mühlöcker



The PokerStars Championship now moves to another venue where it hasn’t been before. From May 20 the next PSC will take place on the shores of the Black Sea in Sochi, Russia, former host of the Olympic Winter Games.

The main event starts on May 25 and TV coverage will commence on Saturday, May 27.


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Mateos Crushes PokerStars €50K Single-Day Event for €908k

Adrien Mateos added yet another accolade to his illustrious poker career at the PokerStars Championship in Monte Carlo over the weekend.

Mateos outlasted 64-entries in the elite €50k buy-in single-day tournament to take down a staggering €908,000 pay day.

The Spaniard has amassed $8m in a little over four years on the live tournament circuit with massive victories at the World Series of Poker and European Poker Tour including the WSOPE Main Event and EPT Grand Final.

Mateos now trails only Carlos Mortenson on the all-time earners list for Spain and is over $2m clear of Sergio Aido.

Mateos Outlasts Dvoress, Seidel, Holz

The final table for the 50k buy-in event was expectedly stacked with Erik Seidel, Fedor Holz, Nick Petrangelo, Steve O’Dwyer, Ramin Hajiyev, Mike Watson, Sergio Aido and Canadian Daniel Dvoress in the mix.

Fedor Holz WSOP 2

More money for Fedor Holz.

Interestingly Fedor Holz has cashed in every iteration of the PokerStars Championship/EPT Monte Carlo for the last three years to earn over €900k from the event.

Holz ended up finishing fourth in this year’s event for €319k. That’s the same place he finished in this event in 2015.

Meanwhile Erik Seidel continued his assault on Daniel Negreanu’s #1 spot on the all-time tournament earner’s list. Seidel now trails Negreanu by $1.4m and has been trending up.

He finished third in the $50k, which led to a heads-up showdown between Mateos and upstart Canadian Daniel Dvoress.

Dvoress, who’s still chasing his first major title, was unable to make up a severe chip disadvantage that had him down 5-1 to start heads-up.

Mateos picked him off and posted the emphatic victory in the tournament.

Here’s a complete look at the payouts in the event:

1st - Adrian Mateos, Spain, €908,000
2nd - Daniel Dvoress, Canada, €652,000
3rd - Erik Seidel, USA, €423,800
4th - Fedor Holz, Germany, €319,800
5th - Nick Petrangelo, USA, €248,400
6th - Steve O’Dwyer, Ireland, €192,400
7th - Ramin Hajiyev, Azerbaijan, €152,140
8th - Mike Watson, Canada, €118,000
9th - Sergio Aido, Spain, €90,100

Bryn Kenney Wins €100k Super High Roller

Adrien Mateos wasn’t the only poker pro to down a massive tournament over the weekend.

Bryn Kenney

Bryn Kenney

Bryn Kenney outlasted an elite 61-entry field to win €1.7m in the PokerStars Championship Monte Carlo €100k Super High Roller on Saturday.

Kenney is no stranger to super high rollers and took down a $100k PCA Super High Roller for $1.6m in 2016. He’s the first player to win two separate PokerStars-sponsored 100k buy-in events.

Kenney now has a staggering $17m in lifetime live tournament earnings.

Incredibly Canadian Daniel Dvoress also made the €100k final table, finishing third for €832,800, which means his haul for PSC Monte Carlo is up to over €1.4m.

Here’s a complete look at the payouts from the 100k event:

1st - Bryn Kenney, USA, €1,784,500
2nd - Viacheslav Buldygin, Russia, €1,290,800
3rd - Daniel Dvoress, Canada, €832,800
4th - David Peters, USA, €630,600
5th - Ole Schemion, Germany, €487,715
6th - Steffen Sontheimer, Germany, €380,700
7th - Martin Kabrhel, Czech Republic, €303,350
8th - Sam Greenwood, Canada, €237,950


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PokerStars Festival Adds Stops in Ireland, France, Romania

Players will get a few more shots at playing the low buy-in, recreational player-focused PokerStars Festivals in the coming months.

PokerStars announced stops in Lille, Bucharest and Dublin yesterday.

Lille will take place July 15-23 while Bucharest goes July 31-Aug. 6. Finally Dublin will take place Sept. 25-Oct. 1.

All stops will carry a variety of side events and a €1,100 Main Event.

PokerStars Festival Up to 10 Stops

The PokerStars Festival tournament circuit is now up to 10 stops in 2017 with events across the globe including the Philippines, Spain, Korea and more.

Liv Boeree

Liv Boeree

All events offer a number of different side events as well as activities outside of the poker room.

You can also qualify for PokerStars Festival events on PokerStars with a wide range of satellites running 24/7 on the site.

The festival train will actually head to Chile next for a series in Vina del Mar that will run from May 20-27, 2017.

The Main Event at Vina del Mar, which runs May 23-27, will feature an impressive $500,000-GTD prize pool.

In March the Czech Republic’s Petr Svoboda outlasted all 1,123 entries in the PokerStars Festival Rozvadov to take down $124,346.

Can’t Afford Festivals? Megastack to the Rescue

Of course PokerStars also has an option for players who don’t necessary have the bankroll for Festival events.

pokerstars megastack

PokerStars recently expanded its Megastack series with stops all over Europe including Ireland, Belgium, France, Germany and more.

Megastack events offer a deep-stack style tournament for a cut-rate €170 buy-in.

The Megastack series serves as a starting point for anyone looking to get started with PokerStars Live. From there players can graduate to PokerStars Festival and even the more prestigious PokerStars Championship.

Qualifiers for all three tours are currently running on PokerStars. You can learn more or sign up for an account through our PokerStars review.


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Smith Survives 10-Hour HU to Win PokerStars Championship Macau

It was one of the longest heads-up matches in the history of poker but in the end Canadian Elliott Smith emerged the victor in the inaugural PokerStars Championship Macau stop earlier today.

Smith battled local Terry Tang for a staggering 10 and a half hours before finally landing the knockout blow with ace-king over Tang’s pocket sixes.

Incredibly Tang flipped a set of sixes but Smith rivered a flush to finally, finally close out the tournament and take down the first place prize of $370,508. Tang, for all his efforts, had to settle for $331,816.

Smith now has over $2m in live tournament earnings but this was his first major title.

Aussie Pro Daniel Laidlaw Takes Third

Arguably the most well-known player at the final table was experienced Australian grinder Daniel Laidlaw.

Daniel Laidlaw

Daniel Laidlaw

Laidlaw become short stacked three-handed, however, and had to shove with A-T and Smith managed to outdraw him with K-5.

With Laidlaw eliminated, Smith and Tang immediately set about discussing a deal. It took them over an hour but the pair eventually agreed on a chop that left HKD$300,000 for which to play.

The deal did not expedite the process of finding a winner, however, as Smith and Tang (who started nearly even in chips) went on to play a grueling 10.5 hours of poker that included multiple chip lead changes, several bathroom breaks, a straight flush and surprisingly few all-in shoves.

The final table also included Canadian Avraham Oziel, German Aymon Hata, Taiwan’s Pete Chen and Chinese players Yan Li and Xuan Li but they seemed like almost an afterthought after the excruciating 10-hour heads-up.

The PokerStars Championship Tour will next head to Monaco for a prestigious series that will run April 25-May 5, 2017.

In total the PokerStars Champion event in Macau attracted 546 players to create a prize pool of $2.6 million.

Here’s a complete look at the final-table payouts from the championship event in Macau:

1. Elliott Smith - $370,508
2. Terry Tang - $331,816
3. Daniel Laidlaw - $221,896
4. Avraham Oziel - $164,749
5. Aymon Hata - $122,275
6. Pete Chen - $90,741
7. Yan Li - $67,058
8. Xuan Tan - $49,682


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PokerStars Championship Slingshots to Macau, Starts Mar. 30

When PokerStars shuttered its regional and local tours for the wider umbrella of PokerStars Championships/Festivals last year, its aim was the first truly global poker tour.

It’s definitely delivered that the past few weeks.

Just over a week after Kenny Smaron and Steve O’Dwyer put a wrap on PSC Panama with big wins, the Global Championship series slingshots across the globe to start anew in Macau tomorrow.

On tap is an 11-day festival packed with wall-to-wall events at the popular PokerStars Live Macau room - home to record-setting events on the APPT the past two years.

Four Majors, Big Buy-Ins Galore

While the vibe at first-time major PSC Panama was comparatively mellow expect the opposite when things kick off tomorrow in Macau.

Felipe Ramos

Who needs durrrr when you’ve got Mojave?

A major stop on the APPT over the past 10 years Macau has its very own built-in poker culture and should see its usual mega-crowd out in force.

They have something big to look forward to right off the bat as well as Events #3 and #4 getting things started with a bang.

Event #3 is a two-day HK$82,400 (USD $10,600) No-Limit Holdem (Single Re-Entry) event and Event #4 is the HK$8,800 PokerStars National Championship (with HK$2m GTD and Unlimited Re-Entries).

Event #6: HK$3,300 PokerStars Cup, Event #12: HK$400,000 Super High Roller (Shot Clock, Unlimited Re-Entries) and Event #17: HK$5,500 PokerStars Asia Open (1m GTD, Single Re-Entry) keep the momentum going before the HK$42,400 PokerStars Championship Main Event begins April 3.

The biggest buy-ins follow shortly after with four more events over the $10k USD buy-in level including two $25.6k High Rollers.

Team PokerStars Pros Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier, Randy ‘Nanonoko’ Lew and Felipe ‘Mojave’ Ramos are already confirmed to be in action as is high-roller reg Daniel Dvoress.

Perhaps even Macau regular Tom ‘durrrr’ Dwan will take a stab at an event or two now that he’s broken his 4-year live tourney dry spell. Check the full schedule for PokerStars Championship Macau here and follow the live updates on the PokerStars blog.


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Smaron, O’Dwyer Take Down Titles at PSC Panama

American Kenneth Smaron is the first-ever winner of the PokerStars Championship Panama Main Event.

Smaron outlasted 366 runners to take down the PSC crown and $293,860 in cash.

With the win Smaron cracked the $1m mark in lifetime tournament earnings with a total of $1,241,337.

Smaron is no stranger to success at PokerStars events and won the €10k high roller at EPT Prague for €595,500 in 2015.

Here’s a look at the final-table payouts for the PSC Panama Main Event:

1. Kenny Smaron - $293,860
2. Harpreet Gill - $217,860
3. Denis Timofeev - $161,340
4. Jonathan Abdellatif - $119,480
5. Robin Wozniczek - $88,480
6. Anthony Diotte - $65,520

O’Dwyer Snags Yet Another High Roller

Steve O’Dwyer can’t, won’t stop winning high roller events.

O’Dwyer beat out an ultra-tough 110-entry field in the PSC $10k High Roller to add another $240,451 to eye-popping $16m+ in lifetime live tournament earnings.

PSC Panama Monti 9097 Steve ODwyer Winner Event 35 NLH HR 10K

Steve O’Dwyer

The final table included sharks Chris Hunichen, Felipe Ramos, Anthony Zinno, Sam Greenwood and Sam Chartier.

Heads-up eventually came down to O’Dwyer vs. Greenwood with O’Dwyer holding a considerable 4-1 chip advantage.

Greenwood did well, however, to fight back and nearly draw even with O’Dwyer. That led to a deal that left just $8,589 for which to play.

O’Dwyer eventually closed out the event to add another high roller to resume.

Meanwhile Greenwood did what’s he’s quickly becoming known for by finishing second. Greenwood has four runner-up finishes in high rollers.

In fact Greenwood finished second to O’Dwyer before in the 2015 EPT Prague Super High Roller.

Here’s a complete look at the final-table payouts (*reflects a two-way deal):

1. Steve O’Dwyer - $240,451
2. Sam Greenwood - $223,149
3. Francois Billard - $123,780
4. Chris Hunichen - $100,300
5. Felipe Ramos - $80,560
6. Anthony Zinno - $62,690
7. Damian Salas - $49,620
8. Sam Chartier - $37,880


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Denis Timofeev Snaps Back to Lead Final Six at PSC Panama

It was one of the last hands of the night.

Chip leader Kenneth Smaron and Denis Timofeev went to the river of an already huge pot.

On a 9 8 2 4 J board Timofeev led out for 375,000. Then the American Smaron put him all in with almost 2 million chips.

Timofeev thought it through for a while. In fact, it was a 12-minute hand.

But, eventually, the Russian made the call with just a rivered top pair on a board that allowed both flushes and straights. Smaron tabled T 8 for just third pair and lost a huge part of his stack.

On the next hand, former chipleader James Salmon lost his last chips to Timofeev when he pushed in with A 2 and was called by A T. And thus the final table was set.

Read the full rundown of the day’s action here.

robin wozniczek 2

Not bad for first live event.

Wozniczek Lives the Dream

After losing the big chip lead he had coming into the day, Timofeev now again has a comfortable lead.

He has more than one million chips more than second-place Robin Wozniczek from Germany. The computer science student is playing his first live event and is living the dream of the poker hobbyist.

Smaron is still in contention in third place, but he’s another million behind. Jonathan Abdellatif from Belgium is the second European player in the final. With almost 40 big blinds he also still has a shot at the first PSC title in Central America.

The two remaining Canadians, Harpreet Gill and Anthony Diotte, are short-stacked and need to get into the action quickly tomorrow to still have a chance.

The final will start at 1 PM ET. The live stream will come up with a delay to bring you the action with hole cards face up. Here’s how they’ll line up to begin the final day:






Denis Timofeev




Robin Wozniczek




Kenneth Smaron




Jonathan Abdellatif




Harpreet Gill




Anthony Diotte




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Timofeev Takes Over at PSC Panama, Kaverman 3rd w/ 12 Left

It was by far the shortest day in the young history of the PokerStars Championships, and it’ll take a long time to beat it.

Just 20 minutes in to the third level of play the target number of 16 players was reached on Day 4 of the main event in Panama City.

Play could have stopped at this point but it was decided to finish the level, which cost another four players their tournament lives

And so just 12 players will return for Day 5 of the first PokerStars Championship in Panama, led by Russian Denis Timofeev.

Kaverman, Yaroshevskyy Lurk

Timofeev and American James Salmon, last night’s surprise chip leader, battled for the chiplead all day although they never played a single hand against each other as they sat at different tables.

byron kaverman 1

Oh hi, Byron Kaverman.

While the two comparatively low profile players have the biggest stacks, former GPI #1 Byron Kaverman looms large in third place on the leaderboard.

The American pro has already won more than $1.3 million this year alone after an incredible run in the Bahamas and is now on the way to his fifth final table since January.

Ukrainian Igor Yaroshevskyy, the dominating chip leader from the first few days, is also lingering around back in 10th place.

He could make things tricky tomorrow with an early double up.

The tournament will resume at noon local time tomorrow and play down to the final six.

Watch all of the action on the live stream right here!

PokerStars Championship Panama Main Event Day 5 Chip Count






Denis Timofeev




James Salmon




Byron Kaverman




Robin Luca Wozniczek




Kenneth Smaron




Harpreet Gill




Jonathan Abdellatif




Anthony Diotte




Michael Lech




Igor Yaroshevsky




Vincent Allevato




Luis Alejandro Mata



Borrego, Ortiz Both Impress

While they haven’t made the final 12, two other names stood out among the crowd in Panama this week.

jessica perez borrego 7

Nice run for Borrego.

The Last Woman Standing was Jessica Perez Borrego, an amateur player from Cuba who lives in Panama City.

She managed to beat 94% of the field and eventually finished in 21st place for $16,080.

MMA fighter and Friend of PokerStars Tito Ortiz, meanwhile, who unsuccessfully tried to bust in the last hand yesterday, busted just before Borrego and then went out to wrestle a couple of sharks on the beach – or so we’re told.

Ortiz’s 22nd-place finish (out of 366 runners) was by far his career best although by the sounds of it that could change in the coming months.


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Salmon Slips Past Igor to Nab Day 4 Lead at PSC Panama

After two days of domination from Ukrainian Igor Yaroshevskyy at the PokerStars Championship Panama, James Salmon suddenly has the chip lead after Day 3 today.

Salmon, who is now on the way to his biggest live cash so far with a comfortable chip lead and just 30 players left, has only one live cash outside of the US prior – six days ago here at the PSC.

His breakthrough moment today came when he picked off a bluff by the dominating chipleader Yaroshevsky that let him double up and move to the top of the leaderboard.

He’s followed by Germany’s Robin Luca Wozniczek and Mexican pro JC Alvarado while Yaroshevskyy still lingers in the Top 10.

igor yaroshevsky 2

Still in Top 10 though.

Byron Kaverman, Jason Koon, Jessica Perez Borrego and UFC legend Tito Ortiz are also still around, which should make for another interesting day tomorrow.

PokerStars Championship Panama Main Event Top 10

1. James Salmon United States 1,020,000
2. Robin Luca Wozniczek Germany 658,000
3. JC Alvarado Mexico 648,000
4. Vincent Allevato Canada 596,000
5. Vasyl Vertianov Ukraine 586,000
6. Byron Kaverman United States 569,000
7. Denis Timofeev Russia 520,000
8. Jonathan Abdellatif Belgium 513,000
9. Igor Yaroshevskyy Ukraine 506,000
10. Kenneth Smaron United States 471,000

Check the full chip counts for the final 30 and the rundown of all the day’s action here.

Short Day, Long Demise

It was a short day for the players in the main event, even for those who made it through to Day 4.

The schedule was cut to four levels of 90 minutes. According to the official PokerStars schedule the first of these would still have been a 75 min level, but this was prolonged to the full 90 minutes that is usually played on Day 3 of PS Championships.

What has been one of the longest ‘hanging-in-there’ stories of PS events finally came to an end during the last level of today.

EPT and WSOP bracelet winner Davidi Kitai had finished both the Day 1 and Day 2 at the very bottom of the chip counts but still almost went through to Day 4.

He spent the whole day in the bottom five of the leaderboard before eventually busting in 36th place.

Ortiz Tries to Bust, Can’t

Former MMA world champion and Friend of PokerStars Tito Ortiz from California has a seat in Day 4 of the PSC Panama main event.

tito ortiz 4

Still fighting.

With his slightly erratic playing style he managed to evade the reads of the pros and kept a healthy stack until half an hour before the end of the day.

He 5-bet all-in against tight player Roman Pavliuk from the Ukraine, thereby ignoring the advice he was given by PokerStars team pro Felipe Ramos (read more about this soon on PokerListings) and Pavliuk snap-called with aces.

That beat Ortiz’s K-Q, who was then left with 10 big blinds. In the last hand of the day Ortiz raised from middle position and then called a 3-bet from long-time chipleader Yaroshevsky.

On a A 2 4 flop Ortiz checked and Igor put him all-in. “The only reason I do this,” exclaimed Tito, “is because I want to go out and spend time in the sun tomorrow.”

Then he called with T 5. Igor showed K 9 and was ahead but Tito turned the nut straight with the 3. He’ll be back tomorrow with 12 big blinds.

Jessica Perez Borrego, the last woman in the main event, managed to finish the day in the Top 15 for the third time in a row. Day 4 of the PSC Panama main event starts at 12 PM ET and will be accompanied by the PokerStars live stream. Watch all the action right here!


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Yaroshevsky, Ortiz Stay on Top; Bubble Looms at PSC Panama

Ukrainian poker pro Igor Yaroshevsky finished Day 1A of the PokerStars Championship Panama main event with a massive chip lead.

After the end of Day 2 today, he now enjoys an even bigger chip lead.

With just shy of 750,000 chips in the bag Yaroshevskyy is 180,000 chips ahead of Denis Timofeev in second place and well on the way to another deep run.

Another player on his way to a deep run? Former UFC champion Tito Ortiz, who also managed to parlay a big stack from Day 1A into a good spot to start Day 3 tomorrow.

Ortiz is in the Top 10 overnight and is now looking at by far his biggest achievement in poker with just nine players left to bust before the money.

tito ortiz 3

Tito cruising.

On the other end of the chip counts is Belgian ace Davidi Kitai, who somehow managed to finish last in the counts again as he ended the first day as the shortest stack as well. 

Then again, he is extremely difficult to bust.

Biggest $5k Event in LatAm

The PokerStars Championship Panama main event is now officially the biggest $5k event held in Latin America.

With 366 total entries the prize pool hit $1,775,100 and just shy of $300k will go to the winner. Seventy-eight players remain after the end of Day 2 and 71 will make the money.

Just four players took the opportunity to late register at the start of Day 2 today but these were quite some heavyweight additions to the field.

The players were Erik Seidel, Bryn Kenney, Martin Jacobson and Ambrose Ng. Between them they have career earnings of over $60 million.

It’s safe to say Jacobson had the worst day of the three. He lasted just 70 minutes before he busted, meaning that he paid $75 for every minute he sat at the table.

It didn’t go well for the other three late registrations either, though. Seidel busted only minutes after Jacobson and Kenney and Ng followed in the third level of the day.

Canadians Bear Down on Panama

It doesn’t happen very often so it should be noted here that the largest group of players in the PSC main event are the Canadians.

jessica perez borrego 1

Perez Borrego on her way to big score.

15% of the field is from the Great White North with Americans in second place at 12%. Spain and Germany share third place with 6% of the field each.

15 of the remaining 78 players are Canadian. Of the local heroes, just two are left in the field and one of them is also the last woman standing.

Jessica Perez Borrego, whom we introduced you to yesterday, advanced to Day 3 as one of the Top 10 chip stacks. 

Because the player field is smaller than in most of the PokerStars events Day 2 was shortened by one level today and Day 3 will do the same. This means that tomorrow we’ll start with the last 75-minute level and then move to the first 90-minute level.

Overall just four levels will be played to give all the tournament players a relatively short day. That will probably mean a boost for “Jackie’s Room,” which is the cash game area here in the Sortis Hotel.

If you’re already there, watch out for Kristen Bicknell as she’s out of the tournament and might well spend her evenings there.

PokerStars Championship Panama Main Event Top 10

Igor Yaroshevskyy



Denis Timofeev



Caufman Talley



Tito Ortiz



Vincent Allevato



Pablo Gordillo



Pedro Romanzo Pollino



Eduards Kudrjavcevs



Jessica Perez Borrego



Kenneth Smaron



Follow all of the action on Day 3 tomorrow from the Sortis Hotel and Casino right here on the live stream starting at 1 pm ET.


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Gong, Fernandez, Lebedev Surge to Front on PSC Panama Day 1B

Apart from a few extra players who might use the option to late register this morning, the first PokerStars Championship main event in Panama has drawn roughly 360 players.

A total of 259 players registered for the second starting day at the Sortis Hotel, Spa and Casino yesterday and 127 players made it through to Day 2.

Canadian players in particular left a strong impression with Jiachen Gong leading the Day 1B survivors with 154,300 chips.

That still pales in comparison to the whopping 219,600 chips Igor Yaroshevskyy bagged after Day 1A but they’ll all have a chance to track him down when the field combines for Day 2 today.

Argentinian Rugby Star Joins Field

After former UFC fighter Tito Ortiz played (and thrived) on Day 1A of the main event yesterday, Day 1B saw another sports star of international acclaim join the field.

psc panama tournament room 2

Race for the money is on.

Lucas Gonzalez, member of the national Argentinian rugby team, made his entrance today but his journey couldn’t have been any more different to Tito’s yesterday.

While the Ultimate fighter managed to bag the second spot in the leaderboard Gonzalez didn’t survive to see the dinner break.

The Top 10 players from Day 1B come from 10 different countries and include local hero Tomas Altamirando, making this PSC main event a completely open tournament.

Top 10 Players from Day 1B






Jiachen Gong




Caufman Tailey




Kamal Bittar




Pablo Fernandez




Sergey Lebedev




Oleg Vasylchenko




Fernando Karam




Erling Voje




Tomas Altamirando




Alberto Meran



Stapes Reaches PSC Final Table (Sort Of)

Everything was set today for the final table of the PokerStars Championship Panama.

Sensationally, Joe Stapleton took his seat among eight otherwise internationally unknown players and the PokerStars live stream commentator was still there when they were down to three players.

Joe Stapleton 1

It could happen.

Unbeknownst to many Stapes had made use of a loophole in Panamanian legislation that allows overseas players to skip the first tournament days and go directly to the final table.

Players can only get this preferential treatment if they can provide legitimate proof of several years of working experience in the poker industry and if they have a TV presence deemed strong enough by the Panamanian tourism authorities.

The loophole was created to strengthen poker tourism in Panama after PokerStars announced its first Latin-American Championship in the country.

Except, of course … that’s not quite true. There is no PSC heads-up and no legislation loophole and Stapleton isn’t even allowed to play PSC events.

If he did, it would be tricky for him to make the finale (so we’re saying there’s a chance!).

The truth us they were just pretending to play and it was just the process of setting the table up for the live commentary starting on tomorrow’s day 2 with James Hartigan and Stapleton.

Just goes to show how easy it is to fake news if you have the right picture. Watch the real live stream from Panama starting today right here.

Coming Up – Day 2

All remaining players will come together in one room tomorrow to start the race for the money spots.

Notable players still in the field for Day 2 include the aforementioned Tito Ortiz, Erik Cajelais, Jason Wheeler, Pablo Gordillo, Ari Engel, Andrew Chen and Jake Cody.


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PSC Panama Begins, Tollerene Leads High Roller Final Table

The first-ever PokerStars Championship in Panama is off to a hot start with high-stakes pro Ben “Ben86” Tollerene taking the chip lead in the $50k High Roller final table.

Tollerene leads a stacked six-player final table that also includes Steve O’Dwyer, Justin Bonomo, Timothy Adams, Daniel Dvoress and Orpen Kisacikoglu.

Everyone is chasing Tollerene who accumulated 2.9 million chips. Turkish pro Kisacikoglu is second with 1.6 million. First place in the event will pay out $538k thanks to the 33 entries.

Action in the event will resume at 12 p.m. local time today. Here’s a look at the chip counts:

1. Ben Tollerne - 2,914,000
2. Orpen Kisacikoglu - 1,689,000
3. Steve O’Dwyer - 1,369,000
4. Daniel Dvoress - 1,308,000
5. Justin Bonomo - 756,000
6. Timothy Adams - 225,000

National Championship Buzzing with 800+ Entries

Urbanovich 2

Dzmitry Urbanovich

The $50k High Roller isn’t the only talk in town as the $1,100 buy-in Panama National Championship is also underway with four starting flights in the books.

The National Championship carried a sizable guarantee of $400,000 but the tournament easily surpassed that in the first two flights alone and now stands at 843 entires for an estimated prize pool of well over $1m.

Uri Riechenstein (300,600), Dzmitry Urbanovich (269,600) and Ben Heath (264,000) are amongst the early chip leaders.

Day 2 of the National Championship will kick off at noon local time today at the Sortis Hotel, Spa & Casino.

Everything is leading up to the $5,300 buy-in PSC Panama Main Event, which will begin on March 14 and run through March 20.

Need to catch up on Panamanian culture? We’ve got 14 facts to get you started.


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PokerStars Championship Sochi to be Biggest Ever in Russia

Before the small holiday town of Sochi was announced as the host of the 2014 Winter Olympics, few people outside of Russia had ever heard its name.

Three years after its breakthrough into the global consciousness it will now have the honor of hosting another landmark event - the biggest-ever poker festival held in Russia.

Officially legalized as a casino zone in 2017 Sochi is now set to host the first-ever PokerStars Championship on Russian soil. And it’s going to be a big one.

11 Days, $2.6m Main Event Guarantee

Despite it being the first PokerStars Championship in Russia they’re not coming in with a soft start to test the waters.

Igor Kurganov

New PS pro Kurganov will be there.

They’re going big right off the top with 11 days of events planned at the Sochi Casino & Resort from May 20-31 and a massive 150,000,000 RUB Main Event guarantee - equivalent to $2.6m USD.

Says PokerStars Director of Live Events, Edgar Stuchly:

“Sochi is a premier location for hosting world class events and we are looking forward to bringing PokerStars Championship Sochi to this exciting location.


“With its vast array of 5-star hotels, outdoor activities, and 300 sunny days a year, alongside a brand new casino, Sochi is fast becoming a prime vacation spot and gaming destination, all in one.”

All of the usual highlight events of a PokerStars Championship series are to be expected, including:

• PokerStars National Championship: May 20-25 - RUB 66,000 (approx. $1,160)
• PokerStars Championship Super High Roller: May 23-25 - RUB 3,000,000 (approx. $50,700)
• PokerStars National High Roller: May 24-25 - RUB 132,000 (approx. $2,320)
• PokerStars Championship Main Event: May 25-31 - RUB 318,000 (approx. $5,590) - RUB 150,000,000 Guarantee
• No Limit Hold’em Single Day: May 26 - RUB 1,530,000 (approx. $26,880)
• PokerStars Championship PLO High Roller: May 27-28 - RUB 618,000 (approx. $10,860)
• PokerStars Championship High Roller: May 29-31 - RUB 618,000 (approx. $10,860)

The full PokerStars Live team will be on hand to cover the action with full TV and webcast coverage and the usual celebrities and Team PokerStars Pros in attendance.

spin go start

Spin to win a package for $8.

$8 Spin & Go Qualifiers On Now

Sochi is an intriguing destination for poker players for any number of reasons.

Not only was it massively refurbished for the Winter Games, it sits on the shores of the Black Sea and nestled under a mountainous coastline.

Nicknamed “Russia’s Summer capital” it’s already famed for its beaches, nightlife and skiing. With its new gaming regulations, poker and gambling will soon be another claim to fame.

Online qualifiers are now running online on PokerStars headlined by $8 Spin & Gos offering full packages for the Main Event. Sign up for a new PokerStars account via our review page to get started on qualifying.

Get a few pointers on how to get an edge in Spin & Gos from poker pro Kyle Maguire here.


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PokerStars Rolls into Panama, Brazil for Big March Series

At the beginning of the year, PokerStars famously reformed its entire quiver of live tours into one big global poker tour.

The lower buy-in series are now called PokerStars Festivals and the high buy-in “pro” tour has been renamed the PokerStars Global Championships.

The first of these Championships took place in the Bahamas in January and we’re now on the brink of the second, which will see the tour’s inaugural event in Panama City.

In fact Latin America will actually see two big poker festivals in March courtesy of PokerStars – the PokerStars Championship Panama and the BSOP in Sao Paolo. 

PokerStars Championship Panama

Panama has never been on the famed EPT/NAPT schedule but PokerStars still has ample experience there as it was a stop on the now-defunct Latin American Poker Tour (LAPT).


Poker room primed and ready.

Panama was carefully chosen as a Championship location, though, as PokerStars Live President Edgar Stuchly told PokerListings in a recent interview.

It offers “safety, experience and value,” he said while at the same featuring excellent “cash-game options, staff quality and easy accessibility from all directions.”

From March 10-20 there will be 46 events at the first-ever PSC Panama. The main event is a $5,300 NLHE tournament and the location is the Casino Sortis Hotel, Spa & Casino in Panama City.

Outside of the tournaments there’ll also be cash games on offer 24/7. The Sortis offers games starting at $1/$2 and potentially as high as $200/$400.

Tournaments will be offered in all sorts of games and buy-ins. Below is a shortlist of a few highlight events:

PokerStars Cup: Mar. 15-19, 2017 - $440 - $150k guaranteed
PokerStars National Championship: Mar. 11-14, 2017 - $1,100 - $400k guaranteed
PokerStars Championship Main Event: Mar. 14-20, 2017 - $5,300
PokerStars Championship High Roller: Mar. 18-20, 2017 - $10,300
PokerStars Championship Super High Roller: Mar. 11-14, 2017 - $50,000

500+ Players Expected

If you’re just coming out of a cold winter the temperature in Panama City in March is usually in the low 30s (Celsius) – as it is all-year round.

Kitty Kuo

Kitty’s in.

The main event is still a couple of weeks away but players such as new PokerStars Team Pro Igor Kurganov, Mike Telker, Dylan Linde, Kitty Kuo, Fabrizio Gonzalez and Faraz Jaka have already secured their places through online satellites.

Online satellites are running day and night until March 5 and we’ll soon see what kind of crowd the PokerStars Championship can attract.

According to Head of Live Poker Operations, Neil Johnson, a field of around 500 players is expected for the Main Event. Click through here to see the complete PSC Panama Schedule. 

Brazil Series of Poker Sao Paolo

Last year Brazilian poker icon Andre Akkari told us they should have as many tournaments as possible in Latin America to develop the area as a poker hotspot. 

Andre Akkari

Akkari: “The carnival BSOP atmosphere really has to be experienced to be believed.”

It seems they’ve listened. PokerStars has now added another edition of the Brazil Series of Poker (BSOP) and it’s coming back to the Sheraton WTC in Sao Paolo.

26 events will be played over the course of just five days from March 23-28. The main event is a $930 NLHE tournament and you can qualify on PokerStars until March 23 for as little as 33 cents.

Akkari didn’t take long to comment on the announcement and his words convey the level of enthusiasm that continues to drive Brazil’s top players.

“Playing in BSOP is like playing at the Maracanã Stadium for me. In São Paulo, with my supporters, I’ll take it down and keep the BSOP São Paulo title at home!”


“Players attending the BSOP São Paulo can expect a fantastic, professional event. Poker is incredibly popular in Brazil and the carnival BSOP atmosphere really has to be experienced to be believed.”


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PokerStars Gives Amateurs Another Shot with Cash Challenge

PokerStars is reviving the old Big Game-style format where an amateur player faces off against a group of well-known poker pros in its upcoming Cash Challenge.

The site is giving two players the chance to fly to Monte Carlo and take part in a high-stakes €12.5K buy-in cash game.

PokerStars will supply the €12.5k buy-in but it’s up to the players to actually make a profit for themselves as they get to keep everything they make over the original buy-in (after a minimum of 150 hands.

Cash Challenge Freeroll

Online qualifiers for the Cash Challenge take place four times daily and you can use a PokerStars ticket.

Daniel Negreanu6

You might get a shot against this guy.

If you’re not already signed up for PokerStars you can deposit on the site using the code “CASHCHALLENGE” to receive seven free tickets.

In addition to a prize pool of $1,000 the top 20 finishers will advance to the casting stage.

During the casting stage players will be invited to send a video audition for the Cash Challenge. PokerStars is asking for plenty of personality, humor and enthusiasm (so long as it’s under two minutes).

Simply upload your video to YouTube and email the link to ca[email protected] no later than Sunday, March 12, 2017.

The two players who are eventually picked will receive the following:

Return flights for two to Monte Carlo
Four nights’ stay for two at Le Meridien, Monte Carlo
€500 in spending money (credited to your Stars Account)
A €12,500 buy-in to an unforgettable cash game!

It’s not clear exactly when the Cash Challenge shoot will take place but there’s a good chance its during the PokerStars Championship in Monte Carlo, which takes place April 25-May 5, 2017.

To sign up for a PokerStars account and get PokerListings coveted sign-up codes just head to review page.


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Dzmitry Urbanovich Confirmed For Caribbean Poker Party

The partypoker Caribbean Poker Party is rapidly approaching, and in addition to the hundreds of partypoker qualifiers, many of who have won packages for free during the $1 Million Giveaway promotion, a whole host of the world’s best poker talent is also set to descend on picturesque Punta Cana. One such player is the Polish […]

The post Dzmitry Urbanovich Confirmed For Caribbean Poker Party appeared first on blog.

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Meet The People: Roberto Romanello Joins the Team

In the past weeks and months, the likes of Carl Froch, Patrick Leonard, and Natalia Breviglieri have become part of the partypoker team as ambassadors or sponsored pros, joining Mike Sexton and Tony Dunst in the role of flying the partypoker flag. Today, we are delighted to announce we have another stellar name joining the […]

The post Meet The People: Roberto Romanello Joins the Team appeared first on blog.

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#StarsFun is back for Barcelona

For you an EPT festival might simply be about the poker, but if you’re inclined to take a break from the action at the table, #StarsFun is back to offer plenty of action off it.

The new season begins in the usual way in Barcelona, with a festival guaranteed to offer top level poker to every kind of bankroll. But just as before #StarsFun offers something for those rare trips out of the tournament rooms of Casino Barcelona, out into the summer sunshine.

Casino_Barcelona_28july16.jpgCasino Barcelona

Here’s what’s in store.

Player Lounge - August 16-28

Open all day the player lounge is a place to relax and unwind, whether that’s during some downtime between events, or to shake off a bad beat. There you’ll find couches, armchairs, TVs and more. The perfect place to chill out or talk shop throughout the festival.

Player Party - August 21 (from 10pm)

The ever popular Player Party will kick off Season 13 in spectacular fashion at the popular Pacha nightclub, the Official Party Venue for EPT Barcelona. Bring your PSLive card to take advantage of special discounts throughout the festival.

WaterFun - August 18 & 23 (1pm & 5pm)

Register at the EPT Travel desk to take part in a variety of water sports during EPT Barcelona. Remember to bring a towel, sunscreen and suitable swimwear, and be at the EPT Travel desk 30 minutes prior to start time.

harbour_shr_28july16.jpgPort Olympic

Ideas Hub - August 22-25

Back on dry land, players are invited to come along and share their ideas with representatives from PokerStars at the Ideas Hub from August 22-25.

Topics to be discussed:

August 22: Poker, Casino & Sportsbook: Share your ideas for new games or features
August 23: General ideas & Poker Travel
August 24: Poker Travel - How would you improve travel to PokerStars-sponsored events?
August 25: VIP Store: How would you improve the VIP Store?

Darius Knight Table Tennis Challenge - August 22 (2:30pm-6:30pm)

Take on Table Tennis champion Darius Knight at his own game. The top 5 scores will all receive a ‘Baby Spade’ prize, while the overall high score also earns entry to the Right To Play charity event (more on that below).

arts_hotel_pokerstarsblog_28july16.JPGThe Arts Hotel, alongside the Casino Barcelona

Charity Event in aid of Right To Play - August 22 (7:30pm)

€150 Buy-in, €50 Unlimited Rebuys.

A host of Pros are expected to turnout for what is always a fun and entertaining event, with top prizes on offer donated by EPT Travel. They include:

1st: Darius Knight signed Table Tennis Table + €1,000 in live tournament credits
2nd: ‘The Golden Age of Travel’ for two people - explore the splendour of Britain’s countryside by luxurious train travel.
3rd: €550 in live event tournament credits
4th: iPad
5th: Two nights in a 4* Berlin hotel
6th: €330 in live event tournament credits
7th: iPhone
8th: Dinner for two

Dealer Auditions - August 28 (2pm)

Ever given any thought to working for the world’s best dealer team? We’re hosting Dealer Auditions on the final day at EPT Barcelona to those that meet set criteria. Email [email protected] or visit the Information Desk at the event for more info.


Find out more on the #StarsFun homepage.

Ready to start playing on PokerStars? Click here to get an account.

Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog. Follow him on Twitter: @StephenBartley.

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APPT10 Manila: The Guide

PokerStars LIVE Manila is ready and set for the highly anticipated APPT Manila Season 10 poker festival which takes place at the luxurious City of Dreams Manila from July 28 to August 8!

Last year, the tour’s annual Philippines leg took a giant step in cementing its place as a must-play event on the Asia poker circuit. The poker festival went from 558 total entrants in 2014 to a massive 2,769! In fact, the ₱50,000 Main Event alone surpassed the 2014 figures with 585 runners.

Aaron Lim and Team PS Pro Yaxi Zhu_27july16.jpgAaron Lim and Yaxi Zhu

With big fields comes big money and last year’s prize pools totalled more than ₱52 million (USD $1.1 million). This time promises to be even bigger and better!

WARMING UP (July 28-31)

If you’re fortunate enough to make the opening weekend of the 12-day schedule then you don’t want to miss out on the Warm-up event which comes with a ₱3 million prize pool guarantee.

Last year, Singapore’s Alex Lee took down the opener for a payday of over ₱1 million. The ₱10,000 buy-in tournament drew 570 entrants for a prize pool of nearly ₱5 million!

HIGH ROLLER (August 3-4)

Norwegian poker pro Henrik Tollefsen won last season’s ₱200,000 High Roller after defeating a 33-player field. However, the 2-day event has now moved to the eve of the Main Event to position itself to grow substantially from its ₱6 million prize pool.

“The change has received a lot of positive feedback so we’re expecting the High Roller to see one of the biggest increases amongst all the events in the poker festival,” said poker room manager Gerardo ‘Hill’ Alim.

MAIN EVENT (August 4-8)

₱50,000 buy-in. 585 players. 41 different countries. ₱25,535,250 prize pool.

That’s the stat line for last year’s APPT Manila Main Event making it the Philippines’ biggest international poker tournament in history. There’s simply no event at USD $1,000+ buy-in in the country that remotely comes close to producing those kind of numbers.

With another year under its belt, PokerStars LIVE Manila is primed for yet another huge turnout and Season 10 may very well shatter those already-impressive figures.

The man to watch will surely be Aussie poker pro Aaron Lim who won the Main Event last year - becoming the first, and only, two-time APPT winner. Lim has confirmed his attendance for APPT Manila and he’s in good form after recently winning the APPT Seoul High Roller event.

Live and online satellites to the Main Event are now running.

Full the complete APPT Manila schedule please visit the APPT website.

Tournament Structures are available here.

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APPT10 Seoul: Pass the trophy to Albert Paik

Congratulations to Albert Paik!

Champion of the APPT10 Seoul Main Event. For his impressive victory this week Paik collects ₩119,097,600 (~$101,000) (including a HK$100,000 ACOP Main Event seat), the coveted APPT trophy and he etches his name in Asia poker history.

APPTSeoul2016 albert paik champion.jpg

Paik overcame a tough field of 157 here in Seoul, but before he was named champion he had to overcome Shenghua Qian in a tense heads up battle. Starting that match as a 2:1 chip underdog, he fought his way back to emerge victorious.

In the end it all came down to a huge flip when Paik and Qian were almost dead even in chips. Paik opened to 60,000 on the button before Qian played back at him for 130,000. Then came the four-bet jam from Paik for 1,571,000, and after some deliberation, Qian called it off with almost an identical stack.

Paik: [8s][8c]
Qian: [ac][qs]

The flop landed [7s][5s][6d] and Paik jumped with excitement - not only fading an ace or queen but also picking up a straight draw. The [7c] turn and [6h] river were also safe and as Paik had Qian covered, the APPT Seoul Main Event was done and dusted.

APPTSeoul2016 heads up.jpg

Before that heads up match we started proceedings with seven players in contention.

It took less than 10 minutes for the first of those to be eliminated. Canada’s Windsor Nguyen started the day with only eight big blinds and couldn’t run it up. He met his demise after running [3h][3d] into the [qc][qd] of Shenghua Qian. The board ran out [5c][4c][ks][kd][7h] with Nguyen failing to improve and finishing in 7th place.


Satsuki Ochiai was next to go, also hitting the rail in the first level of the day. It was a flip against Michael Egan that ended his tournament run. Ochiai held [as][kc] but wouldn’t find the help he needed against [tc][td] when the community cards landed [2h][9d][2s][2c][7s]. Ochiai was out in 6th place for ₩23,455,000.

Australia’s Michael Egan left us in 5th place. He had been nursing a short stack and ultimately ran [th][td] into Shenghua Qian’s [ks][kc]. Egan couldn’t catch a lucky break and was sent packing when the [7h][6s][qh][ad][9s] board came down. He collected ₩28,554,000 for his impressive showing this week.

APPTSeoul2016 Michael Egan elimination.jpg

Next to go was Ken Hirosawa. He moved all in from the small blind holding [qd][8s] but found himself dominated when Shengua Qian called from the big blind with [ks][qs]. The cards fell [7s][2s][td][as][kc] with Qian turning the nuts and sealing Hirosawa’s fate.

Tetsuro Tomita took home the third place prize. He pushed the last of his chips in from the small blind with [qc][8h] and Paik decided on a call holding [ad][5c]. Tomita had live cards but he bricked on the [4s][5h][td][3c][jc] run out to be sent home one shy of the heads up match.

APPT Seoul Main Event Final Table Payouts
1st: Albert Paik (USA) - ₩119,097,600 (~$101,000)
2nd: Shenghua Qian (China) - ₩69,346,000 (~$58,000)
3rd: Tetsuro Tomita (Japan) - ₩44,871,000 (~$38,000)
4th: Ken Hirosawa (Japan) - ₩34,673,000 (~$29,400)
5th: Michael Egan (Australia) - ₩28,554,000 (~$24,200)
6th: Satsuki Ochiai (Japan) - ₩23,455,000 (~$19,900)
7th: Windsor Nguyen (Canada) - ₩19,736,000 (~$17,600)

Well played to Albert Paik and thanks to the Paradise Walkerhill Casino for hosting another spectacular tournament. The next stop on the APPT is Manila from July 28 - August 8. We hope you can join us again then!

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APPT10 Seoul: Final table live updates

12:40pm: Misclick works out for Paik
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (1,000 ante)

It folded to chip leader Albert Paik on the button and he seemingly attempted to raise to 20,000, but accidentally put 12,000 into the middle. The action was considered a limp and with Ken Hirosawa folding the small blind, Michael Egan checked the big blind to a flop of [9s][kh][kc].

It was checked to Paik who bet 12,000 and after a call from the Egan the dealer turned the [2h]. That card prompted checks from both players and the [6d] arrived on the end.

Egan had a stab at it with a lead for 27,000 but he wouldn’t get it through as Paik picked it off with [5s][5c]. Egan showed [jh][ts] for jack high and the pot was pushed Paik’s way. — BK

12:30pm: Windsor Nguyen out in 7th (₩19,376,000)
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (1,000 ante)

Well, he came in as oiut short stack with just ten big blinds, and it didn’t take long for Canada’s Windsor Nguyen to get busy. He moved all-in under the gun and it folded to chip leader Albert Paik. He tossed in a single chip to make the call, and then the action folded to small blind Shenghua Qian. He looked interested and thought for several minutes before putting in a 170,000 isolation raise. It worked; Paik folded and the cards were flipped:

Nguyen: [3h][3d]
Qian: [qd][qc]

Nguyen was dominated and would need to hit but couldn’t find any help on the [5c][4c][ks][kd][7h] board. As Nguyen was making his exit, Paik revealed that he folded pocket Jacks.

Qian now has 860,000. -JS


Windsor Nguyen

12:20pm: Let’s go!
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (1,000 ante)

After waiting for Windsor Nguyen - our short stack - to arrive, play has now officially kicked off. -JS


11:45pm: It’s final table time!

The final table is set to start.

Seven players return at 12pm today to see who will lift the APPT Seoul trophy and collect ₩119,097,600.

Albert Paik currently leads the way with 952,000, ahead of Shenghua Qian on 771,000. Blinds recommence on Level 19 at 5,000/10,000 with a 1,000 ante.

Play begins shortly so don’t go anywhere. In the meantime you can find the final table draw below. — BK

Seat Last Name First Name Country PokerStars Status Chip Count
1 Hirosawa Ken Japan            185,000 
2 Egan Michael Australia PokerStars Player          354,000 
3 Qian Shenghua China            771,000 
4 Tomita Tetsuro Japan            542,000 
5 Nguyen Windsor Canada              82,000 
6 Ochiai Satsuki Japan            234,000 
7 Paik Albert USA            952,000 

APPTSeoul2016 final 7.jpg

PokerStars Blog reporting team in Seoul: Brad Kain and Jack Stanton. Photos by Kenneth Lim Photography.

The APPT Seoul festival at Paradise Walkerhill Casino runs until Monday, June 27th. Full details are available on the official APPT website page.

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APPT10 Seoul: Day 3 live updates

12:30pm: Tsuji gone in 22nd
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

The first player to be eliminated today is Yasuyuki Tsuji. He made a bold and aggressive play, but it didn’t pay off in the end.

Tsuji opened to 10,000 only for Norihiro Otani to raise it up to 28,000. When the action folded back to Tsuji he paused for a moment before announcing he was all-in for 85,000 total.

Otani went deep into the tank and remained for around five minutes. Eventually the clock was called - the bubble is approaching after all and there are other short stacks in play - and Otani had one more minute of thinking.

“Call,” he said.

Otani: [th][ts]
Tsuji: [ah][9d]

Tsuji needed to see an Ace but instead what he saw on the [3c][td][qc] flop was his opponent make a set. That improved to quads on the [tc] turn, and the [8h] completed the board.

Tsuji is out in 22nd, while Otani moves up to 220,000. -JS


No cash for Tsuji

12:20pm: Paik gets stronger courtesy of O’Rourke
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

At the end of Day 1A, our chip leader was Albert Paik. He had a great Day 2 yesterday too, ultimately finishing second in chips.

He’s started the day as he means to go on by adding even more to his arsenal. Liam O’Rourke opened to 8,500 before Paik three-bet to 20,000. With the action folded back to the Australian, O’Rourke then four-bet to 38,500, and Paik made the call.

The dealer spread a [th][kc][td] flop and O’Rourke decided not to continue with his aggression. He checked, allowing Paik to take control with a 40,000 bet. That was enough to take it down.

Paik is now playing around 340,000, while O’Rourke has dropped to 150,000. -JS

12:10pm: Great start for Egan
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

Australia’s Michael Egan has managed to find a double-up in one of the very first hands of the day. While we didn’t see the action that led up to it, in the end Egan’s [jh][th] had made a straight on the [5d][ks][ac][9c][qs] board, and he’s now playing a much healthier stack of 205,000. -JS

12:05pm: Shuffle up and deal!
Level 15: Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

Cards are now in the air here on Day 3. With 18 places paying and 22 remaining we could be in for a slow start. We’ve also been informed that we’ll be playing down to a final seven today.

Let’s see who can survive the bubble and make it all the way to the final table. — BK

11:45pm: The penultimate day is almost underway!

Only 22 remain in the hunt for ₩119,097,600 (~$101,600) in cash and prizes, the prestigious APPT trophy, and the chance to have themselves etched into Korean poker history.

Potentially another short day as we believe the plan is to play down to a nine-handed final table, before those lucky few return tomorrow to battle down to a champion.

Poland’s Daniel Demicki leads the way at the start of proceedings. He finished 3rd in this event last year and has found himself in a good position to make another deep run. Demicki starts the day with 292,000, only just ahead of Day 1a chip leader Albert Paik with 287,000.

You can find full chip counts here and the Day 3 table draw here.

The players are now making their way onto the tournament floor with action set to begin shortly. Be sure to keep your browser locked to the PokerStars Blog for all the live updates from right here in Seoul. — BK

APPTSeoul2016 payouts.jpg

PokerStars Blog reporting team in Seoul: Brad Kain and Jack Stanton. Photos by Kenneth Lim Photography.

The APPT Seoul festival at Paradise Walkerhill Casino runs until Monday, June 27th. Full details are available on the official APPT website page.

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APPT10 Seoul: Day 2 live updates

12:40pm: Zheng doubles through Ishihara
Level 9 - Blinds 600/1,200 (100 ante)

We just reported how Alvin Zheng has had a rough start here today, losing more than half his stack in the early stages, but it looks like he’s turning it around after finding a double up.

The hand began with Team PokerStars Pro Chen An Lin raising to 2,800 from late position before Zheng moved all in for his last 16,900. It folded to Masanori Ishihara in the big blind and he came over the top with an all-in of his own. Lin quickly folded and the cards went on their backs.

Zheng: [kd][kd]
Ishihara: [jh][jc]

Zheng was in front and had a stranglehold on the hand by the time the [ks][4c][7h] flop arrived. Needing to fade only running jacks he had locked up the pot by the [7c] turn before the inconsequential [9d] river rolled off.

Zheng secured the double while Ishihara dropped to a still very healthy 122,000. — BK

12:25pm: Simply disgusting
Level 9 - Blinds 600/1,200 (100 ante)

If you’re eating right now I suggest you wait until you’ve finished before reading this hand. It’s pretty darn sick.

There was a [6d][td][7c] flop showing and Yen Chang Huang led at it for 9,000. He started today with 29,900 and had already lost a few, so this was a significant part of his chips. His only opponent, Yifan Zheng, then moved all-in over the top. He had Huang covered.

Huang tanked but eventually made an emphatic call, slamming his stack in the middle. Unfortunately for him, though, it was the wrong decision. Zheng turned over the [qh][qd] and the overpair was way ahead of Huang’s top pair with the [ad][th].

The dealer then burned and turned the [qd], and that sealed Huang’s fate.

Or did it? Out of nowhere the [8d] hit the river and Huang had hit a runner-runner flush. There were gasps all around, and plenty of declarations of “so sick”. Indeed it was.

Zheng has now dropped to 13,000, while lucky old Huang has shot up to 50,000. -JS

12:15pm: Goh’ing home
Level 9 - Blinds 600/1,200 (100 ante)

New Zealand’s Gabriel Goh was just sent packing after a bad beat from China’s Tong Zhou.

Goh kicked things off with a raise to 2,600 before Zhou moved all in from the small blind. The jam was met by a quick call from Goh and he saw he was in a good spot to win the pot.

Goh: [qs][qd]
Zhou: [ad][9d]

Goh managed to fade danger through to the turn on the [js][3h][6h][kh] runout but the [ah] river signaled the end of his tournament.

“Yes!” cried Zhou as the ace arrived on the end.

The pair had similar stacks and Goh wasn’t sure if he had been eliminated. Zhou started the day with only 14,200 but it appears he had spun it up in the first few hands as the dealer cut down 57,000.

“57?” Goh confirmed with the dealer, “he has me covered then.”

Goh was up front his seat and headed for the exit as Zhou raked close to 100,000. — BK

12pm: Let’s get this show on the road!
Level 9 - Blinds 600/1,200 (100 ante)

Cards are in the air here on Day 2 as we begin to play to the bubble, which bursts at 18 players. -JS

11:45am: Welcome to Day 2

Good morning all! We’re back at the Paradise Walkerhill Casino, and in 15 minutes we’ll be joined by the 61 remaining players in this APPT10 Seoul main event.

It’s Day 2, which sees our Day 1A and 1B survivors merge for the first time. Our champion will be in the room today, but who will it be? Could Team PokerStars Pros Celina Lin and Bryan Huang make the final table together again like they did last year? Will our other Team Pro Chen An Lin make his first Seoul final table? Can the Aussie contingent (made up of talented pros including Michael Egan and Lim O’Rourke) make deep runs? You’ll have to wait and see.

The man leading the field right now is Chan Tsuh Ming. He’s bringing a huge stack of 169,800 into play today, after a late surge last night saw him shoot up the leaderboards. Here are the biggest stacks in the room today:

Last Name First Name Table Seat Country Chip Count PokerStars Status
1 Chan Tsun Ming 6 8 Hong Kong 169,800  
2 Paik Albert 7 6 USA 116,800  
3 Ishihara Masanori 4 2 Japan 114,000  
4 Nguyen Windsor 3 4 Canada 111,100  
5 Qian Shenghua 2 3 China 100,300  
6 Kim Andrew 3 6 USA 99,000  
7 Demicki Daniel 2 8 Poland 93,000 PokerStars Qualifier
8 O’rourke Liam 1 8 Australia 87,800 PokerStars Qualifier
9 Tsuji Yasuyuki 2 9 Japan 84,900  

Play starts shortly at 12pm local time. The bubble is sure to burst today with 18 players getting paid. You can check out the whole prize pool and payouts here, but know that all players are aiming for the first place prize of ₩119,097,600 ($101,399 US).


In terms of how long we’ll play for today, as of right now we really don’t know! Stay with us all day to follow the action. -JS

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

PokerStars Blog reporting team in Seoul: Brad Kain and Jack Stanton. Photos by Kenneth Lim Photography.

The APPT Seoul festival at Paradise Walkerhill Casino runs until Monday, June 27th. Full details are available on the official APPT website page.

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APPT10 Seoul: Day 1B live updates

12:50pm: Another Team Pro for your list
Level 1: Blinds 50/100

Joining Japan’s Kosei Ichinose as members of Team PokerStars Pro present here on Day 1B of APPT10 Seoul is none other than Celina Lin.

The two-time Macau Red Dragon main event winner may have just arrived for this APPT main event, but she’s already been in the action throughout the festival, playing in a warm-up event earlier this week.

A lot of players already at #APPTSeoul , 88 entrants for the warm up event. Plenty of action here! 35 players left

— Celina Lin (@Celina_Lin) June 21, 2022

With more than $600,000 in live earnings, the Twitch superstar is poised for a good run here today. Here’s hoping! -JS

Celina Lin at APPT10 Macau in May

12:40pm: Team Pro arrives to rep the red spade
Level 1: Blinds 50/100

Japan’s Kosei Ichinose is now sitting with a 20,000 starting stack as he’s become the first player to adorn the PokerStars red spade here today (he won’t be the only one though - stay tuned for more on that).

Ichinose became a PokerStars Team Pro at the beginning of last year; already a legend in the online world, he was the first Japanese player to reach Supernova Elite status. “I’m proud to be associated with PokerStars as I have achieved so much in the game by playing on the site,” he told us at the time.

Good luck Kosei! -JS


Ichinose in Macau last month

12:30pm: Tens full for Takashi
Level 1: Blinds are 50/100

Hiranuma Takashi just took a large chunk out of Michael Egan’s stack. We arrived at the table to catch what looked like a three-bet to 900 from Egan, and then a subsequent four-bet to 1,900 from Takashi.

Egan called and the flop brought [8s][3c][tc]. Takashi continued for 2,500 and Egan called again before the [3d] turn paired the board.

Then Egan took the betting lead after he was checked to, firing for 3,700. Takashi paused momentarily before making the call and the [qd] river completed the board.

Both players checked it on the end and Takashi revealed [ts][td] for flopped top set which had improved to a full house on the turn. Egan nodded and mucked his hand as he was knocked down to 11,200. Takashi now one of the chip leaders with around 29,000 at his disposal. — BK

12:10pm: Egan’s eager
Level 1: Blinds 50/100

One of the more recognisable faces in the crowd at the beginning of play today is that of Australia’s Michael Egan. An all-round beast at the felt, Egan burst on to the live scene last year with a fifth place finish in the EPT12 Barcelona €50K super high roller, good for €358,900.

He followed that up with a final table at the Aussie Millions in January, ultimately finishing seventh in the $25,000 high roller for $76,094.

We look forward to seeing how he gets on here in Seoul. -JS

12:00pm: Shuffle up and deal!

Players are in their seats and cards are in the air as Day 1B kicks off. Blinds begin at 50/100 with a starting bank of 20,000.

More notable names are expected to make an appearance today. We’re about to scout the field and see who we can spot.

11:45pm: Welcome to Day 1B!

Players have begun wandering in to the poker room here at Paradise Walkerhill Casino as Day 1B is almost underway.

Yesterday saw 61 players in the Main Event race and we’re expecting to eclipse that number today as a new batch of players pony up the ₩3,000,000 (~$2,600) and chase the Seoul poker crown. They’ll be looking to best the Day 1A end-of-day chip leader Albert Paik who bagged up 116,800.

The plan today is eight one-hour levels so including breaks play will conclude around 8:30pm local time. For now though, it’s just about time to begin. Stay with us! — BK

APPT Seoul111.jpg

Key APPT10 Seoul Facts:
- 20,000 starting stack
- Blinds starting at 50/100 for 200 big blinds
- Levels are 60 minutes on Day 1 and there will be eight of them
- Day 2 is Saturday when the field will combine for the first time. We’ll reach the money during the eight levels of play on Day 2 and then play down to a final table on Sunday. Monday is all about the final.
- Full APPT10 Seoul schedule here.

PokerStars Blog reporting team in Seoul: Brad Kain and Jack Stanton. Photos by Kenneth Lim Photography.

The APPT Seoul festival at Paradise Walkerhill Casino runs until Monday, June 27th. Full details are available on the official APPT website page.

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APPT10 Seoul: Day 1A live updates

12:50pm: Takeshi’s castle
Level 1: Blinds 50/100

It’s only 45 minutes into Day 1a and we’ve already seen our first player find the exit.

Despite the two in the hand having around the starting 20,000, all the money appeared to go in preflop. The recent evictee held [kh][kd] and was up against the [ac][td] of Yamashita Takeshi.

The kings looked good until the [5c][4h][ah] flop left Takeshi’s opponent chasing two outs. Neither of those would come as the [8d] turn and [tc] river completed the board and as our first casualty fell, Takeshi stacked up close to 40,000 as our new chip leader. — BK

12:35pm: Note to self - don’t try and bluff Vincent Li
Level 1: Blinds 50/100

I saw a 4,150 pot (pretty big for this opening level) and two players, unknown to me at the time, both deep in contemplation. Naturally I stuck around to see how it went down.

The board showed the [6s][9h][4c][4s] and a player led out for 2,200. His opponent, who after the hand I discovered is Hong Kong’s Vincent Li, made the call.

The river was the [9s] and the turn-raiser quickly checked. Li checked it back and waited for his opponent to reveal his hand - which turned out to be the [as][td] for just Ace-high. Thing is, Li had Ace-high too with the [ac][jc]. It was a great call, and Li took down a healthy pot early here on Day 1A. -JS

12:25pm: Team PokerStars in the building
Level 1: Blinds 50/100

Our first Team PokerStars Pro has taken his seat this afternoon. Taiwan’s Chen An Lin is flying the flag on his own at the moment, but more of his teammates are expected to arrive later or make an appearance tomorrow for Day 1b.

Lin has just taken a seat at Table 6 across from reigning Asia Player of the Year Alan Lau so we’ll be keeping an eye out to see if they engage in any battles. — BK

Team PokerStars Pro Chen An Lin

12:10pm: Nice start for O’Rourke
Level 1: Blinds 50/100

Australian pro Liam O’Rourke is out in the Day 1A field, and he’s off to a flying start. After an under-the-gun raise to 300 on a five-handed table, O’Rourke flat called on the button and the two saw a [9s][9d][ad] flop fall. The raiser continued for 425, and O’Rourke went nowhere.

Next up was the [tc] turn, and the betting didn’t stop. It was 875 this time around and once again that bet was called. Finally the [5h] landed on the river and both players decided they’d had enough. After each checked, the original raiser showed the [2d][2s], while O’Rourke took it down with his [ah][8h].

O’Rourke, from Oakley, Victoria, had his biggest live cash in the HK$100K high roller at APPT7 Macau, finishing fourth for HK$339,000 (roughly $43,675 US). -JS

12:00pm: Shuffle and deal!
Level 1: Blinds 50/100

Cards are now in the air!

We’re in for eight levels of play today. Let’s see how many runners we can get here for the Main Event and who of those can survive the day.

So far we’ve spotted reigning Asia Player of the Year Alan Lau in the field, we’re about to go scouting for some more notables.

Stay tuned! — BK

11:45am: Day 1A ready to go!

It’s a hot day here in Seoul, South Korea, but inside the Paradise Walkerhill Casino there’s a cool, calm atmosphere right now. It’s not going to last though; Day 1A of the APPT10 Seoul is just 15 minutes away from starting, and those cool exteriors will soon heat up as the cards get in the air and the chips start flying.

The buy-in for this main event is ₩3,000,000 (roughly $2,600 US), with registration open until the end of Level 4. There will be eight 60-minute levels on Days 1A (today) and 1B (tomorrow), so the only question now is to see who will make it through to Day 2?

This tournament had 241 runners last year, and boasted a star-studded final table featuring Team PokerStars Pros Celina Lin and Bryan Huang. In the end it was Jason Mo who took it down for KRW165,590,200 ($151,359) and the coveted APPT trophy.

Play will be starting at 12pm local time, so don’t go anywhere.

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

Key APPT10 Seoul Facts:
- 20,000 starting stack
- Blinds starting at 50/100 for 200 big blinds
- Levels are 60 minutes on Day 1 and there’ll be eight of them
- Day 1A is today and Day 1B takes place tomorrow
- The field will then combine for the first time on Saturday. We’ll reach the money during the eight levels of play on Day 2 and then play down to a final table on Sunday. Monday is all about the final.
- Full APPT10 Seoul schedule here.


PokerStars Blog reporting team in Seoul: Brad Kain and Jack Stanton. Photos by Kenneth Lim Photography.

The APPT Seoul festival at Paradise Walkerhill Casino runs until Monday, June 27th. Full details are available on the official APPT website page.

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APPT9 Seoul: It’s showtime

Welcome to Seoul! One of the Asia Pacific Poker Tour’s most breathtaking stops. Not only is there another exciting week of poker in store here but players get the chance to enjoy the rich cultural experience that the city has to offer when they’re away…

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Roberto Romanello Represents partypoker in Las Vegas

World Poker Tour Champions Club member Roberto Romanello is to sport a partypoker patch while he is in Las Vegas chasing down the coveted “Triple Crown” of live poker titles. Welshman Romanello is one of the most popular figures in the world of poker, but also one of the most feared as his friendly and […]

The post Roberto Romanello Represents partypoker in Las Vegas appeared first on blog.

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APPT10 Macau: Day 1a live updates

Move over for the Main Event!

Welcome back to PokerStars LIVE Macau for our coverage of the Asia Pacific Poker Tour 10’s Macau HK$25,000 Main Event. 

It has already been an exciting week of poker here and now players will set their sights on the festival’s flagship event. You can read more about what’s in store right here.

Play will begin at 2:00pm local time and with hundreds expected to pull up seats across the two opening flights you can be sure there will be a healthy prize pool on offer. The eventual champion will be crowned come Sunday so stay with us over the next five days for all the action from the felt! 

All photos by Kenneth Lim Photography courtesy of PokerStars LIVE Macau

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Eureka6 Bucharest: Israel’s Avishai Shitrit takes down inaugural Romanian event for €107,350


This final table of six started with three Romanians, two Israelis, and one Bulgarian. A local winner getting victory on their home soil seemed likely right from the start of the tournament, as Romanians truly love their poker and came out in force for this festival. 

But it wasn’t to be. In the end, it was the two players from Israel - Avishai Shitrit and Moshe Eliyahu (who was celebrating his 28th birthday today) - who would find themselves heads-up. The two are friends, and have been chatting and routing for one another for the past two days.

In the duel it didn’t take long for Shitrit to grind down Eliyahu as he came into the one-on-one match with more than a five-to-one chip lead. But it still took a super sick hand to end it - we’ll get to that later

First, meet your winner of the first ever Eureka tournament in Bucharest, or Romania for that matter: 30-year-old poker pro Avishai Shitrit. Here’s how the day played out.


Avishai Shitrit (left) with runner-up Moshe Eliyahu

Final table time

Six players returned today, and here’s how they stacked up at the beginning:







Yasen Dichev Bulgaria   3900000
Jozsef Liszkovics Romania PokerStars Player 2750000
Moshe Eliyahu Israel   2690000
Razvan Costinel Belea Romania PokerStars Player 2450000
Avishai Shitrit Israel   1730000
Carmen Zainescu Romania   690000

Popular local pro Carmen Zainescu came in as the short stack, and she’d be the first player to leave us. She jammed over an open from Romania’s Jozsef Liszkovics with Ace-eight and was called by his Ace-Queen. The kicker held up and she hit the rail in sixth for €22,860.

Thumbnail image for carmen_zainescu__final_eurekabuch.jpg

Zainescu says goodbye

Shitrit started to gain momentum during five-handed play, climbing the chip counts after doubling through Liszkovics. However, the actual chip lead flipped a lot today - mainly between Dichev, Eliyahu, and Liszkovics.

Romania’s Razvan Belea never really got a hold on this final. In fact, in one hand he even called the clock on himself! He was eliminated by Liszkovics after his Ace-nine was out-flopped by his countrymen’s King-Queen. For fifth, he pocketed €29,200.

Thumbnail image for belea_final_eurekabuch2.jpg

Razvan Belea

Yasen Dichev would be the next to fall, although you really couldn’t see it coming. Dichev proved himself a quality player time and time again; from leading at the start and end of Day 3 to making some fantastic calls and plays here today. However, he got a little frisky when he four-bet jammed pocket nines for 2.95 million over an open from Eliyahu and raise from Liszkovics, the latter of which called with pocket Queens. The ladies held up and Dichev collected €37,070 for fourth.

Thumbnail image for yasen_dichev_final_eureka6buch.jpg

Dichev played well but fell in fourth

Liszkovics led the way at this point, but Shitrit got stronger by taking chips from Eliyahu. He eventually took the chip lead, and right before Jozsef Liszkovics was eliminated in third here’s how the chip counts looked:

Avishai Shitrit - 7.85 million
Jozsef Liszkovics - 4.5 million
Moshe Eliyahu - 1.8 million 

The biggest pot of the tournament took place three-handed, and it was also the one that would get us heads-up. Liszkovics started the hand with a button open to 200,000 and Avishai Shitrit called from the big blind. The flop came the [js][4s][Ah] and Shitrit check-called a c-bet of 150,000, before also check-calling a bet of 500,000 on the [3s] turn.

Finally the [2s] landed on the river, bringing four spades to the flush. Shitrit took his time and led out for 2 million, and after getting an exact count Liszkovics moved all-in. Shitrit snap-called with the [as][6d] for the nut flush, while Liszkovics had the [ks][7d] for second best. He won €47,910 for third, and we were then heads-up.

Jozsef Liszkovics_finalbuch.jpg

Romania’s Jozsef Liszkovics


Avishai Shitrit Israel   12,560,000
Moshe Eliyahu Israel   1,765,000

As you can see, Shitrit had a huge chip lead, and shortly after heads-up play began he’d whittled Eliyahu’s stack down to less than a million.

In the final hand - that sick hand I told you about earlier - Shitrit made it 200,000 on the button and Eliyahu called. The flop came the [5c][3c][6d] and Eliyahu checked, allowing Shitrit to continue for 150,000, which was called. The turn was the [kd] and Eliyahu checked again only to see Shitrit bet 300,000.

At this point Eliyahu moved all-in for around 700,000 total and Shitrit snap-called, turning over the [4c][7h] for the nut straight. Eliyahu had also flopped a straight with his [2d][4d], but he had the low end and like that it was over.


Shitrit and his rail

The birthday boy Moshe Eliyahu might not have got the present he really wanted, however €66,950 is not bad by any means.

But how did our champion feel? “It’s a wonderful achievement,” Shitrit told the PokerStars Blog. “When I made the final table, I didn’t expect to win it. It was very quick from yesterday. We went down to six players in the blink of an eye and it feels incredible that I won it now!” 

For winning the first Eureka6 Bucharest, Avishai Shitrit takes home €107,350. Congratulations to him, and thanks for reading over the past week. 



Eureka6 Bucharest results 
Entrants: 579
Total prize pool: €561,630
Places paid: 87 

1. Avishai Shitrit (Israel) €107,350
2. Moshe Eliyahu (Israel) €66,950
3. Jozsef Liszkovics (Romania) €47,910
4. Yasen Dichev (Bulgaria) €37,070
5. Razvan Belea (Romania) €29,200
6. Carmen Zainescu (Romania) €22,860

All photos by Tomáš Stacha. Many thanks to Jan Kores.

You can win your seat to one of countless PokerStars live events around the world. Click here to open an account and get started.

Jack Stanton is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

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Eureka6 Bucharest: Final table live updates

6 players (of 579) remain
Chip counts
Prize pool and payouts
Final table player profiles

2:26pm: The birthday boy
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (5,000 ante)

Today is Moshe Eliyahu’s 28th birthday - and what a way to spend it, on a final table in which you’re guaranteed to win your biggest ever career score.

Thing is, this isn’t a new experience for Eliyahu. While not a tournament on this scale, last year on his 27th birthday Eliyahu was on another final table at a tournament in Prague, which he won for around €8K.

Can he make it back to back wins on his birthday?

2:16pm: Million chip pot to Eliyahu
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (5,000 ante)

It’s been a fantastic start for Moshe Eliyahu, having increased his stack by 800,000 already. He min-opened and got two callers in Razvan Belea and Jozsef Liszkovics. They all saw a [5h][js][6h] flop which Eliyahu checked and Belea led for 120,000. Both called.

A [qs] turn brought another check from Eliyahu and another bet from Belea, this time worth 215,000. Liszkovics and Eliyahu called again to see the [jd] fall on the river.

Again, there’d be no more action with everyone checking. Eliyahu revealed his [jh][3h] for trips and that was good enough to win thanks to the river Jack. Belea showed his [ah][kh] for a missed nut flush draw, so maybe one pair was ahead anyway.

Eliyahu now has 3.3 million, while Belea drops to 2.25 million and Liszkovics 2.35 million.

2:05pm: Belea draws first blood
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (5,000 ante)

Moshe Eliyahu (it’s his birthday don’t ya know? More on that later) opened to 80,000 under the gun and got one call from Razvan Belea. The flop came the [3d][3c][6d] and Eliyahu continued for 100,000, which Belea matched.

The [5c] landed on the turn and the player from Israel continued again with a 115,000 bet. Belea called once more taking us to the [9d] river. The action stopped here as both checked, and Belea’s [as][kd] was beating Eliyahu’s [qc][jc] to take it down.

2pm: Here we go…
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (5,000 ante)

The players are in their seats and the clock has restarted. Time to get cards in the air!

1pm: Who will become the first ever Eureka Bucharest champ?

This event was the first time the Eureka poker tour had ever held a stop in Romania in all its five seasons so far. Eureka6 Bucharest was a big success, with 579 players - including Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu - coming to the InterContinental Hotel and paying €1,000 for their shot at the title.

Now the time has come to crown a champion. 

There are just six players remaining, as we already lost two players from the final table of eight before play ended yesterday. Here’s how they stack up:







Yasen Dichev Bulgaria   3900000
Jozsef Liszkovics Romania PokerStars Player 2750000
Moshe Eliyahu Israel   2690000
Razvan Costinel Belea Romania PokerStars Player 2450000
Avishai Shitrit Israel   1730000
Carmen Zainescu Romania   690000

Yesterday we got to know our final table players a little better - take a look at the player profiles here.

And here’s what they’re playing for:

1. €107,350.00  
2. €66,950.00  
3. €47,910.00  
4. €37,070.00  
5. €29,200.00  
6. €22,860.00

Join us at 2pm when the final table action kicks off.

PokerStars Blog Reporting Team at Eureka6 Bucharest: Jack Stanton. Photos by Tomas Stacha. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog

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Eureka6 Bucharest: Final table player profiles


Meet your final eight in the Eureka6 Bucharest main event:

Seat 1: Moshe Eliyahu, 27, Nahariya, Israel


Moshe Eliyahu had only $13k in reported live cashes prior to entering Eureka6 Bucharest. He’s now guaranteed to double that; making the final table here already secures him a €11,630 payday. This is not Eliyahu’s first visit to the Romanian capital; last August, he arrived to Bucharest for the Israeli Poker Tour and picked up three cashes during the festival, including his best result until today: €8,910 for a sixth place finish in the €550 Main Event. Eliyahu has been wearing a green shirt of his favourite football club Maccabi Haifa during the Eureka Bucharest Main Event. He can become the third Eureka champion from Israel should he follow in the footsteps of his compatriots Idan Greenberg (Eureka1 Bulgaria winner) and Liran Machluf (Eureka3 Bulgaria champ).

Seat 2: Avishai Shitrit, 30, Beersheva, Israel


Another Israeli player on the final table is Avishai Shitrit from Beersheva, who’s sitting right next to his fellow countryman Moshe Eliyahu. Shitrit is a poker pro who started playing six years ago. He’s focusing on both tournaments and cash games. The 30-year-old splits his time at the tables between live and online, and making the final table here is the biggest achievement of his career.

Seat 3: Razvan “razvyqq” Belea, 27, Targu Jiu, Romania, PokerStars player


Razvan Belea comes from Targu Jiu, Romania. His live results don’t reveal much about him as he has recorded only two small cashes on the home soil. However, he’s a poker pro, grinding online as “razvyqq”. In the online realm, his biggest accolades came in the PokerStars Big $11. Belea has made five final tables of that same tournament including two second and two third place finishes. He banked over $11k several times in these events but making the final table here at Eureka6 Bucharest is certainly his biggest achievement to date. Belea’s moniker indicates that his favourite hand is pocket Queens but on Day 3, he didn’t mind holding a pair of Kings when he knocked out Mihai Ciorteanu (18th) & Adrian Ion Popa (19th) in a single hand. Apart from poker, Belea’s hobbies are playing football and watching movies. The linguists amongst you might enjoy the fact that Belea means “trouble” in Romanian.

Seat 4: Yasen Dichev, 27, Varna, Bulgaria


Bulgaria’s Yasen Dichev hails from Varna’s suburb Aksakovo. The 27-year-old emerged as the chip leader at the end of Day 2, bagging up about 14% of all chips in play. That already made Dichev a huge favourite on making the final table. Should he finish sixth or better, he’ll celebrate the best result of his career. So far, he’s amassed $54k in live tournament cashes with the biggest prize of €21,000 earned in the €1k Event at EPT12 Prague. Dichev is currently ranked #57 on the Bulgarian all-time money list but can possibly move thirty places up the ladder if he wins this tournament. He’s been playing poker for ten years and considers himself an amateur. However, he’s also doing well in online tournaments; his biggest payday was around $119k.

Seat 5: Jozsef Liszkovics, 28, Odorheia Secuiesc, Romania, PokerStars player

Jozsef Liszkovics_day3buch.jpg

Jozsef Liszkovics is a poker pro from Odorheia Secuiesc, Romania. He’s been playing poker for four years, almost exclusively online. The 28-year-old specializes in tournaments and his biggest accolade was a first place in the PokerStars Bigger $109 worth about $37k. He’s also a huge Real Madrid fan, filling a sentence “Hasta el final, vamos Real” in his profile. While his favourite football club is preparing for next week’s Champions League final, Liszkovics will experience his biggest final tomorrow.

Seat 6: Razvan “b91pit” Bordei, 34, Bucharest/Romania, PokerStars qualifier


Amateur poker player Razvan Bordei has made his biggest live tournament final table right here in his home city. The 34-year-old from Bucharest has been enjoying poker since 2009, playing both live and online. Prior to entering Eureka6 Bucharest, Bordei amassed $24k in live cashes including a €2,080 payday for a 134th place at Eureka4 Vienna. He’ll collect his second Eureka Main Event cash here in the Romanian capital and it will also be the biggest of his live career. In the online realm, Bordei’s biggest win was about $25k.

Seat 7: Florin Ionut Pandilica, 36, Bucharest, Romania


Florin Ionut Pandilica is also a local player. He’s been playing poker for the past decade and has racked up over $75k in live tournament winnings. Pandilica collected his biggest cash at EPT8 Barcelona, finishing 50th for €14,000 in the Main Event. He prefers tournaments over cash games.

Seat 8: Carmen Zainescu, 45, Plaiesti, Romania


There were only four female players in the Eureka6 Bucharest Main Event but one of them made it to the final table. Carmen Zainescu celebrated it loudly as she’d had the shortest stack in the tournament since there were two tables left but still found her way amongst the final eight. Zainescu, 45, hails from Plaiesti and has been playing live tournaments for five years. Her resumé includes cashes worth nearly $26k and she’s about to boost it with her result in this tournament, which has already beaten her previous best (€3,700 for 15th at PokerFest Bucharest back in 2013). Zainescu claims family to be her other hobby.

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Eureka6 Bucharest: Day 3 live updates

28 players (of 579) remain
Chip counts
Prize pool and payouts

11:45am: Welcome to Day 3 - the business end of Eureka6 Bucharest

When the money gets big, the bust-outs get brutal. It’s Day 3 here in beautiful Bucharest, and just 28 of the 579 players who entered this event remain.

Today we’ll be playing down to final table, and everyone has their heart set on the €107,350 first-place prize. Right now they’re all guaranteed a €2,860 payday, but after just one elimination that’ll increase to €3,310.

Thumbnail image for yasen_dichev_day2_eureka6buch3.jpg

Yasen Dichev leads coming into Day 3

The player out in front at the beginning of play today is Bulgaria’s Yasen Dichev, who stormed ahead of the pack yesterday afternoon and held the chip lead for the last few levels. He comes into today with 2.047 million.

Close behind him are Israel’s Moshe Eliyahu with 1.636 million, and Romania’s Razvan Costinel Belea (915,000), Jozsef Liszkovics (912,00), and Antoanell ‘Toni’ Judet (906,000).

Play starts at 1pm with the blinds at 8,000/16,000 and a 2,000 ante. See you shortly as we tackle the business end.

PokerStars Blog Reporting Team at Eureka6 Bucharest: Jack Stanton. Photos by Tomas Stacha. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog

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Eureka6 Bucharest: Day 2 live updates

36 players (of 579) remain - we’re in the money
Chip counts
Prize pool and payouts

10:48pm: Just five tables left
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (1,000 ante)

The room was absolutely jam-packed with Day 2 players this morning. Now the field has been whittled down to just 36 spread over just five tables.

10:45pm: “Pay him. Pay zat man his money.”
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (1,000 ante)

If you insist, Teddy KGB.

39. Petrica Lombada - €2,530
40. Paul Lucian Jifcu - €2,200
41. Bahar Musa - €2,200
42. Ionut Dragos - €2,200
43. Daniel Ricardo - €2,200
44. Nicolae Buse - €2,200
45. Claudiu Rajnoveanu - €2,200
46. Karakolev Nedelcho - €2,200
47. Iulian Alin Chirculeanu - €2,200
48. Daniel Balaiasa - €2,200
49. Georgian Luta Balu - €2,200
50. Lahmani Oshri - €2,200
51. Alpar Gyorgy Soos - €2,200

10:36pm: Dichev cracks a milly
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (1,000 ante)

Yasen Dichev was chip leader at the last break, and now he’s even more so. He’s the first player to break the one million chip barrier, and currently sits with 1.75 million.


Yasen Dichev

10:26pm: The price isn’t always right
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (1,000 ante)

Alin Petrisor Pandilica opened to 20,000 from the under the gun and it folded to former chip leader Marian Virlanuta who made the call, as did Sason Erez from the big blind.

The flop came the [td][5c][th] and it checked to Virlanuta who led for 31,000. Only Pandilica called to see the [3h] turn. He checked again and now the bet from Virlanuta was 75,000. Pandilica counted his chips carefully and decided to move all-in for 136,000. Virlanuta was priced in and called.

He had the [js][qd] so was hoping to hit something, but in fact he tried to muck when he Pandilica had the [5d][5h]. The river was the [9d] and Pandilica doubled to close to 300,000.

10:16pm: All the chip counts
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (1,000 ante)

As we don’t have too many players left now, here’s a look at how they all stack up:
















































Yasen Dichev 990000
Florian Rosa 850000
Moshe Eliyahu 750000
Marian Virlanuta 730000
Peters Tobias 621000
Razvan Costinel Belea 615000
Avishai Shitrit 540000
Alexandru Boicea 518000
Ionut Dragos 500000
Sason Erez 490000
Florian Dimitrie Duta 440000
Adam Milewski 402000
Adrian Ionescu 400000
Mihai Sorin Turculeanu 400000
Yordan Yordanov Mitrentsov 380000
Antoanell Cristian Judet 370000
Razvan Bordei 360000
Nihat Karyagdi 335000
Cosmin Ionut Petcu 330000
Jozsef Liszkovics 330000
Gary Clarke 306000
Mihai Manole 290000
Daniel Ricardo 264000
Adrian Ion Popa 261000
Carmen Zainescu 250000
Johny Jabra 245000
Valentin Anghel 240000
Armand Alexandru Matti 235000
Florin Ionut Pandilica 212000
Alin Petrisor Pandilica 210000
Ionut Dragos Munteanu 206000
Karakolev Nedelcho 180000
Petrica Lombada 165000
Victor Emanuel Beteringhe 155000
Mihai Ciorteanu 140000
Traian Bostan 130000
Paul Lucian Jifcu 115000
Catalin Moraru 110000
Bahar Musa 110000
Claudiu Rajnoveanu 100000
Nicolae Buse 85000
Valentin Marius Cristea 74000
Adrian Nicolae Ionescu 65000
Alexandru Daniel Strugut 55000
Ionut Aurelian Stoichita 54000
Dan Petrea 30000
Iulian Alin Chirculeanu 6000

10:06pm: Another double for Carmen
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (1,000 ante)

Carmen Zainescu seems to be stuck in a loop of doubling up then getting short again. Well, it’s time for one more cycle as she’s just doubled with her Ace-ten vs Ionut Dragos’ Ace-five. A ten on the flop has brought her stack back to 190,000.


Carmen Zainescu

10pm: Two more hours
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (1,000 ante)

Just two more levels left for Day 2.

Meanwhile, the €330 Bucharest Cup is nearing its conclusion, and the €2,200 high roller is currently underway.


19 5,000 10,000 1,000

9:45pm: Last break of the night
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

We’ll be back in 15 minutes.

9:44pm: Hollywooding, not slowrolling
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

After Georgian Luta Balu moved all-in from under the gun for 87,000, it folded around to Mihai Manole on the button and he went into the tank for a couple of minutes. Eventually he slid out just a flat call.

The blinds quickly folded, and then Balu turned over his [ac][kh]. You’d think if someone thought for that long he wouldn’t have that beat, but turns out Manole had the [ad][as]. He wasn’t slowrolling though; he was acting weaker so that he’d maybe get one of the blinds to raise.

Anyway, the board ran out [kc][6d][3h][jh][6c] and Balu hit the rail a little frustrated.

9:38pm: Double up for Carmen
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

We heard Carmen Zainescu celebrating so went over to see what was up. Turns out she’d got her last 120,000 all-in on the turn of a [jc][ks][3h][7d] board with the [kd][3d], ahead of Mihai Ciorteanu’s [kh][th]. The river came the [kc] and her full house beat his trips, bringing her stack up to around 250,000.

9:30pm: Latest eliminations
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

52. Andrei Stoenescu - €2,200
53. Eugen Gabriel Chiva - €2,200
54. Victor Catalin Anghel - €2,200
55. Andrei Erohin - €2,200
56. Alexandru Farcasanu - €1,970
57. Alexandru Daniel Ionescu - €1,970
58. Marius Vik Enebakk - €1,970
59. Adrian Eugen Constantin - €1,970
60. Tiberiu Ban - €1,970
61. Cristian Costea - €1,970
62. Ilan Buskila - €1,970
63. Catalin George Pacala - €1,970
64. Gabriel Gavrila - €1,970
65. Jean Philippe Carl Marie Schoonbrood - €1,970
66. Petrica Constantin - €1,970

9:10pm: Jabra Cadabra! Johny survives without knowing it
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

Johny Jabra is on cloud nine right now. Not just because he doubled up, but because for a few seconds there he thought he’d been eliminated.

He was all-in with the [7h][7d] for 64,000 against Nicolae Buse’s [ah][jc]. The board ran out safe for him until the [ad] river, at which point he got up and wished everyone good luck.

Thing is, there were three more diamonds on the board too and Jabra had won it with a flush! He’s up to above 130,000 now.

8:57pm: Clarke still going strong
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

Ireland’s Gary Clarke opened to 17,000 from under the gun plus one and got a caller in his neighbour to the left, Andrei Erohin. The flop came the [kh][ts][qc] and Clarke continued for 18,000. Erohin thought for a while but gave it up, showing the [ac] as he did. That prompted Clarke to do him a favour and show him his cards too - the [ah][kc] for top pair and a gutshot.

Clarke’s up to 300,000 now.


18 4,000 8,000 1,000

8:38pm: Gavrila falls to El Clásico
Level 17 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (1,000 ante)

Adrian Ionescu (there are a lot of Adrian Ionescu’s here in Bucharest who play poker - we had about ten in this tournament!) moved all-in under the gun for 67,000 and it folded around to Gabriel Gavrila in the big blind. He snap-called for stack of roughly 60,000 with the [qs][qd] and was up against Ionescu’s [ah][kd].

The El Clásico of poker races started very well for Ionescu. The [8d][as][4d] flop put him ahead, and the [js] turn and [ac] river kept him there. Gavrila hit the rail to collect his €1,970, while Ionescu is now playing 130,000.

8:28pm: Biggest stacks right now
Level 17 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (1,000 ante)











Marian Virlanuta 670000
Daniel Ricardo 501000
Jozsef Liszkovics 498000
Moshe Eliyahu 450000
Yasen Dichev 440000
Eugen Gabriel Chiva 410000
Antoanell Cristian Judet 401000
Victor Emanuel Beteringhe 385000
Florian Rosa 380000
Florian Dimitrie Duta 375000

8:20pm: The latest money winners
Level 17 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (1,000 ante)

67. Cosmin Constantin Cimpeanu- €1,970
68. Catalin Ciocov- €1,970
69. Denis Ioan Poteras- €1,970
70. Catalin Dragomir - €1,970
71. Catalin Luca - €1,970
72.  Iosif Eva - €1,740

8:10pm: Zainescu making moves
Level 17 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (1,000 ante)

Carmen Zainescu, the sole female left in this Day 2 field, opened to 16,000 from the cut-off and got one caller - Eugen Gabriel Chiva from the big blind. 

The flop came the [4d][ad][tc] and Zianescu opted not to c-bet, checking it to Chiva who put out a bet of 18,000. Zainescu then went straight for her chips and counted a raise to 41,000. Chiva thought for a minute or so before letting it go.

Zainescu showed the table her hand - the [2h][2d] - but it turned out she was bluffing with the best hand. Chiva showed his [jd][7h] for complete air.

7:50pm: Three more gone
Level 17 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (1,000 ante)

We’ve had three eliminations in the opening minutes of the level.

73. Emanuel Flesner - €1,740.00
74. Antonino Karman - €1,740.00
75. Iulian Doroftei - €1,740.00

7:45pm: Welcome back
Level 17 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (1,000 ante)

Players are back in their seats after dinner. We’ll be playing four more 60-minute levels today.

6:47pm: Dinner time

PLayers are taking a one-hour dinner break.

6:43pm: Here comes the avalanche
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

Players are busting like madmen now they know they’ve secured some cash. Those who have exited in the last 10 minutes and win €1,740 each are:

76. Vlad Alexandru Lazariciu
77. Adrian Ioan Ionescu
78. Spiridon Tonikidis 
79. Mircea Alexandru Flutur
80. Sorin Petre Radulescu
81. Constantin Manole
82. Paulos Patsis
83. Adrian Iancu
84. Adrian Costin Constantin
85. Neculai Macovei
86. Adamou Christodoulos
87. Tudor Popa

6:33pm: It’s burst! Gheorghe Bogdan Ionescu bubbles Eureka6 Bucharest
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

What an epic end to hand-for-hand play: three all-ins and calls. Three spots to burst the bubble.

In the first table we went to, Adrian Costin Constantin was all-in with the [kd][kc] v the [as][qc] of chip leader Marian Virlanuta. It ran out [2h][qh][7d][7h][8d] and Constantin doubled.

Then, we went to see Antonino Karman, who was all-in with pocket Kings too: the [kh][kc] against Yasen Dichev’s sheepishly-revealed [jd][4d]. The board came the [8c][6h][qc][qs][as] and he survived too.

Then finally, we saw Gheorghe Bogdan Ionescu all-in from the big blind with the [ah][qh] against UK player Florian Dimitrie Duta’s [jd][9d]. It looked good for the Romanian, but that all changed on the flop.


Ionescu before the flop sunk in

It fell the [8d][7s][tc] giving Duta the nut straight. Ionescu needed running cards, but the [2d] turn and [6h] river were no help to him.


…and after the river

Ionesco exited in 88th, and everyone is now in the money!

All videos by Tomas Stacha - who apologises for the shakiness. “I was taking photos at the same time!” he says.

6:25pm: Keep on surviving
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

We’ve had several all-in and calls now but the at-risk players keep on doubling.  

6:07pm: Nothing yet
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

Three hands of bubble action and not a single all-in and call yet to report.

5:52pm: Florin Vasile Haiduc soft bubbles
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

Florin Vasile Haiduc is our soft bubble boy. He moved all-in with the [qs][jc] and was called by Valentin Anghel who woke up with the [ad][ac]. It ran out [8s][kd][2h][qh][6d] and he was out in 89th.

We’re now on the bubble.

5:46pm: Going soft
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

With 89 players remaining, we’re now on the soft bubble.


16 2,500 5,000 500

5:37pm: Two eliminations - one nastier than the other
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

Play has naturally slowed somewhat as we approach the money bubble, but here are the two most recent eliminations. One was…pretty gross.

On Table 5, Adrian Nicolae Ionescu moved all-in for around 50,000 and it folded to Bogdan Diaconu in the big blind who called. He had the [qd][qs], but that was trailing Ionescu’s [as][ah]. The board ran out [ac][5h][5c][4s][4d] and Diaconu was gone.

Then over on Table 1, Armand Alexandru Matti opened to 8,000 and got a call from Cristian Vornicu. Avishai Shitrit then squeezed to 24,000 from the big blind and Vornicu jammed for around 60,000 and was called.

Vornicu was looking good with his [kc][kd] against the [jh][qd] all the way to turn on the [8h][qh][5c][9s] board.

But the river changed everything. It came the [tc] giving Shitrit a running straight, and Vornicu couldn’t believe it. He was gone.

5:28pm: Six to go
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

94 players remain so five more exits and we’ll be on the hard bubble.

5:22pm: Bubble abuse
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

Chip leader Marian Virlanuta is absolutely abusing the approaching bubble, putting players to the test and not tolerating any stalling from the smaller stacks.

In a hand I just caught, Sason Erez opened to 9,000 under the gun and the action was on short-stacked Petrica Lombada. He was thinking for more than a minute, and kept looking up at the screen to see if there were any updates on other eliminations. Eventually Virlanuta called the clock, and Lombada folded. 

It then folded around to Virlanuta who defended from the big blind. The flop was the [5c][3c][ac] and he checked to Erez who continued for 12,000. That was called, and when the dealer was burning and turning the [ts] turn Virlanuta checked in the dark. 

Erez fired again for 17,000, and that too got a quick call. The river came the [8c] bringing four clubs on board, and now Virlanuta bet 55,000 putting Erez to the test. He folded.

Virlanuta turned over the [3h][4h] for just a pair of threes.”Ah you had a straight,” said a confused Erez. “No, wait…you didn’t? Ah, good raise.”

5:02pm: Players falling left and right
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

We’re now just nine eliminations away from the money. The latest to go are:

Cristian Tardea, Florian Rosa, Shahar Ohayon, Mayan Lawrence Shih, Slaven Popov, Lida Doron Zvi, Lucian Mihai Barbu, Florin Popescu, end of Day 1B chip leader Taranko Grzegorz, Victor Ciubotaru, Bogdan Ioan Agica, Marian Valentin Tiuntiuc, Vlad Ardeleanu, Georgios Charmpilas, Eugen Stefan Predescu, Kitanov Stoyan, Mihai Manole, and Mihai Adrian Grigoriu.

4:55pm: Zainescu on the up
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

Carmen Zainescu is going from strength to strength, having just eliminated another player. She called the 28,000 shove of Lucian Mihai Barbu with the [as][js] and was way ahead of his [ah][8s]. The flop came the [4s][th][5s] giving her the nut flush draw, and she’d hit it on the [9s] turn. The [5c] completed the board and sent Barbu on his way, while Zainescu now sits with 155,000.

4:45pm: Another one bites the dust
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

Florin Popescu moved all-in for his last 23,500 and Canadian Daniel Ricardo called on the button. It fodled to Gary Clarke in the big blind and the Irish player made the call too.

The flop was the [4d][2h][tc] and Clarke checked, which led to Ricardo taking control with a 35,000 bet. That got Clarke out of the way and the cards were flipped.

Popescu must have thought the flop was good for him with his [9c][td] - and it was; only problem was he’d still need to hit as Ricardo had the [qs][qh].

The turn was the [6h], and the river came the [kc] to eliminate local player Popescu.

4:36pm: The top of the pile
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

You can view all of the chip counts here, but here’s a look at the biggest stacks in the room at the beginning of Level 15:











Marian Virlanuta 450000
Cosmin Ionut Petcu 380000
Yasen Dichev 340000
Lahmani Oshri 335000
Daniel Ricardo 310000
Florian Rosa 300000
Razvan Costinel Belea 285000
Alexandru Boicea 270000
Gary Clarke 250000
Sason Erez 250000

15 2,000 4,000 500

4:21pm: Have a rest

You’ve got 15 minutes to go put the kettle on or do whatever you need to do before the players return from break for Level 15. Will we hit the bubble? There are 112 left and 87 get paid.

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

4:16pm: Bust-outs
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (400 ante)

The latest to fall are  Oz Cohen, Radu Cristian Cucuiu, Calin Mihai Pretorian, Krzysztof Gluszko , Alexandru Tanasica, Adrian Demusca , Razvan Lucian Cetanas, Mihai Bogdan Gheonu, Ovidiu Roman, Olivier Frederic Duran, Iulian Azoicai, Vicenzo Auteri, Gabriel Petrica Popescu, Cornel Pazara, Alexandru Neculae , Sabin Valeriu Olariu, Dan Chisu, Marius Ion Geanta, Cristian Dan, Hansen Jens, Vladimir Velikov, Daniel Mihai Rinzis, and Ahmed Ahmed.

4:06pm: On your bike
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (400 ante)

Remember this guy from yesterday?


The mystery biker

Well, it turned out to Californian-via-Bucharest player Cornel Pazaria, and he’d end making it through Day 1B to fight again today.

However, his easy rider has come to an end, as he’s just been eliminated. He got his last 60,000 all-in with the [8s][ts] versus the [as][ac] of Petrica Lombada on an [8d][ks][5s] flop, and even managed to hit his flush on the [7s] turn. However, the river was the [js] which gave Lombada the nut flush, sending Pazaria away on his bike. Good game sir.

3:48pm: Przgorezewski happy to flip and win
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (400 ante)

Poland’s Blazej Przgorezewski just moved all-in for his last 22,000 with the [qc][9c], and wasn’t ecastatic when Nihat Karyagdi snap-called. However, he was more relieved when he saw he was in a race against the [7d][7h].

“Phew! We are flipping!” he said as the dealer put out a flop. It came the [kc][9d][2h], pairing his nine and giving him the lead. The turn was the [tc] and river the [ah], and that secured him the double up to roughly 56,000.


Blazej Przgorezewski

3:38pm: Say goodbye to 45, say hello to 60
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (400 ante)

It’s Level 14, and that means that from the next Level onwards we’ll be playing one hour levels instead of 45 minutes.


14 1,500 3,000 400

3:35pm: The departed
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (300 ante)

We’re down to 137 players and the bubble is just 50 eliminations away. Here are the latest victims:

Marius Asanache, Bogdan Berinde, Gabriel Toader, Adrian Bizineche, Aurelian Valentin Croitoriu, Lars Jurgens, Tiberiu Cornel Diaconescu, Niculae Eremia, Gabriel Cioaca, Vasile Calin Zagon, Benjamin Michel Barkay, Yogev Kudadi, Davide Suriano, George Dimuleasa, Avi Cohen, Marios Theophanous, Zhiping Zeng, Aleks Dimitrov, Catalin Luca, Christos Xanthopoulos, Alexandru George Preda, Jan Tams, and Daniel Ghionoiu.

3:25pm: A trip down memory lane for Yogev Kudadi
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (300 ante)

Yesterday was a great day for Israel’s Yogev Kudadi. He found himself sat just one player away from his poker idol, Team Pro Daniel Negreanu, and managed to make all of his friends in the room jealous with this snap.


Yogev Kudadi with Negreanu on Day 1B

Alas, today has not been so great for him. He was just eliminated after getting his last 12,500 all-in with the [ac][td] against Nihat Karyagdi’s [5d][5h], only to see his opponent flop a set on the [3h][5c][2s] board. It was completed by the [js] turn and [kd] river and that was all she wrote for Kudadi.

Still, he’ll always the memories.


Kudadi is gone

3:15pm: Cohen’s goin’
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (300 ante)

Avi Cohen suffered a devastating blow earlier when flopped set of Queens were no good against a flopped broadway. Well, things didn’t get any better for him and he now finds himself out of the main event.

The table broke right after this hand so I couldn’t catch the names of the other players involved, but Cohen jammed over a raise and three-bet for 41,000 and was called in one spot by a player with pocket Aces. The man from Israel had the [ad][kd], but got no help on the run-out.

3:05pm: Early bath for this lot
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (300 ante)

Here are the most recent eliminations:

Ionut Catalin Mihart, Aurelian Ungureanu , Daniel Saether, Ivan Dimitrov, Lawrence Lazar, Andrei Berbescu, Dorin Rauta, Mihai Gabriel Niste, Iulian Cuza, Alexandru Lupu, George Cosmin Butoi, Andreas Zampas, Gheorghe Caplescu, Olivian Zoltan Balint, Raoul Ioan Iancovici, Ionut Valentin Simion, Alexandru Ionut Stan, Mihai Nicolae Vasile, Eusebiu Nicolae Jalba, Ervin Kuglish , Marius Catalin Stancescu, Pedersen Thomas Lyngvang, Fadi Younes, Danny Van Zijp, Tolga Ismen, Andrei Gheorghe Vasile, Leonard Dobre, Razvan Tiberiu Naghiu, Epure Andrei, Alessandro Nicola Benazzo, Anaras Alekberovas, and Mitran Marian.

2:55pm: Money, money, money
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (300 ante)

The official prize pool and pay outs have now been confirmed.

The total prize pool is €561,630.00, after 3 per cent of the prize pool was withheld for payment of dealers and floor staff. 

That means we have a whopping first place prize of €107,350.00, while a min-cash will net you €1,740.00.

87 players will be paid, and we’re down to 162 right now.

Check out the entire prize pool and payouts here.

2:50pm: Biggest stacks
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (300 ante)

You can take a look at all of the chip counts from the end of Level 12 here.

The biggest stacks in the room right now are:











Marian Virlanuta 345000
Sason Erez 298000
Gary Clarke 265000
Mihai Ciorteanu 260000
Dan Petrea 218000
Alexandru Boicea 213000
Adam Milewski 210000
Antoanell Cristian Judet 203000
Victor Emanuel Beteringhe 197000
Florin Vasile Haiduc 197000

2:36pm: Break time

Players have gone on their first 15-minute break of the day.

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2:31pm: Last woman standing
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

We only had a handful of women playing in this event, and the last one standing is local player Carmen Zainescu. She just eliminated a player with pocket Aces over King-Queen, and is sitting on a stack of around 100,000 right now.


Carmen Zainescu

2:25pm: What a river for Clarke!
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

Ireland’s Gary Clarke just hit a miracle river to stay alive here on Day 2.

After Catalin Luca opened to 5,000 and Ahmed Ahmed called on the button, Clarke made it 20,000 to go from the small blind. Luca came along, but Ahmed passed.

The flop was the [7d][qd][4s] and Clarke decided to just jam - a huge bet of 90,300. Luca snap-called though as he had hit top set with his [qh][qs], while Clarke’s [kc][ks] were in big trouble.

The [jh] turn was no help, but BOOM! The [kd] came out of nowhere on the river to save Clarke and give him a big stack of 188,000. Meanwhile, Luca was crushed down to just 17,000.


Nice bink for Clarke

2:18pm: When big stacks attract
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

The end of Day 1A chip leader, Victor Emanuel Beteringhe, still has plenty of chips in front of him - 208,000 to be exact. Thing is, the player to his left has even more.

On a flop of [9d][tc][7h], Beteringhe and Marian Virlanuta checked from the blind positions to the pre-flop raiser Mihai Gabriel Niste. He continued for 7,000, which Beteringhe called, only for Virlanuta to make it 25,000 to go. Both players gave it up and that brought Virlanuta’s stack to around 240,000. I can’t be sure until the break, but that’s got to be up there fighting for the chip lead.


Marian Virlanuta

2:08pm: They keep on coming
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

Are you keeping up with all these bust-outs? Here are the latest players to exit:

Boyko Boychev, Dula Dalibor, Yonatan Koko, Nandor Csaba Solyom, Konstantinos Nanos, Alexandru Anghel, Gabriel Cuza, Ruben Celis Roncon , Martin Simeonov, Oslen Gisle Arnason, Vladas Burneikis , Constantin Erhan, Nukul Insuwan, Marius Craciun, Eduard Norel, Stefan Razvan Bucur, Andrei Costin Grimberg, Alexandru Daniel Strugut, Leo Ilan Joseph , Georgios Hadjivassili, Mathis Andreas Nehring, Adrian Corneliu Lazar, Robert Raduta, Tal Idan, Jordan Mitev, Ionel Anton, Plamen Todorov, Ferenc Csaba Pal, Mihai Ciprian Hanu, Adrian Bogdan Dan, Ioan Mihai Taizs, Mitesh Anjaria, and Daniel Birhala.


12 1000 2000 300

1:45pm: Floppin’ the nuts
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

When I saw George Simionescu opened to 3,500 from early position, I sensed a big pot was about to happen. Call me psychic, lucky, whatever you want; but I was right.

It folded to Alexandru Anghel on the button and he flatted, only for Israel’s Avi Cohen to make it 11,600 to go from the big blind. Simionescu then shoved all-in for 57,900, Anghel folded, and Cohen made the call.

The Romanian had the [ad][kc] while it was the [qh][qc] for Cohen. The El Clásico of races.

The flop was very wet indeed. It came the [ts][jh][qd] giving Simionescu broadway but Cohen top set. He’d need the board to pair or to hit the case Queen to win, but it came the [7s] on the turn and the [3s] on the river. 

Simionescu is up to 117,000, while Cohen has dropped to 14,000.

1:42pm: Bon Appétit
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

Eugen Gabriel Chiva opened to 3,500 from the cut-off and Cristian Costea called on the button. Nihat Karyagdi defended his big blind, and it was three players to the flop.

It came the [kc][4d][8d] and Karyagdi checked, letting Chiva continue for 5,800. Costea then instantly moved all-in for around 53,000 and Karyagdi got out the way. Chiva had a very similar stack size to the all-in player, so it was essentially for his tournament. 

After a minute of thinking he gave his hand up and Costea raked in the chips, just as a waiter arrived with his sandwich that he’d ordered. It’s going to taste much better now.

1:32pm: More for your list
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

Australia’s Poker Hall of Fame member Jason Gray is the latest player to fall. Joining him on the rail are Corneliu George Tara , Hristodorescu Daniel, Vasile Claudiu Dragomir, Sebastian Ionut Mihai, Iani Tulica, Keret Dor, Iury Wolf, Anatoli Halca, Cosmin Constantin Calea, and Theodoros Savvidis.

1:25pm: The oligarch is out
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

Russian oligarch Anatoly Korochensky had a short and not at all sweet start to Day 2. 

He lost a big chunk of chips in a hand against Ilan Buskila which started with a 3,500 open from Yordan Yordanov Mitrentsov. Korochensky made the call, and Buskila defended his big blind.

The flop came the [6h][as][tc] and everyone checked, taking us to the [jh] turn. It checked to Korochensky and he took a 6,000 stab at the pot, only to be raised to 20,000 by Buskila. Mitrentsov got out of the way, but the Russian came along.

Thumbnail image for korochensky_eureka6buch_day1a.jpg

Korochensky on Day 1A

The river was the [6c] and Buskila jammed quickly for 28,200. Korochensky had him covered and gave a confident nod to indicate his call, but his confidence was shattered when Buskila turned over the [kd][qd] for a straight. Korochensky had the [ad][td] for two pair but it was no good and he dropped to 45,000 in chips.

That was still a very playable stack at this blind level, but by the time I got back to base in order to report on the hand I saw that he’d be eliminated. 

1:15pm: Dropping like flies
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

As always at the beginning of Day 2s, there’s plenty of gambling early on as the short stacks try to give themselves a fighting shot by doubling up. Of course, that doesn’t always work out, resulting in some speedy eliminations.

The players who have already exited today are:

Marius Alexandru Gicovanu, Wieslaw Michal Wejner, Dacian Vlad Tat, Radu Alin Catoiu, Richard Fitz Randolph Jr, Ionel Catalin Pruna, Onoufriou Antonios, Ion Silviu Scobai, Andrei Acatincai, Radu Lungu, Erik Scheidt, and Oren Platoni.

1pm: Shuffle up and deal
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

Cards are in the air here on Day 2. Let’s go!

12pm: Day 2 excitement is building…

For the first time in the tournament, our entire field (and our eventual champion) will be in the same room. It’s time for Day 2 of Eureka6 Bucharest, and 248 players who made it through either the Day 1A, 1B, or the last night’s turbo 1C flight will be combining.

The plan is to play 10 levels today; Levels 11 to 14 will remain 45 minutes in length, and from Level 15 onwards they’ll be increasing to one hour.

The player leading the pack is Victor Emanuel Beteringhe - a teacher who lives right here in Bucharest. He qualified for this event in a live satellite and told us after his epic Day 1A run that had he not qualified he wouldn’t have even played. Well, right now he’s the only player with more than 200K in chips (202,425 to be precise).

Thumbnail image for emmanuel_beteringhe_eureka6day1a.jpg

Beteringhe’s chip leader

Today we’ll be able to announce the prize pool, which also means the little matter of the bubble. Stick around - you won’t want to miss it.

Play kicks off at 1pm.

PokerStars Blog Reporting Team at Eureka6 Bucharest: Jack Stanton. Photos by Tomas Stacha. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog

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Eureka6 Bucharest: Vlad Lazariciu leads the pack at end of turbo Day 1C

For anyone who busted on Day 1A or Day 1B of Eureka6 Bucharest, there was one last shot at redemption. One more chance for glory. A last chance saloon, if you will, that could see you play less than half the time of the other Day 2 qualifiers but still make it through. 

It was Day 1C, a turbo flight that had 10 20-minute levels and was only open to those players who busted on Day 1A or Day 1B. 102 players decided to take one more shot, and at the end of play there were 57 more players added to the Day 2 field tomorrow.


Vlad Lazariciu - Day 1C chip leader

The player who led them all was Vlad Alexandru Lazariciu who will be taking 118,100 into the battlefield tomorrow. Close behind him were Mitesh Anjaria  (102,101), Lahmani Oshri (101,500), and Zhiping Zeng (90,900).

Other notable names who made it through included two-time Eureka €2k High Roller champ Tobias Peters (76,400), and Australian Poker Hall of Famer Jason Gray (23,200)

However, this final shot wasn’t as successful for some. Among those who tried their luck for the second time were Eureka 4 Vienna winner Zoltan Gal, two-time EPT Main Event finalist Slaven Popov, EPT11 Deauville runner-up Dany Parlafes, Eureka 5 Prague fourth place finisher Vladas Burneikis, Eureka 4 Prague finalist Vladimir Velikov, Eureka 4 Vienna finalist Erik Scheidt, and Romanian pro Robert Cezarescu. None of them could make it through.

So, now we’re onto Day 2, which starts tomorrow (Friday) at 1pm. If you want to find out how the other players made it through to Day 2, click on the links below and catch up on the action:

Grzegorz Taranko comes out top on Day 1B, while Negreanu’s day was cut short
Beteringhe bests them all to top huge Day 1A field

All photos are copyright of Tomas Stacha

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Looking ahead to EPT13 Barcelona as festival dates released

Three weeks ago we were finishing the 12th season of the European Poker Tour in Monaco. Three months from now we’ll be starting the 13th in Barcelona.

With the end of one season the new one is never far away, and the new season, which starts in the traditional setting of Barcelona, promises to top everything that has come before. 

We know that because we’ve seen the schedule, which is released today. 

casino_barcelona_19may16.jpgCasino Barcelona where the EPT13 season begins in August

The entire festival begins on August 17, 2016, with events guaranteed to cause fireworks. That’s when the €10K event begins alongside the six day Estrellas Main Event, which this year has three starting flights.

After that comes the €50,000 Super High Roller, which begins on August 20, with the final table three day later on August 22, the day that the EPT Main Event starts

The easiest way to get to an EPT is by winning a Main Event package on PokerStars. Click here to get an account.

This year the main feature has the same buy-in of €5,000 and is set to be a record breaker. Last year Casino Barcelona positively strained to accommodate thousands of players looking for some of the festival action, and it didn’t disappoint. As a season starter there is nothing quite like it. Did we mention the weather is usually quite good too?

As the EPT Main Event plays on it will conclude alongside the three day €10K High Roller which concludes on August 28. Two whole weeks of poker, at stakes as low as €120 and as high as €50,000, with all manner of buy-ins in between. The phrase “something for everyone” was never more applicable. 

For all the details check out the EPT homepage which has details of the entire Barcelona festival, now just three months away. Check back on the PokerStars Blog for more details about the festival in the coming weeks as well as how you can book your trip to Barcelona for a fraction of the Main Event buy in. 

Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.

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Eureka6 Bucharest: Day 1B live updates

Day 1B consists of 10 45-minute levels, playing nine-handed
A turbo Day 1C begins at 9pm for any players who have busted Day 1A or 1B

11:58am: On your marks, get set…
Level 1 - Blinds 25/50

Play is about to begin on Day 1B, so get comfortable. 

11:10am: Day 1B kicks off in an hour!

Morning all, and welcome back to the InterContinental Hotel for Day 1B of the €1,100 main event of Eureka6 Bucharest. We had a great day of poker yesterday with 253 entries for the first of the Day 1 flights, and 98 of them bagged chips when play was over. Today, it’s going to be even bigger.

The player we know you’ll all be following is none other than Mr Daniel Negreanu. The Team PokerStars Pro has made the journey to his homeland specifically for this event, and he’ll be taking his seat in the field when play begins at midday. It’s English only at the tables during hands, but Negreanu speaks fluent Romanian, so he’s sure to be chatting away to the locals when he’s not in a pot.


Daniel Negreanu yesterday

Everyone who sits down today will be hoping to end the day like Bucharest-local Emanuel Victor Beteringhe did last night. He had a surge in the last level and ended the day as chip leader with a massive stack of 202,425. Considering everyone starts with 25,000 in chips, that’s pretty impressive. You can check out all of yesterday’s action here, and view the End of Day 1A chip counts here.

You’ll find all the key tournament info below. Play starts at 12pm, and the plan is to play 10 45-minute levels. Then there’s the little matter of Day 1C - a turbo flight with 20-minute levels which begins at 9pm tonight. It’s only available to those players who have busted from 1A or 1B.

So bookmark this page. Make it your homepage. Don’t take your eyes off it. Do whatever it takes to ensure you don’t miss any of the action. We’ll see you shortly!

Key Eureka6 Bucharest Facts:

- 25,000 starting stack
- Blinds starting at 25/50 for 500 big blinds
- Levels are 45 minutes on Day 1 and they’ll be 10 of them. On Day 2 from level 15 onwards levels increase to 60 minutes.
- Late registration is open until the start of level seven.
- Day 1B is today, and a special Turbo Day 1C takes place this evening at 9pm local time. That’s only open to players who have busted either Day 1A or 1B. The field will then combine for the first time on Friday. Players will reach the money on Day 2 and then play down to a final table on Day 3. The final table will play out on Sunday.
- Full Eureka6 Bucharest schedule here.

PokerStars Blog Reporting Team at Eureka6 Bucharest: Jack Stanton. Photos by Tomas Stacha. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog

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Eureka6 Bucharest: Day 1A live updates

Day 1A consists of 10 45-minute levels
Entry closes at the end of Level 7
Day 1B and a turbo Day 1C both take place tomorrow

1:30pm: A look around the city

If you’ve never been to Bucharest, you really owe it to yourself to check it out. With its incredible history and stunning Old Town, the Romanian capital is a great place to visit, and maybe even play a little poker.


It’s Day 1A today but if you’re not here yet don’t worry; there’s Day 1B tomorrow at 12pm local time, so head on over to Bucharest and bring your A-game. 


Play starts in 30 minutes.

12:30pm: Day 1A set to begin!

Welcome to beautiful Bucharest for the first ever Romanian stop of the Eureka Poker Tour! We’re here at the fantastic InterContinental Hotel in the city centre, where Day 1A of the €1,000+€100 Main Event will soon be kicking off.

This is the second leg of Eureka Poker Tour Season 6, following on from a great event in Rozvadov in March, in which Ivan Luca got heads-up with his girlfriend Maria Constanza Lampropulos before taking down the title. Will we see a similarly intriguing storyline play out here over the next five days of play? You’ll have to stick around and see!

You certainly won’t want to miss any of the action, for Team PokerStars Pro and all-round poker icon Daniel Negreanu has made the journey back to his homeland and will be playing throughout the festival. It’s likely he’ll play on Day 1B, as tonight there’s the little matter of the Romanian premier of the ‘Kid Poker’ documentary.


Negreanu arrives at Eureka6 Bucharest

Play kicks off at 2pm local time (12pm WET), and today the players will play 10 45-minute levels. Then there’s Day 1B tomorrow, and a turbo Day 1C tomorrow night. This is a re-entry event, so anyone who busts today, or even during Day 1B, can still take another shot.

Players are now arriving so don’t go anywhere!

Key Eureka6 Bucharest Facts:

- 25,000 starting stack
- Blinds starting at 25/50 for 500 big blinds
- Levels are 45 minutes on Day 1 and they’ll be 10 of them. On Day 2 from level 15 onwards levels increase to 60 minutes.
- Late registration is open until the start of level seven.
- Day 1A is today, Day 1B takes place tomorrow and there’s also a special Turbo Day 1C tomorrow evening at 9pm local time. That’s only open to players who have busted either Day 1A or 1B. The field will then combine for the first time on Friday. Players will reach the money on Day 2 and then play down to a final table on Day 3. The final table will play out on Sunday.
- Full Eureka6 Bucharest schedule here.

PokerStars Blog Reporting Team at Eureka6 Bucharest: Jack Stanton. Photos by Tomas Stacha. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog

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LAPT9 Panama: Main Event final table live updates


* Day 4 will play down to a winner
* Prize pool: $721,665; 1st place: $138,225
* 8 players of 553 entries remain

12:10pm: Play begins
Level 25 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 4,000)

The final table has begun! There are about 36 minutes left to go in Level 25. Again, a reminder of where everyone is seated and the stacks to start. -MH









Seat Name Country Chips
1 Austin Peck USA 1,351,000
2 Anderson Blanco Colombia 1,225,000
3 Ruben Suarez Venezuela 1,477,000
4 Paul Cukier Costa Rica 1,341,000
5 Alcides Gomez USA 562,000
6 Raul Paez Spain 2,580,000
7 Andres Carrillo Colombia 659,000
8 Aaron Mermelstein USA 1,802,000
25 15,000 30,000 4,000

11:30am: Final table player profiles

From 553 entries just eight players remain with a chance to become the next LAPT Main Event champion. Play gets underway in about half an hour, which gives you plenty of time to get to know the final eight with these quick introductions:

Seat 1: Austin Peck, USA — 1,351,000

Though he won’t be turning 21 until this August, Austin Peck has already had plenty of experience at the tournament tables where he’s been collecting cashes steadily for the last couple of years playing in places where the playing age is 18 and up. 

In the USA he’s cashes on several different tours, the highlight coming this February when he won a WSOP Circuit ring in an event at West Palm Beach. A couple of weeks after that he finished 20th in the World Poker Tour Fallsview Poker Classic Main Event in Niagara Falls, then last month earned a career-high cash of $24,467 by final-tabling the WPT DeepStacks event in Jacksonville, Florida where he finished fifth. Taking sixth or better today will exceed that total. -MH

Seat 2: Anderson Blanco, Colombia — 1,225,000

One of two Colombians at today’s final table, Anderson Blanco carried the chip lead into yesterday’s Day 3, fell back to short-stacked status for much of the afternoon, then successfully climbed back to have an almost-average stack to start today’s final table. Blanco has already guaranteed himself a career-high score today, wherever he finishes. He also has topped his previous highest finish in an LAPT Main Event, a 19th-place showing at LAPT5 Colombia. -MH

Seat 3: Ruben Suarez, Venezuela — 1,477,000

Ruben Suarez is the 13th Venezuelan player to make an LAPT Main Event final table, and hopes to be the first of that group to break through and claim a title. He has only a couple of cashes on his tournament poker résumé thus far, including a 27th-place finish in the LAPT8 Peru Main Event a year ago. His biggest cash came right here in Panama City back in January when he won a $1,000 Jackies Poker Tour event, topping a 235-entry field to earn $48,000. -MH

Seat 4: Paul Cukier, Costa Rica — 1,341,000

The lone Costa Rican left in the field, Paul Cukier has a handful of previous small cashes collected in the USA, at the PCA in the Bahamas, and in San Jose in his native country. His biggest previous cash was for $4,043 for finishing 156th in a WSOP event back in 2012, so he’s already assured himself of a career-high payday here in Panama today. -MH

Seat 5: Alcides Gomez, USA — 562,000

The Miami based pro Alcides Gomez has his fair share of final table results and experience including a podium finish from last month’s Seminole Hard Rock Poker Challenge Main Event. He’ll return today as the low man on the totem pole, playing just over 560,000 and he’ll need to spin up a stack if he’s going to notch another podium finish in this LAPT9 Panama Main Event. -WOC

Seat 6: Raul Paez, Spain — 2,580,000

Raul Paez will return to the final table as the chip leader. With over $1,800,000 in career earnings, “El Toro” is the most experienced player remaining and he’s hoping that the third time can be the charm at an LAPT final table. The Spaniard finished third at the Main Event final table in Columbia during Season 5, then three years ago bubbled the final table in Panama. -WOC   

Seat 7: Andres Carrillo, Colombia — 659,000

Andres Carrillo returns as one of two players under the million-chip mark, meaning that the Columbian will likely be active early at this LAPT9 Panama final table. Carrillo’s past tournament results are relatively few and far between, but with scores from across the globe — including EPT final table finishes in Barcelona and Malta — if he is able to find an early double, he’ll be a contender. -WOC

Seat 8: Aaron Mermelstein, USA — 1,802,000

As we said yesterday, if chip leader Raul Paez is the creme, Aaron Mermelstein is what settles just under the creme. He’ll come back second in chips and the two-time World Poker Tour champion will be looking to make Sortis Hotel, Spa & Casino history today. He currently sits third on the all-time Sortis money list and a deep run today could earn him his best career LAPT finish and move him up that leaderboard. -WOC   


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PokerStars Blog Reporting Team at LAPT9 Chile: Will O’Connor and Martin Harris. Photos by Carlos Monti. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog

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LAPT9 Panama: Meet the final eight

It’s another eclectic bunch for today’s Latin American Poker Tour Main Event final table, with three Americans, two Colombians, and players from Venezuela, Costa Rica, and Spain. The group brings a variety of experience and past results to today’s final table. As we ready for the 12 noon start today, spend a little time getting to know each of the final eight a little better below.

Seat 1: Austin Peck, USA — 1,351,000

Austin Peck-LAPT Panama-2016-9849.jpg

Austin Peck

Though he won’t be turning 21 until this August, Austin Peck has already had plenty of experience at the tournament tables where he’s been collecting cashes steadily for the last couple of years playing in places where the playing age is 18 and up. 

In the USA he’s cashes on several different tours, the highlight coming this February when he won a WSOP Circuit ring in an event at West Palm Beach. A couple of weeks after that he finished 20th in the World Poker Tour Fallsview Poker Classic Main Event in Niagara Falls, then last month earned a career-high cash of $24,467 by final-tabling the WPT DeepStacks event in Jacksonville, Florida where he finished fifth. Taking sixth or better today will exceed that total. -MH

Seat 2: Anderson Blanco, Colombia — 1,225,000

Anderson Blanco-LAPT Panama-2016-9839.jpg

Anderson Blanco

One of two Colombians at today’s final table, Anderson Blanco carried the chip lead into yesterday’s Day 3, fell back to short-stacked status for much of the afternoon, then successfully climbed back to have an almost-average stack to start today’s final table. Blanco has already guaranteed himself a career-high score today, wherever he finishes. He also has topped his previous highest finish in an LAPT Main Event, a 19th-place showing at LAPT5 Colombia. -MH

Seat 3: Ruben Suarez, Venezuela — 1,477,000

Ruben Suarez-LAPT Panama-2016-9830.jpg

Ruben Suarez

Ruben Suarez is the 13th Venezuelan player to make an LAPT Main Event final table, and hopes to be the first of that group to break through and claim a title. He has only a couple of cashes on his tournament poker résumé thus far, including a 27th-place finish in the LAPT8 Peru Main Event a year ago. His biggest cash came right here in Panama City back in January when he won a $1,000 Jackies Poker Tour event, topping a 235-entry field to earn $48,000. -MH

Seat 4: Paul Cukier, Costa Rica — 1,341,000

Paul Cukier-LAPT Panama-2016-9831.jpg

Paul Cukier

The lone Costa Rican left in the field, Paul Cukier has a handful of previous small cashes collected in the USA, at the PCA in the Bahamas, and in San Jose in his native country. His biggest previous cash was for $4,043 for finishing 156th in a WSOP event back in 2012, so he’s already assured himself of a career-high payday here in Panama today. -MH

Seat 5: Alcides Gomez, USA — 562,000

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Alcides Gomez

The Miami based pro Alcides Gomez has his fair share of final table results and experience including a podium finish from last month’s Seminole Hard Rock Poker Challenge Main Event. He’ll return today as the low man on the totem pole, playing just over 560,000 and he’ll need to spin up a stack if he’s going to notch another podium finish in this LAPT9 Panama Main Event. -WOC

Seat 6: Raul Paez, Spain — 2,580,000

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Raul Paez

Raul Paez will return to the final table as the chip leader. With over $1,800,000 in career earnings, “El Toro” is the most experienced player remaining and he’s hoping that the third time can be the charm at an LAPT final table. The Spaniard finished third at the Main Event final table in Columbia during Season 5, then three years ago bubbled the final table in Panama. -WOC   

Seat 7: Andres Carrillo, Colombia — 659,000

Andres Carrillo-LAPT Panama-2016-9708.jpg

Andres Carrillo

Andres Carrillo returns as one of two players under the million-chip mark, meaning that the Columbian will likely be active early at this LAPT9 Panama final table. Carrillo’s past tournament results are relatively few and far between, but with scores from across the globe — including EPT final table finishes in Barcelona and Malta — if he is able to find an early double, he’ll be a contender. -WOC

Seat 8: Aaron Mermelstein, USA — 1,802,000

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Aaron Mermelstein

As we said yesterday, if chip leader Raul Paez is the creme, Aaron Mermelstein is what settles just under the creme. He’ll come back second in chips and the two-time World Poker Tour champion will be looking to make Sortis Hotel, Spa & Casino history today. He currently sits third on the all-time Sortis money list and a deep run today could earn him his best career LAPT finish and move him up that leaderboard. -WOC   

And as a reminder, here’s what they’re playing for (along with the LAPT trophy):

1st: $138,225
2nd: $86,880
3rd: $62,200
4th: $48,500
5th: $38,040
6th: $29,880
7th: $22,300
8th: $15,440

Stick close to the PokerStars blog for start-to-finish coverage of the final table today, including live updates, chip counts, photos, and more.


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PokerStars Blog Reporting Team at LAPT9 Chile: Will O’Connor and Martin Harris. Photos by Carlos Monti. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog

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LAPT9 Panama: Main Event Day 3 live updates

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* Day 3 will play down to the eight-handed final table
* Prize pool: $721,665; 1st place: $138,225
* 32 players of 553 entries remain

11:00am: Blanco, Mermelstein final 32 into Day 3

Bienvenido, friends, to our coverage of Day 3 of the Latin American Poker Tour Panama Main Event where just 32 players are left, led by Anderson Blanco who enjoyed a late night rush on Saturday to finish with a stack of 896,000 to start play today.

The Colombian has earned a few cashes before, most notably finishing 19th in the LAPT5 Colombia Main Event in Medellin. He’s in good position to better than finish here, although like everyone else still with chips he hopes to do much more than that and earn the $138,225 first prize awaiting the winner.

Anderson Blanco-LAPT Panama-2016-9628.jpg

Blanco looking to bank a big finish

Close behind Blanco to begin will be Aaron Mermelstein in second position with 836,000. The Philadelphian owns two World Poker Tour titles — both won in 2015 — and has earned over $1.5 million in tournaments in the last five years.

Speaking of two-time champs, another storyline worth keeping an eye on today will be how Oscar Alache fares. Alache is currently tied with the three Argentinians — Nacho Barbero, Fabian Ortiz, and Mario Lopez — for the most LAPT Main Event titles with two, meaning the Chilean would have the record all to himself should he manage to win a third here. 

Alache returns to a below average stack today, but an early double would get him back close to the average moving forward, and he’s shown before an ability to perform well during the endgame.

Others returning to big stacks will be Blanco’s fellow countryman Fernando Gutierrez (716,000), the young Austrian Tobias Schwecht (679,000), and Ruben Suarez of Venezuela (657,000). Here are the complete chip counts of all 32 players to start play today, and check out as well the “Prize Pool and Payouts” page to see who earned part of the $721,665 prize pool thus far.

Play will pick back up in the middle of Level 20 (blinds 5,000/10,000, ante 1,000), which makes the average stack (341,187) worth just over 34 big blinds when play begins. Come back at 12 noon Central time and we’ll continue to bring you live updates, hand reports, bustouts, photos, chip counts, and more as we find out together who will be the next LAPT Main Event champion. -MH

Want to qualify for the LAPT? Click here to get a PokerStars account and start today

PokerStars Blog Reporting Team at LAPT9 Chile: Will O’Connor and Martin Harris. Photos by Carlos Monti. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog

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LAPT9 Panama: Main Event Day 2 live updates



* Day 2 will play down to 32 players (or as announced)
* 172 players of 553 entries remain
* Top 79 finishers make the money

10:55am: Maxence Debar leads charge into Day 2

Buenos días again, everyone, from warm and sunny Panama City where just over an hour from now Day 2 of the Latin American Poker Tour Panama Main Event will be getting underway.

From a 553-entry field just 172 players remain, all vying to reach the top 79 spots and the cash, with the $138,225 first prize up top providing still further motivation to make a deep run to Monday’s final table.

Best positioned to begin today will be Maxence Debar who built a huge stack of 289,900 by the end of his Day 1 flight.

Maxence Debar-LAPT Panama-2016-9010.jpg

Maxence seeks max dollars

Debar’s nearest challengers to start Day 2 will be Rafael Escobedo (215,500), Nicolas Baliner (184,900), Jessica Perez (178,900, and Luis Cruz (177,700). 

Meanwhile Hunter Cichy (123,500), LAPT8 Peru champion Claudio Moya (122,200), Raul Pino (116,200), Gustavo Lopes (100,200), and Aaron Mermelstein (89,700) all return to above average stacks, while two-time LAPT champions Oscar Alache (88,200), Mario Lopez (81,400), and Nacho Barbero (52,600) remain in contention, as does the lone Team PokerStars Pro in the field, Leo Fernandez (24,900).

Leo Fernandez-LAPT Panama-2016-9270.jpg

Leo’s currently looking up at the big stacks

Click here for a look at a complete rundown of all 172 players’ chip counts to start Day 2.

We’ll be back at 12 noon Central time when the first hands of Day 2 are dealt, and carry you all of the way through the bubble bursting and down to 32 players (so goes the plan, anyway) with live updates, photos, chip counts, and more. Hasta entonces! -MH

Want to qualify for the LAPT? Click here to get a PokerStars account and start today

PokerStars Blog Reporting Team at LAPT9 Chile: Will O’Connor and Martin Harris. Photos by Carlos Monti. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog

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LAPT9 Panama: Main Event Day 1B live updates

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* 10 one-hour levels scheduled for today. Play ends ~12 midnight CT
* 63 players survived from 218 Day 1A entries (Day 1A chip counts)

11:00am: Day 1B awaits

Welcome back to the Sortis Hotel, Spa & Casino for the second and final Day 1 flight of the Latin American Poker Tour Panama Main Event. 

This $1,500 buy-in tournament attracted an impressive turnout yesterday, with 218 entries total from which 63 players advanced to Saturday’s Day 2. Given how Day 1Bs often tend to attract roughly twice what Day 1As do, we’re already bracing for a huge total field and prize pool for this one.

The Frenchman Maxence Debar surged ahead of everyone last night to finish with a commanding lead, ending with 298,900 chips when no one else had even crossed the 200,000-chip mark. We’ll see whether or not anyone can scale such heights today.

We’ll also be expecting to see some of the same faces today whom we saw yesterday, as those who busted Day 1A can come back to try again. They’ll be playing 10 one-hour levels again today, with late registration and the re-entry option staying available all of the way through the start of Level 7.

Things kick off at 12 noon local time — that’s Central Time — so stick close starting then for live updates, chip counts, photos, and more as we continue to learn together who will be the next LAPT Main Event champion. 

Meanwhile, peruse our Day 1A coverage and look over the complete Day 1A chip counts. -MH

Want to qualify for the LAPT? Click here to get a PokerStars account and start today

PokerStars Blog Reporting Team at LAPT9 Chile: Will O’Connor and Martin Harris. Photos by Carlos Monti. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog

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LAPT9 Panama: Main Event Day 1A live updates

* 10 one-hour levels scheduled for today. Play ends ~12 midnight CT
* Unlimited re-entries available through the start of Level 7 (after dinner break)

10:15am: Welcome to Panama! Who will be the next LAPT champion?

Buenos días again, everyone! The Latin American Poker Tour is back in action this week with the next stop of Season 9 here in Panama City, returning again to the beautiful Sortis Hotel Spa & Casino. The weather is warm outside, with temps in the 80s (Fahrenheit) making it nice to sit poolside and jump in every now and then, too. 

The action will be heating up inside, too, in a little while, as the first of two Day 1 flights for this $1,500 buy-in Main Event begins at 12 noon (that’s Central Time). And we expect a lot of players to be jumping in here as well. 

So far during this Season 9 we’ve witnessed the Greek player Georgios Sotiropoulos top a field of 607 to win LAPT9 Bahamas, then Rodrigo Strong of Brazil outlast a 565-entry field in Viña del Mar to win the LAPT9 Chile title. Meanwhile last year at the Sortis it was the Canadian Shakeeb Kazemipur beating out everyone for the LAPT8 Panama trophy, where there were 422 entries for a higher buy-in $2,500 event. 

This marks the fifth time the LAPT has visited Panama’s capital city, where prior to Kazemipur’s win it was Fabian Ortiz of Argentina earning his second LAPT title here in Season 7, Galal Dahrouj of Colombia winning in Season 6, and Team PokerStars Pro Leo Fernandez triumphing in Season 5.

Today’s schedule calls for 10 one-hour levels with a dinner break after Level 6. Players who bust prior to dinner can re-enter as many times as they want until the start of Level 7, after which they’ll still have an option to come back and play tomorrow’s Day 1B, if they wish.

The PokerStars Blog live reporting team will be on hand every step of the way from today through Monday’s finish. Stick close for live updates, chip counts, photos, and more starting at 12 noon CT as we find out together who is going to be the next LAPT champion. -MH 

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The LAPT returns to the Sortis Hotel Spa & Casino

Want to qualify for the LAPT? Click here to get a PokerStars account and start today

PokerStars Blog Reporting Team at LAPT9 Chile: Will O’Connor and Martin Harris. Photos by Carlos Monti. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog

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EPT12 Grand Final: Jan Bendik finds winning strategy to seal ultimate triumph for Slovakia


Jan Bendik: EPT Grand Final champion

In an interview given by Jan Bendik this morning, before he sat down among the last six of the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo® Casino EPT Grand Final main event, the veteran rounder from Slovakia described himself as “a gambler”.

About eight hours later, that much was crystal clear. Bendik, 51, is the new champion of the European Poker Tour’s flagship event, sealing the title and the €961,800 first prize, in the most carefree fashion.

Despite what might have been a titanic heads-up duel, where only two men shared the chips of 1,098 entries to this event, Bendik seemed happy to allow the poker gods to pick their horse. He won a series of 50-50 flips against Adrien Allain, his 29-year-old French opponent, before finishing on the right end of an almighty tournament-ending cooler.

“I’ve been trying to win a main event for years,” Bendik said. “Maybe I will play some €10k high rollers. I haven’t played any before. Otherwise, nothing changes. I don’t play professionally, just for my own pleasure.”

It could be you next time. Click here to get a PokerStars account.

Bendik became the first man to take a coveted title back to Slovakia and it means that from six events on the EPT’s 12th season, winners have come from six different countries. This was one of the most keenly fought, and Bendik consolidates his position at the top of his country’s all time money list.

It would be wrong to dismiss Bendik’s victory as solely the result of those coin flips. Beneath his unflinching facade lurks a keen poker mind; he is a former EPT Player of the Year after all. But after six days, 33 levels of play, and faced with a tricky opponent like Allain, Bendik simply took route one and kept the pots big.

He came down on the right side of most of them, and that’s often the most indelible mark of a champion.

“If you look me up, I think I have just one runner-up result,” Bendik said. “Otherwise, when I’d made it to heads-up, I’d always won. That’s why I didn’t want to make any deal, I trusted myself to beat my opponent heads-up. A lot of luck had to be involved to make that happen but that’s part of the game.”

Take a look at our blow-by-blow coverage to read how it all played out.

For Allain, it will feel like the kind of rough justice for which his €577,800 second prize won’t quite compensate. He will feel he had the title in his grasp, and has strong claims to having made the best plays at this final. One bluff in particular might have sent him home in fifth, but instead gave him the chips to challenge for the title.


Adrien Allain: So near, but…

Allain will know that he played a full part in a pretty thrilling end to a tournament that broke records-and also featured a man named Asam Umarov who may just have ignited another small boom in EPT events.

Umarov qualified for this event on PokerStars, from a €10 Spin & Go satellite. When he was still involved with only four players left, the R.O.I. calculators came out. Nobody really believed it when they first saw it, but he increased his investment by 3 million percent. Gulp.

All of that is getting a bit ahead of us. Let’s start at the beginning.

When the six players came back to the Salles des Etoiles this afternoon, the field was split into two clear camps: both Allain and Jimmy Guerrero had more than 11 million in chips, while none of the others had even as much as 3 million.


EPT12 Grand Final last six: (standing l-r): Asan Usamov, Oren Rosen, Jimmy Guerrero, Pierre Calamusa. (Seated): Jan Bendik, Adrien Allain

Players on each side of the divide could choose one of two strategies. The big stacks could go all out attack, or sit back and wait for the carnage to take place elsewhere. Meanwhile the shorties could either adopt the boom/bust hectic approach, or stay out of trouble and hope to ladder up.

Whichever way any of them went, we were pretty certain to lose a few players fairly quickly. And it was Oren Rosen, the lone Israeli player in the final six, who took the earliest fall.

There was little he could do. He found [ad][jd] in the cutoff and moved all-in. Bendik was sitting behind him on the button with [ac][kh] and picked him off. Rosen took €170,950 for sixth, while that coup gave Bendik the luxury of being able to sit and wait for the right spots to move. (It also helped him to survive when Pierre Calamuso hit a two-outer on the river to double up through him.)


Oren Rosen: First out today

Allain and Guerrero were still exceptionally secure-until, that is, a move from Allain made it distinctly uncomfortable for both of them. After playing snugly for the first hour or so, Allain found [9d][6d] and opened from early position. Guerrero found [ad][qh] and three bet to 850,000.

Allain seemed content to joust with the only player who could knock him out and four-bet to 1.8 million. Guerrero seemed a little less happy about things, but called and took a flop of [th][4h][jh].

Allain kept up his aggression through both flop and turn. So much so that he actually shipped for his entire stack. Guerrero didn’t like that. He was clearly suspicious. But after five minutes in the tank he folded and gave up his chip lead. He would never see it again.


Best of foes: Jimmy Guerrero and Adrien Allain

All the short stacks will have been delighted to see the big dogs go at it, but even though the balance of power shifted, none of Calamusa, Umarov or Bendik could really sit back. And it was Calamusa who was most vulnerable, especially after he moved all-in with [ah][4c] and slammed into Allain’s [ad][jd].

There were no dramas on this flop and Calamusa hit the rail in fifth, winning €233,800.


Pierre Calamuso: Don’t look back in anger

And so, inevitably, that brings us back to Umarov. Whatever happened this week, Umarov was a huge winner. He played a €10 Spin & Go back home in Kazakhstan and won a trip to Monaco. He then will have considered getting into the money to be an extraordinary result, even before he then went on to make it to the final table of eight.

After the late-night drama that took us down to six, Umarov was still involved. And it was only when he got to the last four that the dream ended. He got his short stack in with [ad][9d] and lost to Guerrero’s [kc][ks], but having turned €10 into €305,660 there was little surprise when he told EPT Live: “I love this. I love poker.”


The dream ends for Asan Umarov

There were 121 Spin & Go qualifiers in this main event, of whom nine made the money. It’s not confirmed that they will return as a qualification method for future EPTs but if they don’t, then I’m the king of Kazakhstan.

Down to three after Umarov’s elimination, this became the Jan Bendik show. He defended his big blind with [kd][7h] to Guerrero’s button raise, and was delighted to flop two pair. It was especially great for Bendik because Guerrero had pocket aces and couldn’t let them go. Bendik scored a full double up and leap-frogged Guerrero in the counts.

Guerrero made some really shrewd lay-downs during the course of this final table, but he seemed to lose some of his composure after the huge hand against Allain. The deck also seemed to conspire against him, and it soon became clear that there would be no way back.


Good times for Jimmy Guerrero

Guerro ended up getting it all in with [2h][2c] against his countryman’s [ac][jh]. Guerro was only a 51 percent favourite in this spot, and he lost the flip. There was both the [ad] and the [jh] on the flop and that sealed the deal for Guerrero.

His fiancee Thi Xoa Nguyen took €47,980 for 14th place this week. He won €406,850 for third. Get an invite to their wedding if you can.


A €300,000 wedding for Guerro and Nguyen

As heads-up play started, seasoned Grand Final spectators knew this was far from certain to be over any time soon. People still remember leaving the titanic heads-up struggle between Antonio Buonanno and Jack Salter and going straight to breakfast.

Allain had more than a 2:1 chip lead when matters began this time around, and he had Bendik on the ropes and all-in pre-flop within the first hour of one-on-one play. But Bendik dodged the first knockout blow when his [qh][jc] beat Allain’s [8s][8c]. He got bruised again, but bounced back once more when his [ad][ks] beat Allain’s [6h][6d].

NEIL4753EPT12MON_Heads_Up_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Heads up in Monaco

It took them to the dinner break almost even and, after they returned, they mostly kept things small.

That was before those pesky poker gods got involved again and pitched medium pocket pairs to both men. Bendik had tens and Allain had eights. But Allain must have been overjoyed when an eight appeared on the flop.

However, it all went in on the river, and by then another ten had also appeared on the board. Set over set is a bummer at any time during any level in a tournament of this size and will almost certainly result in an elimination.

During the heads-up stage of a tournament like this, it’s positively gross. But the result is the same.


Jan Bendik: Toast of Slovakia

That wraps up our coverage of Season 12 of the European Poker Tour. Who’s coming to Barcelona, huh?

EPT12 Grand Final Main Event
Players: 1,098
Buy-in: €5,000 + €300
Places paid: 159
Total prize pool: €5,325,300

1 Jan Bendik Slovakia Live satellite winner €961,800
2 Adrien Allain France   €577,800
3 Jimmy Guerrero France Live satellite winner €406,850
4 Asan Umarov Kazakhstan PokerStars qualifier €305,660
5 Pierre Calamusa France   €233,800
6 Oren Rosen Israel PokerStars player €170,950
7 Antoine Saout France   €128,340
8 Dario Sammartino Italy PokerStars qualifier €91,860

Click for full payout table.

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EPT12 Grand Final: Year of Romania! Alexandru Papazian wins €25K HR for €1.19million


The alpha papa - Alexandru Papazian

What is it Joe Stapleton says every season on EPT Live? “The year of Romania“, right?

Well, could 2016 actually be it? I mean, first there was the announcement of the Eureka Poker Tour in Bucharest kicking off on May 18th, at which Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu will be playing in the birth country of his parents. Then there’s the wave of talented Romanian pros who have been taking the EPT and other PokerStars tours by storm, prompting Stapes to say it in the first place.

One thing’s for sure, Alexandru Papazian must have been listening. The young Romanian beat Alexandros Kolonias heads-up to take down €25K high roller here in Monaco tonight for a huge score of €1,197,000 - the biggest ever live cash by a Romanian. His victory sends him up to third on Romania’s all-time money list, breaking the records of 1,701 of his countrymen. 

The PokerStars and Monte-Carlo®Casino EPT12 Grand Final has been all about breaking records. First we had the biggest ever main event in the history of the Grand Final; now you can add the biggest ever €25K to that list. Here’s how it played out.

The final table

It was a star-studded field bolstered by plenty of live satellite qualifiers, and that created a monster prize pool of €5,659,500. A total of 175 players entered, with 56 re-entries. There would be 31 players finishing in the money, but the title of bubble boy would go to Ami Barer, yesterday. Once the bubble burst the bust-outs came thick and fast, as expected, with Steve O’Dwyer, Ivan Luca, Dan Smith, Day 1 chip leader Niall Farrell, and Kid Poker himself all making the money.


Negreanu came 15th for €83,760

Only 12 made it to the final day, which you can read through in detail here. and it was Zvi Stern who held the chip lead at the beginning of the business end. Here’s how the counts looked at the beginning of the day:

Name Country Chips
Zvi Stern Israel 1,638,000
Max Silver UK 1,342,000
Alexandros Kolonias Greece 1,338,000
Alexandru Papazian Romania 1,231,000
Ivan Deyra France 1,160,000
Rafael Da Silva Moraes Brazil 1,026,000
Eddy Maksoud Lebanon 907,000
Imad Derwiche France 840,000
Anthony Zinno USA 816,000
Saar Wilf Israel 509,000
Thomas Miller USA 383,000
Ramin Hajiyev Azerbaijan 366,000


Ramin Hajiyev was the first to be eliminated, followed by Thomas Miller and Ivan Deyra. That got us down to one table, but it wasn’t the official final table until Saar Wilf was eliminated in 9th place for €122,250. The Israeli got his stack in with Ace-Jack, but was trailing the Ace-Queen of Anthony Zinno who ended up making Queens full.

It didn’t take long for us to find an eighth place finisher. Imad Derwiche knows all about this event as he finished runner-up in last year’s Grand Final €25K to Charlie Carrel. He was super relaxed all day, dancing in between hands and joking with just about everybody, but he came into the final eight very short with less than ten big blinds. He went all-in over Anthony Zinno’s 100,000 open for 325,000 with the [jh][js], which Zinno called. He was racing against Zinno’s [as][qs], and suffered a Barry Greenstein - aka an Ace on the river - to hit the rail. Still, he picked up €147,710, so it was another great showing for the Frenchman.


Derwiche out in 8th

The next to fall was Max Silver. He went from chip leader to out very quickly, losing a massive pot to Eddy Maksoud. The Lebanese player opened only to be three-bet by Alexandru Papazian, followed by a four-bet all-in from Silver. Only Maksoud called and it was Silver’s pocket tens against the Ace-King of Maksoud for a three million chip pot. A King on the flop was all it took to cripple Silver, who was then down to just two big blinds. He committed them with Queen-Jack against Papazian’s six-four, but the Romanian made two pair on the river and Silver was gone. He collected €202,050.


No gold for Silver

At this point Alexandros Kolonias was building a big chip lead, and he’d add even more to it by busting Anthony Zinno in sixth. The American was short - having just doubled Rafael Da Silva Moraes - when he shoved with the Queen-Jack, only for Kolonias to isolate with a shove of his own. The Green had pocket Queens and the ladies held up. For his run, Zinno won €276,750.


Zinno fell in 6th

Eddy Maksoud would make his exit in fifth for €364,500. He was very short and got the last of chips in with ace-deuce, which Papazian would beat with his ace-ten, making two pair on the turn and leaving Maksoud drawing dead. 


Nice run for Maksoud

That got us down to four, and most of the chips were in front of Papazian at this point. He would eliminate Zvi Stern in fourth too to take an even bigger lead. Stern shoved on the button, Papazian isolated from the small blind and Rafael Da Silva Moraes gave up his big blind. Stern had Ace-seven and would need to hit something to beat the pocket Queens of Papazian, but alas it wasn’t to be. Stern collected €460,700.


Good showing for Stern

Papazian had a huge chip lead when play got three-handed, holding 7.9 million to Kolonias’ 2.3 million and Da Silva Moraes’ 1.35 million. 

The shortest of those three would be next to go. He called all-in against Papazian after hitting top pair on a Queen-high flop - the only problem was that the Romanian also had a Queen, plus a better kicker. The Brazilian couldn’t hit two-pair on the turn or river and he went to collect his €568,200.


Da Silva Moraes thanks his rail

Heads up counts:

Alexandru Papazian - 7,390,000 
Alexandros Kolonias - 4,160,000

While these two may not be big names on the live circuit, online it’s a different story. Papazian, playing under the screen name ’tilt21sted’ on PokerStars, has $1.68 million in online winnings - his biggest score coming in a TCOOP event in January when he finished runner-up for $209,300. Kolonias is no stranger to the virtual felt either; he’s amassed $956,000 on PokerStars, $365,500 of which came from a third place finish in the 2015 WCOOP $10K high roller.

After a couple of hands of heads-up play, Papazian and Kolonias decided to go on a dinner break. When they returned Kolonias managed a double up to take the chip lead when an all-in pre-flop hand saw him win with Ace-King against King-Queen. But Papazian didn’t get flustered; he went straight back to work and took the chip lead again not long after.


Kolonias v Papazian

The heads-up battle was fast-paced and almost entirely tank-less. From here on the lead switched on a pot-by-pot basis; an important hand saw Kolonias make a 1.3 million call on the river of a [kc][8d][6h][jc][kd] board but muck when Papazian showed the [js][9d]. That gave Papazian 10 million to Kolonias’ 1.45 million, but of course it wasn’t over yet.

Kolonias doubled when his [kc][8h] held against [qc][jh] all-in pre-flop, then was chipped down once more. Another double came soon after when his [jh][8h] paired on the [td][6s][kd][jc][2s] board to beat Papazian’s [ah][7s].

But then it was Papazian’s turn to multiply his stack by two. Papazian limped with the [ad][6c] and Kolonias jammed with the [ks][qd]. After the call, the board ran out [ac][4d][5s][8d][3h], and that sent Papazian’ stack up just under 10 million again. A couple of hands later and it was all over; Kolonias got it in good with pocket nines against Ace-four, but a four on the flop and crucial Ace on the river secured Papazian the win.

Fellow Romanian and EPT11 Deuville runner-up Dany Parlafes was railing Papazian for the entire heads-up battle. He’s a man who knows how close you can get to a prestigious EPT trophy and then see it all slip away.

That didn’t happen for Alexandru Papazian. After all, it’s the year of Romania.

EPT Grand Final €25K high roller
Dates: May 4-6, 2016 
Buy in: €25,000
Entries: 231 (175 players plus 56 re-entries) 
Prize pool: €5,659,500

1 - Alexandru Papazian, Romania, €1,197,000
2 - Alexandros Kolonias, Greece, €805,900
3 - Rafael Da Silva Moraes, Brazil, €568,200
4 - Zvi Stern, Israel, €460,700
5 - Eddy Maksoud, Lebanon, €364,500
6 - Anthony Zinno, United States, €276,750
7 - Max Silver, United Kingdom, €202,050
8 - Imad Derwiche, France, €147,710

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EPT12 Grand Final: €25K High Roller final table profiles

With the elimination of Saar Wilf in ninth, the final table is set for the €25K High Roller at the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo® Casino European Poker Tour Grand Final. Here’s a look at the final eight players who made it this far from the 231-entry field.


Seat 1: Imad Derwiche, France, 465,000

Derwiche returns to the final table of the €25K EPT Grand Final for a second-straight year here in Monaco, with the Frenchman this time hoping to do one better than his runner-up finish to Charlie Carrell a year ago. Derwiche earned a cool €750,000 for that finish, an amount representing about two-thirds of his career tournament earnings of $1.23 million.

EPT12_MON_Velli-1222_Imad Derwiche.jpg

Imad Derwiche

Seat 2: Alexandros Kolonias, Greece, 1,445,000

Greek player Kolonias has just a few live scores on his tournament résumé, the largest previous coming in the $25K High Roller at the 2015 PCA where he finished 39th. His only other recorded final table was in a €1K event in a Greek Poker Cup series in Loutraki, so he’ll hope to make a first one here. Meanwhile online he’s racked up plenty of accomplishments, including earning a SCOOP title in 2014 in a $530+R six-handed NLHE event

EPT12_MON_Velli-1215_Alexandros Kolonias.jpg

Alexandros Kolonias

Seat 3: Zvi Stern, Israel, 1,485,000

Stern is a 37-year-old poker pro from Israel best known for his November Nine appearance in last fall’s 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event where he ultimately finished fifth for a $1,911,423 prize. That represents the bulk of his just over $2 million in career tourney earnings, good enough for second all-time among Israeli players behind his fellow November Niner Amir Lehavot.

EPT12_MON_Velli-1265_Zvi Stern.jpg

Zvi Stern

Seat 4: Eddy Maksoud, Lebanon, 1,010,000

The Lebanese Maksoud cashed in the Main Event this week (finishing 113th), pushing his career lifetime earnings over the $530K-mark. His biggest career score came from winning the 2013 Merit Winterfest in Kyrenia, good for $135,850.

EPT12_MON_Velli-1274_Eddy Maksoud.jpg

Eddy Maksoud

Seat 5: Alexandru Papazian, Romania, 1,710,000

Hailing from Romania, Papazian has earned a little under $200K lifetime in tournaments thus far, including a couple of cashes here in Monaco. Last week he made the money in the €10K High Roller where he finished 19th, and has already ensured a deeper run and bigger payday in this one, no matter where he finishes.

EPT12_MON_Velli-1261_Alexandru Papazian.jpg

Alexandru Papazian

Seat 6: Max Silver, UK, 2,725,000

British pro Silver has a UKIPT Dublin title under his belt, numerous WSOP and EPT cashes, and more than $2.3 million in total tournament earnings since 2010. The 25-year-old made the money a couple of times here in Monaco during this festival, including a cash in the Main Event where he finished 146th. Two near-misses in high rollers, though, mean he’ll be happy to claim one of those eye-popping prizes up top here, in particular the €1,197,000 one awaiting the winner.

EPT12_MON_Velli-1256_Max Silver.jpg

Max Silver

Seat 7: Rafael Da Silva Moraes, Brazil, 790,000

The lone South American left, Rafael Da Silva Moraes had a breakout year in 2015 earning three cashes at the WSOP, then three more in Brazilian Series of Poker events including a third-place finish in the BSOP High Roller in Sao Paulo in July. Moraes also has a number of online scores at GM_VALTER on PokerStars, among them a Super Tuesday win in 2014.

EPT12_MON_Velli-1243_Rafael Da Silva Moraes.jpg

Rafael Da Silva Moraes

Seat 8: Anthony Zinno, USA, 1,120,000

With this final-table showing, Boston poker pro Zinno continues a run of fantastic finishes stretching back more than a year, a time during which he’s picked up no less than three World Poker Tour titles, a WSOP bracelet, and another €5K event title at EPT12 Malta. He also final-tabled the €10K High Roller here last week, taking sixth, to add to his more than $5.5 million lifetime in tournaments.

EPT12_MON_Velli-1278_Anthony Zinno.jpg

Anthony Zinno

And here’s what they’re playing for…

1 €1,197,000
2 €805,900
3 €568,200
4 €460,700
5 €364,500
6 €276,750
7 €202,050
8 €147,710

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Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

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EPT12 Grand Final: Main event Day 4 coverage archive

This is an archive of a previous day’s coverage. Follow live updates from the tournament floor.

NEIL4084EPT12MON_Adrien_Allain_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Adrien Allain: First in the counts, and not only by alphabetical order

It’s all getting pretty serious in the €5,300 main event of the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo®Casino EPT12 Grand Final. After five gruelling levels today, where action veered from tense and slow to tense and manic, there are only 28 players left of the starting 1,098 and the big money is inching ever nearer.

Although everyone left is now guaranteed at least €22,740, tomorrow’s scrap for the final table, where prizes start at €91,860, will likely be brutal. Especially if today was anything to go by.

Tonight’s leader is Adrien Allain, whose bag bulges under the weight of 3.9 million chips. But behind him only by a neck is Joao Vieira, who signed for 2.7 million.

Allain’s day was filled with a succession of short-stacks falling at his hands, before he also knocked out yesterday’s leader Marcin Chmielewski late on.

Vieira’s, on the other hand, was defined by a ding-dong battle with Vanessa Selbst, the Team PokerStars Pro sitting to his direct left. Vieira ended up winning that one, particularly after he flopped a set, rivered a full house and let Selbst do the betting with King-high.

8G2A3617EPT12MON_Joao_Vieira_Vanessa_Selbst_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Joao Vieira’s profit is Vanessa Selbst’s misery

Selbst is still in. She doubled up after that hand and finished the day with 389,000. It’s small by her standards, but gives her a chance.

That’s more than can be said for Fatima Moreira de Melo, who had one of those days, to finish 44th. And it was also the end of the line for Randy “nanonoko” Lew, who heads back to the online tables after a 30th place finish.

You should head over to the payouts page to see the full list of prizewinners to date, then go to the chip-count page to see precisely how the remaining 28 stack up.

Scroll down through this page to see exactly how this blood and thunder day progressed. It’s not for the faint-hearted.

The €25,000 high roller plays on into the small hours. The main event resumes for what will be a very long day from noon tomorrow. Check out tomorrow’s seat draw.

Goodnight all from this side of PokerStars Blog.

Full coverage from Day 4 of the €5,300 EPT Grand Final main event:

9:05pm: Chauskin left short after three-way all-in but doubles twice
Level: 24 - Blinds: 12,000-24,000 (ante 3,000)

Natan Chauskin was living life on the edge at the day’s play came to a close. He was involved in a three-way all-in, won a small side pot and then doubled twice in the next two hands.

He moved all-in for 307,000 from under the gun and Jan Bengelmann moved all-in for 265,000 from the cutoff. Enver Abduraimov was in the small blind and made the call to put both his opponent’s at risk.

Chauskin: [9h][9c]
Bengelmann: [ks][kd]
Abduraimov: [ac][ks]

The board ran [4h][5s][3c][8c][jh]. Abduraimov turned the world but missed on the river.

Chauskin was left with 81,000 and Dario Sammartino set him in for them once the action folded to him in the small blind. He [5c][5h] and Chauskin called after finding pocket nines again. The board ran [qh][6h][qh][js][7d] to see the nines hold.

Chauskin wasn’t finished and three-bet all-in for 180,000 with [ts][9s] the very next hand after an open by Kiryl Radzivonau. Radzivonau called with [7h][7c] but couldn’t hold on the [js][kd][kh][qc][9d] board. — MC

9pm: The trials and tribulations of the short-stacked
Level: 24 - Blinds: 12,000-24,000 (ante: 3,000)

Over at Vanessa Selbst’s table she’s currently engaged in some table talk with Pierre Calamusa about grinding a short stack, something both have had to do a bit of here in the latter part of Day 4.

As noted below, Kyle Frey is also in that particular situation sitting across from them, and just now he fired his last 130,000 forward from middle position. Joao Vieira, meanwhile, has none of those short-stacked problems, and he plucked a few off the top of his big stack and easily called the push from the big blind.

Vieira had [Ah][7h] and Frey [Ac][3c], and Selbst opined she felt a chop coming. The flop came [8d][Qs][Qc] — “looks pretty choppy,” she added — and after the [2c] turn and [9h], the pair did indeed split the pot.

Frey endures with 150,000, while Vieira sits comfortably with 2.64 million with 20 minutes left for the day on the tourney clock. -MH

8:55pm: Confirmation of Randy Lew’s elimination
Level: 24 - Blinds: 12,000-24,000 (ante: 3,000)

There was a double-knockout over on the feature table just now, something about to appear on EPT Live shortly. You can catch full details of the hand there when it comes, but here’s the skinny.

A three-way all-in involving Team PokerStars Pro member Randy “nanonoko” Lew who had pocket nines, Chris Dowling who had ace-queen, and Jan Bendik who happily had picked up pocket aces. The best hand held, and Lew is out in 30th and Dowling in 29th.

Bendik is thriving up there on the stage, moving up around 2.35 million after that hand. -MH

8:50pm: Rocci road runs out
Level: 24 - Blinds: 12,000-24,000 (ante: 3,000)

After folding the second-nuts not so long ago, Andrea Rocci again found a second-best hand but went with it. And he’s now out. His [ad][9s] looked pretty good on the turn, with the board reading [7d][ts][ac][9h], but Adrien Allain had [ah][th] and was only too happy to snaffle the last of Rocci’s stack. The [ks] on the river was not one of Rocci’s outs. — HS

8:45pm: Sperling back in action; Frey in the danger zone
Level: 24 - Blinds: 12,000-24,000 (ante: 3,000)

Fabio Sperling is alive and kicking, doubling up with [td][th] against Kyle Frey’s [as][kh]. They got it in pre-flop with pretty similar-sized stacks. After the board ran [jc][4c][4h][jh][9d] Frey had to pay Sperling 434,000 and was left with 139,000 of his own. — HS

8:35pm: Big hand
Level: 24 - Blinds: 12,000-24,000 (ante 3,000)

News reaching us of a huge hand on the feature table. Tune in to EPT Live to catch it.

8:30pm: A very Rocci fold
Level: 24 - Blinds: 12,000-24,000 (ante 3,000)

Andrea Rocci was annoyed at himself after he tanked on the river for so long that he called the clock on himself, then open-folded the second nuts, only to find out he was wrong.

Adrien Allain raised to 52,000 from early position and was called in three spots en route to a [qh][4h][kh] flop. The action checked to Rocci in the cutoff who bet 100,000 and he was only called by Oren Rosen in the next seat. The turn came as the [9h] and Rocci check-called a 135,000 bet before he checked over the [6c] river to face a 325,000 bet. He instructed the dealer to call the clock on him but he open-folded the [jh] before it ran down. Rosen wasted little time in opening [kc][jd] to move up to 1.41 million. -MC

8:15pm: Soika succumbs to Vieira
Level: 24 - Blinds: 12,000-24,000 (ante: 3,000)

Ihar Soika open-jammed his last 260,000 or so from the button and got himself a customer in Joao Vieira from the big blind.

ihar_soika_med4_4may16.jpgIhar Soika (in yellow, pictured earlier)

Soika had [Js][9s], not the most favorable holding against Vieira’s [Ks][Jd], but the [5s][2s][2d] flop did keep the door open slightly for Soika by giving him a spade flush draw.

But the turn was the [6d] and river the [8c], and Soika goes out in 32nd place. Vieira, meanwhile, is back up to 2.39 million. -MH

pm: Vieira tangles with Selbst
Level: 24 - Blinds: 12,000-24,000 (ante: 3,000)

Vanessa Selbst is back on the ropes after losing a huge hand against Joao Vieira. The Portuguese pro is now bossing his table and looks like a pretty solid bet to go very, very deep here.

Vieira got things started with a raise to 54,000 from under the gun, but he was faced with a quick three-bet, to 121,000, from the Team PokerStars Pro to his left. It folded back around to Vieira, who opted to call. That took them to a flop of [tc][js][3c].

vieira_selbst_med4_4may16.jpgVieira and Selbst earlier today

I’m going to flash forward here and tell you what Vieira had. He had flopped gin with his [td][ts]. It must have been the kind of situation you dream about: flopping a set with a know tyro to your left.

Vieira checked, almost certainly praying that Selbst would fall into his trap. But she didn’t. At least not yet. She checked behind.

That took them to the turn of [ah] and Vieira further baited the trap with another check. Selbst this time likely saw the ace as a card she could represent and bet 142,000. Vieira called.

The [ad] on the river made this tricky for both of them. Vieira now had a boat, but it was not the nuts. He checked again. Selbst bet at it. She slid out 370,000 from a stack of about 530,000. Vieira opted just to call.

Selbst turned over air. That was always in her range. (Specifically it was [kc][4c].) Vieira stacked 2.4 million while Selbst started licking her wounds.

Of course she didn’t. She got her chips in on the next hand — all 255,000 of them — and Vieira looked her up again. This time Selbst’s [ac][jd] stayed good against Vieira’s [ah][9d] and she doubled beyond half a million again. — HS

8pm: Allez Allain; Chmielewski out
Level: 24 - Blinds: 12,000-24,000 (ante: 3,000)

Adrien Allain is the runaway chip leader now, running his stack up to about 3.2 million and knocking out the overnight leader Marcin CTRL+V.

It started so innocuously, with Andrea Rocci opened to 54,000 from under the gun. CTRL+V called in the cutoff and both blinds took a flop too, with Allain in the small blind.

The board brought the [5d][qd][6d] and all four players checked. Then the [5h] came on the turn and after three checks, CTRL+V bet 104,000. Allain was next to act and he raised to 300,000. The other two players folded, leaving CTRL+V with a decision.

He took the aggressive line and shoved for 928,000 total, which then put Allain into the tank. He asked for a count a couple of times, but then said the magic word, “Call.” It meant that CTRL+V had to turn over his [7d][7h] which had outs, but was behind Allain’s [jd][td].

The [qc] came on the river to end CTRL+V’s tournament. Allain’s stack, already the biggest even before this pot, is now absolutely huge. — HS

7:55pm: Chauskin flips to a double up
Level: 24 - Blinds: 12,000-24,000 (ante 3,000)

Natan Chauskin needed a double up and he got one. He was down to his last 263,000 when he found a hand to make his move with. His all-in was from second position and he found a willing customer in the big-stacked Mohamed Aissani on the button.

natan_chauskin_med4_4may16.jpgNatan Chauskin

Chauskin: [7s][7d]
Aissani: [ac][jc]

Chauskin gave a running commentary to his friends as the hand played out. The board ran [qc][td][5h][5s][2d] and his friends on the rail celebrated when he broke the good news after the river had been dealt. Aissani dropped to around 900,000. -MC

24 12,000 24,000 3,000

7:46pm: Break’s over

Play resumes with the plan remaining to play until the end of this level and stop for the night. 

7:16pm: Break time

Level 23 is over and this time they’re taking a 30-minute break before returning for what is scheduled to be the last level of the day, although plans could change. Stay tuned. -MH

7:15pm: More for Celestino
Level: 23 - Blinds: 10,000-20,000 (ante: 3,000)

We mentioned how Jimmy Guerrero had slid in the counts this level. His neighbor to the left, Antoine Saout, has had a much better time of it as late, and in fact appears to be the chip leader with about 2.15 million right now with 35 players left. -MH

7:11pm: More for Celestino
Level: 23 - Blinds: 10,000-20,000 (ante: 3,000)

Jimmy Guerrero began Level 23 as the chip leader, but he hasn’t had the best hour-and-a-half as he’s now down to about 460,000 and the lower third of the counts.

Just now he check-called a bet from Ariel Celestino on the turn for 84,000 with the board showing [Qc][7c][6c][Jd], then tanked long enough for the clock to be called after checking and watching Celestino fire 193,000 on the river. Guerrero finally called with just a second to go, Celestino showed [Jc][9c] for a flush, and Guerrero mucked.

As Guerrero has gone down, Celestino has risen in the counts and has about 1.54 million with the next break nearing. -MH

7:02pm: Frey doubles through Soika
Level: 23 - Blinds: 10,000-20,000 (ante: 3,000)

Kyle Frey doubled through Ihar Soika just now when Frey’s pocket sixes held versus Soika’s ace-jack on a ten-high board. Frey got back to around 450,000 while Soika slips to 175,000. -MH

7pm: Et Tu Loc Tu
Level: 23 - Blinds: 10,000-20,000 (ante: 3,000)

There’s a really interesting texture to the remaining field here, with seasoned professionals-Vanessa Selbst, Joao Vieira, etc-rubbing shoulders with less familiar players, such as Loc Tu. He is a PokerStars qualifier from Canada with a relatively meagre tournament record.

Tu just took a pretty tricky line in a pot against Vieira, which is doubly brave given the Portuguese player’s reputation ($1.1 million in live winnings) and his stack (1.85 million).

Tu limped from under the gun, putting only 20,000 forward. Vieira, a couple of seats along, raised to 68,000 and everyone else put the decision back with Tu. He called.

The flop came [8h][6h][qc] and Tu checked. Vieira bet 67,000 and now Tu woke up. He raised to 150,000.

Vieira seemed tempted to take it further, but eventually thought better of it. He folded. -HS

6:45pm: Calamusa doubles through Selbst
Level: 23 - Blinds: 10,000-20,000 (ante: 3,000)

Vanessa Selbst got some chips back from Joao Vieira following that big hand between them earlier, although just now she sent a few to her other neighbor on the left when Pierre Calumusa doubled through her.

Calamusa was all-in and at risk for his last 173,000 with [Kc][Ks] versus Selbst’s [As][8h]. A king on the flop and safe cards thereafter helped him back up to about 360,000, while Selbst sits with 825,000. -MH

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6:40pm: Lakhdari out
Level: 23 - Blinds: 10,000-20,000 (ante: 3,000)

Benjamin Philipps raised to 40,000 on the button, then Omar Lakhdari reraised to 130,000 from the small blind. The action back on Philipps, he pushed all-in and Lakhdari called with the 530,000 or so he had total.

Lakhdari: [Jh][Jc]
Philipps: [Ac][7h]

The [Kd][Ad][5h] gave Philipps a pair of aces and the advantage, then following the [9h] turn and [5s] river Lakhdari was out in 36th. Philipps is now on 1.375 million. -MH

6:35pm: Nguyen wins
Level: 23 - Blinds: 10,000-20,000 (ante: 3,000)

Thi Xoa Nguyen now has about 1.8 million, and that is good for the tournament chip lead. She just bullied Natan Chauskin out of a pot, leaving him with about 400,000, which is his lowest ebb for the day.

The two of them had got about 210,000 into the pot by the time they got to the turn. The board read: [9d][qc][7d] | [6d].

Chauskin checked. Nguyen bet 104,000. And then Chauskin check-raised to 246,000. That put Nguyen in the tank and she went through the now well-practiced script. “Will you show if I fold?” etc., etc.

Chauskin didn’t reply, and normally the person laying down this speech folds in this spot. But not Nguyen. She shoved, covering Chauskin, and Chauskin immediately folded. — HS

6:25pm: So long, Evangelos; down to 36
Level: 23 - Blinds: 10,000-20,000 (ante: 3,000)

Evangelos Terzoudis of Greece has lost the last of his stack to go out in 37th place. -MH

6:20pm: Daher done, Celestino collects
Level: 23 - Blinds: 10,000-20,000 (ante: 3,000)

They are down to 37 now following the elimination of Albert Daher. The player from Lebanon was knocked out in a hand versus the Brazilian Ariel “Bahia” Celestino, one taking Celestino up over 1.15 million.

Daher got his last chips in on a [6s][6d][2h][Td] flop holding [Ad][9d] for a flush draw while Celestino called Daher’s shove with [Th][9h] for tens and sixes. The river was the [8c], and Daher’s day is done. -MH

6:15pm: Slow and fast
Level: 23 - Blinds: 10,000-20,000 (ante: 3,000)

Two hands played out simultaneously on neighbouring tables. One was a slow burn, that was ultimately unfulfilling. The other sped to a hasty climax.

The slow one featured Jan Bendik and Asan Umarov, a pair of players representing the unheralded poker nations of Slovakia and Kazakhstan, respectively. Bendik opened his button, making it 45,000 to play and Umarov, one seat westward, raised to 127,000.

The big blind gave it up but Bendik called and they saw a flop of [qd][5c][9d]. Umarov led. He bet 102,000 and Bendik called. The [5s] came on the turn and Umarov checked. Bendik took over and bet 197,000.

Right about this time, the dealer from over the floor beckoned reporters to her table with a shout of “All-in and a call.” We skittered in that direction to see Chris Dowling all-in with [7c][7s] against Jimmy Guerrero’s [ah][ks]. But they needed to wait for the TV cameras to arrive, so time to check back in with Bendik.

There was no need. Umarov was still in the tank. Back to see Dowling’s fate. The dealer was given permission to deal the flop. It came [9c][td] and a glorious [7d] for Dowling. The [2d] on the turn snuffed out any lingering runner-runner hopes for Guerro, and so the [6h] on the river was irrelevant.

Smash-bang, and Dowling doubled to about 600,000.

Meanwhile back at that first table, Bendik called the clock on Umarov and Umarov duly folded. — HS

6:10pm: Vieira vaults in front
Level: 23 - Blinds: 10,000-20,000 (ante: 3,000)

On the heels of his knockout of Koichi Nozaki in 40th, Joao Vieira soon got involved in another big pot, this one versus Vanessa Selbst sitting on his left.

joao_vieira_med2_4may16.jpgJoao Vieira

Picking up the action on the turn with about 225,000 already in the middle and the board showing an intriguing [Td][Kh][Jh], Vieira led for 133,000 and with some deliberation Selbst called. The turn brought the [4c] and another bet from Vieira, this one for 237,000, and again after giving the matter close scrutiny Selbst called once more.

The river was the [Tc], pairing the board, and after a brief pause Vieira noted he was all-in. Selbst eyed her remaining stack of 535,000, then let her hand go.

Vieira vaults into the chip lead with that pot, having moved up over 2 million. -MH

6pm: Vieira ends back-to-back prospects
Level: 23 - Blinds: 10,000-20,000 (ante: 3,000)

Koichi Nozaki’s bid for back-to-back Grand Final main event final tables is over. He found himself on the wrong side of what Vanessa Selbst described as a “optimum runout” to bust at the hands of Joao Vieira.

There was about 300,000 in the pot and a board dealt all the way to the river: [kh][6s][6c][9d][qs]. Nozaki bet 126,000 and Vieira, one seat to his left, picked up a fistful of lime-coloured 25,000-denomination chips and bunged them over the line.

Nozaki paused momentarily, but then called for his tournament life, showing [6d][7d]. He had to do a bit of a double take when Vieira tabled his [js][th] for the rivered straight.

Nozaki didn’t take it badly. He tapped Vieira on the shoulder, stuck his tongue out for the camera, and grinned his way to the payouts table. It would have been nice to see him record the back-to-back, but one suspects we’ll see him again next year.

“That’s what they call an optimum runout,” Selbst whispered to Vieira as he began stacking up 1.4 million chips. -HS

5:50pm: Guerrero leading final 40
Level: 23 - Blinds: 10,000-20,000 (ante: 3,000)

After a stretch lasting more than half an hour last level that saw the players remaining number stay on 45, five players fell during the final minutes of the level, with Andrei Boghean (43rd), Yousef Finianos (42nd), and Hani Bahna (41st) the last three to fall.

jimmy_guerro_med4_4may16.jpgJimmy Guerro

Meanwhile as we were just noting (see below), following his knockout of Markus Durnegger near the end of the last level after flopping a set of fives, Jimmy Guerrero is leading the counts with 1.5 million. As it happens, he and Thi Xoa Nguyen (who knocked out Fatima Moreira de Melo) are a couple, and she’s in the top five with her stack of 1.28 million. -MH

5:40pm: Big stacks
Level 23 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

As level 23 gets underway the top five stacks are as below. A quick glance reveals that the top five stacks are all French. Not all Frenchmen though, Thi Xoa Nguyen has flown up the chip counts to fifth place.

Name Country Chips
Jimmy Guerrero France 1,500,000
Benjamin Pollak France 1,450,000
Mohamed Aissani France 1,450,000
Adrien Allain France 1,369,000
Thi Xoa Nguyen France 1,280,000

Of the 40 remaining players the following countries are represented:

France - 10
USA - 5
Belarus - 3
Italy - 3
Germany - 2
Greece - 2
UK - 2
Brazil - 1
Canada - 1
Ireland - 1
Israel -1
Japan - 1
Kazakhstan - 1
Lebanon - 1
Poland - 1
Portugal - 1
Russia - 1
Slovakia - 1
Sweden - 1
Ukraine - 1

23 10,000 20,000 3,000

5:20pm: Break time
Level: 22 - Blinds: 8,000-16,000 (ante: 2,000)

After that slow-paced level that saw just nine players eliminated, they are taking another 20-minute break.  -MH

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5:15pm: Winner for Nguyen means Fatima falls
Level: 22 - Blinds: 8,000-16,000 (ante: 2,000)

Team PokerStars SportStar Fatima Moreira de Melo has been eliminated after losing a preflop all-in versus Thi Xoa Nguyen.

Putting her last 270,000 or so on the line versus Nguyen following an [8s][5s][4s] flop, de Melo had straight and flush draws with [7h][7s]. But Nguyen had already made a better flush with [Ks][9s], and following a runout of [Ad] and [5h] de Melo hit the rail.

Nguyen has about 1.25 million now with 43 players left. -MH

5:10pm: Folding with intent
Level: 22 - Blinds: 8,000-16,000 (ante: 2,000)

Ben Pollak just invited Oren Rosen to play the biggest pot of the tournament so far, but though he seemed tempted, Rosen eventually passed up the chance.

Pollak opened to 35,000 from early position and Rosen raised to 83,000 from the button. It folded through the blinds back to Pollak and he said that he was all-in.

With a stack of 1.4 million, Pollak can’t actually be knocked out by anyone at his table at the moment, so this was a decision for Rosen’s tournament life. He had about 1.1 million at the start of the hand.

Rosen asked for a count, even though he knew he was covered. After long time thinking about it, somebody (possibly Pollak) called the clock. The tournament director came over, confirmed with the dealer that Rosen had had enough time to weigh up his options, and then gave him one minute more.

Barely 20 seconds more passed before Rosen flung his cards away in a manner that said, “This is something in the region of ace-queen, maybe ace-jack, perhaps a pair between sevens and tens, and I think this might be ahead, even though I’m also quite sure you’re capable of making a move in this spot and you might be making a suspicious over-jam with a monster in a bid to psyche me out, but I can’t be certain and I’ve still got a big stack so I’ll live to fight another day and find a better spot.”

Sometimes you just get a feeling when you watch someone fold, know what I mean? — HS

5pm: Hero call doesn’t work for Durnegger
Level 22 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Omar Lakhdari limped from UTG, encouraging limps from Jimmy Guererro sitting to his left, Andjelko Andrejevic in the cutoff, and Pierre Calamusa in the small blind. Markus Durnegger then raised from the big blind, and only Guerrero chose to call and see with him a [5d][8c][Ks] flop.

markus_durnegger_med4_4may16.jpgMarkus Durnegger

Durnegger led for 70,000 at that, Guerrero raised to 175,000, and Durnegger called. Durnegger then check-called another bet of 150,000 from Guerrero following the [4h] turn.

The river was the [Ac]. Durnegger checked again, and Guerrero immediately pushed all-in for more than the 210,000 or so Durnegger had left. The Austrian went deep in the tank for several minutes, then after the clock was called on him he finally made a call, showing [8s][7c]. That was well behind Guerrero’s [5s][5c], and after more than half an hour we’ve finally seen another elimination. -MH

4:50pm: Bengelmann doubles
Level: 22 - Blinds: 8,000-16,000 (ante: 2,000)

Still 45 in the main event, even though Kiryl Radzivonau just did his best to trim the field by one. He called Jan Bengelmann’s open-shove (it was for precisely 326,000) but [ad][kh] stayed good against [ah][qh] through a board of [4d][8s][jc][9c][5h].

Despite the setback, Radzivonau still has about 1.2 million which represents a considerable increase on the 331,000 with which he started the day. -HS

4:45pm: Lakhdari likes his hand
Level 22 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Omar Lakhdari raised from UTG for 38,000 and it folded around to Markus Durnegger in the big blind who called.

Durnegger would then check-call both the flop and turn as the board came [6c][7d][2s][6s], building a pot close to 250,000, then check again to Lakhdari after the [Qh] river.

Lakhdari sat and fidgeted for several seconds, then tossed out a bet of 126,000. Durnegger studied the board, bet, and his opponent’s line for about a half-minute, then decided to call. Lakhdari flipped over [Kc][6d] for trips, and Durnegger mucked.

Afterwards Andjelko Andrejevic volunteered that he’d folded nine-six, and Jimmy Guerrero said “You thought he was bluffing, yea?” The table laughed in response, suggesting that even without that knowledge it did look like a bluff had been a real possibility.

In any event, Lakhdari was not and got paid, and now both and and Durnegger sit with just about the same amount of chips with 630,000. -MH

4:35pm: Stubborn Saout going nowhere with top pair
Level: 22 - Blinds: 8,000-16,000 (ante: 2,000)

Action has grown quite cagey in the main event, which would be consistent with a money jump. But actually another five players need to be eliminated before the €16,830 payout becomes €19,760, so this might just be a collective card-dead epidemic. There are 45 left and the money doesn’t increase until the last 39.

Ariel Celestino is now down to about 490,000 chips after losing a pot to Antoine Saout. Celestino opened to 35,000 from the button and Saout defended his big blind with a call. They saw the [8d][js][7c] on the flop.

Saout check-called Celestino’s bet of 36,000. And he check-called a follow up of 75,000 on the [3h] turn. After the [3c] came on the river and Saout checked again, Celestino clearly decided he wasn’t going to do any more of his opponent’s betting for him, and checked behind.

Saout opened [kc][jd] and Celestino sigh-mucked. — HS

4:20pm: Two Dutch players sitting beside one another and one now has twice as many chips as before
Level: 22 - Blinds: 8,000-16,000 (ante: 2,000)

There were two Dutch players sitting beside one another and they played a pot in which one of them ended up with about twice as many chips as before. But I just can’t think of a catchy headline. Any ideas?

Anyhow, those two were Govert Metaal and Fatima Moreira de Melo and the former open-shoved from the button. The latter called from the small blind. Metaal had [3d][3c]. Moreira de Melo had [9c][9s]. The board brought no help for the under-pair and, with the smaller stack, Metaal is now out. (The shove was for about 130,000.)

Moreira de Melo had about 300,000 before that hand so now sits with about 250,000. — HS

4:10pm: Guerrero gets value
Level 22 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

While Pierre Tilamant was being eliminated elsewhere in 47th place, Omar Lakhdari and Jimmy Guerrero were locked in a hand that saw Lakhdari lead with an 80,000 bet — just a third of the pot — on the river with the board showing [8h][As][Th][9c][Ts].

Guerrero riffled his chips while chewing the ever-present straw in his mouth, eyes darting back and forth between the board and Lakhdari as he did. Finally he began gathering chips, and pushed out a big raise to 294,000 — a bet representing most of what he had left.

Lakhdari called instantly, and Guerrero quickly turned over his [Qs][Jd] for a queen-high straight. Lakhdari paid off what he owed, stacking 480,000 after the loss. Meanwhile Guerrero is up around 775,000 now. -MH

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Level: 22 - Blinds: 8,000-16,000 (ante: 2,000)

Matthew Davenport had 180,000 chips at the recent break. Evangelos Terzoudis had about 1 million and Andjelko Andrejevic had about 450,000. But after a huge pot within the new level’s first orbit, it’s all change. Davenport is out, Terzoudis has about 650,000 and Andrejevic is pushing 1 million.

Terzoudis started it, raising to 35,000 from the hijack. Davenport shoved from the cutoff and Andrejevic reshoved from the button. Terzoudis called and it was a three-way pre-flop all-in situation, known as a TWPFAIS for short.

Terzoudis: [as][kh]
Davenport: [ac][jc]
Andrejevic: [qs][qh]

The board changed very little. It ran [9d][td][jd][9s][2c] and the queens held. That all but tripled Andrejevic, sent Davenport out and made Terzoudis with the queue to the bathroom had been longer and that he hadn’t managed to get back to his seat in time. — HS

3:50pm: Big stacks
Level 22 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

We got full counts on the recent break and we can tell you that Benjamin Pollak has taken the chip lead. The Frenchman finished fourth at EPT11 Deauville and looks set for another deep run in an EPT main event.

Name Country Chips
Benjamin Pollak France 1,400,000
Adrien Allain France 1,200,000
Oren Rosen Israel 1,200,000
Marcin Chmielewski Poland 1,200,000
Kiryl Radzivonau Belarus 1,100,000

3:46pm: Rocci still with fighter’s chance
Level 22 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Andrea Rocci got the rest of his chips in the middle following a [6c][6s][4c] flop and was in the good spot of having [9s][9h] versus Adrien Allain’s [8d][8c].

A nine on the turn made things even better for Rocci, ensuring the river didn’t matter and enabling him to double to about 690,000. Allain meanwhile slips back to 860,000. -MH

3:45pm: Sammarino’s kings crown Van Hoek
Level 22 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

On the first hand back from the break, Erik Van Hoek looked down at [Ks][Th] in the cutoff and decided to open-push his last 185,000. It folded to Dario Sammartino in the small blind, who examined the bet for a short while, then called it, and after the big blind stepped aside, Sammartino showed his [Kh][Kd].

dario_sammartino_med4_4may16.jpgDario Sammartino

The flop was [Qs][6c][8s] and the turn the [9s], meaning Van Hoek wasn’t quite dead yet. But the [6h] river sealed it and he’s out in 49th. -MH

22 8,000 16,000 2,000

3:25pm: Break time

With 49 left, they’ve reached the end of another level and are taking another 20-minute break. -MH

3:20pm: Choice for Gustavson
Level: 21 - Blinds: 6,000-12,000 (ante: 2,000)

Aaron Gustavson’s bid for a second EPT title just enjoyed a huge fillip as he doubled his stack to nearly 900,000 and accounted for Ruediger Weber at the same time.

Weber opened from the hijack, making it 29,000 to play. Gustavson was in the big blind and he raised to 90,000. By this point it was only those two involved and Weber asked for the all-in triangle.

Gustavson didn’t wait for a count. He simply moved his chips over the line and flipped over his [ad][qs]. Weber was racing with his [td][tc] and a made-for-TV run-out then followed.

The flop came [kh][4d][jd] and although the [ts] on the turn looked good for Weber, it was actually the worst card in the deck. Gustavson now had a straight. Although Weber now had outs to the full house, he missed on the [9d] river.

Gustavson now counted out his chips. He had 444 (thousand) which, in a previous poker era (about three years ago) would have had a lot of people talking about taking a six-week sojourn to a self-improvement centre near Las Vegas. In this instance, Weber just counted out his own stack, learned that he had marginally less than that, and slipped silently away from the table.

Gustavson is now in control of his own destiny. — HS

3:10pm: Gray, Soshnikov out; Aissani on the ascent
Level 21 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Shortly after Jason Gray was knocked out at a neighboring table in 52nd place, there was another all-in and call involving Ivan Soshnikov and Mahomed Aissani nearby.

The action came following a [8c][7h][Ts] flop, and resulted in Soshnikov begin all-in and at risk with [Qd][8d] (a pair of eights) versus Aissani’s [Th][9h] (a flopped straight).

The turn was the [2s] and river the [Jc], and Soshnikov turned from the table, saying “Next time!” as he headed over to collect his winnings for finishing 51st.

Aissani is way up to 1.18 million. -MH

3:05pm: Selbst on fire
Level: 21 - Blinds: 6,000-12,000 (ante: 2,000)

Vanessa Selbst has hit the million-chip mark, knocking out Alexios Zervos. The Greek player was a chip leader for a long period yesterday and came into today with 700,000. But with Selbst to his left, he didn’t have the best draw in the house.

His final hand was pretty standard. He opened to 28,000 from the cutoff, Selbst raised to 62,000 from the button and everyone else left the decision to Zervos. He shoved for about 300,000.

Selbst instantly called and flipped [jh][jc]. Zervos had [6s][6d]. The board was no threat to the jacks: [ks][8h][tc][2c][4s].

Zervos departs but Selbst is into seven figures for the first time this week, and this doesn’t bode particularly well for the rest of the field. — HS

3pm: Saout doubles through Daher
Level 21 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Preflop action between Antoine Saout in middle position and Albert Daher in the big blind resulted in Saout being all-in and at risk for 230,000 even with [Ad][Jc] and in decent shape edge-wise versus Daher’s [Ac][Ts].

The board ran out [6d][8d][8h][As][Jd], and Saout now has about 475,000, putting him ahead of Daher on the leaderboard as he slips to 430,000. -MH

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2:55pm: Chop
Level: 21 - Blinds: 6,000-12,000 (ante: 2,000)

Fabio Sperling tried to knock out Ivan Soshnikov and found [ad][kd] in a bid to do so. But Soshnikov had [as][kc] and…you know, sometimes you start writing up a hand an wonder why you bother. — HS

2:50pm: “He check-raised two people!”
Level: 21 - Blinds: 6,000-12,000 (ante: 2,000)

Vanessa Selbst isn’t usually prepared to back down without a fight and she’s spoiling for a huge dust up on Table 3 this afternoon. She just got embroiled in a pot with both Loc Tu and Koichi Nozaki, but emerged with barely a scratch.

Selbst opened to 27,000 from UTG+1 and Tu called on the button. Nozaki called from the big blind and the happy trio saw three happy cards: [qd][2s][5h].

vanessa_selbst_med4_4may16.jpgVanessa Selbst

Nozaki checked, but Selbst didn’t. She bet 37,000. Tu seemed keen initially to look her up, but folded eventually, which put the decision on Nozaki. He didn’t call either. He raised. It was 80,000.

Selbst took a little while to assess her options, but came out all guns blazing. She said she was all in for around 500,000.

Nozaki made the face of a man who didn’t want to fold, but eventually that’s what he had to do. As Selbst stacked up the chips, her neighbour told her what only she really knew. “You didn’t have a set,” he said. Selbst defended against this accusation. “He check-raised two people,” she said.

Who knows. — HS

2:45pm: Kagawa out; Bechrakis doubles
Level 21 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Shortly after Rintaro Kagawa busted in 54th place, Apostolos Bechrakis opened from middle position, then when challenged by Chris Dowling from the blinds the pair eventually got all of Bechrakis’ 334,000 chips in the middle.

Bechrakis tabled [Kh][Ks] and needed to avoid an ace versus Dowling’s [As][Ks]. A runout of [8h][Ts][6s][Jh][8d] fulfilled that wish for Bechrakis, and now he has about 690,000 while Dowling is down to 135,000. -MH

2:35pm: A double for Tu
Level 21 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

After only winning a small side pot in that three-way all-in situation with Ihar Soika and Koichi Nozaki a short while ago, Loc Tu watched Soika open from UTG to 27,000, then Andrei Boghean call from late position.

Tu looked down at [7c][7h] in the big blind and decided to reraise all-in for his last 120,000 even, and after Soika folded, Boghean called, turning over [Kc][Tc].

The dealer burned a card and spread the three flop cards, with a king in the window causing Tu to slump noticeably in his chair, but right underneath the king was a seven, the flop coming [6h][7c][Kd], and Tu sat upright again. The [Td] turn meant his flopped set couldn’t be beaten, making the river no matter.

Tu has about 250,000 now while Boghean has 760,000. -MH

2:30pm: More casualities
Level 21 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Diego Zeiter went out in 58th a short while ago, just prior to Michel Abecassis’ knockout in 57th (described below). Then Georges Hallak finally lost last of his short stack to finish 56th, and the Brazilian Thiago Nishijima fell thereafter in 55th. — MH

2:23pm: Abecassis abecacan’t. Lakhdari’s dance continues
Level: 21 - Blinds: 6,000-12,000 (ante: 2,000)

Omar Lakhdari opened to 26,000 from the cutoff and Michel Abecassis moved all in from the button. Matthew Davenport was in the small blind and he wanted a count of both of his potential opponents’ stacks. The dealer took care of Abecassis’s counting, establishing that it was 255,000 and Davenport called.

Then Lakhdari counted his own chips, loudly and energetically, establishing that he had almost precisely the same amount as his all-in countryman. There really was only shrapnel between them. Lakhdari eventually tossed one chip over the line and made it pretty clear that he was in for his tournament too, turning over [ad][ks].

michel_abecassis_med4_4may16.jpgMichel Abecassis

The other two hands were also revealed. Abecassis had [5c][5s] but Davenport was ahead with his [qc][qs]. The dealer paused, as directed, to wait for the television cameras to come over and decide the players’ fate, but Lakhdari wasn’t having it. “Come on, come on,” he insisted, frustrated that his tournament-defining agony had to be prolonged for the sake of those in webcast land.

He soon saw good news, though. The flop came [ah][kh][3c], putting him ahead. And then [7d] turn followed by the [6s] river kept him ahead. He triples to about 780,000. Abecassis is out and Davenport has 350,000.

Omar comin’. -HS

2:20pm: pm: Soika survives, triples up
Level 21 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

“Nobody busted. It’s disgusting.”

So commented the still-short-stacked Georges Hallak from a neighboring table following a three-way all-in next door that saw the two at-risk players both survive.

The hand started with Loc Tu opening from middle position, then Ihar Soika reraised all-in for his last 190,000 from the next seat. Koichi Nozaki called the three-bet, and when it folded back around to Tu he reshoved all-in over the top for nearly 270,000 total and Nozaki called that as well.

Tu: [Qs][Qd]
Soika: [Jc][Jd]
Nozaki: [Ah][Ks]

The flop came [Kh][Tc][Qc], pairing Nozaki, giving Tu a set, and providing an up-and-down straight draw for Soika. Relatively speaking, the [5d] was a dud, drama-wise, but the [As] river picked things back up again, enabling Soika to survive with a big triple-up.

Soika has about 600,000 now, while Tu won the small side pot to keep his seat with 125,000. Nozaki, meanwhile, has 855,000. -MH

2:12pm: Sperling busts Riihela
Level 21 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Fabio Sperling keeps chipping up. He just collected a few more after taking the last 232,000 from Samu Riihela.

Riihela was all-in with [7d][7h] but Sperling had that pipped with [8s][8c]. The [As][9d][8h] flop then gave Sperling a set, with the [Ad] turn improving him to a full house and making the [Kd] river inconsequential.

Riihela is out, and with 58 players left Sperling now has about 1.1 million. -MH

2:10pm: Pollak making small fry of competition
Level: 20 - Blinds: 6,000-12,000 (ante: 2,000)

Ben Pollak is on the absolute charge today and is likely in the chip lead now. He has the best part of 1.5 million having accounted for the final 150,000-ish of Diego Zeiter.

This went open, shove, call: Pollak with [kc][ks] and Zeiter with [as][7h]. The board did not contain an ace and that was that. — HS

2:08pm: Sperling busts Riihela
Level 21 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Fabio Sperling keeps chipping up. He just collected a few more after taking the last 232,000 from Samu Riihela.

Riihela was all-in with [7d][7h] but Sperling had that pipped with [8s][8c]. The [As][9d][8h] flop then gave Sperling a set, with the [Ad] turn improving him to a full house and making the [Kd] river inconsequential.

Riihela is out, and with 58 players left Sperling now has about 1.1 million. -MH

2:01pm: Bicknell busts to Nishijima
Level 21 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Soon after the start of the day’s second level, Kristen Bicknell — winner of the 2013 WSOP Ladies Event bracelet — got all-in from the button with her last 130,000 with [Kh][2h] and was called from the big blind by Thiago Nishijima who had [Ac][7h].

The [Ad][3c][Td] flop gave top pair Nishijima, a WSOP bracelet holder himself (having won his in a $3K NLHE event last summer). The [8s] turn then left Bicknell drawing dead, and she wished the table luck before leaving for the payout desk.

Nishijima has 565,000 now. -MH

21 6,000 12,000 2,000

1:45pm: Chip leaders
Level 20 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

We’ll be getting full chip counts on the break but these appear to be the biggest stacks in the room right now

Marcin Chmielewski, 1,470,000
Oriel Rosen, 1,176,000
Natan Chauskin, 1,150,000
Thiago Nishijima, 1,130,000
Benjamin Pollak, 1,100,000
Ariel Celestino, 1,037,000

1:38pm: Break time
Level 20 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

With Oleh Cherepianyi hitting the rail in the last hand of the level in 61st, the remaining 60 players are now taking their first break of the day. -MH

1:35pm: Nozaki continues his back-to-back bid
Level: 20 - Blinds: 5,000-10,000 (ante: 1,000)

All things considered, that first level has actually been relatively sedate. Fady Kamar became the 13th person eliminated over the 90 minutes (he went out in 62nd) and we have definitely seen more opening-level carnage than that.

Plenty still to report, however, including the continued rise of Koichi Nozaki. The latest non-believer was Kyle Frey, who paid Nozaki off in the following pot:

Frey opened from mid-position, making it 22,000 to play. Nozaki three-bet from the big blind-he’s nothing if not aggressive-and Frey paid to see the [as][2s][9h] flop. Nozaki had a stab. He bet 45,000 and Frey called.

They both checked the [4d] turn, but then Nozaki found his tempo again on the [3d] river. He bet 72,000. The rest of the field drifted to its break, but Vanessa Selbst was among those to hang around and watch what happened next.

Frey needed to see Nozaki’s cards. He called and got his answer. Nozaki turned over [ac][4s], which was a winning two pair. — HS

1:28pm: Bechrakis shoves, Selbst steps aside
Level 20 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Apostolos Bechrakis opened from from the hijack seat, then Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Selbst reraised to 48,000 from the next position. It folded back to Bechrakis who considered the situation for a while, checking his cards again as he thought it through.

Finally he announced he was all-in, and Selbst didn’t need any time at all to know what her response would be to such an eventuality — she folded.

With about 10 minutes to go until the day’s first break, Selbst has about 745,000 while Bechrakis sits with 315,000. -MH

1:26pm: Lampagno leaves; title not in cards for Cardyn
Level 20 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Two more knockouts to report — Paolo Lampagno in 64th and Nicholas Cardyn in 63rd. -MH

1:16pm: Barbero bounced
Level 20 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Two-time Latin American Poker Tour champion Nacho Barbero’s effort to add an EPT title to his poker résumé here in Monaco has been cut short as he was just eliminated in 65th place during the day’s first level. — MH

1:15pm:  Chip counts
Level 20 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

We’ve just updated the chip count page and at the top it’s very much as you were. Marcin Chmielewski, Roman Korenev and Natan Chauskin are still the top three and they’re also the only players to have amassed a chip stack of more than a million. -NW

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1:04pm: Ace-king fails Jozonis; Celestino rising
Level 20 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Shortly after opening and then folding to a three-bet in the previous hand, Tomas Jozonis opened again with a raise, but this time put all 170,000 or so of his chips forward. It folded to Ariel Celestino who called from the cutoff, then after a bit of a tank Chris Dowling called as well from the cutoff and the blinds got out.

The two players still with chips to bet chose not to during the three postflop streets, checking down the [Qd][5s][5h][Js][3d] board.

“One time for ace-king” said Jozonis as he stood and turned over his [Ad][Ks]. But Celestino’s [7h][7c] was better than that, and better as well than Dowling’s [Ah][Kd].

Jozonis is out in 66th, Dowling has about 380,000 now, and Celestino is up to 1.06 million. -MH

12:59pm: Etcheverry eliminated
Level 20 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Tomas Jozonis opened for 25,000 from middle position, then Apostolos Bechrakis three-bet to 175,000 from the next seat. It folded to Juan Etcheverry who pushed his last chips in the middle as a call — a little less than Bechrakis’ reraise. The action got back to Jozonis and he folded, and the remaining two players tabled their hands:

Bechrakis: [Ad][Ks]
Etcheverry: [7d][7s]

The sevens weren’t so lucky for Etcheverry as the board came [2d][Qc][Kc][8h][3h] to give Bechrakis the better pair of kings. He’s up to 495,000 now, while Etcheverry hits the rail in 67th. — MH

12:55pm: Nozaki yet again
Level: 20 - Blinds: 5,000-10,000 (ante: 1,000)

Koichi Nozaki loves Monaco. This time last year, he was the Japanese tourist who gave the EPT Grand Final a crack, almost on a whim, and ended up finishing eighth in the main event for €120,700. He’s back this year and is still involved as the tournament enters its fourth day. What’s more: he’s just doubled up.

nozaki_med4_4may16.jpgKoichi Nozaki

I don’t know how any of this played out, but by the time there was a red triangle involved, the board showed [7c][js][9h][2s][ac] and it seemed as though Alexios Zervos had been the man to make the final aggressive move. I think Nozaki check-called all-in on the river.

These two would have been in the blinds pre-flop (Nozaki in the small; Zervos in the big) and they showed down [9c][tc] (Zervos) and [jd][kc] (Nozaki). Zervos was startled. “He snapped!” he said, apparently referring to the haste with which Nozaki called for his tournament life.

“Did you see my hand maybe?”

That wasn’t a serious accusation, but it was a pretty big call with second pair. Nozaki had 166,000 in his stack at that point, so Zervos had to pay that off, plus whatever was in the middle prior to that.

Nozaki’s Monaco love affair continues. — HS

12:51pm: No second EPT title for Mouawad
Level 20 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

EPT4 London Main Event champion Joseph Mouowad held on for awhile, but now he’s lost his short stack to go out in 68th.

joseph_mouawad_med4_4may16.jpgJoseph Mouawad: OUT

That just leaves Aaron Gustavson, who won EPT London in Season 6, as the only former EPT Main Event champion left in the field. -MH

12:45pm: Andrejevic too slick for Davenport
Level 20 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Andjelko Andrejevic is up to around 350,000 after doubling through Matt Davenport. The latter opened with [9h][9c], Andrejevic three-bet with [Ah][Kc], Davenport set him in and the American called it off.

The [6c][Kh][8d][Ks][Qd] board saw Davenport ship a portion of his chips to Andrejevic, the Brit is down to roughly 470,000. -NW

12:44pm: Korenev KOs Finianos
Level 20 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Three more have fallen here in Level 20 — Nikolas Menke of Germany (70th), Albert Sebag of France (69th), and Youssef Finianos of Lebanon (68th). For Finanos, it was a hand against big-stacked Russian Roman Korenev that spelled the end of his EPT Grand Final Main Event run.

In the hand, Thi Xoa Nguyen had opened from middle position for 22,000 and Korenev called from a seat over. Then Finianos reraised all in from the cutoff for a little under 80,000, and the table folded back to Nguyen.

She contemplated the situation a short while before folding, and after seeing how much the reraise was for Korenev called, tabling [Ac][Ts] while Finianos had [Tc][Td].

The [2c][Kc][Qc] flop and [6s] turn kept Finianos in front, but the [8c] river gave Korenev the flush and the pot. With 67 players left, Korenev has about 1.15 million. — MH

12:31pm: A Hallak comeback?
Level 20 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

The loudest player in the tournament room so far on Day 4 has been Canada’s Georges Hallak, despite his entering the day with a short stack. Just now he became even more vocal after doubling up with ace-king versus pocket sixes.

“Oooh la la la la la,” said Hallak when the king arrived on board to save him. “Je suis la encore!”

He’s still here, all right, and now has about 250,000. -MH

12:25pm: Frey fries Faivre
Level: 20 - Blinds: 5,000-10,000 (ante: 1,000)

Vanessa Selbst opened two pots from late position and ended up having to fold twice when players behind her seemed even keener to pick up the blinds and antes. However, on the second such occasion, one of them ended on the rail.

Let’s look at that second hand: Selbst opened to 22,000 from the hijack and Kyle Frey called on the button. Pascal Faivre attempted to move all-in instantly from the small blind, but a combination of fumbling fingers and a decision not to announce his intention verbally meant he ended up three-betting to 100,000, leaving 10,000 behind. The dealer explained the issue to him and he was fine with it.

Selbst eyed the size of the bet and Faivre helpfully spread the amount left behind the line. There were two blue chips, which it’s likely Selbst had already clocked. Anyhow, the Team PokerStars Pro folded, but Frey snap-called and showed his [8d][8s].

Faivre was racing with [ah][9h] but the board ran [5c][3s][6h][6s][3h] and the pocket pair held. Faivre becomes another of the overnight short stacks to fail in the attempt to spin it up. — HS

12:23pm: Two more hit the rail
Level 20 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Marco De Vincenti (73rd) and Antonio Rutigliano (72nd) have now hit the rail here during the first half-hour of Day 4. -MH

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12:22pm: Kamar doubles through Terzoudis
Level 20 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

All-in for his last 79,000 with [Qc][Tc], Fady Kamar needed help against the [4c][4h] of Evangelo Terzoudis. The board brought it for the player from Lebanon, coming [Qh][2s][Ah][8h][9s] to give him the better pair and the pot.

Kamar has about 175,000 now, while Terzoudis sits with 920,000. -MH

12:20pm:  Boghean busts De Vincenti
Level 20 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

By the time I arrived at the tables the cards were already on their backs but it was clear the majority of Marco De Vincenti’s 134,000 stack had gone in on the river in a hand against Andrei Boghean.

The board was [9d][8d][As][Jd][3c] and De Vincenti had [A][J] for top two. A fine hand but not as strong as Boghean who had [Ts][7s] and had turned a straight to cooler Di Vincenti. He’s up to 600,000 now.

Antonio Rutigliano is also out. -NW

12:11pm: Van Hoek steps aside after Aissani shove
Level 20 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

With the board showing [8d][4c][6c] and about 150,000 in the middle, Mahomed Aissani checked, then Erik Van Hoek fired 75,000 in an effort to win the pot, leaving himself about 235,000 behind. At that Aissani check-raised all-in, and Van Hoek went deep into the tank before finally letting his hand go.

Aissani has about 950,000 as Day 4 gets going in earnest. -MH

12:05pm: One down
Level: 20 - Blinds: 5,000-10,000 (ante: 1,000)

Action is under way in the main event and, predictably, we lost our first player within the first orbit.

Sebastian Lebaron got his sub 10 big blind stack in from early position and was called by Erwann Pecheux, who had closer to 85 BBs. Lebaron had [kc][9s] and plenty of potential against Pecheux’s [3c][3s].

But like so much promise (see: the journalism careers of the EPT media room), it fizzled to nothing. The board ran [ah][8s][6c][2d][tc] and that was that. The pattern is set. -HS

12pm: Play begins

We’re underway on Day 4. 

11am: Preparing for Day 4

There are 74 players left as they head into Day 4 of the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo®Casino EPT Grand Final main event. They will likely play five 90-minute levels today, although the day could also end when only 16 players remain. It could go either way.

Marcin Chmielewski leads the way at the moment, but with the likes of Vanessa Selbst, Fatima Moreira de Melo, Joseph Mouawad and nanonoko in the hunt, anything could happen.

Play begins at noon. — HS

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

Take a look at the official website of the EPT, with tournament schedule, news and results.

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

PokerStars Blog reporting team on the EPT12 Grand Final main event: Stephen Bartley, Marc Convey and Howard Swains. Photography by Neil Stoddart. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog

8G2A1593EPT12MON_Tournament_Room_Neil Stoddart.jpg

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EPT12 Grand Final: €25K High roller Day 1 coverage archive

We all knew this tournament was going to be huge - it always is. So it wasn’t a huge surprise to see a new Grand Final record set for the biggest ever €25K.

That was certainly true today as 173 players ponied up the €25,000 buy-in for this three-day high roller event - ten more than last year! We had 47 re-entries (making 220 entries total) so second bullets were being fired at will (although a third was out of the question), and that’s going to guarantee we have one heck of a juicy prize pool after registration closes tomorrow, when 95 players will return.

This is the biggest buy-in event left on the schedule here at the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo®Casino EPT12 Grand Final, and it’s therefore the last chance for these guys to either dig themselves out of a financial hole (Monte Carlo is expensive!), or if you’re Ole Schemion - who won the 100K and came runner-up in the single-day 50K - it’s your last chance to not win at least six figures here in Monaco. I don’t think he’s going to be able to pull that off, though.

Schemion’s still in but short with 20,400 after busting and re-entering at the last level of the night, but the player leading the way overnight is none other than Niall Farrell. It was a great day for the EPT12 Malta champ and France Poker Series main event runner-up; he got off to a flying start and never came back to earth, remaining at the top of the counts for much of the day.


Niall Farrell’s hot streak in Monaco continues

When asked if he believed in the curse of the chip leader, Farrell said: “No man, I’ll take being the chip leader all the time.”

“[Today was] pretty great all round. My value bets got called and my bluffs got through.”

He’ll start tomorrow with 311,200 going into Level 11 (1,000/2,000, 300 ante), and will be looking to extend his lead on the other biggest stacks in the room, including Enrico Coppola (302,100), Saar Wilf (288,000), Dong Zhao (278,900), David Dayan (272,900), Dan Smith (272,500), and Ivan Luca (271,300).

We had several Team Pros in the running, including Andre Akkari, Jason Mercier, Liv Boeree, and Friend of PokerStars Felipe Ramos. They all survived and will be back tomorrow.

Elsewhere, Jean-Noel Thorel was up and down the counts in his typical style; Igor Kurganov managed to amass a nice stack while also playing a heads-up match on his laptop; and defending champ Charlie Carrel dusted off two bullets and won’t be returning tomorrow.

One player who didn’t get off to a flyer was Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu. He busted in brutal fashion not long after registering late in the day, when Phil Gruissem rivered a straight against his top set. It didn’t take him long to buy back in though, and he ended the day with 136,700.

Here’s how the biggest stacks in the room look, plus a few other notable names:

Niall Farrell - 311,200
Saar Wilf - 288,000
Dong Zhao - 278,900
David Dayan - 272,900
Dan Smith - 272,500
Ivan Luca - 271,300
Erik Seidel - 177,300
Andre Akkari - 170,000
Daniel Negreanu - 136,700
Adrian Mateos - 124,000
Anthony Zinno - 123,000
Steve O’Dwyer - 77,600
Liv Boeree - 71,400
Mike McDonald - 56,700
Jason Mercier - 54,900
Dzmitry Urbanovich - 38,600
Igor Kurganov - 25,000
Ole Schemion - 20,400

Play kicks off at 12:30pm tomorrow so make sure you come back and join us for Day 2 of this event. Tomorrow also sees 28 players return for Day 5 of the main event, including Team Pro Vanessa Selbst, Dario Sammartino, Antoine Saout, and Joao Vieira all still in the hunt. Play in that tournament starts a bit earlier at noon.

Get some sleep, and we’ll see you tomorrow. Bonsoir! -JS

01:10am: Play ends
Level 10 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

That’s it for day one of this event and it looks like Niall Farrell has finished with the biggest stack in the room. A recap of the day’s play will appear above shortly. Overnight chip counts will be made available in an hour or so, but the seat draw will not be available on the blog until play has started tomorrow at 12.30 CEST. -NW

12:50am: Last five
Level 10 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

The clock has been paused and there will be five more hands before play is done for the day. Niall Farrell, Dan Smith and Ivan Luca all have around 280,000 and are contesting the chip lead. -NW

12:35am: How high will we go?
Level 10 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

The tournament has just ticked up to 210 entries (including 40 re-entries), so it’s not quite equalled last year’s edition, which got 215 entries in total. However, with late registration open until the start of play tomorrow, it’s a case of when not if this eclipses that figure.

12:35am: How go Team Pro?
Level 10 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

With about 25 minutes left in the night there are four members of Team PokerStars Pro still going strong. They are:

Daniel Negreanu - 115,000
Liv Boeree - 114,000
Andre Akkari - 102,000
Jason Mercier - 39,600

12:15am: Korotkikh shows the bluff
Level 10 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Enrico Coppola opened to 3,300 and Mikhail Korotkikh then made a big all-in move. His shove was for 69,000 and Coppola, who had a stack of around 200,000, was giving it some serious thought. Eventually though he elected to fold and Korotkikh showed [Jc][8c] as he took the pot.

10 800 1,600 200

12:05am: Chidwick eliminates Soika
Level 9 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Daniel Negreanu’s second bullet is going better than the first as he’s up to 70,000. He looked on as Stephen Chidwick and Ihar Soika played a big pot. On a [3h][8s][5c] flop Soika bet 2,700, Chidwick raised it up to 8,000 and Soika smooth called.

The [7d] hit the turn, Chidwick moved all-in for an effective 15,000 and Soika snap called. He turned over [Kh][Ks] and was ahead of Chidwick’s [9c][9h]. However, the [6d] river filled Chidwick’s straight and he’s up to 65,000 as a result whilst Soika is out, for now. -NW

12am: Petrangelo having fun
Level 9 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Despite having just under 20 big blinds Nick Petrangelo is in a jovial mood. He’s at a fun table, one that includes Paul Hoefer and Georgios Zisimopoulos. A round of beers arrived just in time for Petrangelo to open to 2,700, it folded round to Hoefer, who was in the big blind, and the German called the extra 1,500.

The [8h][9h][3c] flop was checked through and the [4h] fell on fourth street. After Hoefer checked Petrangelo said: “Now it’s time to start betting,” before he too checked. The [8c] fell on the river and Hoefer bet 4,000. Petrangelo - who started the hand with about 22,000 - flicked in the call and Hoefer rolled over [Js][7h].

“Do you have a straight?” said Petrangelo cheekily as he opened [Ad][Kh]. “Oh no, you have nothing,” he added and Zisimopoulos, Hoefer and Petrangelo cracked up at the joke. -NW


Nick Petrangelo

11:58pm: Dvoress is no moress
Level 9 - Blinds 600/1,200 (100 ante)

Serbia’s Ognjen Sekularac opened up a pot to 2,900 and Mark Teltscher called out of the small blind, as did Daniel Dvoress from the big. The flop came [4s][2h][kh] and it checked to Sekularac who continued for 3,300. Teltscher made the call, and Dvoress decided the time was right to get it in. The bet was 21,300 and that was too much for the original raiser, but Teltscher made the call.

Dvoress - [9h][7h]
Teltscher - [kc][tc]

Dvoress would need a heart to pop Teltscher’s top pair to the post, but it came the [ts] on the turn and the [2s] on the river and he was out. Teltscher is now playing 120,000. -JS

11:45pm: Boeree busts Bensadoun
Level 9 - Blinds 600/1,200 (100 ante)

Jonathan Bensadoun moved all-in from the under the gun for 20,000 and it folded around to Team Pro Liv Boeree. She asked for a count and made a quick call when she discovered the amount. It folded the rest of the way and Boeree was way ahead with her [ac][qc] against [7d][tc].

The [ts][jc][9d] flop put Bensadoun in front but only until the [qd] turn. The [js] river sealed the Frenchman’s fate and Boeree moved up to 66,500. -JS

11:30pm: King Kenney
Level 9 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Bryn Kenney is up to 150,000 after winning a big pot against Ariel Mantel. The American was the pre-flop aggressor, raising it up to 2,700, Mantel defended from the big blind. On the [8h][7d][2h] flop Kenney c-bet 3,300, Mantel check-raised to 9,000 and Kenney called.

On the [Jc] turn Mantel fired out 11,500 and Kenney again smooth called. On the [Th] river Mantel shoved for an effective 50,000 and Kenney went into the tank and emerged with a call. Mantel was bluffing with [5s][4h] and Kenney had called him down to [Tc][9h]. Mantel was left with a micro stack but doubled up to around 10 big blinds shortly afterwards. -NW


Kenney’s climbing

11:20pm: Farrell gets there
Level 9 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Xixiang Luo let out a loud cry of anguish and it didn’t take too long to figure out why. He’d got his stack of 70,000 in the middle pre-flop with [As][Ac] and Niall Farrell had put him at risk with [Kc][Kh]. The [6s][7c][8d][Ts] flop and turn were clean, but the [Ks] river was a fatal blow.

Luo even got out his phone to take a photo of the board for posterity. “Make sure you get me in the picture because then people will know why it happened,” quipped Farrell. He’s up to 245,000 now and the last time he got off to this good a start he won EPT Malta. -NW

11:10pm: Gruissem gets lucky to bust Negreanu
Level 9 - Blinds 600/1,200 (100 ante)

Not a good start for Kid Poker…

First bullet I have JJ vs JT flop J78 turn 6 we go all in. River 9 and I felt it coming big time!

— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) May 4, 2022

Felipe Ramos filled us in on the hand. Phillip Gruissem opened under the gun and it folded to Negreanu who defended his big blind. Negreanu led for 4,000 on the Jack-seven-eight flop and Gruissem raised to 10,000, which Negreanu called. The turn was indeed a six and Negreanu jammed with his top set. Gruissem called with top pair but got lucky to make a straight when a nine hit the river.

Negreanu is gone but, as he says, it’s only his first bullet. We’re sure to see him again, but in the meantime Gruissem is up to 110,000. -JS

9 600 1,200 200

10:51pm: Break time
Level 8 - Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

Players have gone on their last break of the day. Back in 20 minutes. -JS

10:50pm: A Stern hand for Kurganov
Level 8 - Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

Kully Sidhu opened to 2,500 under the gun and it folded to Zvi Stern in the cut-off. He made the call, and was the only caller when Igor Kurganov three-bet to 10,000 from the big blind.

The two saw a [3c][ts][3s] flop land and Kurganov continued for 8,000. That bet was called and the [ks] hit the turn, but now Kurganov slowed down and checked, as did Stern.

We saw the [6s] river card and Kurganov woke up again with a 26,500 bet. Stern, headphones on, thought for a good minute or two - counting out the chips and waving them in his hand. Eventually he slammed down the call and Kurganov quickly turned over the [ad][ac]. Stern looked a little surprised and mucked. He’s down to 92,000 while Kurganov is up to 159,000. -JS

10:45pm: Great call from Mercier
Level 8 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

I reached the table to see a [Kh][7h][Ad][7c][Td] board on the felt. There was roughly 15,300 in the middle and a bet of 8,500 in front of Dietrich Fast. The player in the tank was Jason Mercier and it was a decent percentage of his stack to call, but call he did. Fast showed [8h][6h] for a busted draw, Mericer had [3s][3d] for a pair of threes!

He’s up to 53,000 now, Fast is down to 9,000. -NW

10:35pm: Story time with Daniel Negreanu
Level 8 - Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

Have you heard the one about the mice and the tubes? I’ll let Kid Poker explain.

Daniel Negreanu: “There were these mice, and there was a tube that they could go down and at the end would be some cheese [These aren’t his exact words, but you’ll get the idea.]. The mice would go down it five times and get the cheese, but then they would switch it so that the mice would get electrocuted [I’m not sure who ‘they’ are].

“Even though they were now getting electrocuted, the mice continued to go down the tube. They think ‘But I got cheese once!’ And that’s like poker. If people win early, they continue to play, because they think ‘Well, I won once! It could happen again!'”

Salman Behbahani, Felipe Ramos and Phil Gruissem were riveted, like school kids in an assembly. -JS


Listen up, schools in session

10:25pm: Peters busts, re-enters
Level 8 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

David Peters just busted out in a huge flip against Roman Emelyanov. The American opened to 3,300 from the small blind with [As][Qh] only for Emelyanov to move all-in from the big blind for 65,000. Peters tanked before calling and he was racing against Emelyanov’s pocket eights.

Depite flopping a gutshot straight draw to go with his overcards Peters bricked the turn and river but has since re-entered with a fresh stack of 50,000. -NW

10:20pm: Fun and games with Jean-Noel Thorel
Level 8 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Jean-Noel Thorel was up to 220,000 but he’s dropped back down to 110,000 after losing a series of pots. The main beneficiaries of those chips appear to be Ivan Luca (168,000) and Simon Higgins (140,000). -NW

10:17pm: Negreanu’s in the house
Level 8 - Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

As he so often does in tournaments, Team Pro Daniel Negreanu registered for this event after the dinner break. He’s in the mix and started with 50,000, but one of his first hands didn’t go to plan. He made it 2,200 under the gun only for Phil Gruissem to make it 5,500 and Salman Behbahani to make it 13,200. Negreanu gave it up, as did Philbort. -JS

10:08pm: Sick run-out
Level 8 - Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

A pre-flop betting war saw Oliver Weis get it in with the [jc][jd] and Yang Wang get it in with the [qd][qc]. The pot was big and Wang’s hopes were high.
But then the dealer started dealing.

The flop? [ac][th][jc].

The turn? [kh].

The river? [qs].

A chop worth 25K to Weis. -JS

10:05pm: Gruissem and Jaka continue to go at it
Level 8 - Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

When you’re sat next to someone at the poker table it’s nice to be polite and friendly, but there’s no love lost when you’re both in a pot together. Phillip Gruissem and Faraz Jaka are positioned in Seat 5 and Seat 6 at their table and every time I walk past they seem to be gunning for one another.

In the latest battle the board read the [ac][2h][jc][qc] and Gruissem led for 9,000. Jaka called on the button and when the [4d] hit the turn the German shoved, putting Jaka’s stack at risk. He had 21,500 behind and opted to fold.

As soon as the hand was over, though, the two were smiling and giggling once again. -JS

10pm Antonius falls to Schillhabel
Level 7 - Blinds 400/800 (ante 100)

Stefan Schillhabel is up to 98,000 after eliminating Patrik Antonius. In the hand in question it was three to a [Qh][Th][9h] flop, Antonius bet 4,500, Pablo Melogno folded and Schillhabel smooth called. On the [4d] turn Antonius committed his final 21,400 and after a few seconds thought Schillhabel called it off.

Antonius: [Ah][Kh]
Schillhabel: [Ac][Qc]

Antonius needed a heart a jack or a king to stay alive but missed the lot on the [4s] river. -NW

8 500 1,000 100

9:55pm Multi-tabling
Level 7 - Blinds 400/800 (ante 100)

Igor Kurgnaov is multi-tabling and multi-screening at the moment. That’s because he’s still very much alive in this event and he’s also playing heads-up against Bill Perkins in his Global Poker League match.

It all means Kurganov has his laptop perched on his legs to play that match and he’s also got his phone propped up so he can follow the action on Twitch, which has hole cards shown on delay.

9:35pm: This is getting silly…even more for Farrell!
Level 7 - Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

You can now add another starting stack to Niall Farrell’s count as he’s now playing 208,000.

Georgios Sotiropoulos was the man who gave him the gift. Igor Yaroshevskyy opened to 2,000 before Sotiropoulos three-bet to 5,500 and Farrell four-bet to 11,600 on the button. Only Sotiropoulos called and the duo saw a [6h][js][8c] flop, which was checked to Farrell. The Scot continued for 8,400 and Sotiropoulos jammed for his last 26,000. Farrell snap-called and the cards were flipped:

Farrell - [kc][kh]
Sotiropoulos - [9c][7c]

Sotiropoulos had got it in with an open-ender but couldn’t hit on the [2d] turn or [7s] river. He’s gone, but Farrell now sits more comfortably at the top of the chip counts. -JS

9:15pm: Farrell increases his stack
Level 7 - Blinds 400/800 (ante 100)

Niall Farrell was the chip leader at the dinner break and he just won a big pot against Ahmed Fatah to move up to 170,000.

I joined the pot on the turn to see a [5c][Ks][4h][Qs] board on the felt. Farrell (under-the-gun+2) bet 10,000 into a 17,000 chip pot and Fatah check-raised to 22,500 total. Farrell had a think and then elected to smooth call.

The [5s] fell on the river and Fatah slowed down, checking the action to Farrell. The Scotsman riffled some chips for a bit and then moved all-in. The bet was for an effective 29,000, as that’s what Fatah, had left. He tanked for a long time before laying his hand down.

Pot to Farrell. -NW

9:05pm: Stephensen doubles through Greenwood
Level 7 - Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

Sam Greenwood has made a bit of a slip up and it’s cost him most of his stack. Felix Stephensen made it 2,000 to go on the button and Greenwood bumped that price up to 6,500. Stephensen then came back over the top to 12,800 and Greenwood put him all-in, which the Norwegian snap-called.

He had the [ks][kd] and that was crushing Greenwood’s [7d][7h]. In the end the board showed the [6d][jd][2h][ac][5c] and Stephensen is up to 110,000, while Greenwood has just 12,700. -JS

8:55pm: Great dessert for Gruissem
Level 7 - Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

He may not have been able to have a pudding after his dinner due to time constraints, but Phil Gruissem has had a sweet start back from the break.

On a [4d][js][8d] board he checked to Faraz Jaka who made it 5,000 to go. The German called and the turn came the [td]. Gruissem checked and Jaka put him all-in, followed by a quick call.

Gruissem had turned a straight with the [9h][7h] which was ahead of the [ts][tc] set of Jaka. The river was the [as] which didn’t pair the board or provide quads, and Gruissem doubled to 56,600. Jaka is down to 36,000. -JS


Good start to the level for Gruissem

8:52pm: Run!
Level 7 - Blinds 400/800 (ante 100)

A number of the high rollers were a touch tardy in returning from the dinner break and, when a floorperson announced that the level was starting, this made several of them break into a jog to reach their table in time to receive cards.

We’re used to poker players doing some runner-runnering but not actual sprinting. So the sight of Sam Greenwood and Stefan Schillhabel being involved in a race of a different kind was refreshing.

We’ve no idea if they made it, but one player who definitely didn’t was Ramin Hajiyev. The Azerbaijani had missed the opening hand but saw the dealer pitching cards for the second and made a baseball style slide to try and reach his seat in time to be dealt into the second hand of the level. He was given out. “Nice slide, commented Amit Makhija though as Hajiyev took his seat. To be fair to him he didn’t seem at all bothered about having missed the hand. At least he was now at the table, unlike Alain Goldberg who’d yet to return.

Meanwhile whilst some elected to put in some cardio work to reach their table as quickly as possible Jason Mercier and Patrik Antonius, who two of those who simply sauntered to their seats without a care in the world. -NW

8:50pm: Could it be? Can it be? It is! It’s Kanit!
Level 7 - Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

Mustapha Kanit has joined the field, and that in itself deserves its own post. Expect to see his name a lot going forward, as the popular Italian always provides excellent entertainment - regardless of how high the tournament buy-in is. He’s kicking off with 50,000. -JS

7 400 800 75

7:30pm: Dinner time big stacks
The high roller’s entry number had risen to 165 by the time dinner break came around and 134 remain. They now take a 75 minute break. Meanwhile, here are the counts of those who have passed the 100k-mark so far:

Name Country Chips
Niall Farrell United Kingdom 150,000
Wilf Saar Israel 148,000
Andrey Pateychuk Russia 145,000
Thomas Muehloecker Austria 141,000
Marko Neumann Germany 133,000
Jean-Noel Thorel France 130,000
Rocco Palumbo Italy 128,000
Paul Hoefer Germany 128,000
David Dayan Brazil 124,000
Dong Zhao China 123,000
Yang Wang China 122,000
Xixiang Luo China 120,000
Steve O’Dwyer Ireland 117,000
Francisco Benitez Uruguay 115,000
Erik Seidel United States 110,000
Andrew Lichtenberger United States 104,000


‘Hey Mum, I’m chip leader’

7:15pm: Jacks no good for O’Dwyer
Level 6 - Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

Steve O’Dwyer had dropped down to 46,300 after tangling with fellow former EPT Grand Final champion Mohsin Charania.

O’Dywer opened to 2,200 from second to act and was called by Charania on the button and Zvi Stern in the big blind. The flop came [7d][3h][qd] and O’Dwyer continued for 2,200. Only Charania called to the [ad] turn where O’Dyer fired another 4,500. Charania called again and the board got wetter with the [9d] river. Both players checked and O’Dyer announced he had jacks with no diamond. Charania’s [ah][qc] had that beat he raked in the pot to move up to 86,500. — MC

7:05pm: Voulgaris busts, while Greenwood doubles
Level 6 - Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

Looking back on Haralabos Voulgaris’ under-the-gun shove all-in for 12 big blinds with the [jh][8c], it might seem a little inpatient. Then again, we’re in the middle of the NBA finals, so perhaps the prolific basketball bettor had tape to study.

He was called by Mikita Badziakouski in the utg+1 seat who held the [9c][9s]. The board ran out [6c][2h][5c][7h][kh] and it was an airball for Voulgaris. Badziakouski now has 82,500.

On another table, Luc Greenwood - one of three Greenwood brothers in this event - was busy doubling up through Ariel Mantel. The Argentinian opened under the gun before Greenwood three-bet to 4,000 on the button. Mantel then four-bet to 11,400, and Greenwood five-bet jammed for 40,750! Mantel called.

Mantel - [qh][qc]
Greenwood - [kd][kc]

There was a sweat on the turn of the [ad][td][9h][jd] board (Greenwood didn’t want to hit a set, that’s for sure) but the river was the [4c]. Greenwood doubled to 82,000, while Mantel has 95,000 left. -JS

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7pm: Carrel’s okay with losing 50k
Level 6 - Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

Charlie Carrel was sat at an empty table in the main tournament room, with the look of a man who has busted, albeit with a smile across his face.

PokerStars Blog, “Busted?”

Carrel, “Yeah, my second bullet too! I had a set over straight in a three-bet pot but I’m okay with it because of yesterday.”

The yesterday Carrel is referring to is his victory in the €5k tournament last night. The win earned him €172,000 so life’s still pretty good for the likable young pro. — MC


You can’t win them all Charlie!

6:50pm: More folding
Level 5 - Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

They say that folding is, in the long run, the most profitable move in poker. That doesn’t mean you can fold yourself to a tournament win though. There’s a lot of folding going on - maybe it’s just this blogger that’s running bad. Maybe this post is the equivalent of folding.  

Sam Chartier opened to 1,200 and called after Ben Heath three-bet him to 4,600. The flop came [4s][3h][6c] and both players to the [4c] turn where Chartier led for 4,600. Heath called and faced anther 13,300 bet on the [2d] river.

“If I’m wrong I’m really dumb,” said Heath. He took another 30 seconds and then folded to drop to 38,000. Chartier moved up to 51,000.  -MC

6 300 600 75

6:35pm: More folding
Level 5 - Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

They say that folding is, in the long run, the most profitable move in poker. That doesn’t mean you can fold yourself to a tournament win though. There’s a lot of folding going on - maybe it’s just this blogger that’s running bad. Maybe this post is the equivalent of folding.  

Sam Chartier opened to 1,200 and called after Ben Heath three-bet him to 4,600. The flop came [4s][3h][6c] and both players to the [4c] turn where Chartier led for 4,600. Heath called and faced anther 13,300 bet on the [2d] river.

“If I’m wrong I’m really dumb,” said Heath. He took another 30 seconds and then folded to drop to 38,000. Chartier moved up to 51,000.  -MC

6:20pm: Second and final bust for Buddiga; Tsoukernik’s gone too
Level 5 - Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

It has not been a good day for Pratyush Buddiga. He’s well and truly out of this one after busting his second bullet after just a few hands.

Yang Wang made it 1,300 under the gun and there were three callers, including Sean Winter on the button and Mark Teltscher from the small blind. Buddiga was in the big and he put out a squeeze to 7,500, which only Wang would call.

We needed a flop and we got one: [6d][qd][3h]. Both players checked and the [kh] hit the turn. Now Buddiga put out a delayed c-bet of 11,000 which Wang called, and moved all-in for 24,000 on the [4d] river. He was called.

Buddiga - [ah][kc]
Wang - [qc][qs]

Top pair wasn’t going to beat Wang’s set of Queens anytime soon, and Buddiga went on his way.

Meanwhile at another table, Leon Tsoukernik has also busted his second bullet. -JS

6:05pm: Germans folding
Level 5 - Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

Fabian Quoss and Rainer Kempe folded hands on adjacent tables but in very different circumstances.

Quoss had three-bet to 4,500 from the button after Robert Crossley had opened to 1,500 from the hijack. Crossley called to the [5h][ah][3c] flop and led for 12,000. Quoss open-folded [kc][ks] and his opponent nodded and flashed A-Q.

Moments later, Kempe and Zvi Stern battled. Stern opened to 1,025 and then four-bet to 7,025 after Kempe three-bet him to 2,850. Kempe called and both players checked a [ts][9d][7h] flop. The turn was the [3d] and Stern led for 6,500. Kempe called and then check-folded to a 13,000 bet on the [2c] river.

Crossley - 47,000
Quoss - 42,000
Stern - 80,000
Kempe - 23,000

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5:55pm: Muehloecker shoots up the chip counts
Level 5 - Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

How does 260 big blinds sound? Pretty good to Thomas Muehloecker, who just eliminated Adnan Chamaa.

Chamaa began the hand with a raise, only to be three-bet by Muehloecker to 3,500. After the call, the flop came the [jd][5h][th] and Muehloecker decided not to c-bet, instead check-calling a 6,000 bet. The [qc] hit the turn and now Muehloecker check-raised the 9,000 bet from Chamaa to 22,000. The UK player made the call with 24,000 behind.

The river was the [3h] and Muehloecker put Chamaa all-in, and I guess by that point he felt pretty priced in. He called, but got the bad news quickly: his [js][jc] set had been pipped on the turn by Muehloecker’s [ac][kd] for a straight. And like that, Chamaa was gone.

Muehloecker is now playing 130,000. -JS


Muehloecker’s off to a great start

5:40pm: Buddiga busts brutally
Level 5 - Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

Yuck. Gross. Sick. All those words.

Yingui Li just put Patyush Buddiga all-in on a [qh][8c][6d][5s] board with the [jc][qc] and Buddiga snap-called with the [ad][as].

The river was the [js], giving Li two pair.

Buddiga swiftly went to re-enter, while Li now has 78,000. -JS

5 250 500 50

5:11pm: Break time

Players are now on a 20 minute break. Here are the current chip leaders:

Niall Farrell - 143,000
Erik Seidel - 110,000
Andrey Pateychuk - 110,000
Xixiang Luo - 92,000

5:10pm: News in brief: high roller edition
Level 4 - Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

-    Liv Boree won a small pot off Vladimir Troyanovskiy. They were heads up to the turn with a board reading [2s][5c][ac][qs] and Troyanovskiy check-called a 3,500 bet before both checked the [qs] river. Troyanovskiy opened [8c][8s] but Boree took the pot with [ad][kc]. She rose to 62,000 and he dropped to 25,000.

-    Dominik Nitsche has busted his first bullet but is still smiling. “Of course!” he answered when asked if he was buying back in. 
-    Jack Salter failed to a win a seat in the last satellite for the high roller today, but has bought in anyway. That satellite is still running and the prize pool is big enough to award eight seats and €18,070 in cash for ninth. Sixteen still remain and those still in include Ludovic Geilich, Edmund Yeung, Matt Wood and Steven van Zadelhoff. -MC

5pm: Tsoukernik busts to Farrell; in for another bullet
Level 4 - Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

Leon Tsoukernik played fast and furious today, but it’s cost him his first €25K bullet.

Niall Farrell opened to 1,000 from on the button and Xixiang Luo bumped it up to 2,600 out of the small blind. That intrigued Tsoukernik enough to make the call from the big blind, and Farrell came along too.

The three saw a [6h][5c][kd] flop fall and it checked around, prompting the dealer to burn and turn the [3s]. It checked to Tsoukernik and he made it 3,500 to go, and only Farrell matched it.

That brought the [4d] on the river and Tsoukernik once again led for 5,000. Farrell had something up his sleeve though - a raise to 22,000. Tsoukernik didn’t seem to like it, but decided to move all-in for 31,000. There wasn’t exactly any fold equity there so Farrell had an easy call, especially considering he had the [9s][7d] and had made a straight on the river. Tsoukernik had the [5s][3d] for two-pair but that wasn’t good enough.

Farrell now has 141,000, while Tsoukernik has already re-entered. -JS

4:50pm: Are you picking on me?
Level 4 - Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

That’s exactly what Chance Kornuth asked Leonardo Cucchiarini after he opened from under the gun when Kornuth was in the big blind - presumably not the first time this has happened.

The raise was 1,000 and it folded to David Dayan  in the small blind who came along, and Kornuth defended. The flop was the [2s][9d][6d] and Cucchiarini continued for 2,000. Only Kornuth called to see the [5d] hit the turn, and it went check-bet 2,800-call.

Both checked the [4d] river, which put four diamonds out there. Kornuth showed the [8c][7c] for a turned straight, however Cucchiarini had the [jd][jh] and won it with a flush. -JS


Come on man!

4:40pm: Reinkemeier sings a Carrel of joy
Level 4 - Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

Charlie Carrel will be disappointed to have been involved in a cooler in the blinds versus Tobias Reinkemeier, but the fact he won the €5k last night for €172,000 means he’ll probably be over losing it pretty quickly.

The action folded around to Jason Wheeler on the button and he raised it up to 1,050. Carrel three-bet to 3,600 from the small blind and then Reinkemeier four-bet to 10,500 from the big blind. Wheeler moved out of the way but Carrel had no such intentions - he moved all-in and Reinkemeier shrugged all called off for 40,700.

Reinkemeier: [td][ts]
Carrel: [ac][ks]

The board ran [qd][4c][9h][qh][jc] to see the tens hold. Carrel dropped to 16,000 as a result. -MC

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4:25pm: Chamaa using sports mode
Level 3 - Blinds 150/300 (25 ante)

Monaco is probably one of the only places in the world where a person would wear the apparel of a car they own. Adnan Chamaa has a Bugatti cap and bodywarmer on, so after writing this post, I’m off to hunt around the car park looking for a Veyron.

Chamaa played a hand with Andrei Konopelko and got the Belarusian to fold on the turn by using the over-bet function. It’s just like sport mode in the Veyron.

Around 12,500 lay in the middle and Chamaa led for 17,000 from the small blind. Konopelko went into the tank for a few minutes and then Chamaa piped up with, “I can help you if you ask me?”

“Call?” answered Konopelko.

Chamaa, “Good hand?” Konopelko nodded. “A pair? Two pair?”

Konopelko decided to fold and he asked Chamaa to show one. The latter obliged and opened [ac] while adding, “I shouldn’t show but it’s okay! Now. I showed you one so you tell me one of your cards.”

Konopelko said he had a queen. He lost the post but his stack is still worth 85,000. Chamaa moved up 42,000. — MC

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4:10pm: Schemion makes good fold - or so he’s told
Level 3 - Blinds 150/300 (50 ante)

Here’s the Luo down:

Xixiang Luo opened from the cut-off but was three-bet to 2,500 by Ole Schemion on the button. Luo then four-bet to 7,250 and the German came along for a flop.

Flop: It came the [2c][6d][8h] and Luo bet 7,125. Schemion called.

Turn: [tc], Luo bet 13,200, Schemion called.

River: [8s]. Now Luo jammed for 29,225 and Schemion had a tough decision on his hands. He thought for longer than he usually seems to take, and eventually made a fold he didn’t look too confident about.

“Good fold,” said Luo, and he showed the [ah]. “You have pocket Jacks?”

Schemion pointed upwards, indicating he had better.

“Queens?” Luo asked. Schemion nodded. “Very good fold.”

I guess we’ll never know if Luo was being honest. It doesn’t really matter now though - he’s up to  84,000 while Schemion is playing around 30,000. -JS

4pm: Dominik Nitsche gets double Quossed
Level 3 - Blinds 150/300 (50 ante)

The two Germans at the table - Dominik Nitsche and 50K high roller winner Fabian Quoss - are really gunning for each other so far today.

In the first pot Nitsche made it 800 and both Adrian Mateos and Fabian Quoss called out of the blinds. The flop came the [2c][3d][qd] and it checked to Nitsche who continued for 1,800, only to be raised by Quoss to 5,000 when Mateos got out the way.

Nitsche would call though, and the [2d] hit the turn for three-to-a-flush on board. Quoss led for 6,500 and Nitsche let it go.

Just a couple of hands later they’d be at it again. Quoss opened to 800 on the button and Nitsche three-bet to 3,000 after Ariel Mantel called from the small blind. Quoss then four-bet to 7,400 and Nitsche again had to fold.

Nitsche is down to around 17,000 while Quoss has around 60,000. -JS

3:45pm: Seidel soaring
Level 3 - Blinds 150/300 (50 ante)

Erik Seidel had almost doubled his starting stack already after eliminating Raouf Ibrahim. It must be something to do with the super-food salad he was eating all the way through the hand.

Ibrahim opened to 800 from first position before Ollie Price three-bet to 3,000 from the next seat and Silver four-bet 5,200 from the cutoff. Seidel, sat in the small blind, casualty rested his wooden fork inside his salad container and five-bet to 12,500. Ibrahim called, Price folded quickly and Silver took longer in folding.

erik_seidel_hr1_4may16.jpgErik Seidel (playing an invisible violin?)

The flop fell [4d][8d][jd] and Seidel bet 11,000 and called after Ibrahim raised all-in for 22,700. “I hope you don’t have the diamonds” said Seidel.

Ibrahim: [td][td] for an over pair and one diamond.
Seidel: [kd][ks] for a bigger over pair and bigger flush draw.

The board ran out [3d][4c] and Ibrahim (genuinely) tanked Seidel and the other before departing. Silver said he had folded queens. -MC

3:30pm: Tsoukernik misreads the situation
Level 3 - Blinds 150/300 (50 ante)

Czech entrepreneur and casino owner Leon Tsoukernik is no stranger to high stakes tournament action. The enormous buy-ins don’t mean all that much to such a successful guy.

He just proved this in a hand against Sam Greenwood that would see the pro double up. Greenwood made it 750 and Tsoukernik three-bet to 3,000 from the big blind. Greenwood then moved all-in.

Tsoukernik asked how much it was for and the answer was “ninety nine”. Thing is, we found out after the hand that Tsoukernik thought that meant 99,000 - not 9,900 which was the reality.

“Can we re-buy in this event?” he asked, before making an emphatic call when he was told he could. He had just the [ah][jc]. And he made the call thinking the shove was for double the starting stack!

Greenwood had the [ks][kh] and was ahead, but by the turn on the [4d][2c][5h][jh] board Tsoukernik had outs. Any Ace, Jack or three would win it for him, but it came the [kd] and Greenwood doubled, while Tsoukernik has around 30,000 left. -JS

3:20pm: Philbort wants a rule change
Level 3 - Blinds 150/300 (25 ante)

Philip Gruissem wants some time back and a rule change after he spent time closely watching a hand play out, only for no cards to be shown on showdown.

Faraz Jaka had opened from under the gun and was called by Yaxi Zhu in the small blind. Both checked the [ah][4h][qs] flop before Zhu check-called 2,400 and 5,200 on the [6s][5d] turn and river. Jaka mucked his hand to drop to 34,525 whereas Zhu got back up to 41,000.

“Stupid rule,” said Gruissem. “He mucked [points at Jaka], she mucked [points at Zhu] and I watched the whole f***ing hand and didn’t get to see any cards!”

There are 115 entries, the latest being Anthony Spinella, who seemed to me meditating while awaiting his seating assignment. -MC

3pm: Thorel doubles through Holz
Level 3 - Blinds 150/300 (25 ante)

A two-man pre-flop betting war resulted in a four-bet to 4,300 from Fedor Holz and a shove all-in from Jean-Noel Thorel for 30,000. Holz thought for over a minute but eventually made the call with the [js][jh]. It was no good, as Thorel had the goods with his [ks][kh].

The board ran out [qs][kd][4c][7h][6s] and Thorel moved up to 60,000 with top set. Holz is down to 30,000. -JS

3 150 300 50

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2:40pm: Break time

Players are now on a 20 minute break

2:36pm: Yang Wang, thank you Sam
Level 2 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Sam Greenwood has been left short after doubling up Yang Wang. Ole Schemion started the hand off with an open to 600 and Wang called in the cut-off, before Greenwood three-bet to 2,000 on the button. Both called.

A [5h][th][ks] flop hit the felt and it checked to Greenwood, who continued for 4,500. Schemion gave it up but Wang raised it up to 11,000. Greenwood called to see the [qs] turn, and Wang continued to hold on to the betting lead with an 18,000 wager, but Greenwood went nowhere. The [8s] completed the board and Wang moved all-in for 25,000 exactly.

Greenwood was deep in thought and his process led him to making the call with his [as][ad]. That wasn’t the winner though; Wang had the [js][8s], so had check-raised the flop with nothing, semi-bluffed the turn with his many draws, and then got paid when he hit. He’s up to 101,000, while Greenwood is down to 12,000. -JS

2:35pm: Re-entries and lucky sevens
Level 2 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Mikita Badziakouski and Isaac Haxton wasted little time in buying back in for their one second-chance.

Orpen Kisacikoglu is in no danger of buying back in as he won a pot off Sam Chartier to rise to 75,000. The Canadian, who busted the main event late yesterday, raised from the cutoff, bet 900 on the flop and 1,900 on the turn. Kisacikoglu stuck with him all the way from the small blind and both checked the river when the board read [4d][ks][2c][5h][kh]. Kisacikoglu opened [7c][7s] and Chertier mucked to drop to 34,000. -MC

2:25pm: Two gone already and Zhu halved
Level 2 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Isaac Haxton was the first player out and he soon joined on the rail by Mikhail Korotkikh. Despite her great start, Yaxi Zhu’s woes have continued. She’s down to 26,000 after raise-folding on the river versus Dietrich Fast.

Around 10,000 sat in the middle by the time the board rested as [9s][9c][4c][7d][as]. Fast bet 3,800 from under the gun and was check-raised to 12,000 by Zhu in the big blind. Fast shoved and Zhu went into the tank. She went from a confused look, to a pained one and back to confused. She decided to fold. — MC

2:20pm: Schemion’s Aces too much for Chidwick
Level 2 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

I’m just going to say it now: if Ole Schemion comes first or second in this tournament, then I think it’s safe to say the man isn’t human. If he manages a top-two finish in his third high roller in little over one week, he must be some kind of highly-advanced poker bot dressed up to look like a 23-year-old wunderkind.

He’s off to a good start here as usual, having just taken down a pot against Stephen Chidwick. Schemion opened to 625,000 which Chidwick then three-bet to 3,000 out of the big blind. Schemion four-bet to 8,625 and Chidwick called.

The flop was the [jd][3c][js] and Chidwick checked to the last aggressor. Schemion continued for 6,000 which was called, so we saw the [ks] hit the turn. Both checked.

They’d also both check the [6d] and Schemion turned over the [as][ad]. After Chidwick mucked he dropped to 40,000, while the poker bot - sorry, I mean Ole Schemion moves up to 75,000. -JS

2:15pm: McDonald’s Fast
Level 2 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

After an open to 450 (from a player so new to the tournament that I’m yet to clock his name), Leonardo Cucchiarini made the call. The action was then on Mike McDonald who three-bet to 1,800, only to run into a four-bet from Dietrich Fast to 4,800. McDonald was the only caller.

mike_mcdonald_hr1_4may16.jpgMike McDonald

The pair saw a [9c][7h][2s] flop fall and play slowed down with both checking. The [ah] was an interesting turn card; Fast opted to check again and McDonald put out a bet of 6,000 which was called.

The [4c] landed on the river and both Fast and McDonald shut it down. Fast flipped over his [ad][6d] and the Ace was enough for the win. He’s up to 60,000 now while McDonald has slipped to 38,000. -JS

2:10pm: Patrick Bruel - a man of many talents
Level 2 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

One of France’s most famous singers; an actor; a commentator; and a poker player with a WSOP bracelet and more than $1.5 million in live earnings. We could only be talking about Patrick Bruel.

bruel_schemion_hr1_4may16.jpgPatrick Bruel alongside Ole Schemion

He’s in the field for today’s 25K and is sure to make some noise (whether or not he’ll sing is a different question). -JS

2 100 200 25

1:40pm: Thorel getting short
Level 1 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

As the first level draws to a close, 79 players have taken their seats. That number will soon be three figures though as a look at the long(ish) registration line indicates we’ll be seeing many new face soon.

j-n_thorel_hr_4may16.jpgJean-Noel Thorel

Don’t forget that this is a re-entry event so we’ll be seeing some of these faces twice today and/or tomorrow. Jean-Noel Thorel is in danger of becoming the first casualty, he’s down to 9,000 after folding on the river to Stephen Chidwick.

The Brit, whose recently engaged (congrats!) opened to 500 from first to act and was called in three spots. The flop fanned [ad][2h][7d] and Chidwick continued for 1,500. Only Thorel called to the [6s] turn where he quickly called off another 3,000. The board completed with the [4c] and Chidwick bet 2,500. Thorel looked like he was going to raise but ended up folding. -MC

1:35pm: Farrell finds his feet
Level 1 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Niall Farrell, who finished second in the France Poker Series main event earlier in the festival, is already up to 75,000 after just a couple of hands. On an [8s][ad][kc][9d][7c] board the Scot put out a bet of 13,000 with the [ac][9h] and Brazil’s David Dayan called before mucking. -JS

1:25pm: Zhu’s good start over

Yaxi Zhu has dropped back to below her starting stack after running into a full house belonging to Alexandros Kolonias.

Ivan Deyra opened from under the gun and was called by the Team Pro on the button and Kolonias in the big blind. All three checked the [7s][tc][8c] flop before Deyra led for 1,500 on the [th] turn. Zhu called but Kolonias check-raised to 7,000. Only Zhu called to the [6d] river where she tank-called 15,000. Kolonias opened [8s][8d] and Zhu mucked. -MC

1:20pm: Timokhin came here to play
Level 1 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Russia’s Alexander Timokhin won his seat into this event in a live satellite, and so far he’s been super aggressive. Take hand this for example; pre-flop he put in a cold four-bet to 5,200 and Kully Sidhu was the only caller. The flop came [jc][4h][jd] and he instantly led out for 15,000 - more than the pot. The big blind is only 200!

It’s going to be interesting watching him against the pros today. -JS

1:10pm: Good start for the Team Pro
Level 1 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

In tournament poker, it’s now how you start but how you finish that counts. That being said, it’s still pretty nice to hit the ground running.

That’s exactly what Team Pro Yaxi Zhu has done. On a [3c][2h][ts] flop, Roman Emelyanov checked to her and she bet 1,500 which got a call. The turn was the [ah] and Emelyanov checked once more, before calling another bet of 2,800. He’d also check the [4d] river before calling a final 6,000 bet. Zhu flipped over her [ad][kc] and top pair was good for the win. She has 61,000 now. -JS

1:05pm: A few more names
Level 1 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Timothy Adams, Vladimir Troyanovskiy, and Haralabos Voulgaris have all taken their seats. Meanwhile, Niall Farrell, Luc Greenwood, Mike McDonald, Justin Bonomo, Faraz Jaka, and Thomas Muehloecker are all waiting to register. -JS

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1pm: Short-handed play all round
Level 1 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Play may be underway but many tables still only have three to four players at them. Team PokerStars Pro Yaxi Zhu tried to sit at the wrong table before being sent the right way; Timothy Adams had no such problems; and Artem Metalidi said hi as he joined Dietrich Fast and Emil Patel’s table.

These latter three then played out a pot together. Fast opened to 450 and was called by Patel (button) and Metalidi (big blind). All three checked the [7d][2h][qs] flop before Fast bet 750 on the [2d] turn. Metalidi hung around to the [8c] river but had little interest in calling Fast’s 2,200 bet. -MC

12:50pm: New arrivals
Level 1 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

There’s still only a handful of players in their seats, now including Francisco Benitez, Orpen Kisacikoglu, and Dietrich Fast. Isaac Haxton, Stephen Chidwick, and Daniel Dvoress are all in line to register right now. -JS

12:40pm: Looks like a slow start
Level 1 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Poker players are not great timekeepers, and the high rollers can be the worst offenders. With a couple of minutes to go until play kicks off, only seven players had turned up; Saar Wilf, Paul Newey and Ole Schemion being three of them.

Walking back through the overflow room, one can see 56 players (so far) in the last-chance satellite. That will be enough to generate sevens seats and a cash prize. Tournament registration is also located in that room with Adrian Mateos, Segio Aido and Jean-Noel Thorel all lined up waiting to buy in. — MC

12:15pm: Registered so far

Play begins in about 15 minutes for now. So far the following players have registered: Rocco Palumbo, Steffen Sontheimer, Vladimir Troyanovskiy, Kully Sidhu, Sam Greenwood, Haralabos Voulgaris, and Paul Newey. 

11am: The €25K EPT High Roller starts today

It’s the last of the big events in this festival yet to start but the EPT High Roller kicks off in less than an hour. We’ll be following all the action here with live updates. Play starts at 12.30pm — SB


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

Take a look at the official website of the EPT, with tournament schedule, news and results.

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

PokerStars Blog reporting team on the EPT12 Grand Final main event: Stephen Bartley, Marc Convey and Jack Stanton. Photography by Neil Stoddart. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog

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EPT12 Grand Final: €25K high roller Day 3 live updates

* Day 3: Play to a winner
* Players remaining: 10 of 231 entries

3:17pm: To the Max
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Max Silver is putting the pressure on his five-handed table now that he has the chip advantage.

Just now he opened from the button, watched Alexandros Kokonias three-bet to 270,000 from the small blind, then shoved all-in to force a fold from the Greek player.

He raised the next one from the cutoff to earn the blinds and antes as well, and now he’s up close to 2.7 million. -MH

3:15pm: Deyra doubled
Level 24 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (5,000 ante)

After Ivan Deyra opened for 85,000 Mac Silver lumped in one million chips, which he’d done on several occasions pre-flop since the black chips were introduced. Deyra moved all-in, which Silver called. 

Silver [ad][6d]
Deyra [ah][kd]

Silver tried to get some good ju-ju going, putting his six in the middle to encourage it’s twin to appear. Actually he did this all the way through but the board, for him anyway, remained barren, coming as it did [9c][2h][9s][5h][th]. 

Silver drops to 1.5 million while Deyra is up to 1.7 million. — SB

3:10pm: Maksoud shoves and gets a Stern fold
Level 24 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (5,000 ante)

It folded to Zvi Stern in the small blind and he made a big raise to 265,000 - more than six times the big blind. Eddy Maksoud must have loved the look of those chips because he moved all-in from the big blind for 975,000 total.

Stern took off his shades and headphones, continually rubbing his palm over his face. He stood up in an attempt to somehow clear his mind and make the decision easier; and here’s when Alexandru Papazian called the clock. “I’m short stack right now!” was his understandable reason.

Stern had 60 seconds to act and it got down to 10 before he made the fold. Maksoud is up to 1.25 million. -JS

3:04pm: Zinno gets aggressive
Level 24 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (5,000 ante)

Eddy Maksoud opened to 90,000 on the button and it folded to Anthony Zinno in the big blind. He thought for about half a minute before announcing “all-in.” Maksoud quickly let his hand go, and when Alexandru Papazian asked Zinno how much he was playing the answer was 1.25 million. -JS

3pm: Silver doubles through Moraes
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

On the first hand back from the break, Max Silver opened for 90,000 from the button, and it folded over to Rafael Da Silva Moraes. He checked what Silver had left, then announced he was reraising all-in. Silver got up from his seat, took a second to look at the other table and the tournament clock, then called off for 1.15 million total.

Moraes: [5s][5h]
Silver: [Jc][Jh]

The board came an uneventful [2h][7c][Ts][4h][Ks], and Silver doubles into the chip lead with 2.34 million. Moraes suddenly becomes one of the short stacks with 690,000. -MH

EPT12_MON_Velli-1256_Max Silver.jpg

Silver streaks to top

2:51pm: 10 left; Stern still smokin’
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Players are back and play has resumed, with Zvi Stern still the leader. Updated stacks below. -MH



Name Country Chips
Zvi Stern Israel 2,050,000
Rafael Da Silva Moraes Brazil 1,845,000
Eddy Maksoud Lebanon 1,300,000
Ivan Deyra France 1,230,000
Max Silver UK 1,180,000
Anthony Zinno USA 1,100,000
Alexandros Kolonias Greece 830,000
Alexandru Papazian Romania 680,000
Saar Wilf Israel 675,000
Imad Derwiche France 650,000

EPT12_MON_Velli-1271_Zvi Stern.jpg

Where there’s smoke, there’s Stern

24 20,000 40,000 5,000

2:31pm: Break time

The remaining 10 players are now taking their first 20-minute break of the day. -MH

2:22pm: Deyra bluffs Silver, shows
Level 23 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Ivan Deyra opened for 70,000 from the button and got two callers in Saar Wilf (small blind) and Max Silver (big blind). The flop came [2s][Js][4h], and when checked to Deyra pushed out a bet of 111,000. Only Silver called. Those two checked the [Ac] turn, then after Silver checked the [5h] river, Deyra bet 170,000.

Silver tanked for a couple of minutes — during which that Maksoud double-up occurred on the neighboring table (see below) — then released his hand. Deyra showed his before collecting the pot, revealing he’d bluffed with [7h][6d].

Deyra is up to 1.27 million while Silver slips to 1.1 million with just a few minutes left before the break. -MH

EPT12_MON_Velli-1269_Rafael Da Silva Moraes_Ivan Deyra.jpg

Deyra steals one

2:12pm: Maksoud all-in
Level 23 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

A vital double up for Eddy Maksoud who moved in behind an opening bet of 60,000 from Stern. Ready to call was Papazian (Stern would fold pocket fives) with a call worth 642,000. 

Maksoud [jh][9h]
Papazian [ac][kh]

The board ran out [9c][4s][4d][5s][8d]

The nine was enough. Maksoud back to 1.3 million while Papazian drops to around the 1 million mark. - SB

1:59pm: Deuce-four works for Derwiche
Level 23 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

A short-stacked Imad Derwiche looked down at [4s][2s] on the button and when folded to decided to fire his last 213,000 in middle (about seven BBs), and he got one caller in Zvi Stern sitting in the big blind with [Kc][Th].

The flop was great for Derwiche, coming [8s][6s][9s] to give him a flush. The [Ts] turn actually presented a few chopportunities for Stern, but the river was the [2d] and Derwiche doubles back to about 460,000. Stern still leads with 2.05 million. -MH

1:50pm: Papazian calls all-in on the turn
Level 23 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

On a flop of [ac][3c][qs] Alexandru Papazian bet 90,000 which was called by Zvi Stern, who has been playing a lot of pots this afternoon. The turn was the [7h]. Again, a bet from Papazian, 225,000 this time. Stern, thinking, announced he was all in. Papazian called.
“Okay, what do you have?” he asked. 

“Flush draw,” answered Stern. 

[7c][6c] for Stern
[3s][3d] for Papazian. 

It came down to the river card, which landed [5h]. Papazian sighed with relief. He’s up to around 1.6 million while Stern drops a little to 1.8 million. - SB

1:40pm: Zvi wins, thinks he missed bet
Level 23 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Eddy Maksoud opened for 65,000 from under the gun, Zvi Stern defended his big blind, and the pair watched a flop come [6h][Ks][9s]. Stern checked, Maksoud 75,000, and Stern called. The turn was the [6d], and Stern checked once more. Maksoud fired again — 145,000 this time — and Stern hung around.

The river was the [Jh]. Stern rapped the table, and when Maksoud checked behind Stern immediately spoke. 

“Ah, I missed a bet,” he said, showing his [Qc][6c] for trip sixes. Maksoud mucked, and Stern speculated that his opponent had a king and might have called a river bet.

EPT12_MON_Velli-1258_Zvi Stern.jpg

“You would have called, right?”

Maksoud slips to 820,000 while leader Stern is up to 2.54 million now. -MH

23 15,000 30,000 5,000

1:35pm: Kolonias takes on Silver
Level 22 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Max Silver and Alexandros Kolonias just played out a hand. On a flop of [4s][ks][ac] Silver checked to Kolonias who bet 55,000. Called. Then on the [2s] turn Silver checked called Kolonias’s 150,000. On the [qd] river Kolonias bet another 400,000. Silver paused for some time first, but then passed. Silver on 1.2 million while Kolonias moves up to 1.38 million. — SB

1:30pm: The short version
Level 22 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Saar Wilf made it 55,000 under the gun.

Rafael Da Silva Moraes raises to 207,000 in the small blind.

Wilf raised to 400,000.

Da Silva folded. — SB

1:25pm: Moraes over Silver
Level 22 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Max Silver raised to 60,000 from the button and Rafael Da Silva Moraes called from the big blind. The latter then check-called a bet of 45,000 from Silver on the [8s][Kc][8h] flop, and another one of 100,000 following the [Tc] turn.

Both then checked the [3h] river, and when Moraes showed [Kh][Th] for kings and tens, Silver mucked. Silver has 1.505 million now while Moraes has 1.08 million. -MH 

 1:10pm: More for Stern
Level 22 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Another boost for Stern. He opened the pot for 50,000 which Anthony Zinno called in the small blind as did Imad Derwiche in the big. The flop came [9c][8d][4d] which was checked to Stern who bet 65,000. Zinno passed but Derwiche kept up with a call.

The [2c] turn card was checked for a [qh] river card. Derwiche bet 100,000 which prompted Stern to remove his hood and sunglasses. Derwiche took off his glasses and grinned back. 

Finally Stern called. His [as][8s] was good. Derwiche’s flush draw was broken. He showed [jd][7d]. 

Derwiche has roughly 500,000 behind, while Stern moves up to just short of 2 million. - SB

12:49pm: River ace saves Wilf
Level 22 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Saar Wilf was just all-in and at risk for his last 370,000 with [As][8d] versus Max Silver’s [Ks][Jc].

The [Js][6h][6s] flop caused Wilf to stand up in disgust, and he was already getting his phone out to take a picture of the board as the [7c] turn fell. Then came the river… the [Ad]! “Oooh!” said Wilf as he retook his seat, now behind a stack of close to 800,000. Silver is at about 1.54 million. -MH

12:46pm: Thomas Miller eliminated in 11th place (€103,570)
Level 22 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

A flop of [3d][9c][tc] and both Thomas Miller and Max Silver checked for a [7h] turn. This was about the point things went big. 
Miller made it 74,000 to play which Silver called for the [as] on the river. Here Miller announced he was all in. 

Just to go back a second, when Miller announced 70,000 Silver needed to remove his headphone and check with the dealer. But there’s something about the words “all-in” which cut through even the most belligerent music. He heard immediately. 

But he wasn’t sure how to proceed immediately. Instead he paused and went through his options. Finally he decided Miller was bluffing, and called. It was a great call. 

Miller: [6c][4c] 

Silver looked for a second, then with relief turned over [8d][8h].

Down to ten in the high roller. Silver up to 1,850,000. “Groovy,” he deadpanned. - SB

EPT12_MON_Velli-1237_Thomas Miller.jpg

Thomas Miller - 11th place  

12:45pm: Stern takes from Papazian
Level 22 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Zvi Stern raised from the button to 50,000 and Alexandru Papazian defended his big blind. The flop came [Ah][Qh][Kd] and both checked, then after the [8s] turn Papazian check-called a bet of 75,000 from Stern.

Both then checked the [Qd] river, Stern showed [Ac][9d] which beat Papazian’s [Jd][Jc], and the chip leader increased his stack to 1.85 million. Papazian is now at about 1 million. -MH

12:39pm: Ramin Hajiyev eliminated in 12th place (€92,250)
Level 22 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

It folded around to Ramin Hajiyev in the small blind who open-shoved his short stack of about 300,000, and Eddy Maksoud called right away from the next seat over.

Hajiyev had [Ks][Qd] and a couple of overs versus Maksoud’s [Th][Td], but the board came [3c][5c][2h][Js][6h] and Hajiyev was eliminated in 12th. Maksoud now has about 1.2 million. -MH

EPT12_MON_Velli-1226_Ramin Hajiyev.jpg

Ramin Hajiyev - 12th place

12:37pm: Zinno takes from Derwiche
Level 22 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Early action saw Imad Derwiche defending his small blind versus an Anthony Zinno button raise, then continuing to stick around through a [6c][Ac][Jh][5d][Td] board. The pot was up over 250,000 by then, and Derwiche at that point took a shot with an 85,000-chip bet. Zinno called it, though, and Derwiche responded with a nod while mucking his cards face down.

Zinno moves up to 1.1 million while Derwiche now has about 540,000. -MH

12:30pm: Shuffle up and deal
Level 22 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

The final 12 players are in their seats and the first hands of the final day of the €25K High Roller are being dealt. -MH


22 12,000 24,000 4,000

12pm: How things stand with 12 left

As we reported late last night, Zvi Stern had something of a perfect poker day yesterday. He took hold of the chip lead early on and stayed there. He will lead at the restart, unbagging 1,638,000 chips when play resumes at 12:30pm. The two players closest to him are Max Silver (1,342,000) and Alexandros Kolonias (1,338,000).

Here’s are the chip counts for the third and final day:

Name Country Chips
Zvi Stern Israel 1,638,000
Max Silver UK 1,342,000
Alexandros Kolonias Greece 1,338,000
Alexandru Papazian Romania 1,231,000
Ivan Deyra France 1,160,000
Rafael Da Silva Moraes Brazil 1,026,000
Eddy Maksoud Lebanon 907,000
Imad Derwiche France 840,000
Anthony Zinno USA 816,000
Saar Wilf Israel 509,000
Thomas Miller USA 383,000
Ramin Hajiyev Azerbaijan 366,000


Stern leads the dozen

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

Take a look at the official website of the EPT, with tournament schedule, news and results.

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

PokerStars Blog reporting team on the EPT12 Grand Final main event: Stephen Bartley, Martin Harris. Photography by Rene Velli. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog

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Barcelona, Malta and Prague back as EPT announces Season 13

As EPT President Edgar Stuchly put it, it has been a record breaking 12th Season on the European Poker Tour, with the biggest schedule ever and a record breaking number of players. Now, as the last festival of the season approaches its conclusion, it’s time to look ahead to what will come next.

Stuchly make the announcement a few minutes ago, releasing the dates of the next three EPT events that will be played before Christmas. The destinations look familiar, but the schedules themselves promise even more for players, whether Super High Rollers, mortal professionals or amateurs looking for a big win.


Season 13 starts in the traditional way, with a summer jaunt to Barcelona. We then head to Malta, before spending 13 days in Prague ahead of Christmas. 

Here are some of the highlights you can expect at each festival. 

EPT13 Barcelona: August 16 to 28, 2016

Barcelona kicks off the new season once more with a 13 day festival at the iconic Casino Barcelona


Last season’s Barcelona festival was the most successful stop in the tour’s history with a total of 5,738 unique players participating in 71 tournaments and generating close to €40 million in prize money. Seasoned poker pro John Juanda took down the biggest EPT Main Event ever held for €1,022,593 after beating a 1,694-strong field.

Here’s what to look forward to:

August 17, 2022 (3-day) NL - Hold’em €10,000 + €300
August 17, 2022 (6-day) Estrellas Main Event €1,000 + €100
August 17, 2022 (6-day) PokerStars Cup €400 + €40
August 20, 2022 (3-day) Super High Roller €48,500 + €1,500
August 21, 2022 (3-day) Estrellas High Roller €2,000 + €200
August 22, 2022 (7-day) EPT Main Event €5,000 + €300
August 23, 2022 NL - Holdem - Single Day €25,000 + €500
August 26, 2022 (3-day) EPT High Roller €10,000 + €300
August 26, 2022 (3-day) PokerStars Open €200 + €20

EPT13 Malta: October 18 to 29, 2016

The EPT will make its return to Malta at the Portomaso Casino from October 18-29. Scottish poker professional Niall Farrell took down last season’s Main Event, beating 651 players for a €534,330 payday, the biggest live cash of his career.


The popular Mediterranean tourist destination made its debut in Season 11 and was an instant hit with players, offering a packed poker schedule coupled with fantastic amenities a stone-throw from the Casino. 

Highlights include:

October 18, 2021 (3-day) NL - Hold’em €10,000 + €300
October 19, 2021 (5-day) IPT Main Event €1,000 + €100
October 19, 2021 (5-day) PokerStars Cup €300 + €30
October 21, 2021 (3-day) €25K High Roller €25,000 + €750
October 22, 2021 (2-day) IPT High Roller €2,000 + €200
October 23, 2021 (7-day) EPT Main Event €5,000 + €300
October 24, 2021 NL - Holdem - Single Day €10,000 + €200
October 27, 2021(3-day) EPT High Roller €10,000 + €300
October 27, 2021 (3-day) PokerStars Open €200 + €20

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

EPT13 Prague: December 7 to 18, 2016

As always, the final stop before Christmas will be the massive EPT Prague Poker Festival. Last season’s event in the Czech Republic featured what was - at the time - the biggest EPT schedule ever with 97 events.


Over 3,400 players competed in the Season 12 festival with nearly 16,000 separate tournament entries and more than €24.5 million awarded in prize money. 

Here’s what to look forward to:

December 7, 2021 (3-day) NL - Hold’em €10,000 + €300
December 8, 2021 (5-day) Eureka Main Event €1,000 + €100
December 7, 2021 (5-day) PokerStars Cup €300 + €30
December 10, 2021 (3-day) Super High Roller €48,500 + €1,500
December 11, 2021 (2-day) Eureka High Roller €2,000 + €200
December 12, 2021 (7-day) EPT Main Event €5,000 + €300
December 13, 2021 NL - Holdem - Single Day €25,000 + €500
December 16, 2021 (3-day) EPT High Roller €10,000 + €300
December 16, 2021 (3-day) PokerStars Open €200 + €20

As you’ll see there are High Roller Events, Super High Roller Events, as well as the type of side events that will match any sized bank roll. Of course the same online satellites will be in place to win your way into each Main Event, as well as live satellites at each festival for the cut price entry into some of the most prestigious tournaments in the world.

That’s what we have to look forward to. For all the details of the new EPT season check out the . Now though it’s time to find our next EPT Grand Final champion. 

Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.

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EPT12 Grand Final: Day 1B live coverage archive

This is an archive of a previous day’s coverage. Click for live updates from the tournament floor.

Day 1B? Daher 1B more like

8G2A1345EPT12MON_Albert_Daher_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Albert Daher: Crushed Day 1B

In a room containing more than 500 people, plus an overspill of nearly 300 next door, you’ll do well to attract all of the attention for even a minute, let alone an entire day.

But as the field swelled to a record size for a main event of the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo®Casino EPT Grand Final, Day 1B was all about Albert Daher, from Lebanon, who has never been out of the chip lead.

He knocked out two players before Level 1 was over, and continued to crush for the next seven levels too, bagging 266,600 chips tonight. That’s significantly more even than last night’s leader.

There are a whole host of superlative talents tailing him, including Sebastien Lebaron (234,400) and Kulli Sidhu (231,000). This was also a big day for the Team PokerStars SportStar Fatima Moreira de Melo, who has 149,200, Randy “nanonoko” Lew, who has 143,000, and Vanessa Selbst, who marks her return after a break with a day worth 155,000.

But Daher heads the 435 (approx) remaining and will be the man to catch when the field combines for Day 2 at noon tomorrow.

It’s worth mentioning Daniel Negreanu tonight as well, but not on this occasion for his successful appearance. Negreanu’s tournament was one of the briefest. He arrived just after the dinner break and played only two hands. He lost both and was quickly eliminated.

His Team PokerStars Pro colleagues Johnny Lodden, Luca Pagano, Eugene Katchalov and George Danzer also perished, but Selbst, Randy Lew, Yaxi Zhu, Naoya Kihara, Liv Boeree, Celina Lin, Chen Ang Lin and Lex Veldhuis are still involved.

Here are some selected chip counts (the full list won’t be with us until much later, but we’ll update the Blog as soon as we get it).

Albert Daher Lebanon 266,600
Sebastien Lebaron France 234,400
Kulli Sidhu United Kingdom 231,000
Markku Koplimaa Estonia 199,900
Vanessa Selbst United States 155000
Fatima Moreira de Melo Holland 149,200
Randy Lew United States 143,000
Naoya Kihara Japan 123,100
Chen Ang Lin Taiwan 79,400
Nacho Barbero Argentina 75,700
Celina Lin China 27,300
Felipe Ramos Brazil 23,900
Lex Veldhuis Holland 14,300

So, yes, it’s a record-breaking field here already-vindicating the decision to slash the buy-in to €5,000 from its more usual €10,000. The final number was 782, but registration is still open. Come along tomorrow to play.

The single-day €50,000 tournament is still under way, so follow that to its bitter conclusion. Marc Convey is your host.

From the main event, goodnight.

Full coverage from Day 1B:

11:50pm: Katchalov out
Level 8 - Blinds: 300/600 (75 ante)

Eugene Katchalov just busted the main event. He moved in with ace-queen on the turn, with a queen on the flop. The key factor were the two diamonds on the board, which made a flush for his opponent on the river. - SB

11:40pm: Lin finishing strong
Level 8 - Blinds: 300/600 (75 ante)

Team Pro Chen Ang Lin just secured his stack a late boost. He opened from the cut off for 1,400 which Alexandru Papazian called from the big blind. 

The flop came [ks][2c][4c] which was checked to Ang. He bet anothet 1,500 which was called. 

The turn was the [as]. Another check from Papazian before Lin bet another 4,100. Again, Papazian called. 

The river card now, the [7h]. Papazian checked to Lin who made it 10,050 to play. Papazian called instantly, but slapped the table when Lin showed [ah][2s]. 

Lin now up to 82,000. - SB

11:25pm: Barbero and Kihara and a 40K pot
Level 8 - Blinds: 300/600 (75 ante)

A tense hand played out between Nacho Barbero and Naoya Kihara just boosted one of their stacks to 125,000.

Barbero opened for 1,400 which Kihara then raised to 4,000 in the cut off. Barbero, working out of early position, called for a flop of [8d][td][6d]. 

Barbero began a series of checks. This time it led to a bet of 4,500 from Kihara, which was called. On the [8c] turn both checked, and then on the river card [qd] Barbero checked again. 

At this point Kihara bet again, a further 10,700. Barbero pulled faces as he looked over at Kihara, who was not making any faces at all. Grinning, Barbero said that he hoped Kihara hadn’t got pocket queens. He hadn’t. When Barbero called Kihara turned over [ad][ks]. Crucially the ace was a diamond, for the but flush. Barbero mucked his [kd] face up. 

Kihara up to 125,000 while Barbero slips to 100,000. - SB

11:10pm: Deadman very much alive
Level 8 - Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

British pro Simon Deadman has just doubled up. He called Thomas Saxler’s pre-flop small blind open from the big blind and the two saw a [ts][2s][td] flop fall. Saxler continued for 3,500 and Deadman matched it.

The turn came the [ah] and now the bet from the German PokerStars Qualifier was 7,000. Deadman called once more.

The [5d] completed the board and Deadman shoved after Saxler checked to him. The bet was 21,125 and Saxler didn’t take long to throw in calling chips. He’d wish he hadn’t though when Deadman turned over his [ts][9s] for trips. Saxler could only muck.

Deadman is now playing around 45,000. -JS

10:55pm: Mojave deserts some chips
Level 8 - Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

Heading over to Felipe ‘Mojave’ Ramos’ table, I caught the Friend of PokerStars mid-hand. A [5h][9h][5d] flop had been dealt and Ranno Sootla checked it to the Brazilian, who put out a bet of 1,800. Sootla then raised it to 4,700 and Ramos called.

We needed a turn and the dealer gave us one - the [8s].Now Sootla led out for 5,200 and again Ramos called. The river was the [4d] and both players checked, but Ramos sure looked like he felt he should have bet when Sootla turned over the [2h][4h] for a busted flush draw that hit bottom pair at the end.

Anyway, the chips slid Sootla’s way and Ramos is now on 21,300. -JS

10:40pm: Daher the danger
Level 8 - Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

Albert Daher has had the kind of day that poker players dream of. He got a big stack early and has simply pummelled anybody who dared get near him.

His latest victim was Andres Artinano Munoz, who had the audacity to open to 1,500 from early position and then call when Daher raised to 5,000 from the button.

They went heads-up to the [kc][2h][jc] flop and a pattern was quickly established. Munoz checked, Daher bet, Munoz called on every street. On the flop, it was 6,000. On the [8h] turn it was 14,500. On the [7c] river it was 25,000, and that was for almost all of Munoz’s remaining stack.

Munoz figured out that he would be left with only about 9,000 if he called the final bet, but with Daher doing the betting, he seemed to think it was worth it. Bad news. Daher turned over [ac][ad] and built his stack past 250,000. Munoz is in a spot of bother.

Yesterday’s end-of-day leader, Roman Verenko, had 198,000. There’s a strong chance Daher is going to knock that into a cocked hat. — HS

8 300 600 75

10:50pm: A futile search for Chance Kornuth
Level 7 - Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

This hand happened a little while ago, but I just found it in the notebook and it jogged my memory. Action folded to Albert Sebag, a PokerStars qualifier from France, on the button and he opted to limp for 500.

Andrei Stoenescu, in the small blind, made it 1,600 to play and then Chance Kornuth, in the big blind, made it 3,600.

Sebag was massively disgruntled. “I knew it!” he grumbled, the muttered something in French that I didn’t catch.

It looks like it has been a rough day for Sebag with Kornuth sitting in the big blind. Although Kornuth is as affable as players get at the table, he’s also pretty sharky (as his €10K high roller result will attest) and it must be absolutely miserable having him to your left when the conversation stops.

Sebag had had enough. Who is this kid? He picked up his phone and opened up a browser, then went to Google. He pieced together all the information he could find and typed “poker”, “chance” and “rungood” into his phone, i.e., the game, the name of his tormentor (I’m guessing he had asked) and the name of the clothing company whose livery Kornuth was sporting.

However if you think about it, all those terms, even added together, don’t bring you to Chance Kornuth. And so even Sebag’s Google search was an exercise in frustration. He tried shifting the order of the words. He made “run good” two words instead of one.

But no, still just a lot of general poker stuff and no closer to knowing the identity of the kid in the big blind. He turned his phone over and got on with it, with a Gallic sigh. — HS

10:55pm: Kerignard takes his chance
Level 7 - Blinds: 250/500 (50 ante)

Yorane Kerignard arrived for the Main Event this afternoon with six blue chips. He’d lost a few since then but looking down at two red kings found an opportunity to get them all back, particularly when there was a raise and a re-raise in front of him. 

Sylvain Loosli started it, opening for 1,200. Patrick Fortin was in the hijack and raised to 3,300. Kerignard, on the button, paused, then four bet to 7,600.

That wasn’t even the end of it. Laurent Strouk was in the big blind and hadn’t folded yet. Instead he called Kerignard, leaving Loosli to get out of their way. Then Fortin paused, taking a minute before he too called. They would see a flop.


Strouk checked before Fortin bet 60,000, easily covering the others. Kerignard called before Strouk passed, and watched Fortin turn over [jd][8d] for a flush draw. Kerignard’s [kh][kd] looked good, but not for very long. The turn card [7d] gave Fortin his flush. The river card [7c] couldn’t save Kerignard. 

He stood quickly, muttered his best wishes, and left. - SB

10:50pm: Boeree heads to the races and finds a winning ticket
Level 7 - Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

Chance Kornuth opened to 1,300 in the cut-off and Abdulaziz Abdulaziz made the call on the button. The action then got to Team PokerStars Pro Liv Boeree in the big blind, and she felt it was the right time for a three-bet to 4,400. That got rid of Kornuth, but Abdulaziz then jammed having Boeree covered.

She had 25,625 behind and thought for a minute, eventually telling the table she didn’t want to race. That’s exactly what she ended up doing though; when she made the call her [ah][kc] was up against the [9c][9d].

Help arrived quickly with a King in the window of the [ks][2s][4h] flop.The [jh] turn and [5s] river kept her in front and Boeree secured the double-up to 51,850. -JS

10:45pm: Nitsche’s niche? Flopping two pair
Level 7 - Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

Dominik Nitsche was in the single-day 50K high roller last time I saw him. Now he’s doubling up here in the main event.

There was an open to 1,000 and Team PokerStars Pro Yaxi Zhu, Kitson Kho, and Domink Nitsche (big blind) came along.

The flop came the [kh][qd][5d] and there was a c-bet to 1,600. Zhu folded, but Kho called. Nitsche then moved all-in for 15,750 and only Kho called.

Nitsche - [kc][qs]
Kho - [ad][jd]

Both had flopped big, but Kho was trailing with his flush draw. The [6c] hit the turn changing nothing, and neither did the [ac] river. Nitsche is up to 32,000. -JS

10:40pm: Lodden’s challenge ends
Level 7 - Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

Johnny Lodden usually loves the Grand Final. But his reserved seat at the final table will go to someone else this time as he is now out. — HS


Johnny Lodden

10:30pm: A corner of Monte Carlo that is forever Macau
Level 7 - Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

At the beginning of play today, Team Online’s Naoya Kihara expressed his joy that he was sitting with his friend Juicy Li, keeping the Asian contingent strong on that table. Not only are both of them still there-Kihara with 110,000 and Li about 95,000-but Celina Lin, the Chinese Team PokerStars Pro, is also now on that table. She is a multiple winner of the coveted Red Dragon on the APPT and knows both Li and Kihara well. Lin has 26,000 at the moment, but that’s still more than 50 big blinds.

Randy “nanonoko” Lew is on a neighbouring table, and he is having a pretty good day as well-as noted below. He has about 100,000 too. He just knocked out Joe Mouawad as well to build his stack a bit more.

Mahomed Aissani opened the pot in question, limping for 500 from mid-position. Lew raised to 2,000 from one seat along but then Mouawad shoved for about 19,000 from the small blind. Aissani folded but Lew called. The fact he didn’t ask for a count was bad news for Mouawad.

Mouawad tabled [ad][qc] but was dominated by Lew’s [as][kd] and there was nothing to get excited about on the board. — HS

10:10pm: Lew among the leaders
Level 7 - Blinds: 250/500 (50 ante)

PokerStars Online Pro Randy Lew is up to nearly 100,000 after sending a player to the rail. 

After a bet of 1,000 Philipp Krummenacher called on the button and small blind Stephan Fajg did the same. The action then reached Lew in the big blind who re-raised, making it 4,450. Krummenacher and Fajg both called for a flop.


Fajg checked to Lew who bet 6,100. That prompted Krummenacher to move all in for roughly 11,000. Krummenacher folded but Lew called. 

Lew: [td][kh]
Krummenacher: [ad][9d]

The turn came [6c] and the river [2s], much to Krummenacher’s irritation. 

He’s out though, while Lew is now on about 96,000. - SB

10:20pm: Plenty of fallers
Level 7 - Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

It’s all getting a bit feisty out there. The latest list of eliminations includes: Kevin MacPhee (mutilated), Mar Sen (slain), Louis Linard (lanced), Tiemo Goenen (gone), Mikalai Pobol (pulverised), Artur Koren (kaput), Carlos Chang (chomped), Dimitry Yurasov (yahooed), Raymond Wu (wiped), Shaan Siddiqui (shelved), Ghassan Bitar (bounced), Daniel Wilson (wasted), Jason Wheeler (whipped), Ludovic Geilich (gutted), Gleb Tremzin (trounced), Stefan Schillhabel (shafted), Ognjen Sekularec (spewed), Farid Jattin (jettisoned), Max Pescatori (pushed), Andre Difelice (defeated) and Stefan Fuchs (come on, you’re better than that). — HS

10:15pm: Short day for Negreanu - plays just two hands before busting
Level 7 - Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

Actually, you can scratch what we just said. Daniel Negreanu has been eliminated after just two hands of play.

He opened to 1,175 (the first hand he’d played) and it folded around to Markku Koplimaa in the big blind who made the call. The flop fell [ts][3c][ks] and Koplimaa checked to the Team PokerStars Pro, who continued for 1,600 and was called.

The [ad] hit the turn, which both checked, taking us to the [6h] on the river. Koplimaa checked once more and Negreanu said: “I should bet here, but I won’t.”

He turned over the [kh][jd] which was the winner against Koplimaa’s [7d][7S], but the two would soon meet again. On the next hand, in fact.

Negreanu kicked it off again with the same open - 1,175 - and it got to Koplimaa again, this time in the small blind. He opted to three-bet to 3,450, and Daniel Dvoress gave up his big blind, so the action was back on Negreanu. He made a quick call.

“Good luck,” said Koplimaa.

“I need luck?” asked Negreanu. “Oh, well that means you must have it already then.”

The flop was the [ks][5s][9c] and Koplimaa continued for 3,600. The [7h] hit the turn after Negreanu made the call, and he’d also call a bet of 7,700 on fourth street.

The [jh] completed the board and Koplimaa asked Negreanu how much he had. “Seventeen and a half with change,” was the answer.

He put Negreanu all-in and Kid Poker began his thought process. He pointed at the cards and tried to use them to figure out what Koplimaa must have. Eventually, he decided he might be ahead and made the call with his [ad][kd]. It looked good right? Top pair top kicker?

Only problem was that Koplimaa had turned a straight with the [8d][6d]. Negreanu said his goodbyes and now needs to find something else to do with his night. It shouldn’t be too hard for him here in Monte Carlo! -JS

10pm: One in, one out
Level 7 - Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

Daniel Negreanu has hauled himself along to the Salle des Etoiles this evening, joining the action just after the dinner break. There are now 779 players registered for play today-a good chunk of whom are already out, of course.

The arrival of the Canadian Team PokerStars Pro has actually just evened out the number of Red Spades. Andre Akkari is now out. — HS

9.55pm: A different way to leave a poker tournament
Level 7 - Blinds: 250/500 (50 ante)

Busting from a main event is an unhappy experience at the best of times. Which is why most players not only leave their seat as quickly as possible when the poker Gods strike, but also the tournament room - at least until the €300 Turbo begins, or the bar opens.
That’s the usual practice. But not for one player just forced to accept his fate by a pair of queens. 

As the last card was dealt this young man stood up from his seat, in no hurry at all to depart the premises. Instead he slowly picked up his track top and put it on. Then, he picked up his card protector and his headphones, which he placed back in their case, which then went into the bag he had with him. 

Then there was his cushion, and the plastic bag he’d brought with him to put it in. He located it in a pocket and awkwardly packed the cushion away. Then he checked his phone, picked up his bag, picked up the stretch purple thing with a ball on each end (what the…?) and his player ID. Actually sir, the dealer needed that back. 

All in all two minutes past before he left. During which his table mates… make that former tablemates… tried to pretend he wasn’t there. - SB

9:45pm: Fatima scores double elimination - one of which was Akenhead
Level 7 - Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

You may have seen Team PokerStars’ Fatima Moreira de Melo singing an incredible version of the song ‘Clown’ on TV show It Takes 2 (if not, YouTube it). Well, there’s no clowning around right now; it’s all business as she’s just knocked out two players in one hand.

Tomas De La Maza moved all-in for his last 6,600 and it folded to Moreira de Melo on the button. She flat called, and the action came to James Akenhead in the big blind. After he about 10 seconds he announced he was all-in - an attempt to isolate De La Maza no doubt. But it was never going to work; Moreira De Melo snap-called and turned over her [ah][ad].


Fatima Moreira de Melo: Butter wouldn’t melt

Akenhead had a good hand too in the [ac][kc], while De La Maza held the [as][ts]. The board ran out [3h][2h][qd][4s][9d] and both Akenhead and De La Maza headed for the exit.

“See you in Vegas?” De Melo asked Akenhead. “Oh for sure,” came the reply.

Moreira de Melo has 135,000 after that one. -JS

9:30pm: Cards in the air
Level 7 - Blinds: 250/500 (50 ante)

Play resumes in the main event. There are two more levels to play today. 

7 250 500 50

8:10pm: Dinner break

Players will shortly be on a 75 minute dinner break. Play resumes at 9.30pm.

7:55pm: Latest bust-outs
Level 6 - Blinds: 200/400 (ante: 25)

Here we are again. The long list of eliminated players: Luca Pagano, Christian Thiry, Koray Aldemir, Julian Thomas, Sergio Aido, Pablo Gordillo, Paul Ephremsen, Gaetano Dell’Aera, Anatoly Chen, Eric Nhouyvanisvong, Sam Benoliel, Ole Eide, Ronaldo de Oliveira, Abbas Moradi, Adb El Fatah Ahmed, Alexandr Komarov, Nasrodin Pirmamod, Daniel Duthon, Francois-Charles Scapula, Padraig O’Neill, Gaetan Cauchy, Georgy Komarov, Yury Gulyy, Katsuhiro Muto, Stephane Gabarre, Jean Paul Zaffran, Kevin Pascal Barden, Simon Higgins, Darren Nelson and Jean Baptiste Tomi. - HS


No laughing matter: Luca Pagano is out

7:50pm: Talking Gu
Level 6 - Blinds: 200/400 (50 ante)

It turns out Falk Schubertspeaks a little Chinese, to the delight of Guigong Gu. So it seemed a shame when the dealer told them it was English only. 

Gu raised the next hand, which he does a lot, making it 900 from early position. The action folded to James Akenhead in the small blind who called for a flop of [7s][qc][as].

He then checked to Gu who bet 1,400. Akenhead called. 

The turn came [qs]. Both checked that, and the [7c] river card that followed. Akenhead showed [ah][qd] for the full house. Gu looked at it for a few moments, then again at his own [ad][9d], before surrendering. Meanwhile Akenhead was regretting checking the river. - SB

7:45pm: Three-way action
Level 6 - Blinds: 200/400 (ante: 25)

Here’s a three-way all-in to report, accounting for the departure Vincent Perez and more than doubling the stack of Michael Melin. Nikita Nikolaev didn’t love it either, but he had enough to cover them both and is still in.

I reckon the money probably went in after this flop: [6c][4c][2s]. That’s because Perez had and over-pair ([7d][7h]), Nikolaev had the nut flush draw and bottom pair with [ac][2c] but Melin had [4s][4d], for a set.

The [8s] turn and [3d] river helped nobody, so that was the end of Perez. Melin had a stack of 33,700 and now has a lot more. — HS

7:30pm: Urbanovich buzzing
Level 6 - Blinds: 200/400 (50 ante)

I’m not sure how long Dzmitry Urbanovich has been in this tournament (he registered late) but in the five minutes I’ve been aware of his presence, I’ve seen him all in and called twice. The first ended in a chop, the second in a double up.

On the first hand, it looked like Jovan Pupovac had opened to 800, Effendy Widjaja called from one seat along, and Urbanovich three-bet from the cutoff, using a 5,000 chip and an inaudible mutter of the actual raise amount. Pupovac then four-bet to 10,500 which got Widjaia out of the way, but Urbanovich shoved for 41,700.

Pupovac called and tabled his [ad][kh]. Urbanovich showed his [ah][ks]. The dealer told them to take their bets back by the time the first four community cards showed [4d][9s][9d][7s]. The river was irrelevant. Let’s say it was Mrs Chips the Carpenter’s Wife.

Not long after, Urbanovich was all in again, this time looking at a flop and turn of [6d][8s][3h][tc]. Widjaia called — Urbanovich’s shove was for 16,175, so plenty had already gone in — and the Polish phenom said, “Full house.” He showed [3c][3s].

Widjaia had a ten, but it wasn’t enough. Urbanovich is buzzing. -HS

7:15pm: Smurfit Smurfs it(?)
Level 6 - Blinds: 200/400 (50 ante)

Some action from Alan Smurfit, a veteran of the game who proudly displays his gold WSOP bracelet from 2007. He and Lex Veldhuis are seated next to each other and both were involved in a pot a short while ago. 

Jose Schwaiger opened from under the gun. The action was folded around to Lex Veldhuis in the small blind who called, as did Smurfit in the big blind. 

The flop came [6d][kc][ah]. Action was checked to Schwaiger who bet another 1,500. That forced a fold from Veldhuis but not Smurfit. The Irishman, who leaves in Monaco, raised to 6,500. Schwaiger figured he was beaten, and folded the [ad] face up. - SB