September 2006 Archives

September 30, 2006 10:44 PM

2006 WCOOP: Event #15 Final Table Report

There's an excitement that builds toward the zenith of any poker series. In my trips around the world to various poker tournaments, I've noticed the early rushes of excitement, the calm plodding through the middle of the series, and then finally, a mad rush of adrenaline that leads everyone to the big event.

PokerStars WCOOP Event #15 was among the fastest-moving tournaments of all in this year's World Championship of Online Poker. In a series in which final tables routinely began in the early morning hours, the Pot-Limit Omaha event had reached the final table and eliminated its first player before the midnight hour on the American east coast.

The final table included many familiar faces, including the mug of one famous Costa Rican, Team PokerStars' Humberto Brenes.

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Seat 1: MailMan99 (237043 in chips)
Seat 2: Humberto B. (246053 in chips)
Seat 3: trollguttn (277492 in chips)
Seat 4: DONKAFIDE (278190 in chips)
Seat 5: starsky (167176 in chips)
Seat 6: HaffaHaffa (351709 in chips)
Seat 7: LuckyLady519 (224392 in chips)
Seat 8: Trabelsi (306993 in chips)
Seat 9: KILLER ACE (78452 in chips)

I met LuckyLady519 in the Bahamas earlier this year after he became the first person to win the PokerStars World Championship of Battleship Poker. He played a tough and fantastic game to get to the final table. His time there, however, would be short. From the big blind, LuckyLady519 called a raise from Humberto Brenes, LuckyLady519 saw a flop of 3s-9s-Qh. With As6c8sJc, the nut spade draw and a queen-high gutshot straight draw, LuckyLady519 check-raised Brenes all-in. Brenes called for 83,000 more with a pair of queens. The single pair held up and LuckyLady519 left in ninth place, earning $6,502.50.

DONKAFIDE was the next to go. Trollguttn came in for a raise and DONKAFIDE called with AsKc4cJs. When the flop came down 2s-4h-7s, trollguttn bet out and DONKAFIDE raised all in with his pair of fours and nut flush draw. Trollguttn called. The turn was an ace, giving DONKAFIDE two pair, but the river was a three. Trollguttn held 6sAh3c5c and made the seven-high straight on the river. DONKAFIDE left in eighth place, taking home $9,970.50.

At first it would look like Humberto Brenes wouldn't last to see the end of the final table. He was hurt badly when his rivered ace-high flush was bested by Trabelsi's full house. Brenes was left with fewer than 100,000 chips. While he could've titled off the rest of chips, he remained tenacious, and managed to hold on while others busted out. KILLER ACE ended up taking the seventh place after getting all-in pre-flop with 4dKc8dKh. Trabelsi, holding 8hQh5cJs, ended up making a flush on the turn to bust KILLER ACE and hand him a $13,872.00 payday.

Brenes began to storm back after winning a huge pot against trollguttn. Trollguttn had flopped two pair, but Brenes flopped the nut straight and it held up. Just a couple of minutes later, Brenes flopped a set and made a full house against Trabelsi and doubled up again. Suddenly, the Costa Rican shark looked like he could make a run for the title.

The players went on to fight for another twenty minutes before MailMan99 found himself very low on chips and moved all-in with 5c3dKdKc. His good hand didn't hold up when Trabelsi's Td6d8h5h made two pair. MailMan99 finished in sixth place for $17,990.25.

Soon thereafter, starsky sat in the big blind. Four of his five opponents limped in and saw a flop of Th8hTs . Starsky flopped the heart flush draw bet out, and then called all-in. Trabelsi held a ten, Starsky missed his heart, and the final table had its fifth place finisher. Starsky made $22,325.25.

Humberto Brenes' move up through the chip count ranks would soon be eclipsed by Trabelsi's efforts. First, Trabelsi crippled HaffaHaffa after turning a full house to crack HaffaHaffa's aces. Then, Trabelsi knocked off trollguttn with a set of jacks versus a pair of fives. HaffaHaffa finished in fourth place for $27,093.75. Trollguttn finished in third place for $36,847.50.

Those eliminations pitted the player from Finland against the Team PokerStars' member from Costa Rica. it would only take ten minutes and one huge hand to finish the match. On a flop of Js-7c-8s, the players went to war, eventually getting all the money in. Brenes held 6d6sAsKd for a pair of sixes with the nut flush draw. Trabelsi held Jd9dTc6h for the flopped straight. Brenes didn't improve and finished runner-up in Event #15 for $58,089.00. Trabelsi, the man from Finland, took home the Event #15 gold bracelet and an impressive $93,852.75.

A full list of money winners can be found on the PokerStars WCOOP Event #15 results page. Final table results can be found below.

PokerStars WCOOP Event #15 Final Table Results

1. Trabelsi (Finland) $93,852.75
2. Humberto B. (Costa Rica) $58,089.00
3. trollguttn (Norway) $36,847.50
4. HaffaHaffa (Sweden) $27,093.75
5. starsky (United Kingdom) $22,325.25
6. MailMan99 (Sweden) $17,990.25
7. KILLER ACE (France) $13,872.00
8. DONKAFIDE (United States) $9,970.50
9. LuckyLady519 (United States) $6,502.50

September 30, 2006 7:19 AM

2006 WCOOP: Event #15

On the eve of the biggest tournament weekend in PokerStars history, Finland's Trabelsi put on a Pot-Limit Omaha clinic in WCOOP Event #15. After getting heads up with poker superstar Humberto Brenes, Trabelsi won more than $93,000 and the Event #15 WCOOP gold bracelet. A full list of money winners can be found on the PokerStars WCOOP Event #15 results page. Final table results can be found below.

PokerStars WCOOP Event #15 Final Table Results

1. Trabelsi (Finland) $93,852.75
2. Humberto B. (Costa Rica) $58,089.00
3. trollguttn (Norway) $36,847.50
4. HaffaHaffa (Sweden) $27,093.75
5. starsky (United Kingdom) $22,325.25
6. MailMan99 (Sweden) $17,990.25
7. KILLER ACE (France) $13,872.00
8. DONKAFIDE (United States) $9,970.50
9. LuckyLady519 (United States) $6,502.50

September 29, 2006 11:33 PM

2006 WCOOP: Event #14 Final Table Report

"Turning Stone casino is about two hours away. That is the closest thing I have for live poker," he said. "I play online and then try to travel to the tournaments. I'm going to the Trump Taj Majal for the USPC." --Kyle "kwob20" Bowker, the day after winning 2006 WCOOP Event #5 for more that $100,000

I hate to be redundant. I really do. The neat thing about the World Championship of Online Poker is that I get to introduce you to a new PokerStars player every time an event is over. It's fresh every day. Well, today, I just can't do that, because you already know the winner of Event #14.

Kyle "kwob20" Bowker at the 2006 WSOP

Yeah, that's Kyle "kwob20" Bowker. Just a week after winning the 2006 World Championship of Online Poker Event #5, Bowker traveled down to Atlantic City and set up shop at the Taj, ready to play in the United States Poker Championship events. While there, he fired up Event #14 in his hotel room and sat down to play. There, in the middle of a casino hotel room, Bowker made online poker history.

Though the 2006 WCOOP made history last week when spawng became the first person to ever win a second WCOOP bracelet, no one had ever won two WCOOP bracelets in the same year. Early Friday morning, Kyle Bowker changed that.

"What can I say?" Bowker mused, "I am on the rush of a lifetime."

With three tables remaining, my eyes were on Bowker and Greg "Fossilman" Raymer. Earlier in the week, Raymer had mentioned that, while he holds the 2004 WSOP Main event no-limit bracelet, he still believed stud high-low was his best game. He made good on the statement by making a run for the Event #14 final table. He finished in 19th place.

Bowker, however, continued his rush, by making the final table with eight other tough players, including Evelyn, who was sitting at his second final table of the 2006 WCOOP.

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Seat 1: PokerJ2006 (156294 in chips)
Seat 2: MOJOEX1 (157066 in chips)
Seat 3: Fooge (86980 in chips)
Seat 4: TroppoBravo (420313 in chips)
Seat 5: kwob20 (116268 in chips)
Seat 6: nutspp (199075 in chips)
Seat 7: doidovarrido (91274 in chips)
Seat 8: Evelyn (225230 in chips)

Fooge sat on the shortest stack when final table play began and needed to pick up a hand quickly to remain in action. On a deal of 5cKc/Ks, he got all his chips in against Pokerj2006, who unfortunately for Fooge, held 5hAh/As. Fooge didn't improve and finished in eighth place, earning $5,839.05.

For a half hour play continued and PokerJ2006 couldn't build his stack any more. This time, he was the one dealt kings (AdKd/Kc). He went to battle with Evelyn, who started with Ac8d/3h. Evelyn improved on fifth street when he paired his ace. PokerJ2006 didn't improve and departed in seventh place for $8,773.10.

After being forced to post the bring-in on countless hands, doidovarrido made s short run before getting crippled in a huge pot with ToppoBravo. TroppoBravo rivered the wheel for the scoop. A few minutes later, TroppoBravo knocked off doidovarrido and MOJOEX1 in the same hand. All three players had low draws, none of which got there, and TroppoBravo's rivered two pair was good for the high and the double elimination. MOJOEX1, who started with more chips, finished in fifth for $14,757.40. Doidovarrido pocketed $11,736.20 for sixth place.

Ten minutes later, Bowker started his final table assault. Nutspp started off with a good low draw that never materialized. Kwob20 attacked with a pair of sixes and a 7-6 low he made on seventh street. Nutspp took fourth place and $18,127.20.

From that moment forward, watching Bowker play was like being on the business end of a bungee cord. The up and down nature of his stack was something akin to watching the stock market on a day the Fed makes a big announcement. Finally, Bowker seemed to settle into a groove and started getting hit in the head with the deck. In a key hand against Evelyn, Bowker made queens full of sixes in five cards and got Evelyn to play hard all the way to the river. Evelyn lost most of his stack on the hand and eventually succumbed in third place when his pair of nines didn't hold up for the high against TroppoBravo. Evelyn, in his second 2006 WCOOP appearance, won $25,302.55.

Although TroppoBravo was able to win a big hand to bring his chip count even with Bowker's, he couldn't find a way to win. Bowker played as aggressively as ever, got hit in the head with the deck, and in ten minutes rolled over TroppoBravo, finally finishing off his opponent with a pair of aces against a pair of kings and a busted low draw. TroppoBravo earned $40,089.00 for his fantastic second place finish.

As for Bowker, he's riding his rush in Atlantic City.

"It's unbelievable to win two events in the last two weeks. I did plan on doing well in the WCOOP, but I could not have expected this," he said. "No limit hold'em is my game, so, to win in two other events is fulfilling also. The final table was much tougher for me than the last time. Every time I would game some momentum I would get knocked back down. I tried to hang around and bide my time. When we got three-handed, I finally got the card rush I had been patiently waiting for. Now I have to find a way to get into the $10,000 main event here [in A.C.]."

A full list of money winners can be found at the PokerStars WCOOP Event #14 Results page. Final table results are below.

PokerStars WCOOP Event #14 Final Table Results

1. kwob20 (United States) $68,267.50
2. TroppoBravo (Italy) $40,089.00
3. Evelyn (Germany) $25,302.55
4. nutspp (Spain) $18,127.20
5. MOJOEX1 (United States) $14,757.40
6. doidovarrido (Norway) $11,736.20
7. PokerJ2006 (Australia) $8,773.10
8. Fooge (United States) $5,839.05

September 29, 2006 8:21 AM

2006 WCOOP: Event #14 Results

For the first time in World Championship of Online Poker history, a player has won two WCOOP bracelets in one year. Kyle "kwob20" Bowker, winner of the 2006 Event #5, now owns two WCOOP bracelets after winning Event #14, Seven-Card Stud High-Low. Kwob20 won more than $68,000 in Event #14, bringing his total winnings to more than $170,000 in this year's WCOOP. A full list of money winners can be found at the PokerStars WCOOP Event #14 Results page. Final table results are below. A full final table report will be out later on Friday.

PokerStars WCOOP Event #14 Final Table Results

1. kwob20 (United States) $68,267.50
2. TroppoBravo (Italy) $40,089.00
3. Evelyn (Germany) $25,302.55
4. nutspp (Spain) $18,127.20
5. MOJOEX1 (United States) $14,757.40
6. doidovarrido (Norway) $11,736.20
7. PokerJ2006 (Australia) $8,773.10
8. Fooge (United States) $5,839.05

September 28, 2006 11:41 PM

2006 WCOOP: Event #13 final table report

After years of playing no-limit hold'em tournaments, just about any poker player can settle into a routine strategy. In fact, for the many levels of a nine or ten-handed no-limit hold'em tournament, a player can put himself on autopilot. Sometimes a break from the routine is a good thing. How best to do it? I can think of a couple of ways and WCOOP Event #13 had both of them. Event #13 was played pot-limit, instead of no-limit, and with only six players per table. Short-handed play requires a wider range of starting hands. Pot-limit allows for more nuance and post-flop poker play.

As in many events leading up to Event #13, players were amazed at the brilliant structure devised by PokerStars' tournament team. When the players reached the final table bubble, the stacks were still deep enough to allow for a lot of play. It took more than an hour for the bubble to finally burst. When it did, these six players faced each other for the bracelet.

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Seat 1: DeathsHead26 (400480 in chips)
Seat 2: Lenny (433388 in chips)
Seat 3: Goodfella_84 (306571 in chips)
Seat 4: dnKid (1489431 in chips)
Seat 5: spaceMe (1082179 in chips)
Seat 6: Tulkaz (640451 in chips)

The final table began with a lot of action, that included some serious poker play and a one world-class call by PokerStars player Lenny, who has made several WCOOP final tables in the past and won an event in 2003. Still after playing for the rest of the 10,000/20,000 level, all six players remained. After looking at the chip-count numbers, the players did what no final table in the 2006 WCOOP has done yet--they chopped up the prize pool with all the players still at the table.

With everyone guaranteed a nice payday, the play opened up even more and the eliminations began. On the very first hand back from the deal discussion, Tulkaz doubled through Lenny with pocket queens vs. J9. The double-up would only be a short reprieve however. Shortly after doubling up, Tulkaz chased a flush and ending up missing in a huge hand versus spaceMe. Crippled, he finally got all his chips in with AJ against Lenny's pocket fives. Three threes on the board gave Lenny a full house and knocked Tulkaz out in sixth place. The early deal paid him $27,581.00.

Ten minutes later, Goodfella_84 came in for a raise with KQ, then called all-in when Lenny came over the top with A9. An ace and a nine on the flop was the beginning of the bad news and the end of the tournament for Goodfella_84. $26,780.00

DeathsHead26, one of the happiest final table players yet this year, ended his day in much the same way. Facing a raise from spaceMe, DeathsHead26 jammed with pocket jacks. SpaceMe called with with A4, flopped an ace, and sent DeathsHead26 to the rail in fourth place. Thanks to the deal, DeathsHead26 made $34,259.00, nearly $10,000 more than he would've made otherwise.

Three-handed, Lenny came in for a raise with AQ and got a call from both dnKid and spaceMe. SpaceMe check-raised Lenny all-in on a flop of Ts-Td-4d. Lenny made the call with his two overs. He wasn't drawing dead, but he might as well have been against spaceMe's pocket fours and flopped full house. Lenny departed in third place and added $40,156.00 to his lifetime WCOOP winnings.

Heads-up play didn't last ten minutes. After building a 3:1 chip lead, dnKid got into a raising and re-raising battle with spaceMe. The chips were all in before the flop and dnKid's AQ was good against A9. SpaceMe took home $47,113.00 and dnKid won an impressive $87,560.00.

A full list of money-winners can be found at the PokerStars WCOOP Event #13 results page. Final table results are below.

PokerStars WCOOP Event #13 Final Table Results
Results based on finishing order and a six-way deal that left $10,000 for first place

1. dnKid (United States) $87,560.00
2. spaceMe (Germany) $47,113.00
3. Lenny (United States) $40,156.00
4. DeathsHead26 (United States) $34,259.00
5. Goodfella_84 (Canada) $26,780.00
6. Tulkaz (Denmark) $27,581.00

September 28, 2006 8:44 AM

2006 WCOOP: Event #13 Results

Event #13 was not unlucky at all for six talented players who played the short-handed Pot-Limit Hold'em game for more than 12 hours. A six-way deal at the final table gave everyone there a fantastic payday. In the end, dnKid took the lion's share of the cash and the 14k gold WCOOP bracelet. A full list of money-winners can be found at the PokerStars WCOOP Event #13 results page. Final table results are below.

PokerStars WCOOP Event #13 Final Table Results
Results based on finishing order and a six-way deal that left $10,000 for first place

1. dnKid (United States) $87,560.00
2. spaceMe (Germany) $47,113.00
3. Lenny (United States) $40,156.00
4. DeathsHead26 (United States) $34,259.00
5. Goodfella_84 (Canada) $26,780.00
6. Tulkaz (Denmark) $27,581.00

September 27, 2006 9:56 PM

2006 WCOOP: Event #12 Final Table Report

One of the most common questions I get in my inbox is, "Are there any known pros at the WCOOP final table?" That question is invariably followed by, "Can you tell me who they are?"

My answers never vary.

Yes. And probably not.

Simply put, PokerStars has a strict privacy policy that provides players anonymity unless and until they provide permission to disclose their identity. Sometimes the players don't mind. Sometimes they do. I can say this: You'd be amazed at who is playing in this year's WCOOP.

And I can also say this: The winner of WCOOP #12 is somebody you'd probably recognize if you follow poker and watch televised poker events.

Mr. Shhhhhhh (that's seven h's, in case you lose count like I do) has been around PokerStars for a while and many people would recognize his Steve Buscemi avatar and great successes. What you may not know is what other kinds of success he has enjoyed. With his permission, I can tell you that he has won a major televised poker title and has also scored some major cashes in many other high-profile events. He's been playing on PokerStars for more than three years and is a regular in the upper-limit Omaha games. His screen name and avatar go together, taken from the movie "Things to do in Denver When You're Dead." Steve Buscemi's character, Mr. Shhh, was known as the "most lethal hitman this side of the Mississippi."

As for PokerStars' Mr. Shhhhhhh, he spent most of Tuesday knocking off people on both sides of Mississippi and across the wide seas. Here's what the final table looked like when the final eight sat down (simultaneous eliminations on the bubble resulted in an eight-handed final table).

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Seat 1: OlliPolli (150780 in chips)
Seat 2: katyrix (176544 in chips)
Seat 3: hasumutas (725122 in chips)
Seat 4: 011180 (613849 in chips)
Seat 5: mrrain (458084 in chips)
Seat 6: Nati Thunder (651811 in chips)
Seat 7: Mr. Shhhhhhh (306883 in chips)
Seat 9: kdhspyder (174427 in chips)

In the early stages of final table play, katyrix suffered the loss of more than 100,000 chips and with around 76,000 with which to play, ended up in the big blind for almost half of his chips. Facing a raise from hasumuts, katyrix got all the chips in the middle pre-flop holding Jd-4s-Ts-2c. It would not be good against hasumutas' 4d-Qs-Ah-Ac. Katryix finished in eighth place, earning $8,599.80.

Ten minutes later, Mr. Shhhhhhh scored his first victim at the final table. With OlliPolli already in for a raise with a short-stack, Mr. Shhhhhhh went over the top with As-7c-Ah-4s. Already well-committed to the pot, OlliPolli called for just 5,780 more with 7h-5s-Kh-2s. By the river, both players had made spade flushes, but Mr. Shhhhhhh's ace-high flush was best. OlliPolli was out in seventh place for $11,531.55.

The next elimination came by way of mrrain being all in pre-flop with 8h-7d-Ad-2h against Nati Thunder's 5d-Qc-As-2c. Both players paired their ace, but Nati Thunder paired his queen, as well. With no available low, mrrrain was out in sixth place, earning him $15,088.74.

There have been a few deals struck so far in the 2006 WCOOP, but none that came through with five players remaining. Event #12 changed that. With five players left, Mr. Shhhhhh held the lead, but most of the stacks were within a couple blinds of each other. With that in mind, the players chopped the pot based on chip-count and played for $10,000 and the Event #12 bracelet.

With the deal made, Mr. Shhhhhhh pulled out his deadly Omaha skills and went to work. He started by terminating Nati Thunder. Mr. Shhhhhh flopped a pair of sixes, a gutshot draw, and a low draw then called Nati Thunder's all-in. Nati Thunder was significantly ahead with a pair of aces and a better low draw. Nati Thunder's high-hand got better on the turn when he made two pair, but his low draw was counterfeited at the same time. The river spelled doom, however, as Mr. Shhhhhhh's pair of sixes turned into trips and eliminated Nati Thunder in fifth place. The deal got him $33,644.00. Even Mr. Shhhhhhh recognized in the chat bar, the beat was "sick."

With the taste of the kill still fresh, Mr. Shhhhhhh went in for the kill again. After calling a raise in the big blind with 3s-9h-6d-2d, Mr. Shhhhhhh's flopped well against hasumutas' Ah-Ks-Qh-Ac. The flop, 9s-4d-3d, got the players all in. Mr. Shhhhhhh made nines full of threes on the turn, didn't see an ace on the river, and crippled hasumutas. O11180 cleaned up the mess a few minutes later and eliminated hasumutas in fourth place. The man from Russia won $36,833.00.

011180 may have been the cleaner, but he soon found himself getting cleaned. After coming in for a raise with Jd-Ah-Ks-9s and getting called by kdhspyder and seeing a flop of 5c-Jh-2h. When kdhspyder bet out, 011180 pushed in the rest of his chips. He looked like he might be ahead, but Khdspyder held 4c-3h-Kd-6h for a monster draw--open-ended straight draw, a flush draw, and a low draw. Kdhspyder missed on the turn, but hit his flush on the river to eliminate 011180 in third place for $35,351.00.

That left kdhspyder and the silent killer, Mr. Shhhhhhh, heads-up for the title. The battled back and forth for eight minutes before Mr. Shhhhhh put a serious hurting on kdhspyder, earning 1.8 million chips in a hand he didn't even have to show down. Two minutes later, it was all over. Mr. Shhhhhhh got khdspyder all in on a flop of 2s-7s-8d. Mr. Shhhhhhh held 4d-6h-5d-Ad for the made second-but low and an open-ended straight draw. Kdhspyder held Ks-7c-Ac-Qs for a pair of sevens and a worse low draw. The turn blanked for both of them, but the river brought a six to full-in Mr. Shhhhhhh's straight and knock kdhspyder out in second place for $36,903.00.

Mr. Shhhhhhh, though already a poker success, was gracious in his win. He said, "I can't be any happier with PokerStars and what it has meant to me for these past few years. Before I started playing live, I had no clue about no-limit hold'em.. I only dabbled in limit poker and decided that, in order to try and win the big bucks, I needed to learn no-limit. And what a place to hone those skills."

Though he tightened his hold'em game on PokerStars, he's also done very well in the Omaha arena. "I owe all my Omaha expertise to the great players in the 75-150 ring game that PokerStars always has and where I've spent countless hours in the last couple years."

After a tough 13 hours of play, Mr. Shhhhhhh was a champion again. "I'd never ever played Pot-Limit Omaha/8 before yesterday, but I really, really enjoyed the game in so much as it's a great way to punish people who have substandard hands and/or drawing to half the pot with no redraws, etc. There were many times when I three-quartered people for all my stack in the pot, and many times when I avoided just that proposition.... As far as Omaha strategy, I owe it all to my practice on PokerStars."

Indeed, Mr. Shhhhhhh is a man that has proven more than once, he plays to win. And as for his identity...well, I'm not about to mess with the namesake of the "most lethal hitman this side of the Mississippi." That's just as well left in silence. Sssshhhhhhh.

A full list of money winners can be found on the WCOOP Event #12 results page. Final table results are below.

PokerStars WCOOP Event #12 Final table results
Results based on five-way deal that left $10,000 for first place
Simultaneous eliminations on the bubble resulted in eight-handed final table

1. Mr. Shhhhhhh (United States) $56,080.00
2. kdhspyder (United States) $36,903.00
3. 11180 (United States) $35,351.00
4. hasumutas (Russian Federation) $36,833.00
5. Nati Thunder (United States) $33,644.00
6. mrrain (United States) $15,088.74
7. OlliPolli (Finland) $11,531.55
8. katyrix (United States) $8,599.80

September 27, 2006 10:53 AM

2006 WCOOP: Event #12 Results

With less than a week remaining in the World Championship of Online Poker, the bracelet battles are getting even more intense. More than 1,300 people signed up to play in the Omaha Hi-Lo event. When it was over, the well-known Mr. Shhhhhhh captured the bracelet and won more than $55,000. A full list of money winners can be found on the WCOOP Event #12 results page. Final table results are below. Afull final table report will be out later on Wednesday.

PokerStars WCOOP Event #12 Final table results
Results based on five-way deal that left $10,000 for first place
Simultaneous eliminations on the bubble resulted in eight-handed final table

1. Mr. Shhhhhhh (United States) $56,080.00
2. kdhspyder (United States) $36,903.00
3. 11180 (United States) $35,351.00
4. hasumutas (Russian Federation) $36,833.00
5. Nati Thunder (United States) $33,644.00
6. mrrain (United States) $15,088.74
7. OlliPolli (Finland) $11,531.55
8. katyrix (United States) $8,599.80

September 26, 2006 10:17 PM

2006 WCOOP: Event #11 Final Table Report

The first time I ever played seven-card stud for stakes of any consequence and in a live casino, it was in a dark corner of Bally's in Atlantic City. I remember the room being darker than a poker room should be and having blackjack tables available on the rail to keep the gamblers happy while they waited to sit down. Apart from the scotch-drinking walker on my left, the only other memorable thing about the game was the old man in the one-seat. He groused, he cajoled, and he won--a lot. From the moment I sat down, I knew this man had been playing stud since before my father was born. The man was old enough that I wasn't sure which would break first, his physical well-being or the game. I remember thinking at the time, seven-card stud just might die when this guy does...and that might be tonight.

I'm wrong a lot.

The resurgence of poker's popularity has brought with it a new appreciation for games considered to be in their twilight. PokerStars WCOOP Event #11 may not have been the biggest event, but it, no doubt spoke to the world's appreciation for seven-card stud. More than 650 people showed up to play for nearly $200,000. The final eight players came from just two countries--the U.S.A. and Germany.

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Note: The above image is from the PokerStars Marine theme

Seat 1: davebreal (60866 in chips)
Seat 2: jcsacc (123828 in chips)
Seat 3: hurricaneace (271636 in chips)
Seat 4: Sassenage (344436 in chips)
Seat 5: nikstar (193287 in chips)
Seat 6: Evelyn (185586 in chips)
Seat 7: morten (325536 in chips)
Seat 8: BJCAS (137325 in chips)

Davebreal, exceptionally low in chips after some early final table losses, managed to finish in eighth place. With barely enough chips to post the ante and small bet, davebreal took a chance with Ad4s/2c. The chance came at a bad time. Sasesenage had aces in the hole and made a set on fourth street. Davebreal earned $3,744.90.

Over the course of the next 20 minutes, jcsacc found himself in the same position--too few chips to see a hand to the end. He started with a pair of eights versus nikstar's pair of jacks. His hand never improved and he departed in seventh place, earning $5,755.32.

BJCAS, with more than 80,000 in chips at the 7,500/15,000 limit, called the bring-in and a raise with KhTs/Jh. On fourth street, he made a pair of kings and came out betting against hurricaneace who was showing JdQc. BJCAS and hurricaneace both blanked on fifth street and BJCAS check-called one bet. Sixth street is where things started to get ugly. BJCAS made a queen to give him the open-ender to Broadway to go with his pair of kings. Hurricaneace made another club. Both players checked. The river was the killer. BJCAS made his ace for Broadway, but hurricaneace made his club for a flush. All the money went in and BJCAS went out in sixth place for $7,686.90.

Evelyn is well-known on PokerStars, having been around for nearly as long as the site itself. By and by, Evelyn's stack deteriorated to a terminal level. Morten dealt the death blow and sent Evelyn out in fifth place for $9,855.00. Hurricaneace was the next to go, after losing most of his chips in a previous hand and getting everything in before fourth street against everybody else at the table. The three remaining players checked it all the way down and hurricaneace never made better than king-high. For fourth place, he picked up $12,239.91.

Three-handed, the players had deep enough stacks to play poker for a long while. It took another half an hour before another player found the rail. Morten, another long-time PokerStars player, started with an ace showing and by fifth street was committed to the pot against Sassenage, who by that time had made a pair of queens. The rest of Morten's board wouldn't even pair-up and he was out in third place.

When heads-up play arrived, the nikstar and Sassenage were basically even in chips and cut a quick deal. The deal ended up being the quickest thing that would happen. Head-up play lasted for 45 minutes, during which time the players traded the lead many times. In the end, the United States nikstar captured the title and the WCOOP bracelet.

A complete list of people who cashed in this event can be found on the PokerStars WCOOP Event #11 results page. Final table results are below.

PokerStars WCOOP Event #11 Final Table Results
Results based on to-way deal that left $5,000 for first place

1. nikstar (United States) $39,548.00
2. Sassenage (Germany) $33,517.00
3. morten (Denmark) $16,950.60
4. hurricaneace (United States) $12,239.91
5. Evelyn (Germany) $9,855.00
6. BJCAS (United States) $7,686.90
7. jcsacc (United States) $5,755.32
8. davebreal (United States) $3,744.90

September 26, 2006 8:17 AM

2006 WCOOP: Event #11 Results

The hold'em craze may still be in full swing, but 7-card stud is still alive and kicking, as well. More than 650 people showed up on a Monday for PokerStars WCOOP Event #11, $320 7-card stud. The final table matched the United States against Germany in a battle of old school poker. When it was over, the United States' nikstar captured the Event #11 bracelet and won nearly $40,000. A complete list of people who cashed in this event can be found on the PokerStars WCOOP Event #11 results page. Final table results are below. A full final table report will be out later on Tuesday.

PokerStars WCOOP Event #11 Final Table Results
Results based on to-way deal that left $5,000 for first place

1. nikstar (United States) $39,548.00
2. Sassenage (Germany) $33,517.00
3. morten (Denmark) $16,950.60
4. hurricaneace (United States) $12,239.91
5. Evelyn (Germany) $9,855.00
6. BJCAS (United States) $7,686.90
7. jcsacc (United States) $5,755.32
8. davebreal (United States) $3,744.90

September 25, 2006 9:42 PM

2006 WCOOP: Event #10 Final Table Report

Livin' the dream
--posted by fans in 2+2 immediately following Jason "strassa2" Strasser's WCOOP victory

Jason "strassa2" Strasser spent the entire summer in Las Vegas. Though he'd already traveled overseas several times to compete in major brick and mortar tournaments, until 2006, he wasn't old enough to play in the WSOP. At age 21, he astounded competitors with what was surely a game that had matured far faster than Jason's age might suggest. In Las Vegas, it was not uncommon to find Strasser yawning behind a teetering mountain of chips. He went deep more often than he did not. By August, Strasser already had enjoyed a year that most poker players would envy.

Strasser at the 2006 WSOP

Before the World Series of Poker Main event, Strasser cashed in four major events, including a no-limit hold'em WSOP final table finish. By the end of the main event, Strasser had gone very deep and cashed again. In the first eight months of 2006, Strasser has cashed for nearly $200,000 in major brick and mortar events alone. That's not to mention the money he earned playing online (as that amount is not so much a matter of public record, I'll leave it to Strasser to divulge his winnings if he wishes).

Strasser on his way to a cash at the 2006 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure

As Blogger-in-Chief for PokerStars, I've had the pleasure of watching Strasser play in four different countries. Each time, he has played with a wry poise and respect one rarely finds in a 21-year-old player. Despite the fun of watching him play, a theory developed midway through this year's WSOP that my presence in his vicinity more often than not ended in some unfortunate circumstance that resulted in his demise. Strasser claims to never have believed I was a jinx, but that didn't stop me from believing it all the same (To wit: The night Strasser made a no-limit hold'em final table at the WSOP, I was buried in a bunker preparing for main event coverage).

Apparently, the jinx doesn't carry across the intertubes.

Part of my blogging duties here require me to sweat major events online at PokerStars. As such, I spent about seven hours sweating Strasser as he rode roughshod over the field of top players. Event #10, the $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em event, was overrun with insanely good players. As the field narrowed to fewer than 100 runners, railbirds were beside themselves with the selection of well-known players. Among those players was none other than Jason Strasser.

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Note: Table background created using Hyper-Simple PokerStars Theme

Seat 1: elementry (780516 in chips)
Seat 2: BarnyBoatman (1395975 in chips)
Seat 3: sappy123 (2021497 in chips)
Seat 4: MaltLiquor40 (828444 in chips)
Seat 5: razeit (2021880 in chips)
Seat 6: strassa2 (3022563 in chips)
Seat 7: NNICOLAS (1063231 in chips)
Seat 8: thugmoneymkr (438978 in chips)
Seat 9: Pipestew (716916 in chips)

With the blinds at 30,000/60,000 and a 6,000 ante, the big-stacked players had some room to breathe. Other players were starting to feel the pressure. Pipestew, with a little more than half a million chips, made the decision to open-raise all-in with KQ. Razeit, sitting on more than 1.7 million chips, made the call from the small blind with pocket eights. An eight on the flop didn't lock Pipestew out of the pot entirely, but it might as well have. Razeit made a full house by the turn and a queen on the river was useless for Pipestew. For ninth place, he earned $28,267.00. That's right--more than 28 grand for ninth place. Sometimes I think online poker won't stop amazing me, and then something like WCOOP comes around and I'm impressed all over again.

Three hands later, my notes began as follows: HOLY [expletive] BIG HAND.

By virtue of his big stack (and in step with the way he'd been playing all day) Strasser came in for a raise. More often than not, a Strasser raise either ended the hand before the flop or shortly thereafter. Very rarely did Strasser end up showing down a hand. One player was already grousing about the frequency at which his blind was being nicked. Now, Strasser was in for a standard raise, and sappy123 jammed from the big blind. Strasser was left with a decision about whether to call for a little less than half his stack. The decision came quickly. Strasser called and turned up pocket eights to sappy123's AQ. The drama ended quickly. Strasser flopped a set and turned a full house. Sappy123 was out in eighth place, earning a whopping $46,702.00.

The next elimination would play out much the same way (but without as good of a starting hand for Strasser). Facing yet another Strasser raise, elemntry jammed with pocket eights. Strasser, with 160,000 of his chips already in the pot, only had to call 120,000 more. He did so with the Brunson, T2, flopped a ten, and made two pair on the turn. Seconds later, elementry counted himself as another Strasser victim and found the rail in seventh place. A prize of $61,450.00 likely made the exit easier to handle.

One time chip monster, NNICOLAS, eventually fell on hard times and found himself with fewer than 400,000 chips at the 40,000/80,000 level, few enough to certainly justify an all-in open raise with KJ. MaltLiquor40 made the call from the big blind with A3. NNICOLAS never improved and left in sixth place for $82,343.00, which I can only assume will spend very well in his native Argentina.

Razeit decided to make his move next. Facing a standard raise from BarnyBoatman, Razeit jammed with AQ. BarnyBoatman made the easy call with pocket kings. Although Razeit made a queen on the flop, he couldn't improve enough to avoid leaving in fifth place, the first of five people who were guaranteed a six-figure payday. Razeit's share was $105,694.00.

Less than one minute later, BarnyBoatman was the one to pick up AQ and came in for a raise. MaltLiquor40 picked up pocket jacks and moved all-in for more than a million more chips. BarnyBoatman called in a shot, made his ace on the turn, and sent MaltLiquor40 out to look for a drink in fourth place. Buying drinks for his buddies shouldn't be too difficult with his $129,045.00 in winnings.

Three-handed, there was an ever-so-brief discussion of a deal which promptly fell through when Strasser suggested he take $360,000 and let the other two players split the rest. BarnyBoatman said, "You must be joking," and play resumed. While I'm not one to believe in the Curse of the Deal-Killer, BarnyBoatman may have tempted fate a little bit when he said, "3rd is ok anyway."

Seconds later, after losing a big pot to thugmoneymkr and facing a raise from Strasser, BarnyBoatman pushed all-in for more than 2.5 million chips. Strasser called in a shot with AQ. BarnyBoatman showed A6. Around the world, and in one particular dorm room in North Carolina, a collective groan recognized the six on the flop. While Strasser would admit that he benefited from a couple big suckouts along the way to the final table, he didn't necessarily want to fall victim to one at such a critical time. One second later, the turn was out and no help. And then the river...a queen. Strasser said later, when the queen fell, his dorm room looked more like a riot.

Success for Strasser meant BarnyBoatman was gone. The man had played a fantastic game for 13 hours and no one doubted the guy had serious game. He earned $155,345.60 for third place.

That left Strasser heads up with the ever-talkative thugmoneymkr. The man with the monkey icon was eager to take some money off the table instead of putting more than $175,000 at risk in a heads up battle. The chat bar looked like this:

thugmoneymkr: u wanna take some dough outta the pot- or shoulda we race for 170k?
strassa2: id rather gambool

And so, gamble they did, though not for an exceptionally long time. Less than 15 minutes later, thugmoneymkr came in for a raise and Strasser called. The flop came out 8d-9h-8h. Strasser checked, thugmoneymkr bet out, and Strasser called. The turn was a jack. This time, Strasser check-raised thugmoneymkr all-in. After a lot of deliberation, thugmoneymkr said, "gotta call ya..." and made the call. Strasser turned up J9 for two pair, besting thugmoneymkr's AJ. The turn had been great for both of them, but more so for Strasser.

Obviously, as a devotee of PokerStars, I'm excited when any of the players there make a big score. That said, I think Strasser is an exceptional example for his contemporaries. He represents a lot of what is good about online poker right now. While he's still young, his skill is undeniable. Though he's made major cashes for more than $600,000 this year alone, he is still respectful of the game and his place in it. His demeanor, maturity, and self-deprecating sense of place in poker is laudable. All are traits from which a lot of people, young and old, could learn.

Strasser at the 2006 WSOP

Congratulations to Jason Strasser and every one else who made big scores in Event #10. A full list of money winners can be found on the PokerStars WCOOP Event #10 results page. Final table results are below.

PokerStars WCOOP Event #10 Final Table Results

1. strassa2 (United States) $442,440.00
2. thugmoneymkr (United States) $266,693.00
3. BarnyBoatman (United Kingdom) $155,345.60
4. MaltLiquor40 (Canada) $129,045.00
5. razeit (United States) $105,694.00
6. NNICOLAS (Argentina) $82,343.00
7. elementry (United States) $61,450.00
8. sappy123 (United States) $46,702.00
9. Pipestew (United States) $28,267.00

September 25, 2006 10:54 AM

2006 WCOOP: Event #10 Results

PokerStars WCOOP Event #10 sniffed at history. The $2.45 million prize pool was the second biggest multi-table freeze out tournament in PokerStars history (the 2005 WCOOP Main Event is still the biggest). Thirteen hours of battle ended with one of PokerStars' most well-known players winning first place and more than $440,000! Jason "strassa2" Strasser rode roughshod over the field and captured the biggest prize of the 2006 WCOOP so far. A full list of money winners can be found on the PokerStars WCOOP Event #10 results page. Final table results are below. A full final table report will be out later on Monday.

Strasser at the 2006 WSOP

PokerStars WCOOP Event #10 Final Table Results

1. strassa2 (United States) $442,440.00
2. thugmoneymkr (United States) $266,693.00
3. BarnyBoatman (United Kingdom) $155,345.60
4. MaltLiquor40 (Canada) $129,045.00
5. razeit (United States) $105,694.00
6. NNICOLAS (Argentina) $82,343.00
7. elementry (United States) $61,450.00
8. sappy123 (United States) $46,702.00
9. Pipestew (United States) $28,267.00

September 25, 2006 1:28 AM

2006 WCOOP: Event #9 Final Table Report

There's an American guy out there somewhere that is proud, but not too proud. That is, he just won a hundred grand, but he doesn't see that as any reason to go shouting his name and hometown from the rooftops. In fact, he sort of has more important things to worry about. The man we know only as uncforte is a full-time student in a Ph.D. program in Neurobiology. That's the sort of thing that will take up a little bit of a guy's time.

Still, he has time to play poker and has been for the past four years, just about the time he signed up to play on PokerStars.

"I think it's by far the best site out there with the best players and the best chance to improve your game," he said.

Four years and a few big wins under his belt, the improvement in his game finally paid off in the form of a World Championship of Online Poker bracelet. Saturday was just turning into Sunday on the American east coast when uncforte and eight other players reached the final table of the Event #9, Pot-Limit Hold'em, final table.

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Seat 1: derkderka (61010 in chips)
Seat 2: InSpiritu (378489 in chips)
Seat 3: Claret1 (166584 in chips)
Seat 4: myteduck (135819 in chips)
Seat 5: EC10 (240909 in chips)
Seat 6: remen (405848 in chips)
Seat 7: trollguttn (314456 in chips)
Seat 8: eirivi (179308 in chips)
Seat 9: uncforte (855077 in chips)

The whole of the final table took just a little more than an hour to finish. Short-stacked eirivi was the first to go, earning $7,938.75 for an ninth place finish after running AK into uncforte's pair of kings. The second elimination came before the rest of the players had time to click the hand history on the previous hand. Remen's AJ caught lucky against Claret1's AQ and sent Claret1 out in eighth place for $12,318.75

Despite the pot-limit variation of the game, the third elimination would come in the same was as the first two: All-in pre-flop. This time, it was myteduck's pocket tens versus InSpiritu's big slick. An ace on the flop sent myteduck out in seventh place. His efforts earned him $16,698.75.

EC10 seemed poised to double up and didn't seem deterred by the all-in pre-flop losses in the first few minutes of the table. He got AK all in against remen's AT. Again, a three-outer booted another player from the table. EC10 was gone in sixth place. He added $21,900.00 to his bankroll for less than 12 hours work.

Just one minute later, the very same match-up went the exact opposite way. Derkderka got all his chips in pre-flop with AT versus trollguttn's AK. This time, there would be no miracle card and derkderka was out in fifth place ($27,375.00).

After an abbreviated discussion about a deal, play resumed and sent trollguttn out in fourth place. His AQ couldn't outrun against uncforte's AK. Fourth place earned trollguttn $32,850.00.

Again, a deal discussion broke out and fell apart just as quickly. With no deal in place, the battle seemed to take on a greater sense of urgency. Remen's doubled up against uncforte with pocket kings to take the chip lead. Then uncforte laid a tough beat on remen. His pocket jacks spiked a two-outer against remen's pocket queens.

Seemingly crippled, Remen refused to back down and managed to double up twice. Not only that, he outlasted InSpiritu, who couldn't make A7 outrun uncforte's pair of jacks. InSpiritu won $43,854.75 for third place.

Heads-up, the players managed to come to terms on a deal. The entire game would end with two huge hands. First, both players made huge hands (a set for uncforte and a straight for Remen), on the river in a pot worth 1,310,752 chips to remen. Then, on the very next hand, with nearly even stacks, the players got all-in on a flop of Qs-4s-2c. Remen held QJ to uncforte's AQ. With that, it was all over and uncforte had his first WCOOP bracelet.

"It obviously was a pretty unbelievable experience," he said. "For me it vindicated how I feel about my poker game and making over 100,000 dollars isn't so bad either."

Still, uncforte isn't losing his mind over winning a hundred dimes. You won't find him holing up in a Las Vegas hotel shooting for a chance to play in the big game. He has other plans for his future.

"Despite any success I may have at the poker table, I have no plans to ever abandon my studies or future aspiration to run a research group at an academic institution," he said.

For a full list of money winners, visit the PokerStars WCOOP Pot-Limit Hold'em results page. Final table results can be found below.

PokerStars WCOOP Event #9 Final Table Results
Results based on two-way deal that left $10,000 for first place

1. uncforte (United States) $105,329.00
2. remen (United States) $80,000.00
3. InSpiritu (Sweden) $43,854.75
4. trollguttn (Norway) $32,850.00
5. derkderka (United States) $27,375.00
6. EC10 (United States) $21,900.00
7. myteduck (United States) $16,698.75
8. Claret1 (United Kingdom) $12,318.75
9. eirivi (Norway) $7,938.75

September 24, 2006 11:24 PM

EPT London: Vicky wins at the Vic

The EPT came to the traditional world of the Victoria Casino in the heart of London, and swept away the usual stuffiness of poker at this staid English poker venue. It felt like a friendly tournament, a tournament where even the stars had a human face. Joe Hachem and Vanessa Rousso watched the final table, the WSOP champion supporting his friend, runner-up Emad Tahtou, while Vanessa sweated every move that boyfriend, Chad Brown made. Vicky's win here feels like some old English fairy tale with a happy ending - with our 'English Rose' princess taking the top prize. Of course I know it's poker, and so there's nothing fairy tale about it all, not really; but humour me a little with this happy whimsy please...

I'm blogging on 'home turf' in London today, so I know how what Vicky's win will mean in London poker circles. Vicky is known by almost everyone who plays poker in the UK, and I suspect she'd call the Vic her poker home. Many UK poker players will smile when they hear the news that she won.

My thoughts of the final table?

-- Three players out before I'd even memorised their names.

-- A table dominated by the 'beautiful people' with celeb's supporting from the sidelines.

-- Emad Tahtou great big stack play, he'll be a dissapointed runner-up.

-- The amazing hand where Jan Sjavik called with pocket threes, the joy when the call was so right, the pain when the hand would still lose.

But most of all I'll be thinking excitedly - the Vic's Vicky won! Vicky Coren somehow seemed to calmly smile her way to success at this EPT final table, and I'm smiling that she did.

You can talk to me about 'First woman EPT winner,' or, 'Cheques for £500,000' but the thing that I'll be thinking is that this EPT win is a Good Thing for EPT poker, it's a popular win for poker players in the UK, for players in my home town, for players in the Vic... As Vicky remarked, with her ever-charming smile, "They've got me on the list for a game already!"

Vicky Coren the winner of the London EPT

September 24, 2006 10:02 PM

2006 WCOOP: Event #8 Final Table Report

Since the no-limit hold'em craze adrenalized the poker world in 2003, there has been a term circulating among the seasoned tournament rounders.


While few will deny that no-limit hold'em is still the Cadillac of poker, many poker players are defining their skill, and even themselves, by how well-rounded their game is. Sure, they say, I can play no-limit hold'em, but if you want to find a truly skilled poker player, find somebody that can play all the games.

This summer, the World Series of Poker hosted the first-ever $50,000 buy-in HORSE tournament, a rotation game of Hold'em, Omaha 8/b, Razz, Seven-Card Stud, and Seven Card Stud Eight-or-Better. There were more than a couple professional poker players who said the monster event should eventually determine the world champion for the year. While that's not likely to happen any time soon, there are few people who will deny that it takes a significant amount of poker skill to advance to the final table of a HORSE tournament.

This year, for the first time ever, PokerStars added HORSE to its World Championship of Online Poker series. Even the numbers people at PokerStars had little idea how popular the event would be. The $200 event drew nearly 1,800 people and built a prize pool of more than $350,000.

After countless rotations through the five games, eight people made the first HORSE final table in WCOOP history.

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Seat 1: p10ker (717431 in chips)
Seat 2: thumbers (662612 in chips)
Seat 3: Siren (564848 in chips)
Seat 4: thag (229132 in chips)
Seat 5: F.Briatore (1154296 in chips)
Seat 6: fat&50 (511216 in chips)
Seat 7: LakersRule (331092 in chips)
Seat 8: TheTownhouse (324373 in chips)

The final table begin with the Hold'em round already in progress and every member of the final table managed to survive the game. However, as the limits went up to 40,000/80,000 in the Omaha hi-lo round, the final table would lose its first player. Down to 114,373 in chips after a rough hand, TheTownhouse was sitting in the small blind and facing a raise from F.Briatore. TheTownhouse typed a cryptic "nvfdkjwnwjkdvnkjsafdnkjvsnf" in the chat bar and put the rest of his chips in the middle. He was called in two places. By the river, TheTownhouse's Qc-Ah-Kh-Qs decent starting hand lay in ruin. P10ker, who had called on a discount frown the big blind, made a full house with his 7h-Th-2c-3c and knocked TheTownhouse out in eighth place. TheTownhouse earned $7,551.60, which is no small sum. As it happens, TheTownhouse is signed up for another WCOOP HORSE event, so we may see some of him next weekend. More on that at the end of this report.

With TheTownhouse gone, the remaining seven players finished off the Omaha hi-lo round. That's when things started to get a little ugly. Even among well-rounded players, Razz is not a game that gets played with any regularity. It's can be safely assumed that the remaining players had less experience in this round than any other. What's more, the limits moved up to 50,000/100,000. For the shorter stacks, playing any hand to the river would likely mean playing for all their chips. That's exactly what happened to Siren.

Short-stacked and starting with 2h3s/8c, Siren came in for a raise and got called by Fat&50 who held 7c8h/3d. Fourth street, a four for Siren and a six for Fat&50, was enough to get all of Siren's chip in the middle. The rest of Siren's cards were ugly, Qs,9h,Jc, and Fat&50 caught a four he needed to make his better (er...worse) hand. Siren departed in seventh place, earning $10,788.00.

Before the Razz part of rotation was over, it would end another player's tournament. LakersRule, who had lost most of his stack during Razz, finally decided 9s8c/6c was good enough to start making his move. He was all-in by fourth street and the situation as dire as it looked. By the end, he had a ten-high low, to P10ker's nine-high low. LakersRule was out in sixth place, earning $14,384.00.

With three of the five games under their belt, the final table players would only play one more game before the tournament was over. With the limits at 75,000/150,000, the seven-card stud game would eventually kill off all but one of the final table.

The first would be thag, a player with a stack that had been destroyed in recent hands. With fewer than 70,000 chips, thag was only able to post his ante and call one bet with Th3s/3d. By the river, he would have two pair, but it wouldn't be enough to best Fat&50's Broadway straight. Thag was out in fifth place and took home $18,339.60.

P10ker had been the man to beat since the final table began. It seemed no one could best him. However, with the limits as high as they were, any pot played past fifth street was going to be a monster. P10ker's first major loss was losing a pot worth 1,026,128 with an unimproved pair of sevens to F.Briatore's two-pair. But, just a few minutes later, P10ker stormed back when his pair of tens improved to a set on fifth street and was good for 1.6 million chips. Then, just a few hands later, he started with a pair of aces. Unimproved, it was enough to knock out thumbers, who started with QhAd/Jd and couldn't manage to improve. Thumbers earned $22,654.80 for her fourth place finish.

With three players remaining, P10ker decided he didn't feel like discussing a deal. However, after starting with an ace showing, he ended up losing a massive 2,017,500 chip pot to F.Briatore who made queens full of sixes by sixth street. P10ker's luck would not get any better. To wit: after getting Fat&50 all in on before fourth street, P10ker saw Fat&50's Kc9d/7d turn into nines full of threes. The hand crippled P10ker and he exited a few hands later in third place, earning $30,566.00.

With P10ker gone, F.Briatore suggested that he and Fat&50 chop up the prize pool. Fat&50, who incidentally made a final table in the 2005 WCOOP, didn't respond. Instead, he came in for a raise with 4sJs/3s and F.Briatore called with Qh7c/Kh. On fifth street, F.Briatore had made Qh7c/Kh2dKs. Fat&50 held a simple 4sJs/3s4dTh. Somehow, the hand developed into a series of bets, raises, and re-raises that put Fat&50 all-in. By the river, both players had two pair, but F.Briatore's kings-up was good enough to win the first HORSE event in WCOOP history. Fat&50 won $46,748.00 and F.Briatore raked in $79,112.00.

While Event #8 will certainly be the largest HORSE event this year in terms of the number of participants, there could be an event with a bigger prize pool. Next weekend, PokerStars will host Event #16, a massive $5,000 buy-in HORSE event, hosted by world class player and Team PokerStars member, Barry Greenstein.

For a full list of money winners in Event #8, visit the WCOOP HORSE results page. Final table results are below.
PokerStars WCOOP Event #8 Final Table Results

1. F.Briatore (Germany) $79,112.00
2. fat&50 (United States) $46,748.00
3. p10ker (United Kingdom) $30,566.00
4. thumbers (United States) $22,654.80
5. thag (United Kingdom) $18,339.60
6. LakersRule (United States) $14,384.00
7. Siren (United States) $10,788.00
8. TheTownhouse (United States) $7,551.60

September 24, 2006 6:32 PM

EPT London: Final Table - Live Updates

10.57pm -- Vicky Coren has won the London EPT, just a short heads up game with Emad Tahtou. Just 2 hands played...

It all happened very quickly, but both players saw a flop of 5, 3, 4. Emad moved all-in and Vicki called instantly. Emad showed 8 8, and Vicky had 6-7 for the flopped straight.

Vicky Coren is the winner of EPT London, she looked stunned as this was announced to the crowd, and she was handed a cheque for £500,000.

10. 50pm -- Vicky has 2.2million chips, Emad 1.7 million.

10.40pm -- Woohoo! What a hand... Jan Sjavic raises to 60,000, Vicky Coren re-raises to 250,000. Jan thinks for a moment, then he calls. On the flop of 9 10 10 Vicky is first to act - she goes all-in. Jan has a long think. Jan has a longer think. He shifts uncomfortably in his chair, the chips are counted, he thinks a LOT more... He doesn't look happy. Vicky just sits as still as a statue.

Vicky has just slightly more chips than Jan - if he calls it's for his tournament life.

9 10 10 on the flop, Vicky all-in, Jan to act. What will he do? The people around me start to debate what Jan may have, what Vicky may have... "He'll fold for sure," someone tells me. Vicky calls the clock on Jan. He sits, and sits, and thinks... It's been at least 5 minutes now. Thomas Kremser starts to count down, as Jan still doesn't move... "10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5 , 4..."

With 3 seconds left to act, Jan declares, "call."

The crowd press forward to see the cards, to see if their guesses were right. What did you guess?

Vicky has Ace Jack. Jan has pocket threes.

The turn is dealt - it's a Jack. The river I didn't see. The Jack put Jan out of this tournament, despite his great call. Vicky Coren looked shaken as both players stand up. Someone doubted she'd won the hand, her face looked like that of the loser.

As I headed away from the final table, I heard Emad boast, "I folded 9 10!"

Two players left. Vicky and Emad, they're about even on chips.

10.02pm -- Vicky Coren declares, "All-in." Michael Muldoon on the big blind calls. Vicky has him covered. Vicky shows Ace Ten of hearts, Michael has pocket sevens. The flop is Ad 8d 5c. So Vicky likes that ace... The turn's a Qd. Michael has a diamond in his hand - and more hope... The river the Ace of Clubsc. Michael is out in 4th place. His prize £110,000.

10.54pm -- Jan raises, Vicky re-raises all-in. Jan asks for a chip count, but it's too much for him, he folds. Vicky leans over, "Good pass," she tells him. But she would, wouldn't she?

9.48pm -- More news from the Vic stairs.... "172" a fellow poker reporter said to me. I wondered if it he was talking about somebody's chipcount?

"172 steps," he said. "I've counted them."

It's a long, long, up and down journey to bring you news from the London EPT. And this post is proof, if any were needed, that poker reporters have many skills - it's not just chips we count.

8.45pm -- The 4 players remaining are now on an hour long dinner break. I'll be back with more updates when they come back. Remaining places payout like this:

1st £500,000
2nd £285,900
3rd £168,600
4th £110,000

8.39pm -- Vicky's short of chips now, I just heard she lost a big hand without even showing cards. She bet out 60,000 from under the gun. Jan Sjavic re-raised another 100,000. Vicky over the top for another 200,000. Sjavic goes all-in...After some thought Vicky folded. Must have been a big hand for Sjavic.

Chipcounts now:

Emad Tahtouh 1,600,000
Jan Sjovik 1,200,000
Michael Muldoon 450,000
Vicky Coren 350,000

Emad Tahtouh, our chipleader

8.35pm -- Chad Brown is out. Jan raises to 70,000, Chad goes all-in. Jan calls with 99, Chad has Q 8 and is hoping for a Queen... No help for Chad and he leaves to be comforted by his Team PokerStars girlfriend... Vanessa was supposed to be playing PokerStars Tournament Leader Board match tonight, but asked Victor Ramdin to play in her place so she could watch Chad's EPT game. Now he's out early perhaps she can go home and play?

8.15pm -- On the way to the casino floor, in the back corriders of the Vic, I saw a man with a bucket and a sponge wiping the marker pen writing off a gigantic yellow cheque. I wondered whether he was up to no good? I thought he might wipe clean the big yellow cheque, then write his own name on the blank cheque, and pay it in to his bank. Perhaps I should have alerted casino security staff? I decided it would have been easy to catch him if he was heading down the Edgeware road to Barclays bank, with the big yellow cheque under his arm...

8.10pm -- Jules Kuusik has just been knocked out in 6th place, winning £44,000. Mike Muldoon held A J versus Jules's A 5. A jack on the flop was not what he wanted to see, another jack wasn't going to improve his spirits any. Handshakes all round, before the meaningless river was dealt. 5 players now.

8.00pm -- Chips now:

Chad Brown 600,000
Emad Tahtou 1,400,000
Michael Muldoon 750,000
Jan Sjavic 400,000
Jules Kuusik 350,000
Vicky Coren 700,000

7.45pm -- Vicky wins a nice pot. On a flop of 2h 10h Jh vicky bets 60,000. Chad raises another 120,000 Vicky calls. They both check the 9d on the turn. When the 3s appears on the river Vicky bets 100,000. Chad folds.

7.30pm -- Chipcounts as play resumes after the short break:

Emad Tahtouh 1,100,100
Chad Brown 929,000
Vicki Coren 662,000
Michael Muldoon 636,000
Jan Sjavic 435,000
Jules Kuusik 309,000

7.26pm -- The players are on a 5 minute break. Chad spends most of it passionately kissing girlfriend Vanessa Rousso. I did have my camera, but sadly UK Gaming Law forbids me taking any pictures on the gaming floor. Oh, and of course I respect their privacy..!

Emad walks past, "I wish I had a rail like that."

Team PokerStars Vanessa Rousso - the prettiest railbird in town?

7.01pm -- Jules Kuusik moves all-in with A K. Chad Brown in the blind calls with A 9. A dramatic few cards for Jules... The flop is A 9 T... Jules looks like he's out. The turn is an 8... The river a King! Jules survives, and doubles up. Rumours abound that the dealer worked in a fairground. Aparently he used to operate the rollercoaster.

6.59pm -- Emad and Vicky in a big hand, the betting on the turn. The board is Q Q 9 10... Vicky bets, Emad re-raises all-in. Lots of table chat as Vicky thinks, smiling and running through every possible hand that Emad might have... She finally folds. She pouts crossly when Emad doesn't show.

6.55pm -- In the press room we have a live feed of the TV table, but there's no sound. It's not the easiest way to follow a poker tournament - yet it's a long, long, journey through the casino to get to the final table. So we're all doing our best to keep on top of things... Someone asks, "So who has the chiplead?" Three poker reporters answer at once. "Vicky", "Chad Brown", "Muldoon!" Make of that what you will.

6.49pm -- Overheard on the stairs... Sid Harris walking with the TV crew: "You'll always find me on the final table. I just don't stay there very long."

6.44pm -- We've lost another one! Peter Hedlund goes all-in, he's called by Michael Muldoon who shows AK. Peter shakes his head and shows KQ. The flop 7h 4h 8s, the turn Js, the river 4h. Peter is out, and our 7th place finisher wins £36,600

6.33pm -- Sid re-raises Vicky. After just a moment she calls. Sid holds 99 Vicky JJ. K 4 8 K J on the board. Sid Harris out in 8th place for £29,300.

6.26pm -- Play is underway, Joe Hachem is calling the hands at this televised table. I'll add updates here when anything of interest happens.

September 24, 2006 5:47 PM

EPT London: Our Final Table

Mad Harper has been busy researching our final table players, here's plenty of information to help you pick who you want to win. Go on, pick a name even if you don't know any of them! It'll make following the coverage more fun... I usually root for the player with the silliest name. Ok, that's just a 'me' thing...

And today I'm a serious and imparial tournament reporter. I'll bring you live updates as soon as play resumes. Shame Schweinebarth went out, isn't it?

Seat 1: Chad Brown from Los Angeles, USA - 759,000 chips
Actor and TV presenter Chad is well-known in the US for his hosting of the Ultimate Poker Challenge television series. A prolific tournament player, Chad arrived in London alongside girlfriend, Team PokerStars' Vanessa Rousso. Originally from New York, Chad grew up in the Bronx and learned poker playing in the neighbourhood cafes. Chad has cashed at several WSOP events including 3rd in the 2002 $1,500 Omaha hi-lo split event, 2nd in the 2004 $1,500 7-card stud event and 2nd in the 2005 $2,000 seven-card stud hi-lo event. Brown made back-to-back final tables at last year's WSOP circuit events, including a third place finish behind Chris "Jesus" Ferguson and Prahlad Friedman.

Seat 2: Emad Tahtouh. 25 from Melbourne, Australia - 680,000 chips
In 2005, Emad qualified for the WSOP and talked his best friend Joe Hachem into coming with him. Some three weeks later, Joe was World Champion and $7.5 million richer. But Emad's recent performances show he is no mere poker sidekick. He won $70,000 at this year's WSOP after coming 7th in the $5,000 Pot Limit event and in the last two weeks has come second in two events at the Victorian Poker Championships in Melbourne - with combined winnings of over $40,000. Emad has been playing poker for years but went pro some four years ago, playing mainly in small live tournaments at his local Crown Casino in Melbourne. He is now a regular in the high limit cash games on PokerStars.

Joe Hachem with his friend Emad Tahtou

Seat 3: Sid "El Sid" Harris, 61 from Hove, Sussex, UK - 270,000
Sid describes himself as a "gifted poker amateur" but his day job is writing. He is the author of several books on food and horse-racing including the "Anti Atkins Diet". Sid has had a run of success in the last few months including a £14,400 win at the South of England Poker Championship in Southampton three months ago and two £10,000 wins in Luton and Brighton in the last six weeks.

Seat 4: Michael Muldoon, 25 from Belfast, Northern Ireland - 570,000 chips
Civil servant Michael has been playing poker for eight years - mainly in home games and at local casinos. In the 2004 UK Open at the Vic, he "bluffed all his chips off in seven minutes". Making the final table this year is by far his biggest success so far. Michael is being cheered on by three friends from Northern Ireland, including two other EPT players - Joe Rafferty (who went out in 24th place) and Brendan Walls.

Seat 5: Jan Sjavic, 42 from Oslo - 460,000
Jan started his poker life playing in underground cardrooms in Oslo and is now one of the most respected poker players in the country. He won the European Championship at the Victoria Casino in 2001 and is a major force in high-stakes limit games in Vegas. Jan has been a professional player for seven years, and also now runs his own poker site.

Seat 6: Peter Hedlund, 38, from Stockholm - 380,000
Peter was one of the very first players to join the EPT circuit - winning € 1,100 for 25th place at the first event in Barcelona in 2004. He also won € 19,000 in a side event at last week's Barcelona event and has made the money three years in a row at the WSOP - with his 99th place last year netting him $77,000. Peter, a popular character in Stockholm cardrooms, is well-known for his excitable behaviour at the table. Journalist Ola Brandborn said: "He talks non-stop. I was playing with him once and offered him $50 to shut up for an hour, but he just laughed and threw the money back at me, saying he knew he wouldn't be able to keep quiet for that long!"

Seat 7: Jules Kuusik, 36 from Stockholm - 240,000 chips
Jules turned pro some three years ago and plays mainly online, coming 3rd in the Swedish internet championship in 2004. This is one of his first appearances at a large live tournament although he only narrowly missed the money at this year's WSOP. Last week, he came to EPT3 Barcelona and made it through to Day 2. Before taking up poker, Jules ran a chain of recruitment agencies.

Seat 8: Vicky Coren from London - 600,000
Londoner Victoria Coren is a well-known television presenter, newspaper columnist and author. Among her many media commitments, she presents TV poker shows and writes a weekly poker column for the Guardian. Vicky is known to supplement her income with regular visits to the cash games here at the Victoria casino. She has impressed onlookers and rivals with her sophisticated play at this EPT event- 'she's a charming person, with a few tricks up her sleeve', says Norwegian pro Allan Dyrstad. Victoria has cashed in several major tournaments here at 'The Vic' and was the winner of the 2004 Celebrity Poker Challenge.

Vicky Coren

September 24, 2006 5:07 PM

EPT London: We have our final 8!

Oscar Schweinebarth is out. Oscar moves all-in pre-flop with pocket fives, and is called by Emad with KQ. A queen on the river puts Oscar out, and he takes home £10,000. The TV table are setting up, play will resume soon.

Our final table players and their approximate chips:

Chad Brown 759,000
Emad Tahtouh 680,000
Vicki Coren 600,000
Michael Muldoon 570,000
Jan Sjavik 460,000
Peter Hedlund 380,000
Sid Harris 270,000
Jules Kusik 240,000

September 24, 2006 4:51 PM

EPT London: Abecassis out

Vicky Coren moves all-in with AK, and Michael Abecassis finds KK. An Ace is the second card dealt, and Abecassis is out. Vicky now on 600,000. Then there were 9...

Emad Tahtou has just been cursing his misfortune whilst Joe Hachem nods sympathetically, Joe's been watching his friend on the rail since the start of play. Emad held 66 on a flop of Ad 5d 6c. Jan Sjavik re-raised and Emad was happy to see his opponent all in with 8d 10d - just a diamond flush draw against his set. He was not happy to see the diamond on the river..!

Emad feeling down after losing a big pot.Joe Hachem and Katja Thater are sympathetic.

September 24, 2006 4:20 PM

EPT London: Down to 10

Ashley Hayles goes out in 11th place. He lost most of his stack to Emad Tahtou on an 8 high flop. Emad held A 8 and Ashley 44. Emad celebrated his double up with a high-five to his buddy Joe Hachem.

A little while later, Ashley, super-shortstacked moves all in with 9 6. Oscar Schweinebarch calls with A 10. No freindly cards for Ashley, so Hayles out in 11th place for £10,000

Peter Hedlund just found a good hand at the right time, the shortstacked player doubling up with KK when Michel Abecassis raised with Ace-ten.

We're now playing on one table, down to 10. Looking for our televised final table of 8. Emad Tahtou is chipleader at present...

September 24, 2006 3:09 PM

EPT London: Final Day (no toast)

They'd hoped to play to a final table of 8 yesterday, but didn't manage this. 12 players return, 4 won't make the final, 7 won't win. Just checking my maths, hope those figure are right? It's not really very complicated. All these players want to win, and there's £500,000 for the player who does. Play's just got underway... Jonas Molander is out early. Michael Muldoon winning his chips. Jonas went all-in pre-flop and was called by Muldoon. Jonas had Q 6, Muldoon pocket nines. Nothing to help the young Swede, he goes out in 12th place for £10,000.

There are crowds around the two remaining tables, making it hard to follow the action and bring you chipcounts, but I'll do my best. It looks like Peter Hedlund is now very shortstacked.

The 2 remaining tables of the London EPT

September 24, 2006 2:47 PM

EPT London: Final Day thoughts about toast and Cheerios...

You know something is wrong when you're lying in bed with your boyfriend thinking about other men. I was wishing I could meet someone new, then I started wondering about finding happy endings... I was thinking about Chad Brown, the EPT London chipleader. I wished I'd managed to meet him to chat about this tournament, I was wondering whether he'd have a happy ending at the final table today and win?

So don't worry. My boyfriend and I are just fine. We're still in the 'madly in love' stage so if I'd met Chad Brown I'd have tried to tell Chad all about him. And if we did talk boyfriends/girlfriends I'd be doing my job as a serious poker journalist, as he might tell me all about his girlfriend, Team PokerStars' Vanessa Rousso.

Hand stories are good too. I've been dreaming the play of hands, and chip counts, and thinking 'Why did he play it that way?' as I make my breakfast toast. I decided I was going too far when I found myself opening a box of Coco Pops to colour up the Cheerios... As you can see, poker is on my mind right now, and luckily my boyfriend is tolerant of this.

Anyone who cares anything about poker must see the final table shape up today and wish they were there. I like this feeling, I like feeling the same as the players I'm writing about. Do you think maybe Chad Brown, and Vicky Coren, and Jonas Molander, and all the rest are shaping their breakfast cereals into chip stacks this morning too? And if I can't be there to win the London EPT, then watching it, and sweating every hand from close to the table, will just have to do. Or else I can win the London EPT in my head, with a key hand when I re-raise 100,000 cornflakes and my opponent folds and then says, "Jo, will you stop daydreaming..!"

So I'll give my boyfriend a kiss, and then head to work, and feel lucky that work means poker, and daydreaming, and talking to people like Chad Brown. I wonder if Vanessa Rousso feels this way this morning too?

The oatflakes are worth 100...

September 24, 2006 11:03 AM

2006 WCOOP: Event #8 Results

For the first time in PokerStars WCOOP history, players were able to sit down for a mixed game. Event #8, $200 HORSE, drew almost 1,800 people and paid out more than $350,000. In an event that lasted more than 13 hours, F.Briatore walked away with a piece of history, the first-ever WCOOP HORSE bracelet. For a full list of money winners, visit the WCOOP HORSE results page. Final table results are below. A full final table report will be out later on Sunday.

PokerStars WCOOP Event #8 Final Table Results

1. F.Briatore (Germany) $79,112.00
2. fat&50 (United States) $46,748.00
3. p10ker (United Kingdom) $30,566.00
4. thumbers (United States) $22,654.80
5. thag (United Kingdom) $18,339.60
6. LakersRule (United States) $14,384.00
7. Siren (United States) $10,788.00
8. TheTownhouse (United States) $7,551.60

September 24, 2006 8:56 AM

2006 WCOOP: Event #9 Results

It's a different poker world in pot-limit land, but that didn't stop nearly 1,100 people from signing up to play in the $500 Pot-Limit Hold'em WCOOP event. After a battle that lasted eleven hours, a man from the United States, uncforte, discovered pot-limit hold'em just might be his forte. He won more than $100,000 and a WCOOP bracelet. For a full list of money winners, visit the PokerStars WCOOP Pot-Limit Hold'em results page. Final table results can be found below. A full final table report will be out later on Sunday.

PokerStars WCOOP Event #9 Final Table Results
Results based on two-way deal that left $10,000 for first place

1. uncforte (United States) $105,329.00
2. remen (United States) $80,000.00
3. InSpiritu (Sweden) $43,854.75
4. trollguttn (Norway) $32,850.00
5. derkderka (United States) $27,375.00
6. EC10 (United States) $21,900.00
7. myteduck (United States) $16,698.75
8. Claret1 (United Kingdom) $12,318.75
9. eirivi (Norway) $7,938.75

September 24, 2006 3:02 AM

EPT London: 12 players left at the end of day 2 (or 3?)

Tournament officials have decided to end the night's play. 12 players will return tomorrow at 3pm, all hoping to reach the final table. Players returning on Sunday and chip counts at end of play today are as follows:

Chad Brown 611,000
Peter Hedlund 523,500
Emad Tahtouh 504,000
Michael Muldoon 422,000
Ashley Hayles 324,000
Jules Kusik 196,500
Jan Sjavik 294,500
Michael Abecassis 277,500
Vicky Coren 222,500
Jonus Molander 222,000
Sid Harris 213,000
Oscar Schweinebarth 173,000

I'm still not sure if day 1A + day 1B= day 2 or day 3? Or maybe it's Day 3 for players who started on Thursday's day 1A, but Day 2 for players who started on Fridays's day 1B? And now it's 3am and it's Sunday not Saturday - isn't Sunday supposed to be day 4? All this is very confusing, but I know there's one thing I can call tomorrow and that's the final day. That means a final table... And I do know final table = exciting. Join us tomorrow at 3pm GMT for all the action!

September 24, 2006 2:43 AM

EPT London: Neal Channing loses it...

I heard Neal Channing had 370,000 chips, and now I hear he's out... He lost it in 3 hands, I missed the details of the first, but in the second key hand for Neal I hear in a hand he raised, Emad re-raised all-in for his 90,000 chips. Neal calls with K J, but Emad has A J. Nothing to save Neal. I'm sure that he was as unflustered as usual by this hit to his stack.

On the very next hand Neil goes all-in with pocket Tens. Michael Muldoon calls with pocket Sevens. Muldoon hits a straight and Neil is unlucky to be out 13th place, he takes home £10,000.

Others losing it lately:

13th Neil Channing £10,000
14th Tim Flanders £10,000
15th Tom Parker-Bowles £10,000
16th Isabelle Mercier £10,000
17th Alan Glover £6,000
18th David Finney £6,000

Neal Channing unflustered as he goes out in 13th place

September 24, 2006 2:12 AM

EPT London: Isabelle and Tom and Tim out

Team PokerStars Isabelle Mercier was shortstacked and just went all-in with A7, she was called by a player with QQ. She kissed nearly everyone at the table before she left, to smoke nearby with friends. She was obviously disappointed and not very talkative, her only comment to me, "I was unlucky." Then she shrugged and went back to her contemplative cigarette.

Tom Parker-Bowles went out in a rather comical way. He learned that the casino bar closed at 2am, but quite fancied a beer... He joked to Neal Channing about this. "Well how about if we go to an off-licence?"

Neal pointed out that these would be closed too.

"Well I know where I can get a drink - at home..."

A little later he went all-in. Perhaps he wasn't expecting so much action when he did? Neal Channing called, as did Tim Flanders. Cards turned over and it's K J for Tom, A J for Neal, and Tim Flanders turned over QQ.

Neal looked unflustered... But an ace on the flop meant Neal won a huge pot. Tom can go home and get that beer now...

13 players left.

Neal Channing unflustered as an ace hits

September 24, 2006 1:50 AM

EPT London: Tournament reporting logistics

It's hard to count mountains of chips, hundreds of chips, stacked erratically, of different denominations. It's much easier to see how many with the shorter stacked players, although in some ways there's less point... Tom Parker-Bowles asked me rather desperately in a pre-bubble break, "Who are the shortstacks?" Now the answer is, "You!"

There are 16 players remaining. Chad Brown still has a multi-coloured mountain, and Tom Parker-Bowles a tiny pile that means it's all-in or nothing. The TV people need to count chips, so accurate chipcounts from the feature table have been provided for us press guys. A mixture of careful counts and guesstimates listed here, but as best I can tell remaining players have the following chips:

Vicky Coren 287,000
Jules Kusick 132,000
Jan Sjavic 323,000
Isabelle Mercier 64,100
Peter Hedlund 560,000
Jonas Molander 280,000
Chad Brown 755,000
Ashley Hayles 265,000
Tom Parker-Bowles 81,000
Tim Flanders 168,000
Michael Muldoon 136,000
Neil Channing 160,000
Emad Tahtouh 185,000

Another trick I've discovered to bring you information... If you can't find it by any conventional means, steal it... An official's clipboard left lying around revealed the following facts about the order of exit so far:

18th A.Glover
19th DC Finney
20th Torben Sneijberg
21st Mike Ellis
22nd Shannon Shorr
23rd Barny Boatman
24th Acon Hubermand
25th Joe Rafferty
26th Frank Bastow
27th Erich Kollman
28th Jeffrey Rogers
29th George McKeever
30th Samir Shakhtoor
31st Lalit Khajuria
32nd Tomasa Feminella

September 24, 2006 1:05 AM

EPT London: Failure to connect...

Sorry about the lack of updates, connection problems at the Vic. You haven't missed very much, it seems there's also a connection problem between the cards being dealt and the 'all-in' reflex of the players downstairs in the cardroom... It's become a case of raise and all fold. Peter Hedlund, Chad Brown and Emad Tahtou have mountains of chips. Jonas Molander has a hill of chips. Isabelle Mercier and Vicki Coren mole-hills...

At the feature table Isabelle just went all-in, everyone folds. The big blind shows 9 3os and there's a small round of applause from everyone at the table. The crowd follow suit and cheer too...

September 24, 2006 12:02 AM

EPT London: 20 left...

There's lots going on at the three remaining tables of this London EPT event. 20 players remain now. 'Name' players we've lost recently are Allain Huberman, Barny Boatman, and Joe Rafferty...

Joe Rafferty sat on a chair looking miserable, and writing a text, no doubt that was miserable too. He said, "I hung in there. No aces. No kings. No queens. No luck..."

Neal Channing just doubled up, going all in for 83,600 he's called by Shannon Shorr in the big blind, and in a stripy jumper...

Neal looks unflustered as he turns over A 10. Shannon 'Stripy Jumper' Shorr looks nervous as he turns over A K. Two tens on the board and a lucky Neal Channing rakes in a big pot, as he stacks it he still looks unflustered.

A couple of hands later Shannon pushes all-in for his remaining 67,000. Chipleader Chad Brown thinks for just a little while, then declares, "Call." He has 8 8, Shannon has A K - yet again.

Chad hits an 8 on the flop, and Shannon's out, probably to kick anything he can find beginning with the letters A and K. Apples, aardvarks, androids, kites, kats..? Or maybe not, perhaps he'll be as unflustered as Neal Channing..?

Neal Channing unflustered as a 10 hits

September 23, 2006 11:10 PM

EPT London: In the money

Donnacha O'Dea is out on the bubble, moving in for around 30,000 with 99. Erich Kollman called with KK and Donnacha departs in 33rd place, just outside the money.

The chiplead is close between Chad Brown and Ashley Hayles. Chad is an actor, poker player and commentator, from LA. His tournament record includes money finishes in several WSOP events, back to back final tables at 2005 World Series of Poker circuit events, and a 6th place finish in the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Stars Tournament.

Players who'll be paid, and their chips:

Chad Brown 460,000
Ashley Hayles 450,000
James Molander 280,000
Vicky Coren 130,000
Isabelle Mercier 80,000
Emad Tahtou 190,000
Neal Channing 110,000
Joe Rafferty 27,000
Alon Kumerman 47,000
Barney Boatman 120,000

A reminder of the payouts:

1 £500,000
2 £285,900
3 £168,600
4 £110,000
5 £58,600
6 £44,000
7 £36,600
8 £29,300
9-16 £10,000
17-24 £6,000
25-32 £4,000

Chipleader Chad Brown

September 23, 2006 10:27 PM

EPT London: Boatman and Black are beat

Ross Boatman is out, on only 20,000 chips Ross moves all-in, running into the big blind's Kings.

Andy Black is also out, getting his chips in the middle with 6 7 on an A 7 J flop.

Peter Hedlund doesn't fold his A 8. No good karma for Black, looks like he's wearing his pyjamas today, maybe he wanted an early night?

It's nearly the bubble...

September 23, 2006 10:14 PM

EPT London: TV Table Drama

Jonas Molander raises to 12,000, Vicky Coren re-raises all-in for 74,800. Jonas calls. Jones is feeling happy with Aces, Vicky is a damsel in distress with pocket eights. An eight on the flop and Vicky is saved. Jonas takes his bad beat well.

Vicky and Jonas on the TV table

September 23, 2006 9:53 PM

2006 WCOOP: Event #7 Final Table Report

Jeff Johanson had been to college, but it wasn't really his thing. He'd worked some technical support jobs after that, but, really, that wasn't his thing either. Three days ago, the 23-year-old Edmonton, Canada resident, decided to deposit some money at PokerStars.

"Primarily to play tournaments and satellites for WCOOP events," he said.

It looks like the young Canadian may have found his thing.

Jeff "yaaaflow" Johanson

Less than three days after making his first deposit at PokerStars, Jeff "yaaaflow" Johanson is a member of an elite community of people who hold PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker bracelets.

After battling through more than 1,800 other players, Johanson began the Event #7 final table in fourth chip position.

Click image for full version

Seat 1: tow75 (820301 in chips)
Seat 2: UH Big Tex (767397 in chips)
Seat 3: Frejdig (336829 in chips)
Seat 4: dalzini (466104 in chips)
Seat 5: MADEin (611840 in chips)
Seat 6: wheelz21 (506815 in chips)
Seat 7: yaaaflow (604130 in chips)
Seat 8: in_da_riva (330368 in chips)
Seat 9: MikeMcD (236216 in chips)

The limit nature of the event didn't allow for a shove'em-in-and-hope final table. Still, as the blinds increased, there was an ever-heightening sense of urgency that eventually left players--either by suck-out or hopeless hope in their big cards--with an opportunity to get all their chips in the middle before the flop. MikeMcD was the first to go. Starting with a pair of sixes, he was all-in pre-flop against wheelz21's AT. A ten on the flop left MikeMcD with precious few outs, neither of which came. He left in ninth place, earning $4,492.80.

Twenty-five minutes later, Frejdig found a pair of tens in front of him. With fewer than 150,000 chips in front of him, he decided he was ready to roll. Despite the king on the flop, he helped cap the betting. As it turned out, he was capping the bets with a miniscule chance of winning. His opponent, tow75, held KQ, enough to win the pot and bounce Frejdig in eighth place, a night's work worth $7,413.12.

Perhaps the no-limit nature of the current poker society is rubbing off on limit events more than we realize. The third elimination of the final table began with a raise and re-raise before a flop of 6d-4d-5h. That flop brought a series of raises and re-raises that ended up with a capped pot and in_da_riva all-in. By the river, the board was ten-high. As it turned out, in_da_riva's AJ was no good to UH Big Tex's...AQ. In_da_riva was out in seventh place for $9,360.00.

With six players remaining, half of them were Canadian. As Jeff "yaaaflow" Johanson put it, his native Edmonton "has gone poker crazy as much or more than most places." This night, the Canadians were doing well. Unfortunately for the folks from the land of the maple leaf, they would lose a player very soon. After flopping top pair with a king kicker on a nine-high flop, wheelz21 got all his money in. At the time, he likely didn't realize how bad a shape he was in. His opponent, UH Big Tex, held pocket kings and the best hand held up. Wheelz21 pocketed $12,916.80 for his sixth place finish.

Over the next little while, tow75's stack dwindled to such a dangerous level that he ended up getting his stack in the middle with QJ. The fates were not with him. UH Big Tex held KJ. Already a favorite, UH Big Tex made a flush on the turn to lock tow75 out of the pot and send him out in fifth place for $16,660.80.

With the next money jump out of the way, it was just a matter of seconds before he event found its fourth place finisher. MADEin got all his chips in the middle with a pair of fours against yaaaflow's AJ. Yaaflow ended up making a pair of aces and sending MADEin out in fourth place, good for $20,030.40

Three-handed, the players decided to gamble a little bit less and cut a deal based on chip-count that left $10,000 and the WCOOP bracelet for the winner. With the money chopped up, the shortest stack at the table, dalzini, fought for a good long while before succumbing in third place when his A7 couldn't outrun UH Big Tex's J2. After the chop, dalzini earned $30,608.00.

Finally, the game was heads-up. That would not mean, however, that it would end soon. In one of the longest heads-up battles so far in the 2006 WCOOP, yaaaflow and UH Big Tex battled for 40 full minutes before yaaaflow finally captured the title. For second place, UH Big Tex won $46,378.00.

Finally, just a few days after putting money into PokerStars for the first time, yaaaflow was more than $60,000 richer and had a WCOOP bracelet to his name.

"It was a phenomenal feeling," he said. "The atmosphere, including the radio show, was great and absolutely promoted fun at the table. I felt incredibly lucky to do as well as I did, and very, very proud of the eventual finish."

For a complete look at the money winners, check out the PokerStars WCOOP Limit Hold'em Results page. Final table results can be found below.

PokerStars WCOOP Event #7 Results
Results based on three-way deal that left $10,000 for first place

1. yaaaflow (Canada) $60,419.00
2. UH Big Tex (United States) $46,378.00
3. dalzini (United Kingdom) $30,608.00
4. MADEin (Canada) $20,030.40
5. tow75 (Denmark) $16,660.80
6. wheelz21 (Canada) $12,916.80
7. in_da_riva (United States) $9,360.00
8. Frejdig (Denmark) $7,413.12
9. MikeMcD (Sweden) $4,492.80

September 23, 2006 9:37 PM

EPT London: Back to my home game?

Dean Saunders, winner of the Tooting home game March 23rd 2005, is now out. Dean had 120,000 chips and pocket Kings. He ran into Aces held by our new chipleader Ashley Hayles. Dean said, "I'm gutted." But no more tiny Tooting games for him, he tells me he has a sponsor and will play the rest of this EPT season.

I gathered a few chipcounts in the break.

Ashley Hayles 460,900
Isabelle Mercier 49,000
George McKeever 22,000
Donnacha O'Dea 45,000
Ross Boatman 36,000
Joe Rafferty 39,500
Chad Brown 300,000
Andy Black 83,000
Shannon Shorr 68,000
Michel Abecassis 41,000
Neil Channing 96,000
Barny Boatman 146,000
Vicky Coren 50,300
Jonas Molander 284,000
Emad Tahtou 255,000

42 players left playing on 6 tables. Average chips are 94,800. Blinds are 2000/4000 with a 400 ante.

Just heard Isabelle went all in with JJ, was called by a player with AQ. A queen on the flop, but a jack on the river saved Isabelle. She's now up to around 100,000...

Dean Saunders, former Tooting home game regular, soon to be an EPT superstar?

Isabelle Mercier, now sponsored by Burberry?

September 23, 2006 9:01 PM

EPT London: Mobster vs Mobster

We missed the exact details of this hand, but the Hendon Mob's Ram Vaswami is out. Fellow Hendon Mobster Barny Boatman went all-in preflop, Ram thought long and hard and called all-in. Barny held JJ, and put Ram out. Barny's now on 135,000 chips.

Ram Vaswami

September 23, 2006 8:35 PM

EPT London: Lodden loses out

PokerStars have a new tournament reporter in London poker legend Pedro. I asked him for his thoughts on the EPT. "What's the EPT?" he said, scratching his head.

I explained, he looked dismissive. "It's a young man's game. I don't play tournaments any more," he said. He then proceeded to tell me how much his house was worth, and his recent poor health, and how he was 5th in a tournament in 1999...

Pedro decided to show an interest in this young man's game and sat for a while watching the TV table. He brought us the news of a very young man of poker, going out of this tournament.

Johnny Lodden was the day 1A chipleader but hasn't made much progress since. Down to 23,000 chips he went all in preflop with Kc 8d, only to be called by Damien Lemercier with JJ.

Lodden would have hoped to hit a flush, on a board of 3c 7c 9s 8c... but the last card was a diamond. So Lodden goes out, rumour's that Pedro tried to sell him a pocket fan as he walked from the table will not be doubted by any Londoner who knows a bit about our new reporter...

PokerStars poker reporter Pedro

September 23, 2006 8:03 PM

EPT London: More chips, no fish...

Player's seem a little cautious after the break, not much to report from the last half hour of play. 32 players will be paid, 54 remain.

Latest chips:

Chad Brown 290,000
Peter Hedlund 360,000
Jonas Molander 170,000
Isabelle Mercier 50,000
Vicky Coren 75,000
Ram Vaswami 80,000
Ross Boatman 35,000
Andy Black 90,000
Joe Rafferty 47,000

I asked Neil Channing how many chips he had. "Not enough," he grumbled, before conceding, "forty five thousand-ish."

Neil Channing 45,000-ish

The televised table

September 23, 2006 6:37 PM

EPT London: Fish and Chips

As the player's head for an hour long dinner break I noted down a few chipcounts. 55 players remain now, we'll play down to 8 tonight.

Emad Tahtou 200,000
Isabelle Mercier 45,000
Tom Parker-Bowles 109,400
Chad Brown 241,700
Tony Chessa 29,000
Barny Boatman 65,000
Vicky Coren 69,000
Ross Boatman 35,000
Priyanand Hallan 42,000
Neil Channing 30,000

I'm hoping the player's have fish for dinner, the post title is in no way intended as a demeaning reference to any player in this event.

September 23, 2006 6:20 PM

EPT London: Jonas and the wail...

At Andy Black's table there's a wail, as he leads the player's in a, 'woooohoohoooo' cheer - for no obvious reason that I can fathom. An observer remarks, "Let's play crazy poker!"

At the table next door, Jonas Molander is trying to think, he takes his iPod earplugs out. After a moment he raises to 6,000. A player with a big pile of chips calls.

The flop is 8c Ad 4d.

The young Swede checks. Big stack in brown shirt bets 6000. Jonas calls quickly.

The turn a Qs.

Jonas checks again, big stack motions his all-in. Jonas instantly calls. Jonas shows 44 for a set. The other player has J6 of diamonds for a flush draw. No flush and Jonas doubles up, he looks happy with his 120,000 chips. Andy Black's still loud. Jonas goes back to his iPod...

Jonas Molander

September 23, 2006 5:37 PM

EPT London: Here's a pie...

Of the 398 players who entered EPT London 38% were from England, 11% were from the US and well you can work out the rest from this chart. I've now worked out statistically that orange is my favourite colour...

September 23, 2006 5:27 PM

EPT London: 63 63

63 players remain, with 63k the average stack... PokerStars' Emad Tahtouh holds the chiplead.

Here's some chipcounts for you:

Emad Tahtouh 210,000
Dean Sanders 140,000
Tom Parker-Bowles 58,000
Priyanand Hallan 76,000
Andy Black 70,000
Neil Channing 53,000
Isabelle Mercier 55,000
Vicky Coren 70,000
Barny Boatman 105,000
Ram Vaswami 135,000
Ross Boatman 55,000
Chad Brown 190,000
Anthony Chessa 15,000
Robin Keston 34,000
Michel Abecassis 100,000
Jonas Molander 78,000
Damien LeMercier 30,000

Surindar Sunar is now out.

Ram Vaswami and Barny Boatman

September 23, 2006 4:55 PM

EPT London: It could have been a beautiful friendship...

As I stood beside Isabelle's table she and Bengt Sonnert tangled in a hand. On an Ace high board Isabelle bet the river. Bengt thought for a while and then folded, he told her, "I don't like you now!" Isabelle, "Why not?" Bengt, "You took my chips!"

Isabelle smiled, then after a moment, "Do you have a girlfriend?"

When Bengt paused, contemplating his answer to this rather forward question, a nearby player got impatient, "Can I ask you if you have a girlfriend?"

Bengt replied, "No, I don't have a girlfriend..."

Isabelle smiled and played with her chips. Bengt and Isabelle are the beautiful people of the poker world, was romance about to blossom at the London EPT?

It seems not today... Bengt Sonnert goes all-in. Isabelle Mercier, a little sadly announces, "I will call."

Isabelle turns over KK. Bengt shows AT...

Bengt is out. Isabelle looks disappointed, "I liked the guy" she says, "was working on a date..."

They could have been a beautiful couple...

September 23, 2006 4:27 PM

EPT London:Carnage at the Vic!

Only 80 players left now, players are all-in-ing all over the place! Team PokerStars Katja Thata one of the early casualties. She was getting shortstacked and moved all-in with J9, she was called by the big blind with AK. No help for Katja, only Isabelle Mercier remains to represent Team PokerStars now.

Phil Ivey is out too. He moved all-in for over 40,000 before the flop with AK. Jon Hewston held Kings. Ivey's out....

Carl Olsen is another casualty, running into a strangely played AQ when he made a move with KJ... Olsen will be back. He's the only player to qualify for all EPT's on PokerStars so far.

John Kabbaj is also out. He moved with Ace-Jack against Lenda Nygren holding Aces.

Average stack is now 49,800 with blinds of 600, 1200 and a 100 ante.

News of more all-in-ing players soon...

September 23, 2006 3:21 PM

EPT London: Play underway...

Play has just resumed for the 103 players remaining in EPT London. These are official chipcounts and table draws at the start of play today, I'll bring you news of early action soon.

Table 1
Johnny Lodden 126,700
John Kabbaj 54,100
Anders Jenson 36,200
Lenda Nygren 9,400
David Bergren 10,300
K. Graczyk 30,400
Dean Sanders 117,600
Emad Tahtouh 110,300

Table 2
George Mckeever 36,900
Chris Hinton 37,200
Arshad Hussain 86,600
Jules Kuusik 65,800
Damien Lemercier 50,700
Frank Callaghan 14,200
S Elorfi 17,300
Hans Eskilsson 19,100

Table 3
Phil Ivey 42,200
David Smith 36,800
Ashley Hayles 46,000
John Persson 27,600
Frank Pini 12,500
Tom Parker-Bowles 52,100
Victoria Coren 32,000
Samir Shakhtoor 51,700

Table 4
Anthony Chessa 7,800
Neil Channing 17,400
Michael Abecassis 87,200
Gary Chatterton 20,100
Vik Kanwar 35,200
Tim Flanders 55,500
Ricki Nielsen 15,100
S J Rutter 61,500

Table 5
Isabelle Mercier 36,000
Jeff Kimber 14,100
Lalit Khajuria 19,600
Oscar Schweinebarth 31,900
Conny Hillbom 41,400
Will Davis 25,300
Peter Hendriks 15,700
Bengt Sonnert 7,900

Table 6
Robin 'Alexis' Keston 14,700
Micky Wernick 12,600
Erich Kollmann 46,800
Ryan Fonda 41,000
Adam Heller 15,800
Shannon Shorr 60,200
Jonas Molander 53,300
Dennis Skaarup 11,100

Table 7
Ram Vaswani 28,300
Barkatul Hassan Mohammed 37,800
Barny Boatman 87,100
Timothy Vance 21,200
Samuel Hapak 33,100
Pasi Heinanen 49,600
Daniel Needleman 84,600
Vivi Saethren 10,600

Table 8
Alan Betson 25,100
Torben Snejbjerg 83,100
Sid Harris 61,000
Ross Boatman 56,500
M Green 20,900
Alon Huberman 36,800
Chad Brown 127,800
Carl Olson 11,500

Table 9
Katja Thater 40,900
Ivar Rivenaes 60,000
Joseph Rafferty 26,800
Kevin Parkes 19,800
Anthony Adderley 9,600
Frank Bastow 25,700
Michael Ellis 32,800
Simon Zach 58,900

Table 10
Donacha O'dea 71,800
Tom Sambrook 8,900
Jeffrey Rogers 37,200
Kristian Kjondal 29,400
Christopher Convery 28,800
Rehne Pedersen 78,500
Mick Cook 32,900
Alli Mallu 46,100

Table 11
Andrew Black 60,000
Jan Sjavik 24,400
James Akenhead 23,900
Adrian Creagh 37,000
Halldor Sverrison 16,700
Alan Glover 53,100
Jeff Buffenbarger 26,900
Steve Wilsdon 29,500

Table 12
Joseph Campbell 20,400
Andrew Bradshaw 38,900
David Charles Finney 42,800
Priyanand Hallan 55,800
Femminella Tommaso 28,100
Jani Saari 17,500
Brendan Walls 25,000
William Fitzpatrick 14,500

Table 13
Stefan Oberholzer 12,200
David Bokor 17,300
Peter Hedlund 15,600
Michael Muldoon 73,900
Andrew Robl 33,700
George Bennett 12,900
Ferenc Bartha 46,200

September 23, 2006 1:21 PM

EPT London: Day 2, or is it day 3?

It's day 2 for the players, but day 1A+ day1B = the third day of poker for all those reporting on the action. So does that make it day 2 or day 3? I'm sure I'll get the hang of this poker reporting thing soon..! As this tournament is about the players let's call it Day 2. This means day 3 is tomorrow, and the 4th day for the poker journalists is also known as, 'Let's-hope-there's-lots-of-all-ins-so-we-can-finally-go-home' Day, by the press.

Today I don't want to go home, I feel excited. I was wondering what the highlights might be, what those special moments could be thatmake me go, 'Oooh!'? It's impossible to predict who might take the chiplead, or who'll bust out early, yet I can consider the little things that will likely brighten this poker reporter's day.

Things like:

Phil Ivey's table demeanour. I love the way Phil Ivey sits, hunched over the table his hands clawed. He looks like a poker Rainman, so intense his concentration he appears to inhabit a world of own. Of course it is possible he's looking super cool, and super scary, whilst secretly thinking, 'I forgot to charge my phone, didn't I?' Somehow, I don't think so...

Andy Black. I love this guy's hippy ways. Yesterday he wore cool pink and yellow checked trousers! Today I hope to see him adapt a Buddhist lotus position as he plays barefoot.

Isabelle Mercier, who often stands up for no particular reason when she's not in a hand. She watches the action, headphones on, and stands and just stares. She's focused on the game, or else getting herself in the zone, whilst stretching her jean-clad legs... I've seen her in action a few times now, I'm convinced she has her 'winning head' on for the London EPT today.

PokerStars qualifiers doing well. Players such as Priyanand Hallan, sitting pretty with a pile of chips, looking like they know what to do with them... You ask their names but don't recognise this, but you watch them play a little and soon, impressed, decide, 'Hey, maybe one day the whole poker world might know them!'

That special moment you're standing by a table thinking, 'Hmm, what now?' when all of a sudden a hand develops at the table beside you. Interesting betting, there's cards that can make you go,'ooh' a flop that makes you go, 'aah!' The poker God's dealing card drama..! He's ahead on the flop, he's behind on the turn, everyone holds their breath as the river card is dealt... Soon someone wins a huge pile of chips that can change their tourney life.

Vegetarian sandwiches being delivered to the press room... Actually this hasn't happened yet, however this is the sort of thing that would brighten this tournament reporter's day. Instead we get ham, and chicken, and prawns, and so I spend my day munching peanuts. But that's ok, I know this doesn't really matter, this is about the players of day 2, not about the poker press of day 3, it's about 101 players wanting a share of £1,393,000 - and that's not peanuts.

The kind of little things that can brighten this tournament reporters day. A bright orange day for these players...

September 23, 2006 8:59 AM

2006 WCOOP: Event #7 Results

The end of the week brought the first Limit Hold'em event of the 2006 WCOOP. Event #7 drew nearly 1,900 players who matched wits and limit hold'em skill in the fight for the WCOOP bracelet. The final table pitted people from five different countries against each other in the battle for the bracelet. When it was over, Canada's yaaaflow walked away with more than $60,000 and a WCOOP bracelet. For a complete look at the money winners, check out the PokerStars WCOOP Limit Hold'em Results page. Final table results can be found below. A full final table report will be out later on Saturday.

PokerStars WCOOP Event #7 Results
Results based on three-way deal that left $10,000 for first place

1. yaaaflow (Canada) $60,419.00
2. UH Big Tex (United States) $46,378.00
3. dalzini (United Kingdom) $30,608.00
4. MADEin (Canada) $20,030.40
5. tow75 (Denmark) $16,660.80
6. wheelz21 (Canada) $12,916.80
7. in_da_riva (United States) $9,360.00
8. Frejdig (Denmark) $7,413.12
9. MikeMcD (Sweden) $4,492.80

September 23, 2006 3:10 AM

EPT London: End of play on day 1B

49 players remain at close of play on day 1B from the London EPT. 101 players will start tomorrow, notable players remaining from Day 1B include Katja Thater, Andy Black, Chad Brown and Dean Saunders (who used to be a regular at my home game!) They'll join Isabelle Mercier, Phil Ivey, Johnny Lodden and 3 'Hendon Mobsters,' all star survivors from day 1A. Play resumes at 3pm GMT tomorrow. Chad Brown and Johnny Lodden are clear chipleaders, but all are in with a chance of the £500,000 first prize.

Approximate chipcounts at the end of Day 1B:

Dean Sanders 115,000
Donnacha O'Dea 72,000
Arshad Hussain 85,800
Hassa Mohammed 36,00
Linda Nygren 11,800
Joe Rafferty 27,200
Vivi Saethren 13,100
Jeff Kimber 23,400
George McKeever 41,000
Vicky Coren 20,400
Andy Black 64,000
Lalit Khajuria 17,800
John Persson 30,800
Pri Hallan 54,600
Tom Sandbrook 12,600
Katja Thater 38,600
Tyler Netter 106,000
Daniel Needleham 76,000
Tony Chessa 8,300
Bengt Sonnert 14,000
Frank O'Callaghan 14,000
Martin Green 21,000
Paul Finney 44,000
Ryand Fronda 47,000
Erik Kollmann 38,000
Steve Wilsdon 27,000
Chad Brown 122,200
Sid Harris 62,500

Priyanand Hallan, and an official counting his chips

The tournament clock, paused until Saturday...

September 23, 2006 2:20 AM

EPT London: Is AQ a good hand?

Gus Hansen moved all in with AQ, only run into Chad Brown's aces. No miracle cards for Gus and he won't be playing tomorrow.

More AQ drama for Vanessa Rousso. She was on just 12,400 chips and must have thought AK a perfect hand for her shortstack all in. She encouraged her opponent's call, teasing him by removing her shades and pouting and smiling, and after an age (perhaps he liked the attention?) he called and showed AQ. Vanessa must have thought AQ a perfect hand against her AK, but an unfortunate flop of Q, 10, A made Vanessa frown not smile. Vanessa won't make it a triple-act of Team PokerStars ladies playing on day 2.

Just 58 players remain now, we're playing only another 30 minutes today.

Gus Hansen - out with AQ

Vanessa Rousso - put out by AQ

September 23, 2006 1:12 AM

EPT London: Chips (and a lack of them)

Here's some recent chipcounts, 68 players remain with the average stack 29,400 and blinds of 300/600 and a 75 ante.

Vicky Coren 20,000
Katja Thater 48,000
Vanessa Rousso 17,000
Andy Black 37,000
Arshad Husssein 90,000
Chad Brown 100,000
Daniel Needleman (PokerStars qualifier)80,000
Priyanand Hallan (PokerStars qualifier)63,000
Emad Tartou 105,000

I was just writing down Gus Hansen's chipcounts when a player in a beige hat went all in. Gus Hansen, one off the button, reraised all in too, the other players fold. The beige hat guy has 9,300. Gus turns over A9os, beige hat shrugs and shows KT. There's a ten on the flop, and by the river a flush for the shorter stacked player. Gus Hansen is left with just 17,000 chips.

Other news, Team PokerStars Betrand 'ElkY' Grospellier is out. He was short stacked and moved in with A2. He got called by Q9 and a queen ended this former pro-gamer and online pro's run at EPT London. Serial EPT qualifier Ara Melikian is also out now, as is EPT winner Mads Gavitan...

Emad Tartou

Daniel Needleman

Priyanand Hallan

September 23, 2006 12:50 AM

EPT London: Back from the dead

'Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated' Mark Twain said on reading his obituary in a newspaper. I don't know if Vicky Coren reads PokerStars blog, but if she did she'd get a shock to hear that she'd been eliminated, as this PokerStars qualifier is still playing and has around 35,000 chips.

Vicky is a writer, and a well known player on the UK poker scene. She's the favourite lady of many UK poker fans, and a regular at 'the Vic'. Although I'm not sure if they named the place after her...

Unfortunately I'm unable to bring Joe Hachem or Victor Ramdin back to life as easily. I wish I could. And for a lady who was dead yet lives again, you have to say Vicky makes a very pretty poker zombie.

Vicky Coren, reports of her tourney demise were greatly exaggerated....

September 23, 2006 12:06 AM

EPT London: Lost a few

90 players remain, and they're dropping like flies with too few chips and only one move. Or like players with a poor tournament life expectancy because they're like a small, common, household insect? Actually, forget that, let's just stick to facts...

Player's we've lost recently:

Fabrice Soullier
Stephen Day
Sverre Sondbo
Andreas Hagen
Vicky Coren
John Gale
Paul Jackson
Martin Wendt
and Team PokerStars Joe Hachem.

It seems Joe went all-in with A9, re-raising a player who wasn't about to fold his AK. In a brief chat with Joe after the event he said, "I never got over 23k, and took a few hits."

September 22, 2006 11:22 PM

EPT London: Practise run

Ara Melikian is a young New Yorker with a confident game, and a ready smile - even when he's on 2,100 chips and the blinds are 150/300. I see him push all in, and I will him to win. He's one of those players you'd want to find success, a rare poker player who finds it easier to cheer good fortune, rather than curse his bad beats.

His A2 is called by KJ and Ara doubles up. He laughs and stands up to chat to his buddy. How come these kind of players always have a loyal buddy on the rails? He tells me he had to make a stand. "Best hand I've seen in an hour!" he laughs.

At the break he told me about his table move. He's now sitting with Mel Judah and Andy Black. "Doesn't matter, not with my chips," he says.

Last I saw Ara was still hanging in there, but if he busts out he can put this down as a practise run. You see 'Melikman' has won 3 EPT seats on PokerStars so far. He'll play in Baden in a few weeks, and Dublin at the end of October. He's just a little upset that he didn't qualify for Barcelona. His Mom wanted a trip to Spain you see. Ara was also a PokerStars WSOP 2006 qualifier, cashing in for $15,500. If Ara doesn't survive with his shortstack in London, I wish him well for Baden, or Dublin, or any other big event he plays with a buddy at the rail. He's just the kind of player I like to see win.

Ara Melikian

September 22, 2006 10:36 PM

EPT London: Not much to write home about...

Poker author Anthony Holden is out. He's in the middle of writing a follow up to his poker novel, 'Big Deal,' which will of course be called, 'Bigger Deal.' Anthony is my favourite poker writer so I wish he'd had a much bigger deal to write about this EPT tournament, instead, shortstacked he made a poker-by-the-numbers move all in with AQ, and was called by 99. No drama to write about on the board, so Anthony Holden is heading home muttering, "I haven't had a hand all day. Best I've had." His chapter on EPT London might be short.

Anthony Holden

September 22, 2006 9:47 PM

EPT London: I bet you look good on the chip floor!

This title is a reference to the Artic Monkey's track buzzing around my head at the moment. And yes, I do know it's supposed to be 'dancefloor' but 'chip floor' became substituted in the hum in my head. Vanessa Rousso is looking good on 35,000 chips. And come to think of it she'd probably look good on any dancefloor, or chip floor, or any other kind of floor you can imagine seeing her on...

Joe Hachem 20,000
Gus Hansen 9,500
Renhe Pedersen 19,000
Vicky Coren 11,000
Adrian Creagh 33,000
Emad Tahtouh 6,000
Willie Tann 10,000
John Gale 14,000
Robert Cohen 14,000
Michel Abecassis 16,000
Tony Chessa 7,500
Katja Thater 40,000
Sverre Sundbo 21,000
ElkY 9,000
Vanessa Rousso 35,000
Peter Eichhardt 28,500
Gus Hansen 10,000

ElkY: 9,000 chips

Vanessa Rousso: 35,000 chips

Katjar Thater: 40,000

Joe Hachem: 20,000

Gus Hansen: 9,500 chips

September 22, 2006 9:03 PM

2006 WCOOP: Event #6 Final Table Report

Trying to explain to someone who doesn't know much about poker that our game is not gambling is something very difficult to accomplish. It's hard to make people understand that poker players are not gamblers in the traditional sense. The successful poker players put their money in the middle when they are certain the statistical edge is in their favor. It's not like roulette or Let It Ride. The x-factor known as "chance" comes into play, but it's rare enough that some poker players wouldn't even consider their game a gamble.

And still, there is some gamble in the hearts of most poker players. They fight it. They walk the long way around the casino pits and stay as far from the track as they can. They know their money is better utilized on the poker baize.

And yet...the heart of a gambler still beats. How best to extinguish that nagging little desire? Well, a rebuy tournament of course.

PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker Event #6 was the only No-Limit Hold'em rebuy tournament of the series and it drew more than 2,000 people to the virtual felt. For the first hour, they could gamble without fear. Moreover, they could exploit the people who were even more willing to gamble without the best statistical edge. During the rebuy period, players reloaded their stacks more than 2,500 times and then took 1,300 optional add-ons. The result was a prize pool worth nearly $1.2 million.

Afternoon turned to night, night turned to morning, and, finally, nine people turned the rebuy madness into a shot a really big cash.

Click image for full version

Seat 1: jukeboxlo (491592 in chips)
Seat 2: austinlewis (1140664 in chips)
Seat 3: bad_beat_bud (2010720 in chips)
Seat 4: agissilaos (440580 in chips)
Seat 5: Faar1 (421752 in chips)
Seat 6: thanksB (4518882 in chips)
Seat 7: aStupidDream (2789692 in chips)
Seat 8: GammonMorten (1822666 in chips)
Seat 9: Oli G (1834452 in chips)

One of the most familiar match-ups in tournament poker raised its head on the very first hand of the final table. With the blinds at 20,000/40,000, agissilaos moved all-in pre-flop with pocket tens. Looking to isolate, aStupidDream raised all in with big slick. The board looked like it would give agissilaos the double-up. By the turn, the board looked like this: 3h-2s-Jd-5s. AStupidDream had ten outs going into the river. One of them, the four of hearts, plopped down, and knocked agissilaos out in ninth place. The finish was good for $14,210.40.

Another race came shortly thereafter, and this time the gamble was a little more pronounced. Austinlewis was willing to put his entire stack, more than a million chips, in the middle with AQo. Bad_beat_bud risked half his stack with a pair of threes. Once again, the pair lost out. Austinlewis doubled up and started looking toward the big money.

The first big pot that developed post-flop was worth nearly four million chips. ThanksB came in for a standard raise and GammonMorten called. When the flop came down 6s-Ac-5c, the table exploded. ThanksB bet out 160,000 and GammonMorten raised to 560,000. ThanksB, holding A6 for two pair pushed in he rest of his chips. GammonMorten called for the rest of 1.2 million chips with 8c7c, an up and down straight draw and an eight high flush draw. By the river, GammmonMorten had missed all his outs and thanksb had made a full house. GammonMorten finished in eighth place for $23,447.16.

It seemed with that finish, most of the gamble went out of the table for a while. Seven-handed play dragged on seemingly forever without a huge hand. It would be nearly 40 minutes before another player found the exit. With the blinds at 30,000/60,000, jukeboxlo moved all-in pre-flop with KQo for 654,184. Bad_beat_bud made the call with a pair of nines. Jukeboxlo flopped a queen, but by the river, bad_beat_bud had made a straight with his pair of nines. Jukeboxlo left in seventh place, earning $29,605.00.

That bust-out re-introduced players to the egress. Getting short-stacked, Farr1 moved all in with K6. AStupidDream called in the big blind with T8 suited in clubs. Three clubs on the flop locked Farr1 out of the pot and sent him packing in sixth place. He won $40,854.90.

The chips did not stay with aStupidDream long. Just a few minutes later, he doubled up austinlewis. The players got in a raising and re-raising battle pre-flop that ended up with austinlewis all-in with a pair of kings vs. aStupidDream's pocket tens. The kings held up and austinlewis started to roll over the table. With the blinds at 40,000/80,000, Oli G moved all in from the button with 89o. Austinlewis called in the small blind with A4, made the nut flush by the turn, and knocked out Oli G in fifth place for $52,696.90.

Just a few minutes later, austinlewis continued his killing spree. After raising then calling a re-raise with pocket eights, austinlewis saw a 7c-Jh-3d flop with thanksB. ThanksB led out on the flop and austinlewis called. On the turn, a two of hearts, thanksB moved all in and austinlewis called. ThanksB turned up KJ for top pair. Austinlewis had two outs...and hit one on the river. ThanksB hit the rail in fourth place, earning $63,354.70.

Three-handed, bad_beat_bud likely developed a distaste for the letter A. Over the course of two hands with austinlewis, bad_beat_bud contested hands with AT and A5. On the first, his two pair lost to austinlewis' set of threes. On the next, austinlewis held pocket king. Bad_beat_bud didn't suffer bad beats on either hand, but was still rewarded a handsome $78,157.20 for third place.

Heads-up, austinlewis held a nice lead, but after doubling up aStupidDream once austinlewis decided it was time for a deal. Both players agreed to a standard chip count deal and played for $20,000 and the WCOOP bracelet.

AStupidDream fought hard for the bracelet. After flopping trip-eights and drawing even with austinlewis, aStupidDream looked like he had a shot. Then, came the final, painful hand.

AStupidDream limped in, then called a raise with JsKs. The flop couldn't have been much prettier, Jc-Kc-8d. When austinlewis bet out, a StupidDream raised. Austinlewis re-raised all in, holding KT. AStupidDream made the easy call. That's when the pain set in. The turn and river came perfect-perfect for austinlewis... a seven and a nine. Suddenly aStupidDream's top-two pair was no good against runner-runner straight. He'd got his money in with a 93% chance of winning and somehow managed to lose. Nonetheless, the deal he cut gave him $156,936.00.

That left first place, the bracelet, and nearly $200,000 for austinlewis, the 2006 WCOOP Event #6 champion and a man with more gamble in his heart than many others.

You can see all the money winners on the PokerStars WCOOP Event #6 results page. Final table results are below.

PokerStars WCOOP Event #6 Final Table Results
Results based on two-way deal that left $20,000 for first place

1. austinlewis (United States) $199,509.00
2. aStupidDream (United States) $156,936.00
3. bad_beat_bud (United States) $78,157.20
4. thanksB (United States) $63,354.70
5. Oli G (Iceland) $52,696.90
6. Faar1 (Denmark) $40,854.90
7. jukeboxlo (United States) $29,605.00
8. GammonMorten (Denmark) $23,447.16
9. agissilaos (Greece) $14,210.40

September 22, 2006 8:55 PM

EPT London: Latest chip counts

167 players remain. Notable chip counts:

John Gale 13,000
Jonas Hellness(2nd place finisher in EPT London last year) 5,000
Arshad Hussein (2nd in EPT Grand Final) 12,000
Andy Black 7,000
Vicky Coren 5,000
Willie Tann 10,000
Mats Gavatin(winner EPT Dublin) 13,000
Vanessa Rousso 27,000
ElkY 11,000
Anthony Holden 8,500
Gus Hansen 12,000
Brian Hansen 32,000
Mel Judah 8,000
Joe Hachem 32,000
Katja Thater 13,000
Davood Mehrmand 5,500

September 22, 2006 8:32 PM

EPT London: Can I take your chips, and get your autograph?

Player's just back from the dinner break. As I collect chipcounts I see a hand...

On a flop of 4, 5, 3 Mike Kahn, wearing a bright white shirt that looks a little too big for him, bets a yellow 1,000 chip. Barry Greinstein takes a chip from his 5,500 stack and calls. The turn is a 2. Mike bets, Barry goes all-in.

They turn their cards over. Barry's emotionless as Mike Kahn shows 6 7. Barry reveals his lower straight and 5 6. The Team PokerStars player sits for a while at the table, his face blank, he's writing in a book. As he gets up to go he gives his autographed book to Mike Kahn, shakes his hand and departs.

Barry Greenstein signs his autograph for the guy who took his chips...

September 22, 2006 7:32 PM

EPT London: Official Day1A chips, and a confession...

52 players remained at the end of day 1A, not the 58 the guys in the press room decided was the figure at 3.30am last night as they hurriedly typed up their last posts. It gets a little confusing covering large events, sometimes things get missed, or misreported. Players sometimes bust out without being noticed. Perhaps their solitary exit is more appropriate? I doubt these players really want to read their poker sob story in graphic detail on some webpage...

This afternoon when the official chip lists were printed, everyone in the press room expected to see figures differ from the 'guess-a-stack-at-a-glance' etimates we'd come up with late last night. But we all expeced to see a number beside Victor Ramdin's name. We looked, but Victor Ramdin's chip count wasn't there. It turns out Victor busted out in the last hand of play. Nobody saw the details, and I'm sorry not to bring you this news last night. I'm even more sorry that this Team PokerStars player won't be taking a seat in this EPT event tomorrow. Only Isabelle Mercier remains of Team PokerStars players who started on day 1A, she'll joined by 5 other PokerStars who'll be taking a day off today, but playing Saturday.

Official chipcounts from Day 1A yesterday:

Johnny Lodden 126,700
Barny Boatman 87,100
Torben Sneibjerg 83,100
Michael Muldoon 73,900
Stuart Rutter 61,500
Shannon Shorr 60,200
Ivar Rivenaes 60,000
Simon Zach 58,900
Ross Boatman 56,500
Tim Flanders 55,500
John Kabbaj 54,100
Molander Molander 53,300
Tom Parker-Bowles 52,100
Samir Shakhtoor 51,700
Damien Lemercier 50,700
Ferenc Bardha 46,200
Alli Mallu 46,100
Ashley Hayles 46,000
Phil Ivey 42,200
Andrew Bradshaw 38,900
Jeffrey Rodgers 37,200
Alon Huberman 36,800
Isabelle Mercier 36,000
Vik Kanwar 35,200
Andrew Robl 33,700
Samuel Hapak 33,100
Mick Cook 32,900
Michael Ellis 32,800
Ram Vaswani 28,300
Feminella Tommaso 28,100
Jeffrey Buffenbarger 26,900
Frank Bastow 25,700
Will Davis 25,300
Alan Betson 25,100
Jan Sjåvik 24,400
James Akenhead 23,900
Tim Vance 21,200
Joseph Campbell 20,400
Gary Chatterton 20,100
Kevin Parkes 19,800
Hans Eskilsson 19,100
Jani Saari 17,500
Neil Channing 17,400
S Elorfi 17,300
Adam Heller 15,800
Peter Hendriks 15,700
Peter Hedlund 15,600
Ricki Nielsen 15,100
Robin Keston 14,700
William Fitzpatrick 14,500
Micky Wernick 12,600
Frank Pini 12,500
Dennis Skaarup 11,000
Anthony Adderley 9,600

September 22, 2006 6:31 PM

EPT London: Here's what they're playing for...

Players are now on a break, I'll bring you the latest chip counts as soon as they get back. The prize pool for EPT London has just been confirmed as £1,393,000. Payouts will be as follows:

1 £500,000
2 £285,900
3 £168,600
4 £110,000
5 £58,600
6 £44,000
7 £36,600
8 £29,300
9-16 £10,000
17-24 £6,000
25-32 £4,000

Players might chew on that information, as they enjoy a tradition British egg and cress sandwich.

September 22, 2006 6:16 PM

EPT London: Ace High?

A couple of interesting hands from our Team PokerStars players. Barry Greenstein has been shortstacked for a while. He just went all in, and got two callers from players with a lot of chips.

On the flop of 6, 7, A, there was a flurry of betting from the other players, then they checked down the ten on the turn and the river King.

Barry turned over KJ, and a little surprisingly held the winning hand. Barry's still on just 3,850 chips. Gus Hansen just wandered by the table and saw this. He said, "Have you read your chapter on playing a short stack?"

Meanwhile on another table Vanessa Rousso wins a significant pot. On a board of Q, 6, 8, 8 there's a bet of 2,500. Vanessa insta-raises to 5,000. The original bettor, let's call him 'random guy', makes a random, kind of slinging his chips in the middle, sort of bet.

Vanessa, looking not at all random, and really quite pretty, goes all-in without a pause for thought.

Random guy is faced with a call of just 2,800. He thinks long and hard, and then longer and harder, as the rest of the table try to stifle giggles, and avoid saying, 'It's only 2,800 for f...'

He eventually makes a shame faced call. Vanessa shows her 6, 8, for a really rather pretty hand... Random guy turns over A 9. Drawing as dead as a dodo with bad cards and no outs.

Sverre Sondbo pipes up, "Even if we gave him five rivers he's still drawing dead."

Vanessa scoops a pretty 30,000 pot.

September 22, 2006 5:53 PM

EPT London: Poker in Afghanistan?

As you hover around tables of hundreds of players, hoping to be in the right place, at the right time, to see a key hand, or eavesdrop on an interesting bit of table talk, it can sometimes seem like you're in the wrong place, at the wrong time, all the time... It can get a bit tedious. Don't get me wrong, I love poker, I love being around big tournaments, I love seeing the emotions on display. You know, the joy on the face of the hand winner..! Ok, have to admit this too, it's quite fun to hear players whine like spoiled kids when their overpair loses... But the dull bit comes in seeing so many players I don't know, and so many average stacks, and so many quiet guys folding and folding, or maybe raising - and then all the other quiet guys fold.

So I like to try to find poker characters. The star players are usually characters. It's often fun to watch them play. But when they're not up to much interesting I'll sometimes try to find a random player and a reason to think they might be interesting, like, 'Oh, he's from Bulgaria!'

I'll find someone like Christian Drechsler from day 1A. He is likely PokerStars first ever Bulgarian to qualify for the EPT. And so I was soon thinking, 'Bulgarian poker, well that must be interesting!' And I wanted to research Bulgarian poker, and talk to him about Bulgaria, only I kept getting busy, or missing him in breaks... And now this Bulgarian player is out, and I don't even know what happened to him... And suddenly Bulgarian poker doesn't seem so interesting anymore.

The practicalities of following 200 players is hard, the press-room people share information and they're all great, but sometimes no one's there to see a key hand or how some big player went out. Or sometimes three different poker press people will count chips and get three different figures. Usually then we'll split the difference and decide this is right.

Chips and who's out are important of course, but to be honest I like the people side of poker things the best... Breaks are good, I can talk to players then. Sometimes I don't need a break to chat to an interesting player.

I was taking photos at a table Joe Hachem and Katja Thater shared. Davood Mehrmand saw me standing there, and decided he'd rather chat than concentrate on his cards. Well, the blinds were low, nothing much was happening to most peoples stacks, he'd played lots of big events before, he was relaxed and happy here. He wanted a chat, he looked at his cards as they were dealt, but unless he had a very decent hand he wasn't going to play.

So as the possibilities of big hands simmered between other players at the table, as Joe Hachem concentrated on counting his chips, as Katja Thater raised twice in a row, this Persian player shared his views with me on US gambling legislation, and the fact that the stakes of online games were too low, and that he wanted to open an online poker site in Afghanistan. And I nodded, and I smiled, and tried to make out his strange accent and discuss his plan with him. Afghanistan? Well why not...

So I told him to offer me a job if his Afghanistani online poker site ever took off. And he said he'd consider it. Although I hoped he knew I liked PokerStars a lot and wasn't serious. And then I felt guilty for disrupting his game. I wanted him to play proper poker, not chat about Afghanistani tax breaks...

Because, of course, that's what it's about, cards and chips, and winning hands. And just occasional laughs about poker in Bulgaria and Afghanistan. They're both nice countries I'm sure. Poker in Afghanistan, why not?

Davood Mehrmand, potential Afghanistani Online Poker Baron?

September 22, 2006 4:09 PM

EPT London: Early fallers

Jeff Williams and Mats Iremark are out early.

Mats, the Swedish winner of last season's EPT Deauville is the first casualty of this London EPT. Mike Khan raises 150 pre-flop and Mats Iremark calls.

On a rather uninteresting flop of 3,10, Q, Mike bets 250 which is called by the Swede. Mike looks a little bit worried.

The turn is an ace, two diamonds on the board. Mike makes it 400. Iremark calls and they see the last card...

The river's a 4 of diamonds. Mike bets 1,000. Iremark raises to 2,000. Mike adds another 5,000 to the pot, and Mat's Iremark declares 'all in'.

No hesitation in the call from Mike who shows 5 2 of diamonds for a straight flush. Mat's K T of diamonds suddenly looks a little lame... The EPT Deuville winner is out.

At a table nearby Jeff Williams has been nursing a tiny stack of 2,000 chips for a while. I've been hovering nearby, trying not to feel like a poker reporter vulture. The winner of last season's EPT Grand Final finally pushes all in in late position with 1575 chips. He's called by the small blind player who shows pocket tens. Jeff turns over sevens, looking a little sullen. No lucky cards for Jeff and he departs, perhaps to clear his head with a walk in the London rain...

Jeff Williams - out early today

September 22, 2006 2:31 PM

EPT London: It's raining, it's pouring, but no one is snoring...

It's a rainy day in London for the start of day 1B of this EPT event at the Victoria Casino. Lots of brollys on the Edgeware Road outside the Vic today, and the 202 players taking their seats at 3pm are hoping to see neither rain or shine for many hours. 202 players will start today as only 198 took their seats yesterday. Two players chips were removed from play when they missed the start due to sleeping in/missing the bus/deciding the £3,500 buy in was only loose change and they wouldn't bother turning up.... So two lucky players from the waiting list will get an unexpected EPT game today.

There's certainly going to be plenty to write about, lots of exciting players start today. From Team PokerStars there's Joe Hachem, Barry Greenstein, Betrand 'ElkY' Grospellier, Vanessa Rousso, and Katja Thater.

Other names known to PokerStars regulars are, John Gale, PokerStars Caribbean Adventure winner in 2005, with many results to his name since then. 'Ackbleh' known to many who follow the Rec Gambling Poker newsgoup, or the tournament success of PokerStars best. And 'one to watch' 'Melikman' who's won 3 EPT seats so far at PokerStars, perhaps hoping for a hat-trick of final tables?

Many players with previous EPT success start at 3pm today and hope to continue a good run. These include:

Paul King, final table finisher in London last year.
Mats Iremark, the Swedish player who won EPT Deuville.
Mats Gavatin, winner of EPT Dublin 2005.
Able Meijberg, 3rd place finisher in Baden, who was also in the money in Barcelona last week.
Thomas Wahlroos, 10th in the EPT Grand Final, Monte Carlo.

And of course Jeff Williams, winner in Monte Carlo, this 20 year old EPT Grand Final winner takes his seat today.

Players who need little introduction are Gus Hansen, Mel Judah, Andy Black... My player list got a little rain splashed and soggy as I studied it on the way to work today, but I can assure you that my enthusiasm for this event isn't soggy at all. Play is about to get underway in a minute, more from London soon...

A complete player list for day 1B can be seen on the EPT website here.

The Vic in the rain

September 22, 2006 10:00 AM

2006 WCOOP: Event #6 Results

It was rebuy madness in PokerStars WCOOP Event #6. More than 2,000 people took more than 2,500 rebuys and more than 1,300 add-ons to build a monster prize pool worth nearly $1.2 million. After thirteen and a half hours of play, austinlewis won the event and the gold WCOOP bracelet. For his efforts, austinlewis earned nearly $200,000! You can see all the money winners on the PokerStars WCOOP Event #6 results page. Final table results are below. A full final table report will be out later on Friday.

PokerStars WCOOP Event #6 Final Table Results
Results based on two-way deal that left $20,000 for first place

1. austinlewis (United States) $199,509.00
2. aStupidDream (United States) $156,936.00
3. bad_beat_bud (United States) $78,157.20
4. thanksB (United States) $63,354.70
5. Oli G (Iceland) $52,696.90
6. Faar1 (Denmark) $40,854.90
7. jukeboxlo (United States) $29,605.00
8. GammonMorten (Denmark) $23,447.16
9. agissilaos (Greece) $14,210.40

September 22, 2006 4:49 AM

Dario Minieri gets a new ride

Less than a year after PokerStars introduced its one-of-a-kind VIP Club, a well-known Supernova player has used his Frequent Player Points to go from zero to 60 in 5.1 seconds.

Dario Minieri, the young and tough Supernova from Rome, just cashed in his FPPs for a brand new Porsche Cayman S. He's the first PokerStars player to buy a car (and a really, really nice one) with nothing more than FPPs.

Dario Minieri at the 2006 WSOP

Minieri accumulated more than three million FPPs in the last ten months, enough to have a shiny new Porsche delivered to his Rome doorstep and still have some points left over to browse the VIP FPP Store.

The Porsche dealership in Rome is currently getting Minieri's car ready. Here in a couple of weeks, if you happen to be walking the streets of Rome, you might want to keep an eye out for the guy going 100mph and playing PokerStars at the same time.

That'll be Dario.

September 22, 2006 3:17 AM

EPT London: End of play on day 1A

A friendly bloke said, "You know everything, you're a journalist!"

He said it in a hopeful kind of way, so I knew a question was coming. I expected him to ask the name and poker background of the Norwegian in seat 4. Instead he asked, a little desperately, "How do I get downstairs?"

I was happy to be able to answer this question. To get from the tournament tables to the press room I go downstairs, across the gaming floor, up more stairs, through some long winding corridor in the backrooms of the casino, then over dales and valleys and rivers, to finally reach the press room, and my computer where I can tell you about that Norwegian in seat 4 with all the chips.

If the friendly guy with a question had waited just five minutes he'd have seen a crowd of players heading downstairs and could have followed. Day 1A play ended at 3.15am today, a little over 12 hours after the tournament began. None of the players remaining would mind that their day had been so long, they'd simply be glad they could climb the stairs to play again on Saturday.

Of the 198 players who started today 58 remain, Johnny Lodden still holds the chiplead, here are the interesting counts:

Johnny Lodden 126,000
Jan Sjavik 31,000
Phil Ivey 40,000
Shannon Shorr 72,000
Barny Boatman 87,100
Simon Zach 42,000
Ram Vaswani 14,000
Ross Boatman 35,000
Mickey Wernick 12,000
Isabelle Mercier 38,000
Neil Channing 34,000
Stuart Ratter 62,000
Michael Moldoon 35,000
John Kabbaj 31,000
Victor Ramdin 18,000
Alan Betson 25,000
A. Bradshaw 65,000
Sam Rack 72,000
Tom Parker-Bowles 52,000

Day 1B begins at 3pm GMT tomorrow with notable names Joe Hachem, Vanessa Rousso, Gus Hansen, Andy Black, Jeff Williams, John Gale, ElkY, Katja Thater and many more that I would type out, but it's nearly 4am... I think I'll do a better job of writing about them if I go down those stairs, over those dales and valleys and rivers, to bed, to dream of Norwegian players with chips and stories to tell.

The tournament floor at the end of the day, 200 players will fill these tables at 3pm sharp tomorrow.

September 22, 2006 1:50 AM

EPT London: I want those chips!

Chipleader now is Johnny Lodden with 80,000. Other players with chip mountains are Michael Muldoon on 70,000, Barny Boatman on 71,000 and Shannon Shorr on 72,000.

73 players remain.

And as I type I just hear the Johnny Lodden won a 30,000 pot, putting the young Norwegion well in the lead. Lodden was reputed to be involved in the biggest hand in online poker history, $465,000 in a heads-up game. Lodden on over 100,000 chips now and proving he can play poker in the real world, as well as in his pyjamas with a mouse in his hand.

Michael Muldoon

Johnny Lodden

September 22, 2006 12:54 AM

EPT London: Luca out

Luca Pagano is out. Luca reraised Barny Boatman preflop, going all-in for his remaining 2,200 chips. Barny and one other player call. On an Ace high flop Player X bets 1,500, Barny calls. Then these two players check it down. Barny shows AQ. Player X mucks, and so does Luca. The Team PokerStars player is out.

Chipcounts now -
Victor Ramdin 60,000
Torben Schniberg 73,000
Ben Grundy 7,000
John Kabbaj 32,000
Neil Channing 17,000
Isabelle Mercier 29,000
Phil Ivey 18,000
Ross Boatman 28,000
Barny Boatman 60,000
Ram Vaswami 22,000
Alan Betson 13,000
Dave Rawnsley 10,000
Tom Parker-Bowles 17,000

Current chipleader Torben Schniberg

September 21, 2006 11:42 PM

EPT London: Casualties

Most of the big name players are still in, but here's a few notable players we've lost. Still around 110 playing, although the Vic computers are 'on the blink' so there's no tournament clock or player numbers displayed at the moment.

Those we've lost:

Bjorn-Erik Glenn (winner of the Barcelona EPT earlier this week)
Kenna James
Thorsen Iversen
Paul Telstud
David Plastik
Mark Teltscher

Recent casualty, Mark Teltscher. Perhaps he died happy?

A gratuitous second massage shot, as Mark's tablemate contemplates that his neighbour may hold a big pair.

September 21, 2006 11:07 PM

EPT London: More chips...

120 players remaining. Here's a few chip counts for you...

Neil Channing 14,000
Phil Ivey 24,000
Isabelle Mercier 17,000
Barney Boatman 55,000
Luca Pagano 15,000
Ram Vaswami 35,000
Victor Ramdin 70,000
Jeff Lissandro 26,500

And a quick story about PokerStars qualifier 'GRANITE' now on 10,000 chips, who isn't sure if he wants to win or lose in this event, because legal wrangles with his ex-wife mean she'll take half of anything he wins!


September 21, 2006 10:10 PM

2006 WCOOP: Event #5 Final Table Report

The icon poised above the five seat just looked too familiar. I knew I had seen the face before. What's more, the name kwob20 rang a bell so close to my brain that I had to go in search of his true identity. Turns out, I'd actually met the guy before.

It's been a little more than a month since Kyle "kwob20" Bowker took 37th place in the 2006 World Series of Poker and won an impressive $247,399. Indeed,, Bowker has been having a pretty good year. He started playing on PokerStars in March.

"I started playing the major tournaments on PokerStars," he said. "No other site really compares. I have the most success on PokerStars. [It has] the most players, good competition, and good structure."

With this year's heater in full effect, Bowker took a shot at WCOOP event in which he had very little experience.

"This was actually my first limit Omaha hi-lo tournament," he confessed.

As it turned out, poker is poker and when Event #5 was down to four tables, Bowker knew he had a shot at winning the whole thing. By the time he reached the final table, he had a commanding chip lead.

Click image for full version

Seat 1: dgang (23430 in chips)
Seat 2: NoPotForYou! (228663 in chips)
Seat 4: Just*AA*Pair (375156 in chips)
Seat 5: kwob20 (833690 in chips)
Seat 6: pollar (69893 in chips)
Seat 7: Flippin Aces (554274 in chips)
Seat 8: n47j25s (212146 in chips)
Seat 9: nimag (85248 in chips)

With ten players remaining, two players were eliminated on the same hand. The final table started eight-handed and Bowker went to work. In short order, he eliminated pollar when his KsAs7sJc held up against pollar's 3sJdTc2h. For eighth place, pollar earned $10,959.50.

For a long while, it appeared Canada's Just*AA*Pair would be Bowker's toughest battle. Just*AA*Pair came into the final table third in chips and ready to make a run. Shortly after pollar's exit, Just*AA*Pair went on the attack. In a hand with NoPotForYou! Just*AA*Pair flopped a set to NoPotForYou!'s two pair. The board paired on the turn, giving NoPotForYou! a full house, but giving Just*AA*Pair a bigger boat and the eventual win. NoPotForYou! won $15,248.00 for seventh place.

Not too be outdone, Bowker went back to work. After flopping open-ended in a hand with dgang, Bowker rivered his straight to outrun dgang's pair of kings. Dgang left in sixth place, earning $19,774.75.

It was around that time something odd started to happen. Both nimag and n47j25s had been on the ropes for a while and it seemed likely they would both be out soon. Instead, n47j25s went on a run that started with nimag's elimination and rocketed n47j25s in the direction of a championship. While nimag earned $24,539.75, n47j25s looked to make much more.

After Bowker amassed around half the chips in play, Flippin Aces luck a turn for the worse. After getting rivered once in a huge pot and then losing a subsequent pot for just as much money, Flippin Aces was on the ropes. Bowker put Flippin Aces out of his misery, making two pair against Flippin Aces pair of queens. Flippin Aces won $29,781.25 for his fourth place finish.

On the final table webcast, Dan Goldman and Greg Raymer couldn't help but be astonished at n47j25s's comeback. At one point, the guy had fewer than 50,000 chips. Suddenly, he was a force with which to be reckoned. Just*AA*Pair didn't reckon soon enough and lost a huge pot when n47j25s made a full house on the turn to best Just*AA*Pair's two pair. Bowker finished the job a few hands later when he turned a straight to bust Just*AA*Pair's set of queens. Just*AA*Pair took home $40,502.50 for third place.

As good as n47j25s's comeback was, there's very little someone can do against a 20-1 chip lead. While n47j25s made a laudable effort (and added a little comedy by offering 50/50 chop), in the end he couldn't make a miracle happen. He finished in second place, earning $63,851.00.

As for Kyle Bowker, he won more than $103,000 and booked an important first place finish.

"It was awesome, I have been finishing deep in many tournaments on PokerStars recently, but just haven't pulled through," he said. "My finish at the World Series was good, but also disappointing to get that far and not get to the end."

Bowker, 23, has now been playing professionally for two years and recently married his high school sweetheart.

"I bought a house with my money from the World Series," he said. "There are some things I would like to improve on the house. Part of the [WCOOP] money will go to that."

Set firmly in the middle of a serious rush, Bowker has no plans to take a break, despite not having a casino near his New York home.

"Turning Stone casino is about two hours away. That is the closest thing I have for live poker," he said. "I play online and then try to travel to the tournaments. I'm going to the Trump Taj Majal for the USPC. Hopefully, I can win my main event seat on PokerStars."

Congrats, Kyle. (Oh, and good to see you again).

For full Event #5 results, look at the WCOOP Limit Omaha High-Low results page. Final table results can be found below.

PokerStars WCOOP Event #5 Final Table Results
(Final table began eight-handed due to two players exiting on the same hand)

1. kwob20 (United States) $103,162.25
2. n47j25s (United States) $63,851.00
3. Just*AA*Pair (Canada) $40,502.50
4. Flippin Aces (United States) $29,781.25
5. nimag (United States) $24,539.75
6. dgang (United States) $19,774.75
7. NoPotForYou! (United States) $15,248.00
8. pollar (Russian Federation) $10,959.50

September 21, 2006 9:33 PM

EPT London: Ramdin feels lucky

Victor Ramdin is our current chipleader with nearly 60,000 chips. I spoke to him in the break about his charity work. Ramdin regularly travels to his native Guyana with other philanthropic poker players to do charity work.

"He's my mentor," he said, nodding at Phil Ivey who was chatting nearby. "He comes with me too."

I asked about Team PokerStars Barry Greenstein too, and he expressed his satisfaction that Team PokerStars seems to be made up of such 'Robin Hoods' of the poker world. Barry Greenstein is also noted for giving his winnings to favourite charity, Children, Incorporated, which provides food, clothing and educational equipment to schools, orphanages and welfare centers.

Victor explained, "I feel so lucky. I have what I need, and if I do well at this game that's good."

I asked about his tournament so far, "I'm playing well. And I was gifted 10,000 chips."

I smiled, thinking 'That's lucky!' And I wonder if his benefactor will be glad if Victor wins, that those chips will go to a good cause?

Current chipleader, Victor Ramdin

September 21, 2006 9:00 PM

EPT London:Chip Counts

Players are now back after the break, blinds 100/200.

Here are the latest chip counts of notable players:

Victor Ramdin 56,000
John Kabbaj 42,000
Jeff Lissandro 28,000
Ben Grundy 26,000
Phil Ivey 23,000
Edgar Skjervold 20,000
Ross Boatman 18,500
Isabelle Mercier 18,000
Luca Pagano 17,500
Barny Boatman 17,000
Ram Vaswani 13,000
David Pomroy 10,000
Tom Parker-Bowles 6,000
Dave Colclough 6,000
Mark Teltscher 3,500

September 21, 2006 6:44 PM

EPT London: Dinner break

We're now on a dinner break, 160 players remain. It looks like Victor Ramdin is the chipleader on 59,675. (Accurate chipcount provided by a friendly dealer.) I'll try to find more chip counts and stories for you soon.

I've just been chatting to a few other poker writers and all they tell me about Tom Parker-Bowles is that he has a Chilli Cottage Pie recipe. It even got a mention on PokerStars WSOP blog.

As thinking of dinner break's may be making you hungry, I wonder if it would be approiate to share it with you?

Tom Parker-Bowles' Chilli Cottage Pie
Serves 4

450g organic beef mince (from Portwine in Seven Dials, Covent Garden)
2 medium red onions, coarsely chopped
3 Thai chillis, finely chopped (de-seed and de-vein for less heat)
3 tbsps of olive oil...

Ok, maybe not. More poker news coming up soon. Less recipes. Yes, I know, this is a poker blog...

Some chips... (Do you want ketchup with that?)

September 21, 2006 6:24 PM

EPT London: A Royal Flush?

Playing in a PokerStars shirt today due to his media credentials, is London journalist and food critic, Tom Parker-Bowles. Tom is the son of Camilla Parker Bowles (the Duchess of Cornwall since her marriage to Prince Charles.) I don't know if Tom's played poker at Buckingham Palace with the Queen? It is possible. I will ask him this if I get the chance, but Tom was only interested in sharing the story of his unlucky loss with Aces in the last hand before the break. Tom was on 12,500 but is down to just 4000 chips now, his opponent hit a flush on the river.

I wish Tom well, but sadly this Tatler magazine food correspondent may soon be out of the game, and forced to muse on the quality of the Vic's sandwiches...

Tom Parker-Bowles - almost royalty.

September 21, 2006 5:01 PM

EPT London: Team PokerStars players

Seven Team PokerStars players made the trip to London for the EPT. Victor Ramdin, Isabelle Mercier and Luca Pagano play today. Joe Hachem, Barry Greinstein, Betrand 'ElkY' Grospellier and Katja Thater start tomorrow.

We're only on level 2 with 50/100 blinds, so it's far too early to make any real fuss about chips, but here's how Team PokerStars players are doing for the heck of it...

Victor Ramdin 40,000
Luca Pagano 11,000
Isabelle Mercier 6,000

Luca's preparation for this event was playing WCOOP event 5 last night. He finished 89th in this Limit Omaha Hi Lo event, winning $1048.30. He'll probably be hoping to win a little more today.

Luca Pagano - Last nights 89th place finisher in WCOOP event 5

Isabelle Mercier

Victor Ramdin

September 21, 2006 4:18 PM

EPT London: My boss sucks!

I go to take a photo of my former boss Terrence Chan, only to find him sheepishly nursing a stack of just 500 chips.

"Don't take a photo of me, I suck!" He says with a smile.

By all accounts it was an unlucky case of Kings running into Aces. Terrence is now out, he thinks he may be the first casuality of this EPT event.

Terrence Chan, former PokerStars Manager of Support. He may well be emailing our staff for sympathy now he's out of the tournament.

September 21, 2006 3:34 PM

EPT London: Who's who and who's here

Here are a few 'names' starting today. I've spotted last week's EPT Barcelona runner-up Phil Ivey, hoping to go one place better this week.

Phil Ivey, 2nd last week in Barcelona. Although I think he was famous before that...

Of course many Team PokerStars players are here, play on day 1A are Isabelle Mercier, Victor Ramdin and Luca Pagano. Ross and Barny Boatman and Ram Vaswami are playing on London turf for 'The Hendon Mob.' Other notable UK players are Julian Thew, Tony Cascarino, Neil Channing, Dave Colclough, and Ben Grundy. Thorstein Iversen, Johnny Lodden, Istvan Novak, Pascal Perrault, John Shipley, Edgar Skjervold, Paul Testud, Markus Golser, and last year's winner Mark Teltscher also start today. Erik Friberg, 8th place finisher in this years WSOP is also here.

Sweden's Erik Friberg, PokerStars 8th place finisher in WSOP 2006

Not forgetting my former boss Terrence Chan, who quit his job as Support Manager to become a succesful pro. I guess it's now ok to tell him that I used to steal Diet Coke from the marketing department fridge?

September 21, 2006 2:45 PM

EPT London: When we say 3pm we mean 3pm!

Perhaps I could try this for my home game, as a way to get everyone to turn up on time? Due to a quirk of British casino law any player who's not in their seat at the tournament start has their chips removed from play - and they're out. No mercy for latecomers, no blinding you away if you miss your bus, or if you tell them the dog ate your poker homework. Well surely there must be a few FPP qualifiers studying, 'How to win your first live game?'

Unfortunately this strict rule doesn't seem to have had the desired effect, I've seen a few 10,000 chip stacks removed. So it looks more like there are 197 players starting today not 200. The tournament just kicked off, a little later than planned at 3.07pm GMT. Maybe next time they should try, 'Last one here buys the pizza?'

Not too many empty chairs at 2.55pm...

September 21, 2006 2:03 PM

EPT London: Red buses and green chips

Less than a week ago the stars and the star-struck played in a casino beside a Barcelona beach in the first event of this European Poker Tour season. Now the pros, and the rest, who probably call themselves semi-pros, wake up to a sunny September day in London with the chance to compete for a £1.2 million prize pool.

Usually poker bloggers catch a plane to a faraway location, to enjoy a swish hotel, and perhaps a paddle in the sea before a night counting chips and consuming caffeine. It's a bit different for me this time, I live in London, so no airport to start my EPT adventure, just the local local tube station. I don't mind, I love poker and London too, and feel lucky that I can share my thoughts on these with you. My local tube station is special too, but perhaps you don't need to know about that? Can I just tell you about the time I was on the escalator and someone reraised and made me fold trips? Or was it that someone pushed past me and made me fall and trip? I don't know. My fault for having a head full of poker. That can be dangerous on escalators.

The magic of my local tube station...

If you're too busy playing poker you can see all the sites this way... (And if you're a busy poker blogger you can save yourself a trip around town with the camera.)

This EPT event is now sold out, the maximum 400 players have entered this £3,500 buy in event at the Victoria Casino.

The Victoria Casino, 'The Vic' to it's friends...

'The Vic' as London's poker people know it, is noted for its cash game scene of taciturn old boys who seem not to have left their chairs for the last decade or so. The same old faces, all day, all night, grumpy in a cash game when the new waitress doesn't know just how they like their cup of tea. The EPT's arrival in this world of traditional English poker misery is like a breath of fresh air. It feels like EPT excitement has blown the cobwebs off the old guys, quite literally forcing them out of their favourite seats, as new temporary chairs and tables pack the two floors of the casino. The old boys are now replaced by Swedish internet qualifiers with no intention of sitting there long enough to get dusty, they hope to play until close of play, but no doubt have laptops at the ready and Sit and Go's waiting if they go out in level 4. Many of these old guys will marvel that Frequent Player Points won players these seats, when their frequent play has only ever earned them a bad back and a failed marriage.

Like the chap in the top hat at the front door, there's something old fashioned about the Vic. It's a London institution, perhaps the poker equivalent of afternoon tea. A visitor might brave the formalities of the dress code, the regular's cosy familiar chat, and feel better for this very British poker experience. If they win they can celebrate with a cup of Lapsang Souchong, just a little milk, one lump, not two...

A London red bus

I've enjoyed playing at the Vic with many sullen old guys, who'll be unexpected smiles when someone makes a wry comment on the play of a hand. Their poker humour reminds me of a bright red London buses adding colour to grey Victorian shopping streets.

The EPT descends on London like a whole fleet of shiny red buses, bringing showbiz, and colour, big stars, big prizes, and hopefully some funny stories that I can share with you too. I'll bring you news of names and payouts when I have more information. I think the London EPT is going to be quite a ride. You don't need a bus ticket to enjoy it, you can follow all the action here, the timetable says the journey begins at 3pm.

September 21, 2006 7:38 AM

2006 WCOOP: Event #5 Results

In the first high-low game of the 2006 World Championship of Online Poker, nearly 1,000 players put up $530 a piece for a chance to be the Limit Omaha High-Low Champion. After nearly 12 hours of play, the United States' kwob20 stormed over the final table and captured the Event #5 WCOOP gold bracelet. For full results, look at the WCOOP Limit Omaha High-Low results page. Final table results can be found below. A final table report will be out later on Thursday.

PokerStars WCOOP Event #5 Final Table Results
(Final table began eight-handed due to two players exiting on the same hand)

1. kwob20 (United States) $103,162.25
2. n47j25s (United States) $63,851.00
3. Just*AA*Pair (Canada) $40,502.50
4. Flippin Aces (United States) $29,781.25
5. nimag (United States) $24,539.75
6. dgang (United States) $19,774.75
7. NoPotForYou! (United States) $15,248.00
8. pollar (Russian Federation) $10,959.50

September 20, 2006 9:08 PM

2006 WCOOP: Event #4 Final Table Report

PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker Event #4 was the stuff of history. The heads-up contest boasted an astounding 2,048 players, making it the biggest heads-up poker competition in the history of poker. That would've been enough to open up this history ledger and make a mark. Then I realized, just the first four events of 2006 had exceeded the prize pool for the whole of the 2003 WCOOP. Again, history in the making.

Then a guy named spawng had to go and make it a night that no one could forget.

With four players remaining in the competition, spawng was still alive and shooting for a milestone. He was the only one left in the contest who had already won a WCOOP bracelet (spawng won the 2005 Event #13 PLO competition). If spawng were able to take down his final two matches, he would be the first person to ever win two PokerStars WCOOP bracelets.

He won his semi-final match without breaking a sweat. In a match against Beatiful Man, spawng came in for a raise with A2, flopped A6A, played it fast, and got Beatiful Man to commit to the pot with T6. With that much out of the way, spawng had just one more opponent to face, a fellow Canadian named k-knuts.

Click image for full version

Before the match began in earnest, there was some business to take care of. With a $33,000 difference between first and second place, the two players decided to not take a coinflip for that much money. They agreed to split the cash down the middle, play for $10,000 and the WCOOP bracelet.

Spawng was ready for the bracelet. In the opening minutes of play, he opened up a 2-1 chip lead and didn't seem like he was going to give up. Then came the hand that very well could've ended the match.

Spawng came in for a raise with a pair of tens and k-knuts called. The flop came down 8hJs4h. K-knuts bet out and spawng smooth called. The turn was the ten of spades, giving spawng his set, but also putting possible a possible straight and a flush draw on the board. K-knuts bet out again and spawng simply called. The river cooled the hand off. The nine of spades made the board too scary to get silly. K-knuts bet out again and, again, spawng just called. K-knuts showed...pocket aces to spawng's set.

With a sizable lead, spawng was ready to race for the bracelet and played AK vs 88 for all of k-knuts chips. The eights held up and the match was back to even.

Spawng's luck turned in a subsequent hand in a classic suck-resuck-resuck hand. Spawng came in for a raise with 7-5 and k-knuts called with A-6. The flop, 995, put spawn ahead. Spawng bet out, k-knuts raised, and spawng called. The turn was a six, putting k-knuts back in the lead. K-knuts bet and spawng just called. The river brought another suck...a five on the river gave spawng the full house and the win.

With a 3-1 chip lead, spawng finally put k-knuts to bed. K-knuts came in for a raise with 9T. Spawng re-raised with pocket kings and k-knuts called. The flop came nine-high and spawng pushed. K-knuts called with his top pair and didn't improve. He finished in second place, after the deal earning $48,248.00.

That left spawng as the last man standing out of 2,048. For the first time in WCOOP history, a player had a WCOOP bracelet for each wrist. For his win he took home $58,248.00.

Full results on the 2006 Event #4 can be found on the WCOOP Event #4 results page. Below are the final eight players.

PokerStars WCOOP Event #4 Final Eight
Results based on two-way deal that left $10,000 for first place

1. spawng (Canada) $58,248.00
2. k-knuts (Canada) $48,248.00
3. YdotheyPLAY (United States) $22,528.00
4. Beatiful Man (United States) $22,528.00
5. Sirens (Australia) $11,264.00
6. Purr Of Aces (United Kingdom) $11,264.00
7. Bettishldum (United States) $11,264.00
8. Piquette (Canada) $11,264.00

September 20, 2006 8:14 AM

2006 WCOOP: Event #4 Results

For the first time in World Championship of Online Poker history, a PokerStars player has won a second WCOOP bracelet. Spawng won the 2006 WCOOP Event #4 Match Play event, the biggest heads-up competition in the history of poker. Last year, spawng captured his first WCOOP bracelet when he won the Pot-Limit Omaha event. Full results on the 2006 Event #4 can be found WCOOP Event #4 Results page. Below are the final eight players. A full report will be out later on Wednesday.

PokerStars WCOOP Event #4 Final Eight
Results based on two-way deal that left $10,000 for first place

1. spawng (Canada) $58,248.00
2. k-knuts (Canada) $48,248.00
3. YdotheyPLAY (United States) $22,528.00
4. Beatiful Man (United States) $22,528.00
5. Sirens (Australia) $11,264.00
6. Purr Of Aces (United Kingdom) $11,264.00
7. Bettishldum (United States) $11,264.00
8. Piquette (Canada) $11,264.00

September 19, 2006 9:37 PM

2006 WCOOP: Event #3 Final Table Report

"Poker is like driving and making love. Everybody thinks they are the best."
--Greg Raymer, during final table webcast of WCOOP Event #3

Giants just don't get the credit they deserve. Because they are big, most people think they are oafs, incapable of using their brain, and finding success only through the use of brute force. Most people believe that if they can outsmart a giant, they can beat him.

In the PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker Event #3, Pot-Limit Omaha with rebuys, trickery and guile were the order of the day and the biggest target at the table was a Swede who played under a name befitting his chip stack: thegiant.

This is what the final table looked like as the players began the fight for the big money.

Click image for full version

Seat 1: nomoballer (379911 in chips)
Seat 2: AnalAce (449972 in chips)
Seat 3: bastet2004 (853964 in chips)
Seat 4: lara15fiona (576826 in chips)
Seat 5: doidovarrido (849806 in chips)
Seat 6: TillerMaN (216618 in chips)
Seat 7: thegiant (1955142 in chips)
Seat 8: gnsd22 (309166 in chips)
Seat 9: Bebop86 (311595 in chips)

If there was a man at the table that aimed to be the David to thegiant's Goliath, it was Bebop86. Though he began the final table with just more than 300,000 chips, Bebop86 made it clear, he planned to win the whole shooting match. In the first big pot at the final table, Bebop86 got involved in a pot with AnalAce. Holding 9hQd8hJs, Bebop86 loved the flop of 7cTc9d. AnalAce called Bebop86's all-in raise with Ac7h2d3c. He needed a club to win. The turn brought an eight. The river brought the club. But it was the nine of clubs, giving AnalAce the flush, but giving Bebop86 the fullhouse. The pot was worth nearly 600,000 chips and put Bebop in a position to go after the giant.

First, however, there was a matter of getting rid of the rest of the field. The thinning began when gnsd22 got all his money in before the flop with 7d4h5d6c against lara15fiona's 2cAc5hAd. The best hand held up and gnsd22 was out in ninth place for $10,513.65.

On the very next hand, TillerMaN found the rail. Sitting with fewer than 200,000 chips, TillerMaN put his stack in the middle with ThAd7sKs. It was no match for nomoballer's KcKhJcTs. TillerMan won $15,940.05 for his eighth place finish.

The first player to try to tangle with thegiant at the final table was AnalAce. On a flop of 5hQsJc, AnalAce put his chips in the middle with KdTcThAc. Thegiant held QdKs9c8s None of Ace's outs came and he was out in seventh place for a $22,383.90 payday.

Two hands later, bastet2004 made a cat-like exit. With barely enough chips to play, bastet2004 liked 8dTd6cTs well enough to go all-in. The timing was bad, as lara15fiona held JdKdJsAs which held up. Bastet2004 finished in sixth place for $29,166.90.

The thing about Omaha is that the following match-up seems to happen a lot more. Doidovarrido, holding 8cAhKcKh ran smack dab into nomoballer's Ad7hAs4c. Every one of the 1,323,058 chips went in before the flop. Neither hand improved and the aces held up. Doidovarrido, crippled by that hand, went out a couple hands later in fifth place, winning $35,949.90.

With four players remaining, Bebop86 started making a run for the bracelet. After winning a 730,000 chip pot with a rivered flush against lara15fiona's two-pair (to be fair, most of the money went in after Bebop86 made his hand), Bepop86 sat in second place. Deal negotiations began, but Bebop86, with fresh chips in his hand, refused to settle for less than he believed he deserved. After several minutes of bickering, the players resumed their game.

After losing a huge hand to nomoballer then doubling up through Bebop86, lara15fiona ran straight into thegiant. Thegiant flopped an open-ended straight draw and a flush draw to lara15fiona'a two-pair. By the river, thegiant had made his flush and lara15fiona busted in fourth place. That effort was worth $43,411.20.

Three-handed, deal negotiations resumed and, once again, fell through when Bebop86 insisted his skill edge was greater than his opponents, and as such, required more than the chip-count deal favored by thegiant. Nomoballer told Bebop86 where he could stick his edge and thegiant said play on.

The lack of a deal ended up costing nomoballer some money. He was the next to go out, after getting his chips in with a gutshot draw and a flush draw. By the river, thegiant held a full house. Nomoballer, out in third, won $61,250.49.

This time, thegiant didn't care to discuss any more deals. He had a significant chip advantage and proclaimed he was tired of the "kindergarten" negotiation tactics employed by Bebop86. Bebop86's only reply was "You're going to be so sad with $92K."

With fairly deep stacks, the two players sparred for a long while before the final hand. Holding AhTdQhKs, thegiant came in for a raise and Bebop86 called with 2cJcQdJs. The flop came down KdKc9s. Thegiant bet out and Bebop86 called. The turn brought the 9h. Both players checked. The river brought a ten. It was the best card for thegiant and the worst for Bebop86. Thegiant, holding kings full of tens, bet enough to put Bebop86 in with a straight. Bebop86 called and it was all over. Bebop86 ended up with $92,927.10 and thegiant won a whopping $151,260.90 for his first place finish.

Indeed, on this morning, there were no Davids to take on thegiant. For the second night in a row, a Swede had won a WCOOP bracelet. Thegiant entered the final table with the chip lead and refused to topple. Full results for Event #3 can be found on the WCOOP Event #3 Results page. The final table results are below.

PokerStars WCOOP Event #3 Final Table Results

1. thegiant (Sweden) $151,260.90
2. Bebop86 (United States) $92,927.10
3. nomoballer (United States) $61,250.49
4. lara15fiona (France) $43,411.20
5. doidovarrido (Norway) $35,949.90
6. bastet2004 (Germany) $29,166.90
7. AnalAce (United States) $22,383.90
8. TillerMaN (United Kingdom) $15,940.05
9. gnsd22 (United States) $10,513.65

September 19, 2006 9:16 AM

2006 WCOOP: Event #3 Results

For the second event in a row, a Swede took home a WCOOP gold bracelet. Sweden's thegiant won the Pot-Limit Omaha (rebuy) event outright, earning more than $150,000 for his efforts. Thegiant's win for Sweden marks the second time in two days a Swede has won a WCOOP event. Rambo5 won Event #2 less than 24 hours before. Full results for Event #3 can be found on the WCOOP Event #3 Results page. The final table results are below. A full final table report will be out later on Tuesday.

PokerStars WCOOP Event #3 Final Table Results

1. thegiant (Sweden) $151,260.90
2. Bebop86 (United States) $92,927.10
3. nomoballer (United States) $61,250.49
4. lara15fiona (France) $43,411.20
5. doidovarrido (Norway) $35,949.90
6. bastet2004 (Germany) $29,166.90
7. AnalAce (United States) $22,383.90
8. TillerMaN (United Kingdom) $15,940.05
9. gnsd22 (United States) $10,513.65

September 18, 2006 10:14 PM

2006 WCOOP: Event #2 Final Table Report

"I could have killed 'em all, I could kill you. In town you're the law, out here it's me. Don't push it. Don't push it or I'll give you a war you won't believe. Let it go. Let it go." --John J. Rambo, First Blood

In my travels in Nordic lands, I've often been humbled by how well the people of those countries speak English. In fact, not only is their English better than my Swedish (or Danish, for that matter), their English is often times better than my English. With that admission made, the above quote just sounds good in English. I have to imagine First Blood would've been a far different film if Stallone had looked up and said, "Jag kunde har slaktat dem alla. Jag kunde doda du. I stad du er ratten , ute har den er jag. Inte skjuta `pa den. Inte skjuta pa den eller Jag vill ger du en krig du vill inte tro pa. Lata den ga. Lata den ga." (Full disclosure: I used an online translation service for that.)

That's what's fun about poker, though. In the World Championship of Online Poker Event #2, players met a stone cold killer from Sweden who ran over the table under the name Rambo5. Though he rarely said much, his card-play made it clear, he was a stack-killer with no remorse. Anyone who played against him in the 13 hours of Event #2 had to have been hearing the echoes of First Blood: "Don't push it or I'll give you a war you won't believe."

Nearly 4,500 players showed to up to build a prize pool of more than $2.2 million. In Monday's early morning hours, these nine players found themselves the final table competing for one of the biggest prizes you'll find in online poker.

Click image for full version

Seat 1: LUNOID (1462261 in chips)
Seat 2: Striker 10 (586260 in chips)
Seat 3: Rambo5 (3219217 in chips)
Seat 4: Mr Neverquit (598356 in chips)
Seat 5: lasbas (971978 in chips)
Seat 6: Feb19 (537404 in chips)
Seat 7: gski6986 (1938799 in chips)
Seat 8: Sassenage (535520 in chips)
Seat 9: polpolpol (1387705 in chips)

While Rambo5 knocked off a lot of people on his way to the final fight, he didn't strike first blood at the final table. That distinction went to Mr Neverquit. Facing a raise from Striker 10, Mr Neverquit found pocket tens on the button and moved all in. Striker 10 thought for a bit and then called with his AQ. It was a race he wouldn't win. Striker 10 finished in ninth place for a $22,475.00 payday.

With Striker 10 gone, Sassenage's stack began to dwindle. With fewer than 300,000 chips, Sassenage decided to make a move for the blinds and antes with J9. Lasbas sat in the big blind with more than a million chips and decided he'd take a shot with QT. A queen on the flop was enough to send Sassenage out of the contest. For eighth place, he earned $34,836.25.

That exit left Feb19 on the shortstack and A3 looked good enough to take a shot, but the timing was a little bit off. Polpolpol found AJ in the big blind, made the call, and turned a jack. While Feb19's time at the final table was short, a seventh place finish was good for $46,073.75.

Feb19's departure brought the first break of the final table and the beginning of the 30,000/60,000 level. With blood in the water, Rambo5 woke up and moved in for the kill. The set-up began furiously enough. In a battle of the blinds, Rambo5 and Mr Neverquit went to war with naked aces and ended up chopping an all-in pot. On the very next hand, with Mr Neverquit in the small blind, Rambo5 made a standard raise from the button. Perhaps with the previous hand still fresh in his mind, Mr Neverquit moved in with A7. Once again, Rambo5 held an ace as well, however, this time, Rambo5 had another ace to go with it. Go figure, Rambo with bullets. Mr Neverquit couldn't find a miracle and became Rambo5's first final table victim. For sixth place, Mr Neverquit picked up $59,558.75.

With five players remaining, the game became of story of people picking the right time to make the wrong move. When Lasbas decided to move in under the gun with JT, Polpolpol decided he would spend 25% of his stack to take a shot an eliminating lasbas. Holding pocket sevens, polpolpol made the call. A seven on the flop looked good for polpolpol, but lasbas only needed a nine or a hear to fall to win the pot. It was the heart that came.

Mr Neverquit's demise at Rambo5's hands wasn't enough to scare off the rest of the table. In fact, gski6986 soon decided to make a move with AT against a Rambo5's raise. It was a bad idea. Rambo5 held AQ which was good for nut/no-pair and the win. For fifth place, gski6986 won an astounding $76,415.00.

The carnage must have made polpolpol feel a little froggy, because soon thereafter, he made an all-in move with A2 against a raise from lasbas. Lasbas called off the rest of his 600,000 chips with QJ. Polpolpol ended up making two-pair and booting lasbas to the rail, trousering $94,395 for fourth place.

With a ton of money left on the line for the final three places, the killer briefly became a pacifist. He opened up the option of a deal discussion. Then, just as poker room manager Lee Jones was about to hit the pause button, polpolpol drew Rambo5 back to battle. Rambo5 came in for a raise to 240,000 and polpolpol jammed for 2,323,774. Rambo5 made the call with pocket tens. Polpolpol beseeched the poker gods to bring him an ace or king to match his big slick. None came and polpolpol departed, just short of the deal discussions, with $119,117.50 and a third place finish.

With polpolpol gone, deal discussions began in earnest. Rambo5, with nearly more than a 4-1 chip lead agreed to give LUNOID $250,000 and a shot at $30,865 if he came back and won. It was not to be. After just a few hands, LUNOID, holding pocket sixes, discovered that Rambo5 still had a couple of bullets left in his arsenal. Indeed, Rambo5's pocket aces held up once again, sending LUNOID out in second place and earning the murderous Swede a first place finish and a gold WCOOP bracelet.

Full results for the event can be found on the WCOOP Event #2 Results page. The final table results are below.

PokerStars WCOOP Event #2 Final Table Results
*Results based on two-way deal that left $30,865 for the winner

1. Rambo5 (Sweden) $320,865.00
2. LUNOID (United Kingdom) $250,000.00
3. polpolpol (Cyprus) $119,117.50
4. lasbas (Denmark) $94,395.00
5. gski6986 (United States) $76,415.00
6. Mr Neverquit (United States) $59,558.75
7. Feb19 (United States) $46,073.75
8. Sassenage (Germany) $34,836.25
9. Striker 10 (Sweden) $22,475.00

September 18, 2006 11:02 AM

2006 WCOOP Event #2 Results

It was a day that normally would've played host to the PokerStars Sunday Million. Instead, WCOOP Event #2, the $530 No-Limit Hold'em Event, drew nearly 4,500 people and built a prize pool that eclipsed $2.2 million! After 13 hours of play, Sweden's Rambo5 rolled over the final table and emerged with more than $320,000 and the gold WCOOP bracelet. Full results for the event can be found on the WCOOP Event #2 Results page. A full final table report will be out later on Monday. Here are the final table results.

PokerStars WCOOP Event #2 Final Table Results
*Results based on two-way deal that left $30,865 for the winner

1. Rambo5 (Sweden) $320,865.00
2. LUNOID (United Kingdom) $250,000.00
3. polpolpol (Cyprus) $119,117.50
4. lasbas (Denmark) $94,395.00
5. gski6986 (United States) $76,415.00
6. Mr Neverquit (United States) $59,558.75
7. 19-Feb (United States) $46,073.75
8. Sassenage (Germany) $34,836.25
9. Striker 10 (Sweden) $22,475.00

September 17, 2006 8:23 PM

2006 WCOOP: Event #1 Final Table Report

Even Nabokov--the Vladimir varietal--frowned on his own creation. He didn't mask his distaste for his most famous accomplishment. Of his most important character, Nabokov said, he's a "vain and cruel wretch" and "a hateful person."

If Vladimir Nabokov had met his poker namesake, a young American poker player from the States, the author might have learned a new form of disgust. He might have found something more distasteful than Humbert Humbert. Vladimir might have found a game we like to call Razz.

For the first time ever, PokerStars added a Razz event to the World Championship of Online Poker. It's the type of game that is rarely played and even more rarely enjoyed. In an age when we are all told to do our best, Razz tells us to be the best of the worst. The worst possible hand (A-5 aka the wheel) is the nuts in Razz. It's a counterintuitive game where a player actually curses getting rolled up kings. And yet, because we are a society of masochists, we play this game. We add it to our mixed games and we look for it in tournament schedules. After years of winning with aces full of kings, we get some sick pleasure out of taking down a pot with 8-5-4-3-2.

Who knew, except the self-loathers among us, that Razz would be such a draw. With the smallest guaranteed prize pool in all of WCOOP, Razz could've drawn 500 people and been considered a success. After all, the 2006 World Series of Poker Razz event drew just more than 400 people. With that in mind, consider this: Nearly 1,300 people signed up to play in the first event of the 2006 World Championship of Online Poker. Eight of them played for nearly 13 hours.

Yeah, they played Razz for almost 13 hours.

Here were the fortunate masochists who made the first final table of the 2006 WCOOP.

Click on image to see full version

Seat 1: respekmestak (286507 in chips)
Seat 2: FellKnight (134356 in chips)
Seat 3: BadgerDawg (99776 in chips)
Seat 4: debrisfish (101128 in chips)
Seat 5: 2badd4u (387993 in chips)
Seat 6: Nabokov (1123208 in chips)
Seat 7: TS Long (553433 in chips)
Seat 8: solody (556099 in chips)

By the time the players reached the final table, they were looking at at 20,000/40,000 level. That meant the shortstacks didn't have enough chips to make it through a big hand without being all-in. That further meant the final table lost two players in the first few minutes. BadgerDawg found a good enough hand to move his chips toward the middle, but his 8-6 low couldn't beat FellKnight's 7-4. BadgerDawg finished in eighth place and earned $5,706.80. Less than a minute later, debrisfish got the rest of his 100,000 in chips all-in against respekmestak. Unfortunately for debrisfish, his 8d3h/4c started behind respekmestak's 4sAc/8c and never caught up. Debrisfish finished in seventh place for $8,560.20.

At one point in the game, TS Long would claim he'd never played Razz before and even spent time on the Internet reading up on the rules of the game before he played. Perhaps he was protesting a bit much, as he managed to make the wheel against Nabokov at a critical point in the game for a half-million chip pot. It would not be the last time we heard from the self-professed Razz neophyte.

First, though, we had to hear from a man who could've been declared a bit of a suck-up. At some point prior to the game, Solody created a player icon that was an homage to PokerStars poker room manager Lee Jones. While Jones has no control over the cards, Solody was intent on kissing up with his "I Love Leeeeeeeee" icon. Even if it had no effect on the cards, it served him well. He picked up a pot worth 400,000 with a 6-4 low and crippled respekmestak. Within a few minutes, fellow short-stack 2badd4u finished off respekmestak and sent the Ali G lover to the rail in sixth place with $11,154.20.

RGP-favorite FellKnight would be the next to depart. After losing a key hand to Solody's wheel, FellKnight found himself in a dire position. Though he was able to double through Nabokov once, he never fully recovered. His 4h6d/7s bricked out on him and ended up falling to Solody's 8-7 low. FellKnight won $13,748.20 for his fifth place finish.

Solody's rush seemed to refuse to die. For the next several minutes, Solody ran over the four-handed table and ran his stack up over 1.8 million chips. However, it would be Nabokov who finally took out the ever-lasting shortstack 2badd4u. After surviving on low ammo for more than an hour, 2badd4u gave up the ghost in fourth place, collecting $16,861.00.

Three-handed, play went on forever. The players had reached the peak of the blind level escalation and traded chips for a long while. However, as the game progressed, Nabokov couldn't seem to lose. Aggression and a run of luck helped him take over the chip lead. He would never give it up. His 8-7 low knocked off Solody's 9-6 and sent the kiss-up to bed with a third place finish and $22,827.20.

With Solody on the rail, Nabokov had but one opponent left and he made quick work of him. He pulled TS Long down a trail toward disaster, two times taking huge pots after forcing TS Long to fold on the river. After dealing the near-death blow on a hand in which we never saw a showdown, Nabokov finally knocked off TS Long with an 8-6 vs a 9-6. TS Long won $35,019.00 for second place.

And that left Nabokov sitting at the table alone. What the young man had wrought was something most poker players don't get to experience. He had won more than $58,000 for making a worse hand than all of his opponents.

An earlier Nabokov once wrote about a man who lived in a wretched world and who lived a life in the shadows of his own imagination and sick fantasy [1]. PokerStars' Nabokov wrote a far different tale. It's dark and deals with the worst possible hands in poker. That is to say, it may not be pretty, but it's worth $58,000.

And that can't be all bad.

Here are the final table results. Full results can be found by clicking the WCOOP Razz results page.

PokerStars WCOOP Event #1: $215 Razz Final Table Results

1. Nabokov (United States) $58,365.00
2. TS Long (United States) $35,019.00
3. solody (France) $22,827.20
4. 2badd4u (United States) $16,861.00
5. FellKnight (Canada) $13,748.20
6. respekmestak (Canada) $11,154.20
7. debrisfish (Italy) $8,560.20
8. BadgerDawg (United States) $5,706.80

[1] If all the Vladimir Nabokov references are lost on you, I'll loan you my library card. It's worth your time.

September 17, 2006 10:27 AM

2006 WCOOP: Event #1 Results

The World Championship of Online Poker kicked off this weekend with the first-ever WCOOP Razz event. Event #1 drew more than 1,200 people who fought and battled to make the worst hand. When it was all over, Prescott, Arizona's Nabokov claimed the first WCOOP Razz bracelet and more than $58,000! A full final table report will be out later on Sunday. For now, full results can be found by clicking WCOOP Razz results. Here are the final table results.

PokerStars WCOOP Event #1: $215 Razz Final Table Results

1. Nabokov (United States) $58,365.00
2. TS Long (United States) $35,019.00
3. solody (France) $22,827.20
4. 2badd4u (United States) $16,861.00
5. FellKnight (Canada) $13,748.20
6. respekmestak (Canada) $11,154.20
7. debrisfish (Italy) $8,560.20
8. BadgerDawg (United States) $5,706.80

September 16, 2006 11:14 PM

EPT Barcelona: The final word

A record breaking EPT, graced by a stellar performance from the prince of poker's royal family - but it wasn't Phil 'Phenomenon' Ivey who was running the show. We crown a Norwegian called Bjorn-Eric Glenne.

With the biggest field in EPT history, it had been a long, long road to the final table, but with several short stacks and big blinds, we didn't have long to wait for the first casualties.

Double exit - KidPokerJD and Robin Keston OUT
Bjorn Erik Glenne
busted two short-stacks in the same hand, leaving us down to six players on the final table. With blinds up to 10,000/20,000 with a 2,000 ante, KidPokerJD (Jonathan Dull) (above, with his sister) moved all-in and was called by Glenne AND by Robin Keston (above, top).

It was a three-way struggle, and only one would win it. KidPokerJD showed A-9, Glenne Q-Q and Keston 9-9. Glenne was a huge favourite, and with a board of 3-J-4-6-4 he stayed ahead throughout.

Congratulations to KidPokerJD (7th place; 92,200 euro), the last survivor of the 118 PokerStars qualifiers. The 23-year-old is from California, but has support here in the shape of his sister Jaqueline, who lives in Barcelona. Jonathan graduated in law and been playing online for three years. He fell just short of the cash at the WSOP main event this summer but did cash in the $1,000 NL event, and was also close to the money in the London EPT last year. He won his seat here in Barcelona in a $475 satellite.

Congratulations too, Robin Keston (8th place, 69,100 euro) , from London, who has been successful on the circuit for while. He is no stranger to the EPT and last year came 21st at the London tourney. He will be known to devotees of Late Night Poker, the pioneering UK television show, in which he was often a contestant. The 41-year-old owns a company that runs bingo halls...

Back in the action: the remaining big stacks were circling like vultures. Who would be the next victim?

Lisandro agony
Jeff Lisandro (6th, 115,200 euro) is busted by Phil Ivey in one of those big "OUCH" poker moments. The Italian thought he had won the monster pot...until he saw what was lurking beneath Ivey's card protector.

Here's what happened: With the blinds at 10,000/20,000, Ivey raised to 60,000 and was called by Lisandro. Everyone else got out of the way sharpish, perhaps sensing the danger ahead.

The flop came 5-10-9. Lisandro checked, Ivey bet 80,000 and Lisandro moved all in over the top to be met with an instant call. Lisandro flipped over 9-10 for two pair - enough you would have thought, until Ivey turned his 9-9 for yet another set.

The turn and river bought two fours for Ivey's full house. Jeff, we feel your pain.

Ivey's stack is up again, with him and Bjorn Erik Glenne fighting for a clear lead.

No Joakim
We lose Sweden's Joakim Geigert (5th, 138,200 euro), knocked out by Bjorn Erik Glenne.

Bjorn raised pre-flop, Geigert moved over the top and Glenne called. The flop was 5-9-4, Glenne checked, Geigert moved all in and Glenne called in a flash. Geigert showed A-3 for the ace high and gutshot straight draw. But Glenne had him with K-9 for top pair.

The turn and river - Q-4 - were no help for the Swede, and he left four players to fight it out for the big one: big stacks Glenne and Ivey, smaller stack David Gregory and even smaller stack David Daneshgar. At this stage you fancied Glenne and Ivey to end up heads up - but as ever there could be many twists and turns before then.

Two Davids, then one
And then there were three! David Daneshgar (4th, 161,300 euro), the pro from Los Angeles, goes out after a critical tussle with David Gregory.

Daneshgar had been flirting with danger for a while, waiting to pick his spot for a double up. This was not it. He got all-in before the flop with his Q-8 and was called by Gregory's 6-6.

The sixes have proved to be killer cards for the past few days, and so it proved for Daneshgar. His face, partly hidden below a baseball cap, lit up when he saw a Q emerge from the dealer's hands.

His joy was shortlived - the next card to come out was a six, followed by a three. Gregory had a set, Daneshgar top pair, and nothing on the turn or river changed that.

The three wise men - Ivey, Glenne and Gregory - are now on a one-hour break before coming back for the grand finale.

Gregory gone
After a couple of hours in which Bjorn Erik Glenne turned the screw, we went heads up - after David Gregory (3rd, 184,300 euro) was knocked out by the seemingly untouchable Norwegian.

Gregory - who had moved above a struggling Phil Ivey in the chip count - faced a raise pre-flop by Glenne of 120,000, and moved all-in over the top for his remaining 550,000.

Glenne called.

Gregory showed K-10, Glenne A-5. The flop was K-7-5 giving Gregory hope of getting right back in this final and closer to Glenne.

But a second five on the turn made the Norwegian trips and sent Gregory spinning towards the exit.

Ivey, on little more than 350,000 chips, faces a mountain to climb against Glenne, who has 4.5 million.

The pattern before Gregory's exit had been push and shove. Unfortunately for him and Ivey, Glenne had been doing the pushing, while they had been doing the shoving - their chips over to him, that is.

Ivey has been strangely subdued. His re-raises being met with moves over the top forcing him to fold on more than one occasion.

He's been in this position before, though, and you know you can't rule him out. However, it seems some of Glenne's supporters already have. They are cheering from the rail and keeping the barmen busy...

Norwegian would, could...and did
Norwegian Bjorn-Erik Glenne won the EPT in Barcelona, beating Phil Ivey heads up to pocket a cool 691,000 euros.

He crushed the final table, and even a poker superstar of Ivey's status could find no answer to his aggression and hand selection.

Ivey faced Glenne heads-up well down on chips. The Norwegian - something of a chess expert, by all accounts - had a sea of brown 5,000 chips in front of him amounting to nearly 5 million.

Ivey, meanwhile had a tiny stack by comparison of just 350,000. The early duel was straight forward - raise, fold; fold; call, check etc - but the killer hand was always just around the corner.

The blinds were 20,000/40,000 with a 4,000 ante. Glenne, first to act, called, and Ivy as he had begun to do more often, moved all in for his remaining goodies. Glenne called.

Ivey had an ace with a five, but Glenne had the 10-10 - a heads-up monster. The flop sealed it, with a third 10 falling for Glenne, 10-J-2. The turn was an 8 and then Ivey was dead.

The rail erupted. A strong Norwegian contingent is here - as they are at all the EPT tourneys. Ivey - who collected 371,000 euros - deserves much credit. This was his first EPT event, and he wasted no time in showing us all just why he is one of the best players in the world. Don't be a stranger, Phil.

Adios, amigos!

September 16, 2006 10:41 PM

EPT Barcelona: The champion speaks

Trap for the unwary
After his triumph, our champion Bjorn-Erik Glenne told how he set a cunning trap for Ivey to walk right into.

He said: "The heads-up was not very exciting as I had a 15-1 chip lead and I knew it would only be a matter of time. I played tight at first and when I called with the 10-10 I did so knowing he would push all-in.

"A few hands earlier I had called, waited for him to move in and then deliberately folded. It was a set plan to get him the next time."

Glenne acknowledged his love of chess - he was apparently ranked in the top 50 players in Norway - has helped his poker game.

"I have learnt a lot from chess. Both games are analytical and strategic. They need the ability to acquire knowledge about theory from reading books and putting it into practice."

He is the first Norwegian to win an EPT - they have finished second in London, Baden and Copenhagen - and recognises what it mean for the country's players: "Yes, it feels good - and it was wonderful to have the Norwegian drunks cheering for me!"

Glenne played in five EPTs last season - his highest position being 19th in Copenhagen - and he admits that up to now, playing day two badly has been his downfall.

"This time I played it well, and I knew at the end of day two, when I was one of the chip leaders, that I had a very good chance of winning.

"These European Poker Tour events are excellent. The atmosphere is simply great."

September 16, 2006 9:56 PM

EPT Barcelona: Glenne the champion

Norwegian would, could...and did
Norwegian Bjorn-Erik Glenne has won the EPT here in Barcelona, beating Phil Ivey heads up to pocket a cool 691,000 euros.

He crushed the final table, and even a poker superstar of Ivey's status could find no answer to his aggression and hand selection.

Ivey faced Glenne heads up well down on chips. The Norwegian - something of a chess expert, by all accounts - had a sea of brown 5,000 chips in front of him amounting to nearly 5 million.

Ivey, meanwhile had a tiny stack by comparison of just 350,000.

The early duel was straight forward - raise, fold; fold; call, check etc - but the killer hand was always just around the corner.

The blinds were 20,000/40,000 with a 4,000 ante.

Glenne, first to act, called, and Ivy as he had begun to do more often, moved all in for his remaining goodies. Glenne called.

Ivey had an ace with a five, but Glenne had the 10-10 - a heads-up monster. The flop sealed it, with a third 10 falling for Glenne, 10-J-2.

The turn was an 8 and then Ivey was dead.

The rail erupted. A strong Norwegian contingent is here - as they are at all the EPT tourneys. Ivey - who collected 371,000 euros - deserves much credit. This was his first EPT event, and he wasted no time in showing us all just why he is one of the best players in the world.

Two phenomenal performances.

September 16, 2006 9:53 PM

EPT Barcelona: Final day - who won what

The money
Who's won what on the final day (euros):
1: 691,000 Bjorn-Erik Glenne
2. 371,000 Phil Ivey
3. 184,300 David Gregory
4. 161,300 David Daneshgar
5. 138,200 Joakim Geigert
6. 115,200 Jeff Lisandro
7. 92,200 Robin Keston
8. 69,100 Jon Dull 'KidPokerJD'
9. 46,100 Kristian Ulriksen
10. 25,400 Teemu Lahtinen
11. 25,400 David Layani 'Dlopt'
12. 25,400 Noah Boeken
13. 20,750 Gusten Sjoberg

September 16, 2006 9:29 PM

EPT Barcelona: We're heads-up

Gregory gone
We are now heads up - David Gregory has been knocked out by the seemingly untouchable Bjorn Erik Glenne.

Gregory - who had moved above a struggling Phil Ivey in the chip count - faced a raise pre-flop by Glenne of 120,000, and moved all-in over the top for his remaining 550,000. Glenne called.

Gregory showed K-10, Glenne A-5. The flop was K-7-5 giving Gregory hope of getting right back in this final and closer to Glenne.

But a second five on the turn made the Norwegian trips and sent Gregory spinning towards the exit.

Ivey, on little more than 350,000 chips, now faces a mountain to climb against Glenne, who has 4.5 million.

The pattern before Gregory's exit had been push and shove. Unfortunately for him and Ivey, Glenne had been doing the pushing, while they had been doing the shoving - their chips over to him, that is.

Ivey has been strangely subdued. His re-raises being met with moves over the top forcing him to fold on more than one occasion.

He's been in this position before, though, and you know you can't rule him out. However, it seems some of Glenne's supporters already have. They are cheering from the rail and keeping the barmen busy...

September 16, 2006 6:59 PM

EPT Barcelona: Three and easy

Two Davids, then one
And then there were three! David Daneshgar (above), the pro from Los Angeles, has left us after a critical tussle with David Gregory.

Daneshgar had been flirting with danger for a while, waiting to pick his spot for a double up. This was not it. He got all in before the flop with his Q-8 and was called by Gregory's 6-6.

The sixes have proved to be killer cards for the past few days, and so it proved for Daneshgar. His face, partly hidden below a baseball cap, lit up when he saw a Q emerge from the dealer's hands.

His joy was shortlived - the next card to come out was a six, followed by a three. Gregory had a set, Daneshgar top pair, and nothing on the turn or river changed that.

The three wise men - Ivey, Glenne and Gregory - are now on a one-hour break before coming back for the grand finale.

Don't miss it.

September 16, 2006 6:47 PM

EPT Barcelona: Now it's four

No Joakim
We have lost Sweden's Joakim Geigert, knocked out by Bjorn Erik Glenne.

Bjorn raised pre-flop, Geigert moved over the top and Glenne called.

The flop was 5-9-4, Glenne checked, Geigert moved all in and Glenne called in a flash. Geigert showed A-3 for the ace high and gutshot straight draw. But Glenne had him with K-9 for top pair.

The turn and river - Q-4 - were no help for the Swede, and he left four players to fight it out for the big one.

They are big stacks Glenne and Ivey, smaller stack David Gregory and even smaller stack David Daneshgar. At this stage you fancy Glenne and Ivey to end up heads up - but as ever there could be many twists and turns before then.

September 16, 2006 6:29 PM

EPT Barcelona: Lisandro agony

Down to five
Jeff Lisandro (above) has been busted in sixth place by Phil Ivey in one of those big "OUCH" poker moments.

The Italian thought he had won the monster pot until he saw what was lurking beneath Ivey's card protector.

Here's what happened: With the blinds at 10,000/20,000, Ivey raised to 60,000 and was called by Lisandro. Everyone else got out of the way sharpish, perhaps sensing the danger ahead.

The flop came 5-10-9. Lisandro checked, Ivey bet 80,000 and Lisandro moved all in over the top to be met with an instant call. Lisandro flipped over 9-10 for two pair - enough you would have thought, until Ivey turned his 9-9 for yet another set.

The turn and river bought two fours for Ivey's full house.

Ivey's stack has shot up again, with him and Bjorn Erik Glenne fighting for a clear lead.

Who's won what so far on the final day (euros).
1: 691,000
2. 371,000
3. 184,300
4. 161,300
5. 138,200
6. 115,200 Jeff Lisandro
7. 92,200 Robin Keston
8. 69,100 Jon Dull KidPokerJD
9. 46,100 Kristian Ulriksen

September 16, 2006 6:13 PM

EPT Barcelona: Meet the final six

Six of the best

Jeff Lisandro
Why have one nickname when you can have two? Australian/Italian professional Jeff Lisandro has gone by a couple of alias in his time - Iceman and Comet - and is a fearsome cash-game player as well as a familiar face on the pro-tournament circuit.
Lisandro made his first final table appearance in a WSOP event in 1997, and has made world poker's premier championship a happy hunting ground, with 15 money finishes.
He scaled the heights in the WSOP main event this year, finishing 17th - his best ever placing, pocketing $659,730 - but that would be eclipsed if he landed the 691k euro first prize here.
In May 2005, he won the $10,000 no-limit HE World Series of Poker circuit event at Lake Tahoe, defeating Phil Ivey in the final heads-up battle to win the $540k prize. Lisandro rates Ivey as the best player in the world. They meet again today...

Phil Ivey
Poker superstars don't come much bigger than Phil Ivey - and he's making the most of his debut on the European Poker Tour. The 30-year-old American is fast becoming one of the most successful tournament players in history - with a WSOP record that now stands at 24 cashes, five bracelets, after bursting on the scene in 2002 with a treble-bracelet show in Vegas. He's a cash-game Goliath too - a regular in the 'big game' at the Bellagio, and rumoured to have taken $16m out of a three-day heads-up Limit HE clash with Texas billionaire Andy Beal in February this year. Fearless and frightening.

Joakim Geigert
Joakim, 42, from Gothenburg, Sweden is better known in his native country as a TV presenter. He has hosted travel, sports, poker and game shows for the last 15 years, including a Swedish version of gameshow Don't Forget Your Toothbrush. Joakim, who is married with three children, has been a keen online player for six years and took up live play (both cash and tournaments) three years ago. He is a co-founder of the popular Swedish online community Prosharks which now has 6,000 members. He came 17th at the Season 2 Barcelona EPT winning 10,400 euro.

David Daneshgar
David Daneshgar, 25, lives in Los Angeles and turned professional last year. He has an impressive list of cashes behind him already, including $110,000 in the WPT event in LA last month, and $200,000 in a $2,500 NL event in LA in March. He used to work in investments, and is planning to re-invest some of his winnings here to enter the EPT in London next week.

Bjorn-Erik Glenne
Bjorn-Eric is no stranger to the EPT, he was 19th in the Scandinavian Open during EPT season II. He's already outshone that performance and is guaranteed to take his biggest ever cash result back to Oppegard, Norway. Rumour has it that he's a chess player of serious quality - he'll need to be.

Dave Gregory
Sometimes based in the seaside town of Southend, England, so he'll be well at home here 'del mar' in Barcelona - the rain won't bother him. A familiar face from the UK circuit, but this is shaping into his biggest tournament ever.

September 16, 2006 6:07 PM

EPT Barcelona: Down to six

It's over for Keston and the Kid
Bjorn Erik Glenne has busted two short-stacks in the same hand, leaving us down to six players on the final table.

With blinds up to 10,000/20,000 with a 2,000 ante, KidpokerJD (Jonathan Dull, above with his sister) moved all-in and was called by Glenne AND by Robin Keston (above, top).

It was a three-way struggle, and only one would win it. KidpokerJD showed A-9, Glenne Q-Q and Keston 9-9. Glenne was a huge favourite, and with a board of 3-J-4-6-4 he stayed ahead throughout.

Congratulations to KidpokerJD, the last survivor of the 118 PokerStars qualifiers. The remaining big stacks are circling like vultures. Who will be the next victim?

Who's won what so far on the final day (euros).
1: 691,000
2. 371,000
3. 184,300
4. 161,300
5. 138,200
6. 115,200
7. 92,200 Robin Keston
8. 69,100 Jon Dull KidPokerJD
9. 46,100 Kristian Ulriksen
10. 25,400 Teemu Lahtinen
11. 25,400 David Layani 'Dlopt'
12. 25,400 Noah Boeken
13. 20,750 Gusten Sjoberg

September 16, 2006 5:44 PM

EPT Barcelona: Ulriksen OUT

The final table: (Front, from left) Ivey, Glenne, Keston; (Back, from left) Gregory, Dull, Daneshgar, Geigert, Lisandro

Norway left to hide
Norway's Kristian Ulriksen is OUT, meaning we are down to the final table.

Britain's Dave Gregory raised by 42,000 and Ulriksen moved all-in for his 76,000. He was called by Erik Bjorn Glenne and by Gregory.

The flop came K-2-3 rainbow. Gregory checked and then got out of the way when Glenne moved in with another 100,000. It was heads-up, and Ulriksen flipped over J-J to Glenne's A-K. No help on the turn or river (3, 2) and Ulriksen is off.

Who's won what so far on the final day (euros).
1: 691,000
2. 371,000
3. 184,300
4. 161,300
5. 138,200
6. 115,200
7. 92,200
8. 69,100
9. 46,100 Kristian Ulriksen
10. 25,400 Teemu Lahtinen
11. 25,400 David Layani 'Dlopt'
12. 25,400 Noah Boeken
13. 20,750 Gusten Sjoberg

September 16, 2006 4:53 PM

EPT Barcelona: Last nine chip counts

The nine
Seat numbers and chip counts
1. Dave Gregory (US) - 550,000
2. Kristian Ulriksen (Norway) - 116,000
3. Jon Dull KidPokerJD (US) - PokerStars qualifier - 79,000
4. Phl Ivey (US) - 1,323,000
5. Bjorn-Erik Glenne (Norway) - 1,209,000
6. Robin Keston (UK) - 81,000
7. Jeff Lisandro (Italy) 888,000
8. Joakim Geigert (Sweden) - 268,000
9. David Daneshgar (US) - 275,000

September 16, 2006 4:22 PM

EPT Barcelona: Day 3 - Dlopt OUT, Lahtinen OUT

Ivey dumps Dlopt
What is it with Phil Ivey and sixes?

Yesterday he hit quads and a set - and today he has just bagged trip sixes to eliminate our Frenchman Dlopt (David Layani) in a monster pot.

Dlopt, a PokerStars qualifier, had a fine showing throughout the tournament, but was sucked in by Ivey, who has now taken the chip lead and is looking menacing.

On a flop of J-6-6 Ivey bet out with 75,000. Dlopt raised another 100,000, only for Ivey to come back with yet another 100,000 raise. The betting momentum was too much, and Dlopt moved all-in for his remaining 370,000 or so, called by Ivey.

Dlopt showed A-Q, while Ivey had the six in the bag with his 6-7. The turn was 8, river 4, and Dlopt was heading back across the border to France.

Ivey sits at close to 1.3 million. Not a bad showing for his first EPT event.

Lahtinen OUT
Teemu Lahtinen from Finland has also departed in 10th place, bagging 25,400 euro. He was woefully short-stacked and pushed the 35,000 in the middle in the face of a 60,000 raise from Bjorn-Erik Glenne.

Teemu showed K-3, Glenne an A-10. The flop 6-6-8 helped only Glenne, and the turn of an A settled the matter.

We are now on the final table "bubble".

Who's won what so far on the final day (euros).
1: 691,000
2. 371,000
3. 184,300
4. 161,300
5. 138,200
6. 115,200
7. 92,200
8. 69,100
9. 46,100
10. 25,400 Teemu Lahtinen
11. 25,400 David Layani 'Dlopt'
12. 25,400 Noah Boeken
13. 20,750 Gusten Sjoberg

September 16, 2006 3:51 PM

EPT Barcelona: Payouts

The money
Here's a recap of the money that's being fought for here on Day 3 - and who's won what so far on the final day (euros).
1: 691,000
2. 371,000
3. 184,300
4. 161,300
5. 138,200
6. 115,200
7. 92,200
8. 69,100
9. 46,100
10. 25,400
11. 25,400
12. 25,400 Noah Boeken
13. 20,750 Gusten Sjoberg

September 16, 2006 3:41 PM

EPT Barcelona: Day 3 - two exits

Sjoberg OUT, Boeken OUT
We are just ten minutes into the final day here in Barcelona - and we've lost two players already.
Gusten Sjoberg from Sweden was very low in chips and was obviously going to make a move as soon as he could.

He must have been confident when his A-Q all-in was called by David Daneshgar and his K-Q. Daneshgar was dominated, but the poker gods don't listen to trivial things like that, and the board of K-4-A-K-6 rather proved the point.

So Gusten's 70,000 or so chips have moved across the table to Daneshgar, who now has about 470,000 in front of him.

Time for the players to settle down? No chance, just a couple of hands later Noah "Exclusive" Boeken (below) departed in 12th place.

He had A-K and moved in for all his chips pre-flop - and found a caller in PokerStars qualifier Dlopt (David Layani) with Q-7. A seven on the flop was cruel, and another seven on the turn made matters terminally worse.

Blinds here are no 6,000/12,000 with a running 1,000 ante. At this rate the final table will be up and running soon.

September 16, 2006 3:02 PM

EPT Barcelona: Day 3 - the lucky 13

Welcome to the finale
After three long days of gruelling competition we still haven't got our final table - but we're close. Play starts shortly.

Jeff Lisandro, Italy: 1002300
Bjorn-Erik Glenne, Norway: 955400
Phil Ivey, United States: 827800
David Daneshgar, United States: 397100
Joakim Geigert, Sweden: 331100
Dave Gregory, United States: 245800
David Layani 'Dlopt', France: 218600 - PokerStars qualifier (above, top)
Noah Boeken, Holland: 190600
Teemu Lahtinen, Finland: 166400
Robin Keston, United Kingdom: 152200
Kristian Ulriksen, Norway: 130200
Jon Dull 'KidPokerJD', United States: 113000 - PokerStars qualifier (above)
Gusten Sjoberg, Sweden: 74600

September 16, 2006 3:46 AM

EPT Barcelona: Three exits and the day's over

Lucky 13
Play is over for the day. We are down to 13 players.

We have had two quick exits from the same table. Britain's Ian Woodley has fallen in 16th after raising to 30,000 under the gun and being met by a 90,000 volley from Kristian Ulriksen. Woodley had A-6, Ulriksen A-K and no help on the board.

Almost straight away Petri Pietila fell when he moved all in for his last 55,000 and met with a call from Jeff Lisandro and one other. The flop of 5-3-3 saw Lisandro move in with another 80,000 leaving him heads up Pietila, who had K-Q. No match for Jeff's 4-4 and the turn and river didn't help either. Lisandro is up to 950,000 to rival Ivey's stack.

Johnny Lodden went all-in with A-8 on an 8-4-3 flop and fell foul of Bjorn Eric Glenne's kings.

EPT Barcelona Day 3 chip counts -- Jeff Lisandro 1002300 -- Bjorn-Erik Glenne 955400 -- Phil Ivey 827800 -- David Daneshgar 397100 -- Joakim Geigert 331100 -- Dave Gregory 245800 -- David Layani 'Dlopt' 218600 -- Noah Boeken 190600 -- Teemu Lahtinen 166400 -- Robin Keston 152200 -- Kristian Ulriksen 130200 -- Jon Dull KidPokerJD 113000 -- Gusten Sjoberg 74600 --

September 16, 2006 3:38 AM

EPT Barcelona: Ivey in front

Ivey leads
After the re-draw for seats on the two tables, Phil Ivey finds himself on about 900,000 after doubling with a set of sixes against Dlopt's (David Layani) pocket aces.

Layani is now down to about 350,000, leaving Ivey as chip leader.

On the other table Jeff Lisandro raised 45,000 from the small blind. The big blind dwelled for an age, before time was called. He used most of the minute before folding.

Johnny Lodden (below) is on 480,000.

September 16, 2006 3:19 AM

EPT Barcelona: Gardner OUT

It is over for Gardner
Julian Gardner is out, moving all-in from the button with A-3h, called by Johnny Lodden with Q-Q in the BB. The board came 3-4-5-6-J and a 200k pot went to Lodden.

September 16, 2006 3:15 AM

EPT Barcelona: Big and small

Kid short
KidPokerJD is on 20k; Jeff Lisandro is on 770k.

September 16, 2006 3:10 AM

EPT Barcelona: They all count

Petri's 10 is enough
PokerStars qualifier Petri Pietila from Finland is struggling to hold on to his EPT seat after a tremendous effort to get this far. We are down to 16 players.

Petri has been sitting quietly on the feature table, recently joined by Holland's Abel Meijberg. Abel raised 30,000, re-raised all-in by Petri for another 9,300. Call from Abel and it was over on their backs. Petri showed 7-10, Abel 7-6.

The board came Q-A-8-K-K giving Petri possibly the lowest winning hand of the tournament so far!

Meanwhile Phil Ivey continues his steady progress and is up to 220,000. He has just eliminated Marga Gonzales when his 6-6 made QUADS on the river. Gonzales' A-J was not even at the races.

Roland de Wolfe is OUT.

September 16, 2006 2:19 AM

EPT Barcelona: Dlopt accumulates

Folding money
Johnny Lodden raises pf to 35k. Dlopt (above) calls. The flop comes K-10-3 rainbow, and Johnny bets 50k. The Frenchman raises 75k, and scoops as Lodden lets it go. Dlopt is now on 650k, Lodden 220k.

Comeback Kid?
KidPokerJD was on the floor with 13k, but hit 95k, before sliding a little to 80k. These blinds and antes bite deep.

September 16, 2006 2:08 AM

EPT Barcelona: Kleiner OUT

Gives with one hand...
We're at level 17 (5000/10000/1000), and that's as far as Michael Kleiner is going this time.
He was all-in out of early position for 48k, but found a caller in Johnny Lodden. Kleiner showed K-10o; Lodden A-Qo - but fortune favoured the underdog after a 8-6-2 flop, when a king landed on the turn, a five on the river. Kleiner doubles up, and is on 110,000.

Not for long. The next hand, Joachim Geigert raises to 40k, and Kleiner's moving all-in again. Joachim calls, showing 2-2. Now it's a coin-flip against Kleiner's A-Ko, and with a 10-10-6-3-8 board, the coin lands 'tails you lose'.

September 16, 2006 1:57 AM

EPT Barcelona: Kelly OUT

Once too often...
JP Kelly has been busted in 24th place. He moved all-in for the umpteenth time and found a caller on the button. JP flipped over A-7 and looked aghast as his opponent showed K-K. The board of 4-10-9-Q-10 was no help and the man from England is out.

September 16, 2006 1:48 AM

EPT Barcelona: Dlopt touching 600k

The French fancy
You'd have to rate PokerStars qualifier Dlopt long odds-on for at least a final-table slot now. He's on 580,000, edging Jeff Lisandro (560,000). The pair dwarf Phil Ivey, who has around 100,000 - the average is now 200k, we're at level 16 (4000/8000/800).

Roland de Wolfe is finding no takers for some fairly modest pre-flop raises, and is up to 180,000.

Julian Gardner is lurking with 200,000.

September 16, 2006 1:45 AM

EPT Barcelona: Lucky Kid

The Kid's still on TV
And it's all change with seat re-draws, new people on the feature table and microphones to fit.

Still under the TV lights is our very own Kidpoker JD. He survived one all-in when both he and a caller had Q-J to split the pot.

He was still stuck on 33,000, though, and just two hands later he was all-in again, this time with Ks-9s. He found a caller in England's JP Kelly, who had him dominated with K-Q. Fear not, the JD beat the JP when a nine hit the flop. KidpokerJD (Jonathan Dull) is now up to over 65,000 to fight another day (or at least another hour).

September 16, 2006 1:14 AM

EPT Barcelona: One by one

Grim fairytale is over
Gone in 29th place after a valiant battle is Dgrimreaper (Leslie Kerrigan).

He found himself all in with J-10 against A-Q. A queen on the flop was enough to see Leslie pick up his 9,200 euros in cash.

And another faller from the feature table has left Johnny Lodden on more than 330,000 chips. He was on the big blind, and when the small blind raised he pushed all-in. The small blind dwelled for a time, and with about 160,000 in front of him it was important he did so.

He called and showed Ad-Jd. Johnny had Q-Q and the cards showed no mercy. Lodden looks formidable at this stage.

Sat on the other side of his table is our man Dlopt (David Layani). How long before these two clash?

Kid done good
KidpokerJD (Jonathan Dull) is still hanging on. He went down to 13,000 a short while ago when his J-J ran into A-A. But his pals reading back home can breathe just a little bit easier - he has just doubled up again to 33,000 when his J-4 stood up to K-Q with a J on the flop.

Jeff delivers knockout
With blinds up to 4,000/8,000, Jeff Lisandro has just knocked a player out with his 6-6 on a board of 7-7-Q-3-2. An ace or a jack would have swung the 200,000 pot the other way. Jeff is now on 540,000.

September 16, 2006 1:09 AM

EPT Barcelona: Two dozen

Seats re-drawn
We're down to the last 24, and the seats have been re-drawn. No change though for three big noises - Jeff Lisandro, Phil Ivey, and Roland de Wolfe - they were seated together before, and they still are. Like a home game.

September 16, 2006 12:33 AM

EPT Barcelona: Break time

Precious moments
The players are on a 15-minute break at the end of level 15. Thirty remain on four tables and we plan to have that down to one table by the end of the session.

It's 1.15am here in Barcelona, so we could be in for another long night, finishing when some of the locals are getting up and brushing their teeth.

September 16, 2006 12:11 AM

EPT Barcelona: Ivey having fun

Phil's turn for the better
Phil Ivey is enjoying his first ever EPT tournament. He has slowly and surely built up his stack throughout the day, and now has about 250,000 in little round discs, neatly stacked.

A big chunk of this came just a moment ago when 40,000 went in the middle before the flop, which came 3-6-7 rainbow.

Phil bet another 30,000, only for his opponent to move in for his last 85,000. Phil called and showed his A-K, up against 10-6...and a pair. No matter, an ace came on the turn and Phil took the pot. The other players are starting to look over their shoulders.

September 16, 2006 12:08 AM

EPT Barcelona: French flair

Dlopt to trot
It looked at one stage as if Jeff Lisandro was extending his chip lead, leaving the others to fight it out for the scraps. But wait, Dlopt is back to his old tricks again and winning monster pots.

He now sits behind a stack of nearly 500,000 chips after one 150,000 raid when his J-J held up against A-K on a board of 3-10-3-4-2. This Frenchman is here for the long haul.

September 15, 2006 11:52 PM

EPT Barcelona: Push and shove

Pushing time
As expected, it's starting to get a bit frantic out there.

Players on shorter stacks are pushing, desperate for double-ups that could move them up a few branches on the money tree.

We are down to 36 players, and that last to fall was none other than our Norwegian qualifier Org45 (Jorgen Kjerkol). Remember him? At the start of today's play he was short-stacked (about 11,000) and told me he was desperate for early action.

But being sat next to Phil Ivey on the TV table would make his job of survival just that little but harder.

Well, he lasted more than SIX hours and has 6,900 euro to show for it. And far from being disappointed to be out, he's "very, very happy".

The final curtain came down on his centre-stage adventure when he pushed all his last 40,000 chips or so all in with K-Q. He was called by Exclusive (Noah Boeken) who held A-J. Neither player improved, and Jorgen was off to see tournament director Thomas Kremser to collect his hard-earned cash.

"I am very pleased with how my day went. I played bravely and aggressively. I felt under a bit of pressure playing on the TV table, especially as I was next to Phil Ivey for three or four hours, but I got more chips and the pressure was off a bit.

"Then as the bubble approached I was worried about missing out, so I started going all-in, perhaps two or three times without even looking at my cards. It worked, and I got the blinds to avoid going out. I went down a bit again - that is why I went all in against Noah."

Noah has since won another big put, forcing an opponent to fold a 50,000 bet. He now sits on over 200,000 and has the pedigree to push this one all the way.

No kidding
The blinds are currently 3,000/6,000 with a 600 running ante, and another PokerStars qualifier doing the business is KidpokerJD (Johnathan Dull). He's up to 130,000. On one hand he grabbed the 25,000 pot by forcing his opponent to fold when the board read 4-J-4-6.

September 15, 2006 11:08 PM

EPT Barcelona: Aces cracked on the bubble

If you have tears, prepare to shed them now
Simon Young reports:
Poor old Hubyone (Hubert Attali), the unluckiest man in Spain, has just come to tell me about his last moments in the EPT before busting on the bubble. The computer expert, 33, who works in an investment bank in Paris, takes up the story. Tissues out, folks:

"I was in the cut-off position and had A-A and the table chip leader raised by 11,000. Everyone else folded and I had no option but to put myself all-in for my last 35,000 chips. It was the right thing to do and, of course, I wanted him to call. I could not think he would beat me and did not think for a moment about going out on the bubble.

"He took three or four minutes, asking me if I had A-A. Of course, I said nothing. Eventually he calls with Qh-10h, and I was very pleased.

"The flop was not dangerous - there was one heart - but the turn and the river were both hearts so he made a runner, runner flush.

"I am so disappointed. I had played well to get this far. But I played the right way on that last hand."

There's not a lot more you can add to that. Unlucky, monsieur.

Juicy for Jouni
Better news for Jouni Laiho, who has doubled up to just under 100,000. He got all in pre-flop with J-J and even hit a set on the flop. Far too much for his opponent's A-Q.

Meanwhile Noah "Exclusive" Boeken, who had taken a hit and was down to 15,000, moved all in with A-K. He was called by the big blind on Q-Q. A king on the turn doubled him up to a still wobbly 33,000.

Then next hand he moved all in again, everyone folded and he happily flashed his K-J.

September 15, 2006 10:57 PM

EPT Barcelona: Bubble bursts

Unlucky, Hubyone
The bubble has burst here in Barcelona, leaving the remaining 45 players to breath a collective sigh of relief. Sadly, the man to miss out on the cash party is PokerStars qualifier Hubyone (Hubert Attali).

The manner of the Frenchman's exit was, to put it mildly, agonising. He found aces and ended up all-in, only for his opponent to hit a flush on the river.

Cracked aces are painful at the best of times, but on the bubble in a major tournament like this will take some getting over.

We'd love to give you more details of the hand, but us wordsmiths have been banished to the rail so the field can have more space. So, with the short-stacks in the money, expect a few more to tumble out soon.

September 15, 2006 10:37 PM

EPT Barcelona: Nearing the money

Close but no cigar
We are getting close to the money, and agonisingly PokerStars qualifier Billiam_CDN (William Fitzpatrick) has departed in 52nd place.

Finding himself with 50,000 - below the average of about 75,000 - and holding 8-8, he got in a pre-flop raising war with a big stack. They got to see the flop of 10-3-3, which Billiam_CDN bet with 10,000. His opponent moved over the top to put him all in. Our man called, and to his horror was met with A-10.

No help on the turn or river, and Mr Fitzpatrick was heading home. Well, not quite. He's not going back to Toronto just yet, because he's off to play in the London EPT next week.

"I have never been to London so I plan to enjoy a few days there before the EPT starts again. Today was a little unfortunate. I had to double up twice - both coin flips - to get to the position I was in, and then pushed with the 8-8. It has been a good experience, though."

He's only been playing poker for a year or so, and judging by his strong showing here we'll be seeing a lot more of him soon.

September 15, 2006 10:24 PM

EPT Barcelona: Chip counts - PokerStars and others

Chip counts
We're having a tiny technical problem with the ticker - sorry, folks - but here's the round-up for selected PokerStars players and others

-- Humberto Brenes OUT
-- Luca Pagano OUT
-- Katja Thater OUT
-- Dario Alioto '1Ryu' 34400
-- Hubert Attali 'hubyone' 40000
-- Leopold Chow 'pojai' 15400
-- Manuel Cuberos 6900
-- Mattia Daverio 'Grandblue' OUT
-- Jerome Duarte OUT
-- Jonathan Dull 130000
-- William Fitzpatrick 'billiam cdn' OUT
-- Mike Halioua 19500
-- Greg Hobson 'DuckU' OUT
-- Leslie Kerrigan 'Dgrimreaper' 57000
-- Jorgen Kjerkol 62000
-- David Layani 'DLOPT' 400000
-- Iago Lopez 16800
-- David Lundberg 'WinstonS' OUT
-- Trond Manger OUT
-- Thierry Passeron OUT
-- Jukka Petri Pietila 26200
-- Stefan Rotach 20200
-- Anne Schoendorff 'Babeee' OUT
-- Frank Silverstein 'Farune' OUT
-- Ian Smith 'iansmitty' OUT
-- Adam Stoneham OUT
-- Vladimir Temelkovski 'Temel55' OUT

Selected other chip counts
-- Phil Ivey 100000
-- Gus Hansen OUT
-- Andy Black 60000
-- Julian Gardner 150000
-- Noah Boeken 'exclusive' 74000
-- Jeff Lisandro 460000

September 15, 2006 9:46 PM

EPT Barcelona: Dlopt floors Hansen

Dlopt shoves Hansen out the door
Frenchman Dlopt (David Layani) has gone into orbit.

First he knocked OUT Gus Hansen to move on to 320,000, and moments later busted another player to make his stack about 450,000 and clear chip leader.

The charging PokerStars qualifier had got into a battle of the blinds with Hansen. More of a war, as it turned out. It was folded around to Dlopt on the small blind, and he called, only for Gus to raise by 11,000.

Dlopt re-raised another 11,000.

Gus, not noted for being shy about these things, re-re-raised all in for his remaining 90,000 or so. Dlopt called like a shot and showed K-K, while Gus had one of his odd ones, Qd-10h.

The flop was As-Kd-9d, giving our man a set, but Gus a straight draw. Turn was 10d giving Gus the straight flush draw but the river came 6s. Exit the Dane.

Then another monster for Dlopt. He got all in pre-flop with another player with 10-10. His opponent had K-J and Dlopt looked to be taking a hit when the flop came 8-J-3. But he hit another 10 on the turn to rake in another 130,000.

Is there no stopping this man?

September 15, 2006 9:24 PM

EPT Barcelona: Vive La France!

Dlopt joins the big boys
Dlopt, now on about 200,000 has joined a table where blood will surely soon be spilt. With his are the UK's Julian Gardner (150,000), Gus Hanson (90,000) and Noah Boeken (85,000).

There are now 63 players left, and we are fast approaching the first cash position of 45.

Jorgen outshines Ivey
Back at the feature table, where Phil Ivey (above) is starting to look menacing and like a tiger has crept up unnoticed to 65,000. But the hero of the hour under the TV lights is our Norwegian qualifier Jorgen Kjerkol.

Starting the day on little under 12,000 he told how he needed to make a move - and make it fast. Well, he's now up to more than 60,000 and starting to play good, aggressive poker.

Here's an example of two successive hands just after the blinds went up to 1500/3000 with a running ante of 300.
Jorgen is on the big blind and calls a 6,000 bet. The flop of Q-Q-2 sees our man lead out with 10,000 to win the pot. The very next hand is folded around to Jorgen in the small blind, he calls and Phil Ivey checks. The flop comes 10-4-9 and Jorgen bets 6,000. It's too much for Ivey and the Norwegian scoops another pot.

He seems to be enjoying his time in the spotlight.

Farune OUT
PokerStars qualifier Farune is OUT in 67th. In a four-way unraised pot the flop came three clubs. It is checked round and Farune moves in with his remaining 17,000 holding the seven of clubs. He gets one caller holding the ten of clubs. They both made the flush on the river, but Farune was outgunned.

Jeff Lisandro now seems to be chip leader on about 270,000. He raised to 10,000 pre-flop and got reraised to 30,000. He called, the flop came 10-8-8, his opponent bets 30,000 and Jeff moves all in to force his opponent off the pot. He claimed to have J-J - but did not show.

September 15, 2006 9:15 PM

EPT Barcelona: Day 2 - Dlopt up, but Babeee's OUT

Dlopt river joy
The remaining 86 players have just returned from their well-deserved dinner break.

About ten PokerStars qualifiers remain, and Dlopt (David Layani) has won another big pot, moving up to an ominous 230,000. He limped pre-flop with 6-6, finding one opponent on a flop of 2-2-10 with two spades.

All the money went in, with his opponent holding the A-5 of spades. The turn was 4 of spades making the flush, but the river was a third 2, giving our man the full house.

Bye bye Babeee
No such luck for Babeee (Anne Schoendorff, above). After a topsy-turvy evening, she has finally crashed. With a raise of 5,500 before her, she moved all in for her remaining 28,400 chips with A-K. Jeff Lisandro came over the top of her with Q-Q and there was another caller holding A-Q. The board was 9-4-8-9-5, helping no-one but Lisandro, the Italian who came 17th in the WSOP main event this year, now sits pretty.

September 15, 2006 7:46 PM

EPT Barcelona: Day 2 - French resistance

David the goliath
Zut alors! Our favourite Frenchman Dlopt (David Layani) is building a mountain of chips, and now peeks from behind a stack of more than 200,000.

A lot of the good work was done a moment ago on a complete bluff. He raised pre-flop to 4,000, only to be re-raised to 12,000. Dlopt asked for his opponent to show his remaining stack, and then called.

The flop came 2-5-10 rainbow and the other player bet 23,000. Dlopt went to raise but accidentally put in 25,000, resulting in a call.

The turn came a J, which his opponent checked, leaving Dlopt to move all in. After a bit of a dwell, mateboy folded - and our hero showed his monster 6-7 of spades. Don't take on the French Resistance.

Growing lad
Another player on the move is Stephen Pearce, who started today on 7,000, but is now on 107,000. Born in the UK he now lives in Portugal and clearly finds some magic here in Barcelona, where last year he won the 1,000 euro no-limit tournament, and this year he scooped the 500 euro no-limit title. Will the EPT be next?

September 15, 2006 7:16 PM

EPT Barcelona: Day 2 - down and up

Adam in half
PokerStars qualifier Adam Stoneham from the UK is down to 22,000 from his starting position of 42,600. He needs to pick up a hand fast, but with the Great Dane Gus Hansen sitting next to him, it won't be easy to get it through.

David Lundberg from Sweden started the day with 23,000 and lost some small pots. But now he is up to 33,000 after winning a fight with Juha Helppi. Our man's K-Qs held up against Juha's 4-4 when the board double paired with 8-7-7-8-9.

September 15, 2006 7:07 PM

EPT Barcelona: Dgrimreaper doubles; but Katja OUT

Grim grinning
We have 91 players left, and at least one of them is full of the joys of life - Dgrimreaper has just doubled up to 73k. In the BB he was raised to 8k, raised to 16k and was called.

The flop came all rags, Grim checks, and is set all-in. He calls - with A-A vs K-J....

Katja OUT
Team PokerStars has lost its last remaining hope, with Katja Thater (above) being eliminated. With about 30,000 behind her, she moved all in pre-flop with A-J to be called in a flash by a player with A-A.

The flop came 4-Q-4, no help, but the turn brought a K giving Katja an outside chance of catching a straight. The river was a blank, and Katja was heading for the exit.

September 15, 2006 6:59 PM

EPT Barcelona: Hamburger upbeat on sidelines

Hamburger will be back
Simon Young reports:
We're down to 103 players already - and it is with no relish that I have to report we lost Jim "Downtheline" Hamburger late last night.

The PokerStars qualifier from Delray Beach, Florida, had been enjoying a good run in this, his first EPT event, when he was busted by a two-outer on the river. Ouch.

But our Jim, who qualified in the $475 satellite (and who has been to the last two WSOP thanks to PokerStars, as well as winning $148,000 in a Sunday tournament last year), is determined to come back for more and will be trying to qualify for the Austrian EPT in Baden when he gets home. There he owns a boutique and, of course, enjoys the Florida sunshine. If only he had brought some with him to damp Spain!

"I've had a great time. Sadly the cards did not really fall for me here. When I did hit some good cards I often had to lay them down. I really do recommend that all PokerStars players try and qualify for these events - the tournament, accommodation and meeting the other players is terrific."

He'll be heading back across the Atlantic and hitting the internet and playing live at the Hard Rock Casino, where he specialises in multi-table tournaments.

September 15, 2006 6:36 PM

EPT Barcelona: Day 2, start of level 11

Black boosted
Level 11 (800/1600/200) is now underway. Andy Black (above) is making serene progress - up to 60,000.

Selected chip counts:
dgrimreaper: 40k
Exclusive: 45k
Farune: 16k
David Plastik: 30k
Gus Hansen: 24k
billiam cdn: 25k
Pascal Perrault: 35k
Katja: 30k
Tigerti: 20k
Shine: 22k
Babeee: 25k
Jeff Lisandro: 80k

September 15, 2006 6:29 PM

EPT Barcelona: Trond OUT, Ivey stung, Humberto OUT

Norwegian can't
Simon Young reports:
Our heroic Norwegian Trond Manger has been eliminated from the feature table in a hand that also saw Phil Ivey lose a bundle of chips.

Our man went all in for 4,500. Ivey was keen to isolate the bet and raised to 8,000 - only for seat four to move all in.

Ivey climbed into the tank for two minutes before calling. Trond showed K-9, Ivey 8-8 and Mr Big Stack A-Q. The flop missed everyone but the river made a runner, runner flush for the A-Q.

So we lose Trond, Ivey is damaged but still on 30,000 and Mr Big Stack is now Mr Even Bigger Stack.

Humberto OUT
Team PokerStars has just lost Humberto Brenes. He was sitting on the same table as fellow team-mate Katja Thater, from Germany, and both had managed to keep most of their starting stack.

But Humberto's luck ran out when he raised to 6,000 on the button. He was put all in and - reluctantly, it has to be said - called to show K-Q against his opponent's A-7.

The flop of A-10-7 was enough to make the Costa Rican's famous moustache stand on end.

Better luck for Katja. She has eliminated a player when her 2-2 held up against K-8 on a board of 10-5-9-9-4. The bubbly blonde sits on 23,000 chips right now.

Farune (Frank Silverstein from Florida) has doubled up to 35,000 when his A-Q held up against A-8.

September 15, 2006 6:20 PM

EPT Barcelona: Trond triples; Luca leaves

Norwegian could
Short-stacked Trond Manger said he needed an early double up on the feature table. He's done better than that - TRIPLING up and is now on a much healthier 30,000 or so chips.

He looked down to find 8-9 diamonds and felt this was his moment to push with his remaining 10,000 chips. On the button, Alan Otte called, only for Emile Petit to move all-in from the big blind for his remaining 28,000.

Alan folded, and Emile flipped over his A-K to Trond's 8-9.

The flop looked like a killer - A-9-4 - but a third nine on the turn made Trond trips. I left him grinning as he piled up his new, impressive-looking stack.

Phil Ivey, meanwhile, has been quiet. Too quiet!

Team PokerStars' Luca Pagano is OUT after his A-Q ran into A-K

Noah "Exclusive" Boeken has just raked in a huge pot, eliminating PokerStars' Greg Hobson (DuckU) from the US. Noah raised to 3,600 only for Greg to come over the top all-in for 17,500. Noah called quickly and showed K-J suited to Greg's A-J. Flop J-9-7, but a king on the turn handed Noah the goodies. The Dutchman is now up to 55,000. On the same table, qualifier GrandBlue is up to 38,000 from his starting stack of 9,000.

September 15, 2006 5:08 PM

EPT Barcelona: Day 2 - yeah, Babeee!

Simon Young reports:
SSHHH, don't tell the teacher, but Anne Schoendorff has skipped university to be here in Barcelona. She is just two weeks into her English and history degree in Copenhagen, but has quietly slipped away to join poker's elite.

So far she has made a learned decision. She sits on 36,000 chips as we head into Day Two, and 5,000 of them belong to your correspondent. Yup, she busted me out early this morning at the end of Day 1B when her rivered straight eclipsed my pocket fours.

But I'm not bitter (grrrr) and it's good to see she put my chips to good use and went on to build a nice stack ready for battle today. Anne - Babeee on PokerStars - has been playing poker for about 18 months and this is her biggest live event so far.

"My first day went well, it was a steady accumulation of chips. I am sorry for knocking you out. No, really, I am! What do you mean you don't believe me?"

She had planned to sit back for a few rounds today to assess her table. But no sooner had she sat down than she eliminated fellow PokerStars qualifier Ian Smith (iansmitty). He had about 9,000 and made his stand with J-10 but found Anne with A-J.

He looked dominated but the flop bought him some hope with an up and down straight draw. No improvement, and he was walking to the door, leaving Anne counting up her 45,000 mountain of chips.

Bill's a dedicated dad
Meanwhile on table 24, Canada's Bill Fitzpatrick (billiam cdn) is enjoying leading the PokerStars qualifiers pack. He's on 48,400 chips and feeling in good shape.

He's no stranger to these parts, it's his third EPT event, and he's off to play in the London EPT next week as well. It was his son's birthday yesterday, and he wants to dedicate any success here to him.

September 15, 2006 4:57 PM

EPT Barcelona: Norway vs Ivey

Norwegian assault on TV table
Simon Young reports: Two Norwegian PokerStars qualifiers are sitting on the first televised feature table of the day - along with a certain Phil Ivey.

But they won't be sitting too comfortably, as both are short-stacked and need a fast double-up to stay in contention. Jorgen Kjervol (org45) (above, middle) and Trond Manger (hervattin) (above, top) start with 11,800 and 10,200 respectively.

Jorgen, 33, is used to the TV lights after playing in the UK Open last year, but sitting next to ice-cool Ivey will be a new experience. At home in Oslo he works for the immigration service processing asylum seekers ("We do have some, honest," he says) as well as playing online at PokerStars in his spare time. He qualified for this event in a MTT.

Sitting on the other side of the dealer in seat eight is fellow Norwegian Trond. By day Trond, 29, sells music DVDs to shops around Norway, but by night he frequents his local card club in Bergen as well as playing online at PokerStars, where he won his seat here in a $26 re-buy tournament.

Trond said: "I've got just over 10,000 chips, but with the big blinds starting at 600/1,200 I don't have much time. Let's hope I start with the button! But if I can double up a couple of times I can start playing poker again."

That would be music to the ears of his friends and family watching developments back home.

September 15, 2006 4:48 PM

EPT Barcelona: Day 2, Tann out

The number of the beast
WSOP bracelet winner Willie Tann is out. All-in pre-flop with 10-10 vs 6-6, he was smiling - but a six landed on the river. There are 150 left in. The blinds will soon be moving up to 800/1600/200.

September 15, 2006 4:41 PM

EPT Barcelona: Money matters

The big numbers
Forty-five players will get paid; there are 159 left.

Here's the structure (euros):

1: 691,000
2. 371,000
3. 184,300
4. 161,300
5. 138,200
6. 115,200
7. 92,200
8. 69,100
9. 46,100
10-12. 25,400
13-15. 20,750
16-18. 16,250
19-27. 11,500
28-36. 9,200
37-45. 6,900

September 15, 2006 3:50 PM

EPT Barcelona: Day 2 welcome

Down to business
Welcome back to Barcelona. The two opening days are done, now the real business begins. By the end of the day's play we'll be down to the final eight.

For a full list of Day 2 players, including chip counts, see here.
For a full rundown of the PokerStars contingent who have made it through, see here.

Dan Bitsca Pedersen is overall chip leader with 118,400.

Leading the way for Team PokerStars is Katja Thater on 35,800; Humberto Brenes is on 27,000; Luca Pagano is on 18,600.

Five of our FPP qualifiers - Jerome Duarte, David Lundberg, Thierry Passeron, Jukka Petri Pietila, and Ian Smith - are still 'freerolling' their way to glory. Pietila's leading the group, with 26,200.

Eighteen PokerStars 'cash' qualifiers are still in the hunt. Canada's Bill Fitzpatrick (48,400) and the UK's Adam Stoneham (42,600) are sitting prettiest at this stage.

September 15, 2006 2:45 AM

EPT Barcelona: Day 1B drawing to close

End of the start
It's 4am, and day 1B is drawing to a finish, 90 players are left - I'll be back tomorrow with a full rundown of chip counts and survivors, as we move into day 2.
Joe Hachem is out - short-stacked he ran K-Q into A-A. Rich King is out.

Billiam cdn: 45k
Babeee: 28k
Noah Boeken: 33k
Pascal Perrault: 28k
Julian Gardner: 33k
Andy Black: 40k
Gus Hansen: 33k
Shine: 25k
Kenna James: 20k
David Plastik: 12k
Willie Tann: 15k
Woote: 27k

September 15, 2006 1:59 AM

EPT Barcelona: Maybe Babeee?

Average stack 23k
Anne Schoendorff - Babeee - is throwing her weight about on table 8, and has amassed 40,000. They're running scared of Babeee.

We're near the end of level 8, 300/600/75; there are 105 players left in.

Approximate chip counts:
Joe Hachem: 11k
Willie Tann: 22k
Rich King: 18k
Kenna James: 16k
David Plastik: 12k
Averagejoe9: 19k
Noah Boeken 'exclusive': 28k
Billian cdn: 33k
Gary Jones: 7k
Gus Hansen: 25k
Shine: 17k
Andy Black: 48k
Mel Judah: 14k
Pascal Perrault: 27k

10k-in-clay - Daniel Paolucci - is out; so is Jezebel.

September 15, 2006 12:43 AM

EPT Barcelona: Day 1B, nearing end of level 7

Average stack 18k
There are 132 players left, the blinds are 200/400/50.

Approximate chip counts:

Willie Tann: 25k
Kenna James: 23k
Joe Hachem: 11k
Jezebel: 9k
Rich King: 10k
Mickey Wernick: 30k
Babeee: 21k
Noah Boeken 'exclusive': 37k
Gus Hansen: 40k
Gary Jones: 6k
Woote, French PokerStars qualifier: 16k
Julian Gardner: 24k
billiam cdn: 15k
iansmitty: 14k
Mel Judah: 16k
Shine: 25k
10k-in-clay: 7k
onepocketpro: 20k
Andy Black: 33k

These are out: StSaint, Sittingin123, defending champ Jan Boubli; LuckyDog1

September 14, 2006 11:40 PM

EPT Barcelona: Day 1B, nearing end of level 6

Two beers for Hansen
Level 6 is coming to an end; the average stack is 15k; there are 156 players left; and Gus Hansen (40k) has had two beers. He says it is the first time he has had two beers in the same day in over eight years. Sobering thought that.

Other approximate chip counts

Joe Hachem: 13k
Rich King: 8k
Mickey Wernick: 38k
Willie Tann: 20k
Jezebel: 8k
Snake8484: 5k
Sittingin123: 8k
Julian Gardner: 25k
Jan Boubli: 8k
Shine: 18k
Mel Judah: 11k
Andy Black: 30k
Pascal Perrault: 25k
Babeee: 23k
10K-in-clay: 7k

Hammerinick - Nick England from Dallas, Texas - is fairing well, in the front rank of the PokerStars qualifiers, with 24k. He's here on a FPP 'freeroll' too.

September 14, 2006 11:30 PM

EPT Barcelona: Day 1B more pics

Faces to names
Terrence Chan; Andy Black; and Roy 'The Boy' Brindley.

September 14, 2006 11:09 PM

EPT Barcelona: Hansen pics

The Great Dane
Two faces of Gus Hansen, who's moving ominously well at the moment.

September 14, 2006 10:51 PM

EPT Barcelona: 1B Chip counts

Average just over 12,000

Babeee: 15k
LuckyDog1: 10k
Mel Judah: 13k
StSaint: 7k
Joe Hachem: 13k
Kenna James: 20k
Jezebel: 5k

Rich King: 14k - whose Mum, Sheila 'Wheeler' is reading the blog back home. Hello, Sheila. Three friends and his sister have flown over to support Rich - they all share a house together back in London. Rich just doubled up with aces vs kings, the last hand before a ten-minute break. Come on, son!

Sittingin123: 8k
Jan Boubli: 7k
Andy Black: 14k
Gus Hansen: 30k
Mickey Wernick: 20k
Simon Young 'Suffolk Punch': 13k

PokerStars qualifier Jim Hamburger 'Downtheline' is out.

September 14, 2006 9:18 PM

EPT Barcelona: Day 1B update

Steady now
Table 5 is a tough school. Here are some approximate chip counts:
Mickey Wernick: 14,000
Joe Hachem: 17,000
Kenna James: 19,000
Rich King: 15,000

Happy days for James (left) and King (right).

Outs and down

Multiple EPT qualifier Carl Olson is out. We'll see him again this season.

Terrence Chan is out, after back-to-back aces went wonky on him. He collected, all-in with A-A vs 7-7 on a board of J-8-5-9-3 to get himself set-up for some movement. But the next hand it was A-A again, all-in again, this time vs 10-10. The board was 2-3-3-10-4, and Chan was history.

Babeee got her opponent all-in with A-K vs A-K, and the suits mattered as she lost a 7,000 pot to a flush, leaving her with 13,000.

The blinds are now 100/200 and their are 195 players left in.

September 14, 2006 8:37 PM

EPT Barcelona: Pics - they're out

Out, out, out
Team PokerStars' Isabelle Mercier; EPT star Marcel Luske; and PokerStars qualifier Niko Vastamaki. All out.

September 14, 2006 7:58 PM

EPT Barcelona: Chip counts, start of level 4

Echo out, Gale out
PokerStars qualifier Echoniko is out - the Finn's first experience of a major face-to-face tourney ended earlier than he'd hoped, but he'll be back. He's in good company: WSOP bracelet winner John Gale is out too.

Other approximate chip counts:
Noah Boeken 'exclusive': 13,000
Gary Jones: 27,000
Terrence Chan 'unassigned': 4,200
Pascal Perrault: 16,000
Gus Hansen: 22,000
Babeee: 28,000
Joe Hachem: 11,000
Jan Boubli: 6,000
Mel Judah: 14,000
Sittingin123: 12,000
Simon Young, 'onepocketpro', Team PokerStars: 11,000
Andrew Black: 11,000
LuckyDog1: 11,000

September 14, 2006 7:52 PM

EPT: looking ahead to London

Barry coming to EPT London?
The 2006 WCOOP will feature a major HORSE event for the first time, the $5,000 tourney (Sept 30th), hosted by Barry Greenstein of Team PokerStars. Greenstein, the High Stakes Poker TV star, is also planning to attend the London EPT event next week.

Greenstein famously lost the biggest pot in High Stakes Poker's history when his aces were cracked by Sami Farha's K-K. See here

Also expected in London is Jeff Williams, yellowsub86, the 19-year-old college student from Georgia who won the 2006 EPT Grand Final last March after qualifying online at PokerStars.

September 14, 2006 7:13 PM

EPT Barcelona: Day 1B, more faces

Notable names
2004 World Championship of Online Poker champion Edgar 'Ragde' Skjervold of Norway is playing today. He won in excess of $400,000 in the WCOOP main event. This year's Championship begins on Saturday, and the main event winner is likely to trouser well over $1m. The $2,500 NL HE championship event takes place October 1st.
Learn more here

Carl Olsen 'Colson10' is a satellite tourney master. He is the only player to have qualified already for Barcelona, London AND Baden. We first came across him when he finished second at the first Deauville EPT.

Terrence Chan - online superstar and former PokerStars Head of Support. Terrence was a member of the Costa Rican team which won the 2005 World Cup of Poker, and he was the expert TV analyser of the 2006 event coverage, due to air later this month.

Erik Friberg, our 23-year-old PokerStars qualifier from Stockholm, Sweden, was 8th in the WSOP main event this year.

September 14, 2006 7:00 PM

EPT Barcelona: No more No Mercy

Isabelle out
Team Poker Stars' Isabelle 'No Mercy' Mercier leaves the tournament, after running 5-5 in to 9-9.

September 14, 2006 6:43 PM

EPT Barcelona: Day 1B, end level 2

Luske out
Marcel Luske, and eight others, are out. The players go on a break. The Flying Dutchman, and his upside-down glasses, are no more. He won't be adding to his record of EPT final tables this time.

Other counts:
Terrence Chan 'unassigned': 3,000
Andrew Brokos: 12,000
Anne Schoendorff 'babeee': 18,000

September 14, 2006 6:07 PM

EPT Barcelona: Day 1B, level 2 chip counts

Heavyweight table

Table five is a monster.
Multiple 2006 EPT qualifier Carl Olson: 8,000
2005 WSOP champion Joe Hachem, Team Poker Stars: 11,300
One-time World Heads-up winner Mickey Wernick: 10,500

Others including:
Rich King: 10,000
Kenna James: 12,000

Selected approximate chip counts:
John Gale, WSOP bracelet winner: 5,500
Andrew Black: 12,000
Mel Judah: 12,000
Sittingin123: 7,000 (still no sign of his luggage)
Jan Boubli, defending champ: 4,000
Isabelle Mercier, Team Poker Stars: 10,000
Gus Hansen: 22,000
Pascal Perrault, EPT winner: 17,000
Terrence Chan 'unassigned': 10,600

September 14, 2006 5:35 PM

EPT Barcelona: Day 1B selected qualifier profiles

Meet some Poker Stars qualifiers

First up is Nick England, Hammerinick, a 20-year-old warehouse worker from Dallas, Texas. Nick qualified the Frequent Player Points (FPP) way, first in a 40FPP tourney, then up the ladder into a 4000FPP event, which he won.
Mainly an online tournament player - $10 or $20 sit-and-goes are his regular game - this is Nick's first time in Europe and his first major live tournament.

Olivier Daenincke (left) didn't have so far to travel to Barcelona - he drove down from Toulouse, France. The 21-year-old maths student - Poker Stars name Wooote - is another player who won his seat via a 4000FPP tournament. He's had some live tourney experience, but this is his first time in the big league.

Niko Vastamaki - Echoniko - a 20-year-old student and semi-professional player from Finland, is here courtesy of a $475 qualifier, despite finishing on the bubble in 13th. Poker Stars judged that something approaching 'collaborative' play by some of the participants in Niko's tourney was unsporting, and decided that the young Finn deserved a seat, so they gave him one.
It's Niko's first major live tournament - though he's a dedicated sit-and-go online player, and has been taking his poker seriously for five years.

Canadian Luciano Giustini could be forgiven for having his mind on other things. The 43-year-old coffee truck driver from Richmond Hill is still waiting for his luggage to arrive. There are only so many Poker Stars t-shirts a man wants to wear, but Luciano - Sittingin123 - is hoping to stay around long enough for his own clothes to join him. Twenty years a player - the last three seriously online - Luciano has previous big-money live tourney experience: he's played in the Canadian Poker Championships in the Bahamas.
The qualification ladder began in a $10 rebuy - in total Luciano spent just $30 earning his ticket to Barca! - and our man is concentrating on surviving day one for now. "Don't get frustrated" is his mantra - and brother Frank, who made the journey with him, will be sending calming vibes over the rail.

September 14, 2006 5:31 PM

EPT Barcelona: Day 1A survivors

Those that made it

You can find a full list of day 1A survivors, with chip counts, here.

September 14, 2006 3:59 PM

EPT Barcelona: Day 1B

The beginning (part 2)
Another 240 players sit down today for their first taste of EPTIII, and as usual the Poker Stars contingent are a mix of superstars - like WSOP champ Joe Hachem; EPT heroes - like Isabelle Mercier and previous tourney winners Jan Boubli and Mats Iremark; and online qualifiers from around the world.
You can follow their progress here.

September 14, 2006 3:33 PM

EPT Barcelona: Day 1A final chip counts

Resting easy
The day 1A marathon is over and the following Poker Stars qualifiers and Team Poker Stars players have made it through:

Carlos Leira Lopez, Spain: 16,800
Dag Martin Mikkelsen 'dmmikkel', Norway: 13,700 - looked Phil Ivey in the eye and came up smiling
Daniel Elkeslassy, Morroco: 25,400
Erik Lindberg, Sweden: 20,200
Frank Silverstein 'farune', United States: 22,700
Greg Hobson, United States: 14,900
Hubert Attali, France: 26,200
Humberto Brenes, Costa Rica: 27,000 Team Poker Stars - the fox who came back from the dead
Jerome Duarte, France: 14,200
Jonathan Dull, United States: 31,000
Jukka Petri Pietila, Finland: 26,200
Katja Thater, Germany: 35,800 Team Poker Stars - leading the Poker Stars contingent
Leopold Chow, Canada: 15,400
Leslie Kerrigan, United Kingdom: 33,500
Luca Pagano, Italy: 18,600 Team Poker Stars
Manuel Cuberos, Spain: 6,900
Mike Halioua, Canada: 19,500
Stefan Rotach, Switzerland: 20,200
Thierry Passeron, France: 10,700
Vladimir Temelkovski 'temel55', Macedonia: 18,300

Both Teddy Wong and ElkY were late, late casualties.

September 14, 2006 3:14 AM

EPT Barcelona: End of Day 1A

That's all for today
Day 1A is drawing to a close. We're at level 9 (400/800/100), the current chip leader is pegged at around the 90,000 mark, we've ducked under the 100-player bar, and there's good news and bad news for the Poker Stars contingent.
Maximilian74 has enjoyed a rollercoaster tourney, but it's over; the same goes for Rolodinero.

Selected Team Poker Stars approximate chip counts:

Luca Pagano: 21,000
Katja: 45,000
Humberto Brenes: 22,000
ElKy: 7,000

Selected Poker Stars qualifiers:

Farune: 25,000
BanjoD: 13,000
Jippo79: 25,000
Tigerti: 17,000
Temel 55, 13,000
Dgrimreaper: 35,000

Phil Ivey is on 24,000.

See you tomorrow.

September 14, 2006 2:18 AM

EPT Barcelona: Chip counts, level 8

Wong's up again, then he's out
Teddy Wong looked like he'd performed a minor miracle as level 8 (300/600/75) came to an end. Down to 6,000, he fought his way back to 18,000, but was then all-in with A-K vs J-J, and finally went under.
There's around 100 players left in at this stage. It's 3.30am. I kid you not.

Selected Team Poker Stars approximate chip counts:

Luca Pagano: 22,000
Katja Thater: 43,000
ElKy: 10,000
Humberto Brenes: 31,000

Selected Poker Stars qualifiers:

Maximilian74: 5,000
Jippo79: 27,000
BanjoD: 16,000
Rolodinero: 4,000
Tigerti: 21,000
Farune: 28,000
Dgrimreaper: 35,000

Phil Ivey is on 21,000. No sign of the good doctors - Demon1 and Dark Swan. Nurse, the screens!

September 14, 2006 1:40 AM

EPT Barcelona: It's all gone Wong for Teddy

Too smooth
Poker Stars qualifier Daan Rutger Houtman - Teddy Wong - was motoring with around 32,000, but it all went badly wrong when he tried to get cheeky with trips.

With level 8 approaching, Teddy Wong was in the BB with 8-9; five limpers. The flop comes 8-8-4; bet, fold, fold, fold, Teddy smooth-calls.

The turn comes 2; bet 5k, Teddy pushes it all-in and is called. The other player turns over 2-2; the river washes right on by, and Teddy Wong is down to 6,000.

September 14, 2006 1:22 AM

EPT Barcelona: Bauer bows out

Kicker trouble
Our favourite Canadian rookie Dustin Bauer - Bauer44 - has crashed out as we move towards level 8 (300/600/75). Couldn't buy a hand, since picking up K-K way back when the blinds were young, Dustin was down to 4,000 and change.
Getting it all-in pre-flop with A-8o vs A-Qo, it looked as if he'd survive, as the board came 5-5-K-K, but an ace on the river brought that dodgy kicker into play, and Bauer's 8 all-but booted him out the door.
Left with enough chips to buy a Bic Mac and coke, Bauer was all-in again next hand, and left the tournament holding a mighty 5-2o. Loved every minute of it too, and was last seen heading for the night club in the company of Poker Stars personnel.

Selected Team Poker Stars approximate chip counts:

Luca Pagano: 19,000
Katja Thater: 42,000
ElKy: 20,000
Humberto Brenes: 18,000 - he's back, back, back.

Selected Poker Stars qualifiers:

Tralaira: 15,000
Farune: 25,000
Maximilian74: 11,000
BanjoD: 19,000

September 14, 2006 12:30 AM

EPT Barcelona: Katja vs ElKy

Kat gets cream
Two Team Poker Stars colleagues went head-to-head, and Katja Thater came out on top.

In level 7 (200/400/50), five limp to see the flop: Ac-4d-8h. ElKy puts in 700; Katja calls; everyone else folds.
Turn comes: 9c. ElKy checks; Katja puts in 3,000; ElKy calls.
River comes: 3c, possible flush. Both check, and Katja scoops a 10k pot with her 8-8 for a set.
Katja: 40,000
ElKy: 15,000

Selected level 7 counts:

Teddy Wong: 37,000
Maximilian74: 7,000

September 14, 2006 12:09 AM

EPT Barcelona: Chip count, level 6

Katja cruising
Moving into the last half-hour of level 6 (150/300 with a 25 ante) - 155 players still in from the original 240 - Team Poker Stars' Katja Thater is cruising on 30,000.

Selected Team Poker Stars approximate chip counts:

ElKy: 14,000
Luca Pagano: 14,000

Selected Poker Stars qualifiers:

Dark Swan: 10,000
Sherkan: 7,500
Temel55: 11,000
Farune: 14,000
Tigerti: 25,000 - French qualifier
Maximilian74: 9,000 - the yo-yo man is on a downswing
Teddy Wong: 32,000

Phil Ivey is on 29,000. There is no news on the good doctor no.1 - Demon1. But as he might say, that's perfectly normal, nothing to worry about.

September 14, 2006 12:03 AM

EPT Barcelona: Outfoxed

Humberto hammered
Team Poker Stars' Humberto Brenes dropped more than half his stack running K-K into A-10, and getting outdrawn. With just over 4,000 to his name, the fox will have to get busy sooner rather than later.

September 13, 2006 11:37 PM

EPT Barcelona: Chip count, level 5

Maxi move
He was up, then he was down, now he's up again. Maximilian74 moves in mysterious ways, and from being on his knees with around 2,000, he's flying high again with 13,000. How did he do it? No idea, folks - the man's a wonder. The blinds are now 150/300.

Selected Team Poker Stars approximate counts:

Luca Pagano: 17,000
ElKy: 12,000
Katja Thater: 30,000
Humberto Brenes: 9,000

Katja doubled up with Q-Q vs A-A, all-in pre-flop, and finding the lady when she needed her.

Selected Poker Stars qualifiers:

Bauer44: 12,000
Temel55: 24,000
Jippo79: 14,000
Farune: 14,000 - Frank Silverstein (USA)
BanjoD: 18,000

News on the good doctors? Both Dark Swan and Demon1 were still in at the last look, the Swan moving serenely enough, though a little short-stacked perhaps - beneath the surface he's paddling frantically...

Dmmikel (11,000) reports that Phil Ivey (30,000) is playing tight to his left. It's all relative.

September 13, 2006 10:22 PM

EPT Barcelona: Chip count, level 4

When Stars collide
Two of Team Poker Stars - Bertrand Grospellier (ElKy), and Katja Thater - have come together on table 2. ElKy's got the edge 20 minutes into level 4: 15,000 to 13,000. The pair share the felt with one of the early big stacks, a 40k pile.

Other approximate counts for selected Poker Stars qualifiers:
Bauer44: the Canadian rookie is hanging in with 7,000
Maximilian74: crippled by a set of fives and still down in the dust with 2,000
Temel55: the double-up king was down to 3,000, but now has 19,000
Jippo79: Finnish qualifier is cosy on 12,000

September 13, 2006 9:54 PM

EPT Barcelona: Kill Phil?

Can Dag down the top dog?
You've qualified with Poker Stars for a glittering EPT event. Who do you want to see at your table? That's right, Phil Ivey. Dag Martin Mikkelsen (top) - dmmikkel to his pals - got the best or worst deal in the place, when the US superstar plotted up at table 8. Dag's in seat 1; Phil's in seat 3.

But is the youngster worried? Is he intimidated? Not so you'd notice. In level 4, with the average stack knocking 11,000, Dag's got 16,500 in front of him. Ivey's sitting behind a wee bit more - just over 20,000.

Take him down, Dag.

September 13, 2006 9:27 PM

EPT Barcelona: The fox and the hen

Are you afraid of this man?

Team Poker Stars' Humberto Brenes is a wily old campaigner, and he had a young gun in trouble with this hand, which came in level 3 (75/150):

Humberto's in the SB, with around 8,400; everyone folds to the button, who makes it 750. Humberto pumps his thumb in the air to indicate a raise - up to 2,750.

The button's a youngster, and he doesn't like the look of that bet. He folds, showing 10-10. Humberto just laughs, mucks, and claws them in.

September 13, 2006 8:41 PM

EPT Barcelona: The mighty fall, and the not-so mighty too

Magic moments
In only his second live tourney, Poker Stars qualifier xxxmagicxxx found himself at a tough table, no.1, and was down to 5,000 after some ill-timed bluffs, sharing the felt with the likes of French pro Anthony Lellouche and the Hendon Mob's Ram Vaswani.

The 32-year-old Belgian must have thought his luck had changed when he flopped A-J-J to his K-J, and then saw an 8 and a K land. But there are full houses, and there are full houses. His opponent had slow-played A-A.

The magic has gone - but not before sending love to his wife, and two children, Andrew and Aline. His poker ambition is to one day make it into Team Poker Stars.

He wasn't the only one out the door - Vaswani's tourney is over now too.

September 13, 2006 8:21 PM

EPT Barcelona: Human error

New dealer, please

Team Poker Stars' Luca Pagano is at table 22, an unhappy ship, after the dealer - soon departed - awarded a pot to the losing hand. The 'winner' was busy raking in the chips, when the 'loser' cried foul, and a long forensic analysis of the previous betting was then required to get the right amount of chips lodged with the right player.

Repeat after me: a set beats two-pair, a straight beats a set....etc

September 13, 2006 8:14 PM

EPT Barcelona: Maximum damage

One minute you're up...
Poker Stars qualifier maximilian74 was cruising just before the lunch break - 23,000 and all's well - but he was left with just a couple of thou, and plenty to chew over after this hand.

Holding Q-Q when a J-8-5 flop came down, maxi ended up getting it all-in but ran into 5-5. The man from Athens, Greece was a rueful diner - he'll need to double up quickly after the restart to get himself back in this one.

September 13, 2006 7:03 PM

EPT Barcelona: Like father like son (but better)

Kid Campbell
A degree in finance is one thing, but you suspect James Campbell's dad Doug is just as proud of the nipper's poker achievements.

Poker Stars qualifier Campbell - JCamby - a 23-year-old from Massachusetts, USA - jacked in his job as a financial planner seven months ago to pursue the dream of being a poker professional, and has been making it all come true the online way: he's won half a dozen satellites on Poker Stars, including two seats to the WSOP, but splits his time 50/50 between cash and tourney play.

Pops taught him the rudiments of the game way back, but James has left the old man behind - though Doug might have something to say about that. He's over here supporting the boy, but you know he wants in - their standing three-deep at the rail here, and everybody wants a piece.

Cultural peculiarity no.4
Casino decor of yesteryear: 6ft tall fibre-glass Statue Of Liberty, retired to a dusty corner of the press room.

September 13, 2006 6:47 PM

EPT Barcelona: First break

Form an orderly queue

It's the end of level 2 (50/100), and the players have a few moments downtime. The good news is that our Canadian newbie Bauer44 is still in there punching, with around 8,000. Go, Dustin.

Approximate chip counts just before the break for selected Team Poker Stars players:

Humberto Brenes: 9,000
Luca Pagona: 10,000
Katja Thater: 15,000

Selected Poker Stars qualifiers:

'Farune' (cash qualifier): 9,000
'Bauer44' (cash): 8,000
'maximilian74' (cash): 14,500
'BanjoD' (FPP qualifier): 10,000
'temel55' (cash): 12,000

Temel55 earns a special mention - down to 3k, but doubling up twice inside five minutes!

I got a look at one of our Docs - Dark Swan - calm and collected as befitting a man with a professional interest in the human brain, but a little bit down on his starting stack. Scalpel!

September 13, 2006 5:59 PM

EPT Barcelona: Newbie news

Europe for $5
Dustin 'Bauer44' Bauer is busting a row of cherries this week. First time in Europe; first time on the EPT; first live tournament EVER.
As a rule, the newbie from the Canadian Midwest plays $3/$6 NL hold 'em on Poker Stars. This is bigger, but it started small for Dustin - a $5 re-buy tournament was the first rung on the qualification ladder for him, then a $480 satellite.
It's been a long, and slightly offbeat journey to Barcelona - via Winnipeg, Montreal and Frankfurt - and he sensibly took the precaution of bagging the full eight hours last night.
His ambition this week? "Not to be first out."
I think he's made it - our first casualty went after half an hour of level one. It's all gravy now, man.

September 13, 2006 5:46 PM

EPT Barcelona: Free and easy

Rod's on the make
Plenty of Poker Stars qualifiers got here via FPP (Frequent Player Points) tournaments. It's the ultimate free-roll: you like poker, you play a lot, you earn points....and you end up playing for a 700,000 euro first prize on the EPT!
Once such happy freeloader is New York's Rod 'Rolodinero' Donnino, who won his package the FPP way, and is over here with his buddy Hurricane42 (a Poker Stars qualifier at the 2004 WSOP).
Rod's chip count is around 12,000 as we move into the second level - free and easy.

September 13, 2006 5:20 PM

EPT Barcelona: And we're off (really)

The dynamic doctors
We're on our way, and as promised, I'll be following the fortunes of Poker Stars qualifiers from all over the globe in the days to come. First up are a pair of players who both won their tickets to Barca in $475 freeze-outs; they're both from West Bromwich in the Midlands of England, both veterans of the thriving live poker scene in that part of the world; they're pals, and they're both doctors.

Doctor no.1 is Pri 'Demon1' Hallan, a 34-year-old GP. He's no tournament newbie. This is Pri's second EPT event - a very early exit last time - and he's fresh from victory in a £300 freeze-out in the Broadway Casino, Birmingham, chopping the first two places and pocketing £7.5k.
Pri is travelling in domestic style, with his wife Kiran, and six-month-old daughter, Grace. I saw the three of them trundling round the shopping centre earlier. Rock'n'roll!
Pri is in it to win it or make the final table, not just hang on for a cash - these doctors are minted, you know - but if he does bag the big one, he'll not be giving up the day job.

Doctor no.2 is Arul 'Dark Swan' Sivaguru, a 39-year-old neurologist, mainly a live game player, who's notched a few four- and five-figure wins in his time.
He's had table experience with some of the biggest names in British poker - among them the two Daves, Ulliott and Colclough - and was feeling fairly fearless when I chatted with him.
His superb Poker Stars user name is in part a nod to his father, an artist who signs the family surname, Sivaguru, in the character of a swan.

Here's wishing you both luck, Docs, though I'm sorry to say - and surely in direct contravention of their Hippocratic Oath - neither of them offered to take a look at my fallen arches prior to kick-off. Maybe in the first break...

September 13, 2006 4:32 PM

EPT Barcelona: Day 1A

And they're off (nearly)

With the biggest field in EPT history, it's no surprise that the registration process is over-running a tad, and the 5pm start time has been and gone. The players are entertaining themselves by loafing about, so there's time to give the run down on the structure for the first two days: 1A and 1B.

Each player sits down with 10,000, and each 'first' day will complete nine blinds levels, of 60 minutes each. They are:

1. 25/50
2. 50/100
3. 75/150
4. 100/200
5. 150/300
6. 150/300/25 ante
7. 200/400/50
8. 300/600/75 (at the end of which we'll colour up the 25s)
9. 400/800/100

That's the structure. It only remains for the tournament to begin. Soon...

Cultural peculiarity no.3
The 'man bag' is alive and well.

September 13, 2006 9:58 AM

EPT Barcelona: Day 1, the first

Wet and windy

Morning from Barcelona,
The city was lit up by lightning last night. A massive storm with torrential rain dampening the turn-ups of those players eager to indulge in the traditional pre-tourney preparation of a skinfull of local booze and a bracing trot into the wee small hours.

Day 1A kicks-off at 5pm, so any players weakened from the night's exertions at least have the chance of a decent lie-in, before trying to force down a few moistening drops of orange juice and setting off for the biggest game in town. Nothing like a trampolining stomach to steady the nerves, and concentrate the mind.

Ever the professional, I was tucked up in bed by 1am, a dreamless sleep only interrupted by the hotel room TV alarm going off at 4.45am. After a long struggle in the dark, I finally managed to turn the thing off by unplugging ever lead I could find.

Later today 240 players will be testing their ingenuity, skill and stamina in attempting to untangle the knotty problem of getting out of their first day alive; another 240 will kick-off tomorrow.

Who are they? We'll find out later - stay tuned.

Cultural peculiarity no.2
Hangover breakfast, Barca style: sugar-coated croissant, with a custard filling. One bite is plenty.

September 12, 2006 8:55 PM

EPT Barcelona: Greetings from Barcelona!

The big bang

Greetings from Barcelona, heart of Catalonia, whose proud heritage of fierce independence is upheld to this very day by the taxi driver who delivered me from the airport - it was hotter than a camel's armpit, but your man, with all his rugged, uncompromising spirit, gamely refused to either turn on the air-con or crack a window, as we stuttered through the rush-hour towards the sumptuous Hilton Diagonal Mar Hotel, Poker Stars central. Hats off to you, Senor!
Fitting then that European Poker Tour Season III is already shaping up to be the hottest ever, with the opening event attracting its biggest prize-pool, and the biggest tournament field in the history of the EPT.
A maximum-capacity 480 players will be duking it out for their share of a total pot in the region of 2.4 million euro, the winner collecting the thick end of 700,000 euro.
To get that in perspective: the field outnumbers the previous EPT record of 434 players (Deauville, Season II); the Barcelona prize-pool is up from 1.3m euro, and the winner's share dwarfs the 416,000 euro that France's Jan Boubli (below) trousered last season. This year's winner will need a bigger briefcase.

No surprise that there were players literally camping out in the Hilton's lobby, hoping to snap up any spare seats that come available. They'll be lucky.

Consolations of a sort abound for those left out: the late summer sunshine bathing one of Europe's most vibrant cultural centres, the warm sea breeze caressing the marina and boulevards that surround the Gran Casino, great art and fine cuisine....they'd swap it all for a chip and a chair.

The lucky ones who make up the 480-strong field are the usual heady brew of poker royalty, seasoned professionals, internet titans, and of course Poker Stars online qualifiers from all over the globe - here on an all-expenses paid jolly-up, with the chance to lock horns with the world's best players. Perhaps one of them will turn a few bucks for an online qualifier into a massive six-figure payday. It wouldn't be the first time, would it?

You can follow all the action here in words and pictures direct from the gaming floor. Over the next four days and nights, I'll be counting the chips, keeping tabs on the movers and the shaken; celebrating the players great and small; lending a sympathetic ear to the losers, and trying to wangle a drink out of the winners.

Good luck all!

Cultural peculiarity no.1
Barcelona taxi music: 1979 punk-pop hit My Sharona, by The Knack.

September 12, 2006 12:09 AM

PPA phone march on Capitol Hill

PokerStars is joining with the Poker Players Alliance to give its American players the chance to tell their Senator what they think about the efforts to ban online poker. On Tuesday, September 12, between 9:00am ET and 5:30pm ET, you can call 1-800-289-1136, listen to the recording from Greg "FossilMan" Raymer, punch in your zip code, and you will be transferred to one of your Senators' offices free of charge. You don't have to be a member of the PPA to use this number. Click here for more information.

PokerStars will also be running $1 PPA membership drive tournments with a $5,000 added prize pool. You can find the tournaments by clicking "Tourney" and "Special." Click here for more information.

September 11, 2006 4:23 PM

ElKy breaks 1 Million

This was not the kind of thing that we would've described as a longshot. After all, Bertrand "ElKy" Grosspellier was the first PokerStars player to reach SuperNova status by accumulating 100,000 VIP Player Points in the PokerStars VIP Club. It took ElKy just a few weeks to do.

As it turned out, it wasn't just a matter of pride for ElKy to be the first SuperNova. Since then, he's continued to play at a more-than-impressive rate. Over the weekend, ElKy once again became the first PokerStars player to earn more than one million VIP Player Points. Indeed, that means in less than ten months, ElKy has earned enough VPPs to have become a Supernova member ten times. He's done all this while traveling around the world, playing in live poker tournaments, and joining the fulltime ranks of Team PokerStars.

Congrats, ElKy on another wild milestone!

September 11, 2006 3:59 PM

PokerStars Sunday Million Results (9/10/06)

It was the last Sunday Million before the World Championship of Online Poker kicked off and the PokerStars Sunday Million final table players did not disappoint. After ten hours of play, luchador420 walked away with the win and more than $165,000! Please remember, the Sunday Million will be on break for the next few weeks while PokerStars hosts the World Championship of Online Poker. Here are this week's final table results.

PokerStars Sunday Million Final Table Results

1. luchador420 (Watsonville, CA) $165,012.50
2. STNCOLDKILLR (Rockford, IL) $90,837.50
3. HelmetSky (Ramat-Gan, Israel) $53,750.00
4. Yankees31 (New York, NY) $43,000.00
5. arzCARDZfan (Dupo, IL) $33,325.00
6. nailman1 (Gray, TN) $26,875.00
7. sideshowgil (Oshawa, ON) $20,962.50
8. Valsky (Neenah, WI) $15,587.50
9. Telefonkiosk (Falkoping, Sweden) $9,675.00

September 8, 2006 8:29 PM

Coming soon to PokerStars

It's time to take one very big breath (I'll wait here while you do...okay).

In the next few days, activity here ono the PokerStars Blog will reach a peak not seen since the 2006 World Series of Poker. Of course, this weekend will host all the normal PokerStars VIP Club freerolls and the PokerStars Sunday Million. Not only that, but the $2.5 Million Moneymaker Millionaire freeroll continues, with three more chances to make the live event in the Bahamas.

But, the next few days will see the beginning of season 3 of the European Poker Tour. The 2006 Barcelona Open kicks off on September 13 and the PokerStars Blog will be on hand with live coverage all week long.

Then, a week from today, on September 15, the biggest tournament series in all of online poker will kick off with the 2006 World Championship of Online Poker. For the first time ever, PokerStars will offer Razz and HORSE among its 18 huge events. Be sure to check out the schedule and start satelliting in as quickly as you can. The PokerStars Blog will provide full coverage of WCOOP, as well.

So, in case you didn't have anything to do for the next three weeks, there's a way to full just about every waking hour until October.

September 4, 2006 7:52 AM

PokerStars Sunday Million Results (9/3/06)

The holiday weekend in America didn't slow down the PokerStars Sunday Million. People from all over the world picked up some big cash, including the winner, San Antonio, Texas' simmsux. After a two-way deal, simmsux took home $156,000! Here are the final table results.

PokerStars Sunday Million Results

1. simmsux (San Antonio, TX) $156,000
2. jalla79 (Gothenbourg, Sweden) $103,418.48
3. Doc Deal 103 (Middletown, CT) $56,990.00
4. jennicide (Wilmington, DE) $44,452.20
5. mortango (Herning, Denmark) $35,333.80
6. FileError404 (Texas) $28,495.00
7. Axabaxa (Bergen, Norway) $22,226.10
8. elena_elphie (Mountain View, CA) $16,527.10
9. dabest247 (Elk Grove, CA) $10,258.20

September 1, 2006 4:46 PM

PokerStars Weekend Events (9/2-9/3)

In America, this is a four-day holiday weekend. On PokerStars, it's yet another in a series of weekend where huge money and huge trips are on the line. Here is a list of events you can play on PokerStars in the next couple of days.

September 2

12:30 -- European Poker Tour Barcelona Open satellite
13:30 -- GoldStar VIP Freeroll $5,000 prize pool
14:00 -- European Poker Tour London Open satellite
14:00 -- PlatinumStar VIP Freeroll $7,500 prize pool
14:30 -- Supernova VIP Freeroll $20,000 prize pool (pays 99 places)
15:30 -- European Poker Tour Baden Open satellite
15:30 -- SilverStar VIP Freeroll $2,500 prize pool
16:00 -- 200 FPP buy-in limit holdem tournament $2,500 prize pool

September 3

16:30 -- The Sunday Million -- $1 million guaranteed prize pool
18:00 -- The Sunday Grand -- 50 FPP buy in No Limit Holdem Tournament $1000 Prize pool
20:45 -- Sunday Rebuy event -- $215 no-limit hold'em with rebuys

Other notes

The PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker is just two weeks away. Satellites for the 18 events are running all the time under "Events" and "WCOOP" in the PokerStars game lobby.

If you haven't taken the time to take your free shot at a million bucks in the Moneymaker Millionaire, you might want to start thinking about it. I mean, seriously. A free shot at a trip to the Bahamas and a million bucks?

Also, just in case you missed it, the PokerStars VIP FPP Store is now carrying a special item for high-rollers. Yeah, you can now buy an Aston Martin with your Frequent Player Points.

Video blogs and interviews from the 2009 PCA

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from September 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

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