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EPT London: Day 5, level 22-24 updates (12,000-24,000, ante 3,000)

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3.36pm: Level up
The level is over and we're moving on to a brand new post. Join us there. -- SY

3.35pm: Hartmann doubles, Beris crippled
Next hand, Martins Adeniya made it 52,000 and Pascal Hartmann moved all-in for 216,000. Ioannis Beris moved all-in from the next seat and Adeniya got out of the way. It was 8♥8♦ for Hartmann and A♥Q♠ for Beris. The eights held, Hartmann doubled to 430,000, leaving Beris as the short stack with 150,000. -- SY

3.32pm: Hartmann crippled
We picked up the action with the board showing 8♣J♠J♥7♠J♦ and, with several hundred thousand in the pot already, Stephen O'Dwyer bet 350,000. Pascal Hartmann looked destined to defeat, even though he called with pocket aces. O'Dwyer showed K♣J♣ for the proverbial nuts. That left Hartmann with just 219,000. -- SY

3.27pm: Spindler rakes in from Benes
Miroslav Benes opened for 48,000 and was called by Benny Spinder and Ben Jenkins (who was in the blinds).

Benes c-bet 77,000 into the T♦Q♣6♣ flop and Spindler called, Jenkins did not. Spindler called another 105,000 on the 5♣ turn before both checked the 8♣ river. Showdown:

Spindler: for top pair
Benes: for second pair

Spindler took the blinds and antes the next hand with a pre-flop raise and is back up to a million. -- RD

3.23pm: Jenkins punishes Loureiro
Hugo Loureirio had 150,000 in front of him, which we could see on the live TV feed. Ben Jenkins chopped out a raise to 407,000 and Loureiro passed his hand. He didn't like doing so but with 450,000 back it was all or nothing. He settled on nothing. Jenkins up to 1,200,000. -- RD

3.13pm: The final two tables
Here are the final two tables. Some great players still left in, tomorrow's final table should be a corker.

TV table
Seat one: Adria Balaguer, 1,433,000
Seat two: Ben Jenkins, 1,059,000
Seat three: Andre Klebanov, 1,858,000
Seat four: Hugo Loureiro, 758,000
Seat five: Juan Manuel Pastor, 1,133,000
Seat six: Jeremy Kottler, 949,000
Seat seven: Miroslav Benes, 1,310,000
Seat seven: Benny Spindler, 740,000


Outer table
Seat one: Mattias Bergstrom, 3,535,000
Seat two: Kevin Iacofano, 1,388,000
Seat three: James Mitchell, 1,137,000
Seat four: Martins Adeniya, 1,293,000
Seat five: Anatoly Gurtovoy, 789,000
Seat six: Pascal Hartmann, 812,000
Seat seven: Ioannis Beris, 367,000
Seat eight: Stephen O'Dwyer, 2,140,000

Play has restarted with Greek PokerStars qualifier Ioannis Beris most at risk. -- RD

3.10pm: Chips!
Latest chip counts are on the chip count page. They show Mattias Bergrtrom still in the lead with 3,535,000. -- SY

2.51pm: Breaking tables
With just 16 players remaining, a table is being broken and we'll play on with just two. First, however, the players have gone off for a 15-minute break. We'll have updated counts shortly. -- SY

2.50pm: Monkey lives another day
The monkey that chirps away on the backs of former EPT champions lives another day. Once someone wins two of these things, the monkey gets it. But today, the last surviving previous EPT winner has just busted.

Portugal's Joao Barbosa, who had been open-shoving his short-stack with increasing regularity, is out after pushing with 4♠4♦ for 236,000 and getting looked up by Stephen O'Dwyer with K♦J♣. The end was swift, with the flop coming J♥3♦A♠, and the 8♠ turn and 7♠ river changed nothing. -- SY

2.44pm: O'Dwyer gets some back
Bergstrom was pulling away with 4,100,000 but, after a messy tangle in the blinds, he's been pegged back by Steve O'Dwyer.

O'Dwyer limped in the small blind and Bergstrom checked behind. The action was checked through to the turn of the 4♣K♦T♥K♠ board which Bergstrom bet 35,000 into, O'Dwyer check-raised to 155,000 and Bergstrom made the call. O'Dwyer kept up the aggression and fired 280,000 into the river. Bergstrom ever so slowly made the call and was shown K♣3♣ by the American who chips up to 1,800,000, Bergstrom down to 3,365,000. -- RD

2.38pm: Klebanov's pot
Benjamin Jenkins made it 50,000 and got calls from Andre Klebanov on the button and Miroslav Benes on the big blind. The flop was 7♥3♥9♥ and Benes checked, Jenkins made it 81,000 and both Klebanov and Benes called. The turn was 3♣ and Benes checked again, only for Jenkins to make it 176,000. Now Klebanov jumped to life and re-raised to 365,000. Benes got out of the way, as did Jenkins... but not before a couple of minutes' thought. -- SY

2.28pm: Man down! Andries Swart out
It was folded around to big-stacked Mattias Bergstrom in the small blind who moved all-in with only short-stacked Swart to act in the big. He called.

Bergstrom: K♣J♥
Swart: A♠5♥

Swart had around 350,000 and looked good for a double up, even though the 9♦T♣2♦ opened up more outs for Bergstrom. The 3♥ was a brick, but the Q♦ river was enough to make Bergstrom a straight and send him up to more than 3.5 million.

Swart was out in 18th place for £19,000. -- SY

2.22pm: Jenkins wins a pot, Spindler looks irritated
Ben Jenkins has just won a small pot from Benny Spindler leaving the German looking a little annoyed with himself, perhaps for the call on the river?

Jenkins opened the cut-off for 57,000 (I think, it is the TV table so we can't follow as easily) and was called by Spindler in the big blind. Spindler led 44,000 into the 6♠9♥2♥ flop and Jenkins made the call. Both players checked the 3♣ turn before Jenkins bet 82,000 at the 9♠ river card. Spindler made the call and mucked when shown Jenkins' . Jenkins looks to be well over a million now - I'll try to eyeball his stack next time it comes on the feed. It could be as much as 1,200,000. -- RD

2.15pm: Mitchell upping a gear?
After his all-in a moment or so, James Mitchell has twice three-bet in quick succession to rake in more loot. He's up to a million or so now. -- SY

2.10pm: All-ins and no takers
A succession of all-ins went unchallenged. First Joao Barbosa moved in for 250,000 and picked up the blinds and antes. Then Hugo Loureiro moved for 220,000 from under the gun to win the pot. Then James Mitchell moved for 700,000 and did the same, before Loureiro went all-in again, this time from the small blind for 230,000, but Martins Adeniya folded from the big. -- SY

2.04pm: Bergstroming ahead
Mattias Bergstorm is gaining some serious momentum here in London. He's up to 3,650,000 after winning pots from James Mitchell and Steve O'Dwyer in quick succession. Bergstrom check-called down two streets of aggression from Mitchell on a A♦5♣9♣K♥7♥ board with A♥2♠. Mitchell's pocket threes were no good as Bergstrom moved up to 3,100,000.

The next hand the Swede lost a small pot after folding to a shove from Andries Swart before winning a tasty pot from O'Dwyer. The American made it 52,000 from the cut-off and was called by Bergstrom on the button. O'Dwyer led 70,000 into the A♥6♣J♦ flop, 170,000 into the 6♣ turn and checked the 4♠ river.

Bergstrom plucked out 250,000 and pushed it forward. O'Dwyer wasted little time in calling Bergstrom and was shown a flopped two-pair with A♣J♠.

"Argghh," said O'Dwyer. Well, he less said it than groaned it before adding: "Nice hand."

Mitchell down to 700,000, O'Dwyer drops to 1,550,000 but still going strong. -- RD


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Steve O'Dwyer


1.55pm: Cagey
A slow start to life on the feature table after the break. Juan Manuel Pastor picked up a pot, three betting Adria Balaguer's raise. Then Miroslav Benes picked up the big blind and antes by raising from the small and forcing a fold from Benny Spindler on the big. -- SY

1.48pm: Off we go again
Players are back in their seats. The updated chip counts can be found on the, er, chip count page. -- SY

1.34pm: Break
We're now on the first 15-minute break of the day. Players will stretch their legs, we'll be fetching a full round of chip counts, which will be with you shortly. -- SY

1.32pm: Pastor passes
Juan Manuel Pastor, the only surviving Team PokerStars Pro in the field, raised to 42,000, only for Miroslav Benes, a PokerStars qualifier from the Czech Republic, to raise to 103,000. Pastor thought for a moment or so before passing - and Benes showed pocket kings. --SY

1.30pm: Play slows
After a fast start, in which we went down from 24 players to 18 within an hour, we have been stuck with no more eliminations since. Meanwhile, Benny Spindler continues to dominate the feature table.-- SY

1.25pm: Longest tank-fold in ages
Ioannis Beris kicked off a hand that last nearly 15 minutes. He raised it to 52,000 and got calls from Kevin Iacofano and from Anatoly Gurtovoy. On the Q♣6♣8♥ flop, Gurtovoy checked, Beris made it 115,000 and both others called. The turn was Q♥ and now it was Gurtovoy who moved first, making it 100,000.

Beris looked a little disheartened and leant back in his chair to weigh up his options. After a few minutes he elected to fold, a decision he was obviously pleased with when Iacofano moved all-in straight away for 500,000. Now it was back on Gurtovoy and we waited on his decision.

And we waited.

And still we waited.

Iacofano sat stock still for what was almost ten minutes as Gurtovoy continued to make up his mind. He looked in genuine distress about whether he should make a call or not, and at one stage reached out to the pot to try and spread it. He got a swift reprimand from the dealer, the only person allowed to do that at a player's request.

Eventually, Gurtovoy, who had around 600,000 behind, folded. -- SY

1.20pm: Ioannis Beris, on video
The Greek PokerStars qualifier speaks to the video team at the start of play today.

1.15pm: Calm Jenkins chipping up
A fellow British pro, who will remain unnamed, last night told me that Ben Jenkins had 'a certain presence' at the table. I took that to be a good thing and it's quite clear to see what he means. Jenkins maintains a calm intensity at the tables which seems to help him force folds. He started the day with around quarter of a million, he's now into seven figures, the last jump in chips coming from Adria Balaguer.

Andre Klebanov opened under-the-gun for 40,000 and was called by Spindler on the button as well as Balaguer (small) and Jenkins (big) in the blinds. Balaguer led 72,000 into the 4♦J♦8♣ flop and Jenkins slowly chopped out a raise to 197,000. Klebanov passed. Spindler passed. Balaguer passed.

Jenkins is still wearing a suit, the PokerStars Blog still approves. -- RD

1pm: Rapid-fire departures
This first hour of play has been brutal with five players getting knocked out early on.

19. Basile Yaiche, France, £19,000
20. Fowzi Baroukh, United Kingdom, £19,000
21. Aadam Daya, Canada, £19,000
22. Justas Semaska, Lithuania, £19,000
23. Per Hildebrand, Sweden, £19,000
24. Sebastian Blom, Sweden, £19,000

Frenchman Yaiche was the last to go when he failed to flip well with pocket sevens to the king-queen of Dutchman Andries Swart. Yaiche had been a big stack for the last few days but a brutal turn that filled up Bergstrom crippled his flopped nut trips hand. Good temperament, solid play, I doubt this is the last we'll see of Yaiche (whose name I will learn to pronounce correctly at some point). -- RD

12.50pm: Not his Daya
Aadam Daya is out, his hopes raised then dashed at the death. He shoved with A♠J♣ for 290,000 and was called by Stephen O'Dwyer with A♣K♥. The flop was 4♠9♣7♠, but the turn was J♦, shooting Daya into the lead. But it's a cruel game, and the river fell K♦ to send him to the rail instead. Ouch.. -- SY

12.45pm: Hugo's there
Portugal's Hugo Loureiro shoved for his last 187,000 with 8♠8♦ and doubled up when Jeremy Kottler called him from the big blind with 3♠3♥. No dramas followed and we move on.

"Still living," explained Loureiro. -- SY


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Hugo Loureiro - still in, still smiling

12.40pm: Double win still possibility
Joao Barbosa is the only remaining previous EPT winner in the field - and he just had the sort of luck that will be needed to see him get that elusive second title.

He made it 40,000 and Pascal Hartmann bumped it up to 101,000. Barbosa wasted no time moving all-in and Hartmann spent even less calling. We could see why when the cards went on their backs:

Hartmann: A♠A♣
Barbosa: A♥K♠

Barbosa was in terrible shape, all-in for 563,000 and easily covered. The flop came 5♥8♦K♥ offering him some hope of a suck out. The Q♣ turn reduced those chances, but wouldn't you know it? The river was K♣ causing a ripple of "ooohs" around the table.

Barbosa, never a man to show much emotion, actually showed none at all. He's up to more than a million, while Hartmann falls to 1.2million. -- SY

12.35pm: Spindler adds Semaska's stack to his spoils
Benny Spindler has just knocked out Justas Semaska from the TV feature using a serendipitous pair of aces to crush the Lithuanian's pocket nines, all-in pre-flop of course. Spindler's stack continues to grow. It looks to be around 1,950,000 now. -- RD

LEVEL UP: BLINDS 10,000-20,000, ANTE 3,000


12.25pm: Blom goes in three-way
Sebastian Blom is the first player out today. The short stacked brother of Viktor wasn't wearing his sunglasses today, perhaps a mistake, and waited until he was in the big blind before getting it in. Hugo Loureiro opened for 50,000 and was called by Ioannis Beris on the button before Blom called all-in.

Loureiro decided to check-raise all-in on a K♦3♥K♠ flop and was snapped by Beris with K♥J♠. Loureiro showed 7♥7♦ and failed to suck out, as did Blom with T♣3♦. Loureiro down to 200,000, Beris up to 650,000. -- RD

12.18pm: Bergstrom cripples Yaiche, huge chip lead
Mattias Bergstrom has extended his chip lead and has crippled one of his major opponents at the table.

Bergstrom opened to 34,000 from middle position and Basile Yaiche three-bet to 112,000 from the big blind. Bergstrom made the call.Yaiche led 85,000 into the K♦3♥K♠ flop, Yaiche made the call.

Yaiche refused to slow down on the T♦ turn, he fired 190,000 and Bergstrom raised to 380,000. Yaiche, now seemingly on the back foot, made the call.

The 2♦ was a major blank and Yaiche checked his hand over to Bergstrom who pushed out 400,000. The Frenchman called and was shown T♠T♣ for a turned full house. Yaiche looked shell shocked and showed A♠K♥. He's down to 160,000, Bergstrom up to a massive 2,850,000. -- RD


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Basile Yaiche (top, reaching) and Mattias Bergstrom go at it


12.05pm: Play starts
And we're off...

11.15am: Racing to the final
Today is about two things: getting down from 24 players to the required final table of eight, and beating the High Roller event which needs to get from 30 players down to eight. While the first is a necessity, the second is just a bit of private fun so we can rub Sergeant Major Bartley's nose in it as he wave goodbye and head off to the PokerStars Party in Kensington tonight. Harsh? Yes. Fun? Definitely.

Predicting what time we could get down to eight players is fraught with problems. Yesterday, we thought getting down from 62 players at the start to 24 would be a breeze, but it still took until nearly 8pm. The High Roller, meanwhile, went on until gone 11pm.

Of those looking to build a big stack to take to the main event final table, three players will be fancying their chances more than most. Chip leaders Mattias Bergstrom (1,838,000), Adria Balaguer (1,828,0000) and Pascal Hartmann (1,800,000) will take some stopping, while bottom-placed Sebastian 'Isildir1.1' Blom will be looking to work some magic on his tiny stack of 58,000.

We start at noon with blinds where they left off mid-way through level 22 last night - 8,000-16,000 with a 2,000 ante.

Clickety-click here for the seat draw, here for the payouts and here to take a look at the High Roller coverage.

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The Shard tower on the South Bank, with HMS Belfast in the foreground

PokerStars Blog reporting team (in order of favourite towers): Rick Dacey (Eiffel - he is an eyeful), Marc Convey (Tower of Babel - destroyed by use of language), Stephen Bartley (Blackpool - he plays poker like a rock), and Simon Young (Tower of London - old and often loses his head).

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