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EPT San Remo: Day 1B, level 1 & 2 updates (blinds 75-150)

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4pm:
It's been a tough level for Melanie Wiesner, losing two hands in quick succession before the break.

In the first the board was already reading 5♥3♠5♦J♦2♥ when Thomas McCormick bet 8,000 into a pot of about 13,000. Weisner was tanking, her leg tucked under her in a kind of side saddle position.

"Am I allowed to say what I have?" she asked, the dealer telling her no. Instead she folded, then pleaded with McCormick.

"Will you please show?"

"No," replied McCormick, breaking into a smile. "I can't."

Weisner asked to be told later, although McCormick didn't look like the kind to kiss and tell. Weisner instead comforted herself by talking about the hand to Kevin MacPhee, who had just walked past, before returning to her seat.

A few hands later, as the clock ticked into the break, Weisner found herself in another key pot, started by McCormick who had opened in early position. Nicola Caruso was in the cut off and raised before Weisner re-raised on the button, forcing out McCormick but getting a call from Caruso.

The flop came Q♥T♦J♥. Weisner now deployed the tactic of staring intently at Caruso, the Italian tackling this by asking Weisner if she would like a coffee during the break. Only he asked in Italian, which required a translation, effectively stripping all spontaneity from the situation.

Caruso bet 1,000 which Weisner called, staring into his eyes again as the turn card came 8♠. Caruso wasted little time in betting another grand, which Weisner duly called for a 5♠ river card, which she again allowed Caruso to see while see starred directly at him.

It's an oft used device, an eerie technique that would make even the most emotional secure player feel uncomfortable. Caruso dealt with it by betting more, 2,500 on the river. Weisner said "I call" and waited for Caruso to show.

He did. First Weisner, then the dealer, Q♠Q♦. Weisner inhaled, stopped breathing, paid off Caruso, rolled her eyes and started breathing again. The American still has 32,200 while Caruso moves up to 51,000. That's the break. - SB

3.52pm: News from Twitter land
A lot of the players are kind enough to Tweet their progress from time to time and that suits us as it saves us one trip up the stairs we scale a hundred times a day. Here's a couple of examples:

Vanessa "VanessaSelbst" Selbst:

"Squeezed QJss from SB got it heads up n double barreled K99hhA. Then value bet for medium pot with 99 on 852TT. Up to 54k almost 1st break."

Max "max_silver" Sliver

"Someone just got in 200bb aipf with me with KTs????? They binked a 10 for a 60k pot, he then fistpumped"

Followed by:

"Oh I had AKo" -- MC

3.40pm: No jokes for Naujoks
Team PokerStars Pro Sandra Naujoks is down to 18,200 after running into and paying off Thomas Meyer Swensen and his nut flush.

The German pro raised to 375 from second position and Swensen peeled from the big blind to see the 4♠Q♠T♦ flop. Naujoks bet 500 and the Norwegian check-called to the 5♠ turn where he led for 1,000. Naujoks called and also called a 2,600 bet on the A♣ river. Swensen tabled A♠2♠ for the nuts and Naujoks folded to drop to 23,200. -- MC

3.35pm: Black and Silver
"I'm running ridiculously hot. I'm up to 80,000," said Max Silver. The young Brit first came to my attention during the first season of the UKIPT where he made two final tables, winning UKIPT Dublin, where he now lives. He's close friends with two-time UKIPT winner Nick Abou Risk, EPT London winner David Vamplew and Andrew Ferguson , who is currently sat behind him at the next table. Next to Ferguson is Andy Black, yes, he of the mad monk moniker.

"He's stalking me, you know," said Silver of Black. "He's everywhere I go."

"Yeah," interjected Black in a languid drawl before adding, "I keep seeing you getting lots of chips and then losing them." Cue ribbing from Ferguson about Silver getting coolered with ace-rag against aces. -- RD

3.30pm: Dear Dario
Okay Dario, it's you and me again. For the last two EPT events we've started in this same way, me preparing some glowing and admiring text about how you are one of the most entertaining players to watch, only for you to eliminate yourself within about 20 minutes. Let's see if we can go further this time. I'll carry you if I have to because the price of failure is too much. Man cannot rely just on Elmar Dirnberger for colour alone. -- SB

3.25pm: Looking the part
Michal Polchlopek certainly looks like a professional poker player, short blond hair, clearn looking and young with an as yet inability to grow facial hair. He and Angel Guillen just contested a pot, the Pole winning the hand from the Team PokerStars Pro after betting 9,000 into a 7,000 pot on a board of 9♣7♠A♠Q♠5♠. Guillen in the cut off tanked, then folded. - SB

3.15pm: Sudworth wins first battle of Britain
James Keys is an in form player this year after his runner-up performance at the Aussie Millions a few months back. The only notable name at his table is sitting directly to his right and is fellow British pro James Sudworth. The two know each other well so there will probably be some extra dynamic to the hands they both play.

The first battle we witnessed went to Sudworth. He three-bet to 1,000 from the cut-off after an early position raise. Keys called from the button as did the original raiser to see the 5♥8♥5♠ flop. Sudworth continued with a 1,675 bet and only Keys called as the other player folded out of turn.

The turn came 2♣ and there was no slowing Sudworth as he fired in 3,600. It was enough to shake off Keys who folded to drop to 25,000. Sudworth is up to 35,000. -- MC

3.05pm: Polar opposites
Today the Casino San Remo poker floor is packed to the rafters. Well, to the alcoves if we're going to be precise. At the far, far end of the tournament floor, through a portal of sorts, there are six tables with a wide mix of players. At one end you have the tight but multiple cashing Nicolo Calia, a player who openly shows his love of the game, and at the other you have the cold aggression of Michael Tureniec, the EPT Copenhagen winner, who beasts every table he plays and seems to find it easier to five-bet jam than smile.

Tureniec is yet to get going but a couple of seats around from him is Thomas Traboulsi who made the final few tables at EPT Berlin. An unorthodox player to say the least, it could be interesting to see Tureniec tear into Traboulsi because the German may well call him down light. Traboulsi has picked up a couple of early pots. -- RD

LEVEL UP: BLINDS 75-150


2.45pm: Fernadez busts but there is a Silver lining
Team PokerStars Pro Leo Fernadnez busted just as the first level was coming to an end.

The Brit raised to 300 only to face a three-bet to 1,000 from Fernadez. He responded by four-betting to 2,450 and the call was quick in coming. The flop fell 2♣6♣3♣ and Silver c-bet for 3,150. The Argentine thought long and hard at this juncture before raising to 10,050 and then calling all-in for 24,000 when Silver set him in.

Silver tabled K♣K♦ to Fernandez's A♣K♥. The 6♠9♠ changed nothing and the two shook hands before the Argentine made his exit. Argentina is a long way to come to play 55 minutes of poker but Silver doesn't care as he now has a 58,000 chip stack. -- MC

2.30pm: Obligatory Wolf post
Two former champions line up alongside each other, Roberto Romanello and Christophe Benzimra. Opposite them is Elmar Dirnberger who I suspect feels he deserves to be an EPT champion. Basically I agree.

It's not that Dirnberger boasts any extraordinary talent, just that what talent he has is dressed up to the nines in performance and devoid of any affectation. For instance the cheroot he has in his mouth at all times, is probably the one he sleeps with. The nickname he gives himself - "The Wolf" - is probably the one his mother uses, and the straight back, lean forward posture ensures he's ready for anything. He's his own biggest fan, capable of lifting the roof as he shouts affirmations of his ability in the third person. Amid a field of egos Dirnberger believes his to be better. It's brilliant.

Benzimra, a former EPT Warsaw winner, opened for 150 which Dirnberger called. The flop came K♣J♥4♥ and with it the high point of the hand, a bet of 375 from Benzimra, called by The Wolf. As far as action goes that was all of it. The Q♣ turn was checked by both players, Dirnberger, acting first, and clawing at the table to signify his choice of action. The same went for the 6♣ river card where both players showed ace-eight to split the pot. - SB

2.20pm: The unfortunate nation of Kevinstan
Ever since Kevin Stani took the EPT Tallinn crown he seems to have been cursed with grim looking starting table draws. At EPT Snowfest he was drawn on a table that held three EPT winners as well as EPT leader board legend Luca Pagano.

Here it's a little less brutal, but must still have elicited an early afternoon groan. On his direct left is EPT Berlin winner Ben Wilinofsky, a player of quality and full of confidence after steamrolling our most recent EPT final table. Two seats on from the Canadian is Team PokerStars Pro Ivan Demidov, a beast of a player from Russia who you'll know best from two years back when he made two deep WSOP runs; second place to Peter Eastgate in the Main Event for $5,809,595 and third in the WSOPE for £334,850. -- RD

2.10pm: The room is almost full
Players are still coming through the doors to take their seats and the room is starting to look full. Some interesting table line ups are starting to emerge.

Defending champion Liv Boeree isn't too happy with her draw. She has fellow Team PokerStars Pro Lex Velduis and Alex Wice to her left.

Luca Pagano has similar problems to his left in the shape of Max Greenwood, Erik van den Berg and Oliver Busquets.

Joep van den Bijgaart and Fatima Moreira de Melo both represent Holland but will have to battle past each other. The extra interesting dynamic is that Moreira de Melo is sat along side the effervescent Italian Fabrizio Ascari. He'll either make her laugh incessantly or drive her mad. -- MC

2pm: On the conveyor belt tonight!
A few of those playing today are mentioned on the chip count page. They include Team PokerStars Pros Dario Minieri, Luca Pagano, Barry Greenstein, Liv Boeree, Salvatore Bonavena, Bertrand Grospellier, Sebastian Ruthenberg and new boy Pier Paolo Fabretti. -- SB

1.55pm: From the tournament floor
Gloria Balding introduces Day 1B of EPT San Remo...

1.50pm: Welcome to Day 1B
Welcome back to an overcast San Remo for Day 1B of the European Poker Tour Main Event. Yesterday 438 players took their seats, albeit delayed by two hours, playing nine levels. We have the same in store today.

Play was set to begin "no earlier than "1.30pm. It's now closing in on 2pm and there's still no sign that we'll be under way any time soon.

Regardless of when things kick off you'll find live updates of everything right here on the PokerStars Blog. - SB

NOTE: Apologies for the delayed updates. This is owing to catastrophic internet failure which has now been remedied, or so we're told.

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San Remo in the sunshine (taken yesterday)

PokerStars Blog reporting team in San Remo (in order of specific time they last had an unfettered internet connection): Stephen Bartley (1.03pm today), Rick Dacey (3.08am this morning) and Marc Convey (3G access prior to take off at Heathrow Airport).

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