Mark Buckley soars through Day 3 at EPT Barcelona, leads 56 remaining players

August 30, 2018

Three days are in the books here at Casino Barcelona and Mark Buckley is loving life in the EPT Barcelona Main Event.

Buckley bagged 2.65 million chips at night’s end, leading a field of 56 remaining players in what is already the largest Main Event in EPT history.

EPT Barcelona Main Event Day 3 chip leader Mark Buckley

Just 259 of the original 1,931 runners remained at the start of the day, led by Canada’s Ben Wilinofsky, who was looking to build on an already strong performance to earn his second career EPT Main Event title. But two big losses to Renato Kaneoya sank him midway through the day.

The first saw Kaneoya turn trip eights with 8♥7♠ and get paid on a massive river value bet after Wilinofsky went into the tank for a minute and a half. Minutes later both players flopped trip kings and got all the chips in there. Kaneoya had the bigger stack and A♥K♠ to Wilinofsky’s K♥Q♥, sending the former leader to the rail much earlier than anyone had anticipated.

With Wilinofsky gone the leader’s mantle was up for grabs and several players took turns staking their claims to it. Only after dinner did we find our man. Mark Buckley called Yi Ang Lin’s 900K all-in bet with a set of deuces on a potentially devastating board that was only one card away from a wheel straight. Lin only had A♣Q♠ for a pair of aces, though, and Buckley’s win vaulted him to the lead with 3.6 million. He dropped back a bit by the end of the night but remained in the lead.

Name Country Chips
Mark Buckley Ireland 2,650,000
Fabiano Kovalski Brazil 2,530,000
Matthias Tikerpe Estonia 2,350,000
Rodrigo Marques Carmo Portugal 2,175,000
Enrico De Rosa Italy 1,925,000

Here’s the full Day 4 seat draw, along with the full chip counts and payouts.

Buckley’s not home free yet, of course. There’s still a lot of poker to be played in the next three days and anything can happen in this game, even to a chip leader — just ask those who preceded Buckley.

Fabiano Kovalski

And those right behind him in the counts will be gunning for him, including late-night doublers Fabiano Kovalski, Rodrigo Marques, and Matthias Tikerpe, who eliminated Shaun Deeb in a huge pot with less than an hour to go.

Rodrigo Marques

Matthias Tikerpe

Also of note today was Team Pro Jaime Staples, who played on the feature table for much of the night, giving the EPT live-stream audience a taste of what his Twitch followers get on a regular basis. He busted late in the evening in 60th place after a strong three days of poker, adding another Barcelona cash to his resume after winning a side event at last year’s PokerStars Championship.

Jaime Staples earned his second cash in Barcelona

We’ll be back here at 12pm CEST tomorrow for Day 4. Join us then for full coverage — and in the meantime, have a scroll down to relive all today’s action. –JK

• PLAYERS: 56 of 1,931 entries (inc. 457 re-entries)
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11:35pm: Alfonsin dips then doubles
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

Nariman Yaghmai moved all-in for 253,000 from the hijack and Martin Alfonsin rejammed for a bit more from the small blind.

The rest of the table got out of the way and players tabled their hands. Alfonsin turned over A♦Q♦ while Yaghmai showed 9♠9♦. The board ran 3♠5♠K♣6♦5♦ and Yaghmai doubled to 550,000 while Alfonsin dipped to just 125,000.

Then he got it in a few hands later. Alexandre Reard called that hand and showed J♥10♥ to Alfonsin’s A♥6♥. The A♣J♣A♥Q♦8♠ board brought Reard a jack, but it also gave Alfonsin a few aces and the double up. –AV

11:30pm: Danny’s got a mill-ball, made a great call
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

Danny Tang was put to the test for all his chips by friend Victor Chong. He made the right call.

The two players were heads up to the river of a 9♣8♦8♥Q♦5♠ board. Chong (small blind) set Tang (cutoff) all-in for his last 309,000. Tang called with K♣Q♠ and it was good as Chong opened A♣J♥ and dropped to 655,000. –MC

Danny Tang

11:20pm: Shock as Deeb busts in big pot
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

We’re not sure how this one played out, but Shaun Deeb is out after some big river action versus Matthias Tikerpe, who’s risen to 2.1 million.

Down goes Shaun Deeb

The cry of “all-in and a call” was heard from his table so we dashed over to see what was going on. The board read 9♠3♥J♠7♠6♦ and (not verified) it looked as if Deeb bet-called off 600,000 with his A♦J♥ for top pair, top kicker. Tikerpe tabled A♠4♠ for the nut flush and Deeb headed off. –MC

Matthias “Deeb-slayer” Tikerpe

11:15pm: A pair of quick busts
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

We’ve lost another two and are down to 61 players.

Dominik Panka went first. He was short and moved all-in with 8♥8♦ and Ali Tariq called with K♠J♠. Tariq won the flip after the board came K♣A♣10♦4♦3♠ and Panka was out in 64th.

Tariq on the other hand is up to 930,000.

Then we lost Javier Fernandez. Fernandez was down to about 400,000 and got it in with A♣Q♣, but Jiri Horak woke up with A♦A♥. He called, of course.

The board ran 10♥6♣6♠7♥5♣ and the tournament shrunk again. Fernandez busted in 62nd while Horak’s stack rose to 1.05 million. –AV

Dominik Panka’s quest for another Main Event title is over

11:10pm: Heinze turned into soup
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

Serhii Holodiuk has busted the short-stacked Olvedo Heinze after a preflop all-in showdown. Heinze had 186,000 when he made his move.

Heinze: K♣Q♣
Holodiuk: A♦J♥

The board ran 9♠4♠4♦6♠5♣ and Holodiuk rose to 800,000. –MC

That’s all she wrote for Olvedo Heinze

11:05pm: Conspiracy as Sow downs Mulder
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

Kalidou Sow has jumped up to 1.45 million after he took out Teun Mulder in a million-chip pot.

A preflop raising war broke out between Mulder (cutoff) and Sow (small blind) with the latter the all-in player with 480,000.

Mulder: A♥Q♠
Sow: K♥K♣

The 3♠3♥A♦ flop was not a good one for Sow and neither was the 4♠ turn. Sow then cooly placed the tip of right index finger on one of his kings and wouldn’t you know it (conspiracy!) the river was the K♦ to make him a winning set. –MC

The truth and Teun Mulder’s chips are out there

11pm: Silva sacked in 66th
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

Javier Fernandez raised from middle position and then Julien Sitbon threw in a three-bet to 150,000 from the small blind. Miguel Silva had a bit more than that and moved all-in.

Fernandez decided to let the blinds go at it and folded. Sitbon called and turned over J♥J♣ to Silva’s A♣K♠. Silva did hit an ace on the A♥6♣J♦ flop, but Sitbon also hit a third jack. The 7♣ came on the turn and then a 6♥ completed the board.

Silva was eliminated in 66th while Sitbon chipped up to about 1.5 million. –AV

10:55pm: Dimov down a little after getting unlucky
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

Ognyan Dimov has dropped to 1.62 million after he was three-outed by neighbour Alexandre Reard.

Dimov opened from the cutoff and snap called after Reard moved all-in for 254,000 from the button.

Dimov: A♦K♠
Reard: K♦Q♣

The board ran Q♠3♣6♥6♠J♣. Reard gave a himself a little fist pump after hitting his queen. –MC

10:45pm: Pedro sends Johan packing
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

A short-stacked Johan Rimestad moved all-in for 132,000 with A♣J♠ and Pedro Marques called with K♣10♦.

Marques hit tens on both sides of the 10♣4♥9♠3♣10♥ board and sent Rimestad home in 68th. Marques on the other hand chipped up to 1.3 million. –AV

10:40pm: Panka left with panko
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

Benjamin Pollak used up his last two time bank chips when making a crucial decision for his tournament. It was worth the sacrifice as he made the right one and doubled up to 1.034 million. On the flip side was Dominik Panka who was left with 223,000.

Former PCA champion Panka opened to 27,000 from second position and called after Pollak three-bet to 105,000 from the small blind. The flop spread J♠8♦Q♥ and Pollak checked to face a 90,000 bet. The Single Day High Roller champion from the other day waited nearly one and half minutes before he raised all-in for 400,000. Panka called.

Pollak: A♥A♣
Panka: A♦Q♣

The board ran out a blank 9♥9♣. –MC

High roller Benjamin Pollak is rollin’ high

10:30pm: Big double for Marques
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

There’s nothing like moving all-in on the river with the nuts and getting called. That’s exactly how Rodrigo Marques doubled up to 1,850,000.

Andres Korn started that hand off with a raise to 32,000 from middle position and Marques called from the hijack. Hongbin Guo called from the small blind and Renjun Yang went along from the big blind.

The four players saw the following three cards: Q♥6♥7♣. Guo started things off with a bet of 65,000 and Yang folded. Both Korn and Marques called though and a J♠ came on the turn. Guo led again, this time for 200,000. Korn folded that street, but Marques paid to see the river: 4♥.

It was a good river for Marques, who was holding A♥10♥. Guo slowed to a check that street and Marques moved all-in for 562,000. Guo called, mucked, and immediately started counting the bet when he saw Marques’s hand.

Guo dropped to 440,000 while Marques doubled up to 1.85 million. –AV

Rodrigo Marques is headed in the right direction

10:20pm: Jack the lad Muradov
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

“Oooh, no queen!” pleaded Shakhabiddin Muradov after he got his chips in in a great spot versus Teun Mulder.

Mulder had opened to 35,000 from the cutoff and then made a considered looking call after Muradov three-bet all-in from the big blind.

Muradov: J♠J♥
Mulder: Q♥J♦

The board ran 4♦A♠7♦5♥3♥ to see the jacks hold. Mulder dropped to around 600,000. –MC

Jacks hold for Shakhabiddin Muradov

10:15pm: Back to the felt
Level 21 – Blinds 8,000/16,000 (BB ante 16,000)

We’re back in action for the last level of the night. The tournament staff has just introduced new white 100K chips into play. –JK

What they’re playing for — well, that and 1.6 million Euros


9:55pm: Clarke ends level on a high
Level 20 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

Patrick Clarke has ended the level on 1.16 million after taking a pot off Serhii Holodiuk, who dropped to 486,000.

Clarke opened to 35,000 off the button and called after Holodiuk three-bet to 85,000 from the small blind. The board rolled out J♠3♣2♦2♠5♦ with Holodiuk leading for 55,000 and 120,000 on the flop and turn. Clarke called the bets before they both checked the river. Holodiuk opened K♥8♥ but lost out to the Irishman’s 7♠7♣. –MC

9:50pm: Desilva loving that river
Level 20 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

“I’m in bad shape,” said Upeshka Desilva after his all-in was called on the turn, but he wasn’t drawing dead and his frustration sound turned to delight on the river.

He was up against Joel Isla and the board read J♣K♠10♣8♣ with 106,000 in the middle. A bit of this and a bit of that later saw Desilva commit his last 215,000 with A♣10♠. Isla already had a flush with K♣Q♣ but the fourth club on the board – 4♣ – came to save Desilva’s day. Isla dropped to 1.5 million. –MC

Upeshka Desilva rides the river

9:45pm: Er eliminated
Level 20 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

A short-stacked Zorlu Er moved all-in with A♦5♦ and a slightly-less-short-stacked Salem Cherrati called with 10♠10♥. Cherrati was in the lead and then filled up on the 2♣9♣10♣Q♥9♦ board.

Er finished in 71st while Cherrati chipped up to 440,000. –AV

Zorlu Er takes his leave

9:35pm: Buckley takes a massive lead
Level 20 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

Mark Buckley has taken down another massive pot, and with it, he extended his lead to 3.6 million.

We got to the hand on the turn of a 4♦A♦3♥2♣ board and there was more than 200,000 in the pot. It was Buckley versus Yi Ang Lin and Lin was first to act.

He bet big, as big as he could go. Lin moved all-in for about 900,000 and Buckley thought. Then he used a time bank card and thought some more. Then he called.

Lin turned over A♣Q♠ for a pair of aces while Buckley turned over 2♠2♥. Any five would chop the pot, but the river brought the 7♣ instead. Lin finished 73rd while Buckley took a massive lead with 3.6 million. –AV

Yi Ang Lin finishes 73rd

Your new overwhelming chip leader, Mark Buckley

9:30pm: Poterek slow-rolled by the deck
Level 20 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

Patryk Poterek had a second where he thought he’s doubled up, but it was a fake dawn. The window card paired him up after an all-in, but the flop then rolled out full to show his opponent had also flopped a set.

He and Nariman Yaghmai went at it preflop and Poterek was the all-in player with 279,000.

Yaghmai: 10♥10♣
Poterek: A♥K♣

The board ran 10♦4♦A♣3♠J♦. Yaghamai rose to 750,000. –MC

9:30pm: Deeb hits 1 million at Palevic’s expense
Level 20 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante: 12,000)

Shaun Deeb has been firing away with abandon at his table and Rifat Palevic just took a hit due to it.

Deeb opened UTG+1 for 25,000 — his standard raise — and only Palevic called in the big blind. Palevic check-called another 25,000 on the A♦K♦4♦ flop. Then he did the same for 55,000 on the 8♦ turn. He checked one more time on the J♠ river, and this time Deeb stepped up the bet to 201,000. Palevic was clearly unhappy, shaking his head as he counted chips for a potential call. As his time bank wound down he threw the chips in, then slammed his J♣J♦ down on the table in disgust when Deeb showed Q♦9♣ for a slightly better flush.

Deeb’s now up to 1 million chips, while Palevic falls to 500,000. –JK

Shaun Deeb’s stack is growing

9:25pm: News from TV past: A Staples double
Level 20 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

The feature table is being streamed on a 30-minute delay but word has reached us (thanks Nick Wright from the Social Media team), that Jaimie Staples doubled his 253,000 stack up after dinner. All the chips went in preflop.

He had A♦A♣ in a cooler versus Denys Shafikov’s Q♠Q♣. The board ran A♠10♦8♠K♠2♥ to see Staples flop a set and survive a sweaty runout that commentator James Hartigan called for. Shafikov dropped to 704,000. –MC

9:15pm: Isla will settle for that
Level 20 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

Joel Isla and Luis Rodriguez just tangled in a big pot that saw the latter hit the rail and the former soar to 1.8 million.

The two players went to war on an 8♥6♥5♣ flop, with Rodriguez committing his last 450,000 or thereabouts.

Rodriguez: 10♣8♣ for top pair
Isla: 6♣6♦ for middle set

The board ran out K♣9♦. –MC

9:12pm: Nurzynski knocks out Liperis, crosses 1 million
Level 20 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

It was a preflop battle that only Piotr Nurzynski survived.

Yiannis Liperis started it though. He raised to 25,000 from the hijack and Nurzynski three-bet to 70,000 from the button. Nurzynski then re-raised all-in for about 300,000 and Nurzynski called.

Liperis turned over K♠Q♣ and Nurzynski was in the lead with Q♥Q♠. Pocket queens held on the 7♦[a]J♦8♦A♥ board and Liperis busted in 74th while Nurzynski is up to just over 1 million. –AV

Yiannis Liperis falls in 74th

9:10pm: No community cards, but lots of chips
Level 20 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante: 12,000)

We got to the table after Oliver Weis had opened on the button, and he’d already been popped back to 85,000 by Patrick Clarke. Weis didn’t take too long before making it 190,000 to go, putting the decision back to Clarke. The Englishman used a time bank card and then announced himself all-in. Weis’s cards hit the muck almost immediately, dorpping his stack to 930,000 as Clarke climbed to 770,000. –JK

9:05pm: O’Connor takes out Lavallee
Level 20 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

Jason Lavallee’s tournament ended in a classic tournament flip. He was getting short and found himself with Q♥Q♦ and got it all-in. Jamie O’Connor had a bigger stack and A♦K♦.

Classic call and classic flip.

The flip ended up falling in O’Connor’s favor after the board ran 6♦8♣7♦K♥8♥. Lavallee busted in 77th while O’Connor chipped up to 960,000. –AV

The end of the road for Jason Lavallee

9:03pm: Siddique sent home
Level 20 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

Usman Siddique’s ride has come to an end after he ran into the top set of Enrico De Rosa.

We picked up the action on the flop where De Rosa (big blind) check-called Siddique’s all-in for around 40,000 from under the gun.

De Rosa: J♠J♣
Siddique: A♥Q♠

It was all over but the turn as the board ran out 2♦9♣. De Rosa moved up to 860,000. –MC

So long to Usman Siddique

9pm: Wang vs. Hong
Level 20 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante: 12,000)

Nan Hong opened for 28,000 under the gun and found himself re-raised by Haoxiang Wang, who made it an even 100,000 to go from the cutoff seat. Hong thought for a bit and then called.

Both players checked the K♥3♣7♣ flop but Hong fired 80,000 on the 4♦ turn. Wang used two time bank cards before finally making the call. Hong slowed down on the 6♦ river, checking over to Wang, who bet 170,000. Hong opted to fold, and it was a good thing: Wang revealed K♣K♥ for a flopped set.

Wang now has 690,000, while Hong is left with 220,000. –JK

8:5opm: O’Connor gives up on the turn
Level 20 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

It took Jamie O’Connor a while to believe Adrovan Rodrigues Junior, but he did in the end and dropped to 680,000.

O’Connor raised from under the gun and called after Junior three-bet off the button. The flop fanned 4♣J♠6♦ and O’Connor check-called a 48,000 bet. The turn was the Q♠ and Junior bet 115,000 when checked to again. That did the job as O’Connor folded and Junior rose to 738,000. –MC

Jamie O’Connor

8:40pm: Isla in gear
Level 20 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante: 12,000)

We’re back underway and Joel Isla isn’t messing around. He just took down a pot without having to see anything more than his hole cards.

Luke Haward opened the action for 25,000 in the cutoff seat and was quickly re-raised to 77,000 by Dimitrios Michailidis on the button. Then the action reached Isla and he made it 185,000 to go. Haward insta-folded, while Michailidis took a bit longer but ended up folding as well.

Isla is on about 950,000 now, while Michailidis slips to 850,000. –JK

Joel Isla

8:35pm: Sow doubles Tariq
Level 20 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

Ali Tariq maybe ate some lucky food for dinner as he found Q♠Q♥ on his return and used them to double up.

Kalidou Sow was the players who gave him custom but we’re not sure what he had as we approached the table as the pot was being pushed Tariq’s way. The board read 10♥Q♦4♦2♥2♦ giving Tariq a full house and a 485,000 stack. Sow dropped to 422,000. –MC

Ali Tariq, movin’ on up

8:25pm: Two more levels to play
Level 20 – Blinds 6,000/12,000 (BB ante 12,000)

The players are back in their seats with full bellies. The heavens were about to open outside so we might as all be inside playing poker! –MC

Your new chip leader, Fabiano Kovalski


7:15pm: Kovalski leads Dimov at the break
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

That’s it for the first session of the day. Players are now heading for a 75-minute dinner break. The pot described below vaulted Fabiano Kovalski to the top of the counts, overtaking Ognjan Dimov, who had held top spot for most of that level.

Ognyan Dimov: Lost his chip lead at level end

7:10pm: Kovalski takes the lead after huge pot
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

We only saw the river action for this one, but it’s a pot that’s surely given Fabiano Kovalski the dinner time chip lead.

The board showed Q♦J♦Q♣A♣6♦, and Evgenii Sboev led out for 230,000 with a heap already in the middle. Michael Tureniec just called, and when it got to Kovalski he gave it some thought but just called too.

Sboev showed J♠J♥ for a flopped full house, but Kovalski had turned a better one with his A♥Q♥. Tureniec mucked.

“You weren’t calling if I shove right?” Kovalski asked Sboev, who shook his head.

Kovalski is up to 2.62 million, Sboev drops to 315,000 – but will be relieved Kovalski hadn’t shoved – and Tureniec has 241,000. –JS

7:07pm: Heath hits set on river to survive against Staples
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

As Team PokerStars Pro Jaime Staples often talks about on his Twitch channel, winning poker tournaments requires both consistently good decision-making and a bit of run-good along the way. Having good hands hold and bad hands improbably improve from time to time is essential to surviving, especially in big field events.

Just now Staples was involved in a hand illustrating such a principle against Ben Heath. The latter had opened and Staples pushed all-in, and Heath called to put himself at risk.

Staples held 8♥8♦ and looked as though he was on the verge of eliminating Heath who had 5♣5♠. That prospect seemed even more certain after the 2♥A♦J♠ flop and 6♦ turn.

Then came the river… the 5♥! A set for Heath saved him, and he remains in the game with 425,000. Staples still has chips with which to operate, though, with just under 220,000 with the dinner break just a couple of minutes away. –MH

7:06pm: Desilva downs Hegele
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

Upeshka Desilva and Robin Hegele were heads-up on a 2♥K♥A♣ flop and a short-stacked Hegele got it all-in with A♠3♠.

“You got a lot of outs,” Hegele said after Desilva turned over J♥10♥.

“And that’s one of them,” he added after the 7♥ came on the turn. Hegele was drawing dead and was eliminated in 86th place while Desilva chipped up to about 500,000. –AV

7:05pm: Lau triples with the worst of it
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

Ka Kwan Lau started the beginnings of hand that turned into a three-way all-in and ended it tripling his 79,000 stack.

He moved all-in from early position and was followed in by Gerald Ringe who had 175,000. Serhii Holodiuk looked down at something he liked and made the call to put both opponents at risk.

Lau: A♦9♠
Ringe: A♣J♦
Holodiuk: A♠Q♦

The board ran 8♦7♦6♦10♠8♠ to make Lau a straight to move up to 262,000. Holodiuk took the side pot to settle on 610,000 and Ringe hit the rail. –MC

7:03pm: Palevic vs. Deeb
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante: 10,000)

Rifat Palevic is staying active and taking on all comers. That’s just fine with Shaun Deeb.

Deeb opened the betting for 22,000 in early position and got calls from the cutoff and Palevic in the big blind. Palevic led for 30,000 on the 6♣4♣4♠ flop and only Deeb called. Palevic led again on the 9♠ turn, this time for 75,000. Deeb again called.

Both men checked the 4♦ river and played a game of chicken at showdown. Palevic waited for Deeb to show, but Deeb said, “Show or muck.” Palevic, who’d been the aggressor throughout the hand, turned up Q♥J♠ for just the pair of fours on the board. Deeb then rolled over 3♣3♠ to take down the pot.

“That’s my rule,” said Deeb. “Show or muck.” He’s now on 600,000 to Palevic’s 630,000. –JK

7pm: Kalidou-ing just fine
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

At the very start of today, 2017 EPT Prague Main Event champion Kalidou Sow of France was on the super-short stack and we were reporting how he’d gotten 32,000 all in preflop and survived.

Cut to six-and-a-half hours later, and Sow is still in the tournament with 86 players left. In fact, Sow has an above-average stack at the moment with 715,000, positioning himself well despite being seated to the left of recent €100K Super High Roller champion and fellow Frenchman Benjamin Pollak and a couple of spots to the right of 2014 PCA Main Event winner Dominik Panka of Poland. –MH

6:56pm: Lin wins big from Brammer
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

A big chunk of those chips that Chris Brammer won recently now reside in front of Yi Ang Lin.

We picked up the action on a 10♠7♥4♦ flop, and Brammer check-called an 85,000 bet. The turn was the 2♦, and when Brammer checked again Lin loaded up a bet. He slid out 155,000, and Brammer didn’t take too long to call.

Big win for Yi Ang Lin

The 9♣ river completed the board, and when Brammer checked again Lin checked it back. Brammer showed 8♦8♠, but Lin had Q♥Q♦ and took it down.

Lin wiped his brow with a “Phew!” as he stacked up 1.3 million, while Brammer drops to 690,000. –JS

6:55pm: Live streaming
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

Team PokerStars Pro Jamie Staples is in jamming mode right before the dinner break.

He’s down to about 200,000 and recently moved all-in but got no callers. There was a small swarm of TV cameras surrounding him though. After the dealer pushed the pot his way, Staples picked up his 7♦7♥ and showed it to the cameras.

A tablemate asked him when he showed and the poker streamer said he’s showing less than he normally does.

“I’m used to showing all my cards,” Staples said. “One isn’t so bad.”–AV

6:50pm: Gillis gets got by Kovalski
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

Coming upon a three-hand involving Michael Tureniec, Samuel Gillis, and Fabiano Kovalski, the first-to-act Tureniec had made a small lead at a 4♠K♣K♠ flop, but then Gillis raise-pushed all-in for his entire stack and Kovalski either called or re-raised all in himself, forcing a fold from Tureniec.

Samuel Gillis: Got

Gillis was in for a considerable amount on the flop — in the 200,000-chip range, or thereabouts — and had a strong hand with K♥10♥ for trip kings. But Kovalski’s A♦K♦ was the same hand with a better kicker, and Gillis was in dire straits. It got worse with the A♥ turn that improved his opponent to a full house, and with the J♠ completing the board Gillis is out.

Kovalski has a top 10 stack right now. He’s up to 1.58 million. –MH

6:45pm: Palevic vs. Er
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante: 10,000)

Zorlu Er has already collected three cashes in Barcelona over the past week, and he’s guaranteed another in this event. Rifat Palevic isn’t doing anything to help him climb the payouts ladder, though.

When the action folded around before the flop, Palevic opened the action on the button for 22,000. Er was in the big blind and pushed back, making it 49,000 to go. Palevic wasted no time calling and the flop came K♦4♣8♠. Er continued for 29,000 and Palevic called. Er slowed down on the 2♣ turn, though, and ended up folding when Palevic bet 81,000.

Er drops to 430,000, while Palevic is now on roughly 930,000. –JK

6:40pm: Flush over flush fake news
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

“Write in the blog I had a flush,” smiled a joking Jason Lavallee after he made an incorrect hero call with pocket fours to drop to 330,000.

He was in the big blind and battling Jamie O’Connor on the button. We picked up the action on the river where a 6♥8♦J♦5♦3♠ board lay at rest. O’Connor moved all-in for 193,000 and Lavallee called after using a time-bank chip. His fours were no good against O’Connor’s flopped flush with K♦2♦ though and the Brit doubled to 580,000. –MC

6:35pm: Big hold for Brammer, busts Mariam
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

There aren’t many feelings in poker better than holding to win a big flip deep in a tournament. Just ask Chris Brammer.

He opened to 20,000 from the UTG+1 seat, and Henok Mariam called from the cutoff. It folded to Raul Martinez in the big blind and he three-bet squeezed to 100,000. Brammer took his time before calling.

Back to Mariam, he asked Brammer for a better look at his stack. When he’d summed up the situation, he moved all-in for 320,000 total. That shove shook off Martinez, but Brammer clearly had a big decision with only around 360,000 behind.

Chris Brammer: Big hold

He wasn’t thrilled about it by any means, but Brammer made the call and showed 10♣10♦. He was probably happy to be flipping against Mariam’s A♣Q♣.

The board ran out 4♠3♠K♥K♦9♥ keeping Brammer’s pair in front, and Mariam headed to the cage to get paid. A very relieved Brammer is up to 875,000 now, while Martinez was left with 365,000. –JS

6:30pm: Kovalski keeps rising
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

Fabiano Kovalski is now up to about 1.26 million after besting Yiannis Liperis’s A♥K♣ with A♦3♦.

Liperis started the hand off with a raise from the cutoff and Kovalski made it 60,000 from the button. Action folded back around to Liperis and he four-bet to 175,000. Kovalski called and the flop came 7♦7♠J♠.

Both players checked and a 3♣ came on the turn. Kovalski bet 90,000 when checked to and Liperis called, bringing the 8♥ on the river.

Both players slowed to a check again. Liperis showed A♥K♣ and Kovalski turned over A♦3♦ for the turned pair of threes. Kovalski is now up to 1.26 million while Liperis dipped to 455,000. –AV

6:25pm: Motte stopped by Poterek
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

Following an opening raise, Fabien Motte re-raise-shoved, Patryk Poterek re-raised all in over that, and everyone skedaddled including the original opener.

Motte had A♥Q♣ and Poterek K♦K♥, and five cards later — J♠[5]3♣3♦Q♠ — both had a pair but Poetrek’s was best, and Motte departed. Poterek has 325,000 now. –MH

6:20pm: Two more departures
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

On one table, Victor Ionut Dota was eliminated by Jack Wu. We missed the action, but Dota had A♠10♠ in front of him, while Wu had Q♦8♦ for a pair of eights. Wu added the 125,000 to his stack, bringing him up to 870,000.

Meanwhile, Arnaud Enselme was trying to put his recently doubled-up big stack to good use with A♦K♠, but ran it into Denys Shafikov’s K♦K♦. The kings held up, and Shafikov is up to 880,000 now. –JS

6:18pm: Siddique slips past Yaghmai
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante: 10,000)

Usman Siddique raised to 22,000 under the gun and Nariman Yaghmai called on the button. The flop was 8♠J♦3♣ and both players checked. Siddique didn’t check on the 5♣ turn, though. He bet 25,000 and Yaghmai, after about 20 seconds, made the call.

Both players then checked the K♣ river — Siddique showed down 10♠10♣ to take the pot as Yaghmai mucked. That moves Siddique up to 590,000, while Yaghmai drops to around 400,000. –JK

6:16pm: Imsirovic falls, Sboev moves up
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

All in with A♥5♥, Ali Imsirovic needed improvement in order to best Evgenii Sboev’s Q♣Q♥. The 7♥9♣8♠ flop provided a glimmer of hope for Imsirovic, but that darkened with the board-pairing 7♦ turn and 9♠ river cards, and Imsirovic is out.

Ali Imsirovic: On fire yesterday, put out today

Sboev sits with about 700,000 after winning that one. –MH

6:15pm: Talvitie gets lucky to survive
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

Elias Talvitie has doubled his 155,000 stack after he hit a three-outer versus Piotr Nurzynski.

The latter opened from the button and called after Talvitie moved all-in from the big blind.

Talvitie: A♦8♥
Nurzynski: J♣J♥

The board ran 2♠3♥A♠6♥9♦ to pair Talvitie’s ace. Nurzynski dropped to 633,000. –MC

6:10pm: Buckley busts Broekhof and takes a huge lead
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

Tony Broekhof’s last hand started when he raised to 20,000 from early position. Simon Mattsson called from the button and Mark Buckley three-bet to 72,000 from the big blind.

Broekhof then re-raised to 145,000 and Mattsson quickly got out of the way. Buckley called and then both players checked the 3♥Q♥7♣ flop.

Buckley checked again after the 3♦ came on the turn and Broekhof bet 210,000. Buckley then moved all-in and Broekhof went into the time bank tank. Broekhof asked for a count. Buckley had about 850,000 to his 700,000.

Mark Buckley: New force

The clock started ticking down again and Broekhof called. Buckley turned over K♥K♣ and Broekhof said “You got me,” before turning over K♦Q♠. A J♣ came on the river and Broekhof hit the rail while Buckley took the tournament lead with 1.8 million. –AV

6:05pm: Big blow to Staples
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

Jaime Staples just saw his stack halved thanks to a bit of bad luck.

Denys Shafikov made it 20,000 under the gun and it folded to Arnaud Enselme in the cutoff. He jammed for 216,000, and when it got to Staples he asked for a count. Thirty seconds ticked down, so Staples tossed in a time-bank card to buy himself more time. A few seconds later, he announced he was all-in for 421,000.

A disgruntled Jaime Staples

Shafikov folded quickly, and the cards were flipped: Q♥Q♦ for Staples, J♣10♣ for Enselme. The 4♠J♥6♦ flop wasn’t ideal for Staples, but it was the 10♠ turn that really stung. It was followed by the 10♥ river, giving Enselme a boat.

Staples dropped to 205,000, while Enselme is up to 472,000. –JS

6pm: Tang gets the double he needs
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

Danny Tang just earned a much needed double-up. Of course, all double-ups are much needed, so why are we wasting time adding such unnecessary descriptors?

Tang had A♥Q♦ and one opponent in Stefan Jedlicka who held 7♥7♣. The flop came Q♥6♠8♣ to give Tang a better pair, and his hand held through the 10♦ turn and 6♦ river.

Danny Tang: Don’t cry, that’s a double

Tang has 345,000 now, Jedlicka 940,000. If you asked them both, they’d probably tell you they still need more. –MH

5:55pm: Party animals
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

With the start of a new level, there’s a bit of a party atmosphere at Luke Haward’s table at the moment. Right now Haward is entertaining himself and those sitting on either side of him by dealing out hands from his deck of animal playing cards.

Animal cards, but what’s the ranking?

I’m not 100 percent sure about the hand rankings, but Haward appears to be enjoying an advantage at the moment with a pair of tigers.

At least that seems better than the cat and pig Emile Schiff is holding, the zebra and cat dealt to Renato Kaneoya, and Patrick Clarke’s fish and zebra.

Luke Haward: Animal crackers

Before we judge those hands, though, we’ll have to see what comes in the flock, herd, and litter. –MH

5:50pm: Shafikov welcomes Kuehlman to the table
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante: 10,000)

Rene Kuehlman was just moved into the four seat at Denys Shafikov’s table. Shafikov decided to play the part of the welcoming committee by taking some of Kuehlman chips away before he could remove them from their racks.

Shafikov opened for 20,000 on in the cutoff and Kuehlman, having just arrived in the big blind, made the call. He checked the J♥2♥10♣ flop and called Shafikov’s repeat bet of 20,000. That brought the J♣ on the turn, and this time Kuehlman led for 25,000.

Shafikov didn’t think for a very long time before cutting out 75,000 chips and sliding them forward. Kuehlman didn’t like the look of that and folded.

Shafikov climbs to 545,000 with the win. Kuehlman dips to 470,000. –JK

5:45pm: Yu falls to Cherrati
Level 19 – Blinds 5,000/10,000 (BB ante 10,000)

We’ve just lost Winfred Yu from this one. After Shaun Deeb opened to 21,000 under the gun, Yu three-bet to 60,000 from the lojack. Salem Cherrati then shoved from the big blind, shaking off Deep and getting a call from Yu, who was the player at risk.

Yu: Q♣Q♦
Cherrati: A♥Q♥

The J♣J♦6♣ flop and 10♦ turn were good for Yu, but the K♦ river gave Cherrati broadway. Yu headed for the exit, and Cherrati increases to 590,000. –JS


5:21pm: Nurzynski knocks out Margolin
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

Ali Imsirovic limped in from the cutoff and Timur Margolin made it 25,000 to go from the button. Piotr Nurzynski called from the big blind and the flop came down 3♠A♣2♣. There was a round of checks and a 4♣ came on the turn to make things very straighty and flushy.

Nurzynski bet 45,000 and only Margolin called. a Q♠ completed the board and Nurzynski moved all-in. Margolin looked pained, shook his head, but called anyways.

Piotr Nurzynski: Turning straight

Margolin, who had about 145,000 behind, showed A♥A♠ for a flopped set of aces but Nurzynski showed a mighty K♦5♦ for a turned straight. Margolin hit the rail while Nurzynski chipped up to nearly 900,000. –AV

5:20pm: Hegele-ian idealism
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante: 8,000)

Robin Hegele opened for 20,000 under the gun, getting calls from Ali Tariq UTG+1 and Miguel Silva in the hijack seat. An innocuous-looking 2♠8♦3♠ flop didn’t alter Hegele’s line one bit — after about 20 seconds he led for 31,000, chasing Tariq immediately. Silva considered the action for 20 seconds of his own and then called.

The 6♥ hit the turn and both players took two-thirds of their respective shot clocks before checking. That brought the 9♥ on the river, and Hegele, after another 20 seconds, either bluffed small or tried to entice Silva to call with a bet of 26,000. Silva nearly came along, but after using one time bank card he decided against it.

That win boosts Hegele to 400,000, while Silva slips a bit to 390,000. –JK

5:15pm: Teisseire taken out
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

“Quelle flop!” said Antonin Teisseire just after being eliminated here near the end of Level 18.

Holding 8♦7♣, Teisseire had gotten all in after the first three community cards had come 8♠J♣7♦ in his hand against Mark Buckley. But alas for Teisseire, Buckley held 7♥7♣ for a set.

The 10♥ turn had Teisseire calling for a nine to chop, but the river was the 2♣ and he departs. Buckley is up over 800,000 now with just a couple of minutes to go to the next break. –MH

5:12pm: Figure it out
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

Imagine you’re Fernando Pons, and with no action in front of you, you look at J♣J♦ in the small blind. You make it 21,000 to go, and your sole opponent, Andres Korn, peels his cards and calls from the big blind.

You’re hoping for a low, dry flop, and that’s near enough what comes on the 8♠2♦7♦. With an overpair to the board, you continue for 26,000 and Korn makes the call.

Andres Korn: Sneaky with aces

The 10♥ then hits the turn, and with another undercard out there you fire 42,000. But Korn won’t budge, and calls to see a river.

How are you feeling about your jacks when the 7♥ lands on the river? Pons opted to check it, perhaps just pot controlling, perhaps hoping to catch a bluff. There was a diamond draw on the flop, after all.

When Korn leads for 165,000 on the river though, that’ll give you food for thought. Pons certainly didn’t like the bet, but he gave it a good once over. What do you lose to? You’d think an overpair would raise preflop, so that makes it a full house, or a seven, or maybe even jack-nine, right?

Pons called. Korn then flipped over A♠A♥, showing a sneaky slow play with the rockets. Talk about a big blind special.

Two hands later and Pons opened to 17,000 from the cutoff before Korn raised to 59,000 on the button. That got a fold, and leaves Pons with 213,000 and Korn with 865,000. –JS

5:10pm: All the lonely people, where do they all come from?
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

Here’s a look at the nationality breakdown of the EPT Barcelona Main Event field, courtesy of Jan Kores, Media Co-ordinator.

EPT Barcelona 2018 Main Event nationalities

5pm: Crazy Pineapple winner Eric Lenoir cashes, looks ahead to the Bahamas
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

Eric Lenoir just saw his EPT Barcelona Main Event run come to an end. In his final hand, Lenoir got his stack in on a K♦4♥6♠ flop, but unfortunately ran into an opponent holding 4♠4♦ for a set of fours. No nine came on the turn or river, and Lenoir bid the table good luck before departing.

“See you in the Bahamas,” said Shaun Deeb, who had been sitting on Lenoir’s right much of the day. With a wide grin Lenoir said he would see Deeb there before taking his leave.

That Bahamas trip is in store for Lenoir because at the start of play yesterday he was the lucky player to win that Crazy Pineapple shootout and a Platinum Pass, earning him a trip to the Atlantis in January to play in the PokerStars Players No-Limit Hold’em Championship.

That package is worth €30,000, and after cashing here today for €14,330 Lenoir has reason to be smiling as he exits the tournament room. –MH

4:55pm: Macau aces beaten regular aces
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 9,000)

Tomasz Pająk has hit the rail after he three-bet all-in only to run into aces behind him.

After an under-the-gun open to 20,000, Pajak moved in for 150,000 from the next seat. Jack Wu was on the button and just smooth called, which was enough to scare off the original raiser.

Pajak: 8♥8♠
Wu: A♣A♥

The board ran 9♦5♥4♦Q♠2♦ and the aces held. It wouldn’t have happened in Macau, where the eights are luckier. Wu moved up to 860,000. –MC

4:55pm: Broekhof gets Margets
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

Leo Margets was down to about 150,000 and got it all-in with 3♣3♦. Tony Broekhof had a bigger stack and a bigger pocket pair with 8♥8♣ and called.

Leo Margets gets got

The 10♠7♣7♠5♣Q♥ board didn’t help Margets and she hit the rail while Broekhof chipped up to 800,000. –AV

4:50pm: Not everything is a given
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

It appeared as though Ali Imsirovic had open-raised to 100,000, leaving himself much less than that behind, then Timur Margolin pushed all-in over that for around 200,000 and the action had circled back to Imsirovic.

With so much committed already, it was a given Imsirovic was going to call the rest, but he and Margolin had a conversation first about how many eliminations were needed before the next pay jump. Imsirovic made it clear he was just going to be using one time bank card, and to kill the time he decided to keep the conversation going with Margolin.

“You have a good one?” asked Imsirovic, and both laughed at the question, since the answer was as obvious as the fact that Imsirovic was going to call. Whatever Margolin had, it was a given that it was good enough to prompt his shove.

Finally Imsirovic called and showed 9♦9♣, and saw Margolin indeed had a good one — actually a better one with J♥J♣.

But the Q♦5♠9♠ flop went Imsirovic’s way, giving him a set, and after the 4♥ turn and 5♦ river, he’d doubled to 290,000 while Margolin slipped to just under 80,000. I guess in poker not everything is a given. –MH

4:45pm: Wilinofsky busts in huge pot
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 9,000)

Former EPT Berlin champion Ben Wilinofsky has busted in the biggest pot of the tournament so far. He fell in a cooler to Renato Kaneoya who has leapt into the lead with around 1.4 million.

Renato Kaneoya: Soars to the top

Kaneoya opened to to 17,000 from middle position and called after Wilinofsky three-bet to 63,000. Wilinofsky continued for 70,000 on a K♦K♣5♦ flop and was called. Kaneoya faced a 125,000 bet on the 3♣ turn, and moved all-in over the top.

Wilinofsky didn’t ask for a count, he called and opened K♥Q♥. It was no good though as Kaneoya tabled A♥K♠ and survived the 9♥ river.

Wilinofsky said he had 633,000 at the start of the hand and Kaneoya held 710,000, so the start of day chip leader has gone in dramatic circumstances. –MC

4:42pm: Foreshadowing
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante: 8,000)

Emile Schiff limped in from the cutoff and Luke Haward, sitting on the button, quickly tossed in a raised of 25,000. Ben Wilinofsky, sitting in the big blind and still shortened from his lofty heights after his earlier loss to Renato Kaneoya (see the 4:20pm update), asked to see Haward’s stack.

The Englishman moved his hands away and Wilinofsky folded when he saw he was covered. The action returned to Schiff, who called after about 15 seconds. The pre-flop limp turned out to be a foreshadow: Schiff check-folded to a 15,000-chip Haward bet on the 4♠A♦2♦ flop.

That takes Haward to 750,000, Schiff to 230,000, and leaves Wilinofsky at 600,000. –JK

4:40pm: Stage lessons with Staples
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

“We’re on TV man, you gotta show the bluff,” Team PokerStars Pro Jamie Staples told Denys Shafikov. Staples had just folded to Shafikov’s shove and an assortment of television cameras and photographers had swarmed the table.

Shafikov smiled, but threw his hand into the muck, keeping the secret to himself. He’d just moved in on Staples and the Team Pro reluctantly folded.

Jaime Staples and Denys Shafikov: We’re on TV!

Shafikov started the hand off with a raise to 16,000 from under the gun and got three callers. David Petrzelka from the button, Klas Lofberg from the small blind, and good old Staples from the big blind.

Shafikov then bet 27,000 on the K♥3♥7♠ flop and only Staples called. Both players then checked the 3♦ on the turn and a 9♠ completed the board. Staples bet 28,000 and Shafikov moved all-in for about 140,000.

Staples thought, grabbed his cards and reluctantly through them in the muck. Shafikov moved up to 258,000 after the hand while Staples dipped to 390,000. –AV

4:35pm: Lubas chucked by Buckley
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

We’ve reached the end of the line for Michal Lubas, who has just been felted by Mark Buckley. The two were all-in preflop with Lubas’s A♣K♥ up against Buckley’s J♠J♥, the latter of which held after the 7♣8♠3♣5♥10♦ board.

Buckley is up to 676,000 now. –JS

4:30pm: Bon siège for Sitbon
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

Julien Sitbon’s Main Event is going from strength to strength. We haven’t seem him put a foot wrong on his current table.

Julien Sitbon: Going from strength to strength

In this latest pot, Mustapha Kanit opened to 16,000 and Sitbon defended the big blind. “I like to raise your blind,” Kanit told him, as the two are friends.

The friendliness stopped on the 5♥6♦3♥ flop though, as when Sitbon checked and Kanit continued for 20,000, Sitbon raised it to 76,000. Kanit gave it some thought but made the call.

Mustapha Kanit: Always active

The J♠ hit the turn, on which Sitbon fired out big: 135,000. That was enough to shake Kanit off his hand, bringing his stack up to 820,000 and Kanit down to 260,000. –JS

4:25pm: Ringe toss
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

Gerald Ringe was just all in and at risk a couple of times in short succession. But both times the UK player tossed his last chips in the middle, he’s gotten more back.

Once it was with a pair of treys against ace-deuce, and the pair held. Then Ringe pushed 48,000 in the middle behind K♥8♦ and had one caller in Oliver Weis who had him dominated with K♠J♦. But an eight flopped and the hand held up, and Ringe hung on once more.

Gerald “The Clinger” Ringe

Ringe has 116,000 now, Weis 260,000. –MH

4:20pm: Staples vs. Petrzelka
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante: 8,000)

David Petrzelka and Jaime Staples are tangling with each other a bit as we get deeper into the money.

We watched a hand where Staples opened for 18,000 under the gun and Petrzelka re-raised from the small blind, making it 65,000 to go. Staples took about half of his shot clock and then called, bringing the K♥4♥5♠ flop. Both men checked, but Petrzelka wouldn’t do so again when the 10♠ hit the turn. He led for 110,000 and Staples folded quickly. That took Staples down to 350,000 and boosted Petrzelka to 1.05 million.

We came back by a few minutes later and the same two players were showing down their hands. This time it was Staples on the button with A♣Q♠ for a pair of aces and Petrzelka in the hijack seat with K♥Q♥ for no pair at all. Staples scooped that pot and climbed to 430,000, while Petrzelka dropped slightly to 1.04 million. –JK

4:25pm: Power poker from Radoja
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

Mark Radoja’s stack has swelled to 776,000 after a bout of power poker saw him oust Henok Tekle Mariam from his holding in a three-bet pot.

The powerful Mark Radoja

Mariam opened to 18,000 from middle position before Radoja three-bet to 69,000 out of the small blind. The Canadian pro continued for 56,000 on a 4♠3♦2♣ flop and Mariam called. The 121,000 bet from Radoja on the J♠ turn was too much for the Dutchman to call though, and he dropped to 357,000. –MC

4:24pm: The Victor Chong experience
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

I came upon Victor Chong’s table (again — he’s been worth watching today) and found the mustachioed, bespectacled Malaysian poker pro in a characteristic pose.

Chong had reached the river in a hand versus Michal Lubas, there was about 85,000 in the middle and the board read 7♣4♠5♥J♦5♥, and after Chong had checked Lubas had fired 50,000.

Victor Chong: Build, build, build

Chong, donning gray headphones and a black t-shirt with a cartoon dog wearing a crown, sat quietly with his right hand spread out in front of himself, fingertips touching the felt. Taking his time (though not enough to spend a time bank card), he announced a check-raise to 120,000, sending Lubas into the tank for a short think before he came up with a call.

Chong quickly tabled 10♠5♠ for rivered trips, and Lubas mucked.

Michal Lubas: Latest to feel the wrath of Chong

That pot pushes Chong up over 1.2 million, the biggest stack around. Which means we’ll probably be checking in on him again before too long. –MH

4:22pm: Sitbon stamps out Sanders
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

PokerStars Festival London High Roller and WSOP Circuit High Roller champ Julien Sitbon is seeking an EPT Main Event trophy for the cabinet. With his recent elimination of Scott Sanders, he’s in even better shape to do so.

Mustapha Kanit opened to 16,000 from early position and it folded to Sanders in the cutoff. He three-bet jammed for 209,000, and Sitbon woke up with something he liked on the button. He shoved too for around 470,000, and Kanit laid his hand down, a little frustrated.

“Gah, nice hand,” said Sanders when the hands were flipped: his A♣Q♦ up against Sitbon’s K♦K♥. “Did you fold an ace Mustapha?” Sanders asked. “No,” Kanit replied.

An ace would hit the flop, but unfortunately it was accompanied by a king. By the river the board showed K♣A♦5♠9♣10♦ and Sanders said his goodbyes.

Sitbon is up to 690,000 now, while Kanit is playing 412,000. –JS

4:20pm: Kaneoya takes a chunk off Wilinofsky
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

Ben Wilinofsky’s stack took a hit, courtesy of Renato Kaneoya.

We reached the hand on the river of a Q♠8♦3♠8♣5♣ board and there was about 250,000 in the pot. Kaneoya was first to act and bet 300,000. Wilinofsky thought for about two time-banks and then called.

Kaneoya turned over 8♥7♠ and Wilinofsky mucked. Kaneoya’s trip eights put him up to 95,000 while Wilinofsky dipped to 680,000. –AV

4:15pm: Brammer the jammer
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

Chris Brammer raised to 16,000 from the hijack and Andre Busato De Oliveira three-bet to 54,000 from the button. Action folded back around to Brammer and he called.

The flop came 3♠K♥8♥ and De Oliveira bet 39,000 when checked to. Brammer called and then both players checked after the 8♠ came on the turn. A J♠ completed the board and Brammer jammed.

Chris Brammer: The Jammer

Brammer had De Oliveira covered and De Oliveira let it go. Brammer chipped up to 560,000 while De Oliveira dipped to 560,000. –AV

4:10pm: Parmiaggiani stacks Celestino
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

By the time I reached the table, Ariel Celestino was sitting quietly behind the all-in triangle and his remaining stack of 160,000 or so, all pushed forward. The Brazilian had either limped or raised, then Leonardo Parmiggiani of Italy had raised to 43,000 from the button. When the action returned to Celestino he had shoved, and that brings us to the arrival of your intrepid reporter.

Leonardo Parmiggiani: Attacking Celestino

We all watched intently as Parmiggiani spent a couple of his time bank cards, then finally decided he was calling with A♥J♣. Celestino — or “AirelBahia” as he is known on PokerStars — showed J♥J♠ and appeared to be in a decent spot, but after the 9♠A♦6♠ flop he stood from his seat, realizing the end was potentially near.

The turn was the 5♦ and river the 9♦, and Celestino circled around to give Parmiggiani a handshake before departing to the payout desk. Parmiggiani has 635,000 now. –MH

4:05pm: Zhang surging
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

Michael Zhang hit the heights of about 1.05 million just before the break, and though he’s been pegged back to about 800,000 again now, here’s a picture of a one-time chip leader anyhow:

Michael Zhang: Entered the seven-figure club

4:05pm: Kane falls to Tang
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

Michael Kane’s comeback from just 17,000 up to six figures has come to an end. According to speculative reports in the press room, he jammed for around 100,00 with ace-nine and ran into Danny Tang’s pocket nines, couldn’t catch an ace, and is outta here. –JS

4pm: Tureniec liberates some chips from Silva
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante: 8,000)

Michael Tureniec started this level off right with a small win from Miguel Silva. Tureniec opened for 18,000 in the lojack seat and Silva called in the big blind to take a K♦K♣9♠ flop. Silva check-called 15,000 there but Tureniec’s bet of 25,000 after the K♠ hit the turn was too much for him.

Tureniec increases his stack by about 15 percent, up to 300,000. Silva falls to 190,000. –JK

3:55pm: Davies departs
Level 18 – Blinds 4,000/8,000 (BB ante 8,000)

Level 18 was short and not at all sweet for Seth Davies.

Fabiano Kovalski had opened to 16,000 under the gun, and Robin Hegele flatted in the hijack. Davies then squeezed it up to 49,000 from the cutoff, and when it folded back to Kovalski he four-bet to 166,000. Hegele excused himself, and Davies jammed for what seemed to be little more than 200,000 total. Kovalski called.

Davies: A♥Q♥
Kovalski: 10♥10♠

Flipping for his tournament, Davies couldn’t get the right side of it after the 5♦6♥8♠3♥3♦ board fell.

Seth Davies: Out now (but in then)

He’s out, while Kovalski climbs to 925,000. Hegele has 360,000 after that one. –JS


3:30pm: Lavallee leaves Hakim short
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (BB ante 6,000)

Jason Lavallee has doubled to 390,000 after he doubled through Jeffrey Hakim, who dropped to just 47,000.

Hakim raised off the button and Lavellee defended his big blind to see a K♠9♣2♠ flop appear. Hakim continued for 12,000 and and Lavallee time-bank-check-raised to 40,000. Call.

Jason Lavallee: Double up

The 7♣ fell on the turn and Lavallee committed his last 136,000. Hakim shrugged and called with K♥Q♠ for top pair. Lavallee opened A♣A♥ and improved to a set on the A♣ river. –MC

3:25pm: Juanda jettisons Farrell
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (BB ante 6,000)

Niall Farrell raised to 13,000 from the hijack and Werner Lootsma called from the button. John Juanda three-bet to 60,000 from the big blind and Farrell moved all-in for 179,000.

Lootsma let it go and Juanda snap-called. Farrell turned over 10♦10♣ and Juanda tabled a bigger pocket pair with K♣K♦. Farrell was hoping for a ten, but the 8♣3♦9♠K♥7♠ board gave Juanda a king instead. Farrell hit the rail while Juanda chipped up to about 565,000. –AV

3:21pm: Wilinofsky reaches 1 million
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (BB ante: 6,000)

Ben Wilinofsky’s hot streak just continued as he took a very healthy pot away from Mohammed Ifzail.

We showed up with the board already reading 6♥6♣8♦K♠ and about 100,000 in the pot. Ifzail led for 14,000 from the small blind and Wilinofsky raised to 48,000. Ifzail took most of his shot clock and then re-raised to 100,000, but the decision was put right back to him within 10 seconds when Wilinofsky bumped the bet to 152,000.

Ben Wilinofsky: Continuing a long hot streak

The natural end point of this pattern was clear to Ifzail and he didn’t like the looks of it. He tossed his cards into the muck and saved his last 150,000 chips. That win moves Wilinofsky up to 1 million chips with the second break of the day approaching. –JK

3:20pm: Fabiano finds aces
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (BB ante 6,000)

There was a lot of thinking on the river, but the victor had been decided well before that.

The hand started when Raul Martinez raised to 12,000 from early position and Fabiano Kovalski three-bet to 34,000 from the cutoff. Action folded back around to Martinez and he called. Both players checked the 5♥4♣7♥ flop and a J♠ came on the turn.

Martinez bet 50,000 and Kovalski called. The 7♣ completed the board and Martinez checked. Kovalski thought, used a time bank card and thought some more. Then he made it 130,000 to go to showdown. Then it was Martinez’s turn to think and use up a time card.

Martinez called and then mucked after Kovalski turned over A♣A♥. Kovalski raked in the pot and is now sitting with about 865,000. –AV

3:19pm: Set saves Silva, Kyllonen short
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (BB ante 6,000)

It folded around to Miguel Silva on the button who checked his cards then pushed all in for his last 117,000. Jens Kyllonen was next to act in the small blind, and after getting a count he chose to reraise-push for a bit more, forcing out the big blind.

Kyllonen had the edge with 6♠6♦ versus Silva’s 3♦3♥, but the 3♣J♦10♥ flop hit Silva’s had to swing the advantage his way. The turn was the A♥ and river the 5♦, and Kyllonen paid off the bet to leave himself just 35,000. Silva now has 249,000. –MH

3:17pm: Ifzail leaves a lot in the middle
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (BB ante 6,000)

“Big fold, bro!” Luke Haward said to Mohammed Ifzail after the latter left a big chunk of his stack in pre-flop and folded.

He was tangling with Renato Kaneoya of Brazil and all the action was pre-flop. By the time we reached the table, Kaneoya had just moved all-in for 346,000 from under the gun. Ifzail was on the button and had 175,000 out on font of him, so that was either a five-bet or a really big three-bet.

Ifzail was visibly in a pickle and used up four time-bank chips as he tried to figure his way out of it. He ultimately folded and Kaneoya moved up to half a million. –MC

3:15pm: Ever played Holdemaha, Jeans?
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (BB ante 6,000)

It’s usually around the final three tables that you spot a player you’ve never seen before, having covered the tournament all week. “Did this guy just enter?” is a common thought among poker reporters.

It’s happened a bit earlier at the largest ever EPT. It’s taken us until Day 3 and 157 players remaining to clock Jens “Jeans89” Kyllönen in the field.

Jens Kyllonen: Hey! We know him

The Finn is undoubtedly one of the best online PLO players of all time, with $5.4 million in profit on PokerStars alone. He famously bought in to the $1 million Big One for One Drop with 100 percent of himself in 2012, and since then has semi-retired from poker to focus more on stock trading.

He’s still in this one though, and was just in a small pot against Leonardo Parmiggiani and Ali Tariq. The board showed 4♦A♣9♥ and it checked to Parmiggiani on the button. He led for 21,000, and both called to see the 6♦ turn, which all checked.

The 8♣ completed the board and it checked around again. Kyllönen showed A♠10♠ for top pair, but Tariq had that beat with 4♣6♥ for two pair. Tariq is up to 740,000, while Kyllönen has 150,000 and Parmiggiani has 498,000.

As Kyllönen is such a good PLO player, it got us thinking how he’d fare in the €0.10c-€0.10c “Holdemaha” cash game the PokerStars Blog played the other night, in which players get dealt six cards and must set a hold’em hand and a PLO hand before any action takes place. The action continues pot-limit from there, and it’s a split pot game between the best PLO hand and best hold’em hand.

Actually, forget I mentioned it Jeans. You’re not invited as you’d crush us. If you make Day 4 we may come to you for some strategy tips though. –JS

3:10pm: Filatov finished off
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (BB ante 6,000)

Anatoly Filatov committed the last of his 116,000 chips pre-flop on the feature table. He had A♥J♠ so was in a race against his only caller, Leonardo Giotti, and his 10♥10♦.

Andrey Filatov: Finished off

The board was dry all the way and Filatov didn’t hit his over-cards. He heads away and the table is missing one Russian high roller. — HS

3:05pm: Makaci loses stack to Lootsma
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (BB ante 6,000)

Franck Makaci open-raised all in for his last 37,000 from middle position and two players called him — David Leja (button) and Werner Lootsma (small blind).

Both Leja and Lootsma rechecked their cards just before the flop came J♣2♦6♣, after which both checked. The turn was the J♠, and that prompted Lootsma to carve out a bet of 45,000 into the side pot. Leja didn’t take long before folding, and Lootsma and Makaci showed their cards.

Lootsma: A♣J♦
Makaci: A♠Q♥

Makaci saw Lootsma’s hand before he’d tabled his, and seeing he was drawing dead he tossed them a little further ahead as though to signal their use to him. The deuce on the river was no matter, and Makaci is out. Lootsma, meanwhile, moves up to 605,000. –MH

2:58pm: Juanda doubles, continues quest for second EPT Barcelona Main title
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (BB ante 6,000)

Following a cutoff raise to 15,000, Johan Creutz three-bet to 48,000 from the small blind and the action moved to John Juanda in the big blind.

Juanda, who won this very event three years ago for a little over one million euros, thought for a moment, then announced he was re-raising all in for the 235,000 or so he had behind. The original raiser folded, but Creutz was quick with a call.

Juanda: 10♠7♦
Creutz: A♦K♥

The flop fell J♥10♦7♣, that seven appearing in the window to strengthen Juanda’s hand to a set. He still had to dodge a queen, though, to keep his seat, and the 5♣ turn and 6♦ river both proved safe for him to earn the win.

John Juanda: Former winner doubles to stay alive

Juanda bumps up to 505,000 after that hand, while Creutz drops to 155,000. –MH

2:56pm: Kanit applies pressure on Stepanian
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (BB ante: 6,000)

Wladimir Stepanian isn’t in true desperation mode just yet, but with around 20 big blinds in his stack he doesn’t have as many options as he’d probably like. Mustapha Kanit used that knowledge to good effect just a moment ago.

We arrived at the table with 45,000 chips in the pot the board reading 6♣10♠9♥, and Stepanian in the small blind having already checked. Kanit, on the button, bet 15,000 — maybe a small bluff, maybe an attempt to reel Stepanian in. Either way, Stepanian called.

Kan’t beat Mustapha Kanit

The turn was the A♦ and Stepanian again checked. Kanit bet 25,000 this time. Stepanian took a look at his remaining chips — about 130,000 — and decided not to continue on, folding with a few seconds left on his shot clock. That gave Kanit the pot and a boost to around 470,000. –JK

2:55pm: Rifat on the rise
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (BB ante 6,000)

Angelos Pettas was down to 79,000 and put it all-in from under the gun. It was a good shoving hand too: A♦K♦.

The player to his left, Rifat Palevic had a good calling hand: J♥J♣. So he called. The rest of the table got out of the way and they watched the race play out.

Rifat Palevic: Jacks

Palevic came out on top after the board ran 5♠7♣Q♥5♣Q♣ and Pettas hit the rail. Palevic on the other hand has overcome a couple of early wobbles and is now up to 900,000. –AV

2:50pm: The stack goes up, the stack goes down
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (BB ante: 6,000)

After winning that pot from Nauvneel Shivm Kashyap a few minutes ago, Jaime Staples just dropped one to Ben Heath.

Heath opened the action in the lojack seat for 12,000 and Staples, in the big blind, was his lone caller. Staples check-called a slight bet of 8,000 on the 5♥3♦5♠ flop before both players checked the Q♠ turn.

That brought the A♣ on the river and another check from Staples. Heath thought over his options and then put 48,000 chips on the table. Staples wasn’t happy at all, but he counted out the chips for a call. Then he shook his head and moved them forward.

Heath turned up A♦K♥ for aces and fives with a king kicker. Staples didn’t have to do so, but he showed his outkicked A♥3♥ as the pot was shipped to Heath.

Ben Heath: Close to half million

Staples falls back to 310,000 with that loss. Heath is up to about 475,000. –JK

2:48pm: Alas for Cimbolas
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (BB ante 6,000)

Tom Alner and Matas Cimbolas battled to the death just now, in a cooler of a pot that saw off the latter.

Anler opened from the cutoff and Cimbolas defended his big blind. After Alner continued for 12,000, Cimbolas check-raised to 48,000. Alner tanked and then shoved for 195,000. Cimbolas sat and thought for 25 seconds before he called all-in for 192,000.

Cimbolas: 8♥9♥
Alner: A♦8♣

The chips going in was inevitable as both players flopped two pair. The board ran out 4♣6♣ and Alner said unlucky to Cimbolas. The Macau based Bristolian moved up to 440,000. –MC

2:46pm: Staples gets value
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (BB ante 6,000)

Jaime Staples would need to finish 55th or better (for €24,910 minimum) in order to secure his largest ever live cash. His chances of doing so keep improving as he’s up to 378,000 now.

Jaime Staples: On course for largest live cash

We just saw him get value in a pot versus Nauvneel Shivm Kashyap, who checked to Staples on the river of a 2♣2♥10♠6♥7♠ board. With 60,000 or so in the pot, Staples led for 35,000 and was quickly called. He turned over Q♣10♥ for top pair to go with the deuces on board, and that was enough to get his opponent to muck.

Kashyap is down to 172,000 after that one. –JS

2:45pm: Dimov with a smooth million
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (BB ante 6,000)

When a pair of players both have over-pairs on the flop, something is going to go down.

This time it was Ali Imsirovic’s stack that went down while Ognyan Dimov’s doubled up. Dimov started the hand with a raise from the cutoff and then Imsirovic re-raised it up to 52,000 from the button. Action folded back around to Dimov and he four-bet to 130,000.

Imsirovic thought for a bit and called, bringing the 5♥8♠5♣ flop. Dimov started things off again with a bet to 50,000 and Imsirovic raised to 275,000. Dimov only had a bit more and moved all-in for 288,000.

Ognyan Dimov: Million chip man

Imsirovic snap-called and turned over 10♥10♠ while Dimov showed A♦A♥. The turn brought the J♥ and the 6♥ on the river finalized Dimov’s double. Imsirovic dipped to 335,000 while Dimov chipped up to 855,000.

A few hands later Dimov took down another pot that was four-bet preflop and he saw his stack grow to smooth 1 million. That’s good enough to put Dimov in the lead. –AV

2:40pm: Chong chops Bobba
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (BB ante: 6,000)

Two come-from-behind victories here, one of which accounted for Sasidhar Bobba and the other doubled up Austria’s Erik Von Buxhoeveden.

Bobba got it all in on the turn in a pot against Victor Chong. Bobba had K♣K♠ with the board showing 6♥9♦8♥10♦. Chong had A♥7♥ (I think) and the river was the A♣. (Note: I’m not 100 percent sure these cards are right, but it’s definitely true that Chong took Bobba’s chips.) Chong has 610,000.

Victor Chong: Building towers

It was a bit more standard a few tables over where Georges Hanna’s A♣A♦ was way ahead of Von Buxhoeveden’s J♣J♠. But the 2♦8♥8♦6♦J♥ board–and that spiky river in particular–flipped fortunes away from Hanna. — HS

2:37pm: Lucky!
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (BB ante: 6,000)

The action folded to Shaun Deeb on the button and, as a poker player with deep self-respect, he took the opportunity to raise to 13,000. Winfred Yu checked the amount of the bet and then called from the big blind. Yu check-called 10,000 on the A♣2♣5♦ flop. They both checked the 10♣ turn and the 7♣ river and Yu showed down 6♦5♣ for the rivered flush.

“Lucky!” said Deeb with a grin, looking at one of his cards for a long moment before tossing it and the other into the muck. He’s now on 430,000 to Yu’s 360,000. –JK

2:35pm: Sow sews himself a double up
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (BB ante 6,000)

Kalidou Sow found a nice spot to get his stack in, but he probably didn’t expect to run into such a big hand. It ultimately didn’t matter as he came out a winner.

Kalidou Sow: Platinum Pass winner flying again

The action folded to him on the button where he jammed for 76,000. David Pedro Leja was in the big blind and called.

Leja: A♠K♦
Sow: 6♥6♦

The board ran a blank 8♥5♦9♣4♣3♠ and Leja dropped to 575,000. –MC

2:33pm: Haward has is Itt going
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (BB ante 6,000)

We just watched Luke Haward lose a small pot to Javier Fernandez, but even after dropping a few chips he is sitting with one of the biggest stacks around with 875,000 after a hot start today.

Luke Haward reveals his inner Itt

Just before the hand with Fernandez, the always fashion-conscious Haward chose to let his hair down for a hand. And there’s a lot of hair to let down, resulting in a spot-on imitation of Cousin Itt, the fictional character from The Addams Family television series of the 1960s. –MH

2:30pm: Kovalski collects
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (BB ante 6,000)

Danny Tang made it 15,000 to go from the cutoff, before Fabiano Kovalski three-bet to 45,000 on the button. Tang made the call, and he checked the 8♥3♠8♣ flop to Kovalski. The Polish player continued for 25,000, and Tang matched it.

Danny Tang: Can’t win them all

The dealer burned and turned the Q♦, and when Tang checked a second time Kovalski fired 55,000, enough to get a fold. Tang sits with 254,000 now, while Kovalski increases to 605,000. –JS

2:25pm: Two in a row for Makaci
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (BB ante 6,000)

Franck Makaci was tangling in a healthy pot with John Juanda when we got to the table. With plenty out there already, and a 7♣7♦K♠K♣Q♠ board showing, Juanda led for 52,000 only for Makaci to raise to 108,000, forcing Juanda to fold.

Makaci would be in action the next hand too, defending his big blind to a 12,000 open from the under-the-gun player, Kalidou Sow. The two both checked the 5♥A♠9♠ flop, and on the 3♥ turn Makaci led out for what looked like 12,000. Sow called pretty quick, so we never confirmed the amount.

Franck Makaci: Two in a row

Th A♦ completed the board and and Makaci continued firing for 22,000. Sow would make the call, then muck when Makaci flipped over A♥J♠.

He’s up to 420,000 now, while Sow dips to 97,000 and Juanda sits with 180,000. –JS

2:20pm: Getting to knoooooooow you…
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (BB ante: 6,000)

Countrymen Mohammed Ifzail and Luke Haward just spent a bit of time getting acquainted with one another. And if their confrontations continue to be this low-key, this might be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Haward opened the hand with a raise under the gun to 13,000. Ifzail announced a raise but then only put 18,000 chips in front of him. The dealer asked for another 2,000 to meet the minimum amount for a raise and Ifzail complied.

The action folded back around to Haward and he had a few questions. “How much did you put in?” was the first. “Where are you from?” was the second.

“England,” replied Ifzail. Apparently that was on Haward’s list of countries to call, because he tossed in the extra 8,000 to see the 4♥7♠2♥ flop. He and Ifzail both checked there and on the K♠ turn.

Once the 8♥ hit the river Haward tossed out a bet of 10,000. Ifzail thought for a few seconds and then folded A♣J♦ face-up. “Good fold,” said Haward as he pulled in the pot. And then the conversation continued after that hand and into the next.

“Where are you from in England?” Haward asked as he waited for the action to come back around to him in the big blind.

“Sheffield,” replied Ifzail.

“That’s not far from me,” Haward said.

“I know,” said Ifzail.

“How do you know that’s not far from me?”

“I can tell by your accent!”

Haward is on 930,000 now, with Ifzail at 650,000. –JK

2:10pm: Flopped dead. Wait a minute…No, dead
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (BB ante: 6,000)

William Blais was seemingly flopped stone dead in a hand against Martin Alfonsin. The got it in pre-flop, with Alfonsin opening to 15,000 and Blais jamming for 68,000. Alfonsin called and what started as a race — 8♦8♥ for Blais and A♣J♥ for Alfonsin — quickly became one sided with the 10♥K♥Q♥ flop.

Blais got up to leave, but a table-mate called him back when the 8♠ turned. He now had re-draw outs. However the J♣ river missed and that was indeed that for Blais, who fumed his way over to the payouts table. — HS

2pm: No Sinclair
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (BB ante: 6,000)

Not so long ago, we were reporting on Jack Sinclair’s double through Fernando Pons and a chip stack in front of the Briton of more than 400,000. But then in our break-time round-up, Sinclair was out.

That surely meant someone sitting on his former table with a heap of chips, but a recent visit over there showed four potential candidates. Renjun Yang had 710,000. Johan Rimestad had 680,000. Justin Ligeri had 675,000. And Pons had 635,000. Ligeri was the most likely as his stack was the shortest at the beginning of the day.

Whichever way, Sinclair’s tournament is over. — HS

1:55pm: Recent bustouts include Sinclair, Antonius, Spindler
Level 17 – Blinds 3,000/6,000 (BB ante 6,000)

The 187 players who remain have returned from the break and are back in action.

The payouts page has been updated where you can see who has finished where. Among the recently fallen have been Maxi Lehmanski (190th), Jack Sinclair (192nd), Steven Van Zadelhoff (193rd), Patrik Antonius (196th), 2017 EPT Barcelona Main Event champion Sebastian Sorensson (197th), Benny Spindler (204th), and Dario Sammartino (222nd). –MH

Benny Spindler: Among the recent visitors to the payout desk


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1:35pm: Break time entertainment
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

That’s the first tournament break of the day. Why not while away a few minutes in the company of Jaime Staples, who says Barcelona is one of his favourite places. And not just because he’s in the money.

1:35pm: Haward slow plays set, felts Faria
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

Luke Haward just won another big pot and scored another knockout here in the first level of the day. This time the pot looks to have catapulted him up to the top of the counts with 200 players left.

The hand began with Luis Faria opening for 12,000 from late position and Haward three-bettting to 41,000 from the blinds. Faria made it 105,000 to go and Haward called, then the flop came Q♥3♠2♦. Haward check-called a continuation bet of 60,000 from Faria, using a time bank when doing so. Both then checked the 7♠ turn.

Luke Haward: Soaring on Day 3

The river brought the A♥, and Haward pushed all in — a big bet relative to the size of the pot, as Faria had about 210,000 behind. Faria had to use three time bank cards to make his decision, finally deciding to call with A♦K♣ for top pair. But Haward had flopped a set with Q♠Q♦ to end Faria’s run and claim the pot.

Haward has something like 850,000 now — he’s still stacking, and they’ve just broken his table. However much it is, it’s heaps. –MH

1:30pm: Huge pot winds up Chimkovitch
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

Belgium’s Anthony Chimkovitch had an excellent Day 1, so good that he started Day 2 as overall chip leader. Things didn’t go quite as smooth for him yesterday, but he must have got off to a good start today as he’d more than doubled his stack to around 470,000.

Then this hand happened.

Chimkovitch was in the process of check-calling a healthy bet on the turn of a 7♣2♣10♥8♣ board when we arrived. There was 200,000 or so in the pot after that, and he was heads-up versus Ali Tariq.

The 5♦ completed the board, and after some thought Chimkovitch led out for 185,000. He’d left himself 175,000 behind, while Tariq – who had 250,000 in front of him – was in a tough spot, and used up four-time bank cards.

Ali Tariq finds the correct call

Eventually he tossed in a single chip for a call, and Chimkovitch sheepishly showed his A♣K♦ for ace-high. Tariq slammed down A♥A♠ for the win.

Chimkovitch let out a huge sigh, and looked like he’d taken a punch to the gut. Tariq, on the other hand, stood up and clapped, but his celebration was not excessive by any means.

“I’m sorry for taking so long,” Tariq said after the hand. “That one was 50-50. I thought maybe you had a set, flush draw, two pair…”

“Worst call I’ve ever seen,” said Chimkovitch, a few seconds later. “I mean, what am I bluffing with there? King-ten?”

Anthony Chimkovitch: Bluff fails

“He had aces!” said Miguel Silva from across the table.

“So?” replied Chimkovitch.

“It was the best hand,” said Silva.

It certainly was, and it was a hand that brings Tariq up to 660,000. Chimkovitch is down to 175,00 now. –JS

1:25pm: Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante: 5,000)

If ever there was a pot that was a fuss about nothing it’s this one, which showed early indications of being a pot for the ages, but ended as one for the scrapheap.

It began with an open to 11,000 under the gun from Ho Tien Cheung. Chin Wei Lim then moved all-in for what looked like 120,000 from two seats around, but then Dimitrios Michailidis re-shoved for about 200,000 more from the button.

We weren’t done, because Jonathan Therme, in the small blind, wanted a count and then he under-called all-in, putting the decision back on the original raiser. Cheung folded and said he had ace-queen. That made sense. And then the three players who were all-in showed down:

Lim: A♦Q♥
Michailidis: A♣K♦
Therme: A♥K♠

This was looking grim for Lim, especially if we take into account that one queen was confirmed folded. But then the dealer put the 4♥3♥3♦9♥4♣ on board and they were all going to chop it with two pair, ace kicker.

Only Cheung can really feel hard done by, as he watched his 11,000 split three ways. — HS

1:20pm: O’Connor’s boat deflates Viana
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante: 5,000)

Jamie O’Connor is the latest player to flop a set and get paid. His opponent was Thiago Viana, who visibly deflated at the moment he learned that his own pocket pair–which was bigger than O’Connor’s pre-flop–had been overtaken.

The two had built a pot of about 110,000 by the time the dealer had completed a board of 3♣4♦5♠9♦9♥. Viana checked and O’Connor bet 85,000.

Viana seemed to think something was amiss, and I also think he had a strong suspicion he was beaten. This may have been unconfirmed verbally, but his body-language screamed “crying call” as he dumped the calling chips over the line.

That’s when O’Connor showed his 5♣5♦ and Viana, puffing out his cheeks, couldn’t help himself turning over 6♣6♠.

O’Connor ended the hand with 560,000. Viana is down to 105,000. — HS

1:15pm: Comeback Kane
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

We’re not sure how he managed it, but Michael Kane has successfully brought his 17,000 stack back to life. He’s back up to 125,000 now.

Speaking of comebacks, defending champ Sebastian ‘Scarf Guy’ Sorensson is still alive and well with 144,000. –JS

1:10pm: Chong strong
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

Victor Chong opened for 12,000 from middle position and got two callers, Jack Wu (cutoff) and Kunal Manohar Punjwani (big blind). The flop came 5♦2♠8♣ and it checked to Chong who bet 13,500. Both of his opponents called. The turn was the 9♥ and when checked to Chong barreled again, this time for 33,000. Only Punjwani called this time.

The river was the 10♦ and Punjwani checked. Chong used a time bank card, then bet all in. Punjwani responded by using two of his time bank cards, but he couldn’t match the bet and conceded the pot to Chong.

Victor Chong: Triple-barreling

Chong is up to 475,000 now, while Wu has 235,000 and Punjwani 190,000. –MH

1:05pm: Moorman busts to Panka
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

Up on the feature table a short while ago, Chris Moorman open-raised all in for his last 54,500 from the hijack seat, then watched Dominik Panka reraise-push from the small blind to isolate.

Moorman had 9♠9♦ and Panka K♥Q♣, and the winningest online tournament player ever was still in front through the 5♠A♥4♥ flop and J♦ turn. But the Q♦ river gave Panka a better pair, sending Moorman out and pushing Panka up around 730,000. –MH

1pm: Sinclair and Pons do battle
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante: 5,000)

Jack Sinclair and Fernando Pons are two men familiar with the big money business end of tournaments. They have both been to the WSOP final table: Pons won $1 million for ninth in 2016; Sinclair won $1.2 million a year later for his eighth-placed finish.

Jack Sinclair: Eyeing another million

They just played a pot that doubled up Sinclair, putting him with 440,000 chips in this EPT Barcelona Main Event, and trimmed Pons to about 510,000.

Details are scarce beyond the fact that Sinclair showed 8♥8♦ on the river, with the board showing 9♣8♠K♣3♠2♦. That flopped set was good.

Sinclair’s set of eights

In case anyone needs reminding, the first prize here is more than either of them won in Vegas that year, and it’s not often a WSOP final tablist has the potential to beat their best career cash. — HS

12:50pm: Deeb fills up to double through Palevic
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante: 5,000)

Keen WCOOP followers should be loving the Table 7 action today, where all-time online beast Shaun Deeb is seated next to the reigning WCOOP Main Event champion Steven Van Zadelhoff.

Steven Van Zadelhoff and Shaun Deeb: WCOOP monsters

And the good news for Deeb fans is that he is moving up the chip counts now after just scoring a major double up through Rifat Palevic.

We picked up the action on the turn with about 70,000 already in the pot and the 6♦7♠10♦7♦ on the table. Palevic, who would have been in the big blind pre-flop, checked and Deeb, two seats over, bet 33,500. Palevic called.

The 6♥ completed the scary board and Palevic led now for 75,500. Deeb paused a beat or two before jamming and Palevic slumped back knowing he now had a tough decision. Palevic asked the dealer to tell him how much more Deeb had bet, learning that it was about 90,000 on top of his 75,500.

Shaun Deeb: Double

But he called it anyway and then furiously threw his cards into the muck after Deeb exposed his pocket tens for a flopped set, turned boat.

Deeb now stacks about 360,000, which is similar to what Palevic has too. — HS

12:45pm: Did I give off a tell?
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

Renato Kaneoya was all-in with A♣J♥ versus the A♠4♠ of Ka Kwan Lau when I got to the table. As the dealer went to lay the board, Kaneoya seemed satisfied to look in my direction rather than to see if he’d be sucked out on.

He had. The 4♣7♠3♦ flop paired Lau, and Kaneoya would need a jack to survive. Not that he knew it though. He hadn’t looked.

The 7♣ turn changed nothing, but the J♦ river was gin for the Brazilian and he doubled up to 120,000. Lau dips to around 70,000 after that one. –JS

12:40pm: Haward sends Pecheux railward
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

Erwann Pecheux started today with just 28,500, and just a few hands into play got it all in versus the stylishly-dressed (as usual) Luke Haward.

Pecheux had A♦J♣, but unfortunately for him his colorful, hat-wearing, pony-tailed opponent tabled A♥K♠. The board came 8♦Q♣6♠4♣Q♦, and Pecheux is out. Haward trends upward, and now has 395,000. –MH

12:37pm: Battling Blom
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante: 5,000)

Viktor Blom had one of the shortest stacks in the room this time yesterday, but the big-pot bully managed to demonstrate some hitherto unheralded ninja skills to cling on all day and return again this afternoon with another pile of relative peanuts.

He was itching to get that stack in the middle during early exchanges here today, but missed a chance when Tomasz Pająk open pushed his short stack from under the gun and got it through. Blom, who was UTG+1 at that point, had to fold.

However, Blom did indeed move in on the next hand, and action folded all the way back to Pajak in the big blind. And Pajak now had enough to call Blom’s 37,500 push.

Blom showed his K♥J♣ and was in great shape against Pajak’s K♠10♠. There was nothing weird on a 4♦6♣7♠7♦5♦ board and that doubled up Blom, putting Pajak deep in the mire.

Maybe Blom can rally yet. — HS

The swingy Swede

12:35pm: Zhang KOs Karlsson
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

Michael Zhang just zinged Alfred Karlsson after the latter got all in with 8♣8♠ but ran into Zhang’s A♦A♥. The 4♣10♥2♣10♦7♥ kept the aces in front, and Karlsson is out. Zhang meanwhile moves up around 590,000. –MH

12:33pm: Imsirovic’s aim remains true
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante: 5,000)

Ali Imsirovic was seemingly responsible for more knockouts yesterday than any other player, and he is aiming true again in the early stages this afternoon. He sent short-stacked Laszlo Molnar heading to the payouts desk after winning an early flip.

Molnar open-pushed his last 55,000 from early position with K♦J♣ and Imsirovic called a few seats around. “Fives again,” Imsirovic said and exposed his 5♣5♥.

Ali Imsirovic: Picking up where he left off

The board ran 8♣7♥3♦Q♠A♠ and though there were plenty of cards close to Molnar’s pretty looking hand, none connected. The fives won and Molnar departs. Imsirovic moves up to about 780,000. — HS

12:25pm: A Lukewarm start
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

Australia’s Luke Edwards has just busted this one. We’re not sure how the action went, but he was all-in preflop for around 100,000 holding J♣J♦, but unfortunately for him Johan Rimestad had A♠A♥. The K♦K♣5♥10♣8♦ changed nothing, and Edwards departed to bring Rimestad up to 620,000. –JS

12:23pm: Small hit to Deeb
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

Shaun Deeb opened to 11,000 from the cutoff and his only caller was Hady El Asmar out of the big blind. The two went heads-up to an A♣6♦A♦ flop, on which Deeb continued for 7,500 when checked to. Call.

The 5♠ turn brought another check from El Asmar, and Deeb didn’t slow down. This time the bet was 17,500, and El Asmar made a quick call.

The K♥ river completed the board, and this time both checked it. El Asmar showed K♦2♦, meaning he’d been calling with king-high and hit a king on the river. Whether that hand was good all the way or not, Deeb mucked and the pot shipped to the man from Lebanon. –JS

Deeb drops a few

12:20pm: You can count on these two
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

If there are two players in the field you can rely on the push the action, it’s Ben Wilinofsky and Patrick Clarke. We’ve seen both of them get involved in huge pots, and their aggressive styles have seen them build big stacks: Wilinofsky entering as chip leader with 850,000, and Clarke beginning with 560,000.

Today these two are sat right next to each other. And right off the bat they got involved.

Clarke opened to 10,000 from the lojack, and Wilinofsky three-bet to 32,000 from the hijack. Everyone else folded, and Clarke called when it got back to him. The dealer spread a Q♦6♦J♦ flop, and it checked through to the 6♥ turn. Clarke checked again, and Wilinofsky took it down with a 32,000 delayed c-bet.

Clarke then opened the next pot to 10,000 too, and everyone folded. Wilinofsky followed suit, opening the hand after that to 10,000. No action. –JS

12:15pm: So far, Sow good
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

2017 EPT Prague Main Event champion Kalidou Sow open-raised all in right off the bat today, putting his last 32,000 at risk from the cutoff behind K♠Q♣, and Niall Farrell reraise-shoved from the button with A♥5♦ to isolate.

The board went 4♦K♣10♣8♣3♣, and with a pair of kings Sow keeps his seat for now. He’s up to 76,500 with that pot, while Farrel is at –MH

Kalidou keeps his seat

12:10pm: Is there a stream? Sí, sí 
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

Don’t forget — there’s live streaming of Day 3, with the feature table to start including Dominik Panka, Anatoly Filatov, and Chris Moorman. Coverage starts at 12:30pm. Click here here to watch. –MH

The teevee table

12:08pm: Short delay, but play!
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante: 5,000)

The tournament room is abuzz this afternoon as the resumption of €1,000 and €2,000 buy-in side-events are taking place alongside the Main Event. It meant that stragglers to the latter could find their seats a few minutes late and not miss a hand.

Laurynas Levinskas was seated early, and he is so confident about this event that he has got himself a T-shirt especially printed. It read: “EPT BARCELONA MAIN EVENT CHAMPION 2018”. That’s it, everyone else. You’re playing for second. (Note: should this be true, Levinskas’s opponents better hope he has had a couple printed at least. There are still four days of play until we reach a champ.)

Laurynas Levinskas: T-shirt trust

Also spotted in the field was Antoine Labat, the Frenchman who finished ninth in the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event a month ago. By my reckoning, I think that’s three of the WSOP final table players who entered this one: Michael Dyer, Tony Miles and Labat. — HS

12pm: And they’re (due to be) off!
Level 16 – Blinds 2,500/5,000 (BB ante 5,000)

Cards are due to be in the air soon, and back down on the felt, and being held by players. You know how it works. –MH

11am: Day 3 awaits, 259 remain

Welcome back to beautiful and sunny Barcelona where Day 3 of the €5,300 Main Event is set to resume once more at 12 noon local time.

From an enormous starting field of 1,931 entries, just 259 remain with a chance at the €1,611,500 first prize sitting up top. The field is kind of crowded, still, not unlike the beach just a short walk from the Casino Barcelona.

Fun in the sun in Barcelona

All players have safely waded into the money, having guaranteed themselves parts of the €9,365,350 prize pool after surviving the bubble bursting late on Day 2.

Sitting most advantageously to begin today is Ben Wilinofsky who started Day 1 strong by knocking out Max Silver in the first level and for two days’ worth of poker has been steadily building his stack up to 850,000.

David Petrzelka (771,000), Ali Imsirovic (723,000), Michal Lubas (712,000), and Tony Broekhof (703,500) round out the current top five, with Fernando Pons, Dominik Panka, Mark Radoja, Javier Fernandez, and Ben Heath among those with big stacks to begin today.

Also still in the hunt is last year’s EPT Barcelona Main Event winner Sebastian Sorensson (84,000). Patrik Antonius (310,000) and Viktor “Isildur1” Blom (50,000) remain part of the mix as well. And back to represent the red spade is Team PokerStars Pro Jaime Staples whose 196,000 is a few big blinds below the current 223,668 chip average.

Check out where everyone is starting play today on the Day 3 seat draw, and keep tabs on where folks are finishing on the constantly updated payouts page.

Today’s schedule includes six more 90-minute levels, although as always things might change later in the day in response to how things proceed. Stick close here at PokerStars Blog for live updates, photos, chip counts, results, and more as we find out together which players position themselves best to continue a run toward the EPT Main Event title. –MH

Buy-in: €5,300 (€5,000 to prize pool, €300 fee)
Starting blinds for Day 3: 2,500/5,000 (with 5,000 big blind ante)
Day 3 Schedule: Six 90-minute levels.

Download the PokerStars LIVE! app with all tournament information. Available for IOS and Android.

PokerStars Blog reporting team on the €5,000 Main Event: Stephen Bartley, Marc Convey, Martin Harris, Jason Kirk, Jack Stanton, Howard Swains and Alex Villegas. Photography by Joe Giron/PokerPhotoArchive and Neil Stoddart.


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