2.55pm: Big boys
Jan Collado has about 210,000 and is sitting next to Tu Tuan To. The overnight leader is down to about 110,000 and these two facts might be related.
Just as they were leaving for a break, another player was spotted with close to 300,000. His identity will be revealed in about 15 minutes. — HS
2.45pm: Boom Boom shoots down King Kang
After a flop of 7♣3♠2♠ and a lot of talk in German, Benjamin Kang and Boris Becker played out a hand that would leave one of the two looking slightly sore.
Kang checked to Becker who bet 8,500 which Kang called for a 7♥ on the turn. Both checked for a 5♠ river card. Here Kang checked to Becker who intended to move all in, but left chips behind in error, making it a bet of 36,000.
Kang paused, sipped from a cardboard cup, and with a dash disbelief called to make Becker prove it. Becker did, showing K♠Q♠ for the flush. Kang showed nothing and the former tennis champ moves up to 100,000. — SB.
2.40pm: ‘Do you think you’re lucky’
Team PokerStars Pro William Thorson has doubled-up to 65,000 through a Russian player at his table. The Swede raised to 3,700 before the said Russian moved all-in for 65,000. All folded back to Thorson who started to talk to his opponent:
Thorson: “Do you feel lucky?”
Russian: “I don’t understand.”
It turned out the Russian didn’t speak English so Team PokerStars Pro Vadim Markushevski from Belarus kindly translated.
“Yes I feel lucky,” said the Russian. “Look this is my wife.” He then pointed to his wife standing behind him.
Thorson “Okay, if you feel lucky I call.”
The board ran 9♦K♣5♥7♥3♠. –MC
2.35pm: Unkind seat draw
The most unpopular seat to be in throughout the whole Grand Ballroom is the one close to the entrance, behind which everyone has to squeeze to get in or out.
The seat draw today has been unkind. One of the, er, largest gentleman in the field has been seated in the tight spot, forcing an even bigger bottleneck of folk trying to inch past. — SY
2.30pm: ‘I never show’
Gianni Giaroni, perhaps the elder statesman of the remaining field, re-raised all in pre-flop for 50,000. He got two other players to fold. “I never show, ever,” he said as he raked in the pot… before turning over A♦K♣. — SY
2.25pm: Dutchmen together
Noah Boeken used to say Marcel Luske was his mentor, helping him to learn the game with such success that he won EPT Copenhagen in Season 1. Now they sit next to each other at the table here in Berlin, and it’s the teacher who is getting the better of it.
Luske limped under the gun and got a call from the small blind and from Boeken. All three checked the 10♦10♣J♠ and on the 2♣ turn Luske bet 2,000 and both called. On the 4♦ river it was checked to Luske who bet 10,000 this time. The small blind called and Boeken folded. Luske showed K♣K♠ and that was good enough to take it.
Update: Noah Boeken is now out. — SY
2.20pm: “Das ist gut. Ah, das nicht so gut.”
Katja Thater’s tournament is over. She was all in with J♦J♠ and was way ahead of a solitary opponent’s A♣J♣. The flop was 4♠5♥9♠ and Thater said: “Das ist gut.” No translation necessary. The turn was 9♠, which was also gut and left her opponent drawing to two outs. The A♦ on the river was one of them. — HS
2.15pm: Hawkeye says ‘Out’
Team PokerStars Pro Vicky Coren has been eliminated by Boris Becker. She only had 15,000 left and when a serial raiser to her right raised she moved all in after looking down and seeing an ace.
This was a good spot against the aggressive player but unfortunately for Coren the German PokerStars SportStar woke up with ace-king behind her and moved all in as well. The original raiser folded and Becker’s dominating hand held up. –MC
2.10pm:Danzer the Toast of Berlin
There’s a reason why George Danzer is nicknamed “The Panzer”. It’s because it rhymes with “Danzer” and the other option was “Mario Lanza.” But the German Team PokerStars Pro just showed enough cold steel to Tomas Alenius in a hand that takes him up to a little more than 250,000.
It could have been more had Danzer not allowed two all-in players to battle it out between themselves in an earlier hand rather than jumping in feet first himself.
Having made it 7,000 on the button, behind a raise Danzer quickly found himself with the option of calling two all-in players.
“Do you both have ace-king?” asked Danzer. “That would be nice.”
After a count Danzer let it go.
“Okay, just don’t show me ace-king.” One of them did; the other showed ace-queen. “Oh my god!” said Danzer, not a little irked. “But that’s okay,” he added, cheering up.
The board ran 6♣7♣4♥4♦9♥.
“I would have won a big pot,” said Danzer, admitting to having a pair. Not that the others cared, one of whom being now out.
Then, with the board all ready showing 3♠7♣4♠6♥ Tomas Alenius checked to Danzer who bet 16,600 after some time for reflection. Alenius called for a J♣ on the river and checked again. This time Danzer made it 38,800 which triggered a long spell in the tank for Alenius.
Eventually he called but wished he hadn’t. Danzer showed 5♦9♦ for the straight, remaining calm in victory as Alenius could only mumble. A pot of around 130,000 sending Danzer towards the chip lead. He has about 250,000.– SB
2.05pm: Video, video
The video team sets out the start of the day in moving pictures and sound. Modern technology, eh? — SY
2pm: Flying out
Players are flying out the door and we’re already down to about 375 players before the end of level two. The plan is to play seven levels today, of 75-minutes each, with a 90-minute dinner break at the end of level five. Tournament staff think this there’s a chance we could burst the bubble today; we’d need to get down to 144 players to do so. — HS
1.55pm: Three-barrel Barbosa
Joao Barbosa raised to 3,200 from under-the-gun and Dag Palovic made it 11,000 from the button. That persuaded Barbosa to let it go – but not for long.
A couple of hands later, Barbosa had the button, and he also had the goods. Folded around to the Portuguese professional, he again made it 3,200. Christian Martin called from the big blind and the flop came 8♦10♦8♥.
Martin checked to Barbosa, who bet 4,500. Martin called. The turn was 6♦ and we went through it again: check from Martin, bet of 9,000 from Barbosa, call.
On the 5♣ river, there was something similar. Check from Martin, bet of 21,000 from Barbosa, call from Martin. Showdown. Barbosa had J♣8♠ and Martin showed his beaten A♥10♥.
That puts Barbosa to more than 120,000. — HS
1.50pm: Terrible first level
A catch-up with Andrew Feldman highlighted what he called “A terrible first level.” He had two spots on his original table that if he’d taken the other decision would’ve meant his stack would be at 130,000 and not the 59,000 he currently has.
On the first hand, he raised with jacks and was called by Max Pescatori before an older opponent re-raised, committing a third of his stack. This looked strong to Feldman and he was also worried about Pescatori behind him potentially trapping so he folded. Pescatori put the older player all-in. Call. Both players flipped up ace-queen but neither improved on the board meaning Feldman’s hand would’ve held up.
On the second hand, he bluffed off 30,000 chips to Pescatori. Feldman is at a new table now and is hoping things pick up from here on. –MC
1.45pm: Cascarino strikes out
Tony Cascarino has been eliminated after losing two big flips. The first pot was worth 100,00 and Cascarino held A♥K♥ to an opponent’s pocket queens. He flopped two hearts but couldn’t hit any of his outs. The second hand he had the pocket queens to an opponent with big slick. They got to a low all diamond flop before all the chips went in. His opponent had the K♦ in his hand and a fourth diamond fell on the turn to end this Berlin experience for the Irishman. –MC
1.40pm: Vadim’s aces injure Thorson
Vadim Markushevski from Belarus has taken a large chunk of chips from fellow Team PokerStars Pro William Thorson. The Swede had made it 2,600 pre-flop, and then he called when Markushevski re-raised to 9,000. They saw a 10♣3♣10♥ flop and Thorson bet 9,500 – and again called when Markushevski raised to 22,500.
Both then thought a while before checking the 6♥ turn, then on the 8♣ river Thorson checked and called Markushevski’s 28,000. The man from Belarus showed A♦A♥, and that was good to take a healthy pot. Markushevski is up to 135,000, Thorson back to 62,000.
Also on that table are the overnight leader Kfir Yumin, as well as Leo Margets and the serial PokerStars qualifier Kenneth Hicks.
Meanwhile, word reaches us of a hiccup for Erik Friberg, who just had his aces cracked by kings to send him down to 95,000. — SY
1.20pm: Johansson cut short
Christer Johansson loses out to Mark Bloem, a PokerStars qualifier from Holland, in a big pot. Bloem made it 2,800 pre-flop and only Johansson called. On the 3♦2♥Q♠ flop Bloem bet 4,200 and Johansson called. On the 6♦ river Bloem made it 9,600 and again Johansson called. But Bloem’s 14,500 bet on the A♦ river was enough to end it, with Johansson folding after a one-minute dwell — SY
1.15pm: Marcel’s house
Another player to have lost ground today before recovering slightly is Team PokerStars Pro Marcel Luske. He started today at 75,400 went down some and then back up to 63,000 after winning a pot.
The turn was out and the board read Q♥A♣7♦10♠. Luske checked to face a 3,000 bet that he snap-called. The river came 10♦ and Luske immediately bet 9,000 and was called. The Dutchman tabled Q♥10♣ for a full-house and took the pot. –MC
1.05pm: Becker at the double
At some point in the first level of today Boris Becker doubled up. He now sits with 46,000 (having started with 20,500). That said, he lost a few just now, when he and Brent Wheeler checked down the 10♦2♣2♥ flop. But on the 7♥ turn, after Becker had checked again, Wheeler bet 3,700 and that was enough to take it from the tennis ace. — SY
1pm: Van den Berg departs
Thierry Van Den Berg is out. His set of fours wasn’t good enough to beat a straight. Johannes Strassmann has enjoyed a better start to the day than his Team PokerStars Pro colleague. Strassmann bet 40,000 at a pot of the same size and a board of 5♦8♦J♣Q♥3♠ and Vishal Pundjabi called. Strassmann tabled 9♥10♠ for the nut straight and added about 60,000 to his overnight stack. — HS
12.55pm: They call him flipper
That’s that for Jeff Sarwer who just busted. He shoved with queens against ace-king and came out on the bad end of another flip. “I had six flips this tournament and lost them all,” said Jeff, on his way to check on the progress of friends. — SB.
12.50pm: One time! Hell, yeah. One time.
Some textbook PokerStars Blog One Time Chip™ play in the opening level in Berlin. Sebastian Ruthenberg was one of three players all in, but was trailing by some distance. Ruthenberg had pocket eights, one other opponent had pocket queens and a third had big slick.
The flop came: 3♠10♣A♣, dropping Ruthenberg to third in the three-man race. A perfect moment to employ the magic* of the PokerStars Blog One Time Chip™. “One time!” said Ruthenberg as the dealer prepared to deal the turn.
(Play was halted** as a representative of the PokerStars Blog One Time Chip™ committee*** was called to verify good practice and remove Ruthenberg’s chip from play.)
And how about this: the turn was the miraculous 8♠ (“One time!” bellowed the rail**** as the miracle came) but it wasn’t even done yet because the river was 8♣!!!!!!
If that’s not magic*, I don’t know what is. (Ruthenberg will now be banned from uttering “One Time” between now and the end of his tournament. Click through for explanation of PokerStars Blog One Time Chip™.
*Not actually magic.
**Play was not halted.
***No such committee exists.
****Did not bellow.
1.05pm: Two more hands with Sarwer
Jeff Sarwer has picked up two small pots to get his stack back to about 41,000.
In the first hand he raised to 2,500 from under-the-gun and was called by Daniel Reijmer in the cut-off to go to a A♣K♣4♣ flop. Sarwer check-called a 3,400 bet before both players checked through the 7♠ turn and 6♦ river. Sarwer shrugged and opened A♦10♦ and it was good as Reijmer folded.
Two hands later the action folded around to Guillaume De La Gorce on the button who called the big blind. Sarwer then raised to 3,200 from the small blind and the Frenchman called to see a 3♠J♥Q♥ flop. Sawrwer led for 4,500 and after some consideration De La Gorce called. Both players shut down after this and checked through the Q♠ turn and 7♣ river. Sarwer opened A♥8♥ and was surprised to see it was good for the pot. — MC
1pm: De Melo keeping the peace
You may well be asking yourself ‘what kind of sick, sick table draw pits Gianni Giaroni and Salvatore Bonavena together at the same table?’ Well, play alongside each other they do today, a simply incendiary table.
Luckily Fatima de Melo is tucked in between them and funnily enough is playing the aggressor, first raising pre-flop with no takers, then trying the same again, getting a call from Alessandro Longobardi for a flop of J♣7♦4♠. They each checked that for a Q♠ turn when De Melo made it 4,500, forcing Longobardi to fold.
Without knowing it a player who could shape the rest of the day for many in the grand ballroom. Antonin Teisseire sits in the one seat on table next to the way in and out of the main tournament floor. While the six foot Teisseire occupies the seat that no one but the slimmest can squeeze through behind him. Teisseire just lost a pot but still has 70,000. — SB.
12.55pm: Sarwer misses straight
Jeff Sarwer has lost about half his overnight stack, missing an open-ended straight draw against Guillaime de la Gorce’s pocket kings. All the money went in on the flop of 7♦2♥9♣. Sarwer had 8♣6♣ and De la Gorce had K♣K♦. The turn was 4♥ and the river 2♣. “Oh, it doesn’t get there,” said Sarwer. “It was worth a try.” Sarwer has about 22,000 left to try again. — HS
12.50pm: They call her yellow Melo
At least they should. Fatima de Melo has a tower of yellow 5,000 chips thanks to a great run yesterday, and the Team PokerStars SportStar is continuing that aggressive streak today. On a flop of 9♥8♥A♦ she fired out 7,000 and that was enough to send the two other players running for the hills. De Melo is now over 100,000. — SY
12.45pm: Kang up
Team PokerStars Pro Benjamin Kang started today with a healthy 90,000 and just added a few more to that. He raised on the button to 3,000 and Sabine Schmidt re-raised to 8,200 from the big blind. Kang peered over to see how much Schmidt had left – around 35,000 – and raised it up again to 23,000 total. Schmidt soon got out of the way. — SY
12.42pm: Team Pro v Team Pro
Several tables have Team PokerStars Pros facing one another. Noah Boeken sits across from Julian Thew, while George Danzer has Thierry van den Berg for company.
Danzer is the most active right now. On a 9♣9♥K♦5♠Q♣ board Stefan Huber checked and Danzer calmly put out 4,500 (with 7,000 already in the middle). That was good enough to take this one. — SY
12.40pm: Thorson starts nicely
Team PokerStars Pro William Thorson finished strong last night – and is still at it. He limped from the cut-off and got a call from Dieter Albrecht in the small blind while Daniel Pidun checked his option from the big.
The blinds checked the 7♥2♥4♠ flop and Thorson bet 2,000. Albrecht then made it 6,000 and Thorson called. On the 5♦ turn Albrecht bet 11,500 and again Thorson called. But on the A♦ river Albrecht checked and Thorson made it 18,000 – fold.
“Pick one card,” he told Albrecht. He made his choice and it revealed 7♦. Thorson is now up to 172,000. — SY
12.35pm: Out, out, out, out…
The traditional early day 2 all-in-and-call frenzy has claimed 30 victims in the first 20 minutes. If it continued at that rate we’d be out of here in no time at all. But it won’t. — SY
12.30pm: Julien seizing control
Julien Brecard has had a good start to the day and is up to 89,000. Most of these accumulated chips came from taking Victor Lemos’s stack. A raised pot brought a flop containing a ten and a jack. All the chips went in with Brecard holding [k][q] for an open ended straight draw to Lemo’s [a][j] for top pair top kicker. Instant service for Brecard on the turn when a  fell to eliminate Lemos. — MC
12.25pm: Coren aggression
Team PokerStars Pro Vicky Coren has been drawn next to Boris Becker today and she’s come out in a fighting mood. When there was a raise and a call in front of her she moved all-in and forced folds from her opponents to pick up the pot. The very next hand she completed from the small blind with Becker checking his big blind option. The flop came A♥J♠Q♦ and a 1,200 bet from Coren took the pot down. She’s up to 33,000. –MC
12.15pm: All she wrote
Is it wrong to rail someone just for the sake of an obvious headline? Ah, I’m sorry, but after we discovered this morning that the novelist Charlotte Roche had only 17,700 chips rather than the previously-reported 70,000, it seemed as though she might be facing an early elimination today. And that headline was waiting to be penned.
So, unfortunately, it proved. Roche moved all in with K♦10♣ in the opening orbit and was called by the even shorter stack of Erik Siefert. Siefert’s K♣Q♦ stood up and that pegged Roche back to 4,700.
All that stack went in on the next hand, but this time her J♥8♣ was up against Q♥6♠ of Stefan Wrenger. The queen-high flop provided the denouement, and Roche entered the epilogue – a flurry of media interviews. — HS
12pm: The beginning of a new day
This is always fun. Of the 484 players who spent one of the past two days battling for nine hours to keep hold of a chip stack, at least 50 of them will surrender those chips with reckless abandon in the coming hour or so. Day two always begins with a carnival of all in manoeuvres. Just you wait and see.
Cards are due in the air at noon, give or take ten minutes. Have a quick gander at today’s introduction (forgiving the cultural sensitivities), or look at the seat draw. Hell, why not look at the prizewinners and payout structure page just for kicks.
PokerStars Blog reporting team (in order of arrival at work this morning): Howard Swains, Simon Young, Marc Convey, Stephen Bartley.