This is our first time in Berlin, but it’s not our first time in Germany – and last year’s final table in Dortmund was a belter. As many will remember, it was won by Sandra Naujoks, but the antics of Cengizcan Ulusu, who literally flipped a coin to decide whether he should call all in, are the stuff of EPT legend.
Although there was no sign this week of the legendary coin-flipping Ulusu (nor the incredulous Johan Storakers, whose reaction to that moment is almost as funny), all six others from that final table played in Berlin.
Naujoks, Luca Pagano and Mike McDonald all bust on day one, but Marc Gork, Holger Kanisch and William Thorson are still in the mix. Gork and Kanisch are short – they have about 30,000 apiece – but Thorson still has around 250,000.
Every time Thorson has made the money on the EPT (four times), he has gone on to make the final table. So the looming bubble – approximately a day early – is a big moment for the Team PokerStars Pro. — HS
5.40pm: ‘Nice bluff’
Team PokerStars Pro Marcel Luske was just bluffed off a pot, dropping him back to 74,000.
He called an early position raise from the small blind to go to a 5♠7♣Q♦ flop. He check-called an 8,200 continuation bet to see the K♥ turn. Luske checked once more and this time faced a 17,200 bet. His took longer over his decision this time but once again made the call to go the 9♣ river.
Luske checked and this time faced a 36,500 bet which represented about half his stack. He asked his aggressive opponent how much he had left and found it to be 65,000. Then he folded only to be shown A♣3♣ by his foe. “Nice bluff” said Luske. –MC
5.35pm: Around the grounds
Nico Behling just busted a player, taking his own stack up to around 220,000. Luca Falaschi a few tables away was also the recipient of good fortune. “Yes! Come on!” cried Falaschi with ace-king, doubling up.
Boris Becker had a decision to make when Aleh Plauski, a PokerStars qualifier from Belarus, moved all-in for roughly 40,000. After some thought he called, showing it to be a good one, turning over A♥J♦ to Plauski’s Q♦K♥. Becker may have gone into the showdown ahead but came out behind, the board running K♦3♦2♠3♠8♠.
A chunk lost for Becker who slumps to just 46,000. Plauski on the other hand doubles to close to 100,000.
As that hand played out another all in was called on the table alongside. Norman Kastner had called Francesco De Vivo’s all in. The Copenhagen runner up showed A♣J♦ to Kastner’s Q♥A♥ and it was Kastner playing on with 130,000 as De Vivo set course for the rail. – SB.
5.20pm: Nice call, sir
Vadim Markushevski is proving once again that he has got a great game. The Team PokerStars Pro from Belarus is up to 190,000, a decent chunk of which just came his way from overnight chip leader Kfir Yumin. The board read 6♣A♠A♦J♠ and Markushevski bet 5,400 – then called Yumin’s re-raise to 14,500.
On the 5♠ river Markushevski checked and Yumin reached for a pile of yellow chips, tossing a total of 36,000 over the line. It was a tough decision for Markushevski but it turned out he made a great call.
Respect for that, and Yumin knew he had been caught out good and proper. — SY
5.15pm: Fatima on film!
A little earlier we lost Team PokerStars SportStar Fatima de Melo. Our video team managed to catch up with her earlier today…
5.10pm: Wasek out guns Manole
Artur Wasek opened for 7,300 in middle position. Two seats along, dressed in Arsenal FC clobber, was Mihai Manole, who quickly put some chips together in his hand and raised, 20,300 total. Wasek called.
The flop came 4♦5♥4♠
Wasek checked. Manole bet 19,000 but before the bet had stopped rolling into the pot Wasek had announced raise, 60,000 in total that would put Manole all in to call.
Minutes passed and Wasek called time. An official arrived to start the clock on the minute Manole had to decide. It clicked down. His hand was dead.
“Can I have just one more minute please?” asked Manole, with no luck. His hand was dead. He showed pocket nines while Wasek showed pocket fives for a flopped full house. — SB.
4.55pm: A minute with Ainsworth
The blog caught up with Team PokerStars Pro Jude Ainsworth to find out how he managed to amass his mountain of chips. He told us most of the chips were accumulated in two hands.
The first hand saw him three-bet his neighbor who had raised from mid-position. The call came and the two went to a king high flop containing two diamonds. Ainsworth had A♦10♦ and his opponent had ace-king and a series of bets and raises saw both all-in. Ainsworth had his opponent just covered but he didn’t have to worry about being crippled for too long as the turn came Q♦ to complete his flush, leaving his opponent drawing dead in the process.
The second hand was all about late position aggression and big hands. A player in the cut-off raised before the small blind moved all-in. Ainsworth woke up with jacks in the big blind and re-shoved. The cut-off had big slick and called off his 120,000 stack. Ainsworth’s jacks held up to eliminate both opponents and give the Irishman a stack of 540,000 chips. –MC
4.45pm: Hey! Jude
This ludicrously swift rate of eliminations – down to 240 players now, incidentally – has meant that there are also some mighty stacks growing. None is more imposing at the moment than that in front of Jude Ainsworth, who is the first player through half a million.
The details of how he got them are on their way. But suffice to say, the Irishman has enjoyed a spectacular start to his career in the Team PokerStars Pro livery. This looks like being another very deep run.
The day one leader Kfir Yumin is pushing 400,000, with Dennis Waterman not far behind. — HS
4.25pm: Can you feel the Gorce?
Andreas Doletzki raised all-in pre flop for around 110,000. It was folded around to Guillaume De La Gorce who moved all in himself for 91,900. Not surprisingly everyone else got out of the way sharpish.
De La Gorce: K♥K♣
Doletzki needed a lot of help, but the flop only made things worse, coming K♠9♥A♦. The turn was 4♠ and river 3♣ and the big double up went De La Gorce’s way. He’s up to 190,000 – Doletzki was left with small change only. — SY
4.20pm: Keiner can’t flop
Michael Keiner was moved tables by floor man Clement but it was a bad move by him as he lasted less than ten minutes there before being eliminated. He got his short stack in with pocket jacks and had a customer holding ace-queen. A queen came on the flop and even though Keiner picked up an open ended straight draw on the turn the river blanked. –MC
4.10pm: Don’t tell ‘er indoors
Dennis Waterman has emerged as our chip leader – and his stack is so imposing that he can afford to lose with an overpair, all in pre-flop, and still have 358,000.
Christophe Kohler and Waterman tussled and it wasn’t long before Kohler had moved in for his entire 37,000 and Waterman had made the call. Kohler had 4♦4♥; Waterman had 9♦9♣ and it was looking bleak for the German.
But the dealer had other ideas. The turn was a four, which kept Kohler alive, much to the good natured faux-disgust of Derek Murray, Kohler’s neighbour. “That’s the second time he’s sucked out with an underpair,” Kelly said, before encouraging reporters to “Ruin him”. — HS
4pm: Where did they go?
The rate of exits today is still extraordinary. We’re only in the third level of play and more than 200 have bitten the dust. Just as well the tables are emptying – there’s a big €2,000 side event expected to start in a few hours. — SY
3.55pm: Vlad to be here
Team PokerStars Pro Vlad Zguba, from Ukraine, is still enjoying his run at the Berlin title. He now has around 130,000 and has taken to regularly three-betting folks out of pots. — SY
3.52pm: Kang pips it
Ben Kang calls a 9,000 bet on a 3♠5♠J♦ flop. He and his opponent, Evgeniy Zaytsev, then check the 7♦ turn, and on the 2♣ river Kang calls a 17,000 bet. Zaytsev shows K♠J♠ but Kang has A♠J♣ to beat him with the better kicker. That pot helped propel the German Team PokerStars Pro to 180,000.
Sitting on the same table is Boris Becker, the last remaining Team PokerStars SportStar (100,000) after Fatima de Melo’s unfortunate demise. — SY
3.50pm: Thorson v Markuskevski
William Thorson has just doubled up through Vadim Markuschevski. There were actually three players to a flop of Q♥8♣6♣ but only the Team PokerStars Pro colleagues were serious.
Markushevski had 24,500 in the middle in front of him but Thorson was all in, for 74,200 total. (The intruder left them to it.)
Markushevski tanked but called, and then looked downhearted when Thorson showed 6♥6♦. Markushevski’s Q♣J♣ was drawing way too thin. Thorson moved up to 180,000; Markushevski has about 140,000 left.
Update: The betting on that one went like this: Markushevski made it 4,800 from mid-position pre-flop, Thorson called in the cut off and the “intruder” called on the button. Then both Markushevski and Thorson checked the flop, the intruder bet 12,000 and then all that up there went off. — HS
3.45pm: George “Lufthansa” Danzer flying
A flop of 7♦2♥10♣ Miika Puumalainen was taking on George Danzer, making it 11,000 to play after Danzer checked to him in the button. Danzer then re-raised to 23,000 in total which Puumalainen called.
The turn came a 10♥. Danzer wasted no time betting 23,000, forcing Puumalainen to pass. Danzer showed jacks. — SB.
3.40pm: Browned off
Chad Brown is out. The Team PokerStars Pro was down to a meagre looking 8,000 and had to pay two of that for the big blind. Olaf Sagorski opened pre-flop for 5,600 and the action folded to Brown who moved all-in.
“Should I fold?” asked Sagorski.
“Yes,” said an emphatic Brown. “I want to win this tournament.”
Sagorski made the call showing A♣8♣ to Brown’s A♦5♦. The board ran out 4♠7♥10♣2♥6♠. Brown out. — SB.
3.35pm: PokerStars Blog spreads luck
We’re not selfish here at the PokerStars Blog. We can’t play in the tournament ourselves therefore are happy to spread out our share of luck to the players from time-to-time.
In the last level William Thorson asked for it and soon after he was reported doubling-up. On hearing this Andrew Feldman asked for a bit of that luck. As a fellow countryman how could I deny him it. He used up a small bit of that luck straight away while sitting in the big blind. Action folded around to the small blind who raised to 5,000 before Feldman moved all-in for 36,200 with K♦Q♠. The small blind conceded and Feldman added a little to his stack. Watch this space to see if the luck extends to a double-soon for the Englishmen. –MC
Sad news has reached the press room; PokerStars SportStar Fatima de Melo is out. She was sat in the small blind and moved all in with ace-four suited when the button raised. Unfortunately for her and us the button had aces and she couldn’t catch-up. –MC
3.20pm: Beat this
Stefan Huber is the man with 310,000 chips at the moment – and I’m pretty sure that’s the biggest stack in the room. Jan Collado’s 260,000 isn’t far behind. — HS
3.10pm: The SalBon tale continues
Salvatore Bonavena’s quest for a unique EPT double continues. Although he lost pretty much all his stack when his A♠2♣ couldn’t beat A♣6♣ all in pre-flop, he doubled up again on the very next hand. Jan Oefelt raised to 5,500 from early position and Bonavena moved all in for 1,700 more from the small blind. Oefelt made the mandatory call.
The flop was good for Bonavena: K♦6♦3♦ and the turn was even better: A♦. Oefelt was drawing dead and Bonavena is back to more than 12,000. But it’s still a very long way back for the popular EPT Prague champion. — HS
3.05pm: Wait a minute
Did we say they’re off? We meant now. Now they’re off.
3pm: Off again
We’re back from the break for the next level. We’re calling this one level 12.
PokerStars Blog reporting team (in order of victimisation): Stephen Bartley (priority), Simon Young, Stephen Bartley, Marc Convey, Stephen Bartley, Howard Swains and Stephen Bartley.