That’s the end of the level. There’s a 15-minute break and we’ll be back for the final two levels.
9.40pm: Five minutes in the life of Dario Minieri
Well, to be honest, this five minutes is like every other five minutes in the Italian’s poker life. Four hands in succession, and Minieri raises each time. But it did not all go his way.
On hand one he he makes it 950 and gets called in two spots. On the 10♦9♠J♠ board he continues with a bet of 2,350. One folds, but the other announces: “All in.” Minieri folds what he claims was J-Q – and is shown K-Q for his opponent’s nut straight.
Hand two and Minieri makes it 1,600 behind a limper. Call. On the 5♠3♦K♥ flop the limper checks and Minieri bets 2,250. This time he collects the pot.
On hand three Minieri makes it 950 and takes the blinds and antes. And on hand four he makes it 950 under the gun and gets re-raised to 3,500. Call. On a Q♥A♣4♥ flop he checks then folds when his opponent pushes out 6,300.
Phew! Never a dull moment with the Italian Team PokerStars Pro, who currently has 71,000.
9.35pm: Weekes end
Jonathan Weekes is out. On a board already showing 8♣J♥5♣A♦ Anton Wigg made it 3,550 before Weekes moved all-in. He showed A♥K♣ to Wigg’s A♠J♣ which stayed ahead on the Q♣ river. Weekes gone with a “good luck guys”. Wigg up to 76,000.
9.30pm: The gallery
Here’s some other sights around the tournament room today:
9.20pm: Good effort but could do better
Annettte Obrestad caught a member of the blogging team peering at her stack and she yelled: “Come back in twenty minutes and I’ll have twice as much.”
Ten minutes later she hadn’t moved on much from her stack around 18,000 and she commented: “I still got time yet!”
Twenty minutes later and she was involved in a hand. She called an early position raise whilst sat on the button. The big blind called too and they all saw a K♣10♦8♥ flop. Both players checked to her and she fired 2,200 which was good enough to make her opponent’s fold.
Did she double her stack to 40,000? Not quite but she’s up to 29,000 and we’ll give her a B+ for effort.
9.10pm: Lodden loads up
Miklos Zsuffa opened for 1,000. When the action reached Camilla Dennig he announced raise, threw in 4,400, sat back and folded his arms, his while plimsolled foot dancing and his temples throbbing. Somewhere in all that perhaps Zsuffa detected strength, for he folded. Pot to Dennig.
Neither of them were involved in the next hand but four others at the same table were.
Mikko Vahatorma opened for 800, getting calls from Moshe Haliva, Johnny Lodden in the cut off and Nadir Yusupov in the big blind. On a flop of J♣J♠4♣ all four players checked, waiting for the first to flinch. On the 3♠ turn Yusupov checked again before Vahatorma, who’d started all this, made it 2,000 to play. That forced out all but Lodden who called for a J♦ river.
Vahatorma, slowly, bet 5,000, a single yellow chip. Lodden called, waiting for Vahatorma to show. He did, reluctantly, K♠Q♥. Lodden wasted no time then turning over his Q♣3♣, taking the pot. He’s up to 43,000.
One of the few nationalities willing to take on the Nordics on their own turf are the Italians – themselves hardly shy of some loose-aggressive play. Alfio Battisti, who came second in Warsaw last year, is one of Italy’s top players but he has just shipped a fairly sizeable pot to his countryman Gianluca Marcucci. Battisti, in the big blind, called a mid-position raise from Marcucci and they saw a flop of 3♠6♥6♣. Battisti checked, Marcucci bet 2,500, Battisti raised to 6,500 and Marcucci moved all in for about 17,000 more.
All this took place in about 13 seconds flat, but Battisti took a little longer to call. He did so eventually and showed pocket nines. A delighted Macucci showed pocket queens and doubled up.
8.50pm: Everyone remembers this runner-up
Hoping to go one better than last year is Peter Hedlund. Last year’s runner-is going along nicely and is up to 65,000.
The PokerStars blog team caught up with the man to see how he navigated his way there:
“I had pocket aces twice” he started. “I got nothing the first time but doubled-up the second time when he had ace-king” he added. “Then I got paid a little bit when I had a small set but then I dropped, dropped, dropped.”
He went on “Then I won a nice pot where I hit another set”. To keep it short (succinct isn’t a term Hedlund is aware of) he was three handed to aQ-2-6 flop containing two clubs. Hedlund called a bet and he was heads-up when the turn came a non club seven. Hedlund bet out 4,000 and then shoved when his opponent raised to 12,000. His opponent folded and Hedlund took down the pot. “I had a set of sixes but the board was getting too scary” he surmised.
The rest of the conversation tailed off in to how he thinks that alcoholic drinks companies should sponsor the events and then he be able to drink that rather than the frozen orange juice available to players today.
8.40pm: We’re into level six now
That means 200-400 blinds, and a 50 ante.
8.30pm: See ya Sarwer
Jeff Sarwer’s recovery was short lived. After a successful first scrap against Risto Ailamo round two did not go so well for the lauded Canadian who shoved behind a bet of 800 with his last 13,000 holding pocket sixes, only for Ailamo to call with aces. Sarwer was out but remained pragmatic.
“I knew what cards people had,” he said. “They just kept winning.”
It’s an early departure for Sarwer who may now head Stateside to the North American Poker Tour earlier than planned.
“I’ve got to get used to losing,” he said before adding a few seconds later. “It’s okay. I’m over it.”
8.25pm: Sarwer drops again
Jeff Sarwer is looking a little frustrated. He’s down to 13,000 again, but we’ve seen him in this position before only to come back 30 minutes later to find him on something like 80,000.
He’s trying, that’s for sure. On this hand, with the flop of J♠8♥10♦, he bet 2,200 only for Risto Ailamo, with whom he has been sparring a lot, to come over the top with a bet of 5,500. Sarwer let out an audible sigh and let his hand go.
“Did you have a jack?” No answer. “I guess I have to believe you.”
8.15pm: Nielsen slays another
Rasmus Neilsen just accounted for another player. This time it was a non-believing Nicola D’Alessio who bit the dust. On a Q♦6♥3♥3♠Q♣ board, Nielsen had bet around 45,000 – more than enough to cover D’Alessio’s remaining stack. D’Alessio, one assumes, had a 3 and could not believe that the paired queen on the river could have given Nielsen the bigger boat.
He called, Nielsen turned over K♣Q♥, and D’Alessio mucked. Nielsen is now up to 70,000.
8.10pm: ‘Why did you squeeze?’
“Why did you squeeze?” asked Ruben Visser to Rasmus Neilsen “I would’ve hit bottom set.”
“Yeah, why did I?” responded Nielsen “I would’ve saved 15,000.”
Ruben Visser had kicked things off in this hand when he raised from early position and was called before Nielsen squeezed from the cut-off. Visser folded (deuces) before the third player in the hand moved all-in. Nielsen had already committed chips and had a healthy stack and called with A♦9♠. He’s run into the K♠K♣ of his opponent and the board ran 2♥Q♠5♥7♠J♣.
Nielsen still going well on 60,000 and enjoying the company of the young Dutchman and the silver lining on the 15,000 chip loss cloud is probably the fact that Visser never got the chance to hit his set.
7.55pm: Hopping hopping out; Visser and Van Til chatting
The PokerStars qualifier James Hopping is out. He was down to about 10,000 at the dinner break and got it all in with A♠Q♥ against the red pocket fives of Johan “busto_soon” Van Til. There was nothing on the board and Hopping went busto soon-er.
Two other online phenoms, “rubenrtv” and “Jungleras” (known in the real world as Ruben Visser and Rasmus Nielsen), are also at each other’s throats, amiably of course. Folded to Visser in late position, he raised to 800 and Nielsen took a little while* over deciding to fold his big blind. “What do you need? Like, one jack?” Visser probed.
“Yeah. I can’t even get that,” said Nielsen, flashing his mucked hand.
“What was that? Ten four?” Visser asked.
“Good fold,” Visser said, and showed J♠4♠.
*In internet terms, “a little while” is equal to about 11 earth seconds.
7.45pm: Sarwer over runs Ailamo
Jeff Sarwer and Risto Ailamo just played out a hand, Ailamo making it 700 pre-flop from under the gun and Sarwer calling from the big blind.
The flop came 7♣4♠5♣. Sarwer checked to Ailamo who bet 1,250. Sarwer called, his serious expression firmly in place, for a 9♣ turn card. Check check as Ailamo conceded his momentum before the 9♦ on the river. Now Sarwer took charge, a bet of 2,300 enough to persuade Ailamo that resistence was futile. He passed. Sarwer back up to around the 20,000 mark.
7.40pm: Back they come
After an hour off for dinner the players are returning to the tables for the last four one-hour levels. By our reckoning, once a short break is included, we’ll be done just before midnight. There’s plenty of time, then, for those high on chips and those down in the dumps to swap fortunes.
One of those at the right end of the leader board right now is Team PokerStars Pro Arnaud Mattern, who broke through the 100,000 barrier a short while before the dinner bell rang. Actually, there was no dinner bell – just tournament supremo Thomas Kremser announcing we were on a break. Somehow the idea of a dinner bell is quite appealing.
While we were away, the math has been done, and officially we had 193 runners in today’s first day one flight. Right now, just 169 of them are left.