11.45pm: Play finished
A full wrap of the day’s action is on its way, but here’s what you’re likely to find out. The Finnish player Ilkka Koskinen is today’s leader, with 140,900, the smallest possible margin ahead of Sebastian Ruthenberg, who has 140,800. That’s the difference between a win in the chip race and a loss. It’s that close.
11.35pm: Last six hands
Thomas Kremser has announced we are playing the last six hands of the night, then it’s time to bag and tag the chips. We’re off to scout the chip leaders.
11.30pm: Helppi’s late charge
Juha Helppi has just won a monster pot to threaten the chip lead just as the day is winding up. Danish player Stig Rossen, a well-known singer in who has appeared in musicals in London and now does theater production back home, was the victim.
Rossen made it 2,400 pre-flop and Helppi bumped it up to 9,400. Call from Rossen. On the K♥J♦4♣ flop, Helppi made it 8,000, Rossen re-raised to 20,000 and Helppi called. Both checked the 9♣ turn, and on the 5♣ river Helppi bet 20,000. Call.
“Aargh, I knew it,” wailed Rossen, who is now down to around 70,000. Helppi, however, is up to more than 125,000.
11.20pm: Back to six-figures
Richard Grace is back on the up and currently sits on 115,000. There was a raise to 2,100 in front of him that he three-bet to 6,500. The action was finished there though as the small blind four-bet to 16,400 (just over a third of his stack). The original player folded but after some serious looking thought Grace moved all-in. Cue even more serious thought from the small blind. Three minutes later he opened folded two red queens. Grace smiled and tabled two black queens!
11.05pm: Double rubdown for Barusta; Kurko on the up
At the start of play today, table 34 was among the toughest in the room: Roberto Romanello, Anders Langset, Aditya Agarwal, Kristoffer Thorsson, William Thorson and Alex Fitzgerald. The “lesser” known players there included Kimmo Kurko, a Finnish professional who won a $2,000 side event at San Remo last season.
But while Fitzgerald, Langset and Thorson have all departed, Kurko has gone from strength to strength and now has more than 110,000. Most recently Kurko stood firm against Jonathan Barusta’s bluff – and added another 20,000-odd to his stack.
There was getting on for 9,000 in the pot by the time the following four cards had been exposed: 6♣K♥10♠K♣. Barusta bet 4,500 at it, and Kurko called. Then Barusta bet 12,000 at the 9♣ river, and Kurko took a little while but made another obdurate call.
“Two pair,” said Barusta, but Kurko wanted to see what type. Barusta showed A♥9♠ and only then did Kurko expose his A♦A♠ for a better two pair – the best, in fact.
There was no slowroll intended from Kurko, and Barusta didn’t seem to mind. He did, however, have to suffer another unintentional barb moments later, when Romanello (who had been chatting to a friend at the rail as the hand played out) returned to the table. Barusta was just rearranging his newly-cut stacks when Romanello called across the table: “Excuse me, could you put your yellows to the front please.”
This was an entirely innocent request from someone who hadn’t seen the last hand, asking for the big chips to be brought to the front, as is common poker etiquette. “I don’t have any yellows,” Barusta was forced mournfully to confess.
11pm: Luca Pagano follows his script
As has been said so many times before, Team PokerStars Pro Luca Pagano is the most consistent of successful EPT players. With record cashes, and a record number of final tables, it’s only a surprise if he is not building a decent stack on day 1.
And so visiting his table tonight brings a familiar sight. His bright red shirt may be a little out of place, but his chips most certainly are not. He’s got just short of 80,000 at the moment, well placed with under an hour to go to carry a decent stack once more into an EPT day 2.
Just now he picked up a few thousand more. Opening with a raise to 2,200 from mid position, he was called only by the big blind. On a 2♣5♣A♥ flop, the Italian put out a continuation bet of 2,700 – and that was enough to take the pot.
10.50pm: Back-to-back frustration
Sometimes you have to let hands go and be happy to consolidate your position. That’s what Stuart Rutter will be saying to himself to keep focused after folding in two consecutive hands where he was the original aggressor.
The first hand he raised from hijack and was called by a player in the next seat. Both players checked the flop before Rutter check-folded to a 1,800 bet on a Q♠10♠7♦2♣ board.
The next hand Rutter raised again, to 1,800, and was called by the player in the small blind. Rutter continued his aggressive line with a 1,700 bet but folded when his opponent bumped it up to 5,000. He’s still going okay on 70,000.
With that we’re into level 8, the last for today.
10.40pm: Comedy moment of the level
Due to his determination to not miss a hand Dutchman Jorn Walthaus just had himself a little accident. He folded and then got up from the table to run and chat to his mate. Unfortunately for him he tangled with a rope barrier and fell flat on his face before getting back up and continuing his run. To be fair to the lad he managed to have his conversation and get back just in time for the next hand. Of course he acted like nothing happened. These poker players can’t lose face you know?
10.35pm: Seems a while ago
Four years ago this place belonged to Mads Andersen, the Dane who overcame Norwegian Edger Skjervold at around 3.40am one Sunday morning after an epic Cecille B. DeMille type final that just wouldn’t end. That was back in season two.
That same year he came fourth in the Five Diamond Classic in Las Vegas continued to cash in EPT and World Series events. While not a regular on the tour he’s never missed his home bash, and this week is no exception, although his chances of a repeat are looking slim.
After a day at the harsh end of the EPT he currently has less than 10,000, losing a little more a few moments ago against Thomas Holm in an attempt to defend his big blind from Holm’s button raise. Holm bet big on the flop ending another hand for Andersen.
He’s still here, but it’s getting close for the former champ.
10.25pm: Oh Meinberg
There aren’t many things better in poker than flopping quads and having an opponent move all in. Just ask Pontus Anderberg, who knows that precise feeling.
Anderberg had only recently been moved to Jens Kyllonen’s table when he was one of four players going to a 7♦7♣10♠ flop. There was one check before Jan Meinberg moved all in for 21,450.
The third player in the pot folded but Anderberg didn’t hang around, calling pretty sharpish. And when the fourth player also got out the way, Anderberg proudly displayed his 7♠7♥. “Oh,” said Meinberg and showed K♠10♥.
His miracle-miracle running tens didn’t come and Meinberg was left with 300 at the end of the hand.
“So, welcome to the table,” said Anderberg’s neighbour, as Meinberg put his last 300 in blind and lost it on the next hand.
10.12pm: Can’t win them all
Mads Wissing, who won a side event here two years ago for $ 82,278, raised to 1,650 from mid-position before Richard Grace three-bet to 4,200. When it was back on Wissing he snap four-bet to 10,000 and said to Grace “Notice the insta-min-raise?”
Grace stayed quiet and made the call to go to the 7♥K♦2♦ flop. Wissing kept the initiative with a 10,000 bet that Grace called. The turn came Q♣ and both players checked but both took their time to do so. The river came 8♥ and Wissing went into an act where he rubbed his chin, then sat back in his chair and started rubbing his head. He then leant forward and checked.
Grace checked too and announced “I got two jacks.” It was no good though as Wissing surprisingly tabled Q♥9♥ for the pot. Grace down to 90,000.
10pm: Pagano power
A flop of 6♣9♦8♦ and Luca Pagano coming to life. Rasmus Mortensen checked in the small blind before Pagano, in the big, bet 2,500. Mauri Dorbek over in seat eight in the cut off, called that, as did Mortensen for a 7♦ on the turn.
Now Mortensen sprang to life, betting with abandon, 4,000 of mostly purple 500s. Pagano and Dorbek both called for a 4♦ river card. Mortensen resumed checking as Pagano lumped in another 8,500. This did it. Dorbek passed, as did Mortensen. Pagano showed 5♦ and moved up to around 72,000.
9.57pm: William Thorson video
A little while ago our video crew caught up with Team PokerStars Pro William Thorson. Here’s what the Swede had to say (in English, thankfully)…
9.55pm: Zip it
Roberto Romanello spent a good hour or so today completely zipped up in an impenetrable hoodie – right up to above his head so you couldn’t even see his face.
He has since re-emerged but might want to be zipping up again; Kimmo Kurko has just caught him at it and won a pot of close to 20,000.
Kurko raised to 1,450 from mid position and RobRom, as he’s known to his friends*, made it 4,025. Everyone else folded but Kurko came along to a 4♥6♣7♦ flop.
Kurko checked and RobRom** bet 5,550. Kurko called.
The turn brought a 10♥ and they both checked, and neither of them much liked the 10♠ river either. “King high,” announced a sheepish RobRom. Kurko showed 9♠9♣ and won.
* Roberto Romanello’s friends do not refer to him as RobRom.
** Remember, that nickname does not actually exist.
9.45pm: And back they come
After a 15 minute break, the 175 remaining players (232 started today) are filing slowly back to their seats. We’ve got two more hours of this, and then it’s bed.
Towards the end of the last level, a new challenger for the chip lead emerged… Paul Szyszko, a PokerStars qualifier from the US. He has more than 110,000.
Here’s another chap doing quite well – Team PokerStars Pro Sebastian Ruthenberg, owner of around 65,000.