2.15pm: Break time
That’s the end of the level. Players are taking a 15 minute break.
2.10pm: Miami John and Florida Jason
Jason Mercier bounces in his chair, listening to music. It’s the cocky bounce of a contented man; a newly minted WCOOP bracelet winner with a third place finish yesterday in the European 8-Game Championship, not to mention that NAPT thing earlier this year, that Five Diamond coup, that side event here last year and a bracelet in 2009, EPT titles, what have you. Mercier is among those closest to cracking poker’s code, and it’s enough to make good men turn to the dark side of the force.
Not that things like that would put off ‘Miami’ John Cernuto, who has three World Series bracelet as well as longevity; Mercier was not a year old when Cernuto won $1,062 at the Grand Priz of Poker in Las Vegas in 1987. Mercier tangled with him, forgetting one the cast iron rules of poker, explained by the high school basketball coach in the movie Teen Wolf, that you should never play cards with a guy named after a city.
On a flop of 7♣3♠Q♥ Cernuto checked to Mercier who bet 1,225. Cernuto called for a 3♥ turn. Cernuto checked and Mercier, still bouncing around like a tumble dryer, did the same for a 10♦ river card.
Curnuto now bet 2,000 and fir the first time Mercier stopped moving. He sniffed a couple of times, grimaced and then started bouncing again. He looked up, looked at his cards again, then folded. Curnuto reverses an earlier trend and is back up to around 30,000, exactly where Mercier is. — SB
2.05pm: That’s the Tricket
Sam Trickett final tabled EPT Vilamoura and had he not lost an improbable amount of flips he would have had a terrifying amount of chips going into the final two or three. As it was boards did not treat him kindly and he busted in fourth.
Here in London Trickett will be keen to prove himself again and is getting involved from the off. As I passed his table I could see he had three-bet Ronny Johansen to 1,400 and was four-bet back some 4,000. Trickett passed in double quick time but it’s unlikely to slow his three-betting ways down. — RD
2pm: Ivey takes big hit
Phil Ivey raised to 500 and got a call from Marco Leonzio in the big blind. The flop was 2♦8♥J♣ and Leonzio check-called Ivey’s 700 continuation bet. On the Q♥ turn Leonzio checked again, Ivey made it 2,000, Leonzio made it 6,000, Ivey moved all-in for around 28,000 – call!
Ivey’s turned two-pair were a long way behind Leonzio’s flopped set. The latter was all-in for his tournament life and the set held up on the 7♣ river. Leonzio doubled through to 35,000 while Ivey slipped back to 8,500. — SY
1.55pm: Sell out
Swedish player Christer Johansson is the last player to be seated today and he’s alongside young gun and fellow countryman Viktor Blom. We’re packed to the rafters and the event is a sell-out. We’ll publish the final numbers as soon as we find them out. — MC
1.50pm: Back to nappy/diaper changing
Team PokerStars Pro Johnny Lodden dashed in from Norway to play this event. He doesn’t want to spend too much time away from home at the moment as he’s just become a dad for the first time. Unfortunately or fortunately he’ll be able to catch an afternoon flight back if he so desires as he’s been eliminated already. He was down to 5,100 when he raised to 525 from under-the-gun and was called by Boris Becker on the button before Dani Abirached three-bet to 3,375 from the SB. Lodden moved all-n, Becker folded and Abirached made the auto-call.
The board ran 8♦4♦4♣5♦7♥, failing to hit Lodden’s hand. There’s a baby that needs changing Mr. Lodden. — MC
1.40pm: Set for Sal Bon
Salvatore Bonavena never fails to disappoint us at the poker table. But the former EPT Prague champion has let us down rather badly today by not wearing his trademark pink jumper and hat (not a pink hat). He’s going along nicely, though, and just picked up a pot with a set of tens on a 9♠7♠10♦3♣K♣ board, his 4,100 river bet being called by Samuel Grafton. — SY
1.30pm: The Good, the Bad and whatever
A flop of 5♦A♠4♥ and a glimpse of Annette Obrestad in action. Fredrik Keitel had checked to the demure Norwegian and she answered by betting 3,000. Keitel called for a 6♠ turn.
Obrestad is an imposing figure when in action. Finger nails painted black, a black heart sewn onto her sweater, a sparkly necklace reflecting the lights, she sits dead still, except for her right hand which slowly riffles a pile of chips, the way a gunslinger might thumb the cylinder of an old colt. Obrestad should have music by Ennio Morricone played whenever she’s in action.
Staring down the barrel was Keitel looking at the board trying to untangle the puzzle. All the while Amnon Filippi in seat one watched organising and marked fist fighting on an iPad. Enough of this nonsense. Keitel folded. — SB
1.15pm: No vamos for Ramos
Brazilian Filipe Ramos is down to 5,500 after doubling-up PokerStars qualifier Matt Affleck. There was a shout of “All-in and call on table eight” from there dealer. The chips went in on the turn of a K♠J♣8♦5♠ board and Ramos held a K♥J♦ for two-pair to Affleck’s 8♣8♠ for bottom set. The river came 10♠ sending the pot to Affleck. –MC
1.10pm: Dressed to win
Any man who turns up to play a poker tournament in a suit and tie is all right in my book, even if his paisley tie does verge on the psychedelic.
Suits are dying out on the European Poker Tour. No winner has yet worn a tie for their victory snap, and you have to go back to Bjorne-Erik Glenne in Barcelona some years ago to find a jacket wearer. Where else would you get this treasure trove of information?
But Alex Wice has paid attention this morning to matters sartorial, wearing nearly all of the nine yards. So too Tony Cascarino, the footballer-turned-journalist, who sits alongside English Team PokerStars Pro Julian Thew and, I want to say Eamon de Valera, but after checking it’s Adolfo Vaeza, of PCA fame.
Andre Akkari plays today, giving the thumbs up, sharing a table with Jonas Klausen and Chris Moneymaker.
Cascarino is not the only Sports Star in today’s field. Shane Warne and Fatima Moreira de Melo play, as does Tennis Legend Boris Becker, who finds himself at a table with Leo Fernandez, James Akenhead and Johnny Lodden. No suit for Becker but he wears a nice tweed jacket none the less.
Phil Ivey is on his way but has not yet entered the tournament room, an entrance most anticipated by the massage crew who know a good thing when they see one. Felipe Ramos has arrived, fresh off two final tables this one, at the recent WSOPE and the English Poker Open.
One other table stands out as having “previous”. JC Tran, Liv Boeree, Sebastian Ruthenberg and Michael Greco sit line astern in the far corner.
Last year Greco was responsible for one of the more memorable demonstrations of short stack finesse, reaching the money despite a day spent with only a handful of chips. Greco, through dynamic griping, got there by pleading to the Gods for pocket aces, getting them twice, and cashing in 29th place for £15,600. Why change a perfectly good game plan? — SB
1pm: Hey, Jude
Team PokerStars Pro Jude Ainsworth has Fatima Moreira de Melo and cricket legend Shane Warne for company today, but so far Clint Coffee is the one causing him problems. Coffee raised to 250 before Ainsworth three-bet to 700 from the next seat. Warne called from the BB and Coffee came along for the ride to see the J♦Q♦7♦ flop. The action checked to the Irishman who c-bet for 900 and only Coffee called before he check-called again for 1,900 on the 3♣ turn. The river came 4♣ and both players checked. Coffee opened 8♦10♦ for a flush and Ainsworth mucked. — MC
12.55pm: Coffee disaster
Fellow blogger Rick Dacey has had a coffee/laptop disaster. As you might expect, coffee and laptops do not tend to go well together and he’s now gone off to his room to find a hairdryer. — SY
12.50pm: Behind the curtains
The television table is hiding behind curtains at the far end of the room, and that’s where you’ll find Team PokerStars Pros Daniel Negreanu and Dario Minieri. Both never short of a thing or two to say, and both never shy of moving their chips around. It’s no wonder the producers picked this table to begin their Day 1B coverage. — SY
12.45pm: This, folks, is BIG
Registration is still open and already we have 500 players at the tables. Added to yesterday’s Day 1A that means a total field (so far) of 846, well up from last year’s EPT London total of 730. When they announce the prize pool a little later, expect it to be rather large.
Players are still filing in. Phil Ivey is one late arrival to have taken his seat. — SY
12.40pm: Salles stuck in first gear
Team PokerStars Pro and former racing driver Gualter Salles has yet to get going, dropping several thousand in the early running. On this one the board was 7♦3♠2♦9♥8♣ and he called a 2,600 river bet only to be shown pocket tens by Marwan Zakhem. He mucked. — SY
12.31pm: Action table
A table with Christopher Brammer, Sandra Naujoks, Padraig Parkinson, Toby Lewis and Carter Gill on is going to be active and the early part of this tournament has proved that. The player pushing the action most though is Italian Luca Falaschi.
He raised to 225 from under-the-gun and was called in four spots to go to a 7♣9♣8♦ flop. Lewis led for 575 from the BB to face a raise to 1,600 from Falaschi. Gill, Brammer and Naujoks were the other players in the hand but folded. The turn came 2♠ and the EPT Vilamoura champion check-folded to a hefty 3,500 bet. Falaschi asked Lewis if he wanted to see and the rest of the table made sure he said yes and they all the Italian’s 10♦J♠ for the nuts! — MC
12.21pm: … and he says to the barman….
Shuffle up and deal. Yes, play is under way, folks. — SY
12.10pm: “So this bloke walks into a bar…”
Play should be under way within minutes. — SB
12pm: Harumph, harumph
Not much going on in the room right now, although Daniel Negreanu is having a patch applied to his cap on the TV monitors. Lot of milling around, lots of talking, no sign of any starting. So there’s a short delay right now. Stand by. — SB
11.35am: Second time’s a charm
If you thought yesterday’s opening scramble at EPT London was star-studded, then just wait until today’s Day 1B starts. Already 448 – yes, 448 – have coughed up the £5,000 for the pleasure of beating each other up for 12 hours. We’ve got more big names than a Greek phone book. Look out for Joe Hachem, Chris Moneymaker, Daniel Negreanu and new Team PokerStars Pro Liv Boeree among others.
Dealers are at the tables and we’re due to kick off at noon. However, we’ll be sure to be delayed by a few minutes.
Here’s a picture of Liv Boeree, chosen completely at random, obviously… –SY
PokerStars Blog reporting team (in order of state of health compared to yesterday): Simon Young (+100% – it, erm, must have been the prawns), Rick Dacey, Marc Convey and Stephen Bartley (all as healthy as ever)