Live updates from day one, level 3 of the EPT London High Roller event brought to you by Stephen Bartley, Howard Swains and Simon Young.
Blinds: 100-200 (25 ante)
3.45pm: Waiting, waiting
Benny Spindler made it 4,000 to go on a flop of 2♥7♠10♥ from the big blind. He got two callers for a 4♦ turn. Spindler then made it 9,550 as behind him David Elder busted from his table, a mock sad expression on his face. Meanwhile Spindler’s bet forced a player out but still left Eugene Katchalov who then asked Spindler the toughest of questions by moving all in.
Spindler took a sip of water from a plastic cup as Katchalov’s chips were laid out. The German has his headphones off now, better to pick up the noise of Katchalov thinking perhaps. Five minutes passed, then six. Over on Greg Raymer’s table a player is asleep – not resting their eyes but properly asleep. The dealer takes his ante without waking him up and someone nudges him when the action gets to him. He folds, good for another two minute power nap.
Seven minutes on Spindler now. Then eight. He exhales, stares, riffles and folds. Down to 38,000.
3.35pm: And more chatter
Meanwhile on another table, Tony Bloom and Juha Helppi were involved in a small pot as Roland de Wolfe wandered past. De Wolfe is playing in the side event, but began talking football — specifically Leyton Orient, and the attempt to determine in which league they play. Bloom and Helppi were looking at a board of Q♣8♠A♥9♠ as this chattering was going on, Bloom betting 1,700 and getting the Finn to fold. The football conversationalists may or may not have been aware that Bloom was just the man to ask about such lower-league soccer matters: he is the chairman of Brighton and Hove Albion, who currently sit one place above Orient in the English League One.
3.30pm: The words of the son of God
There’s some riveting conversation going on at the table featuring Erik Seidel, Chris Ferguson and John Juanda. The EPT’s massage therapist extraordinaire, Sookhee Blatrix, is bringing her characteristic pummeling to the wiry frame of Seidel, while regaling them with the woes of trying to take a massage cushion onto a plane. “What? They made you check a cushion?” said an incredulous Ferguson. “What, do they think you’re going to go into the cockpit and suffocate the pilot?”
3.15pm: More for Mortensen
Carlos Mortensen had been drifting in chips, but then won a nice pot to take him back to a more comfortable level. When we caught up with his table the board was showing 6♦9♠2♥10♥7♣, and the Spaniard had bet out 10,600, leaving just 7,100 behind. The player in seat nine went into the tank for a few minutes before making a reluctant call – only for Mortensen to show 7♦8♦ for the straight. He’s now up to 55,000.
Team PokerStars PRO Humberto Brenes, humming away happily at his table, just went back over the 50,000 mark, check-raising to take the pot on a J♠2♦9♣ flop.
Meanwhile, Victoria Coren, who is on a tough table that includes Joe Hachem and Luke Schwartz, is finding time to relax between hands by playing Sudoku. Quite well, as it happens.
3.12pm: Room fills
The tournament floor is now packed as the £1,000 6-max event kicks off. More than 200 have coughed up the monies, including Team PokerStars PROs Chad Brown, Ivan Demidov and Victor Ramdin. We’ll keep you up to date with all the side events at this EPT London Poker Festival.
3.10pm: Blinking red link to chip counts
The headline says it all:
3pm: Sointula takes a swig of Molson
Will Molson, who was responsible for taking most of Phil Ivey’s chips in the first level, is still cruising at about the 85,000 mark, but lost some to Jani Sointula in a recent tangle. It was a formidable starting line-up: Dennis Phillips and Dario Minieri also saw the flop, each calling Sointula’s 800 raise. That came 4♠A♦8♣ and Minieri checked allowing Sointula to bet 2,500. Phillips got out the way, as did Minieri after Molson called. The K♥ turned and Sointula now bet 5,500. Call from Molson. The river was 4♦ and Sointula fired 11,800. Anguished, Molson let it go.
2.55pm: Cada can
Our chip leader in these early stages is November’s own Joe Cada, who is up to 109,000, more than double the starting stack. “Seat free!” bellowed the dealer as Cada stacked up all those yellow chips. The cards had already been mucked and Cada’s opponent had vanished, so details are a little thin on the ground, I’m afraid. Be sure to stay tuned for more tip-top reporting like that.
2.50pm: Help Juanda, help help Juanda…
A tough hand for John Juanda, fresh off a massage. The board already showed K♠Q♥A♣10♦ and Juanda had raised but was staring at a re-raise by Adolfo Vaeza to 10,000 total. Juanda called for a Q♠ on the turn. Wasting no time he shoved in 50,000, a tower of yellows that looks impressive despite falling on its side. Vaeza called in a a flash. “I have a straight,” said Juanda but with some perfect Hollywood Vaeza replied: “Not enough. Full house.” He turned over tens. Chris Ferguson called over the massage therapist. “Get back!” Too late for Juanda this time who takes a 32,825 dent.
2.45pm: I can see clearly now
There’s a flop on the board showing 8♠4♠A♥. “I need to put my glasses on,” says Vicky Coren, playing the hand but also talking to Roland de Wolfe at the same time who’s browsing a copy of Coren’s book. Coren, glasses now on, checks, as does Nikolay Evdakov. They do the same on the 3♦ turn. When the K♦ hits the river Coren bets out, getting the call and showing K♠3♠ for the pot. At no point did she stop talking with De Wolfe.
2.35pm: Play and players
Play has now resumed, and we’ve been furnished with a full list of players. The tally got all the way up to 73 in the end, which is not that many fewer than Jason Mercier beat last year. I reckon our fist prize could be up near the £400,000 mark. We can but dream.