Play is about to begin for the day. We will cover the action all day long. Hit refresh to see the latest news at the bottom of this post. Many thanks to Nigel and Mad for their help on the tables today.
1:59pm–As players find their seats, many eyes are on Jen Mason, journalist/poker player, who earned her way here through an unusual comp, appropriately titled Unusual Suspects .
Blue Square Poker’s Unusual Suspects competition was a competitive sponsorship program in which Jen took on several top UK professionals and up-and-coming players in a variety of different online and offline events. Jen outlasted nine other players including EPT regulars ‘Burnley’ John Falconer, Simon Nowab and 2005 European number one Mickey ‘The Legend’ Wernick, to win the first prize of a seat at the EPT Grand Final.
The players earned points for outlasting each other in tournaments in Brighton, Sheffield, Helsinki and the EPT French Open in Deauville, where Jen finished on the bubble. After each round of events the players with the least points were eliminated, until the ten strong field was gradually whittled down to just three. The final three (Jen, Burnley John and James Dempsey) then played-off against each other in a series of heads up tournaments to decide the winner, from which Jen emerged victorious.
2:07pm–132 players begin play with an ante of 50 and blinds at 200/400.
2:12pm–Isabelle Mercier’s day begins badly. She just lost a monster pot to Ross Boatman. On a board of 6K966, Isabelle shows AA to Boatman’s 99. Isabelle looks in the air and says, “Why am I not late today? I am always late!”
2:20pm–Greg Raymer is making his short-stacked intentions very clear this afternnoon. He’s been all-in two out of three hands. No one took him on. Haim Kakoun thought about it and folded – showing an A. Greg said he had small pair.
2:34pm–Johan Storakers first to bust out having been on 15k overnight. His chips going to Bobby Baldwin look-alike Jeff “yellowsub86” Williams already sitting pretty with 53k. Both players sat on the same table as PokerStars FPP qualifier Matthew Davey who is still holding his own.
2:38pm–Aberc Assis and Laurent Galina have both been eliminated.
2:52pm–Jeff Williams can’t be stopped. On a board of K572K Williams came out for a 12.275k and pushes FPP-qualifier Matthew Davey off a pot already worth nearly 20k.
2:56pm–Isabelle Mercier’s day has gone from horribly bad to much worse. Her pocket aces have just been cracked again, this time all-in pre-flop against pocket kings. A king fell on the board and Isabelle has fallen to 2000 in chips.
2:58pm–Simon Young moved to one of the Young Gun tables where Roman Yitzhaki and the confident Dario Mineri (a very sharp dressed younger-than-young looking 21-year-old) become his adversaries.
3:08pm–Team PokerStars’ day is abysmal. Greg Raymer has just left the tournament. Short-stacked, he got his pocket jacks in…against pocket kings. Moments later, Lee Nelson, in an attempt to isolate himself with another player, ran his AK into the big blind who woke up with pocket aces. Nelson is still alive but not faring nearly as well as he did to start the day.
3:28pm–Kristian Ulriksen, who spent the latter part of yesterday in an emotional state that many would call tilt, seems to have arrived today with a clear head and fearless attitude. Without showing his cards, Ulriksen just pushed in his stack on a 692 flop and forced his opponent to lay down an overpair. Ulriksen piled his chips into a giant haystack and smiled what has become a very familiar grin.
3:44pm–Dustin Dirksen just busted Anthony Lellouche. Anthony came in for a raise, Dirksen re-raised with AK, Lellouche pushed, and Dirksen called. Lellouche showed AJ. Players are on a 15 minute break. Chip counts coming at the top of your screen soon.
3:47pm–Arnaud Mimran, the overnight leader, is down from 88K slightly to 72K. Biggest mover so far today is Karin Lundgren up from 22K to 75K.
4:10pm–I wish this picture had a happy ending.
Isabelle Mercier, shortstacked after having her aces cracked twice in one level, went all-in for 3000 chips and a pair of threes. With a lot of money in the pot and hoping her opponents were on overcards, she had some hope, but still reason to pray. Ultimately, she ran into a pair of nines, supplemented by a nine on the flop…and a nine on the river.
In other news, Theo Jorgensen has busted. And Radu Butan has doubled up at Jeff Williams expense. On a flop of 1045, Radu bet 2.5K into a pot of 5K. Jeff Williams spent a few minutes of consideration before putting Radu all-in. Radu took ages to call, but finally did, saying he put Williams on a flush draw. Radu showed JT to better Jeff’s A5. A jack on the river cemented the issue and Radu doubled up to nearly 40K. His wife gave him a kiss from the rail and Radu Butan is back in the game.
4:30pm–Mickey ‘the legend’ Warnick took a massive hit to the mediocre stack he’d been galliantly defending when his AQ ran into kings, reducing his stack from around 12k to 2k. In other news, author of “The Big Deal” Tony Holden has been eliminated.
5:08pm–Sorry for the break in action. The EPT Battleship Tournament kicked off a few minutes ago. If you’d like to watch some of the action, go to your PokerStars software and Click Tourney and Special to watch.
5:26pm–Vicky Coren is out, after being forced to make a very difficult, but ultimately correct decision to fold (after her opponent re-raised her all-in and showed pocket Kings). The same duo resumed their battle on the next hand but her AK wasn’t slick enough to improve to better 99.
5:33pm–Players are on a 15 minute break. Eighty-eight players remain.
Isabelle Mercier, playing in the EPT Battleship Tournament
Kirill Gerasimov gets a massage
Paul “Hangman” Roper
The remains of the most popular meal here, the tapas plate
5:56pm–Paul Maxfield has turned into the Grim Reaper. As one player said of his recent good fortune, “Christmas came early.” Maxfield first busted Paul “Hangman” Roper, then followed it up by flopping a set of jacks to Lee Nelson’s AK. Maxfield has 90K or more now. Fresh chip counts will be coming to the top of your screen soon.
6:04pm–The EPT Battleship event has proved quite a crowd-puller here in the bar area – and around the world on PokerStars.com. Most of the celebrity players are still in – with the sad exception of Greg “Fossilman” Raymer (whose QQ failed to improve against Thomas Fougeron’s KK), EPT founder John Duthie and Pascal Perrault. Through to Round 2 are and Team PokerStars’ members Joe Hachem and Isabelle Mercier, ElkY, Noah Boeken (who knocked out Brian Wilson), Xuyen “Bad Girl” Pham and Juha Helppi. (With thanks to Mad Harper)
6:32pm–Dustin Dirksen is killing the tables today and has moved up to 120,000 in chips. The blinds currently sit at 400/800 with a 100 ante. In other news, it’s been a really up-and-down day for PokerStars’ FPP qualifer Arshad Hussain from Accrington, UK. He started with 7k, went up to 28k, back down to 6k, up to 35k – and then, while we were discussing his day, back down to 17k, when he called an all-in with pocket 8s. His opponent had AK which both paired up.
6:48pm–From the same table where Isabeller Mercier had her aces cracked twice today, Dan Hart walks away with a shrug. Lee Briscoe just snapped off Hart’s aces by flopping a set of jacks. In other news, Radu Butan just avoided a monster…and, as it turned out…avoided sucking out against a monster. He came in for a raise one opponent pushed all in. Then another opponent pushed all in. Radu flashed pocket eights and folded. One opponent had pocket nines. The other had pocket queens. In the end, the nines flopped a set, but the board put out a 6, 7, 9, and ten. Radu comforted himself by saying, had the all-ins not come, he never would’ve seen the river anyway.
6:57pm–Two famous names have exited the tournament almost simultaneously. Alex Stevic and Luca Pagano have both exited the tournament area. Around 20 minutes remain before the dinner break.
7:13pm–Players are heading to the dinner break in a few minutes. A fresh chip count will be up in just a little while.