That’s two levels done with, players are now on the first 15 minute break of the day.
Gilbert Diaz was all in with K♠10♥ on a Q♣K♣7♦ flop. Unfortunately for him, Gianni Bonetto had called him with A♦K♦. The K♥ turn and 2♦ river sealed Diaz’ fate. — SY
2.38pm: Champ in action
A flop of 3♠5♣5♠ and Joe Cada snapped into action, silver watch sparkling, logos firmly fastened.
Mauro Piacentino wanted a piece of that and bet 1,800 after Rebecca Gerin checked to him. Champ Cada was in the cut off and called as did Gerin in the big blind for a 2♥ turn. Gerin and Piacentino checked to Cada who made it 3,400 to play.
Gerin passed but Piacentino called. The river card came 9♠. Piacentino checked and so did Cada, turing over J♣J♠. But Piacentino whoed Q♦Q♣ to win the hand and take his stack back up to 30,000. Cada slips back to 20,000. – SB.
2.35pm: Tricky Zguba
Vlad Zguba limped from early position and that set off a pre-flop battle. Julian Herold raised to 650 and Chris Dombrowski called from the small blind, as did Sarkis Akopyan in the big. It came back round to Zguba who raised, making it 3,000 and it looked like it was going to get through until Akopyan called.
The two of them saw a flop of A♠K♥3♠ and Zguba slid out a bet of 5,000. At the second time of asking, Akopyan folded. Zguba takes that one. — HS
2.30pm: David doubles
David Sonalein opened the pot with a raise to 325 from mid-position and was called by his neighbor before Gilbert Diaz three-bet to 1,200 from the cut-off. Sonalein then four-bet to 2,500. Only Diaz called to see the 4♦A♣6♥ flop. Sonalein check-called a 2,000 bet here and a 5,000 bet on the 4♥ turn. When the river came 5♥ Diaz bet 10,000 before the Swede moved all-in for another 1,175. Surprisingly he took another minute and a half to make the call. He tabled J♠J♦ but lost out to Sonalein’s A♥2♥. –MC
2.20pm: To the river
On a board of 5♦7♣A♦3♣J♠ Team PokerStars France’s Thomas Bichon was trying to persuade Jens Thorson, brother of William, that resistance to his action was futile.
For his part Jens Thorson was doing his best to prove him wrong but he didn’t have the staying power. Bichon’s 2,000 bet on the end was the final straw. Pot (small) to Bichon. –SB
2.10pm: ElkY flying, courtesy of quads
Philipp Gruissem has just run headlong into that most fearsome of tournament beasts: Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier. The worse news for Gruissm is that this was an ElkY with a genuine hand, and how Gruissem is not on the rail is a mystery.
The two of them were at a flop of 2♣2♦Q♥ and Gruissem checked. ElkY bet 1,600, which Gruissem called. The turn was K♦ and the pattern repeated but the bet was bigger: Gruissem check-called ElkY’s 4,600 bet.
The river was K♠ and Gruissem checked for a third time. ElkY bet 11,100 and the German player went deep into the tank. In all it took about five minutes before he called with pocket queens, for the flopped full house. But if he was thinking about folding, then his radar was working perfectly. ElkY tabled pocket deuces for flopped quads.
Hats off to Gruissem for losing the minimum where going broke was a definite possibility. — HS
2.06pm: Lodden loses
Johnny Lodden has lost half his stack. The flop was out all the way to the river: A♣Q♠8♣9♣A♥ and Lodden bet at it with an orange 25,000 chip. He verbally announced the bet (it wasn’t the full 25K) because when Joe Serock shoved out 12,500 it was a raise.
Lodden took a while but called, but then insta-mucked when Serock showed 9♠9♥. Lodden chopped down to about 13,000. — HS
2.05pm: Giovanni made to wait for next success
Salvatore Giovanni won the Italian Poker Tour (IPT) tournament leaderboard earlier this week, largely thanks to his victory in an IPT event in this very casino in November. He’s in today’s field, although so far hasn’t had it all his own way.
Giovanni raised to 325 pre-flop from mid-position and Grigore Adamescu called to his left. Two others came along to a flop of K♠3♦10♦ and only Adamescu called Giovanni’s bet of 500. The turn was 2♣ and the betting dynamic shifted. Giovanni check-called Adamescu’s bet of 1,500. And then when Adamescu fired 3,000 at the river, Giovanni folded. — HS
2.03pm: The nerve
When you take on the World Champion in a hand you better have the goods. If you take on the guy who came second you take just as much care.
On a flop of 5♦2♣2♥ Antonino Venneri checked to Ivan Demidov who, looking like he’s still sleeping off the effects of that fateful day with Peter Eastgate, bet 900 before Venneri shock-raised to 3,000. Demidov then called for a 7♥ turn.
Again Venneri came out firing, 5,000 to Demidov. Demidov’s reply was to raise to 15,000. Venneri, beaten, tapped the table and folded his cards. Demidov up to 40,000. — SB.
2pm: That Luske bust out – and it’s nasty
You have to feel sorry for Marcel Luske, who busted after three pretty horrible hands. First he flopped a set of eights but walked in to a turned set of aces. Then he hit two pair on a flop against an opponent’s top pair – but the river made the other guy a straight and Luske folded.
Finally the Flying Dutchman was all in with 7♦8♦ on a 6-7-8-3 board with two diamonds and was in good shape against pocket kings – until the 3 on the river made his opponent a bigger two pair. Ouch, ouch and, er, ouch. — SY
1.57pm: Another match-up
Early yesterday, the table of doom was right in the middle of the blue section of the main tournament area, featuring Stefan Mattsson, Allan Baekke, Erik Lindgren, Rui Milhomens, among others. It’s not exactly the same table today, but not far away there’s this line up, all in a row: Ivan Demidov, Derek Lerner, Luca Moschitta (new Italian Team Pro) and Joe “eender555” Ebanks. Yeah, enjoy that one.
Meanwhile Nasr El Nasr has now arrived at Jeff Sarwer’s table. — HS
1.55pm: Nielsen the aggressor
Rasmus Nielsen is one of the most aggressive players on the tour (well, he is from Denmark), and Team PokerStars Pro Johannes Steindl is finding out the hard way. A few hands before we arrived at the table, Nielsen’s big river bet had forced Steindl out of the pot, and now the two were at it again… with the same result.
The board was showing 8♦K♦4♦A♣ and both checked. On the 4♥ river Steindl checked again, and then folded when Nielsen made it 2,800. He showed 6♠6♣. – SY
1.50pm: Smiling with the winning hand
Alfonso Amendola made it 350 pre-flop and was called by Domenico Iannone. Both checked the A♥Q♥Q♣ flop and the A♦ turn. On the 3♠ river Amendola, wearing his customary cowboy hat (and there are not many of them in Italy) grinned as he tossed in 500 – but the chip did not have time to land on the table before Iannone mucked. The Italian showed A♠K♣. — SY
1.45pm: Veldhuis all in
On a Q♥A♦9♥5♥6♣ board Cristian Ranieri (from Italy) made it 10,000. Lex Veldhuis, the Team PokerStars Pro from Holland then moved all in for around 10,000 more and Ranieri (from Italy) insta-folded.– SY
1.40pm: Luske busts
Team PokerStars Pro Marcel Luske is out of EPT San Remo. Details will follow soon. — SY
1.38pm: Not allowed to abuse the button
Nik Persuad has sent a message to his neighbor Sergey Rameev. The Russian raised from the button and then quickly called Persuad’s three-bet from the small blind. The flop came A♦9♦5♥ and Persuad checked to face a quick bet from Rameev. Persuad treated this with a raise and it did the job as the Rameev folded. -MC
1.35pm: Some more interesting draws table draws
It’s been noticed that table 42 has two Noah’s of formidable reputation sat at it. Team PokerStars Pro Noah Boeken has to somehow navigate his arc past Noah Schwartz.
Another online phenom matchup sees Jim ‘Mr_BigQueso’ Collopy face-off against Andrew “tufat” Teng.
Two other tables sees two battle-of-the-Brits. Praz Bansi has London pro Andrew Seden sat to his right and Liv Boeree has Nik Persuad sat opposite. –MC
1.24pm: Starting well
Russian player Ilya Gorodetskiy, who splits his time playing EPTs and then commentating on them when things don’t go his way in the latter stages, has started how he means to go on.
On a board of 2♦Q♣A♣6♣K♣ Gorodetskiy was looking at a bet of 2,550 which didn’t feel right. He called, up against A♠9♠ but his own 6♦6♥ was good. — SB.
1.20pm: More tasty match ups
As ever, the random table draw has thrown up a long list of fascinating match-ups. Some are listed below (see 1.05pm); here are some more:
Team Pro Showdown I
The Team PokerStars Pros Pierpaolo Fabretti and Sandra Naujoks are on the same table. They’re joined there by Jens Thorson, little brother of big brother William Thorson, so let’s say that makes two and a half Team Pros on that table. Andrea Benelli is also there – he’s not Team Pro, but is always a danger.
Online table in real life
John “FatalError” Aguiar has made his way here from Las Vegas and the PokerStars tables, only to find a seat opposite Ryan “HITTHEPANDA” Franklin.
Table most likely to see a six-bet
With Benny Spindler, Ketul Nathwani and James Dempsey all on the same table, there’s going to be some ludicrous pre-flop raising and re-raising. One of them might have more than jack-high.
Finland versus Finland
Per capita, Finland boasts a good number of the best players. Two of the very best – Jens Kyllonen and Juha Helppi – have found themselves a couple of seats away from one another.
Team Pro Showdown II
The new Italian Team Pro, Simone Ruggeri, is on the same table as Ruben Visser. We don’t know much about Ruggeri, but we do know a little about Visser. He can play. — HS
1.18pm: Feeling 50% bigger
Team PokerStars Pro Ruben Visser is up to 45,000 already. He tangled with an opponent and came out the other end with half his chips. The flop was out as Q♥3♣8♠ and Visser led from early position for 3,525 to face a raise to 9,650. He made the call and then checked the 8♠ turn to face a 6,500 bet that he raised all-in for 17,500. After a lot of thought his opponent folded. –MC
1.15pm: Three figures
If you finish today with more than 100,000 in chips, you’d be quite happy with your day’s work. To be close to 100,000 in the first orbit, well, that’s what dreams are made of.
Alessio Lamia has already got close to three figures by eliminating two players in the same hand. It all went in on the flop of 9♠J♦5♦. Lamia had J♥J♣ and his two opponents had K♦Q♦ (Mads Wissing) and 9♣9♦ (Mike Sowers) or top set versus middle set versus flush draw. The A♠ turn and 4♣ river meant the best hand stayed good.
“I’m a cash game player, what can I say?” said Wissing, now with plenty of time to find a way to get that €5,000 back. — HS
1.10pm: The Pellicano brief
Pellicano Paspuale doesn’t speak any English but just learnt two new English phrases as he stacked his new chips – the first was “what’s your name?” and the second was “can you write that down?”
He just won a pot that takes his stack to nearly 40,000 after a tense standoff, furrowed brows starting at a board of 4♠2♦6♦A♦8♦. But Paspuale’s raise was good enough when called, turning over K♦J♦ for the victory flush. — SB.
1.05pm: Match ups
The sharks who flocked to San Remo on the premise that this is the best value event on the tour have been in for something of a shock. In fact so many of them have come here that each table is now represented by a few fearsome names.
Jose ‘Nacho’ Barbero, the Team PokerStars Pro from Argentina, sits alongside fellow Team Pro Johnny Lodden and the Russian Vitaly Lunkin. Also sharing the same felt two of Holland’s finest – Team PokerStars Pro Pieter de Korver and Team PokerStars SportStar Fatima de Melo.
Then, of course, there are still those big names somewhere in the south of France in a minibus heading this way (thanks to flights being canceled by the volcano cloud) – Team PokerStars Pros Barry Greenstein, Jason Mercier and Peter Eastgate. They’re expected here shortly. — SY
12.55pm: Thater off to a flyer
Team PokerStars Pro Katja Thater is up to 39,000 after flopping set of threes and getting called down on every street. — SY
12.50pm: Bad start for Strassmann
Team PokerStars Pro Johannes Strassmann has got off to a bad start. We didn’t catch how the damage was done but he’s just won a pot to take him up to 8,000.
He was heads-up and the river was out leaving a 4♦K♣5♦6♣3♣ board. When checked to the German he bet 1,000 into a pot of around 4,000. Getting odds off 5/1 was enough to temp a call and the fold came after two minutes in the tank. –MC
12.35pm: Under way
And they’re off. There are so many players that all three “main” tournament areas are full to bursting, and there are two overspill rooms also in operation. One of them is in the main casino area, surrounded by roulette tables, and another is in a spacious dining room, where four tables have been arranged. For a moment, registration was “closed” but it has since re-opened with alternates now being allowed into the field. Owing to the airport chaos across Europe late arrivals will be accommodated up to 5pm. Come on down folks, it’s not too late. — HS
12.15pm: Still filling the room
Well it turns out that the volcano dust cloud was about as relevant to today’s poker tournament as a soft kitten barring the way to the tables. That is to say, it didn’t matter at all. It’s 15 minutes after the due start time and the room is still filling with players. Give it 10. — HS
11am: The second batch
Morning all. We’ve slicked our hair back, donned our designer threads, eaten a hearty breakfast of Coco Pops and pizza and washed it down with
half a bottle of a nip of limoncello. In short, we’re ready for day 1B of EPT San Remo – and another barrage of cheap national stereotypes.
In truth, this is perhaps the most fun stop on the whole of the European Poker Tour. If titles were awarded for passion then the Italians would win every time. Occasionally yesterday the tournament ascended into all out bedlam, with every flop, turn and river greeted by raucous cheering and high fives. It was matched only by the chaos in the hallways, where dubious calls were explained away with magnificent gesticulation and caricature shrugs. The Italians love their poker, and it’s very difficult not to be swept away, quite literally, in the enthusiasm.
The day 1A field numbered 585 and despite the lockdown in air traffic across Europe, we should have even more players today. San Remo is a charming small town on the Italian Riviera but it hosts one of the richest, most sought-after titles in poker. Sometime today we’ll discover what they’re all playing for, and it will almost certainly be a million-euro-plus first prize.
How else to explain the mini-bus still in transit across France somewhere ferrying the likes of Barry Greenstein, Jason Mercier and Peter Eastgate from the relative calm of an abandoned London airport terminal to the bustle of Italy? Traffic permitting, those three will bolster an already star-studded field. Bear with us as we try to identify the main contenders for that jumbo paycheck.
As ever play is due to begin at noon, and although the streets outside the casino are currently abuzz with scooters and taxis ferrying the hopeful to the tables, there is no reason to think we won’t begin sometime very close to then. After that, the plan is simple: nine one-hour levels (with a dinner break along the way) all according to the regular EPT schedule. We’ll have details of the action in text commentary here, in addition to videos courtesy of PokerStars.tv and photography from Neil Stoddart.
Then grab yourself a slice of lasagne and settle in. Another tasty one is on its way. — HS
PokerStars Blog reporting team in San Remo (in order of headache tablets consumed): Stephen Bartley, Simon Young (four each), Howard Swains (2), Marc Convey (0).