4.15pm: The strong get stronger
The title refers to a collective and not the individual in this case. The table that started off very with strong with two Russian Team PokerStars Pros in Alex Kravchenko and Ivan Demidov has become even stronger. We reported Sorel Mizzi joined the line-up a while ago but the three of them now have to deal with two more formidable opponents. Online hotshot Johan “busto_soon” van Til will take no prisoners and Daniel Drescher is building up a very good reputation in his native Germany. Not too many soft spots at this table!
It was Dresher who managed to take down the latest pot witnessed from the table. He raised fon under-the-gun and was called by Van Til in mid-position and Dan Murariu in the BB. The flop came 10♥9♠10♣ and the action checked to Van Til who bet 1,500. Murariu raised this to 4,000 and when Dresher called the Dutchman folded. Both checked the J♠ turn before Murariu check-folded to a 5,025 bet from the German. He’s up to 42,000 now. –MC
4pm: More Neuville news
Both Team PokerStars Pro Luca Pagano and Pierre Neuville have moved tables recently and the two of them are now seated side by side, with Neuville having position. In a recent hand it folded all the way to Pagano in the small blind, the Italian made it 800 to go and Neuville folded. Both players are known to be solid but there could well be fireworks to come. Neuville currently has 34,000, Pagano over 54,000. –NW
3.55pm: Nil from two for Neuville
Pierre Neuville may call himself the Serial PokerStars qualifier* but he’s not winning back to back pots here, in fact he’s doing the exact opposite. He first tank folded to a 3,000 bet from Jukka Peltoniemi on a 10♥10♣Q♦Q♥ board. His second loss was to Luca Pagano who successfully c-bet a A♦4♦3♥ flop from the cut-off into Neuville who had wanted to see a flop from the button. The EPT qualifier of the year won’t be too disheartened and will no doubt still be there or thereabouts as the bubble beckons. –RD
* Fair enough really, he did win six seats to this tournament alone.
3.45pm: Spindler stacking chips
Benny Spindler, who finished third at the 2009 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure is trucking along nicely here in Tallinn and he just won a sizeable pot against Italian, Paolo Compagno. Pre-flop Spindler raised to 700 from under the gun+2 and was called in two spots, firstly by the button, Eero Kekäläinen and latterly by big blind Compagno. On the flop of 10♠8♥6♣ it checked to Spindler who bet 1,600. Kekäläinen folded, but Compagno check-raised to 4,100 total, a bet Spindler called. On the 4♣ turn Compagno slowed down, checking it to Spindler who bet 2,000, Compagno quickly called. The river fell the 3♥, Compagno checked to Spindler who bet 13,000 from his remaining stack of around 18,000. Compagno insta-mucked. –NW
3.41pm: Blinds up
We’ve moved into level four and the blinds are now up to 150-300. The board shows 170 players remain – but we do not yet have an official starting number. Somewhere around 185, we reckon. — SY
3.40pm: Tasbas stands up to Annette…
…before capitulating on the turn. Annette Obrestad raised under the gun to 525 and was called by Eddie Tasbas in the big blind. The Swede check-called 800 on the 3♥2♣2♦ flop but a 2,250 bet from Obrestad was too much for him on the Q♠ turn. It’s an interesting little corner of the tournament world here with Jeff Sawyer one seat to Obrestad’s left. –RD
3.35pm: Dead man’s hand wins it for Finn
I missed the pre-flop action but with 1,200 in the pot, it suggested that Liam O’Brien had opened from the cut-off and been called by Finnish player Matias Knaapinen from the small blind. On the flop of J♦A♦3♠ Knaapinen check-called a bet of 625. Both players checked the 9♥ turn before Knaapinen led for 1,400 on the 8♠ river. O’Brien called after a short dwell, Knaapinen showed A♠8♦ for aces and eights, known as the dead man’s hand as legend has it Wild Bill Hickok was holding that hand when shot dead in August 1876. –NW
3.30pm: Coin flip goes badly wrong
PokerStars qualifier Timofey Vekshin is out, calling all-in having made his decision on the toss of a coin. Swedish PokerStars qualifier Eddie Tasbas started things off with an opening raise to 500, called by Annette Obrestad and Piotr Paruszewski, a PokerStars qualifier from Poland.
Vekshin was on the button and bumped it up to 1,900 – too much for Tasbas and Obrestad. But when it came back to Paruszewski he grabbed three yellow 5,000 chips and tossed them over the line. It was enough to put Vekshin’s tournament life at risk. He thought for a minute or so, but could not seem to make a decision. Instead he flipped a coin, and called with his last 7,000 or so.
The Pole needed to fade an ace, and the 4♦5♥Q♠9♦K♥ board gave him the pot. Vekshin departed, and no doubt tossed that coin into the bin. — SY
3.25pm: ‘Why do they always have to have top set?!’
Praz Bansi made a move against Kimmo Kurko and was caught but managed to find a near impossible way out to eliminate the Finn. Here’s how this crazy hand played out:
There were two limpers before Bansi raised to 900 from the button. The SB called but Kurko three-bet to 3,100 from the BB. The two limpers folded but Bansi made a small four-bet to 5,525. The SB got out of the way but the Finn made the call to go to the 6♣A♥3♣ flop. Kurko checked to Bansi who c-bet to the value of 5,525. Call. The turn came 9♣ and Kurko checked again. Bansi thought for a while before moving all-in for 12,475 and this time he was snap-called by his opponent.
Kurko turned over the immensely strong A♣A♠ for top set and nut-flush draw. Bansi on the other hand was drawing very thin with 7♠5♥. Thin is not a zero percent chance though and sure enough the river came 8♥! Bansi made a straight for the pot and the scalp of a dangerous opponent. He’s up to just under 50,000 now and as he raked in those chips he joked “Why do they always have to have top set?” –MC
3.15pm: Javed jarred
Javed Abrahams is a young British high stakes cash game player with over $500,000 in live tournament winnings to his name. Things aren’t going his way at the moment though but with a 21,300 stack he’s still got plenty of time to get things back on track. He just lost a small pot to Thomas Wolfer who check-raised a 7♥4♦4♣ flop before leading the 5♣ turn. Abrahams quickly passed. — RD
3.05pm: Mizzing it up
When Sorel Mizzi’s table broke it was always going to raise some eyebrows at his new table and when he was plonked down next Ivan Demidov (with the Russian holding position) you’d be forgiven for thinking that action was going to take place instantly. Not so. That was left to the rockier Team PokerStars Pro at the table, Alex Kravchenko, who punished an early limp with a raise to 800 before bombing another 1,400 in on the turn. Demidov was still greedily eyeing up Mizzi’s chips as we left the table. — RD
3pm: Monster stacks and storm offs
Canadian Clayton Mozdzen appears to have just taken the chip lead after felting an emotional Georgy Abashidze. We didn’t see the hand, but it appeared to involve Mozdzen holding a set. He’s now up to 82,000 which makes him the current chip captain. When Abashidze lost the hand – calling all-in on the river – he stormed off the tournament floor clearly unhappy with himself.
To his credit the Russian returned a couple of minutes later to shake Mozdzen’s hand. Paul Berende, who was sat between them, seemed more than a little amused by the call made by Abashidze. — RD
2.50pm: My flush is bigger than yours
Team PokerStars Pro Joep van den Bijgaart has eliminated Jacques Torbey in hand hand played in a more standard way to move to 42,000. Van den Bijgaart opened with a raise to 500 from under-the-gun and was called by Torbey in the cut-off and the SB. The flop came 3♦Q♣5♣ and Van den Bijgaart continued the aggressive line with a 1,025 bet. Torbey quickly announced a raise to 3,025 which was enough to force out the SB but not enough to scare off the Dutchman. Van den Bijgaart re-raised to 9,125 and then called when his Lebanese opponent moved all-in for around 14,000. Showdown:
Van den Bijgaart – A♣8♣ for the nut flush draw.
Torbey – 4♣2♣ for an opened ended straight draw and smaller flush draw.
It was all over as the turn came K♣ to seal Torbey’s dmise. –MC
2.42pm: What a move!
Our snapper Neil Stoddart just came to Blog HQ and reported that Team PokerStars Pro Joep van den Bijgaart had moved all-in BLIND! Had he taken leave of his senses (the Dutchman, not Stoddart)? Nope, not really – it was the first hand back from the break and none of the other players had made it back to the table.
Bijgaart took down the 300 in blinds with his all-in bet, and had a little chuckle in the process. — SY
2.42pm: Video stars
Team PokerStars Pro Luca Pagano introduces you to Day 1A in Tallinn – with PokerStars Head of Blogging Simon Young making a guest appearance. He could have shaved, to be honest…
2.40pm: Back at the tables
Level 3 has started. Blinds are now 100-200.
2.35pm: The Serial PokerStars Qualifier is in the house
You’ve likely heard the story of Pierre ‘Serial PokerStars Qualifier’ Neuville. The man from Belgium, a Friend of PokerStars player, has a habit for qualifying on PokerStars for just about every event under the sun. We first gave him his nickname last season, and it’s stuck ever since.
When he received his free package to Tallinn for winning the EPT Award Qualifier of the Year in Monte Carlo, Team PokerStars Pro Vicky Coren joked that he now might not need to try to qualify for Estonia. Wrong! Mr Neuville has won not one, but six packages to Tallinn via various PokerStars online qualification routes… including traditional MTT, Steps and a $22 rebuy.
The man is unstoppable!
He’s in the field today and sitting comfortable on 35,000. — SY
PokerStars Blog reporting team (in order of number of beers consumed on the journey to Tallinn): Simon Young (five), Rick Dacey (four), Marc Convey (one), Nick Wright (zero – claims to be on a weight-loss prop bet, but he’s just a wimp)