EPT Vilamoura: Day 1b levels one and two updates

November 18, 2009


Updates from levels one and two of EPT Vilamoura, brought to you by Stephen Bartley, Marc Convey, Howard Swains and Simon Young.

Selected approximate chip counts, updated throughout the day, are available on the chip counts page. The EPT tournament structure can be found on the EPT tournament structure page.

Previous coverage: Ljubomir Josipovic leads on day 1a

Level 1: 50-100
Level 2: 100-200

2.20pm: That’s the break.

2.20pm: Minieri and Baekke eat into the break
There was a huge pot brewing on Dario Minieri and Allan Baekke’s table, between those two luminaries, no less. Konstantin Puchkov started things off with a pre-flop raise, Minieri three-bet and Baekke called from the big blind. Puchkov also called. The flop came 2♦8♥9♦ and after Puchkov checked, Minieri bet 2,050, Baekke raised to 7,200 and Puchkov folded. Minieri wasn’t done: he made it 17,550 but Baekke was going nowhere, moving all in for what looked like 39,375 total.

“Will you show if I fold,” asked Minieri, his usual question in spots like this.
“Probably not,” said Baekke, breaking with tradition to provide an answer.
“Will you show one?” Minieri followed up.
“I can’t give you one. You’ve got to pay for it.”
This went back and forward for a while as the clock inched towards break time.
“I’m sorry, I need the break so I call the clock,” said Baekke.
Minieri wasn’t fine with that, but ran it down almost until the end before folding. That pegged the Italian back to something close to his starting stack.

2.15pm: ElkY and Co.
Online players sometimes find the live environment too slow for their crash-bang style, but it is possible to translate the speedy play to within the bricks and mortar. That’s certainly the conclusion drawn from watching an orbit on ElkY’s table, where no decision from any of the players took more than five seconds. Literally. The two most prominent players were ElkY (of course) and the Finnish player Jorma Nuutinen. Here are three hands, which took no more than a minute apiece, start to finish:

  • ElkY made it 400 pre-flop from mid position and Nuutinen called from the big blind. The flop came J♥K♦7♣ and Nuutinen bet 2,000. ElkY folded.
  • Next hand, ElkY made it 400 again and Nuutinen called from the small blind. The flop came 8♠4♦7♠. Check, check. The turn was Q♣, and Nuutinen bet 500. ElkY called. The river was J♥, Nuutinen checked, ElkY bet 1,200 and Nuutinen folded.
  • Victoor Mendicuti made it 425, which Nuutinen called from the button. He was the only one. The flop came 7♣3♠Q♦ and both players checked. The turn was 4♥ and Mendicuti bet 850, which Nuutinen called. The river was A♥ and after Mendicuti checked, Nuutinen bet 2,000, which was reluctantly called by Mendicuti. Nuutinen showed 4♣3♣ and the two pair were good.

    At this rate, they’re getting through something like 30 hands per hour on that table – a vast number more than most live games.

    Here, by the way, is what ElkY was saying yesterday about his year so far. Always worth a listen:

    Watch EPT6 Vilamoura Day 1A Elky Interview on PokerStars.tv

    2.10pm: He said what?
    Charles Marques opened for 450 and found a caller in Huck Seed in the cut off. Vishal Pundjabi did the same in the small blind, as did Pascal Perrault in the big. The flop came 7♣4♠6♦. The blinds checked before Marques made it 1,200. Seed called before the blinds excused themselves and left them to it. The turn came A♦. Marques checked to Seed who made it 3,500. Marques began chewing his gum faster now and took a minute or two before calling. A 9♥ on the river. Marques tapped the table and Seed said “check.” Only Marques thought he’d heard Seed say “ace-jack” and was pushing his cards to the dealer. The dealer had them in his hand when Seed turned over J♦9♦. Marques suddenly needed them back. The floor was called.

    “He said ace-jack,” said Marques before the table, in unison, replied “he didn’t say anything.”

    Marques had K♠K♣ and as his cards had not yet touched the mud they were deemed to be live by the tournament official.

    “Good ruling,” said Seed in a nice display of sportsmanship. His stack a little shorter than it might have been.

    2.05pm: Don’t mess with this Italian
    The flop was out reading 9♥6♦10♦ and there was 2,525 already in the pot. Antonio Matias led out for 3,000 and Team PokerStars Pro Luca Pagano called to see the 7♣ turn. No stopping Matias as he continued his aggression with a 4,000 bet. He was soon stopped though when Pagano min raised to 8,000 prompting the Portuguese to fold quickly. Pagano on 33,000 as we approach the end of the second level.

    2pm: Dario folds!
    A rarity here – Dario Minieri laying down a hand. He raised under the gun (no surprise there) to 400, called by Allan Baekke and Konstantin Puchkov in the big blind. On the 9♣K♣3♥ flop Puchkov and Minieri checked, but Baekke bet 1,675. Only Minieri called, at this point discussing Champions League football prospects with Peter Eastgate.

    On the 5♥ turn Minieri again checked, then called Baekke’s 1,600 bet. On the 3♣ river Baekke bet out 3,375 and that seemed to send the Italian into the tank.

    “If I fold and show you one card will you show me one?” he asked.

    “I can’t show,” came the reply.

    “That’s a lie, you can show,” joked Minieri.

    “OK, I can show, but only if you call.”

    More thinking from Minieri.

    “I think you have clubs,” he said to Baekke.

    “I have at least three,” replied the Dane.

    “Hmm, these are a lot of chips. But I fold.”

    Baekke showed one card – Q♦. Minieri showed one card – Q♠.

    1.55pm: Closing the Eastgate
    A flop of 9♥10♥9♦ and Peter Eastgate is making up for lost time. He made it 525 taking on Dario Minieri who raised to 1,300. Some thought and a call and a turn card 9♣. Both checked that for a K♠ on the river. Eastgate checked. Minieri looked like he was either thinking or drifting off. He made it 2,125 and must have been thinking. Eastgate called but Minieri showed A♠K♣ to take the pot.

    1.50pm: Bansi aggression
    That early near double up (see xxx update) has given Praz Bansi the currency to begin bullying his table. He raised from early position and Nikolai Senninger made it 1,350 from the button. Bansi made it a round 5,000 and Senninger tossed in a gold chip for the call. The flop came A♠6♠Q♠, which prompted an 8,000 bet from Bansi. Senninger folded, and Bansi showed one card: 6♥. Hmmm.

    1.45pm: Levi Strass
    It’s folded to Nicolas Levi in the hijack, and he raised to 450, picking up only Johannes Strassmann in the small blind. The flop is Q♥8♣4♣ and Strassmann checks. Levi bets 575 and Strassmann calls, bringing a 7♦ turn. Check, check. The river is 6♥ and Strassmann check-calls Levi’s 1,700 bet. Levi tables 6♣7♣ for the flopped flush draw, the turned pair and the rivered two pair. It beats Strassmann, who mucks.

    1.40pm: 58k and cruising
    Dario Minieri is still cruising along and currently has 58,000 chips to his name. Nicolas Duffort raised from early position to 500 and then called Minieri’s three-bet to 1,225 from the small blind. Minieri then led out for 1,625 on the 3♣5♥Q♦ flop and was called before he bet 3,2000 on the A♠ turn. Duffort folded and then after some interrogation from Minieri admitted to having folded six-seven for a gutshot straight draw.

    1.36pm: Late arrivals
    Peter Eastgate has arrived and takes his seat at the same table as Dario Minieri and Vanessa Rousso.

    1.35pm: Scene setting
    The only two immediately recognisable faces on table four are Sorel Mizzi and Ivo Donev, seated beside one another. They were both involved in a recent hand, although they ended up simply preparing the stage for Jose Cerqueira and Garcia Cayetano to have their day. Cayetano limped under the gun, Donev raised to 425, Mizzi called and Cerqueira also came along from the small blind. The flop came 10♥Q♦5♣ and all four of them checked. The turn was Q♥ and Cerqueira checked, Cayetano bet 675 and that got Mizzi and Donev out the way. Cerqueira called and the river was 8♣. This time Cerqueira check-folded when Cayetano bet 1,525.

    1.30pm: Multi-way action
    On the third tier of tables – the cheap seats on a non-poker day – sit Johannes Strassmann, Michael Schulze Oleksandr Vaserfirer, Marcin Horecki, Nicholas Levi and Alexander Dovzhenko and a couple of other guys I don’t know yet dotted in between.

    On a flop of 10♦A♦3♣ three of them were involved in a hand. Strassmann had started by making it 800 from middle position. Schulze called, so did Horecki from the big blind. They saw a turn 7♦ which all of them checked for a 5♥ river card. Again it was Strassmann taking charge, making it 1,500 to take the pot. All three of them were in action again on the next hand.

    Strassmann again led out, making it 300. Schulze and Vaserfirer called, then Horecki did the same for a flop of 8♥6♣3♦ then bet 600. Strassmann asked him how much and the Team PokerStars Pro held up about 25,000. Strassmann called but Schulze and Vaserfirer got out of the way. On the Q♦ turn Horecki made it 1,500 which Strassmann called for a 3♣ on the river. Two in a row for Strassmann? Yep. When Horecki checked he made it 2,400 to go on. That was enough. He’s up to around 40,000 now. Horecki down to 20,000.

    1.25pm: Rousso chipping up
    While Dario Minieri is playing in his usual frenetic manner – raise, take, raise take etc – neighbour Vanessa Rousso is also collecting chips but in a more controlled fashion.

    First she pocketed 1,000 on a board of A♠K♠J♥A♣10♥ thanks to her J-8, then a short while later added another 600 chips by betting out uncontested on a king-high flop.

    Rousso has a habit of building stacks in a calm and measured way – it will be fascinating to see if that works best today, or Minieri on her right runs better with his hyper aggression.

    1.21pm: Busy table
    Here’s an interesting table – Team PokerStars Pros Marcin Horecki (Poland) and Johannes Strassmann (Germany), Nicolas Levi from France, and Alex Dovzhenko from Ukraine, who was runner up in EPT Kyiv last August.

    Horecki seems to have been on the wrong end of the action so far, down to just over 18,000. He lost a little just now after betting 600 on a A♠5♥Q♦ flop he was called by one player. Both checked the 3♦ turn and the 4♥ river, but Horecki mucked before we saw a showdown.

    1.18pm: Black trips up
    Don’t worry, Andy Black fans. Trips up does not mean he’s suffered a mishap at the table. Far from it – the Irishman made trip aces with A♠2♣ on a 5♠7♣A♥A♣3♦ board, calling down the aggressor in seat 2 to pick up a little over 2,000 chips.

    1.15pm: Before the level change
    Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier is here, trying our sparkle the chandelier hanging not far away. He’s in Ed Hardy gear, gold rimmed sunglasses and peroxide hair. He exudes talent and some kind of supernatural power. Outside mechanical objects are going haywire, cars won’t start, clocks are spinning out of control and dogs are howling.

    Inside it’s back to work. On a flop of 2♠J♣A♣ he was on the big blind and up against Javier Veiga on the small blind. ElkY made it 300 but Veiga check-raised to 800. But ElkY called for a turn card 6♦. Now Veiga made it 2,000 which ElkY called for a river card K♦. Another 3,000 from Veiga now and some brief thought from the Team PokerStars Pro. He passed.

    1.10pm: Level up
    That’s the next level.

    1.09pm: He has it sometimes
    Praz Bansi is known for his aggressive play and an innate ability to bluff but he does wake up with monsters sometimes. One of those times has just happened and it’s helped him up to 55,000 after just under an hour’s play.

    There was a raise to 250 from early position that Bansi three-bet to 700. Cue calls from Raffaele Gerbi in the next seat, the small blind and the original raiser. The flop came 4♥K♠4♦ before all four players checked through to the 2♥ turn. The original raiser led for 1,450 and was called by Bansi before Gerbi raised to 6,000. It’s folded around to Bansi who min raised and then called Gerbi’s all in push. Gerbi tabled 4♣5♠ for trips but Bansi had that monster hand we’re talking about with K♥K♦ for a flopped full house. Gerbi made his own full house on the river when it came 5♥ but it was no good and he made a hasty exit.

    1pm: Thew can’t get a river call
    Julien Thew, Guillaume Dacourt and another player saw a A♦6♥3♦ flop. Dacourt led out from early position and was called before Thew raised. Only Dacourt called to see the J♥ where he check-called a 1,300 bet from the Brit. The river came 8♣ and even though Thew made it cheap with an 1,100 bet Dacourt couldn’t call. Thew up to 35,000 now.   

    12.55pm: Gallery
    As mentioned, photographs are prohibited in the tournament room in Vilamoura, but Neil Stoddart grabbed some snaps with a few luminaries on their way into the casino today. People like:


    ElkY “Bertrand” Grospellier


    Roberto Romanello


    Marcin Horecki


    Julien Brecard


    Huck Seed

    We also borrowed the school photographs of:


    Jan Heitmann


    Alex Kravchenko (artist’s impression)


    George Danzer

    12.50pm: Some more notables
    The notion of a “table of death” is a bit redundant these days: with so many quality players, there’s rarely a soft spot. That said, it’s kind of interesting to see Juan Maceiras, Nuno Coelho and Rino Mathis all sitting in a line.

    Another clutch of notables in the field: Sami Kelopuro, Gunnar Rabe and Stefan Mattson.

    12.45pm: Minieri tangling with Brecard
    Dario Minieri is never one to take it easy in the early stages, and with Julien Brecard also on his table, he’s found a willing dance partner. There was about 4,000 in the pot, three players still involved – Minieri, Brecard and Vanessa Rousso – and four community cards were out: Q♥3♠10♦5♠. Brecard checked, Minieri bet 3,150 and although Rousso folded, Brecard called. The river was 2♣ and Brecard checked again, but then called Minieri’s 8,700 bet. Minieri showed Q♠10♠ and Brecard folded, giving a decent early pot to the Italian.

    12.40pm: Tripped up
    The river was out giving us a 9♠4♣9♦10♦A♠ board. Local PokerStars Team Pro Henrique Pinho was involved in a blind battle and bet 1,150 into a 1,900 pot when checked to him. After a tank the small blind made the call but mucked upon seeing Pinho’s Q♥9♣ for trips. He’s up to 33,000 now.

    12.35pm: A few line-ups
    First things first there are more players here today; more tables filling spaces left vacant yesterday. And just how sits on them and in what order?

    Sorel Mizzi will deal with the Team PokerStars Pro Henrique Pinho and Dominic Nitsche, fresh off a second place finish in the high roller in Marrakesh a few weeks ago. The man who beat him, Ross Boatman is also here, sitting alongside Juan Manuel Pastor. Johan van Til sits with bracelet winners Alex Kravchenko and Davidi Kitai while Johannes Strassmann finds himself alongside a former EPT winner in Michael Schulze.

    Who else? Former EPT champion Pascal Perrault sits opposite former World Champion Huck Seed and Jonas Kronninger; George Danzer, Jan Heitmann and Sebastian Ruthenberg all here, as are Andy Black, Julian Thew and Praz Bansi. That doesn’t even include the players not here yet.

    12.30pm: Early troubles
    Two players experiencing troubles from river cards early on are German PokerStars Team Pro Geaorge Danzer and Huck Seed.

    Huck Seed led out for 700 (750 in pot) on a 5♦J♠6♣J♦3♠ board only for his neighbor to bump it up to 2,800. After a long tank Seed let it go.

    George Danzer on the other hand paid off an opponent on the river to knock his stack down to 17,500. His opponent had rivered a gutshot straight with ace-queen, we didn’t get to see Danzer’s hand as it went quickly into the muck.

    12.20pm: The perfect excuse…
    Yesterday our video blog team told us they’d shot some footage of Dario Minieri playing table tennis against Vanessa Rousso, and it instantly gave us a problem of how possibly to crowbar this into today’s coverage. No problem: Minieri turned up to the tournament room a few minutes late today and found the vacant chair right beside his Team PokerStars Pro colleague. So here’s some footage of Dario Minieri playing table tennis against Vanessa Rousso:

    12.15pm: Under way
    Cards were in the air at about 12.13pm. Eight levels now follow until we’re wrapping day 1B. Follow all the action here.

    Unfortunately local law prohibits photography in the casino room, which is why Neil Stoddart has set up a little studio away from the action to pose chip stacks in pretty patterns like this. (Humour him.)

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