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Updates from level 24 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. The full payout structure and prizewinners to date are on the payout structure page.

Previous coverage: Day 1a | Day 1b | Day 2 | Day 3 | Level 18 updates | Level 19 updates | Level 20 updates | Level 21 updates | Level 22 updates | Level 23 updates | Level 24 updates | Level 25 updates | Level 26 updates

Blinds: 30,000-60,000 (6,000 ante)

8.20pm: Level end
That was the last meaningful action of the level and the stacks at the end are:

Antonio Matias: 7,940,000
Pierre Neuville: 1,710,000

8.15pm: Last hand to Matias
In the last hand of the level Neuville called from the button and Matias checked. On the K♥K♣4♦ flop Matias check-called Neuville’s 85,000 bet. But on the K♦ river Matias bet out 150,000, forcing Neuville to muck.

8.10pm: More heads up action
Antonio Matias limped from the button and then called Pierre Neuville’s raise up to 185,000 before a 2♥9♣5♣ flop came down. Neuville led for 200,000 and Matias called. Neuville then led out for 500,000 on the 3♠ turn and that was good enough to make Matias fold.

8.05pm: Some action
The two get to see a J♠K♦Q♦ flop and K♣ turn. Matias bets 150,000, but then folds when Neuville comes back with 500,000. Next hand Neuville bets out 165,000 from the button and Matias calls. They see a A♦9♠3♠ flop, Matias checks, Neuville bets 200,000 and Matias calls. The 7♠ is checked by both players, and then Neuville is forced to fold when Matias fires out 375,000 on the 8♦ river.

7.45pm: Six hands in a row
Hand 1: Pierre Neuville bets 180,000 from the button, Antonio Matias folds.
Hand 2: Matias bets 150,000 from the button, Neuville folds.
Hand 3: Neuville calls from the button, Matias checks. They see a Q♥2♥8♠ flop. Matias checks, Neuville bets 75,000 and Matias folds.
Hand 4: This time Matias calls from the button and Neuville checks his option. The flop comes 8♠5♦Q♣, Neuville bets 60,000 and Matias calls. The turn comes 3♦, Neuville checks, Matias bets 100,000 and Neuville folds.
Hand 5: Neuville bets 155,000 from the button and Matias folds.
Hand 6: Matias makes it 130,000 from the button and Neuville calls. They both check the Q♣A♠8♣ flop and the 4♠ turn, and on the 5♣ river Neuville bets
125,000 but is forced to lay it down when Matias fires back with a re-raise to 310,000.

7.45pm: Heads-up long haul
On the first pot of interest in about six, Antonio Matias limped from the button and Pierre Neuville checked his option to see a Q♦4♥K♣ flop. They both checked. Neuville led for 75,000 on the 6♠ turn and then Matias raised to 250,000. Neuville made it 750,000. Matias called and the 6♣ rivered. Both players checked and Neuville tabled Q♥4♦ for two-pair and the pot as Matias mucked.

7.35pm: Double up for Neuville
Pierre Neuville gets a double up, the first of several he’s likely to need here. He bet 175,000 from the button and Matias called. The flop came 9♠10♦5♣ and Neuville called Matias’ 200,000 bet. On the J♠ turn Matias made it 250,000, but then Neuville moved all-in for 295,000 more.
Matias shrugged his shoulders. “I have to call,” he said. And call he did.
Matias: K♣9♦
Neuville: 7♠8♣
Neuville had turned the straight, and Matias had to hit a queen to fill a higher straight, but the river came a 6♣.

7.30pm: Small pot for Matias
Antonio Matias called from the button and Pierre Neuville checked his option to see a 7♦5♦9♠ flop. They both checked through to the J♣ turn. Neuville led for 125,000 and was called before they both checked the J♣ river. Matias opened A♥4♠ for ace high and after a brief stare at the board and his cards Neuville mucked to send the pot to his opponent.

7.20pm: Is this a sign of things to come?
In the very first hand of heads-up play Pierre Neuville makes it 170,000 with the button, and Antonio Matias moves all in. Neuville looks a little shocked, and the announcer jokes Matias wants to watch a football match on the TV. Neuville folds, saying: “I have no cards.”
Next hand Matias calls from the small blind and Neuville checks. They see a K♦A♣2♥ flop and both check. They also check the 3♣ turn but Neuville’s 150,000 bet on the 8♥ river is enough to take this one and make the tiniest of dents in Matias’s stack.

7.10pm: Heads up chip counts
With two of them left, here’s what they’re playing:
Antonio Matias: 8,380,000
Pierre Neuville: 1,245,000

7.05pm: Sarwer slain
Jeff Sarwer is out in third. Action started with a raise to 125,000 from Antonio Matias and was called by both of the others, so they all got to see a 9♣7♥3♣ flop. Sarwer was the first to put money in the pot with a 275,000 bet.  Matias almost immediately moved all in and after a lot of talk with his opponent and the crowd he called all in with 9♠5♠ but saw he was behind to Matias’ 10♠10♦. Sarwer’s supporters erupted when the turn fell 5♣, making him two pair, but there was final twist in this already twisted tale as the river came 3♦ to counterfeit the Canadian’s hand. He leaves us in third place for €156,170 after another compelling performance this week.

7pm: Slow start
The early skirmishes of this level are small ones. First Antonio Matias folds his button, Pierre Neuville makes it 160,000 from the small blind and Jeff Sarwer folds. Next hand Neuville folds his button, Sarwer calls from the small blind and Matias checks his option. They see a 9♦6♣A♦ flop and Sarwer’s 65,000 bet is enough to take it. Next hand Sarwer folds his button, Matias calls from the small blind and Neuville checks his option. The flop comes J♥10♣Q♠, Matias checks, Neuville bets 75,000 and Matias calls. On the 10♥ flop it’s Matias who leads out with 100,000 – that’s enough to take the pot there and then.

6.55pm: Back from the break
In an early pot after the break Sarwer opens for 160,000 on the button, called by Matias. The flop comes 10♥Q♥K♦. Matias bet 100,000 which Sarwer called for a 10♠ on the turn. Both checked for a 5♥ on the river. Check check. Matias showed A♠3♣ to take the pot.

6.50pm: Three-handed continues
That pot at the end of the last level gave Antonio Matias an even more dominant leads. These are the stacks of the players as they return for level 26:

Antonio Matias: 6,095,000
Jeff Sarwer: 2,010,000
Pierre Neuville: 1,520,000

Have another look at that trophy:

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