Updates from levels five and six of EPT Vilamoura, brought to you by Stephen Bartley, Marc Convey, Howard Swains and Simon Young.
Level 5: 150-300 (25 ante)
Level 6: 200-400 (50 ante)
6.56pm: Break time
That’s it for the level. Players are now on the last 15 minute break of the day.
6.55pm: Ghoul gone
Kamal Ghoul, a PokerStars qualifier from French Guiana, just had his day brought to a close by Joao Ferreira. Having watched Ferreira make it 3,000 pre-flop Ghoul called from the big blind for a flop of 2♣7♦4♦. Ghoul now made it 4,000 to play which gave Ferreira reason to pause. But rather than considering whether to call he was thinking how much to raise, making it another 15,000 on top. Ghoul called all-in, another 3,000 on top which Ferreira wasted no time calling, showing pocket queen’s to Ghoul’s pocket nines. The turn 4♣ and river A♦ mean it’s over for Ghoul, who took his time, looking back a few times, before leaving.
6.50pm: Justice Mercier
Jason Mercier is in his fifth hour of massage. Maybe the EPT and WSOP bracelet winning pro just likes a reassuring pat on the back once in a while. He just batted down to players trying to dictate play to him instead of allowing him to work the other way around. One player tried to win a pot with a bet of 5,000 and was punished by a 35,000 re-raise from the Team PokerStars Pro who considered that a direct threat to his big blind. Then, on a flop of 3♥7♥8♥ Kamal Ghoul got similar treatment, pushed off a hand after a bet from Mercier calculated to be the exact amount to persuade Ghoul to disappear. Mercier up to 95,000.
6.45pm:Big slick good
Richard Grace is up to 65,000 now. He raised from early position with ace-king and got two callers including Antony Lellouche. The flop came K-7-5 and Grace continued with a 3,200 bet. Lellouche folded but the other player called to see the 2 turn where he called Grace’s 6,000 bet. The river came an 8 and Grace bet 11,000 which equated to his opponent’s stack size. The call came but so did the muck when Grace tabled A-K.
6.40pm: Schmerda smeared
“He limps, he raises, he re-raises, he calls, he re-re-re-raises, he’s all in, he folds, he calls.” This is how a recent hand was described by a Finnish member of the healthy press corps in Vilamoura, and it seems unlikely we’re going to get it any clearer than that. The result was that René Schmerda was all in with A♠K♠ and Jan Skampa had him covered in more ways than one, holding K♦K♥ and a bigger stack. The board bricked and Schmerda was smeared as Skampa scampered up to about 50,000.
6.30pm: May be next time
Guillaume De La Gorce is the big stack at his table, now on 76,000, and he’s using it to good effect. On his right is Maria “May” Maceiras, herself on 50,000 and trying to make things happen.
But on a 3♣10♠5♥ flop De la Gorce re-raised her 2,400 bet to 7,000 and that was enough to take it down.
6.20pm: Set over set
Well, Arnaud Mattern might not have been able to win a pot from Illia Kainov bit the man who took the seat of the departed Mattern sure can. His name is Andre Santos and he and Kainov went to a flop of 6♣2♥8♠. They both checked and saw 7♣ on the turn. Santos checked, Kainov bet 3,000 and now Santos raised to 10,500. Kainov called. The river was J♠ and Santos could wait no longer, moving all in for his last 12,650. Kainov asked for a count but pretty much insta-called, showing 2♣2♠ for a flopped bottom set. If he’d smelt something fishy, he’d have been right: Santos had 6♣6♥ for flopped middle set. That was better.
6.15pm: The rich get richer
Three players have previously been named as in or around the chip lead – Dennis Boekel, Shaun Deeb and Ljubomir Josipovic – and each of them has only increased their stacks over the past few levels. Josipovic has the most of all – close to 130,000, with Deeb and Boekel both between 90,000 and 95,000. Looking like a good day for all of them.
6.20pm: Matt marches on
PokerStars qualifier Matt Johns is continuing to accumulate chips and is up to 57,500, partly due to winning the last pot he played. He was heads-up with an opponent and the turn was out giving us a 9♣10♦K♠3♣ board. Johns bet 7,000 when it was checked to him. Call. Then he bet 12,000 after the river came 7♥ and it was checked to him again. After a long dwell he folded handing the pot to Johns.
It’s been a strangely muted day so far in Vilamoura, both on and off the tables. The tournament room is is more of a ballroom/theatre, and it seems to be properly appointed for that purpose meaning there’s very little echo even from the clattering of a billion chips. Strangely, there’s not even much table talk, with noise-reducing headphones now the gadget du jour and most players going about their business in self-imposed silence.
As previously mentioned, we began the day with 136 entrants, and at last count there were 114 remaining. That’s a pretty standard rate of departures for a first day of an EPT Main Event, but no one has been bellowing in anguish at their elimination, nor tipping over any chairs.
We’re now into level six, which means two and a half more until we’re done for the day. There have been a few trays of beer arriving at the tables, so perhaps the volume will pick up in the coming couple of hours.
6pm: Life in the old dog
Loic Sa opened for 1,100 in middle position. It was folded to Diogo Veiga in the small blind who called. It was just the two fo them for the flop: 9♦2♥6♠. Veiga checked to Sa who bet again, 1,625. Veiga called for a K♥ on the turn and checked that too. Sa now made it 3,600 to go. Veiga thought for a while but passed.
On the table alongside Barny Boatman, on hearing we’d referred to him as a veteran, said “It comes to something when people are applauding you just for being alive.” He was down to 9,000 and now he’s back up to more than 30,000.
5.50pm: Mattern departs
Arnaud Mattern is, in his own words, “Busto”. The French Team PokerStars Pro dropped by to tell us of his demise: “I couldn’t win a pot against that guy. I got it in with kings against queens and lost. It must have been at least 60,000.” Illia Kainov was Mattern’s nemesis, apparently winning each of three occasions on which they tangled. Mattern now slips off into the night, while Kainov stacks about double what he started with.
5.40pm: Maria climbing
Maria Maceiras’ stack has just crept over the 50,000 mark. Anthony Roux raised to 800 from early position and was called by the small blind and Maceiras in the big blind before a 4♣5♥3♥ flop was delivered. The SB led out for 1,600 and then called Maceiras raise to 4,000. Roux folded and both the remaining players checked through the 8♥ turn and 7♣ river. Maceiras tabled 3♠4♠ for two pair and the pot as the SB folded.
5.22pm: Santos takes one
Andre Santos took a pot off Michel Abecassis. The Frenchman had bet 850 before the flop and Santos called on the button. The flop was 10♥6♣3♠ and Abecassis called Santos’ 1,100 bet. But Santos’ 3,000 bet on the 3♣ turn met with no further resistance.
5.20pm: Boekhoff back
Thomas Boekhoff thought about it bit, but then moved all in on a board of 8♥K♣4♥2♦K♥. He had 12,225 and the pot was around 12,000. Martin Wendt was his sole opponent and Wendt had him well covered. But eventually the Dane folded, meaning Boekhoff effectively doubled his stack.
5.15pm: Biggest pot so far
84,000 chips should just about do it for this stage of the tournament. There were already a lot of chips in the pot when I caught up with the action at the turn stage with the board reading 6♥A♣5♣10♠. Joao Barbosa was heads-up with Jason Lavallee and the former called a 6,850 bet from the latter. When the river came 2♠ Barbosa checked to face an all in bet of 25,750. This seemed to stun him a bit and after a long dwell and the clock being called on him he made the call with Q♠Q♥ but it couldn’t match the turned set Lavalle had with 10♦10♥. Barbosa left with 15,000 as a result.
5pm: Vadim va-done
Players are now posting a 25 ante, which doesn’t mean much to most, but was potentially disastrous for Osman Mustanoglu. Somehow the British player had found himself down to just five chips – one black one (100) and four green ones (25 apiece). That meant Mustanoglu was ante-ing an eighth of his chips every hand. By the time he got the rest of them in, he was down to 175. “Someone double me up,” he said. Goncalo Santos tried – he had no choice but to enter the pot, sitting in the big blind. Mustanoglu had 10♦J♦, which was live against Santos’ A♣Q♦. But the board bricked and Mustanoglu is out.
4.50pm: Another level
Here we go again. It’s level five.