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EPT12 Grand Final: Marcin Chmielewski trucks into Day 3 chip lead


Marcin Chmielewski: Describes poker as a "serious hobby"

It tends to go without saying that Day 3 of a main event on the European Poker Tour is full of excitement. This is bubble day, after all, and some potentially match-winning stacks begin to emerge.

But when you're talking about a record-breaking field at the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo® Casino European Poker Tour Grand Final, it's always going to be a notch more dramatic even than normal, and the high-octane five levels they just played today lived up to billing.

The headline news is that Marcin Chmielewski is the chip-leader at this stage, bagging 1,314,000 chips. Chmielewski, a 40-year-old owner of a trucking firm from Zielona Góra in Poland, started the day among the big stacks, bubbled some way under the top of the leader board for a few hours, and then won a huge pot right at the death from Kiryl Radzivonau to vault him to the summit. He has already finished 20th in the FPS high roller this week, so is in form.

Chmielewski's count is ahead of all the other 74 (tbc) players (from a starting 1,098) still involved, chasing a first prize of €961,800.

Eliminations came thick and fast, both before the money bubble and especially after it. Jake Cody, Jack Salter, Max Silver, Stephen Chidwick, Faraz Jaka, Tobias Reinkemeier, Dimitar Danchev, Andreas Hoivold, Ami Barer, Erik Seidel, Davidi Kitai and Dermot Blain have found themselves on the payouts page already, prematurely in their opinions.

But spare a thought for Jinfeng Huo, who went out one before the money. She flopped two pair but lost to Aaron Gustavson's flush. Somebody has to do it, but it always hurts.

Gustavson is one of two former EPT champions still involved at this stage. Joseph Mouawad is the other. But there's still an awful long way to go before either of them can seriously thinking about following Victoria Coren Mitchell into the two-time winners' enclosure.

There are also some serious sharks in the hunt for the title. Vanessa Selbst (618,000) leads the Team PokerStars Pro charge, while Randy "nanonoko" Lew (455,000) flies the flag for Team Online. And then there's our favourite SportStar (Sorry Ronaldo. And you, Ronaldo) Fatima Moreira de Melo (807,000) had a wonderful day.

You'll find the top stacks at this stage in the table below, and the full counts will appear on the chip-count page as and when we have them. That should be some time later this evening.

Marcin ChmielewskiPoland1,314,000
Natan ChauskinBelarus1,107,000
Roman KorenevRussia1,091,000
Evangelos TerzoudisGreece976,000
Mohamed AissaniFrance926,000
Dario SammartinoItaly902,000
Thiago NishijimaBrazil848,000
Erwann PecheuxFrance818,000
Adrien AllainFrance810,000
Fatima Moreira de MeloNetherlands807,000

All the smash-and-grab action is to be found below. You'll struggle to find a more thorough run-down of a day's poker than that. We'll be back tomorrow at noon for the resumption of this one and the beginning of the €25,000 high roller, which will be massive as well.

Full coverage from Day 3:

9:15pm: Chmielewski leaps into lead in third to last hand
Level 19 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Marcin Chmielewski and Kiryl Radzivonau played out a big three-bet pot where the latter folded to a river shove, meaning the former will be the likely end of day chip leader with 1.3 million.

Chmielewski opened from under the gun and was called in one spot before Radzivonau squeezed to 125,000 from the cutoff. Chmielewski was the only caller to the A♥3♥3♣ where both players checked. The turn was the Q♥ and Chmielewski led out for 110,000. Call. The board completed with the 2♦ and Chmielewski set Radzivonau in for his last 328,000.

Radzivonau tanked for a while and then said, "I think there's only two hands that beat me." He went back into the tank for a couple more minutes and then folded.

"You had queens?" asked Chmielewski.
"No!" said a laughing Radzivonau, "I had ace-queen." -- MC

9:10pm: Three more hands
Level 19 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

The tournament director just had Fatima Moreira de Melo draw a card, and the result was that three more hands will be played at each table before stopping for the night. Is ther nothing this woman can't do brilliantly? --MH

9:05pm: One mo' double for Mouawad
Level 19 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Following a late-position open from Vanessa Selbst, Joseph Mouawad pushed all-in from the small blind for 95,000 and when it got back to Selbst she called.

Selbst had 2♣2♠ and Mouawad A♠5♦, and after 7♠9♠6♣ flop and 7♦ turn, Selbst was still leading. The river was the 8♦, however, enabling Mouawad to survive once more.

He has just over 200,000 now while Selbst still has 572,000. --MH

9:05pm: Selbst gives up some to Guerrero
Level 19 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

With just 20 minutes left to go on the day, Vanessa Selbst has doubled up Jimmy Guerrero.

She'd opened to 17,000 before Guerrero jammed his 170,000 stack, and when it folded back to Selbst she decided to call. Turned out she was ahead with her K♠Q♥, as Guerrero just had T♥J♥.

I say just - his cards were live and he hit one on the A♥T♠9♥ flop, and stayed ahead when the 3♣ and 5♣ finished off the board. Selbst shook her head as she dips to 610,000, while the good news for Guerrero is that he now has 360,000. --JS

9pm: Gale eliminated by Moreira de Melo
Level 19 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Fatima Moreira de Melo and John Gale just played out a long hand with lots of banter. The former ended up making a great call and eliminated Gale in the process to move up to 880,000.

Around 90,000 lay in the middle by the time they have reached the turn, with a board reading A♠4♠K♠5♣. Moreira de Melo checked from the big blind and watched as Gale moved all-in for 161,000. Moreira de Melo went deep into the tank and after thinking for a couple of minutes a conversation started between the two.

Moreira de Melo asked, "A-Q with the queen of spades?"

"I don't know," Gale replied. "When you get to my age you forget things. Sorry, what was the question again?"

Moreira de Melo: "I just don't get why you'd shove on the turn like that!"
Gale: "I'm an idiot!"
Moreira de Melo: "You're a shove on the turn idiot!"
Gale: "I'd tell you what I had if I could remember. Never been stared down like this before!"

Moreira de Melo said she thought she had him and slammed in the calling chips with A♥Q♥ which was ahead of Gale's A♣T♦. The river was the K♥ and Moreira de Melo apologised to Gale, and the table, for taking so long to call. --MC

8:55pm: Siddique sunk
Level 19 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Usman Siddique just won the UKIPT London Main Event last month, but he won't be adding an EPT title here. He's just been knocked out of the tournament by Stephan Zesiger.

All-in with A♥K♣ versus Zesiger's A♠8♥, Siddique was okay through the 5♥6♣9♣ flop and 4♠ turn, but the river brought the 7♠ and an expression of disgust from Siddique, as Zesiger's straight was best.

Zesiger is currently at 447,000. -- MH

8:50pm: Soaring Korenev
Level 19 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Roman Korenev is having quite a rush to end Day 3, having moved quickly up the counts here during the latter stages of play to become the second player to cross 1 million mark following Natah Chauskin.

Korenev is now up to 1.09 million with about 25 minutes left on the tournament clock for the day. --MH

8:40pm: Gale gets to stay
Level 19 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

John Gale was leaning forward in his chair and starting to gather his belongings. Indeed, it looked as though his EPT Grand Final main event run was about to come to a close here before the halfway mark of the last level of Day 3.

All-in with K♦J♦ for his last 74,000 and getting called by Erwann Pecheux who had A♥K♠, Gale's post-shove but before-the-flop preparations seemed wholly reasonable. Then came the flop -- 7♦6♦A♦ (!) -- and that was enough to encourage him to lean back in his seat. The J♠ on the turn made the river no matter, and Gale survived.

Gale has about 165,000 now, while Pecheux is still doing fine with almost 800,000. --MH

8:35pm: Catch Chauskin if you can
Level 19 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

With about 45 minutes left in the day it's still Natan Chauskin who leads. The chasing pack is bunching up and there's a ton of stacks just a check, bet and double up away from taking the chip lead. Below are the top five stacks in the room, you can see more counts over on our dedicated chip count page.

Natan ChauskinBelarus1,075,000
Ariel CelestinoBrazil930,000
Evangelos TerzoudisGreece920,000
Vanessa SelbstUSA845,000
Thiago NishijimaBrazil830,000

8:30pm: Tiny c-bet almost works for Zervos
Level 19 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

Former chip leader Alexios Zervos sat there smiling after a cheeky little c-bet in a five-way pot almost got through. It didn't though and he ended up doubling up Tomas Jozonis.

Zervos opened to 11,000 from under the gun and was called in four spots en route to a 7♠T♠3♦ flop. He bet 8,000 when the action was on him and his first three opponents all folded and joined in smiling. Jozonis wasn't smiling in the big blind though. He took his time and then check-raised all-in for 110,000. Zervos was in a pickle and called after a minute's thought.

Jozonis: J♠T♣ for top pair.
Zervos: A♥J♥ for one live over card.

The board ran out 6♦5♥ and Zervos dropped to 570,000. --MC

8:20pm: Three Kings save Fatima
Level 19 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

Kings have cracked Aces once again, and this time the person with the cowboys was none other than Fatima Moreira de Melo.

Erwann Pecheux kicked off the hand in question with a raise to 18,000, which was then three-bet to 65,000 by Igor Pihela in the small blind. Moreira de Melo was next to act in the big blind and she opted to move all-in for 298,000 total, which got everyone's attention. Pecheux was quick to release his hand, but not as quick as Pihela was to call.

Moreira de Melo - K♦K♥
Pihela - A♠A♣

A classic cooler for Moreira de Melo, but it wouldn't be her demise. The 8♣2♦9♦ flop brought no help, but the K♠ on the turn sure did. The board was rounded off with the 6♥ and Moreira de Melo shot up to 611,000. Pihela drops to 170,000. --JS


Fatima Moreira de Melo

8:15pm: Mouawad hangs on
Level 19 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

EPT4 London Main Event champion Joseph Mouawad was just all-in with a short stack and at risk with K♠7♦ though he was slightly ahead of Albert Sebag's Q♣9♦.

The flop came 3♦3♣K♥ to improve Mouawad's edge further, and after the 3♠ turn and Q♦ river he was able to double back to 105,000. Sebag has about 315,000 now. --MH

8:10pm: Barbero bounces Yaghmai
Level 19 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

All-in for his last 120,000 or so, Nariman Yaghmai appeared in dire shape with K♦3♦ versus the A♠K♣ of Nacho Barbero.

A trey appeared in the window, though, as the dealer spread the flop forward, the cards appearing 2♥T♣3♠. Then came the turn... the K♥! The advantage had swung back Barbero's way, and after the T♥ river, Yaghmai was done while Barbero was stacking up 485,000.

There are now 86 players left. --MH

8pm: Super Dario bothers
Level 19 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (1,000 ante)

Ariel Celestino opened to 18,000 on the button and Dario Sammartino had something he wanted to see a flop with. He defended his big blind and the two saw a 5♣Q♣9♣ flop. Check, check.

The 6♠ fell on the turn and it seemed to hit Dario somehow. He put out a 26,000 bet and Celestino called before the A♠ floated down on the river. Now the bet from Sammartino was 56,000, which seemed to bother Celestino somewhat, or at least enough that he was forced to give up his hand.

Celestino now has 765,000, while Sammartino is playing 550,000. --JS

7:55pm: Could have, should have, would have

"I could have won that hand many times! On the flop, on the river..." Erwann Pecheux said.

"Me too!" Fatima Moreira de Melo said. "I could've won on the turn."

As you may have guessed by now, the pot ended in a chop and both players laughed about it. They were in the blinds and the board ran out Q♠3♣4♥J♦K♥ with Pecheux betting 20,000, 34,000 and 66,000 on each street. Moreira de Melo check-called the first two bets pretty quickly but took longer to call on the river. Both players then turned over K-Q.


Erwann Pecheux

Moreira de Melo - 305,000
Pecheux - 808,000


7:50pm: Last level of the day
Level 18 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Away we go on the last level of the day. There's 90 minutes left of play. -- HS


7:21pm: The last king saves Soshnikov
Level 18 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

In the last hand of the level, preflop back-and-forthing between the similarly-stacked Zoltan Szabo and Ivan Soshnikov saw the latter all-in and in seemingly dire straits with K♠K♦ versus Szabo's A♦A♣.

The A♠K♥T♣ flop gave both sets and made things even worse -- again, seemingly -- for Soshnikov. But the quads giving K♣ turn earned a response from all, and the J♥ river sealed the hand in Soshnikov's favor.

The Russian said "sorry" to Szabo about the misfortune. He's up around 550,000 going to the break, while Szabo will return to just 8,000 chips or a single big blind to start Level 19. --MH

7:20pm: You never know what she's got
Level 18 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (1,000 ante)

I arrived at Vanessa Selbst's table with a J♥T♣4♠4♥2♦ board on display. The hand was between Selbst and a young man who goes by the name of Ihar Soika, and the action was on the latter.

He counted out 63,000 and slid it across, and Selbst continued her intense stare at the community cards. After three minutes or so, she gingerly pulled out two stacks of blue chips worth 100K each, and popped a few more on top to the sum of 222,000 total. In they went.

Soika now went deep into the tank for around five minutes. Poor old John Gale - he'd just got moved to this table during the hand and was getting a bit restless. "Wake me when this one's over," he told me.

Selbst is an interesting player to watch, for one very good reason, as my colleague pointed out during the hand: "You never know what she's got."

He's right, and in this case we'll never know. Soika gave it up and his stack sits at 320,000, while Selbst is now up to 850,000. --JS

7:15pm: One million chips
Level 18 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Natan Chauskin has become the first player to amass a seven-figure stack. He leads, just, from Thiago Nishijima, while Vanessa Selbst continues to increase her stack. We'll be getting full counts of those left in at the end of this level --NW

Natan ChauskinBelarus1,000,000
Thiago NishijimaBrazil988,000
Marcin ChmielewskiPoland890,000
Alexios ZervosGreece880,000
Oleh CherepianyiUkraine879,000
Vanessa SelbstUSA850,000
Pierre CalamusaFrance830,000

7:10pm: Selbst knocks out Cortellazzi
Level 18 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Andrea Cortellazzi opened for 16,000 from under the gun, and it folded around to Vanessa Selbst who called. Both blinds came along as well, Nariman Yaghmai (small blind) and Neil Strike (big blind).

The flop came A♣T♦A♠, and the blinds checked over to Cortellazzi who bet 16,000 again. Selbst paused a short while, then called, and the others stepped aside. The turn was the 5♥, and this time Cortellazzi bet 22,000. Selbst again sat quietly for a couple of beats, then raised to 63,000.

That sent Cortellazzi in the tank for a couple of minutes, and he finally emerged with an all-in push for about 140,000 total. Selbst called right away, turning over A♦5♦ for a full house, while Cortellazzi was drawing dead with Q♠Q♦. As the meaningless 9♠ completed the board, Cortellazzi walked around the table to commend Selbst on a good hand, then departed to the rail.

Selbst is now up to 735,000 with that pot. --MH

7:05pm: Selbst dismisses Mael Laparge
Level 18 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

It was misfortunate that Mael Leparge had to steer past Vanessa Selbst to stay in the Main Event. Maybe if it had been someone else his ace-queen would have had a chance. Probably not, but Selbst always happens to be there when you need her not to be, on this occasion with the nuts.

Selbst dismissed Leparge having flopped a set of aces and called his shove on the turn. Leparge thought his ace-queen had some change on the ace-high flop. So he shoved on the turn, the board showing A♦5♣3♦J♥J♠.

Selbst, in that most powerful of reveals, simply turned over her cards where they lay. No tossing them forward for all to see, leaning forward to show them off. Their brilliance would bring people to them instead.

It was a calm and cool dispatch. Selbst now up to 540,000. - SB

7pm: Kitai downed
Level 18 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (1,000 ante)

Former EPT Berlin champion Davidi Kitai was seen walking towards the cash desk with a ticket in his hand. I'm no Sherlock but that's not a good sign.

He confirmed to the blog that his time in the tournament was up. Down to 12 big blinds, he three-bet all-in from the cutoff with A-10 and an opponent, who had raised from the hijack, tank called with A-Q and held.

That leaves us with only two former champions still in contention: Aaron Gustavson and Joseph Mouawad. They both won EPT London, as did the only person who has actually secured a second title: Victoria Coren Mitchell. -- MC


Aaron Gustavson

6:55pm: Chartier doubles
Level 18 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (1,000 ante)

The seesaw has moved again and Sam Chartier has now doubled up. He was put all-in on the river of an 8♣5♣K♥Q♣2♦ by Marko Neumann and ended up making the call with his 8♦5♦. Neumann was bluffing with the A♣T♠ and dropped to 48,000, while Chartier is up to 160,000. --JS


Sam Chartier: Seesaw

6:50pm: Top 10
Level 18 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (1,000 ante)

There are some serious stacks around at the moment, with the first seven-figure pile almost certain to be sitting in front of someone pretty soon. Here are the biggest at time of writing:

Marcin ChmielewskiPoland940,000
Pierre CalamusaFrance935,000
Evangelos TerzoudisGreece880,000
Oleh CherepianyiUkraine879,000
Alexios ZervosGreece850,000
Thiago NishijimaBrazil845,000
Erwann PecheuxFrance670,000
Aaron GustavsonUSA610,000
Matthew DavenportUK584,000
Jan BengelmannGermany530,000

6:48pm: Get rich or Kitai trying
Level 18 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (1,000 ante)

Davidi Kitai is well and truly in the danger zone right now. He has only 70,000 to his name, which right now is good for 11 big blinds.

Expect to see him making some moves shortly. --JS

6:45pm: Polito's got to go
Level 18 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Laurent Polito made a move but ran into a monster behind him and busted.

Sam Chartier opened the pot from the cutoff before Polito three-bet all-in for 80,000 from the button. Matt Davenport was in the big blind and moved all-in to successfully isolate Polito.

Polito: K♠Q♦
Davenport: K♦K♣

The board ran 9♠T♠2♠Q♠4♦. Davenport had a sweat but held to rise to 584,000. --MC

6:40pm: Coulier cut down
Level 18 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

A three-way preflop all-in just now has resulted in one elimination, a side pot won, and a triple-up.

Stephan Zesiger enjoyed the triple-up, his Q♥Q♦ ending up the best hand after a board of A♠Q♣5♦6♦6♠. He has about 190,000 now.

Usman Siddique grabbed the small side pot, his A♦Q♠ showing that the queen on board was the last one in the deck. Siddique sits with 225,000 at the moment.

And Arne Coulier was the unfortunate player to see his EPT Grand Final main event run -- and massage -- come to an abrupt end after his 9♦9♥ failed him on his last hand. --MH

6:30pm: Eminoglu sticking around; Luneau loses out
Level 18 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

"Come on, baby. Let me stay in this tournament!"

That was Yucel Eminoglu after going all-in with A♣8♣ versus Alexandre Luneau's A♥K♦, then watching the flop come 9♠8♠A♠. Aces and eights proved no dead man's hand for Eminoglu, whose hand held through the J♦ turn and Q♦ river.

"I'm like a glue!" said Eminoglu gleefully, referring both to his stickiness in the tournament and uncannily approximating his surname. He survives with about 85,000.

Meanwhile Luneau wasn't so lucky, getting his last 30,000 or so in with A♦Q♣ versus Erik Van Hoek's T♠T♦, and watching the board come 5♣9♣9♠K♦6♥ to send the Frenchman to the rail. Van Hoek now is up to 320,000. --MH

6:20pm: Chartier's aggression backfires
Level 18 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (1,000 ante)

It's been a topsy-turvy day for Sam Chartier and I'm afraid to report his seesaw is currently on the turvy side.

He opened to 13,000 and Yannick Del Curto made the call. Then it folded to Marko Neumann who jammed for 60,000. Chartier then re-shoved (having both players covered), and Del Curto would eventually call off his approximately 90,000 too.

Chartier - A♦9♦
Neumann - 5♦5♠
Del Curto - A♥Q♣

By the end the board showed the K♥5♥J♥J♣3♦ and Neumann took the main pot with his set. Del Curto took down the side pot. When the dust had settled Chartier was left with 120,000, Neumann had around 185,000, and Del Curto had roughly 60,000. --JS

6:15pm: Dowling down some
Level 18 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Chris Dowling was all-in before the bubble, then rose all the way up to around 600,000 before a recent slide back down. He doubled up Zoltan Szabo just now to drop to 320,000.


Chris Dowling

The Irishman raised to 13,000 and called after Szabo three-bet all-in for 73,000 from the small blind.

Dowling: 9♦9♣
Szabo: A♥K♦

The board ran 8♣A♦J♠8♠3♥ to make the Hungarian two pair. --MC

6:10pm: The romance of poker
Level 18 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

We've seen it play out many times before. Player meets cards. Likes them well enough to decide to commit. Then before you know it, it's raise-shove-fold and wait a minute that's not what I don't even oh the heck with it.

Antoine Saout opened, Eddy Maksoud reraise-pushed for 126,000, and when it folded back around Saout called, tabling Q♦Q♣. The hand Maksoud had wed his hopes to was 9♥9♦, but five cards later -- 2♣3♦8♥8♣8♠ -- he and his chips parted ways and he headed over to the cashier's desk.

Saout sits with 335,000 now. --MH

6:07pm: Barbero grins and bears it
Level 18 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (1,000 ante)

Nacho Barbero has just lost a chunk of chips. He kicked the pot off with an open to 13,000 and didn't get much respect. Andrea Rocci, Steven van Zadelhoff (d), Aaron Gustavson (sb) and Marco De Vincenti (bb) all made the call.

It was five to the 2♠K♦J♣ flop and it checked to Barbero, who continued for 26,000. Only Rocci called, and the two saw the K♥ hit the turn, which they both checked. The 8♥ came floating down the river and Barbero led for around 47,000. I didn't get the exact amount as Rocci called so quickly and took down the pot with his Q♠Q♦.

Barbero could only muster the A♠J♦ and grimaced as he slipped to 460,000, while Rocci is up to 400,000. --JS

6:05pm: Moreira de Melo takes on Kitai
Level 18 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Fatima Moreira de Melo's stack has risen to 325,000 after she won a small pot off the intimidating, soul reading, Davidi Kitai.

She opened to 15,000 from the cutoff and Kitai peeled from the big blind to see a Q♣7♦T♣ flop appear. Moreira de Melo continued for 20,000 and Kitai check-called to the A♠ turn that was checked through by both players.

The board completed with the Q♠ and Kitai tanked for a couple of minutes before checking. Moreira de Melo checked behind and opened A♥6♥ which was enough to beat the Belgian's T♥8♥. He dropped to 120,000. --MC

6pm: Varenko vanquished
Level 18 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Roman Varenko has joined the parade marching railward after getting his last 67,000 in behind Q♣3♥ versus Fabio Sperling's A♥T♦. A 2♣8♠8♣T♣9♠ runout spelled the end for Varenko, who led at the end of Day 1A, while Sperling now stacks 435,000. --MH

5:50pm: Pollak eliminates Abdellatif
Level 18 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Jonathan Abdellatif was just all-in and at risk for his last 54,000 with K♦9♠ and in need of help versus Benjamin Pollak's A♣3♣.

The J♦K♣5♣ flop did bring Abdellatif some improvement, making him a pair of kings, and the 3♠ turn kept him in front. But the 7♣ river made Pollak a flush and ended Abdellatif's run.

Pollak now sits with 225,000. --MH

5:45pm: New level, new chips
Level 18 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

During the last break there was a color-up and the introduction of a new lime-colored 25,000 chip. It may look like a delicious mint, but it tastes just as bad as the other chips.

Don't forget you can tune in to watch the players betting with those 25K chips over on the live stream on EPT Lime... er, EPT Live. --MH


5:25pm: Break time
Level 17 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Having reached the end of the level, the remaining 119 players are taking another 20-minute break. --MH

5:20pm: Sammartino bluffs some off
Level 17 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

Dario Sammartino opened to 13,000 on the button and Paolo Compagno defended his big blind. They both saw the 3♥3♦7♠ flop fall and Sammartino continued for 17,000 when it checked to him. Compagno called and we went to the turn.

The dealer burned and turned the Q♦ and both checked, so the K♣ hit the river. Compagno checked once more and Dario thought for a minute before sliding out a big stack of blue chips for 75,000 - an overbet to the pot. Compagno called immediately but we never saw any hands as Sammartino mucked straight away, so Compagno did the same.

Sammartino is down to 370,000, while Compagno now has 320,000. --JS

5:18pm: Akery busts with small house
Level 17 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Peter Akery couldn't quite bring himself to fold a full house and he busted to Chris Dowling.

A big pile of chips sat in the middle of the table and the board read T♦J♥7♠K♠T♠. Akery led for 90,000 from the big blind, leaving himself 115,000 back, and Dowling set him in for the rest.

Akery tanked for several minutes and finally called off with 7♣7♥. Dowling opened up J♣T♣ for a bigger full house and moved up to 595,000. --MC

5:16pm: A Barbero bounce since the bubble
Level 17 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Nacho Barbero just endured a double-through from Sebastien Lebaron, sitting on his left. Lebaron had Q♠Q♦ versus Barbero's A♠9♠, and the pair held through five community cards to give the Frenchmen 125,000.

But Barbero has been doing well otherwise since the bursting of bubble, at which time he was on the relatively short side, if not close to the danger zone. Now the Argentinian is up around 320,000 as Level 17 nears its finish. --MH


Nacho Barbero

5:15pm: Bicknell binks one outer to crush Danchev
Level 17 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Kristen Bicknell had to take a picture of the board after she rivered a one outer to double through Dimitar Danchev.

Bicknell opened from early position preflop and was called by Danchev (cutoff) and Yucel Eminoglu (big blind). All three checked the A♣5♥7♣ flop before Eminoglu led for 17,000 on the 9♥ turn. Bicknell called but Danchev raised to 60,000. That was enough to oust Eminoglu but not Bicknell who moved all-in for around 110,000. Danchev called.


Kristen Bicknell: One outer

Bicknell opened 9♠9♦ for a turned set and Danchev opened pocket aces for a bigger set. The river came brought the 9♣ and the whole table erupted. The former PCA champion took the beat well and he was left with just 7,000. Bicknell's stack swelled to 275,000. -- MC

5:10pm: Terzoudis getting it quietly
Level 17 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

We noted the Frenchmen Albert Sebag and Jimmy Guerrero sitting side-by-side and having fun earlier in the day. Those two remain tablemates at Table 6 still some five hours later, continuing to chatter it up as Sebag has about 315,000 now and Guerrero has 185,000.

Sitting to their right now is a quieter Evangelos Terzoudis. Sebag finally asked him his name a moment ago in a hand in which both were involved, perhaps a prelude to an attempt to try to engage the Greek player in some conversation.

Meanwhile Terzoudis is letting his chips do the talking, as he's accumulated 910,000 of them by now and is frequently putting them to use. --MH

5:05pm: It's dire for Reinkemeier (and Jaka's gone too)
Level 17 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

Losing a race with Ace-King sucks. Getting your pocket Aces cracked sucks. Tobias Reinkemeier just experienced both in just a few hands, and is now out of the main event.

In the hand that put him in most peril him, he called Arnaud Peyroles' 59,000 all-in with the A♣K♥ and was flipping against the J♥J♦. The flop gave Reinkemeier a gutshot, but in the end he couldn't hit a thing.

That dropped him down to 29,500 and he'd get it in shortly after. David Susigan opened to 13,000 and Jeremy Palvini called. Reinkemeier then announced his all-in and both called, taking us to a 5♣3♥4♦ flop. There would be no side-pot action as both players checked down the flop, 8♣ turn and 6♠ river, and the cards were on their backs.

Reinkemeier - A♦A♣
Susigan - 2♣4♣
Palvini - K♥T♥

Susigan had rivered a straight with his deuce, and that was all she wrote for Reinkemeier. Susigan now has 340,000 after that one.

In other news, Faraz Jaka has also been eliminated. He jammed his last 11 big blinds with King-Queen and was called by Ace-six which held. --JS

5pm: Tiny Toby
Level 17 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Neil Stoddart, the EPT photographer, is up for a couple of gongs tonight at the European Poker Awards. Here's one of his best efforts from today, depicting "tiny" Tobias Reinkemeier. Award winning stuff.


Tobias Reinkemeier: Tiny

4:50pm: Akery takes Chudomsky's chips
Level 17 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Peter Akery has just eliminated Tomas Chudomsky at the halfway point of the day's third level -- which marks the halfway point of Day 3 on which five levels will be played.

Chudomsky bet his last chips on K♠Q♦ while Akery held 6♥6♠, and a 2♥5♦A♦A♥8♥ board brought nothing to match the Czech player's overcards, thus ending Chudomsky's run. Akery meanwhile has 365,000 now. --MH

4:45pm: Nishijima passes 600k
Level 17 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

Thiago Nishijima has moved up to 610,000 after he won a race to eliminate Maksim Kolosov.

The Brazilian opened to 12,000 from under the gun and then called after Kolosov moved all-in for 70,000 from the cutoff.

Nishijima: 6♥6♣
Kolosov: K♣J♠


Thiago Nishijima

The board ran T♣J♦K♠9♦T♥ to make Nishijima two pair. --MC

4:35pm: Soshnikov KOs Chidwick
Level 17 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Following a 9♦7♥3♣ flop, Stephen Chidwick elected to commit his last 90,000 or so holding 9♠6♠, but was up against Ivan Soshnikov who held Q♣9♣ for the same pair with a better kicker.


Stephen Chidwick and Max Silver in happier times for both of them

The turn was the 8♣ and river the 2♦, and Chidwick is out. Soshnikov now has 340,000. (Chidwick lost the vast majority of his stack before that. Hand details on that one are coming.) --MH

4:30pm: Chidwick's Aces cracked
Level 17 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (500 ante)

I think I know Jan Bendik's favourite hand in poker. It's pocket tens. How do I know? Well, it just cracked Stephen Chidwick's Aces, so if it wasn't his favourite before, it's definitely his favourite now.

Bendik opened to 11,500 and was three-bet to 33,000 by Chidwick. Bendik came along and the flop came 5♣T♣6♥ - gin for Bendik's T♥T♦, who check-raised all-in. Chidwick had the A♠A♣ and the K♣ turn and 2♥ were no good to him.


Jan Bendik: Ten!

He's slipped to 116,000, while Bendik now has 270,000. --JS

4:30pm: River raising and a double Pollock
Level 17 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Govert Metaal has moved up to 445,000 after a river raising war with Andrei Boghean. The board showed Q♠5♦K♠K♥5♣ and Boghean checked to face a 13,000 bet that he raised to 53,000. Metaal came back with a three-bet to 113,500 and Boghean folded while showing the 8♣. He dropped to 420,000.


Govert Metaal

Seconds later and on an adjacent table, Benjamin Pollock raised 20,000, leaving just 5,000 back. Peter Akery was on the button and set the Frenchman all-in. Call.

Pollock: Q♥T♥
Akery: A♥J♥

The board ran Q♠5♠K♠K♥5♣ to make Pollock two pair. Akery's stack shrunk to 201,000. --MC

4:25pm: Calamusa collects some more
Level 17 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Jeremy Routier has been eliminated, joining the first wave of bustouts picking up small cashes.

His last hand saw him all-in for around 120,000 behind A♣K♣ and appearing as though he might be about to double through Pierre Calamusa who showed A♠J♠.

But the flop came 6♠8♥2♠ and the turn 4♠, giving Calamusa a flush and leaving Routier drawing dead.

Calamusa's day continues to go well, as he is now way up to 875,000. --MH


Pierre Calamusa: Collecting

4:20pm: So long, Jack
Level 17 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)


So said Jack Salter on his way out of the tournament room shortly after his bustout, wishing those who remain good luck as they continue through Day 3. Now 142 players are left. --MH

4:10pm: Cody out
Level 17 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Jake Cody may have chopped that pot just before the break, but he is one of the first fallers in the money. The Team PokerStars Pro will need to wait for his second EPT title. -- HS

4:05pm: Set over set scoops Saout the whole shebang
Level 17 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Make it to the money and then double-up straight away after? It's a dream scenario. Antoine Saout is living that dream right now.

He was in a pot with Fatima Moreira de Melo and she'd bet 17,000 on the 6♦3♦8♠ flop. Saout called from the button and the turn came the J♠. Moreira de Melo continued for 34,000 this time, only to see Saout make it 84,000.


Fatima Moreira de Melo: Set under set

After a minute or so of thinking she announced all-in and Saout snap-called. Both were confident in turning over their hands, and rightly so as each had a set.

Moreira de Melo - 3♠3♥
Saout - 6♥6♠

Only a three on the river would eliminate Saout, but it came the 5♠ and the Frenchman doubled to 425,000. Moreira de Melo is down to 262,000. --JS

4pm: All sixes accounted for, two hands running
Level 17 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

The bubble bursting tends to provoke a more animated tournament. Such has been the case at Table 20 since the new level started. In fact, over there we just saw two unusual hands, both of which involved all-ins, with both hands involving quad sixes (or at least the possibility of quad sixes). Let us explain.

The first hand saw Isabel Baltazar all-in with a very short stacke with A♠Q♣ versus Evangelos Terzoudis' A♦3♦, then wave her hands in disgust following a 6♣6♠3♣ flop. But the turn was the 6♥ and river the 6♦, giving both players quad sixes with an ace kicker. Baltazar hangs on with just 32,000 while Terzoudis is up near the top of the leader board with 722,000.

On the very next hand, Ranno Sootla open-raised all-in for his last 28,500 from middle position, then it folded to Sebastien Lebaron in the small blind who called, then prematurely tabled his 6♠6♦ before Roman Varenko could act in the big blind.

With Lebaron's cards face up on the table, Varenko reraised all-in himself for about 72,000, at which point Sootla started to turn over his cards -- again before he should -- showing his A♣7♦ briefly but flipping them back over. Whether Baltazar saw Sootla's cards or not wasn't clear, but he decided to fold his sixes and preserve his remaining 80,000, and Varenko opened Q♦Q♣.

The 6♣5♣T♠ flop then brought a reaction, as everyone saw Lebaron would've made trips. Then the 6♥ landed on the turn, and Lebaron could only smile and shake his head. The 5♥ completed the board, Sootla was eliminated, and Varenko is now up to 145,000. --MH

3:55pm: How did Cody only chop?
Level 17 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

When Jake Cody won his EPT Deauville title back in Season 6, it was in large part due to winning a huge pot with two tables remaining--he cracked kings after five-betting all-in with 10-4 off suit. Since then, 10-4 off has been known as the Cody hand.

The Team PokerStars Pro was involved in hand just before the break and was favourite to go out but the board had Cody all over it and he chopped.

Omar Lakhdari opened to 7,500 and called after Cody three-bet all-in for 27,000.

Cody: A♥6♦
Lakhdari: A♠8♠

The board ran out T♣4♦T♠Q♠4♣ and Cody said, "It's a joke that I even chopped." --MC

3:50pm: Top five
Level 17 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

As level 17 gets under way these five players have the biggest chip stacks in the room:

Andjelko AndrejevicUSA800,000
Evangelos TerzoudisGreece760,000
Pascal FaivreCanada720,000
Pierre CalamusaFrance665,000
Alexios ZervosGreece595,000

From here on, our payouts page is now in play. -- HS


3:35pm: Jinfeng Huo bubbles
Level 16 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

Our bubble lady here in the main event is Jinfeng Huo. EPT6 London winner Aaron Gustavson opened on the button and Huo defended her big blind. The two saw a 2♥K♥7♥ flop fall and Huo decided just to shove all-in for around 100,000.

It would be a bad idea, though, as Gustavson made the call. We had a long wait before the cards were revealed, and in that time plenty of TV and photo cameras were pointed Huo's way - something she tried to avoid by hiding behind her massage pillow.


Jinfeng Huo: Bad news

In the end the cards were on their backs and Huo was in trouble. She'd flopped two pair with the K♦2♦, but was trailing the flopped flush of Gustavson who had the 6♥4♥.

The turn was the 7♠, meaning any King, deuce or seven would now save her by giving her a boat. But the river was the T♥, and the room erupted.


Bubble chaos

They're all now in the money, those lucky devils. Gustavson, who did all the work, has more than 300,000 now. --JS

3:21pm: If I knew that you didn't know, I want you to know what I would have done
Level 16 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Yucel Eminoglu opened from middle position for 9,000 then watched big-stacked Pierre Calamusa call behind him. Then Neil Strike reraised to 35,000, putting the action back on Eminoglu.

With just over 100,000 left, Eminoglu pitched his hand, and when Calamusa did the same, Strike expressed surprise the latter was actually in the hand, as the dealer in between him had blocked his view.

Strike then showed his hand -- 6♣6♠ -- and collected the pot to bring his stack to about 155,000. Eminoglu subsequently tried to convince everyone he'd folded a monster, to varying degrees of belief.

"I did, I swear! I put him on aces or kings!" said Eminoglu. Strike reiterated how he hadn't seen Calamusa in the hand, and he thought he was raising only into the shorter-stacked Eminoglu.

At that Eminoglu thought of a way to make his case seem even stronger.

"If I knew that you didn't know that he was in, I would have gone all in," said Eminoglu.

"So," said Strike with a wry grin. "Does that mean I outplayed you then?"

The table laughed and Eminoglu chuckled as well.

Still 160 left. The bubble remains intact. --MH

3:05pm: Juanda soft bubbles
Level 16 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

John Juanda has busted in 161st place meaning the main event is on the actual bubble.

The EPT12 Barcelona champion opened to 11,500 and then four-bet all-in for 140,000 after Juan Etcheverry three-bet to 27,000 from the button. Etcheverry called in a flash.

Juanda: A♥K♣
Etcheverry: A♦A♠

The board ran 8♠3♣6♥6♠2♦ and all the micro-stacks in the room cheered internally. Etcheverry moved up to 410,000. -- MC

3pm: Bubble (I'm guessing)
Level 16 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

The media room at the EPT Grand Final is quite a long way away from the tournament floor so, if I'm honest, I have absolutely no idea what's happening down there as I type. However, there's nobody up here except me at the moment, which makes me think the bubble must be here. That's what's keeping all my colleagues downstairs, while I rifle through their belongings, write emails from their unguarded accounts and change the language on all their phones. Ha. -- HS

2:50pm: So near but yet so far
Level 16 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

These are the players most recently eliminated. So close. Sooooo close.

Ariel Mantel, Dirk Gerritse, Mike Barsnick, Tina Andersen, Gerard Sanches, Luigi Grisa, Emin Aghayev, Nicolas Le Floch, Kyosti Isberg, Andres Jeckeln.

2:45pm: River saves Kamar; two left until the money
Level 16 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

They're two off the cash now--161 player are left--and were almost one away from the money except for a lucky river card for Fady Kamar.

With the board showing 5♥T♥9♦3♥, Kamar was all-in and at risk for A♠9♠ for a pair of nines and in bad shape against Felix Lambertz who had two pair with 9♥3♦.

But the river brought the A♦--and an "Oooohhh!!!" from the table--giving Kamar the better two pair, the pot, and tournament survival. Kamar has 235,000 now while Lambertz slips down to just 24,000. --MH

2:40pm: Reinkemeier showing bubble caution?
Level 16 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

Tobias Reinkemeier is first on Germany's all-time money list, and he's looking to add a bit more to his winnings today. We're on the verge of the bubble right now, and that may have influenced his decision in a recent hand.

He opened to 9,000 on the button and Miguel Silva called from the big blind. The flop fell the 8♥6♠4♥, and Silva check-called another 9,000 bet. The K♠ hit the turn and both checked, resulting in a 7♥ river. The flush got there; straight draws got there too.


Tobias Reinkemeier

Silva now led for 24,000 and Reinkemeier went into the tank. He had 46,000 behind, so this was just about a decision for his entire tournament. He kept looking up at the tournament screen and saw that they were just three from the money. It's also worth noting that at this point the floor told the dealers via microphone that they should now announce all of their all-in and calls.

In the end Reinkemeier gave it up, but with only 11 big blinds he'll need to make something happen soon. --JS

2:30pm: Terzoudis takes over the chip lead after busting Le Floch
Level 16 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

There were "Oohs" and "Ahs" after Nicolas Le Floch busted to Evangelos Terzoudis in a cooler. The two players went to a 9♣2♣5♥ flop where the chips went in. Le Floch had around 30,000 chips post flop.

Le Floch: Q♣J♣ for a flush draw.
Terzoudis: 6♣7♣ for flush and straight draws.

The board ran out 8♥7♥ to make Terzoudis his straight and he has taken over the chip lead with 730,000.

Le Floch went out in 163rd leaving us just shy of the money. --MC

2:30pm: Isberg crash
Level 16 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Kyosti Isberg just committed his last 55,000 or so before the flop and Benjamin Philipps looked up him up. Isberg then tabled his A♣J♠ and exhaled a bit wearily when he saw Philipps show his K♦K♥.

The board ran out 6♠2♥3♣9♦7♠, and with a quiet "tant pis" Isberg hits the rail. Philipps now has 356,000.

There are 164 players remaining -- five off the cash. --MH

2:25pm: Nishijima takes out Gerritse
Level 16 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

Dirk Gerritse had a top-ten stack late on yesterday but all those chips have disappeared. The last of them went to Brazilian bracelet winner Thiago Nishijima.

Nishijima min raised and then took a good amount of time to call after Gerritse moved all-in for 119,500.

Nishijima: T♣T♠
Gerritse: 8♣8♠

The board ran 3♠Q♠J♣4♥3♦. Nishijima moved up to 390,000 chips. --MC

2:20pm: Double Dowling
Level 16 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

Chris Dowling will be feeling a lot more confident about making the money after he found aces and used them to double up. Ivan Deyra opened to 9,000 and then four-bet all-in after the Irishman three-bet to 23,500. Dowling snap called off his 86,500 stack.

Deyra: 8♠8♦
Dowling: A♣A♥

The board ran 4♣7♠2♥T♠6♣ to see the aces home safely. --MC

2:15pm: Silver and Vieira - from friends to foes
Level 16 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

Coming back from the break tablemates Max Silver and Joao Vieira were chatting and sharing a few jokes. They walked back into the poker room together and took their seats, and that's where the kindness ended.

OK, maybe that's a bit strong. They didn't suddenly start hating on each other. But they did get into a pot together immediately in which Silver would put Vieira all-in.

The man from Portugal opened to 10,500 and it folded to Silver in the big blind. He eyed up Vieira's stack and moved all-in.

"I have a big hand," Vieira told Silver. "Oh no!" Silver said.


Max Silver: What could he do?

Vieira asked for a count and it turned out they both had roughly the same - around 80,000. In the end he made a fold and Silver showed him the A♥. See? They're still friends really. --JS

2:10pm: Boghean gathering on the bubble
Level 16 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

With less than a dozen eliminations until the cash, not only are the short stacks starting to feel the pinch of their preflop options having dwindled. So, too, are the big stacks wary of the importance of using this time to increase their wealth, as well as to avoid losing too many chips and slip out of the comfort zone themselves.

Just now Andrei Boghean opened with a raise and saw Kiryl Radzivonau three-bet to 26,500 from late position. Boghean hesitated, then put out a re-raise to 68,000, and Radzivonau didn't wait long before making it 110,000 to go.

Radzivonau paused just a moment then released his cards, preserving the 150,000 or so he has left. Boghean meanwhile increases his stack by a third to 444,000 without having to see a flop. --MH

2pm: An update on the empty seat
Level 16 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (500 ante)

The seat reserved for Tina Andersen is still empty. Andersen had 123,000 at the end of her Day 1, but she was a no show throughout Day 2 and so far on Day 3. There's only 7,000 of her chips remaining now, so not even enough to last the orbit. --JS

1:50pm: Stacked
Level 16 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Here are our big stacks as we go into Level 16:

Pierre CalamusaFrance630,000
Erwann PecheuxFrance630,000
Rintaro KagawaJapan570,000
Nariman YaghmaiIran490,000
Jan BengelmannGermany480,000
Paul-Francois TedeschiFrance460,000
Adrien AllainFrance457,500
David SusiganFrance430,000
Randy LewUSA430,000
Fatima Moreira de MeloNetherlands430,000
Erik SeidelUSA400,000

Erwann Pecheux told our French correspondent that he's been getting smashed by the deck today. He's up to a co-chip leading stack of 630,000 having started today with 413,800. -- NW


1:45pm: Danger Zone

There are 173 players remaining and only 159 will make the money. The following are the most likely to be among the 14 disappointed in this level:

Sam Chartier - 62,000
Jake Cody - 23,000
Nacho Barbero - 57,500
Aleksei Platonov - 36,400
Povilas Zavistanavicius - 37,000
Marco Giulini - 38,500
Mike Barsnick - 56,000
Tobias Reinkemeier - 67,000
Vincent Gueneau - 43,000
Frank Werder - 29,000
Nicolas Le Floch - 40,000
Pascal Faivre - 39,000

1:40pm: Break time
Level 15 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (400 ante)

That's the end of the day's first level. Players are now taking a 20-minute break and we'll return to play Level 16. There are 173 players left and 159 will get paid. The bubble is gradually approaching.

We'll have a whole host of updated chip-counts over on the chip-count page momentarily. --HS

1:35pm: Taking Etcheverry opportunity to beat the big names
Level 15 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (400 ante)

PokerStars qualifier Juan Etcheverry just played a hand he's sure to remember, mainly because it involved him taking one down against both Stephen Chidwick and Faraz Jaka.

The Argentinian, who has just a handful of live cashes to his name (most notably a deep run in the PCA main event in 2015), called Jaka's 7,000 under-the-gun open, and Chidwick defended from the big blind.

The flop came the 3♥2♦6♥ and Chidwick opted to lead into the pot with a 20,000 bet. Jaka came along, but when it got to Etcheverry he slowly counted out a raise and made it 58,600. That got both the big names to fold. --JS

1:30pm: Big stacks on the move
Level 15 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 400)

A staff member brought chips over ahead of the player, carefully removing them from racks before an empty seat. The sight of the chips -- about 525,000 of them -- suddenly brought a halt to the conversation that had been ongoing at Table 18.

"Good for you," said Yucel Eminoglu, who with about 120,000 was unfortunately seated to the right of the new big stack. He was pointing to the player on the left of that empty seat, start-of-day chip leader Pierre Calamusa, who now has about 560,000 to have the newcomer covered.

"Oh, he's my friend," said Calamusa as Erwann Pecheux arrived.

The player to the left of those two -- whose blinds may well be in extra peril going forward -- was Neil Strike with about 170,000. He offered a reasonable request of Calamusa.

"Can you explain to him we've been playing friendly here?" --MH

1:25pm: Tedeschi's relief
Level 15 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (400 ante)

I've never seen anyone looked more quietly relieved to win a pot than Paul Francois Tedeschi just now. First he called Jonathan Abdellatif's bet of 13,200 on an 8♦3♦9♦ flop, then when the 6♥ hit the turn and it checked to him, he made it 23,000 to go. That was good for the win.

Tedeschi let out a big breath and stared up to ceiling in sweet, sweet relief. A nice bluff, then. Or maybe his actions after the hand - perhaps that was the bluff. Who knows. He's up to 290,000 now. --JS

1:20pm: Deadman still very much alive
Level 15 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 400)

There was a big pot already in progress at table four by the time I arrived. Nicolino Di Carlo had opened to 6,500 on the button, Albert Daher had then three-bet to 26,500 and Simon Deadman had shoved for 113,400 from the big blind. Di Carlo folded but Daher was deep in thought about his next move.

The Lebanese player started the day with 375,100 but he must have lost a couple of pots already as he had around 165,000 behind. He looked at Deadman and then looked up at the tournament clock. There were 177 players left at this point and 159 will make the money.

He gave it some more thought and then folded his holding, Deadman raked in the chips and is up to around 150,000. --NW

1:15pm: Cody getting short
Level 15 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 400)

Jake Cody's stack has dropped to just 30,300 after he called a river bet from Kiryl Radzivonau and was wrong.

The two players had made it to the turn where the board read J♦7♥J♠Q♥ and Cody led for 12,500 from the big blind. Radzivonau called and then bet 40,000 on the K♠ river when checked to by the Team PokerStars Pro.


Jake Cody, right, alongside Dario Sammartini

Radzivonau had taken a good amount of time before deciding to bet, whereas Cody made a very quick call and then mucked upon seeing his opponent's T♣9♣ for a straight. Radzivonau leapt up to 290,000. --MC

1:10pm: Selbst vs. Soika
Level 15 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 400)

We arrived on an "action" flop -- 9♥7♣8♣ -- and, indeed, action ensued between Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Selbst playing from the big blind and EPT11 Barcelona high roller winner Ihar Soika sitting in middle position.

Selbst led with a bet, then after some deliberation Soika made a hefty raise. Selbst studied that action for a while, then acted again herself, putting in a re-raise in response. Soika took about a half-minute to fold his hand, and Selbst showed hers -- K♠Q♠ -- before dragging the pot.

"Can't let you keep pushing me around," Selbst said as she stacked, and Soika explained he'd had a decently-valued hand. "Yeah, like 10-4... 6-3?" Selbst said, and Erik Seidel, sitting to Selbst's right, opined that perhaps he had detected some sarcasm in the exchange.

After that hand:

Selbst: 245,000
Soika: 220,000 --MH

1:05pm: Salter's a loan shark and his table's in debt
Level 15 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (400 ante)

Enver Abduraimov limped on the button and the player in the small blind completed too, so the action was on Jack Salter in the big blind.

He made it 21,800 to go and Abduraimov seemed confused. The German muttered something in broken English to Salter about why he didn't choose to go all-in, before folding. The small blind folded too and Salter took down the pot.

"Show!" Abduraimov pleaded, and Salter made an offer he couldn't refuse. "I'll show you now, but you have to show me later," he said, turning over the T♠T♦.

"My fold is good!" an excited Abduraimov said. "I had five five!"

"Nice fold," Salter said. "I'm pretty addicted to showing, but at least I get to see a hand later. In fact, everyone owes me one."

Salter is up to 183,000. The question is, when will he send the heavies round to collect the table's debt? --JS

1pm: Day is done
Level 15 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 400)

Sorry fellas. You're not going to win the EPT Grand Final. But you knew that anyway: Rene Schneider, Ben Fitzgerald, Ouri Cohen, Massimiliano Patroncini, Yusuke Okada, Salvatore Bonavena, Jullian Feriolo, Darie Vlad, David Peters, Mikhail Nikolaev, Shlomi Elimeleh, Alp Tosuncuoglu, Bao Phu, Fabio Gago. -- HS

12:55pm: Cohen canned in cooler
Level 15 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 400)

Ouri Cohen was short (53,600) and found what seemed to be a great spot to get his chips in. Turns out it wasn't so great. He ran queens into aces.

Erik Seidel opened to 7,000 from the hijack before Oleh Cherepianyi three-bet to 22,800 from the button and Cohen four-bet all-in from the small blind. Seidel folded and Cherepianyi made an immediate call.

Cohen: Q♣Q♠
Cherepianyi: A♣A♦

The board ran 9♠8♦9♠2♥6♥ and Cohen hit the rail. --MC

12:50pm: Kolosov straightens out Pecheux
Level 15 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 400)

Erwann Pecheux and Maksim Kolosov are two of the top three stacks at table 23 (Govert Metaal is the other) and they just played a pot together. Pecheux opened to 6,000 from the cutoff, Isabel Baltazar called from the small blind and Kolosov put in the extra from the big.

On the 8♠A♣K♥ flop Pecheux bet 9,000 and Kolosov was the only caller. The 9♦ turn checked through and Kolosov then led for 17,000 after the T♣ had peeled off on the river. Pecheux dwelled for a few beats and then plonked in the call. Kolosov turned over Q♣J♣ and Pecheux made the international noise for "outdrawn".

He has dropped down to about 390,000 while Kolosov is up to 280,000.--NW

12:45pm: Spin & Go still going
Level 15 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 400)

There's no doubt that there's a pretty significant element of good fortune involved with winning your trip to Monaco via a Spin & Go satellite on PokerStars. But to still be involved as the money bubble approaches takes some skill.

The following 13 players were all still in the tournament at start of play today having all spun it up to win their ticket here. Good luck/skill to them all from hereon.

Spin & Go satellite winners: Erik Van Hoek, Georges Hallak, Povilas Zavistanavicius, Mike Barsnick, Tina Andersen, Asan Umarov, Loc Tu, Mike Andreassen, Ophir Nadav, Jan Bengelmann, Pascal Faivre, Bao Phu and Gun Taljo. -- HS

12:45pm: Susigan at it again
Level 15 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 400)

David Susigan -- winner of the France Poker Series High Roller event here in Monaco last year -- came into today as one of the big stacks, and the Frenchman has picked up right where he left off last night after knocking out Yusuke Okada during the first half-hour.

It was a blind-vs.-blind situation, with Okada committing his short stack from the small with A♥8♥ and Susigan looking him up from the big with J♦T♦. Okada led with a pair after the 3♥2♦A♦ flop and Q♣ turn, but the 6♦ river completed a flush for Susigan to send Okada railward.

Susigan is up around 420,000 now. --MH

12:40pm: Two soon?
Level 15 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 400)

They're not in the money yet but there are, by our count, eight EPT main event champions still in the field and in with a chance of winning a second title.

They are: Salvatore Bonavena, John Juanda, Andreas Hoivold, Mike Watson, Davidi Kitai, Dimitar Danchev, Aaron Gustavson and Jake Cody. Should Watson win he'd not only become the first man to win two EPT main events but the first person to do it in the same season. --NW

12:35pm: Trips and two pairs
Level 15 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (400 ante)

I'm not talking about a hand here, but the way in which the biggest names in this field all seem to have been sat next to each other.

The deadliest corner of any table in the room is surely the line-up of Stephen Chidwick, Faraz Jaka, and John Juanda.


Faraz Jaka and John Juanda

Elsewhere, Erik Seidel and Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Selbst are positioned next to one another, as are Jake Cody, another Team Pro, and Dario Sammartino.


Erik Seidel and Vanessa Selbst

What are the chances? --JS

12:30pm: Up and down start for Davenport
Level 15 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 400)

Matt Davenport has never been shy about putting chips in the middle and that approach has helped the Brit amass $657,248 in tournament cashes. Here, he recently won a hand and then got caught bluffing the very next hand.

Sam Chartier min-raised from second to act and picked up calls from Davenport on the button and Georges Hallak in the small blind.

The flop fanned 9♥6♣K♠ and Chartier continued for 12,500. Davenport called but Hallak folded. The turn was the J♥ and check-folded to a 18,500 bet.

"I hit the jack!" Hallam said (preceded by a curse word that we can't publish.) "Jack was good, huh?" he turned and asked Davenport. "You promise on your mother?" he continued.

Davenport nodded while smiling and Hallak was even more disappointed.

The very next hand Davenport raised from the cutoff and was called by Pierre Tilmant in the big blind. The flop came 5♥6♣K♠ and Tilmat check-raised Davenport's 7,000 c-bet up to 16,000. Davenport called and both players went on to check the 5♦ turn. The board completed with the K♣ and Tilmat check-called his opponent's 26,500 bet with 6♠6♥, beating out Davenport's 9♠7♠.

Davenport - 325,000
Chartier - 265,000

12:25pm: Three days waiting... for this?
Level 15 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 400)

Fellow Frenchmen Albert Sebag and Jimmy Guerrero are sitting side-by-side to begin today, both behind stacks of roughly a quarter million chips. Both are regulars on the tours in France, and so familiarity with each other -- plus those big stacks -- are definitely encouraging the pair to be the most talkative at their table.

It folded around to Sebag in the small blind, and Guerrero immediately piped up again.

"We've been waiting three days for this moment!" he said with a grin. Sebag then looked as his cards, and when it was clear he was going to play both burst out laughing.

Sebag just completed, though, Guerrero checked, then after the flop Sebag checked and was folding his cards even before Guerrero had dug out his bet.

Okay, so that moment might have been anticlimactic. But it seems likely the pair will have a few more interesting moments before either of them move from those seats. --MH

12:20pm: Blain's magic start
Level 15 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (400 ante)

Winning a decent-sized pot in the first few hands of the day is a great way to settle any nerves, ease any tension, and build your confidence for the day ahead. It's even sweeter when said pot doesn't really require you to do anything spectacular.

That was the case for Dermot Blain, who has just increased his stack by 50 per cent. Bao Phu moved all-in from middle position with the A♦7♦ for 35,000 exactly, and Blain re-shoved on the button with Phu covered. Blain was ahead with the T♣T♠.

The board ran out 7♠6♠6♦9♣K♠ and Phu was felted, while Blain moves up to just over 100,000. --JS

12:10pm: Chips for Chidwick
Level 15 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 400)

Two of poker's heavyweights--Stephen Chidwick and John Juanda--are seated at the same table and right next to each other to start today, and the pair just got involved in one of the first hands dealt.

From the looks of things Juanda had opened from under the gun and it folded around to Chidwick in the big blind who called, then Chidwick check-called a bet from Juanda following a 5♥A♥Q♣ flop to build a pot of just over 30,000.

The turn then brought the 3♦ and another check from Chidwick, and this time Juanda fired 24,500 into the middle. Chidwick sat motionless -- save for his eyes darting back and forth between the board and Juanda's stack -- then check-raised to 55,000. That prompted some temple-rubbing from Juanda as he rearranged his chips for a short while before finally releasing his hand.

Juanda slips to about 125,000 while Chidwick chips up to 290,000. --MH

12:07pm: Early double for Elimeleh
Level 15 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 400)

While Randy "nanonoko" Lew was still unbagging and stacking his chips, Shlomi Elimeleh and Fabio Cortes Gago were getting their's across the betting line.

It looked like a chop was on the cards as Elimeleh had A♦J♠ and Gago held A♣J♦. A 7♠5♠K♠ flop meant Elimeleh - who was all-in for 29,600 - was freerolling and although he missed on the 8♥ turn, he hit the 4♠ river. He doubles to around 65,000. Gago meanwhile is down to around 20,000.

Gago was knocked out a couple of hands later. --NW

12:03pm: Shuffle up and deal
Level 15 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 400)

The 196 remaining players are in their seats and Day 3 is under way. --MH

11am: Bubble bursting

It's Day 3 of the €5,000 main event at the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo®Casino EPT12 Grand Final. Today is bubble day. The starting field of 1,098 has been reduced to its last 196 players, but only 159 will be paid. We need to lose 37 more players and then they're all in the money. A min-cash is worth €8,890. -- HS

NEIL2209EPT12MON_Cards_Dice_Neil Stoddart.jpg

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Take a look at the official website of the EPT, with tournament schedule, news and results.

Also all the schedule information is on the EPT App, which is available on both Android or IOS.

PokerStars Blog reporting team on the EPT12 Grand Final main event: Stephen Bartley, Marc Convey, Martin Harris, Jack Stanton, Howard Swains and Nick Wright. Photography by Neil Stoddart. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog

8G2A1593EPT12MON_Tournament_Room_Neil Stoddart.jpg

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