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EPT12 Grand Final: Roman Verenko leads Main Event on Day 1A

If Day 1A is an indicator of what is to follow in a main event on the European Poker Tour (EPT), then there were conclusions to be drawn from the eight levels played today.
Some 258 players arrived, took seats, and made their opening bid. By day's end 150 remained, led, with a grin, by Ukrainian Roman Verenko with 198,800 chips. 

roman_verenko_med1a_30april2016.jpgChip leader Roman Verenko

If, as Faraz Jaka predicted at the start, this was to be a day of fireworks, Verenko was responsible for a few. In one notable hand (see 7pm in the coverage below), he sent Nick Petrangelo back to bed, and Verenko never really looked back. His stack will be hard to beat tomorrow, when the bulk of the field take their turn. 

Ah yes, tomorrow. 

If the general mood is anything to go by tomorrow will be big. We're already a week into the festival and not a day has passed without the walls of the tournament room creaking by sheer weight of players. 


Within that crowd will be the remainder of "The 300" that we alluded to earlier. They are the qualifiers, a mixture or pros, amateurs, and the first-time-luckies. They make for an interesting dynamic to this event which we'll see when play starts at 12 noon tomorrow. 

So Verenko leads tonight. Selected chip counts are below, while full official counts will be published once we get them. 

Roman VerenkoUkraine198,000
Pedro ZagaloPortugal153,400
Roman KorenevRussia125,300
Jake CodyUnited Kingdom114,300
John GaleUnited Kingdom99,100
Faraz JakaUnited States80,100
Ongyan DimovBulgaria78,000
Mike WatsonCanada68,400
Patrik AntoniusFinland58,000
Jason MercierUnited States55,700
Tobias ReinkemeierGermany31,500
Bertrand GrospellierFrance29,500
Stephen ChidwickUnited Kingdom22,500
Antoine SaoutFrance22,300
Martin JacobsonSweden18,700
Jean MonturyFrance16,900
Fedor HolzGermany7,900


11:15pm: Barbour busts to queens
Blinds: Level 8 - 300/600 (75 ante)

Natasha Barbour tweeted not so long ago that she was at the kind of table that "would make Chance Kornuth look like the tightest player on planet Earth." She added that she didn't know what was happening anymore.

A great place to find pocket kings under the gun then? Wrong, I'm afraid.

I don't know exactly how this all went down but Barbour got her stack in with K♣K♦ and Aharub Khatri looked her up. He had reason. He had Q♥Q♣ and a covering stack.

But dreams of a double up remained only dreams when the board brought the Q♠ nestled among the 9♦5♦7♥9♠. That was the end of the line for Barbour. -- HS

11:05pm: Charania departs
Blinds: Level 8 - 300/600 (75 ante)

Sarah Herzali is proving popular at her table. So much so that when she opened for 1,300 in a pot a short while ago she got five callers. 
The flop came T♠4♠2♠ and the action was checked to Patricio Rojas who bet 4,200. At this point Mohsin Charania shoved for 17,000. Xia Lin in the big blind then check-raised all-in for 21,200. 

Lin snap called with T♥T♦
Charania: A♠T♠
Rojas: K♠6♠

The turn came A♦ and the river T♣. That sent Charania out, while Herzali, who started all this, said she'd had pocket deuces. - SB


10.40pm: Haxton pushes Langbraaten off a chop and Cakmak out the door
Blinds: Level 7 - 250/500 (50 ante)

Here's a bonkers hand that played out on Jake Cody's table and resulted in Ike Haxton taking a bundle of chips and knocking out a very disgruntled Burak Cakmak.

Cody actually called me over to witness the end portion of the action, and filled in what happened prior to that.

It all started when Fabio Sperling opened to 1,200 from the hijack and Raymond Langbraaten called from the cutoff. That bit was pretty standard, but then Cakmak three-bet to 3,700 from the small blind only for Haxton to four-bet from the big blind. He made it 8,500.

Sperling ducked out, but Langbraaten called. That only prompted a shove from Cakmak, for about 26,000, and then Haxton to re-shove over the top of that. He covered Langbraaten, who was the only man with a decision left.

Langbraaten put himself through the wringer before folding. He immediately said to Haxton, "Aces?" Haxton said, "No." He turned over queens.

Cakmak now tabled his 9♦9♣ and was in trouble. Haxton did indeed have Q♠Q♥ but wanted to know what Langbraaten had folded. "I'll tell you after," Langbraaten said.

The board ran 2♣6♦7♣3♥5♦ and Haxton won the huge pot. "Queens," Langbraaten said.

"You had queens too?" Haxton said.

Cakmak wandered away, while Langbraaten pondered the chop that might have been. -- HS

10:35pm: Do people really love a chop pot?
Blinds: Level 7 - 250/500 (50 ante)

There was a degree of no "nonsense-ness" to the way Burak Cakmak moved all in. I know that's not technically a word, but sometimes non words are the only ones that will do. 

He did so by stamping down his tower of chips which he could fit into one hand. It came with a non-verbalised "What do you think of that?!" which nobody heard but everybody heard. Which is possibly why they all took a step back in a poker sense, and let him win the blind and antes. 

He was in action again soon after though. He opened for 1,650 and Govert Metaal called from the big blind. The flop came J♥Q♠T♦. Both checked for the turn card 7♠. This time Metaal led out for 2,000. Cakmak called to see the K♥ river card. Anotehr 5,500 from Metaal, which Cakmak was certain he was calling. 

Metaal: A♣Q♣
Cakmak: A♥6♠

This, in case you havdn't noticed was a chop pot. At this point Cakmak removed his hat, on it emblazoned the "Everyone loves a chop pot" motto. 

"Everyone loves a chop pot," he said, quite proudly. Metaal laughed. The rest made a kind of polite "oh yeah!" noise. - SB

10:20pm: Tricky guy Gale
Blinds: Level 7 - 250/1,000 (50 ante)

John Gale won't mind us stating the obvious: he is one of the game's veterans and is old enough to be the father of about 50 percent of this field. But Gale, who is also a former PCA champion and WSOP bracelet winner, has always played a young man's game. He is not afraid to mix it with anyone, and with any two cards.

He just dished out a good natured lesson to the Norwegian PokerStars qualifier Vebjorn Monstad, who doesn't look much older than 20.

Monstad and Gale paid 1,100 each to get to the flop. Monstad raised from the hijack and Gale called on the button.


Getting tricky with John Gale

The flop was 4♠9♦A♣ and Monstad's check allowed Gale to have a stab. He put 1,425 over the line and Monstad called.

The 6♥ came on the turn, which both players checked, and then Monstad checked again on the K♦ river. Gale doesn't need to be asked twice and bet 2,625.

Monstad started chattering and chuckling about whether or not Gale had an ace, and then about whether or not there was an ace in his own hand. Gale chuckled along but gave nothing away.

Eventually Monstad folded, and Gale pushed his cards forward to the dealer. But then he couldn't resist grabbing them back and turning them over. He didn't have the ace. He had Q♦T♦ for no pair.

"Oh, tricky guy," Monstad said.

Gale has about 120,000 in his stack. -- HS

10:05pm: Saout misses the snooker
Blinds: Level 7 - 250/1,000 (50 ante)

Antoine Saout is combatting the tedium of playing a six-day poker tournament by...watching snooker on his iPad. In many opinions, that's a frying-pan/fire situation, but those people will be wrong. There's a cracking World Championship semi-final going on at the Crucible at the moment between Mark Selby and Marco Fu. If only there was a website called you could read about it on.

Anyway, back to the poker and Saout missed a Selby break-off because of this hand: Sascha Olms opened to 1,000 from the cutoff and Marco De Vincenti called from the button. Saout called from the small blind and Ongyan Dimov also called from the big.

The flop could have hit any of them. It came J♠9♥Q♠ but after Saout and Dimov checked, Olms bet 1,000 and both De Vincenti and Saout called. Dimov had seen enough.

They all checked the Q♣ on the turn. And then Saout picked up all the shrapnel when he bet 5,500 on the 3♦ river. That's how Saout rolls. He has about 23,000 in his stack.

Jean Montury is also at that table. Both he and Dimov are former champions. -- HS

10pm: Selected chip counts
Blinds: Level 7 - 250/1,000 (50 ante)

Roman VerenkoUkraine180,000
Govert MetaalHolland123,000
Steven van ZadelhoffHolland103,000
Marti AguilarSpain102,000
Faraz JakaUnited States100,000
Anthony SpinellaUnited States87,000
Ramiro CardosoBrazil85,000
Isaac HaxtonUnited States85,000
David PetersUnited States80,000
John GaleUnited Kingdom75,000
Jake CodyUnited Kingdom72,000
Max SilverUnited Kingdom65,000
Patrick AntoniusFinland52,000
Antonio BuonanoItaly50,000
Dan SmithUnited States45,000
Tobias ReinkemeierGermany38,000
Mike WatsonCanada35,000
Paul NeweyUnited Kingdom32,000
Dario SammartinoItaly27,000
Victoria CorenUnited Kingdom25,000
Andrew LichtenbergerUnited States19,000
Haralabos VoulgarisCanada17,000
Sam GreenwoodCanada15,000
Martin JacobsonSweden14,000
Stephen ChidwickUnited Kingdom13,000
Jason MercierUnited States13,000

9:50pm: Embrace the scrap heap
Blinds: Level 7 - 250/1,000 (50 ante)

The brutality of an EPT main event has recently accounted for: Artan Dedusha, Pierre Merlin, Fabrian Chauriye, Dinesh Alt, David Olshan, Igor Yaroshevskyy, Vladimir Troyanovskiy, Maxence Benoulha, Benoit Barral and Ryan Franklin. --HS

9:35pm: Hicks trips up Bonomo
Blinds: Level 7 - 250/1,000 (50 ante)

Kenny Hicks made the final table here a couple of years back and is not at all troubled by playing against the very best. He's got a super-tough table draw today, with Martin Jacobson, Fabian Quoss, Sergey Lebedev and Justin Bonomo also involved. In fact, there's a very strong chance the last table in this tournament won't be anywhere near as stacked as this one.

Hicks, though, is bossing it and he just won an intriguing pot against Bonomo. If you want to play on the EPT, this is the kind of thing you have to get used to. 


Justin Bonomo: Enough to turn your hair pink

Hicks opened from the button, making it 1,050 to play and Bonomo defended his big blind sternly, raising to 4,200. Hicks called. That took the two players to the flop of 7♠4♥6♣ and Bonomo immediately led at it for 3,500.

If Hicks thought that meant strength, he didn't show it. Hicks raised to 9,200 and Bonomo called.

The A♠ fell on the turn and Bonomo checked to the raiser. Hicks continued. He bet 11,500. Bonomo wrestled back the initiative with a raise to 24,000 and now Hicks called.

The river brought the 6♠ and Bonomo checked. Hicks allowed a wry smile to break across his face and he checked behind.

Bonomo opened J♥T♥ for...nothing. Hicks opened 8♠T♠ for a hand that had fluctuated in value quite a bit. It was a dominated ten high pre-flop; a gutshot on the flop; a gutshot and a flush draw on the turn; and a flush on the end. 

Bonomo shook his head and reassembled his stack of about 39,000. Hicks has about 110,000 now. --HS

9:25pm: Back to it
Blinds: Level 7 - 300/600 (50 ante)

The remaining players are back in action after their dinner, but some of them will have longer to digest it than others. Anthony Zinno is among them: he was one of the first players eliminated in Level 7, leaving us with 187. -- HS

8:10pm: Dinner break

Play pauses for a 75 minute dinner break. Play resumes in Level 7 at 9:25pm local time. 

7:50pm: Those we have loved
Blinds: Level 6 - 200/400 (50 ante)

Mikhail Sokolovskiy, Pavel Plesuv, Ivica Blazevic, Patrick Clarke, Laurent Eynde, Bruno Volkmann, Willaim Foxen, Pedro Chaves, Hao Tian, Rudolf Zintel, Gianluca Speranza, Alexander Uskov and Fabrice Maltex have all departed the Main Event. -- MC

7:45pm: How do you like to handle an all-in?
Blinds: Level 6 - 200/400 (50 ante)

We all have our habits when we go all in. Some of us stare at the board, unflinching to any question. Some of us tease our opponent or goad them into calling or folding. For Hassan Fares it's about leaning your head on the table and hiding your face. In this case it worked very well. 

He was in this position when I arrived. The board had reached the turn, showing 9♦7♠9♣4♦.

Fares was all-in with his head leaning on the edge of the table. Beka Iordanishvili opposite had bet 6,000 and was now looking at 23,500 more to call. Time was called. Now whatever he chose to do would have to be within 60 seconds. 

Iordanishvili let the clock run down, at which point Fares sat bolt upright again in relief. This ordeal had netted him a modest amount in exchange for what seemed like a lot of stress. 

Iordanishvili asked him to show. Fares gestured for him to show first, which he did, folding two kings. A big fold, which made Fares tap the table. He only showed one in return though. The J♠. - SB

7:42pm: Sayōnara Nakai
Blinds: Level 6 - 200/400 (50 ante)

Kohei Nakai's tournament has come to and end after he lost a race to Michele Bianchi.

The player from Japan was down to his last 5,200 when he made his move from first position. Bianchi only had 10,900 himself when he moved all-in from the next seat. All other players folded.

Nakai: Q♦J♥
Bianchi: 9♦9♠

The board ran K♣6♣K♥T♥7♥ to miss Nakai's hand. --MC

7:25pm: Charania happy to chop
Blinds: Level 6 - 200/400 (50 ante)

Mohsin Charania and Marvin Rettenmaier chopped a pot on showdown but the former was the happier of the two as the latter was freerolling post flop. 

They were in the blinds and called a middle position raise. The flop fell A♦9♥6♦ and Rettenmaier led for 1,200 from the big blind. The original raiser folded but Charania check-called and then led himself, for 2,800, on the 5♠ turn. The board completed with the T♣ and both players checked and then laughed when their hands were revealed.

Charania: T♠8♥ - stack sits at 19,000
Rettenmaier: T♦8♦ - stack sits at 26,000

7pm: Chop? (No). Seat open? (Yes)
Blinds: Level 6 - 200/400 (50 ante)

Nick Petrangelo was, well, tired when he took his seat in the Main Event this afternoon, so it was no surprise on busting that he declared he was going back to bed. 

When Roman Verenco opened to 800 from under the gun Petrangelo raised to 2,000 one seat along. Next to him was Bruno Morra, who called. 
"Did you see my cards?" said Petrangelo, looking at Morra.

"Yes," said Morra, in hindsight not understanding a word of what Petrangelo was saying. 

Petrangelo thought this was a joke, or did for a few seconds. Then he looked at him again.

"Did you see them?"

Morra muttered something, but didn't follow. 

"I feel like you might have..." said Petrangelo, more to himself than anyone else. He then got stuck in to playing the hand. 

The flop came 6♣4♣7♠. Verenco and Petrangelo checked before Morra bet 3,700. Verenco then raised to 9,000. With considerable aplomb for a, well, tired man, Petrangelo announced he was all-in. 

Morra now quickly reconsidered his position and folded, but Verenco called. He wanted Petrangelo to show first, but Petrangelo was in no hurry. 

"I don't have anything yet..." he said with a grin, turning over K♣J♣. Verenco had flopped a set with 7♥7♣.
The turn came 4♥ and the river Q♦

"Chop?" said Petrangelo to the dealer. The dealer shook his head. "Seat open?" said Petrangelo to the dealer. The dealer nodded his head. 

And so the Petrangelo that shines twice as bright lasts half as long. Or in this case a short spell in the early evening. Buy boy it was kind of fun to watch. 

"I'm going back to bed," he said, before wishing everyone good luck. Then he walked away, his back pack wide open, despite warnings. Nobody said anything. -- SB

6:55pm: The other end of society
Blinds: Level 6 - 200/400 (50 ante)

For their to be big stacks there has to be short stacks and no stacks. 

Jean-Noel Thorel, for instance, is struggling away with a shorter stack. After an 800 raise and two calls, the Frenchman squeezed all-in for 11,750 from the big blind. The big shove did the trick as all three opponents folded.

Then there's those who would love to have Thorel's problems. Joao Simao, Maarten Janssen, Sharman Olshan, Vasily Kurdin, Dietrich Fast, Wei Lin, Richard Abboud, Ting He, Charlie Carrel, Geoffrey Mooney and Rainer Kempe. -- MC 


6:40pm: Big stack watch
Blinds: Level 5 - 150/300 (25 ante)

Anthony Spinella (120k), Roman Korenev (117k) and Steven van Zadelhoff (115k) are three of the bigger stacks in the room right now and the first two won small pots recently.

Spinella was in the small blind and called a 700 hijack raise to see a 6♦8♠6♥ flop. He check-called 600 before both players checked the 7♠ turn. The board completed with the 6♠ and Spinella led for 2,500. Fold.

Korenev and Jinfeng Huo were in the blinds and made it to the river where the board rested as 7♦5♠8♣Q♦8♦. Huo check-called a 2,300 bet but folded when Korenev revealed K♦T♦ for a flush. -- MC
6:15pm: Fireworks on table Jaka
Blinds: Level 5 - 150/300 (25 ante)

Faraz Jaka said within the first level of the day that his table was full of fireworks. He wasn't wrong.

He just opened a pot for 700 in middle position which Marti Aguilar raised to 3,000 from the button. Jaka came back immediately with the four bet, making it 8,100 to play. What would Aguilar do? He would five bet, 17,000 in total. At which point Jaka called. 

The flop came 6♥2♠4♠

Jaka checked and Aguilar went to his chips again, splashing in 16,000. Jaka was determined also, and raised at once, making it 34,000 to play. Almost impulsively, Aguilar moved his chips forward. There was some drama to the move, but then this was a dramatic moment. Jaka called without drama. 

Jaka: A♠5♠
Aguilar: Q♥Q♠

The turn T♣ and river K♣

That sent the chips to Aguilar is could well have just seized the lead with 135,000. Jaka drops down to 52,000. Fireworks indeed. - SB

6:11pm: No rest for the ballers
Blinds: Level 5 - 150/300 (25 ante)

Sam Greenwood, Stephen Chidwick and Paul Newey have put the disappointment of busting the super high roller final table and jumped in the main event. Well, we say disappointment but they can't be too sad at winning €301,820, €378750 and €485,300! 

It's early days for them in the main but their current stacks are:

Greenwood - 29,000
Chidwick - 21,600
Newey - 32,000

5:52pm: These players won't be returning
Blinds: Level 5 - 150/300 (25 ante)

The second half of the day is underway but won't be featuring the faces of Osvaldo Venegas, Dominik Hainz, Bernd Vogelhuber, Alfie Adam, Mahyar Pakyar, Rafael Da Silva Moraes, Michel Bringuier, Aleksandr Denisov, Iaroslav Boiko, Ivan Zhechev and Steffan Sontheimer. --MC


5:30pm: Break time

That's the end of level 4. Players are now on a 20 minute break. 

5:20pm: "What the hell was that?" Or... "ElkY plays a hand"
Blinds: Level 4 - 100/200 (25 ante)

You might have seen on Twitter that ElkY has a moustache. Not only that, but it is also dyed peroxide blond to match his hair. It's an unusual look, mainly because it is only visible in a certain light, like a hologram. But one senses this is exactly how ElkY wants it. 
He's been involved with several recent pots on his table, the latest had some action pre-flop. 

Tudor Purice opened for 550 and then Dejan Pustoslemsek raised to 1,350. ElkY was on the button, looked at his cards and four bet, making it 2,750 to play. Purice passed, but Pustoslemsek made the call. 


Apologies. I meant to say that the entire hand was played out to a sound track of noises coming from one player at the table, who seemed physically incapable of containing the noises he makes. That was him stretching. 

The flop came 7♣6♠J♣. Pustoslemsek checked... 


... and ElkY bet 3,000. Pustoslemsek called. 

The turn came J♥


A check from Pustoslemsek and then from ElkY. They saw a river card land 7♦


Pustoslemsek bet 7,000 this time, putting the pressure on ElkY. 


ElkY let a minute go by before he folded, prompting Pustoslemsek to tap the table, suggesting it was a good decision. 
ElkY drops to 23,000 while Pustoslemsek moves up to 25,000.

"OOOOOOOOrrrrrgghhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaay" - SB

5:05pm: Heizmann a happy man
Blinds: Level 4 - 100/200 (25 ante)

Nothing better than the feeling of getting out of jail with a triple up, just ask Stefan Heizmann. 

He was down to his last 3,375 and got them in on a 3♦9♦T♣ flop. Romain Lewis, who won the French poker reality show La Maison Du Bluff, and Christopher Frank were his opponents and created a 35,000 side pot of their own with Frank all-in.

Lewis: J♦T♦ for top pair and flush draw.
Frank: Q♣Q♦ for an over pair.
Heinzmann: Q♥J♥ for an open-ended straight draw.

The board ran out 8♣2♥ to make Heinzmann a straight. Frank made profit with the chunky side pot and Lewis dropped to 12,900. -- MC

4:45pm: Chinese aces fail for Otobo
Blinds: Level 4 - 100/200 (25 ante)

Ian Otobo had around 9,000 when he committed his stack preflop and he found a willing customer behind him in the shape of Giulio Mascolo. 

Otobo: 8♣8♦
Mascolo: J♠J♥

The board ran K♠T♦Q♠7♣2♠ and Otobo tapped the table and wished everyone luck before making his exit. -- MC

4:40pm: Three betting from the small blind
Blinds: Level 4 - 100/200 (25 ante)

Steven van Zadelhoff is among the leaders right now with around 100,000 chips. He stands out from the crowd not just for his chip stack, not even for the bun at the top of his head and the beard and the bottom of it, but for the claret and amber sports top he wears. 
In the two seats to his right are Mark Teltscher and Andrew Lichtenberger, both of whom just played out a hand. 

Lichtenberger, who is midway through a massage despite having arguably the best posture in the game (perhaps that's why?) opened from the cut off, betting 550 which Teltscher raised to 1,200 from the small blind. Lichtenberger called. 
The flop came J♣3♠Q♠. First to act, Teltscher bet 1,400. Lichtenberger called for the 7♦ on the turn. That went check check before the 6♠ on the river. 
Teltscher checked again, and then when Lichtenberger bet 5,000 he went through an appropriate waiting time before he folded. 

"I suppose three bet bluffing out of position is not a good idea," joked Teltscher as Lichtenberger stacked his chips. He's back up to 32,000. - SB

4:30pm: Names with and without stacks
Blinds: Level 4 - 100/200 25 (ante)

The tournament is just over three levels old. Below you'll find some notable stacks and those who have busted.

Vicky Coren - 22,700
Mohsin Charania - 28,800
Marvin Rettenmaier - 24,000
Justin Bonomo - 44,000
Haralabos Voulgaris - 23,000
Isaac Haxton - 41,000
Anthony Zinno - 17,000
Andrew Lichtenberger - 28,500
Steven van Zadelhoff - 71,000
Mike Watson - 26,500
Fabian Quoss - 27,000

Gone but not forgotten: former champion here Steve O'Dwyer, Daniel Pidun, Oleksii Kovalchuk, Boyuan Qu, Dan Shak, Sylvain Naets, Nicola Grieco, Vlad Lache and Thomas Muehloecker. -- MC


4:10pm: Tournier takes on Zinno
Blinds: Level 3 - 75/150

Some tables are more weighted than others. Like that featuring Isaac Haxton, Haralabos Voulgaris, and Anthony Zinno.

It also features Ivan Zhechev, Jerome Arnould and Laurie Tournier who took part in a hand a few moments ago. It started with an under the gun bet from Zhechev. Two seats along Arnould raised to 1,300 which Zinno called along with Tournier in the small blind. Zhechev paid up too for a flop. 


Torunier checked, as did Zhechev. Arnould then bet 2,000 which Zinno called. Tournier did the same while Zhechev, who started all this, got out of their way. 

The turn came Q♠

Action was checked to Zinno whose bet of 6,000 looked the type that might be enough to win what was in the middle. Tournier didn't think so. After pausing for a few moments she raised, putting 14,000 into the middle. Arnould passes. Zinno passed. Tournier up to 40,000. - SB

4:05pm: More tales from table 25
Blinds: Level 3 - 75/150

Any table with Charlie Carrel, Martin Jacobson and Jake Cody sat at it is a good one to watch. Carrel tangled with Ramiro Cardoso Araujo and then Jacobson and Cody faced off. 

Araujo checked a J♥3♣4♣ flop over to Carrel who bet 1,500, and then raised him to 3,500. Carrel took in a big breath, looked at his opponent's stack and then three-bet to 10,000.

"I'm ready; you ready?" asked Carrel. "Don't slow roll me if you have pocket jacks!"

"Impossible," came the reply from the Brazilian before he folded. 

"Phew!" said Carrel who rose to 36,000. 

The very next hand, Ilkka Nuotio opened to 500 from the hijack before Jacobson three-bet to 1,600 off the button. Cody called from the small blind and Nuotio called too. The flop fanned 2♠7♥4♥ and Jacobson continued for 3,000. Cody was the only caller and the two heroes went on to check the 9♥2♦ turn and river down. Cody opened K♣K♠ and Jacobson mucked to drop to 28,400. Cody's passed 70k now. -- MC

3:40pm: Carrel and Cody face off
Blinds: Level 3 - 75/150

A bit of back and forth in a hand between Charlie Carrel and Team Pro Jake Cody. 

Carrel opened from middle position for 500. Two seats along in the cut off was Cody, who raised to 1,500. Carrel, putting on his metallic blue sunglasses, made the call. 

The saw the flop: 2♦9♥A♥

Carrel was first to act and checked to Cody who bet 1,300. Then it was Carrel's turn to send a message. He raised to 3,000, which Cody then called. 

The turn came 9♦. Carrel tossed in a blue chip worth 5,000. Again, Cody called. 

Now the river card 5♠. Carrel now checked and when Cody bet 6,500 Carrel removed glasses. He stared back at the Team Pro, looking at him as though the answer to this little problem was written underneath Cody's chin. If it was he couldn't see it. He passed. 

Carrel down to 39,000 while Cody is up to 65,000. - SB

3:25pm: How long will we have to wait to find a three-time champion?
Blinds: Level 3 - 100/200

For many years on the European Poker Tour there was a running joke/story about the wait for a double champion. It was a monkey on the back of the tour and every time a former champion made a final table, the dust would be blown off the story and the words republished. Almost 100 EPTs passed before Vicky Coren finally put an end to it by claiming her second title at EPT10 San Remo. 

Coren doesn't play as much any more because she started a family but it's great to see her back in the field today. I hope she goes and wins it because we've got to get this three-time champion monkey off our back! -- MC  

3:05pm: If it's good enough for Ronaldo....
Blinds: Level 3 - 100/200

Those who have followed Ronaldo out early doors are: former Grand Final champion Ivan Freitez, Serge Candin, Adnan Chamaa, Huy Pham, Leonardo Cucchiarini, Aleh Yurkin, Liwei Sun, Dong Zhao, Peyman Luth and Vlado Banicevic. --MC


2:38pm: Break time
The players are on their first 20-minute break of the day. 

2:29pm: News in brief
Blinds: Level 2 - 75/150

- Rasmus Agerskov has suffered the same fate as Ronaldo - an early exit. According to his former tablemate, Steven van Zadelhoff, he turned a hand into a bluff and it didn't work out well for him.
- Table 3 is not a place you want to be, as after you pay your fee, you'll find Haralabos Voulgaris, Isaac Haxton and Anthony Zinno sitting next to each other, happy as can be. 
- Mohsin Charania's table is the closest one to the feature table in the room, a place he's used to being.  The American pro spent a lot of time there back in Season 8 on his way to way to the greatest moment in his poker career --  a €1.35million score for winning the Grand final that year. He just lost s small pot in a battle of the blinds. He checked his option after Patricio Rojas Parra limped in, and then called a 200 bet on the flop before the rest of the board was checked down. It read A♦T♦8♠6♦2♥ and Parra's 3♦3♥ was good. --MC

2:20pm: About those qualifiers...
Blinds: Level 2 - 75/150

A little more information on the number of qualifiers here. Of the 302 who won packages 121 of them won their seats via the Spin & Go promotion on PokerStars which began last month. 

Our post on the numbers is worth checking out to put it in perspective, but here are a few of the figures to go with it:

€1,089,000 worth of package were won.
There were a total of 205,982 spins.
That's 6,437 spins per day.
Or 282 spins per hour.
Which resulted in 3.8 packages won each day for a total of 121 Spin and go winners. 

To put it another way they represent 37% of the field. 

1:50pm: Don't be Quoss, Hainz, it's only a game
Blinds: Level 2 - 75/150

Just because a player is from your country, don't expect them to go easy on you. Dominik Hainz is finding that out about the ultra-competitive Fabian Quoss.  

Hainz shook his head on showdown when Quoss opened up Q♣5♣ - a hand he defended his big blind with - which was good for second pair and the pot. Hainz tried a different tactic two hands later but Quoss still got the better of him.

He limped under the gun before Andras Kovacs raised to 475 from the cutoff. Quoss called on the button, as did the small blind, before Hainz raised to 2,000. Only Quoss called and the two players went on to check down the Q♥K♦7♠A♦5♥ board. Hainz opened up 8♠8♣ but Quoss took the pot with Q♦9♦ to move up to 29,000. --MC   

1:30pm: A new arrival
Blinds: Level 2 - 75/150

"How are you?" said the dealer to a player arriving to take his seat as the level changed. 
"I.D.?" he asked.
"No, how are you?"
"Oh," replied the player. "Poor English. I'm fine."
This got everyone laughing. "Poor English, poor French." 
"Poor poker?" asked Govert Metaal. 



1:08pm: Brazil legend knocked out in group stages
Blinds: Level 1 - 50/100

Busting Day 1 of an EPT is like going out of the World Cup in the group stages. That never happens to Brazil but, unfortunately for Ronaldo, that has happened to him. Hopefully we'll see him play more events this week. -- MC

12:55pm: Some more faces
Blinds: Level 1 - 50/100

Lots more players have taken their seats and some other faces spotted include: John Gale, Fabian Quoss, Charlie Carrel (two along from Jake Cody), Vladimir Troyanovskiy, Rasmus Agerskov, Antoine Saout, Isaac Haxton, Sergey Lebedev, Justin Bonomo and Mohsin Charania. --MC

12:45pm: Introducing Mahyar Pakyar - one of The 300
Blinds: Level 1 - 50/100

There's a legend in these parts. It tells of an army 300 strong, who are here in these very halls but which you cannot see. They walk among you but wear no distinguishing identification. They are known simply as the 300 satellite winners, and their time is now. 

We just met one of them.

Mahyar Pakyar is from London. His story might sound like a familiar one. 

mahyar_pakyar_med1a_30apr16.jpgMahyar Pakyar with his brother Kamyar watching

As his brother Kamyar explained, the two of them decided to fill in some free time one night by playing some online poker. They bought in for their usual games but decided to ramp things up a bit with some "what the hell" Spin & Gos. Next minute the screen was flashing and Mahyar had won. They didn't even know what they'd won at first before discovering it was a package to the EPT Grand Final worth €9,000.

Now Mahyar plays his first EPT Main Event, two seats along from Faraz Jaka, with his brother watching from a few feet away. What's more he just won a first pot, making a flush to boost his stack by about 5K. A first pot can go a long way to settling any pre-match nerves. 
Pakyar is just getting started. - SB

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12:43pm: Ronaldo's in the house!
Blinds: Level 1 - 50/100

Team PokerStars SportsStar Ronaldo has taken his seat but has gotten off to bad start unfortunately. 


Ronaldo, during his brief stay

The "original" Ronaldo and Kyosti Isberg battled in a pot where top pair was no good for the football legend. Ronaldo bet the turn and then bet 5,000 on the river of a Q♠T♥K♣9♥5♠ board. Isberg raised to 10,000 and Ronaldo flicked in a quick call. Isberg opened A♣J♣ for the nuts and Ronaldo told him he as good and showed J♠J♥. He dropped down to 11,000. -- MC 

12:25pm: Players, taxis and short-handed play
Blinds: Level 1 - 50/100

The clock says 149 players have taken their seats so far and, because the main tournament room is a decent size with many tables, those players are spread fairly thin for now - most tables only have four-five players (at most) sat down. That'll soon change though as players get their seat assignments and join the party.  

You don't make a fortune is business by being late so it comes as no surprise to see Dan Shak and Govert Metaal in their seats on time. Others players we've noticed include: Artem Metalidi, Steven van Zadelhoff and Jake Cody. The Team PokerStars Pro is lucky to be here as he was knocked over by a taxi two nights ago. Don't worry, he's okay apart from a swollen leg and you should see taxi! -- MC

12:05pm: Good start for Faraz Jaka
Blinds: Level 1 - 50/100

A first pot for Faraz Jaka. It seems innocuous until it reached the river, with the five cards on the board dealt ace to five to make a wheel. Jaka bet it, some 7,000-plus. Maarten Jenssen had to ask himself whether he thought Jaka could make it any better. Ultimately he decided that he could, and passed. 

"Gonna be a fun day today," said Jaka as he stacked up his chips. - SB

11:15am: Prepare for the Main Event with a few things you might not have known about EPT winners

With the start of the Main Event just 45 minutes away check out our look at some facts and figures that you might not have known about the 110 EPT winners

11am: The Main Event set to begin

After four days of the EPT12 Grand Final festival we have reached the opening day of the Main Event. if the queues outside the tournament room this week are any indicator we can expect a big field over the next two days. As well as professional and EPT regulars are more than 300 Spin and Go qualifiers making their way to the Salle des Etoile for what will be a melting pot of poker. Whatever happens it will be a compelling week of poker. 

It all starts today at 12 noon when the first Day 1 flight gets started. We'll have live updates on the PokerStars Blog through the end of play at around midnight tonight. Furthermore it's not the only event from which we'll be reporting today. The Super High Roller reached its final table last which plays out today on EPT Live. Play starts there at 1pm with EPT Live's coverage shown on a one hour delay from 2pm. Of course, we'll have live updates here to go with it. -- SB

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Take a look at the official website of the EPT, with tournament schedule, news, results and accommodation details for the rest of the season.

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 Super High Roller Stephen Bartley, Marc Convey and Howard Swains. Photography by Neil Stoddart. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog

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