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Eureka6 Hamburg: Jan Von Halle leads Day 1A

Eureka 6 Hamburg MAIN EVENT day 1A CHIP LEADER _Jan Christoph Von Halle Tomas Stacha-2977.jpg

Jan Von Halle: Chip leader

Small, but beautifully formed.

There are few other ways to describe Day 1A of the second Eureka Hamburg Main Event, a €1,000 buy-in tournament in Casino Schenefeld, on the outskirts of Germany's northern city.

Only 69 players turned up for this first of three flights and they enjoyed a bright and airy casino, a slick and efficient 12 levels and the chance to watch Jan Von Halle roll back the years with a dominant performance.

Von Halle, who is best known in these parts as the man who founded Intellipoker (which became PokerStars' PokerSchool Online), is the clear leader of the 20 players remaining at the end of the day, having won big pot after big pot throughout proceedings.

He cracked aces at least twice (once with kings, once with 9♣6♣) and finished with 198,000 chips (the starting stack was 25,000). He's ahead now of Anastasios Mastroudis (164,700) and Ismet Oral (147,900). And the full counts look like this:

Jan Christoph Von HalleGermany198800
Anastasios MastroudisGreece164700
Ismet OralTurkey147900
Jan BlochGermany133900
Robert GorschewskyGermany126100
Kai MünsterGermany99000
Jesper FeddersenGermany98300
Andreas HeitzmannGermany92600
Pablo Damian Nerro DiazUruguay91400
Markus Alexander MayerGermany79400
Monir MarieGermany67700
Robert Rudolf RohrGermany67200
Mehdi TabrizizadehGermany62700
Amir MozaffarinGermany56500
Klaus HornschuchGermany55100
Steve ButhGermany54500
Jens Christian NielsenDenmark51800
Bjorn DudaGermany33300
Murat EratGermany28400
Tillmann RaschkeGermany25700

Tomorrow is Day 1B and anyone eliminated today can return for a second stab, along with anyone arriving for the first time. We will likely get much closer to the 250 capacity of the room, and will very likely fill it on Day 1C on Friday.

Look back on all the action in the post below and join us again tomorrow from noon for more of the same. Have a look over on the Eureka page for all you need to know about joining the party.

10:10pm: Six more hands
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

They're playing six more hands before the tournament wraps for the night. There are 21 players still in at this stage.

9.45pm: Ave Marie
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

Monir Marie opened to 5,100, which is a touch larger than the standard raise at this time. Most are min-plussing (or limping, actually). Anyway, the raise picked up two callers: Pablo Nerro on the button and Andreas Heitzmann in the big blind.

Those three took a flop of 4♥6♦5♣ and, after Heitzmann checked, Marie bet 7,200 and Nerro folded. Heitzmann called, which took them to the 5♥ on the turn. Heitzmann then check-folded after Marie bet 12,000.

9.35pm: Bloch skips Fedderssen's trap
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

Jesper Feddersen just won a small pot from Jan Bloch, but couldn't successfully lure his man into a trap so artfully set.

Actually, that's not really true. Feddersen didn't do an enormous amount to set the trap. He backed into it really. The hand played out like this:

Bloch limped from early position and action folded to Feddersen in the big blind, who checked. They both checked the flop of T♣9♠3♣ and then Feddersen led for 5,300 after the J♠ came on the turn. Bloch called. The river was the 7♣ and Feddersen checked.

That last check was the trapping part. He had A♣8♥ so had rivered a straight. But Bloch checked behind and mucked when shown the winner.

9.25pm: Bloch Party II
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

Jan Bloch, who made the final table here last year, has just found a timely boost to his stack in a bid to go back-to-back. He check-raised all-in on the turn with the following four cards exposed: J♣8♥4♣9♦. Peter Jaksland was the man with the 8,000 bet at this stage. Bloch's check-shove was for 42,000.

Jaksland called and showed 9♣8♣. But he was losing to Bloch's Q♠T♠ and it never got any better.

9.10pm: The Jan Von Halle show
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

Jan Von Halle continues to boss this opening day and now has about 170,000. The victim this time was Matthias Mordhorst who had K♥Q♦ and might have thought that would be good against Von Halle's Q♣7♠. But a flop of 7♦3♣Q♠ assured two things: that all the chips would go in, and that they would end up with Von Halle.

9pm: It could have been a beautiful friendship
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

Table four has just broken--we are down to 27 players--and that means that a budding relationship between Jens Christian Nielsen and Kai Münster has been broken up. The two of them were seated next to one another for the past few hours and they played a lot of hands together.

I saw two of them. The first was still in Level 10 and Nielsen raised to 2,400 from the small blind after action had folded to him. Münster called and they saw the 6♦2♠7♦ flop. Nielsen bet 3,300 and Münster called, taking them to the 9♦ turn. Nielsen bet 4,500 and Münster folded, but said, "They're coming back."


Jens Nielsen

He was right. Into Level 11, they played another pot. Nielsen raised to 3,300 from the hijack and Münster three-bet to 8,200 from the cutoff. Nielsen called and they saw the 8♠4♠4♥ come on the flop. Nielsen checked, Münster bet 7,400 and Nielsen let it go.

8.45pm: Mandric downed
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

Vedran Mandic is the latest player to fall, leaving us with 28 and the imminent closure of a table. He got his last 17,000 chips in with A♣9♠ and was ahead against Peter Jaksland's K♦J♦. But after a flop of 9♥Q♦6♥, the K♣ on the turn was bad news. The river was the 6♠. Jaksland is up to about 46,000.

8.45pm: Von Halle at it again
Level 9 - Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

Here's another pretty brutal set-up, which has vaulted Jan Von Halle to what might be the chip lead. He has 138,000 and Martin Reckermann has zilch.

I only arrived towards the end of whatever went on pre-flop, but it seemed there was a raise from Von Halle and a call from Reckermann. But all the action came on the flop of Q♣K♦J♣. Von Halle bet 4,200, Reckermann raised to 10,400, Von Halle three-bet to 24,200 and Reckermann shoved for about 46,000. Von Halle instantly called.

Von Halle had flopped the nuts, with A♦T♦ and he didn't even have to fade a flush draw. That's because Reckermann had flopped the second nuts with his T♠9♠. Reckermann couldn't find the tough fold and has paid the price.

8.35pm: You work it out
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

It's very difficult to know what actually happened here, but the facts are as follows.

Martin Reckermann and Klaus Hornschuch were in a pot and the board was out all the way to the river. It showed Q♠6♥K♠J♣3♥ and there was precisely 18,200 in the middle.

That much is OK, but this bit I don't understand: Hornschuch, who would have been in the small blind, had 33,000 chips over the line and only 16,000 behind. So this was a close to double pot size bet, for more than two thirds of his stack.

Anyway, whatever happened here, we would learn not much more. Reckermann tank-folded, showing the A♣. Hornschuch raked it in.

8.20pm: Von Halle doesn't win a pot
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

Not so long ago, Jan Von Halle cracked aces with 6♣9♣. It looked like he might be winning another pot featuring those two cards when he got embroiled in one against Dirk Volquardsen, but it evidently helped the latter more than him.

Von Halle opened to 3,200 from UTG+1 and Volquardsen called from the small blind. That's when the 6♣9♣ appeared, alongside the 6♦ on the flop. Volquardsen checked and Von Halle bet 7,000. Volquardsen called, taking them to a turn of 6♠.

Volquardsen checked again and Von Halle asked him how many more he had in his stack. Itwas about 27,000. Von Halle bet 12,000 and Volquardsen shoved. Von Halle, knowing how much it was thanks to his earlier question, quickly folded.

8pm: Six of the best
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

They're heading into Level 10 now, where blinds are 600/1,200 (200 ante). As far as we ca see, the following players are the big stacks of the 34 remaining.

Anastasios Mastroudis - 139,000
Jan Von Halle - 98,000
Robert Gorschewsky - 87,000
Dragan Stankovic - 78,000
Oral Ismet - 76,000
Jens Nielsen - 74,000

7.45pm: Cracking aces for a living
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

On a hand just before the break, Jan Von Halle cracked aces for the second time today, sending Andre Elstermann to the rail. "I had nine-six clubs," Von Halle said. "And there was a nine and a six on the flop." That's how you do it. (He had kings the last time.)

That puts Von Halle up to around 100,000, but he is still trailing Anastasios Mastroudis. The Greek player has about 150,000.

7.35pm: Get Out of Jail Free
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

Ion Teodor Naicu was absolutely furious when the 7♦ appeared on the turn in a recent hand because he thought it had made Andrew Pierz a winner. But as Naicu would soon discover, it had actually rescued him. He was already a long way behind and it was his Get Out of Jail Free card.


Ion Teodor Naicu

This one started with a limp from Oliver Niemann, under the gun. Naicu raised to 2,300 from the hijack and Pierz called from the big blind, as did Niemann. The three of them saw a flop of 8♦9♥7♣ and, after two checks, Naicu bet 3,000. Only Pierz called.

The turn brought the 7♦ and Pierz checked again. Naicu bet 5,000 and now Pierz sprang a trap. He raised all-in, a total of 13,500.

Naicu jerked back in his seat as if 24,000 volts had just flooded through it. He was furious. After a minute or so to think, he turned over his 9♣8♣ and flung them into the muck.

Pierz calmly revealed his T♥J♦, a flopped straight. Naicu might have got off lightly.

7.15pm: Velvelt smoothed out
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

Urmo Velvelt, a PokerStars qualifier from Estonia, was an early pick for the title from this corner of PokerStars Blog. It was based on nothing but looks: he just seemed to carry himself at the tables like someone who should go far.

That may yet turn out to be true, but he's not going to win Eureka Hamburg. He is the latest to fall, leaving us with 36 players today.

Velvelt had 15,450 and moved all-in from the big blind after Andre Elstermann opened to 2,200 from early position. Elstermann folded, but Velvelt's participation didn't last much longer.

On the very next hand, Armin Seyfi opened to 2,3000 and Velvelt shoved again. As he was waiting for Seyfi to make up his mind, Velvelt gulped down a big beer, as though there was a bouncer over his shoulder harrying him out of a club. Maybe that was a false tell. Who knows whether he actually wanted a call, but he got it. Seyfi pushed chips forward and turned over A♠J♣.

That set off in a race against Velvelt's 8♠8♣ and the over-cards prevailed. The board ran 2♥K♣J♦Q♣A♣. Velvelt swigged down the remainder and made his way to the rail.

7.05pm: Three-quarters through
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

Twelve levels of a poker tournament sounds like a daunting prospect for a single day. But when they're only 45 minutes long, it's not so bad. We're already into Level 9 and it's not even dark outside.

7pm: Kings on button
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

This hand happened in a flash, but it ended up with Oliver Niemann doubling to about 23,000 and staying alive in this tournament.

Action folded to Niemann on the button and he opened to what looked like 1,600. Jens Christian Nielsen, in the small blind, instantly raised, making it 5,200 to play. Niemann instantly shoved for about double that and Nielsen instantly called.

Niemann had K♠K♣ and stayed good against Nielsen's A♥J♥ through a dry board. "Kings on button," Niemann said, delighted.

6.55pm: We lose Limbara
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

Enteng Limbara is also now among the 30 players who have been eliminated today. He got no help with his A♦K♥ against Robert Gorschewsky's 6♠6♣. Quite the contrary, in fact. The flop brought another six, the 6♦ and there was no catching up from there.

6.50pm: Bloch party
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

Jan Bloch now has about 60,000 after he found queens at the same time that Andreas Van Zadelhof was prepared to commit his last 9,875 with A♥9♥. It looked like Van Zadelhof opened, Bloch three-bet the button and then Van Zadelhof under-called all-in. (This all happened before I got there.)

Anyway, what I did see was a board of 4♣K♣2♥J♣4♠ dealt by the dealer and the back of Van Zadelhof's head as he headed for the exit.

6.30pm: The bad good card
Level 8 - Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

Poker is cruel in many ways, and we'll include in that the moment you see a card that improves your hand, but that makes an opponent's even better. Alem Shah will tell you about it, if you dare approach him outside Casino Schenefeld today.

Ismet Oral opened to 1,600 from the button and Shah called in the small blind. The rest of the table left those two to it and they saw a flop of K♠5♠T♣. Shah checked and Oral bet 2,100. Shah found a cheeky-check-raise, making it 7,000, but Oral responded by shoving all in, covering Shah by quite a long way. Shah, however, called for about 15,000 more.

Oral had a big hand pre-flop, K♣K♥, and it had grown bigger with that king on the flop. But it was also vulnerable against a hand like Oral's. He had Q♠9♠. When another spade came on the turn, Oral was immediately delighted. But he whoop soon turned to a whelp when he noticed that the T♠ was actually better for Shah than him.

Shah's turned full house was now unbeatable and the river was irrelevant.

6.05pm: Long tank, fold
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

Omer Yozgat opened to 1,500 from under the gun and Dragan Stankovic called in the cutoff. Then Jesper Feddersen made it 5,425, precisely what Yozgat had behind, and he wasn't prepared to risk it. He folded. Stankovic seemed like he was keen and ate up a good couple of minutes of the clock. But then he folded and no one was any the wiser.

It's tough going for all of them on that table because Anastasios Mastroudis is there, sitting with the first six-figure stack in the room. He has 107,000.

5.55pm: Cooler
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

To anyone still labouring under the misconception that aces versus kings only happens online, and that aces always lose, hear this: I've just watched that very coup play out for the second time today in this live tournament and aces have just held up.

This one started when Pablo Nerro opened to 1,300 from under the gun and Murat Erat called from one seat along. Dirk Suchanek raised to 6,000 from the big blind and that was enough to get Nerro out of the way.

However, Erat wasn't going anywhere. He shoved for 21,275. They only found out the precise amount later because at this stage Suchanek didn't care. He called and showed K♣K♥ but was already in deep trouble against Erat's A♠A♥.

The highest card on an uncoordinated board was a jack and that ended it in Erat's favour. He now has around 50,000 while Suchanek is down to about 16,500.

5.45pm: Two pair twice
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

This hand started off in familiar fashion: a limp-fest all the way around the table. But after Axer Wilhelm tried to end those kinds of shenanigans, he ended up losing the vast majority of his stack.

Jens Christian Nielsen got it started, limping for 600 from under the gun. Dirk Suchanek called too, from the cutoff, and then Pablo Nerro called from the button.

Wilhelm, in the small blind, had clearly seen enough of this. He raised to 2,400 and everyone except Nerro got out of the way.

The flop came A♥4♥6♦ and Wilhelm bet 2,800. Nerro thought about it, then called, leaving himself about 13,500 behind. And Wilhelm asked if he fancied playing for all of it after the 7♠ turn. Wilhelm shoved, covering Nerro by about 10,000.

Nerro called instantly and flipped over A♣7♣. Wilhelm had flopped two pair with his A♠4♠ but was now behind. And the J♣ didn't change that.

Nerro picked up a full double up as the rest of the table learnt a lesson about raising the limpers.

5.35pm: Another six levels left
Level 7 - Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

They're back now from the break and will play another six 45-minute levels until bagging for the night. With only 69 players taking their seat (and registration now closed), we may have only about two tables left by the end of the day.

4.50pm: Break time
Level 6 - Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

That's the half-way point for today and players are now heading for a 45-minute dinner break.

4.45pm: Triple for Schaeunberg
Level 6 - Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

Marcel Schauenberg just pulled off a handy triple up, finding two callers for his shove from the big blind for 4,375. It looked as though Wilhelm Axer had opened from under the gun and Jan Fondermann had either three-bet or called, two seats to Axer's left. Both of them called the shove, so there was betting on the side after a flop of A♥J♥J♠.

Actually, there wasn't that much betting. Axer led for 3,000 and Fondermann instantly folded. However, his Q♣Q♠ was now behind Schauenberg's A♠K♦ and the latter stacked up more than 13,000.

4.25pm: Von Halle puts the hurt on Ince
Level 6 - Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

Jan Von Halle is one of the big stacks now having just put the ultimate beat on Mehmet Ince. That's what they call it when kings crack aces, right?

In fairness, Von Halle did very well to get the maximum here, and also limit his own exposure. Ince opened for a min-plus raise from under the gun and Von Halle three bet his small blind, making it 2,600 to go. Ince four bet to 6,600 and Von Halle opted only to call.

The flop came 9♥K♥9♣ and Von Halle check-called Ince's bet of 5,000. Then both players checked the turn of 8♠. After the 7♥ came on the river, Von Halle announced that he was all-in for a stack almost exactly the same size as Ince's, round about 15,000.

Ince seemed unhappy, but called and only increased his misery. Von Halle showed his K♦K♣ and Ince slapped down his A♥A♠. It got worse. They counted down the stacks and Von Halle's 15,450 was shrapnel more than Ince had.

Ince was sent packing in a fug of red mist.

4pm: New level
Level 6 - Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

They're into Level 6 now, after which there will be a dinner break and the half-way point of proceedings.

3.55pm: Mastoudis up top
Level 5 - Blinds 150/300 (25 ante)

Anastasios Mastroudis has put distance between himself and the field after winning a flip against Tamu Kero to send the Finnish player out the door and the chip-leader's stack to around 61,500.

Mastroudis, who has been opening a lot of pots, got it started with a raise to 700 from under the gun. Robert Forster called in the small blind, but then Kero, in the big blind, wanted to play for more. He raised to 2,800.

Mastroudis wanted to see the size of both his opponents' stacks. He learnt that Forster had about 8,000 and Kero 6,000, a fraction of his 50,000+ holding. He shoved all-in, knowing even defeat would barely make a dent.


Anastasios Mastroudis

Forster folded, but Kero called and this was a race: Mastroudis had 9♦9♠ while Kero had A♥K♣.

This time the pair held. The board ran J♥T♠4♦T♥6♣ and Kero disappeared. Mastroudis assumed the top spot in the embryonic leader board.

3.45pm: Chips
Level 5 - Blinds 150/300 (25 ante)

You hardly need reminding that it's early days in this tournament, approaching the end of Level 5. To date, 67 players have registered and 59 are left, with the hordes expected to descend towards the end of the week.

At present, it looks as though the following have the biggest stacks in the room:

Martin Reckermann - 60,000
Anastasios Mastroudis - 54,000
Kai Munster - 52,000
Urmo Velvelt - 44,000

It really can't stay this peaceful for much longer.

3.30pm: Muscle from Jaksland
Level 5 - Blinds 150/300 (25 ante)

Every second hand seems to feature Michael Witter. Admittedly that was because a glitch in our administrative system earlier meant that I was misidentifying Mehmet Ince as Witter (a problem since resolved) but on the past two passes, the real Witter played hands. But this latest one he lost against Peter Jaksland.

Christopher Schwarz started this one. He limped from under the gun. Witter limped from a couple of seats around, then Jaksland raised to 1,150. Both Schwarz and Witter called and they saw a flop of K♣Q♣8♠. After a couple of checks, Jaksland bet 1,100 and both opponents called.

The 5♦ came on the turn and Schwarz checked again. Witter now bet 2,300 and then called after Jaksland raised to 7,100. (Schwarz folded.) That took them to the river of 6♣. Witter checked, but probably knew he would be facing a bet. Jaksland announced 8,800 and, after checking his stack of about 11,000 behind, Witter folded.

3.15pm: An epidemic of checks
Level 4 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

In common with recent trends on the European Poker Tour, limping has made a big comeback at Eureka Hamburg, at least on the small sample size of the first few levels today. At least three times over the course of wanders around the tournament room today have I seen six players at a flop, all investing the minimum.

On the latest such occasion, Anastasios Mastroudis and Michael Witter were among the throng to a flop of 7♠8♠7♦ and they were among throng to check. Then the 9♥ came on the turn, followed by another epidemic of checking, then the 5♠ came on the river.

This time Mastroudis bet 1,500 and Witter raised to 3,100. That got everyone else out of the way. Mastroudis wasn't going anywhere, however, and he called.

Witter showed J♣T♣ for a turned straight. But Mastroudis had rivered a flush with his A♠4♠.

2.55pm: Ballstadt busts
Level 4 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Christian Ballstadt, who was on the unfortunate end of a boat versus boat collision earlier in the day, is now out.


Christian Ballstadt

2.40pm: Big call for Von Halle
Level 4 - Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Jan Von Halle just made a big call on the river in a pot against Ion Teodor Naicu and ended up chopping it, even though Naicu thought he might be heading out of the door.

It started with a raise to 400 from Naicu and action folded to Von Halle on the button. He called and Mehmet Ince also called from the big blind.

The flop came K♥A♦2♦ and after Ince checked, Naicu bet 700 and only Von Halle called.

After the A♥ came on the turn, Naicu bet again, this time 1,500 and Von Halle peeked down to check his cards again. He called, taking them to the 8♣ on the river. Naicu immediately moved all-in, plonking 8,800 over the line.


Jan Von Halle

Von Halle had him covered, but not by much, and took his time over the decision. Eventually he threw in a call and Naicu flipped A♣4♣. Von Halle tabled his A♠6♦ and Naicu stood up, preparing to leave. But he soon realised that they had chopped it and sat down to play on.

2.15pm: Pauls perishes
Level 3 - Blinds 75/150

Ulrich Pauls has become the second man to be eliminated today. He played the High Roller too yesterday, so may well stick around for a re-entry tomorrow or Friday.

And with that, they're off for the first break of the day. That's three levels done already.

2.10pm: It's always the quiet ones
Level 3 - Blinds 75/150

Miroslav Forman and Mehmet Ince have been at each other's throats for much of the early levels, but when they tangled again in a recent pot, it was the man who had tagged along too, Enteng Limbara, who profited the most.

Ince opened to 300 from under the gun and Forman three-bet to 800 from the cutoff. Limbara, in complete silence, called from the button and then Ince called too.

So, the three of them saw a flop of 4♣2♠7♠ and Ince checked. Forman bet 1,100 and in similar silence, Limbara called. Ince was more flamboyant about his call, flicking in the chips with exaggerated abandon.

All three checked the 3♠ turn but then Ince bet 1,400 at the Q♦ on the river. Forman had seen enough. He folded. But now Limbara came to life. He raised to 4,200.

Ince, evidently fearing that might be about to happen, quickly mucked and Eureka Hamburg's only Indonesian participant (so far) scooped the pot.

2pm: Man down
Level 3 - Blinds 75/150

We've lost one. The first player out is Evgeny Blyumkin who reportedly lost his stack to Robert Gorschewsky. There's still the chance for redemption with a re-entry either tomorrow or on Friday.

1:45pm: Ballstadt gets a let off
Level 3 - Blinds 75/150

On the hand immediately after the huge double up for Dirk Suchanek, he had the chance to knock-out his beleaguered neighbour, Christian Ballstadt. But after opening to 400 from under the gun, Suchanek then folded A♦8♦ face up when Ballstadt shoved for his last 2,725. Ballstadt showed A♣4♥ so would have been in big trouble. As it is, he breathes again.

1:40pm: Breaking Balls(tadt)
Level 3 - Blinds 75/150

Christian Ballstadt was very close to becoming the first man eliminated from this tournament, losing an almighty pot to Dirk Suchanek when both players had a full house. Ballstadt flopped his, Suchanek hit his on the turn, and Ballstadt couldn't find a fold on the river.

It was a pretty weird hand. Suchanek limped from early position and Ballstadt limped one seat behind. Then Kay Di Stefano also limped and so did Jens Nielsen in the small blind, giving Kai Munster an easy check in the big.

The six of them saw a flop of 4♦T♥T♠ and after a couple of checks, Ballstadt bet 200. Suchanek was one of only two others who called.

They all then checked the 9♥ on the turn and the 5♥ came on the river. Suchanek bet 1,100 at it and his neighbour Ballstadt raised to 3,000. After Di Stefano (the other player left) folded, Suchanek, with hands quivering, moved his two stacks of chips over the line, apparently attempting to move all in but accidentally leaving 200 behind.

Ballstadt then went into the tank and questioned aloud whether Suchanek had a full house or had rivered a flush. He said that he too had a full house.


Dirk Suchanek, centre

He nodded to the dealer and said, "Call." Suchanek turned over T♦9♣ and Ballstadt showed his 4♠4♥. That 5♥ on the river had turned out to be the best card in the deck for Suchanek as it gave Ballstadt reason to believe he could be beating a flush.

Suchanek's not-quite shove was 22,375 and he now has double that. Ballstadt was left with a little short of 3,000.

1:25pm: High Roller details
Level 2 - Blinds 50/100

The Main Event will remain the focus of our attention throughout this week, but it's worth mentioning that there is also a €2,000 High Roller event under way. It started yesterday with 49 players (and ten re-entries) and 30 of them remain. They include Dara O'Kearney, who is on a bit of a roll at the moment, and the Team PokerStars Pro George Danzer. Neither have all that many chips and will face an uphill struggle to still be involved when the money kicks in with nine left.

Play starts at 7pm in that one and the (ambitious) plan is to play to a winner tonight. There's €34,330 up for grabs for the winner.

1:20pm: Baumann picks off the bluff
Level 2 - Blinds 50/100

With the player in the big blind absent, the dealer took 100 chips from his stack and practically dangled in front of the other seven at the table as a carrot to go after stealing. Tamu Kero had a crack, raising to 300 from under the gun.

Franz Baumann, in the small blind, was one of two callers who saw a flop of A♠6♦7♠. Baumann checked and Kero bet 500. The decision passed back to Baumann after the third player folded. Baumann called.

The 3♦ came on the turn and Baumann check-called Kero's bet of 1,200.

The 5♥ came on the river and the pattern went through a third iteration. Baumann checked, Kero bet 2,700 and Baumann called. Kero sheepishly tabled K♠T♠ and Baumann's A♣9♠ took it down.

1:05pm: Not quads!
Level 2 - Blinds 50/100

Mehmet Ince showed quads towards the end of the last level when his big river raise got Miroslav Forman to fold. But this time, after a bet on the turn got a similar result, he showed nothing but ace high. (It might still have been good.)

Ince, Forman and Sebastian Esche this time went to the flop with, it seems, Ince the aggressor from the small blind. He squeezed to 850 after Esche, in the cutoff, called Forman's early position open to 300. All three of them saw the flop of 6♦8♥4♣.

Ince and Forman both checked, prompting a bet of 500 from Esche. Ince check-raised to 1,400 and Forman folded, but Esche called.

The Q♣ came on the turn and Ince fired 1,025 at it. Esche quickly folded and Ince tabled his A♦K♦.

12:40pm: Quads!
Level 1 - Blinds 25/50

There was about 6,500 in the pot on Table 6 and two players still with cards: Miroslav Forman and Mehmet Ince. Forman bet 2,200 but saw Ince raise to 7,200. Forman went into the tank, but elected to fold and quickly learnt that he had made a wise decision. Ince couldn't resist flipping over his 3♠3♦ for some early quads.

12:35pm: Batman's wings are clipped
Level 1 - Blinds 25/50

The aforementioned man in a Batman suit is Eugen Baranow, and true to his superhero status he soared early on during Level 1 and was sitting with more than 40,000. He just lost a few of those, however, when Ulrich Pauls took rivered a boat to beat Baranow's trips.


Eugen Baranow: Batman

I'm not sure how it all played out, but with a board reading 6♦J♣4♠6♥5♥, Klaus Hornschuch, who would have been in the big blind, bet 500. Pauls raised to 2,400 and Baranow called. Hornschuch folded.

Baranow turned his 7♣6♠ and had been leading post-flop against Pauls' pocket fives. But that five on the river changed things. It drops Baranow to about 36,000, which is still 11,000 more than he started with, only about 35 minutes ago.

12:30pm: See the flop for free
Level 1 - Blinds 25/50

Kay Di Stefano limped for 50 from early position and that tempted Jens Christian Nielsen to call from the button. Dirk Suchanek likes nothing so much as to see a flop for free from the big blind and he checked his option.

The board brought the 7♠8♥5♣ and both Suchanek and Di Stefano checked. Nielsen tried to pick it up with a bet of 175. But both his opponents wanted to see the turn.

It came J♥ and this time Suchanek's lead--he made it 500--persuaded both of the others to let it go.

12:20pm: Six tables in play
Level 1 - Blinds 25/50

It's a quiet start to this one, in more ways than one. In the traditional poker sense, it's quiet in that only six tables are currently in play. In the literal sense, it's also pin-drop quiet in this tournament room, with only a very limited daytime crowd in attendance.

Suffice to say there are no global superstars in the building yet, with my notebook returning blank from an early sweep of the tournament room. There's a guy who looks a bit like Jack Stanton, my PokerStars Blog colleague; there's a bloke in a Batman suit (that is, a suit with the Batman logo on it, not a mask/cape get-up); and there's a bloke who might have been a bloke I recognised from an EPT event, but turned out not to be. This is why they pay the big money for reporters. This is peerless journalism.


Thomas Stacha, our photographer, said that he recognised Batman bloke, and that there's a Danish guy here who arranges poker tours. "Do you know his name?" "No." There's also a Czech online player, who is "very good" but similarly as yet unidentified. But have no fear, names will be attached to all these fellas very soon.

12:05pm: And off they go
Level 1 - Blinds 25/50

Thomas Lamatsch, tournament director, has instructed his dealers to get the cards in the air and play is now under way. The starting stack is 25,000 and blinds begin at 25/50.

12pm: Another day, another huge PokerStars tournament

Morning all and welcome to sunny Hamburg for the start of the latest Eureka Poker Tour Main Event. We're actually in the suburb of Schenefeld, which I'm going to claim means "sunny field" as that's a lot like what it feels like. This casino, on the outskirts of the northern industrial powerhouse, has one of the rarest commodities in global gaming: natural light. There's a glass roof, an airy atmosphere, and it feels glorious.


Regarding the tournament itself: this is a €1,000 buy-in event with three starting flights. Today is Day 1A, which typically attracts the fewest players. But there's an option to play all three days if you like--if you bust today, you can come back tomorrow. If you bust tomorrow, you can come back on Friday. (However, if you only show up on Friday, that's your lot.)

Last year's hard cap of 200 players per day has increased to 250 this time, so there are hopes that last year's 581 entries will be surpassed. We will only know that when registration closes at the end of Level 6 on Friday.

Today's schedule looks like this: we'll play 12 45-minute levels, with a 45-minute dinner break at the end of Level 6. There's a 15-minute break after Level 3 and Level 9. That should get us out of here at 10:15pm, give or take.

That said, I don't know why anyone would want to leave. We are surrounded by bars and restaurants. We peer over the river Dupenau. And when the sun goes down, we'll be able to peer at the stars, all of us in the gutter. Stand by for the start of the action at noon.

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