EPT12 Grand Final: Allez Kazakhstan! France dominates, but Spin & Go champion holds the hopes

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We are down to six players in the €5,300 main event of the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo®Casino EPT12 Grand Final, and tradition demands at this point that I tell you the name of the chip leader.

But, frankly, to hell with tradition because there’s a bigger story in the offing.

Asan Umarov, a hitherto unheralded player from Amaty, Kazakhstan, is writing himself into the record books. Not only is he the first player from the country to make the final table on the European Poker Tour, but Umarov heads into the final day on the ultimate spin-up.

He was one of a clutch of players to book their trip to Monaco via a Spin & Go satellite on PokerStars. He paid $10 and had to beat a field of three players to get here. Few others can possibly match that for ease of passage.

And now, with six players left, he is guaranteed a payday of at least €170,950. He may yet end up an EPT Grand Final champion, with all but half a dozen of the 1,098-player field vanquished.

To go all the way, he’ll need a bit more good fortune tomorrow, where he will come up against the following players, sitting with the following stacks. The leader, as you can see, is Adrien Allain from France, leading his countryman by the narrowest of margins.

Final table line-up:

Seat 1 – Jimmy Guerrero, France, 11,480,000
Seat 2 – Pierre Calamuso, France, 2,235,000
Seat 3 – Adrien Allain, France, 11,815,000
Seat 4 – Oren Rosen, Israel, 2,315,000
Seat 5 – Jan Bendik, Slovakia, 2,625,000
Seat 6 – Asan Umarov, Kazakhstan, 2,235,000

It’s a pretty unfamiliar line up there, we have to agree. Bendik is a former EPT Player of the Year, but is at his first main event final table. Antoine Saout, a former November Niner, went out in seventh.

It’s also a French-heavy final, which is great for our hosts, especially as this is officially a stop on the France Poker Series.

Plenty of top names fell by the wayside today as we cut an overnight field of 28 down to that final six. Vanessa Selbst, Kyle Frey, Benjamin Pollak, Ariel Celestino, Joao Vieira and Dario Sammartino all hit the rail.

Check out the payouts page to see where they all finished, and scroll through the blow-by-blow action below to see how it all panned out.

The €25,000 high roller plays on, so join Nick Wright and Jack Stanton over there. (Where? There. Or here. But not here.)

We’ll be back tomorrow to crown a champion. Coverage will start in synch with EPT Live from 2pm.


1am: No go for the November Niner
Level 30 – Blinds 50,000/100,000 (10,000 ante)

Antoine Saout has become our last man out tonight, jamming with [5s][5h] for 1.525 million and slamming into Adrien Allain’s [js][jh]. Allaine opened to 250,000 from the button and Saout, with a micro-stack, had little choice in the small blind.

There was nothing to help him on flop, turn or river and Saout’s departure ends our day. A full wrap, with full chip stacks, is imminent. — HS

12:49am: Cooler in the blinds costs Calamusa
Level 30 – Blinds 50,000/100,000 (10,000 ante)

Pierre Calamusa lost more chips to neighbour Adrien Allain in a cooler in the blinds.

He limped in with [ah][7d] and Allain checked his option in the big blind with [4h][3h]. The flop came [5c][7h][2h] and Calamusa led for 125,000. Call. The [ad] tunr was gin for Allain and he raised to 800,000 after facing a 300,000 bet. Calamusa called and then snap check-called 1.5 million on the [kd] river. Allain showed him the bad news and he mucked and dropped to 2.7million. Allain rocketed to 9.5 million. –MC

12:40am: Guerrero damages Umarov’s dream
Level 30 – Blinds 50,000/100,000 (10,000 ante)

Asan Umarov’s Spin & Go dream is still alive, but he has just learnt a valuable lesson about the cruelty of high-stakes, high-pressure poker, losing a huge pot to Jimmy Guerrero.

The chip leading Guerrero opened to 235,000 from under the gun with [8s][7s]. It’s the kind of thing you can do with a hand like that when you have 10 million plus.

Umarov, with about 3.8 million, called in the big blind with [ac][ts] and must have been delighted with the [ks][as][th] flop. Umarov check-called Guerrero’s 275,000 bet.

The [6d] fell on the turn and Umarov remained passive. He check-called Guerrero’s bet of 675,000.

This is where it got cruel: the [6s] fell on the river and that filled Guerrero’s flush. Umarov checked again and Guerrero this time also checked, fearing a full house.

There’s an argument that Umarov should have pushed his two pair harder, but there’s a really good chance he would now be out had he done so.

Guerrero has 11.7 million now and Umarov is now the short stack. — HS

12:30am: Position is power
Level 30 – Blinds 50,000/100,000 (10,000 ante)

„Power of position, everybody!“ said Stapes on EPTLive after Adrien Allain showed his class in position to oust his fellow Frenchman Pierre Calamusa off a better hand.

Calamusa opened to 225,000 with [td][8c] and Allain called behind with [ac][qc]. The board ran out [7h][8d][9h][kh][th] with Calamusa checking every street to Allain who bet 225,000, 575,00 and 800,000 on each street. Calamusa stuck around to the river where he made a quick check-fold. — MC

12:12am: Calamusa into third after blind battle
Level 30 – Blinds 50,000/100,000 (10,000 ante)

Pierre Calamusa has moved up to third with 5.46 million after winning a battle of the blinds with Jimmy Guerrero, who dropped to 10.4 million.

Guerrero opened to 275,000 from the small blind and Calamusa defended his big blind to see a [8s][kd][kc] flop. The action checked to the [5d] turn where Guerrero check-called 250,000. The board completed with the [3s] and he the chip leader check-folded to a 425,000 bet with [ad][4d]. Calamusa held [7h][7s]. –MC

12am: Bendik wins with the worst of it
Level 30 – Blinds 50,000/100,000 (10,000 ante)

Jan Bendik and Oren Rosen have swapped places in the counts after the former got the latter off the best hand.

Rosen opened to 225,000 off the button and Bendik called from the small blind. The flop fell [3d][ah][ks] and Bendik led for 280,000 with pocket sixes. Rosen had [kc][9c] for second pair but didn’t fancy it and folded. –MC

30 50,000 100,000 10,000

11:36pm: Break time
The players are on their last break of the night. One more elimination, or one more level to come. Here’s how they stack up:

1: Jimmy Guerrero – 11.120 million
2: Pierre Calamusa – 4.915 million
3: Adrien Allain – 6.865 million
4: Antoine Saout – 1.530 million
5: Oren Rosen – 2.425 million
6: Ben Phillips – ninth place
7: Jan Bendik – 2.095 million
8: Asan Umarov – 3.770 million
9: Dario Sammartino – eighth place

11:35pm: Dario Sammartino gets in it good but can’t hold and goes in 8th for €91,860
Level 29 – Blinds 40,000/80,000 (10,000 ante)

Dario Sammartino and his star-studded rail were left hugely disappointed just now with the elimination of the Itlalain pro. He got it in good, went behind, had a draw to the world, but hit the moon.

Asan Umarov opened to 175,000 from the cutoff and then made a considered call after Sammartino three-bet all-in from the next seat for 1.205 million.

Umarov: [ah][th]
Sammartino: [ad][qd]

The board ran [8d][tc][9d][7s][kc] to pair up the Kazak’s kicker. –MC

11:20pm: Calamusa dents Sammartino’s hopes
Level 29 – Blinds 40,000/80,000 (10,000 ante)

Dario Sammartino has dropped down to 1.37million after Pierre Calamusa flopped a set in a three-bet pot to beat his second pair.

The Italian opened to 160,000 with [ad][th] and called after he was three-bet to 480,000 with [2d][2c]. He check-called another 375,000 on the [tc][2s][8d] flop and 765,000 on the [qh] turn. The board got wetter with the [9d] river and that may have helped Sammartino as Calmusa checked behind. Calamusa’s stack rose to 5.075 million. –MC

11:09pm: Guerrero finds an equaliser
Level 29 – Blinds 40,000/80,000 (10,000 ante)

Jimmy Guerrero got his own back on Dario Sammartino after he picked off the Italian’s bluff.

Sammartino opened to 160,000 from the hijack and Guerrero was the only caller from the next seat. Sammartino continued for 120,000 on a [4s][5h][6h] flop and was called. The turn was the [2s] and was checked through to the [6c] river where Sammartino led for 245,000. Guerrero smiled, thought for a moment and called with [ad][qh], good to beat his opponent’s [jd][td]. He extended his lead as he moved up to 10.42 million. –MC

10:56pm: Sammartino takes some off the leader
Level 29 – Blinds 40,000/80,000 (10,000 ante)

Dario Sammartino is one of the most aggressive players left in but the final table draw has done him no favours at all. Being to the right of the huge chip leader (Jimmy Guerrero) means it would be poker suicide to play his natural game until two or three more players bust.

A nice run out just now though meant he could confidently value bet river. He didn’t get a call but the pot win was enough to see him rise to 3.4miilion and Guerrero drop to 9.85 million.

Guerrero opened to 170,000 from under the gun, a bet that was only called by Sammartino in the big blind. The flop fanned [3d][2s][qs] and Sammartino check-called 185,000 before the [ad] turn was checked through. The Italian bet 390,000 on the [9s] river with his [ah][3d] and Guerrero binned his [8c][8s]. — MC

10:40pm: Limp flop flush
Level 29 – Blinds 40,000/80,000 (10,000 ante)

Jimmy Guerrero is into eight figures. He has 10.225 million after taking a weird line with [6d][3d] and getting a great run-out to take a bunch from Jan Bendik.

Guerrero limped from early position with that suited two-gapper and it persuaded Oren Rosen to call from the small blind with [7c][5s] and Jan Bendik to check his option with [kd][jc].

The three of them went to a flop of [ad][td][jd] and that gave Guerrero a flush and Bendik a royal flush draw. More chips were certain to go in.

Rosen and Bendik checked, but Guerrero bet 100,000. Rosen let it go but Bendik called.

The [ts] came on the turn and Bendik now took over the betting. He bet 365,000. Guerrero called.

The [qs] hit and missed Bendik. It gave him a straight, but it was still behind Guerrero’s flush. It meant he could only check-call when Guerrero bet 425,000. He then saw the bad news.

Guerrero moved to 10.225 million, which is the best part of 8 million more than Bendik has. — HS

10:22pm: Rosen a risen
Level 29 – Blinds 40,000/80,000 (10,000 ante)

Oren Rosen has risen to 2.72 million after straightening out Jan Bendik in a three-bet pot.

He opened to 135,000 from the button and took his time in calling a Bendik three-bet to 465,000 from the big blind. The flop came out [jd][td][ah] and was checked through to the [8h] turn. It wasn’t a good board for Bendik’s [5s][5h] and he check-folded to a 480,000 bet. Good job too as Rosen had a straight with [qs][9s]. –MC

10pm: Saout survives
Level 29 – Blinds 40,000/80,000 (10,000 ante)

Antoine Saout found [ah][td] in the big blind and a raiser in front of him. It was Pierre Calamusa on the button with [as][5h]. Saout shoved for 1.070 million, Calamusa called and the dominating ace only grew stronger when there was the [tc] on the turn.

That doubles Saout to 2.13 million and keeps us eight-handed. The idea is to play two more levels (including this one) to to six players, whichever comes soonest. — HS

10pm: Back to it
Level 29 – Blinds 40,000/80,000 (10,000 ante)

They’re back from the break, full of food, booze, nicotine or, in rare cases, fresh air a joie de vivre. — HS

9:51pm: Break time

The plan was to push straight on through to level 29 but Jimmy Guerrero requested a break, so that means we’re all having a ten-minute break. Click the chip count tab for the current standings. –MC

9:50pm: Saout cut adrift
Level 28 – Blinds 30,000/60,000 (10,000 ante)

Antoine Saout became the shortest stack after the elimination of Ben Phillips and he’s dropped below 20 big blinds after being raised off a pot by Jan Bendik.

Saout opened to 135,000 from early postion and the Slovakian was the only caller from the cutoff. The flop came [7d][6c][5h] and Saout took his time before continuing for 145,000. He took no time in folding though when Bendik raised to 525,000. –MC

9:35pm: Phillips busts in ninth, winning €71,620
Level 28 – Blinds 30,000/60,000 (10,000 ante)

Ben Phillips is out. The final British player–in fact, the final native English speaker in the field–has hit the rail in ninth.

Pierre Calamusa opened to 135,000 from UTG+2 and action folded to Phillips on the button. He found [kd][js] and moved all in for his last 1.070 million.

The decision passed back to Calamusa and, with a stack of 3 million, he opted to call. Oh yeah, he had [6h][6d].

The dealer didn’t take too long to run through a board of [tc][4h][8h][td][4c] and that was the end of the road for Phillips.

Calamusa moves beyond 5 million. — HS

9:25pm: AA flops JJJ
Level 28 – Blinds 30,000/60,000 (10,000 ante)

A mis-step here from our Spin & Go winner, who just got unlucky to go behind in a hand against Adrien Allain and then paid off one street of value. It could have been worse, mind you.

Umarov opened to 125,000 from mid-position and Allain called in the small blind. Umarov had [7s][7c] and Allain had [kc][js] so there’s nothing wrong with any of that.

The flop came [jd][jc][4d], which was tremendous for Allain. He bet 300,000 at it. Umarov wasn’t convinced that there were trips out there, so he called. And that took them to the [3c] turn.

Allain bet at that again and, after a minute or so in the tank, Umarov found a fold. — HS

9:20pm: Calamusa wins first showdown pot
Level 28 – Blinds 30,000/60,000 (10,000 ante)

After a cagey first few hands, Pierre Calamusa won the first pot that went to a river showdown.

He was in the small blind and called a 140,000 raise from Oren Rosen in early position. To be fair this hand was pretty cagey as well, as the flop and turn were checked through so it took until the river of a [6d][5s][5d][ah][8c] board before any more chips were committed. Calamus led for 250,000 and Rosen tank called.

Calamusa opened [as][8s] for two pair, beating out Rosen’s worse two pair with [ad][7d]. –MC

9pm: Play resumes
Level 28 – Blinds 30,000/60,000 (10,000 ante)

Players are back in their seats for the final 45 minutes of level of 28. The big blinds of the players range from 20bb (Ben Phillips) all the way up to 148bb (Jimmy Guerrero). Every player left is guaranteed €71,620 but only eight will make the official final table. –MC

7:35pm: Last table draw
Level 28 – Blinds 30,000/60,000 (10,000 ante)

Tournament organisers have done the redraw and here’s how our final nine will line up:

1: Jimmy Guerrero – 8.925 million
2: Pierre Calamusa – 2.740 million
3: Adrien Allain – 5.680 million
4: Antoine Saout – 1.320 million
5: Oren Rosen – 3.030 million
6: Ben Phillips – 1.250 million
7: Jan Bendik – 3.820 million
8: Asan Umarov – 3.130 million
9: Dario Sammartino – 2.825 million

They are now heading to a 75-minute dinner break. We’ll return at 8:45pm to play down to six. — HS

7:30pm: Abduraimov doubles down, then out in tenth
Level 28 – Blinds 30,000/60,000 (10,000 ante)

After a slow start to the level, the action suddenly turned up to 11. Adrien Allain doubled to 5.82 million through Enver Abduraimov, who busted a few hands later.

Allain opened to 135,000 from the hijack before Abduraimov three-bet to 300,000 from the next seat. Allain came back with a four-bet to 775,000 and was called in a flash.

The flop fell [3d][7d][2s] and Allain continued for 500,000. Abduraimov raised 1.2 million and called when Allin shoved for 2.065 million.

Allain: [as][ah]
Abduraimov: [7c][6c]

The board ran out [4c] and then [ad].

Shortly afterwards Abduraimov moved all-in for 1.01 million and was called by Asan Umarov in the big blind.

Umarov: [qs][qh]
Abduraimov: [as][kd]

It was the El Classico of races and the board came [9d][jh][7h][6h][8h] to end the Ukrainian’s tournament. –MC

7:10pm: Slow playing?
Level 28 – Blinds 30,000/60,000 (10,000 ante)

A couple of the players at the „new“ outer table have raised concerns that they’ll naturally be playing more hands than the TV table, and because of the pay jump between ninth and 10th, that puts them at a disadvantage.

Kate Badurek, the tournament supervisor, assured the players that she’s tracking the hands to make sure the pace of play stays even. We’re not sure her statements were full believed as play has continued to be very slow–five hands played over the first 30 minutes of the level–with zero showdowns. –MC

7pm: Aissani eliminated in 11th
Level 28 – Blinds 30,000/60,000 (10,000 ante)

We are down to 10 players, with the short-stacked Mohamed Aissani the latest to fall. His timing was well off here as, with [qh][th], he opened to 135,000 pre-flop and then called Jimmy Guerrero’s three-bet to 375,000. Guerrero, with the huge stack, also had the huge hand. It was [qs][qd].

The flop just made things worse. It was [qc][3d][6h], so although Aissani had top pair, Guerrero had top set. Aissani checked, Guerrero continued for 125,000 and Aissani check-raised. Guerrero called.

The [2d] came on the turn and Aissani shoved for 615,000 drawing dead. Guerrero called and that was the end of Aissani. He takes €500 shy of €60,000. — HS

6:55pm: Bend it like Bendik
Level 28 – Blinds 30,000/60,000 (10,000 ante)

Jan Bendik may look like he’s not the kind of player to get involved pre-flop with [4c][2c], especially after a raise. But Jan Bendik is not the kind of player he looks like.

Action folded on the feature table to Ori Rosen in the small blind and he raised to 140,000 with [ad][3s]. Despite that suited four-high, Bendik called from the big blind and they went to a flop of [6d][5d][8d].

Rosen checked his nut flush draw, but Bendik bet his gutshot. He made it 160,000 to play. Rosen called.

The turn hit Bendik. It was the [7h]. Both players checked. The [7s] came on the river and now Rosen bet 360,000. Bendik just called and was good. — HS

28 30,000 60,000 10,000

6:25pm: Break time
Level 27 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (5,000 ante)

Let’s take 20 minutes folks.

6:20pm: Lots of action to end the level
Level 27 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (5,000 ante)

It was a down and up finish to the level for Jan Bendik. When he got down Jimmy Guerrero was up, and when he was up, Mohamed Aissani was down.

The action was three-way to the turn where the board read [6s][10s][8h][5c] and Oren Rosen bet out for 180,000 from the small blind.

Bendik called from the small blind and then Guerrero raised to 750,000. Only Bendik called to the [qs] river where he checked to face a 1.5 million bet. He called quickly and then angrily mucked upon seeing Guerrero’s [ks][5s]. That put Guerrro up to 7.2 million.

Bendik still looked frustrated when slammed an all-in (1.845 million) in from the small blind the very next hand. Aissani had opened to 110,000 and was called by Guerrero, before Bendik made his move. Aissani called and that was enough to scare off Guerrero.

Bendik: [jc][jd]
Aissani: [td][th]

The board ran [6s][as][4d][2d][9h] and Bendik pumped both fists in silence.

The players are now on a 20-minute break, check out the full chip counts by clicking through to our chip count page. –MC

6:10pm: Calamusa four-bets tens
Level 27 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (5,000 ante)

Enver Abduraimov opened to 125,000 from early position with [ad][9d] but Ben Phillips wanted to play for more with [ac][6c]. He raised to 275,000 from the button.

Phillips has really toiled in this level, continually running his moves into legitimate hands elsewhere. Such was the case when Pierre Calamusa woke up with [th][tc] in the big blind. Calamusa four-bet to 600,000.

Abduraimov folded and, eventually, so did Phillips. — HS

6pm: Sammartino’s comeback continues
Level 27 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (5,000 ante)

Dario Sammartino’s comeback continues apace. He just took a decent sized pot from Asan Umarov.

Umarov opened with [as][jh] and Sammartino defended his big blind with [ks][8s]. The flop helped Sammartino when it came [kc][5h][2s], but both players checked, but then Sammartino bet 125,000 on the [4d] turn.

Umarov felt like getting tricky. He raised to 500,000. But Sammartino wasn’t buying it. He called.

The [kh] came on the river and Sammartino checked, trying to goad Umarov into firing out again. But he didn’t go for it this time, meekly mucking when Sammartino showed his king.

Sammartino is building back. He has 2.58 million now. — HS

5:50pm: Sammartino doubles through Phillips
Level 27 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (5,000 ante)

Dario Sammartino now has more than 2 million after getting a double up through Ben Phillips. Action folded to Sammartino in the small blind and he completed. Phillips, in the big blind, shoved with the covering stack and Sammartino called off for his tournament life.

Sammartino had 1.1 million and [as][js]. Phillips had about 2.8 million and [8c][7d]. The board ran [qs][jc][qc][5s][7c] and that meant a double for Sammartino.

Phillips, who drops to 1.7 million, is now the short stack at the table. — HS

5:40pm: Sammartino continues to shove
Level 27 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (5,000 ante)

Enver Abduraimov opened from early position with [kd][tc] but then faced an all-in re-raise from Dario Sammartino with [as][kh]. Abduraimov asked for a count, learning it was 975,000. „Another time,“ Abduraimov said as he folded. — HS

5:35pm: Party at Jimmy’s
Level 27 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (5,000 ante)

Jimmy Guerrero is the player pushing the action the most at the outer table. It’s working for him too, as his stack has grown to 4.5 milllion without showing down much.

He three-bet to 300,000 after Oren Rosen opened to 125,000 from first position. Rosen called and both players checked the [td][jd][js] flop. The turn was the [3c] and Guerrero led for 425,000 and then flashed the [ad] when Rosen folded.

Two hands later, Antoine Saout raised to 125,000 from under the gun and folded after Guerrero three-bet to 300,000 off the button. — MC

5:30pm: Calamusa bluffs himself into danger
Level 27 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (5,000 ante)

Of all the players left at the feature table, Pierre Calamusa is being the most creative by far. But his trickery just got him into trouble when he ran into a flopped set of sixes in the hand of Asan Abduraimov.

Abduraimov opened from early position with [6s][6d] and Calamusa three-bet from the button with not-a-misprint [7d][3s].

The board brought the [6h][js][4h] and Abduraimov checked. Calamusa bet 115,000 and now Abduraimov raised. He made it 315,000. But Calamusa wasn’t done. He three bet to 900,000.

Abduraimov sighed, rubbed his hands on his legs, looked terribly uncomfortable and then raised all in. Calamusa read the signals and folded. –HS

5:20pm: Jacks prove difficult to play as Loc Tu goes in 12th
Level 27 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (5,000 ante)

Loc Tu got himself into a pickle out of position and ended up calling off even though it looked as if he knew he was behind.

Oren Rosen opened to 120,000 from the cutoff and called after Tu three-bet to 290,000 from the small blind. The flop fell [5s][3h][ad] and Tu led for 365,000, leaving himself just 525,000 back. Rosen wasted little time in moving a big stack of chips over the line. It was enough to set Tu in and he went deep into the tank. After several minutes he slid the rest of his chips forward.

Tu: [jh][jd]
Rosen: [ah][ts]

The board ran out [7s][8d] and Rosen jumped up to 3.5 million. Tu’s $10 party ends with €53,310.

„If he three-bet all-in before the flop, would you have called?“ asked an intrigued Antoine Saout from across the table.

„No, probably not,“ came the reply. –MC

5:13pm: Calamusa’s strong arm
Level 27 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (5,000 ante)

Pierre Calamusa is keeping Ben Phillips honest. After Phillips opened from early position with [kh][7d], making it 115,000, Calamusa three-bet to 320,000 from the button with [qs][tc].

Phillips folded and Calamusa got away with that. –HS

5:10pm: Sammartino clinging on
Level 27 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (5,000 ante)

Dario Sammartino shoved his last 13 big blinds with [ah][th] and, well, it got through. He now has 15 big blinds. –HS

5pm: Two coolers send Vieira home in an unlucky 13th
Level 27 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (5,000 ante)

When it’s not your day, it’s not your day. Joao Vieira got his stack in twice with monsters and lost both times.

He raised to 115,00 from the hijack and was called by Oren Rosen in the small blind before Jan Bendik squeezed to 365,000 from the big blind. Viera shoved and Bendik called after Rosen folded.

Bendik: [ac][as]
Viera: [ah][ks]

The board ran [9d][8s][qh][7s][8h]. Bendik jumped up to 1.35 million whereas Vieira was left with 550,000.

Two hands later Vieira was under the gun and opened to 110,000. Jimmy Guerrero three-bet to 260,000 from two seats along and snapped Vieira’s four-bet all-in.

Vieira: [kc][kd]
Guerrero: [as][kh]

The board came [9s][4h][9c][ah][2h] and Guerrero moved up to 3.6 million. A very cruel end for Vieira who was one of the stars of the main event yesterday. –MC

4:55pm: Back to it
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000-50,000 (5,000 ante)

There are 13 players left, entering Level 27. — HS

27 25,000 50,000 5,000

4:35pm: Break time
Level 26 – Blinds 20,000-40,000 (5,000 ante)

That’s the end of Level 26. Pierre Calamusa is the new chip leader. The full counts are now on the chip-count page.

4:30pm: Double for Umarov
Level 26 – Blinds 20,000-40,000 (5,000 ante)

Asan Umarov just doubled up through Adrien Allain, flopping a set, turning a full house and rivering a bigger boat.

It played out as follows: Allain opened from under the gun and picked up three callers: Dario Sammartino in the cutoff, Umarov in the small blind and Pierre Calamusa in the big.

The flop brought the [7s][qs][3h] and that helped two of them — Umarov with [3s][3c] and Allain with [9s][8s] — but was indifferent to Calamusa with [5c][4h] and Sammartino with [kc][jc].

Umarov checked his set, as did Calamusa with his air. Allain bet 180,000 with his flush draw and Sammartino folded. Umarov then shoved, a total of 930,000, and after Calamusa got out of the way, Allain was priced in to call.

The [7d] on the turn gave Umarov his unbeatable boar, and there was another seven on the river to make it bigger.

That was the last hand before the break. — HS

4:25pm: Sammartino short
Level 26 – Blinds 20,000-40,000 (5,000 ante)

Enver Abduraimov took a nibble from Dario Sammartino’s stack when each of them picked up pocket pairs in the blinds. Abduraimov had [8h][8d] while Sammartino had [3s][3h] and, after calling a pre-flop raise and a post-flop c-bet, Sammartino managed to find a fold on the river. Good timing too. By that point Abduraimov had a set.

Dario Sammartino now has about 14 big blinds. — HS

4:15pm: Loc Tu’s tournament spins on
Level 26 – Blinds 20,000-40,000 (5,000 ante)

Loc Tu, the Spin & Go winner, continues his dream tournament. He got all of his chips in pre-flop with [qs][qd] and picked up a call from Oren Rosen, with [4c][4d].

It looked like his luck might run out when the flop brought the [4c] (as well as the [5h] and [8h]). But the [qh] on the turn put Tu back ahead. The [3s] completed the board. — HS

4:05pm: Down to 14…make that 13
Level 26 – Blinds 20,000-40,000 (5,000 ante)

All of a sudden we’re down to 13 as a player went out from each of the two remaining tables.

Andy Andrejevic shoved with pocket tens but ran into Antoine Saout’s pocket jacks. Andrejevic was short and those hands played themselves. There was nothing on the board for the under-pair and Andrejevic hit the rail.

On the feature table, Thi Xoa Nguyen open-shoved for 490,000 with [kh][3h] but she hit a wall in the form of Ben Phillips and his [ah][js]. There was an ace on the flop and Nguyen was drawing dead on the turn. — HS

4pm: Ace-high loses
Level 26 – Blinds 20,000-40,000 (5,000 ante)

Pierre Calamusa just won a small pot, raising from the hijack with [qd][ts] and finding a customer in the shape of Dario Sammartino in the big blind with [ad][4c].

The both checked the flop of [8h][2s][7c] and then also the [9h] on the turn. The [qs] on the river gave Calamusa a come-from-behind top par and he bet 95,000 after Sammartino’s check.

Sammartino didn’t want to fold. He took a long time over a decision for not quite 1/15th of his chips, before he eventually called. Sammartino’s Ace-high was not good. — HS

3:55pm: Play begins
Level 26 – Blinds 20,000-40,000 (5,000 ante)

Off they go again. We’re now reporting on a 30-minute delay to synch us up with EPT Live.

3:30pm: Penultimate re-draw
Level 26 – Blinds 20,000-40,000 (5,000 ante)

Table Seat Name Country Chips
1 1 Loc Tu Canada 770,000
1 2 Dario Sammartino Italy 1,625,000
1 3 Ben Philipps UK 2,585,000
1 4 Asan Umarov Kazakhstan 1,075,000
1 5 Pierre Calamusa France 3,785,000
1 6 Adrien Allain France 4,465,000
1 7 Enver Abduraimov Ukraine 1,135,000
1 8 Thi Xoa Nguyen France 585,000
2 1 Antoine Saout France 2,525,000
2 2 Joao Vieira Portugal 2,575,000
2 3 Mohamed Aissani France 3,525,000
2 4 Jimmy Guerrero France 1,470,000
2 5 Oren Rosen Israel 3,050,000
2 6 Jan Bendik Slovakia 2,155,000
2 7 Andy Andrejevic USA 1,285,000
2 8 Empty  

2:50pm: Extended break
Level 26 – Blinds 20,000-40,000 (5,000 ante)

There will now be a break lasting roughly 50 minutes. The TV crew will take the opportunity to take green-screen shots of the remaining players while the re-draw takes place, and that should take around 20 minutes. Then our coverage will fall in line with EPT Live coverage, which is broadcast on a 30-minute delay, to keep everything spoiler free. –MC

2:48pm: Celestino falls to Saout
Level 26 – Blinds 20,000-40,000 (5,000 ante)

Before the last two table re-draw could take place there was time for one more elimination, and it was the last Brazilian in the field who fell.

Antoine Saout opened the pot with a button raise to 80,000 and Ariel Celestino defended his big blind. Both players checked the [ah][qd][7c] flop before Celestino check-called a delayed 100,000 c-bet on the [2h] turn. The board filled up with the [kc] and Celestino checked to face an all-in bet. His (400k) was the effective stack and after two minutes thinking he slammed them down in a calling montion.

Saout opened [qc][2c] which was good to beat Celestino’s [kh][9h]. Saout moved up to around 2.55 million. –MC

2:35pm: Sperling finally succumbs
Level 26 – Blinds 20,000-40,000 (5,000 ante)

We are down to 16 in the main event after Fabio Sperling’s long vigil comes to an end. He shoved in two consecutive hands, the first time getting it through against Andy Andrejevic, the second time getting a call from Pierre Calamusa.

Sperling actually looked pretty good at the beginning. He had [kh][kd] to Calamusa’s [ad][jh]. But the [ah] on the flop, between the [5s] and the [5d] swung the pendulum into Calamusa’s direction, and the turn ([td]) and river ([7c]) ended it.

Sperling’s departure in 17th means the remaining players will now consolidate around two tables and there will be a full redraw. Details will be forthcoming when it’s done. — HS

2:20pm: Pecheux departs
Level 26 – Blinds 20,000-40,000 (5,000 ante)

Erwann Pecheux is out. He only had 460,000 in his stack, or 11.5 big blinds, and open shoved from early position with [ad][8d]. Action folded to Adrien Allain, who not only had about a billion chips, but also [kd][ks]. It was an easy call and the kings held, even though the board got progressively more tempting to the suited ace. It ran [2d][ts][8s] | [4d] | [9s]. Pechaux is out.

At roughly the same time, there was an elimination from the feature table too. Watch EPT Live to see who it was and how it happened. — HS

2pm: Full counts
Level 26 – Blinds 20,000-40,000 (5,000 ante)

The chip-count page is up to date with accurate counts from the remaining 19 players. Kiryl Radzivonau went out in 20th place just before the break.

Here are the top five stacks:

Name Country Status Chips
Adrien Allain France   4,205,000
Joao Vieira Portugal PokerStars qualifier 3,115,000
Mohamed Aissani France Live satellite winner 2,895,000
Jan Bendik Slovakia Live satellite winner 2,450,000
Ben Philipps UK PokerStars qualifier 2,310,000

26 20,000 40,000 5,000

1:40pm: Sperling ends the level with a double
Level 25 – Blinds 15,000-30,000 (4,000 ante)

Fabio Sperling continues to fly the flag for Germany at the EPT Grand Final. He doubled up on one of the last hands before the break. Action folded to Adrien Allain in the small blind and he shoved, covering Sperling’s stack by a factor of more than 10.

Sperling found [ah][th] and called. He was ahead of Allain’s [kh][3s] and the board ran [5c][2s][ts][8c][7s]. Sperling now has 700,000 chips.– HS

1:35pm: Andrejevic put through the wringer
Level 25 – Blinds 15,000-30,000 (4,000 ante)

Andy Andrejevic is being forced to pick his spots, but he’s not always finding the right ones. Or maybe he is. It’s tough to know.

He just got involved in two recent pots in late position, both of which he lost. But if poker is all about minimising losses as much as maximising gains, then perhaps he played these two hands perfectly.

The first one came about when he opened to 65,000 from the button and was as shocked as anyone to see Kiryl Radzivonau move all in from the small blind. Radzivonau had about 880,000 behind, which was less than Andrejevic’s near 2 million stack, but still a sizeable chunk.

Andrejevic folded after a long time thinking about it–„I can’t believe you have it,“ Andrejevic said, despite the fold–and that prompted a grilling from Pierre Calamusa.

„What did you have?“ Calamusa said.
„A big hand,“ is all Andrejevic would allow.
„Eights or nines?“
„Bigger,“ Andrejevic said.
„Kings?“ The table chuckled.
„Queens,“ Andrejevic said.
„Queens. Right,“ Calamusa said. (I don’t think he really believed him.)

Andrejevic got back on the horse the very next hand when he raised to 65,000 from the cutoff. This time there was no bother from Radzivonau, but Adrien Allain’s call from the big blind took them to the [7c][9c][2h] flop. Both players checked.

The [qh] came on the turn and Allain bet 80,000 at it. Andrejevic called. Then the [9d] came on the river and Allain bet 275,000. Andrejevic went into the tank again but this time called.

Allain showed him the bad news. He had [ah][9h] and Andrejevic folded. Allain now has about 4.4 million. Andrejevic has 1.4 million. — HS

1:25pm: Bendik doubles Abduraimov as Andrejevic takes out Chauskin
Level 25 – Blinds 15,000-30,000 (4,000 ante)

The two outer tables vied for the media’s attention as two all-in and calls happened at the same time. Enver Abduraimov ended up doubling, whereas Natan Chauskin’s all-in luck came to and end.

Jan Bendik opened to 65,000 from second position and called after Abduraimov three-bet all-in for 550,000 from the small blind. Abduraimov’s [ad][kc] was dominating his opponent’s [ac][qd] and it stayed ahead way through the [5c][9h][7d][ts][jc] board.

Over on the other table, Chauskin moved all-in for 312,000 and was called by Andy Andrejevic in the big blind.

Chauskin: [ac][jd]
Andrejevic: [kd][qc]

The Belarusian had got his chips in good but couldn’t hold as the board ran out [js][8d][7h][qd][4s]. Andrejevic, who won the super high roller tournament at the ACOP championships in Macau last November, saw his stack rise to almost 2 million. –MC

1:11pm: Selbst departs
Level 25 – Blinds 15,000-30,000 (4,000 ante)

Mohamed Aissani has ended the PokerStars party at the EPT Grand Final. He knocked out Vanessa Selbst when his [ac][9d] stayed good against Selbst’s [ah][5h] on the feature table. That siren you hear sounds at the moment the final member of Team PokerStars Pro departs. — HS

1:10pm: Thirteen lucky stars
Level 25 – Blinds 15,000-30,000 (4,000 ante)

Natan Chauskin is the other tiny stack at Fabio Sperling’s table and he must have counted his lucky stars when he found [kh][kd] a moment ago. He shoved for 316,000 but absolutely nobody called, so he tossed those useless cowboys face up on the table. — HS

1pm: Tense times for Fabio Sperling
Level 25 – Blinds 15,000-30,000 (4,000 ante)

Fabio Sperling is trying to get himself out of the short-stack hole, but nothing quite seems to be going for him at present. At time of writing, he is still in. But that may change any time soon.

On a board of [kd][ts][4c][jc][th] and a pot of 500,000, Sperling checked and then faced a shove from Pierre Calamusa to his left. Calamusa had about 850,000 at this stage to Sperling’s 350,000, so Sperling was under threat. He folded.

Not long after, Sperling found himself under the gun and he open-shoved for his last 315,000. It folded all the way round, so he picked up some blinds and antes.

Sperling was in the big blind next hand and this one got a little more interesting. Loc Tu, who is one of the quieter players at the table, opened to 68,000 from the cutoff and action folded through the mighty-stacked Adrien Allain to Sperling.

Sperling called. That took them to a flop of [7s][4s][qh] and Sperling checked. Tu followed up with a bet of 70,000, which Sperling called, and then they saw the [ks] on the turn. Sperling checked again and now Tu moved all in, covering Sperling.

Clinging on appears to be the name of the game for Sperling as he folded again. — HS

12:50pm: Sammartino’s at it again as he cracks Pollock’s aces
Level 25 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (4,000 ante)

Dario Sammartino’s progress is firmly on the up after he cracked Benjamin Pollock’s aces to send him home.

The action folded around to the aggressive Italian in the cutoff and he opened to 62,000. Pollak was on the button and three-bet to 145,000. Sammartino leaned past the dealer to have a look at how much Pollak had behind and after seeing it was 465,000, he moved all-in.

„Okay,“ send Pollak in a calm, French accent.

„You’re calling?“ clarified the dealer. Pollak nodded and opened [ac][ad], way ahead of Sammartino’s [qs][js].

„I don’t know if I like this hand,“ said Pollak.

There a few wows heard spoken as the flop fanned [6s][ts][jc]. The flush never came in for Sammartino but two pair did as the board ran out [3d][qh]. Sammartino moved up to 1.85million and Thi Xoa Nguyen said to the sheepish looking Italian, „That’s poker, right?“–MC

12:45pm: Sammartino rivers Tedeschi
Level 25 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (4,000 ante)

Kyle Frey got the extra money on offer but his progress was halted after he busted the next time he was all-in, and the tournament was down to three tables of eight after Dario Sammartino took care of the dangerous Paul Tedeschi.

The Italian opened from early position and snap called after Tedeschi moved all-in from the small blind. The shove wasn’t counted as it was clear Tedeschi was well covered by the Italian pro, but it was fewer than the 490,000 he started the day with.

Tedeschi: [9h][9d]
Sammartino: [ad][ks]

The board ran [6h][qd][td][5s][ah] to see Tedeschi’s hopes dashed on the river. Sammartino’s great start has continued and he moved up to 1.48 million.

They’ll be no full redraw at this stage, that’ll happen when 16 remain, table four will be broken during a short pause. –MC

12:35pm: Chauskin on the comeback chase
Level 25 – Blinds 15,000-30,000 (4,000 ante)

A dominant chip leader sitting to your left can be both a blessing and a curse. You’re going to get looked up pretty cheaply, but you could get a quick double if you have the goods.

Natan Chauskin had only 396,000 overnight and found Adrien Allain, with ten times that amount, to his left. And only about 30 minutes had been played when Chauskin found [ad][td] and moved all-in, a bet quickly called by Allain and his [ah][8d].

There were no dramas on the board of [js][7s][5d][qd][9s], however, and Chauskin doubled. — HS

12:34pm: Cross the stream!
Level 25 – Blinds 15,000-30,000 (4,000 ante)

There has been a hand on the feature table. Check out the EPT Live stream in about 30 minutes from now to see what happened up there.

Dario Sammartino has been up and down, up and down, up and down already today, but is currently at a high point.

His day began with a stack of 581,000 but he was put under immediate threat in a pot against Oren Rosen. There was about 300,000 in the middle and a board all the way to the river: [2d][9d][9h][th][4h]. Sammartino checked, Rosen bet 174,000 and Sammartino went into the tank.

His decision-making process took so long that Rosen called the clock and that prompted a fold from Sammartino.

On what may have been the very next hand, Sammartino open-shoved to 203,000 from under the gun and Jimmy Guerrero reshoved from the cutoff. That successfully isolated Sammartino, but Guerrero was behind with his [3d][3c] to Sammartino’s [ts][th].

The board ran [5d][9c][4s][9d][8d] and Sammartino doubled.

It wasn’t long until he was back at it, this time in a hand against Thi Xoa Nguyen. Those two conspired to get to a river with only about 200,000 in the middle alongside the [9h][4s][kc][9d][9s] board and Sammartino checked.

Nguyen fired. She moved all in, covering Sammartino, and asking him a question for his tournament life. He dwelled for a while but then called and forced Nguyen to show her [jd][qs] before flipping his [kd][5s].

Sammartino is now up to around a million, a stack that has probably bought him the luxury of not needing to play every hand. –HS

12:22pm: The bank of Allain
Level 25 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (4,000 ante)

The bank of Adrien Allain doesn’t just process withdrawals, it’s also accepts deposits. Iacopo Brandi deposited all of his chips just now and after busting in 28th place.The Italian was very short and the chips went in preflop.

Allain: [ah][kd]
Iacopa: [as][5s]

The board ran [3d][6d][4s][8c][tc] to send Iacopa on his way.

Pierre Calamusa turned to Kyle Frey and said, „An extra five-k to party with tonight!“
Allain pretty much got back to the stack he started the day with. –MC

12:10pm: Laddering day on the EPT
Level 25 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (4,000 ante)

At the end of play yesterday we saw some strategic stalling, and a key interest in any short stack battles from other tables, from players such as Vanessa Selbst and Kyle Frey. That’s because there’s more than €4k to earned by busting 27th rather than 28th place.

Frey came back with 283,000 and couldn’t turn down the chance to shove early with an ace. His move was from middle position and he was called by Adrain Allian in the big blind.

Allain: [ks][qh]
Frey: [ah][8c]

The board ran [5h][7c][jc][6c][qc] and chip leader dropped to 3.63 million. –MC

12pm: Let the Day 5 fun commence
Level 25 – Blinds 15,000-30,000 (4,000 ante)

Away they go on the penultimate day. If this is done in anything less than 12 hours, I’ll be amazed. — HS

11am: From 28 to ?

Good morning everybody. It’s Day 5 of the €5,300 main event and we have a confession to make. We’re way behind schedule. The published plan for the tournament has it that we return this morning with 16 players and try to play to a final table of six. But the truth is, there are 28 obdurate folk still involved which is going to make it tricky.

One way or another, we’re going to need to reach a final tonight, but the significant chances are that it will be eight-handed. And goodness knows how long it’s going to take to lose the next 20 players.

One thing you can be certain of, however, is that we will be here watching it play out. So stick with us for what seems likely to be a very long day.

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 and Howard Swains. Photography by Neil Stoddart. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog

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