Play has reached the end of level seven and players take a 15 minute break. Organisers have opted to play a ninth level today, leaving us with two more levels before the end of the day.
Chance then to catch up with Team PokerStars Pro Raymond Rahme break to see how things were going…
“All day up and down, I couldn’t break through. I had a couple of close calls but I survived them – been all-in twice. Once I got called and doubled up. From there I’ve just been clawing my way back, all the time around 10k or 14k, back to 2k, back to 4k and I’ve eventually got back up to around 19k. I’m just trying to sit the day through now – I think I’ll get through the end of the day on 20k and I’ll be alright.
“It’s the first EPT I’ve played and I’m enjoying it, it’s good. A lot of tough players here but it’s what I expected. I saw a lot of them in Australia, and also a lot of them in Vegas – the game is good.”
Ray wasted no time after the break, building his stack up by 10k in the space of five minutes. His table is an awkward one, featuring Paul Tested, Robert Binelli and now Team PokerStars Pro Luca Pagano.
First a bet of 1,700 from Luca, re-raised by Raymond by over 3k. An A-4-9 flop and another 5k from Raymond, forcing Luca to fold. On the next hand Raymond makes it 4,500 from the button. He gets a caller and Raymond puts his glasses on to read the cards (it’s how you know he’s in a hand). The flop of 2-Q-J saw Raymond go straight to his chips, thumping all his blues over the line (about 10k) and leaving his opponent no choice but to muck.
Raymond has a plan and has turned it up a gear. The plan is working.
Meanwhile on the table alongside, Sweden’s Bengt Sonnert moves all-in with his last chips worth just a couple of thousand. He’s looking for a caller and finds one in Team PokerStars Pro Dario Minieri who despite a short stack peeking over the 5k mark finds himself dominating the Swede. He calls, showing first an ace, then a king. For Bengt J-T.
The board brings nothing for either. A handshake, a good luck and Sonnert is gone. Dario on the other hand increases his chances of making it through day 1a, more so when a few hands later he doubles up with pocket nines against pocket sevens. 337 players started today, 144 remain at the start of level eight.