EPT Monte Carlo: Final table live updates
12:16am--Gavin Griffin wins EPT Grand Final!!!!
An amazing hand played out at the very end of this level. Gavin made it 150K to go pre-flop, Marc made it 400K, and Gavin called. The flop came 3-2-4. Marc Made it 500K, Gavin raised to 2 million, amd Marc almost immediately pushed all in. Gavin looked like he was in pain. he had Marc covered by only about 500K. After about two minutes of thought, he said, "You have the best hand." And then he called.
Marc showed 4-7 for a pair of fours. Gavin showed K-5 for the open ender with two overs. The turn was a 3. The river..........a king. And Gavin Griffin has won the EPT Grand Final. A full report will be out soon.
12:04am--Gavin has pulled away a bit in the last 30 minutes, but this tense heads-up battle is far from over. Both are playing it strong, with raises and re-raises taking pots down. Last count Gavin had 6.5 million, Marc 4.3 million. I hope the organisers have booked this arena for long enough - we could be here for some time.
11:33pm--And a swing back close to even for Marc Karam. Gavin came in for a raise to 125K and Marc called. The flop came 9-6-5. Marc checked, Gavin bet 225K, and Marc called. The turn was a nine and both players checked. The river was a ten. Marc bet out 800K. Gavin thought for a bit before calling. Marc showed him 9-6 for the turned full house. Chips now stand at 5.2 million for Marc, 5.4 million for Gavin.
11:20pm--Gavin Griffin takes a big chip lead after winning another monster pot. This time he raised up to 125,000 pre-flop, called by Marc. Flop came J-6-J. Marc check-calls Gavin's 195,000. Turn an A, Marc check-calls 460,000. River an 8: Marc checks, Gavin bets 800,000 and, after some chip counting and weighing up of options, Marc called. Gavin had J-4, Marc mucked. Gavin now has 7.25 million to Marc's 3.4 million.
11:11pm--This time it's Gavin's turn to bring in a big one. Gavin made it 125K to go, Marc raised it to 400, Gavin called. With 800K in the pot, they saw a flop of 5-7-5. Marc bet 500K and Gavin called. The turn brought a three and both players checked. The river was another three. Marc checked, Gavin bet 700K, and Marc thought for a long while before folding. Advantage, Gavin.
10:43pm--Marc Karam rakes in a huge pot. He raised on the big blind to 150,000, called by Gavin. The flop came 10-5-Q, Marc bet 300,000, Gavin re-raised to 700,000 - then Marc made it another one million. It was too much for Gavin, who mucked. There are more swings in the heads-up battle than a playground.
10:43pm--Back from break, lots of play for both stacks. We'll see how it goes.
10:32pm--We're on a 10 minute break. We'll come backk to 25,000/50,000/5,000. At the moment, Gavin Griffin and Marc Karam are nearly even in chips.
Blind Level 20,000/40,000/4,000
9:57pm--We are heads up! Soren Kongsgaard has gone in third place after first having his stack nibbled away by Gavin Griffin - then gobbled up completely. The end was a battle of the blinds, with Soren calling from the small blind, and Gavin checking. The flop was 5-4-6, and both players checked. The turn was an ace, Soren checked, Gavin bet 200,000 and Soren moved all in. Instant call, and Soren turned over 9-10 for just ten high. Gavin, meanwhile, had A-J for top pair. The river would change nothing, and Soren, from Denmark, leaves with €610,500.
Canada's Marc Karam has the chip lead as the final two go head to head. He has about 6 million, compared to Gavin's 4.6 million.
Soren Kongsgaard -- 3rd place -- €610,500
9:43pm--After a lot of little pots, we've happened upon a big one. Marc Karam just took down about a 2.5 million chip pot. It's three-handed to a raise and a 3s-Td-Qc flop. All three players checked. On a 6d turn, Gavin checked, Marc bet 300K, Soren folded, and Gavin called. The river was the Jd. Gavin checked, Marc bet 700K. Gavin thought for a long while before, with a look of resignation said, "Call." Marc flipped over the second nuts--the king-high flush.
9:20pm--Gavin Griffin has busted Kristian Kjondal in fourth place. The two of them saw a flop of 6-9-4, Gavin then bet 165,000, Kristian moved all in over the top - and Gavin called. Showdown.... 4-4 for Gavin for the set, and 8-9 for a pair for Kristian. The turn was 5, giving The Dane a straight draw, but the river was a king. Kristian leaves with a healthy €471,180. Gavin now takes the chip lead.
Kristian Kjondal -- 4th place -- €471,180
9:00pm--Gavin Griffin has just doubled up Soren. They got it all in before the flop. Gavin held AJ to Soren's 88. No ace or jack came on board and Soren doubled up.
8:50pm--The four remaining players are sitting down after a 90 minute dinner break. When it comes time for the next meal, two of the four players will be at least a €1,000,000 richer.
Seat 3: Marc Karam (Canada) 4,148,000
Seat 5: Soren Kongsgaard (Denmark, PokerStars qualifier) 845,000
Seat 7: Gavin Griffin (USA, PokerStars qualifier) 3,896,000
Seat 8: Kristian Kjondaln (Norway) 1,676,000
7:23pm--We're now headed to a 90-minute dinner break. Chip counts will be updated in just a second. Marc Karam looks to hold the chip lead with around 4 million chips. Not a lot of big action of consequence in the last 45 minutes of play, apart from an AK vs AK split pot between Marc and Soren.
Blind level: 15,000/30,000/3,000
6:49pm--Soren Kongsgaard doubles up against Marc Karam, all in pre-flop with 2-2 against the Canadian's A-9. The board of 5-6-Q-Q-K meant the twos held up. Soren is now back up to about 1.3 million in chips.
Latest chip count:
Gavin Griffin 3.9M
Marc Karam 3.85M
Kristian Kjondal: 1.7M
Soren Kongsgaard 1.3M
6:23pm--Soren has just lost a monster to Gavin Griffin. Griffin came in for a raise to 80K under the gun. It was folded to Soren in the big blind. He made it another 120K to go. Gavin announced, "All-in." Soren did not think long before calling with pocket jacks. Gavin showed QQ. The board ran out AA5/K/3. Soren is down to around 800,000 in chips. Gavin is now close to four million chips.
6:12pm--PokerStars qualifier Josh Prager is out in fifth place. Holding 7-7 he called Soren Kongsgaard's 85,000 opening raise. The flop was 8-2-2 rainbow. Soren bet out 200,000, Josh moved all in over the top, called quickly by the Dane. Soren showed 10-10, a mile ahead of Josh's pocket sevens. The turn and river, 8 and a J, brought no miracle seven, and we are down to four. Josh takes home €391,550.
Josh Prager -- 5th place -- €391,550
5:04pm--Gavin just came in for a button raise and Kristian re-raised out of the small blind to 240. After some thought, Gavin called. The flop came down Jc-Kh-6d. Kristian led out for 320,000. After quite a bit of consideration, Gavin folded.
4:52pm--Steve Jelinek has just been eliminated in sixth place. He came in for a raise. Karam popped him back. Steve moved all-in and Karam called. Steve showed pocket nines to Karam's pocket jacks. THe boar ran out KT7/2/J and Steve was eliminated in sixth, earning €305,270.
Steve Jelinek -- 6th place -- €305,270
5:46pm--Gavin Griffin is getting back what he lost in the first level. He just picked up about half a million chips off Josh Prager.
5:37pm--Back from break. A few reminders:
Check out EPT Live.com for live streaming coverage of the final table. Also, help Gavin Griffin and PokerStars support the Avon Walk for Life by donation to a special PokerStars account during the final table. PokerStars is matching all donations up to $100,000. Click here for details.
5:26pm--Updated chip counts at the break:
Seat 2: Steve Jelinek (UK, PokerStars qualifier) 563,000
Seat 3: Marc Karam (Canada) 3,010,000
Seat 5: Soren Kongsgaard (Denmark, PokerStars qualifier) 1,516,000
Seat 5: Josh Prager (USA, PokerStars qualifier) 1,519,000
Seat 7: Gavin Griffin (USA, PokerStars qualifier) 2,259,000
Seat 8: Kristian Kjondaln (Norway) 1,529,000
5:16pm--On the last hand before the break, Andy Black met his demise. On a flop of 883, Andy check-raised Kristian all in. After just a brief moment of thought, Kristian called. Andy flipped up a pair of sevens. He shook his head when he saw Krisitian's pair of jacks. No miracle seven on the turn or river and Andy Black is gone in 7th place, earning €238,910.
5:13pm--"It's one-way traffic at the moment, boys," Andy Black said looking down at Marc Karam stacking another pot into his stack. Karam seems to be winning every other pot.
4:48pm--Marc Karam wins a battle of wills, and a big pot, from Josh Prager. Marc raised it up to 65,000, called by Steve Jelinek and Josh. Flop came 6-K-7, two hearts. Steve checked, Marc made it 110,000, then Josh re-raised to 240,000. Steve, sensing big danger, got out of the way. As he did, Marc re-raised again - to 540,000. Too much for Josh, and he put his hand in the muck.
Josh lost a chunk of chips in that clash, some of which he had taken off Karam the previous hand when his 10-J was enough on a board of 6-3-8-4-10.
4:35pm--Ram Vaswani has been eliminated. Ram raised to 70K in mid-position. Karam called from the button. Both blinds folded. The flop came out 445. Both players check. The turn was a ten. Ram checked, Marc bet 70K, Ram moved all in. He got a quick call from Marc. Ram showed JT of diamonds with top pair and a flush draw. Marc showed KT. Ram needed jack or diamond to win...or a ten, ace, or four for the split. That was the fifth hand of the day and the first flop we'd seen. Ram started this affair with an all-in move. He announced his intentions to play hard. This time, it didn't get him there. He exits in 8th place for €159,270.
4:28pm--And we're underway. Player introductions have been make and the cards are in the air. Don't miss the live streaming coverage on EPT Live.
4:20pm--As you might have noted, it's taking a little time to get underway here. The sound of rising music indicates we might be starting soon. In the meantime, here are some profiles of todays players.
Seat 1: Ram Vaswani, 37, London, England - 432,000
Even before this Grand Final began, Hendon mobster Ram Vaswani was heading the EPT all-time Tournament Leader Board -- thanks to winning EPT1 Dublin, coming 2nd in Copenhagen last year and a string of other high cash finishes (including a record number of EPT final tables appearances). Ram is generally considered the UK's top tournament player and although he may be short-stacked right now, it's worth noting he was also the short stack when he won in Dublin. Ram knows chip leader Gavin Griffin from their joint final table appearance when Griffin won his 2004 WSOP bracelet. Ram is supported in Monaco by as wife Jackie and baby daughter Holly.
Seat 2: Steve Jelinek, 36, Birmingham, UK - 758,000
This popular UK player from Birmingham reckons he has qualified for major events at least 14 times -- but has never cashed in any of them. His qualifier "jinx" has included being first out in Monte Carlo two years ago and qualifying with PokerStars three times for the WSOP but never making it past Day 2. Known online as "superowl99" (Steve supports UK football team Sheffield Wednesday aka The Owls), Steve arrived in Monte Carlo last week worrying about work. He heads up an IT department in a UK construction firm but a forthcoming merger means he could be out of a job. Today, looking down at a minimum €159,000 payout, he can think about turning pro with confidence. He is supported here by his girlfriend Irina, also a successful player.
Seat 3: Marc Karam, 27, from Ottawa, Canada - 1,742,000
Marc "Myst" Karam has come along way since quitting his job as a glazier last year to turn pro. He has cashed in four of the five major live tournaments he's played -- and made three TV final tables, including last year's EPT Grand Final when he won $270k for 4th place. His other big wins have been $170k for 6th place at the 2006 North American WPT Championship and $275k for 6th at the Aussie Millions in January. At last year's Grand Final, he busted Dutch pro Marcel Luske with J7 of diamond against Marcel's 8s. He caught running 77 on the turn and river. After the hand, Luske stood up, placed his finger in his mouth and pretended to vomit.
Seat 4: Andy Black, 41, from Belfast, Ireland - 683,000
Andy started playing cards with his mother but took up the game seriously while studying law at Trinity College, Dublin -- played in the JCR university poker school that had previously included players like Donnacha O'Dea and Padraig Parkinsom. He was famously knocked out of the 1997 WSOP by the eventual winner, Stu Ungar, and when he lost the 1998 WSOP as well, he threw away all his possessions and became a Buddhist, living in a monastery for five years.
Black returned to poker in 2004, and the following year came 5th in the WSOP main event. Since then, he has cashed in two Dublin EPTs as well as dozens of other tournaments. In 2006 Andy won $100,000 for 5th place at the Tournament of Champions and he’s enjoyed a spectacular start to 2007 at the Aussie Millions: 2nd for $100k in the Pot Limit Omaha event and 3rd in the Main Event for $550k. As of 2007, Andy's total live tournament winnings exceed $2,600,000.
Seat 5: Soren Kongsgaard, 19, from Jutland, Denmark - 1,612,000
Since qualifying for EPT Deauville last year after winning a magazine freeroll, Soren is enjoying great success. The young student has played in four EPTs and made around $15k in live tournaments, including winning a Hold'em side event at EPT Copenhagen in January. He's also fresh off a 6th place finish at the Asian Poker Classic in Goa, India.
Seat 6: Josh Prager, 33, from California, USA- 1,593,000
E-mails have been pouring in to the EPTlive webcast, offering words of support and encouragement for popular Josh, he trains a college tennis team in Yuba City with his wife Helen. After cashing for $77k in the 2005 WSOP, Prager took a year off to be with he and Helen's their new baby, Ezra. Now, though, Josh is back on the circuit. The PokerStars qualifier just cashed in the Aussie Millions (41st place) and is now on his way to posting his biggest ever tournament cash.
Seat 7: Gavin Griffin, 25, Chicago, USA - 2,597,000
Chip leader and PokerStars qualifier Gavin Griffin arrived in Europe for the first time last week sporting pink-dyed hair and a pink wristband. But the gently-spoken 25-year-old from Chicago is no poker punk: the pink theme is to mark his involvement in the Avon Walk for Life charity. Gavin and his girlfriend Kristen, 21, who suffered breast cancer a few years ago, set off on their 39-mile, two-day Los Angeles marathon in September. PokerStars is helping Gavin raise even more money with an immediate donation of $15,000. PokerStars has also setting up a special account to raise further funds. For every dollar donated during today's final table, PokerStars will match it up to $100,000.
Gavin first came to poker fame in 2004 when he became the youngest player ever to win a World Series of Poker bracelet, aged 22. (He took down the $3k Pot Limit Hold’em event for $240,000.) University-trained as a speech therapist, he turned pro four years ago and is having a great 2007. He's made four final tables already, including 3rd place for $86,685 in the San Diego WSOP Circuit Event in February.
Seat 8: Kristian Kjondal, 21, Oslo, Norway – 1,203,000
In the world of high stakes online poker, Kristian “Kris85” Kjondal is already a huge name and has turned over at least $250k this year alone. He was nominated for Online Player of the Year in the Pokerstars' Scandinavian Poker Awards in January but was beaten by his good friend and fellow Norwegian Johnny Lodden. Kristian is now working his way into the brick-and-mortar poker world but this is first major final table. He most recently posted a 19th place finish at a WPT event in Canada.