EPT Monte Carlo: The Friendly Table of Death
by Simon Young
I like Tables of Death. Big names share the same felt, eyeing each other up in that menacing "don't even think about it" way. Or normally, anyway. Here, the undoubted table to avoid is actually the friendliest of the lot.
Sitting together are overnight chip leader Chad Brown, from the US, Team PokerStars' Dutchman Noah "Exclusive" Boeken, the UK's Joe Beevers (one quarter of the Hendon Mob) and, for good measure, Sweden's William Thorson, who finished 13th in last year's WSOP Main Event, and who finished third in this season's EPT Dublin. And they are getting on famously, chattering away like a bunch of mates in the bar.
So far they've enjoyed a discussion about the merits of being allowed to buy into this tournament, for €10,000 at the start of Day 2. Would it be worth it? Well, the consensus seemed to be yes. You'd start again with 15,000 chips and, with one double up, would be up to at least average in no time with just 330 or so of the 706 players left. Chad Brown insisted: "I think a good player would have perhaps less than a 50% chance of getting into Day 2, so I would love to start on Day 2 with 15,000." Mind you, that's easy to say when you actually started with 150,000!
Even when the serious matter of playing poker was ongoing, the banter continued. Hand two of the day and Beevers raises from the cut off. Brown, in the small blind re-raises him. "Is this going to happen all day?" asks the Englishman. "I hope so," says Brown, and Beevers mucks.
Elsewhere Anthony Holden, the UK author of The Big Deal, went out unluckily on hand two. Sitting with Team PokerStars' Lee Nelson to his right, he watched as the New Zealander pushed his 9,000 in the middle. A quick look at his cards, and a quicker all in from Holden spelt trouble for Nelson. His fears were realised - he had A-10, Holden Q-Q. But wait, the flop brought the ace and Holden had reached the final chapter of this particular story. Nelson, meanwhile said: "Great, now I can play some poker!" Not good news for the rest of his table.
Another man looking for an early monster hand today was Norway's Baard Dahl, who final tabled in Season One's EPT London. Handily, he found K-K on hand three - raised, found a re-raise and pushed. This was his chance, he thought, until his opponent flipped over.... K-K. Chop, chop. "Just my luck," he told me.
More now on Isabelle Mercier's departure. "I had A-K and came up against 5-5. Okay, I thought, let's go. The flop came down A, K ..... 5. Ouch, but never mind." And off she went. What a girl.
No details yet of Chris Moneymaker's demise, although the UK's John Shipley whispered to me that he "bluffed his chips away". I'll try and verify that as soon as I can. Still at the table with Shipley are no less that Team PokerStars' Barry Greenstein, Ireland's Andy "Quiet Man" Black (okay, we wish) and the UK's Dave "El Blondie" Colclough who, on his day, can rip through a field. Black has chips and looks dangerous - but he has just doubled up an opponent when his A-K was outgunned by the A-A. It cost him 20,000 or so, but Andy is still in good shape.
Team PokerStars also has Greg Raymer, Katja Thater, from Germany, Victor Ramdin and Bill Chen in the field. Katja and Bill are both short on chips, but as Katja showed in Poland a few weeks ago, you can make a few chips go a long way. In Warsaw she made 11,000 chips at the start of Day 2 stretch all the way to fifth place.