EPT Monte Carlo: Day 1A, level 9 updates (500-1,000, 100 ante)

ept-thumb-promo.jpg11.45pm: Big stacks
Our full wrap is on its way, but here's a sneak preview. The three big stacks at the end of the day seem to be:

Simon Munz: 175,200
Chris Bjorin: 171,100
Antonio Palma: 169,000

11.30pm: Four hands
The tournament director has announced that we'll be playing four hands until the end. Stand by. We'll have all the details momentarily.-- HS

11.25pm: Big stacks dancing
Simon Munz is turning into a chip hoover. Shortly after flopping a set to scoop a 150,000 pot the German's opening 2,400 raise was three-bet by Neil Channing to 6,100. Munz sat and studied and then four-bet. We can't say how much for because Channing's cards were twirling towards the dealer before the bet hit the felt. It did involve a blue 10,000 chip however. -- RD

11.24: Antonius gone
Patrik Antonius is out. With around 12,000 behind he got all in with A-9 but ran into a pair of kings. -- SY

11.21pm: Double bust-out
Team PokerStars Pro Jose Barbero has been eliminated along with Tom Bedell in the same hand to Simon Munz. Bedell opened the pot with a raise to 2,500 from third to act and was called by Simon Munz in the next seat and Neil Channing in the hijack before Berbero moved all-in from the cut-off for 22,800. Bedell and Munz made a quick call but Channing gave up his hand.

The flop came K♣Q♣7♠ and Bedell decided to build a side-pot with a 12,200 bet. Call. The turn came 5♣ and Bedell slowed to a check. Munz bet out for 26,000 though and after an age long think Bedell moved all-in and received a call from Munz. "No queens please. Show me ace-king with the ace of clubs" yelled Bedel. No such luck at showdown:

Munz: Q♠Q♥
Bedel: A♠K♠
Barbero: J♥J♣

The river blanked and Munz scooped in the 150,000 pot saying goodbye to two players in the meantime. --MC

11.20pm: ElkY runner-up in heads-up event
Team PokerStars Pro ElkY has taken second place in the $5,000 Heads-Up event, collecting $60,000 for his efforts. The Frenchman lost 3-0 in the best-of-five final to Andrew Pantling from Canada, who won $120,000. Congratulations to both players. -- SY

11.15pm: Getting close
The tournament board currently shows 23 minutes until the end of the day and 123 players still in. What usually happens - and it will also happen here - is that when the clock ticks down to 15 minutes left, the tournament director will announce that instead of playing down the clock, we will play a certain number of hands, somewhere between three and eight. We'll let you know how many, and then go looking for the big stacks. -- HS

11.05pm: Moneymaker in search of his goal
Chris Moneymaker had a nice start to the day but has since got a bit stuck in the mud. "I got up to 80,000," he said, "and now I can't seem to press on from there. Every time I get up to 100,000 I drop back to 80,000 again.

"But it's not a bad place to be. My goal for the end of the night is 100,000, so I'm hoping to at least get back up to there again."

As soon as his little chat with PokerStars Blog was over, he got involved in a hand with Holland's Marc Naalden. Naalden, a dangerous foe, opened for 2,500 and Team PokerStars Pro Moneymaker bumped it up to 6,500. Everyone else got out of the way and Naalden called.


Chris Moneymaker on day 1a in Monte Carlo

Both checked the A♦K♣5♥ flop and the 8♠ turn, but on the 5♠ river Naalden made it a hefty 17,000. Moneymaker thought for a moment then made a nice call:

Naalden: [10h][10c]
Moneymaker: J♠J♦

And with that, Moneymaker moved back to the 100,000 mark - we'll keep watch to see if he can maintain that... or drop once more to 80,000. -- SY

10.55pm: There may be trouble ahead
Greg Raymer has just been moved two seats to the left of Neil Channing who is sitting pretty on around 140,000. Channing has been raising liberally and Raymer said to him after one such pre-flop raise, 'You're trying to get me into trouble.' 'No, I'm trying to keep you out of trouble,' replied Channing. As it turned out it was the other way around entirely. Channing raised for the second hand on the bounce to 2,600 and Raymer three-bet to 7,000. Channing quickly passed. -- RD

10.50pm: Nice flop
Ake Olsson has just doubled through Florian Langmann after flopping a monster. Langmann opened with a raise from mid-position and was called by Olsson to go to a A♦T♦J♣ flop. Langmann continued with a 2,000 bet and then snap-called Olsson's 22,400 shove.


Florian Langmann

Olsson opened K♣Q♥ for the flopped nuts and Langmann opened A♣Q♣for top pair and gutshot to the same straight. The turn 7♦ and river 8♦ changed nothing. Langmann down to 50,000. - MC

10.45pm: Smith dusted up
In the last hand before the break Owen Crowe either claimed the chip lead or came pretty close to it. Crowe raised from late position and was called by Elliot Smith in the big blind. Both players checked the J♦9♥7♠ flop before Smith led 3,200 into the K♠ turn. Crowe called and a second king was peeled off; the K♣ to be precise. Smith fired a large 11,000 at Crowe who thought long and hard before finally calling. 'I can't believe I'm not raising this,' he said as he turned over K♦7♦ for the third nut full house. Crowe is up to 170,000. -- RD

10.40pm: Worth waiting for Sarwer
As the break ticked by - all others drifted towards the exit - Jeff Sarwer, George Lahdo and Men Nguyen were still involved in a pot. Sarwer had raised to 1,800 from early position and Lahdo had moved all in for 10,750 from the small blind. Nguyen, in the big blind, was pondering a call.

And boy was this a long ponder. Nguyen asked Sarwer to bring all his red chips to the front, then how many chips he had. "It's ninety-two," Sarwer said. "Plus that (pointing at his raise). Ninety-four."

Nguyen continued to ponder, eating away about five minutes of the break, before he eventually decided to fold. Sarwer called.

Sarwer: A♣J♣
Lahdo: Q♣Q♥

"Ah, better than I thought," said Sarwer.

The flop, however, favoured the Canadian over the Dutchman. It came [10h]A♥5♦ and the turn A♠ and river 3♠ decided it. Sarwer moves beyond 100,000; Lahdo is out. -- HS

10.35pm: Back for the final stretch
It's the last level of the night everyone. We call it level nine. Here's where there are chips to be stolen from players clinging on to make day two; or chips to be had from reckless players paying off perceived tightness. It's just like any other level, on balance.


Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour