EPT Monte Carlo: Day 1A, levels 3 & 4 updates (150-300)
4.36pm: The end
That's the end of level four. It's a 15-minute break, then level five will be with us.
4.35pm: More from Antonius
On a flop of 8♥7♥9♥ Randy Lew checked. Next to act was Patrik Antonius who, like Phil Ivey a few tables away, has a magnetism surrounding him that attracts press, poker geeks and casual observers in equal measure. It didn't matter that he would lose this hand.
Antonius bet which Lew called for a T♠ turn. Both checked that for a 2♣ river. Lew made it 6,025. Antonius sat quietly for a few minutes, his head shaved and perfectly round on top, a brilliant scalp with no imperfections. He eventually folded but got into the next hand, raising pre-flop when no one had done anything before him. No takers.
A perfectly round Patrik Antonius
Then he limped in early position for a flop of 6♣K♦3♠. Jean Michel Dahan in the small blind made it 300 and Antonius called once more for a 7♥ turn. Dahan then bet 500. Antonius opened up a broadside, raising to 1,700 which Dahan called. The river came K♥. Both checked, Dahan turned over 5♥6♠. Antonius mucked his cards. - SB.
4.30pm: Antonius in not running like God shocker
Patrik Antonius limped for 300 under the gun before calling a single raise for an additional 1,300. Randy Lew, a member of Team PokerStars Online, folded in the big blind. With no action on the 8♠Q♥kh] flop, Antonius took it upon himself to fire 1500 at the 3♦ turn. The high stakes pro checked the river flashing jack high which was no good against J♦J♣. Antonius has about 24,500. -- RD
4.25pm: Kravchenko out
Team PokerStars Pro Alex Kravchenko is the latest in an ever-growing list of big names to make a quick exit from EPT Monte Carlo. He had open raised pre-flop to 775, getting a call from Sergiy Baranov and Greg Raymer, before the Italian Canio Pietrapertosa bumped it up to 2,100. All three others called.
The flop was 6♣8♣5♠, and Kravchenko checked in the dark, leaving Baranov to make it 6,000. Raymer folded, as did Pietrapertosa, but Kravchenko had other ideas, moving all in for 7,950 on top. Baranov called quickly:
The Russian needed a club, a jack or an ace to double up, but the 8♦ served only to pair the board. Down to the [10c] river, which filled up Kravchenko's flush, but also filled up Baranov's superior full house.
"Oooh yesss," exclaimed Baranov, before turning to Kravchenko and shaking his hand, adding: "I am sorry." That little lot sent Baranov, from the Ukraine, up to 50,000, and Kravchenko to the rail. -- SY
4.20pm: Wigg for real
Although Jan Skampa and Antonio Matias have been hit by the curse of the EPT champion and have busted early today, Anton Wigg, who won in Copenhagen, is going great guns. He just took a huge pot away from his fellow Swede Erik Friberg, all in pre-flop. Wigg, whose reputation is for playing pretty much any two, usually gets paid when he has the goods. This time his big slick stood up against Friberg's K-Q. Friberg is down to about 5,000. -- HS
4.10pm: Buonanno beats Ivey
Phil raised from mid-position and was called by Antonio Buonanno on the button. Ivey tossed 1,200 into the middle on a Q♠6♣5♥ flop. Buonanno made the call. Ivey then slapped out 3,000 on the 8♣ turn and was called very quickly by the Italian. Ivey decided to give up on the 2♠ river and mucked his hand as Buonanno showed 8♦9♣ for a flopped gutshot/turned second pair. -- RD
4.05pm: Saout's not about
Antoine Saout has been eliminated by PokerStars qualifier Gary Marcum. Marcum min-raised from late position and then called Saout's three-bet to 2,000 from the big blind. The flop came 5♥A♥J♣ and Saout led for 2,525 to face a raise up to 7,500 from Marcum. Saout sat for a while and then re-raised to 16,625 leaving himself 18,000 behind. Marcum sighed and then moved all-in which was enough to cover the November Niner. Saout took one last look at his cards and made the call all-in.
Saout: K♥T♥ for flush and straight draws.
Marcum: A♦J♠ for top two-pair.
The turn T♦ and river 9♣ were no help for the Frenchman and he departed. --MC
4pm: G'day to the new Poker Star
Last year a rather large and popular reality show was screened on Australian television. Starring Team PokerStars Pro's very own Joe Hachem, the idea was for contestants to prove they had what it takes to become a poker star. If they won, they got $100,000 plus the chance to travel the poker circuit and play huge live events like this one here in Monte Carlo and the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.
The winner of the series was young Melbourne mum Amande de Cesare, and she's playing here today as part of her prize package. It was a bit of a wake-up call to find herself at the same table as Marc Naalden from Holland and Aaron Lerner from the USA, but such is the standard of these EPT fields.
Nonetheless, De Cesare, a speech pathologist back home, is more than holding her own and is up to 42,000 in the early running. On this hand she called a pre-flop raise from the gentleman to her right and they saw a 5♦2♠A♣ flop. De Cesare bet 2,000 and got a call. The pattern was repeated with a 3,000 bet on the K♦ turn, but they both slowed down to check the Q♣ river.
De Cesare turned over A♥Q♠ and that was good enough to take it. -- SY
3.55pm: Kang canned
Benjamin Kang is out. No book from Kang but his vanquisher William Brad Stalcup at least got his chips. The money went in on the turn with the board reading Q♦8♦6♠J♠. Kang had K♦J♦ but Stalcup showed 8♥8♣. The river came 2♠, no help for Kang, who wished everyone at the table good luck before leaving them to it. - SB.
3.50pm: Phillips gets there on the river... or does he?
Dennis Phillips called a 600 mid-position raise from Ghassan Bitar on the button and was joined by both the blinds. Bitar fired 1,800 at the 2♠Q♦7♦ flop and Phillips made the call.
Bitar led out for 3,000 on the J♥ and was called by Phillips again. The flush arrived on the river with the 6♦ making Bitar check and Phillips took down the pot with a 5,700 bet. The former November Niner is up to 41,000. -- RD
3.45pm: Rolling rolling rolling
PCA high roller champion William Reynolds just lost a pot, this one going to German player Simon Munz.
On a flop of 2♥5♥T♠ Reynolds, red framed sunglasses propped on his curly blond head, made it 3,800 from the cut off. Munz called for a turn card 8♣. Both checked that for a J♦ on river.
Munz bet another 9,500. Reynolds called but folded quickly when Munz turned over 2♣2♠, up to 65,000. - SB.
3.40pm: "Not a nice turn"
Owen Crowe has just chopped a large pot with Martin Kabrhel where both showed the jack-high straight on a T♠7♣9♦8♠5♣ board. Kabrhel held A♦J♥ for the turned second nuts while Crowe had flopped it with J♦8♦. "Not a nice turn," muttered Crowe who doesn't seem to have quite made up his mind as to whether Kabrhel is a complete lunatic or not.
The American is looking quite frustrated at the moment. -- RD
LEVEL UP. ENTERING LEVEL THREE, BLINDS 150-300
3.35pm: Daring Dacheux
Grivelle Dacheux doesn't seem to mind putting his chips in the middle and his loose image might be getting noticed by his opponents. Firstly he doubled-up with a full-house after his neighbor made a move with pocket fours on a board with two eight and a ten. Dacheaux called all-in with ten-eight and gladly took the pot.
The next hand he raised from mid-position to 550 and was called in two spots before the newly-minted Team PokerStars Pro Martin Hruby accidently re-raised to 1,050 after dropping a red 1,000 chip along with two green 25 chips of a purple 500 chips and two of the green chips.
Dacheux picked up on this and four-bet to 3,500. Two folds came before Hruby made the call. Was this a set-up for an angle-shoot? We were soon to find out as after the flop came 2♠J♣9♣ Dacheaux moved all-in for an over-bet worth around 18,000. Hruby's cards were quickly into the muck though so obviously no angle-shooting going on. Hruby down to 17,000 now. --MC
3.30pm: Nacho busts one
Team PokerStars Pro Nacho Barbero is up to 60,000 after busting a player. Barbero, from Argentina, raised to 1,200 pre-flop into two limpers before the player two to his left made it 3,600. Barbero called.
On the 2♣7♦9♠ flop Mr Bust (he ran off from the tournament floor before we could get his name) made it 5,600. Barbero, who won the LAPT Punta del Este earlier this season, then min-raised to 11,200. That sent Mr Bust in to the tank, and when he emerged he did so with an all-in bet - around 22,000 more. Barbero quickly made the call - and let out a quiet "Yeeesssss" as the cards were turned over:
Mr Bust: Q♠Q♣
Barbero needed to dodge a queen on the river, and the turn and river bricked to send Mr Bust home. -- SY
3.25pm: One book in search of an author
Senol Karahasan was looking at the inscription in the front of his new copy of Ace on the River by Barry Greenstein. It could only mean he'd just busted the author.
Karahasan looked quite proud of his achievement which had begun when he raised pre-flop, getting two callers, before Greenstein, who had about 11,000 at this stage, raised to 3,400. Karahasan called for a  flop. Another 5,000 from Greenstein before Karahasan raised him all-in.
Greenstein called for his last 2,000 and turned over ace-king. Karahasan showed pocket fives and when the turn and river came blanks found himself with 11,000 more chips and something to read. - SB.
During the last break Greenstein was collared by the video team when he still had hopes of recovering from his poor start earlier....
3.20pm: From the notebook
This hand actually happened during level two, but it's worth writing up even now:
It seems so long ago that we were watching Aaron Gustavsson steamroller the EPT London field to take down the title. But watch him for five minutes here and you soon remember his style.
After raising twice pre-flop - to 450 back when blinds were 75-150 - and taking it down without contest, he won a bigger pot on the third such occasion. Gustavsson made it his customary 450 and Fedor Los raised from the big blind, making it 1,350.
The two of them saw a flop of 3♥9♦5♠ and Los bet 1,700, which Gustavsson called. The turn was 2♥ and Gustavsson called a 4,150 bet from Los. The tiver was 9♥ and after Los checked, Gustavsson bet 6,500, which Los called.
Gustavsson tabled K♣9♣ for flopped top pair and rivered two pair. Los mucked. -- HS
3.15pm: The Ivey factor
Phil Ivey opened for 500 in middle position and half a dozen people came over to watch. Few poker players have an aura about them like Ivey, who says very little and doesn't like people standing behind him, an affectation that makes him even more curious.
Barny Boatman raised to 2,000. Some on the rail winced, perhaps urging Boatman not to get Ivey mad and instead wait for an easier spot. When Ivey re-raised Boatman didn't need any more telling and passed his cards with a nod.
Ivey skipped the next hand then opened again for 550. This time Antonio Buonanno was on the button, who after earlier prangs has a stack of more than 100,000. He made it 2,050 in the cut off before Boatman, watching Buonanno all the time, called on the button. Ivey passed before the flop of 2♠9♥6♦.
Boatman had watched Buonanno as the flop came down. Buonanno made it 3,5000 which Boatman raised to 10,000, his hand over his mouth. Buonanno then signed to the dealer he was all-in. Boatman mucked, down to 23,000 which Buonanno has more than 100,000. - SB.
3.10pm: Another fun table to watch
The EPT Grand Final is packed with big name players but when you get a few of contrasting styles it's great for the poker fan boys railing. We now have English Pro Barny Boatman sat to the right of EPT Snowfest runner-up Russell Carson at one end of a table. At the opposite end there's Phil Ivey and 'Miami' John Cernuto who have close to $18m of tournament winnings between them. -- RD
Did you feel that disturbance in the force? It was Patrik Antonius arriving to take his seat in the day 1A field in Monte Carlo. -- HS
3.06pm: Pouring out of the Saout
Antoine Saout was looking like he was heading out the door but he managed to take a pot down, surprisingly, on the river and now has a stack of more than 40,000.
Three players made to the turn with the board reading 4♠A♠7♠K♦. Saout was in first position and check-raised an opponent's 3,000 bet up to 10,125. The third party involved folded before the call came to leave it heads-up to the 4♥ river.
Saout had committed half of his remaining stack on the turn so when he moved all-in for 10,125 he might've expected a quick call. In fact his opponent folded. The paired board might've explained the decision or maybe he had the lone K♠ in his hand. --MC
3.05pm: Boatman on a wave
Ross Boatman, one quarter of The Hendon Mob, is going along nicely, now up to just under 50,000. He saw out a 7♠3♦J♦J♠5♥ board with two other player, who both mucked when the Brit showed A♠J♣. -- SY
3.01pm: Crowe unhappy with the flop
Owen Crowe, has just had one of those annoying kings with an ace flop moment (or so he claims). Crowe raised to 525 from the hijack and was called in the cut-off and button. Crowe led out 1,200 into the 3♦J♥A♠ flop and was quickly min-raised up to 2,400. The young American mucked his hand asking "Two kings any good?" -- RD
3pm: MacPhee on the up
Kevin MacPhee got his seat here in Monte Carlo after winning EPT Berlin back in March. His table today includes Erik Seidel and the jovial Italian Cristiano Blanco, and it's MacPhee who is making the early running.
On this one he raised to 450 pre flop and was called by Blanco to his left. They saw a 5♠9♥9♣ flop and MacPhee bet 675 - call. Blanco then called MacPhee's 1,400 bet on the 7♦ turn - and he also called the American's 3,150 bet on the 8♣ river.
Blanco was shown 9♦[10d] by MacPhee and he mucked. That sent MacPhee up to 39,000. -- SY
2.56pm: Scrap that about Skampa
Jan Skampa is out, giving all his chips to Alex Roumeliotis, who continues his good run from San Remo. Skampa tried a tricky check-raise all in on the river, with a paired board out there. Roumeliotis had rivered a full house with his aces, which were ahead of Skampa's pocket tens all the way. -- HS
2.55pm: Frying pan and fire
After surviving the table with Phil Ivey, Men Nguyen et al, James Dempsey is now sitting to Jan Skampa's right. That's pretty tough too.
2.50pm: Mark Teltscher winning the tournament...
...in the worst t-shirt competition. Former EPT champ Mark Teltscher is sporting a tie-dye t-shirt which we figure to be the worst top in the room and, considering the number of dodgy Ed Hardy garments jangling players' eyeballs, that's no easy feat. On the poker front he appears to be raising regularly and scoops the blinds from mid-position while we're watching. -- RD
2.35pm: Table of death breaks
It was fun while it lasted but Messrs. Ivey, De Wolfe, Sung, Dempsey, Nguyen have now been scattered across the other 40 or so tables in this room. That means at least nine players departed in the first level - all that before we even found out for sure that they were playing. (A list of attendees should be making it our way soon-ish, now that registration is closed.) -- HS
2.30pm: Time and levels fly
After two lightening quick levels, we're into level three. (Which will probably be equally as swift.) That was pretty brutal in fairness: Phil Laak, Gavin Griffin and Antonio Matias all bust, among others, while Barry Greenstein lost a load, as did Chad Brown.
We should know the full number of runners from today pretty soon. And tomorrow we'll know the full turnout.
In the meantime: on we go.
PokerStars Blog reporting team in Monte Carlo (in ascending order of initials appearing in first half of this post): Marc Convey and Stephen Bartley (two), Simon Young and Rick Dacey (three), Howard Swains (four).