EPT Monte Carlo: Day 1B, level 7 & 8 updates (400-800, 75 ante)

ept-thumb-promo.jpg10.18pm: Break
That's the end of level 8. Players are now taking a 15 minute break while the green 25 chips are colored up. Then it's one more level before play ends for the night. -- SY

10.16pm: Calm before the calm
Joe Elpayaa just moved all-in for around 15,000. He got no takers for his shove and it marked about the only bit of excitement in the run up to the level eight whistle.

Leo Margets is still buzzing from her hand with Viktor Blom. Every now and then someone comes up to talk to her. He cap is pulled down so far over her eyes that to see who's talking she has to tilt her head really far to see who it is.

Next to her is Martin Vallo. The Dane is mid-massage, picking up a few chips here and there. At one point he closed his eyes as the massage therapist worked his scalp, all the while his right hand was riffling like a champion.

He took the blinds in an uncontested hand as the bell went for the end of level eight. -- SB

10.15pm: Ioli edges up
Another major contender has emerged this evening in Monte Carlo. He's Mark Ioli and he has about 175,000. Most recently he knocked out Aditya Agarwal when Ioli's 7♦7♠ held up against Agarwal's A♦K♦ all in pre-flop.

Agarwal picked up plenty of outs as the first four cards out were 6♦2♣J♠5♦ but the 5♣ was not one of them. His last 15,000 was the latest additions to Ioli's big stack. -- HS

10.12pm: Ruthenberg out in 100k pot
Team PokerStars Pro Sebastian Rutenberg has been eliminated in a pot worth around 100,000. He raised with pocket nines and then called a three-bet from Mark DeFaria in the next seat with pocket aces. They saw a 3♥7♣5♥ flop and the rest of the chips went in with the German just covered. The board ran out 2♦3♦ and Ruthenberg smiled and shook DeFaria's hand before making his exit.

DeFaria took down a pot the very next hand and is now up to 120,000. -- MC


Sebastian Ruthenberg

10.10pm: International development
When the game went global and accents from all around the world started mixing at the tables they really should have invented some new words. "Call" and "fold" in certain lilts to foreign ears sound pretty much the same, especially once you factor in the chirruping rattle of a tournament room of chip rifflers. One such minor mix-up just occurred between Leo Margets and Parick Bueno.

The Frenchman had limped from the cut-off picking up one other traveler before Margets declined her option in the big blind. All three players checked through to the 4♥K♠2♣T♣ turn at which point Margets bet 4,000. Bueno called. Margets, a 27th place finisher in last year's WSOP Main Event ($353,832), banged out another 5,500 on the 7♦ river. Bueno moved all-in and Margets said: "I call/I fold" depending whose ears you had. Those nearer to Margets heard "I fold" while those closer to Bueno heard "I call." Bueno showed 2♠2♦ for a flopped set.

Thankfully things had been made clearer by the fact that Margets had mucked her hand into the middle of the table before Bueno had turned his hand. It was a good natured and uncontested bit of confusion. Margets is sat on 120,000 and Bueno is back up to a starting stack of 30,000. -- RD

10.05pm: Sport star update
With approximately 90 minutes left until the end of play tonight, it seemed an appropriate juncture to check on the progress of our footballers still in the mix. Poli Rincon, who was responsible for knocking Boris Becker down to size earlier, is still battling away with 47,000, but the real star of today has been Teddy Sheringham.

The former England and Manchester United striker (although his best years were at Spurs, I say without a shred of bias) has 103,000 at the moment, which is more than anyone else at his table. That line-up includes Davidi Kitai, Manuel Bevand, Erica Schoenberg and Pierre Neuville, all of whom have been doing this poker stuff for quite some time.

Mats Sundin, who plays soccer on ice (yeah, ice hockey, whatever), is also still enjoying his day. He made quads just after the dinner break and got paid and has 51,000. -- HS


In the vicinity at the time: Erica Schoenberg

10pm: Pretty stack comes tumbling down
Carlos Mortensen had constructed a typically beautiful structure from his chips post-dinner. The majority of his stack was green 25 denomination chips with a few red yellow and black chips mixed in. That shouted Christmas tree to me and that's pretty much what the Spaniard constructed. Mortensen's twelve days of Christmas are over though and so his decorative stack had to come down after he was eliminated.

Bulent Uzun opened the pot with a raise and then called Moretensen's 20,000 shove from the big blind. Moretensen tabled A♦K♣ to Uzan's J♠Q♠ and the board ran J♥J♦A♠Q♦T♦. Mortensen made a straight but lost out to Uzan's full house. --MC


Carlos Mortensen's festive chip stack (now extinct)

9.57pm: Don't mess with the Welsh, boy-o
Joe Elpayaa and Roberto Romanello are both aggressive players and it was just a matter of time before there was major clash between the two. A sopping wet 8♦7♣9♦ flop was enough for both players to get it in with Elpayaaa holding 9♣T♠ and Romanello K♦6♦.

Although Romanello had the edge of the 55-45 toss the hand could have gone either way. A 7♦ on the turn all but killed the hand but no further nine or seven appeared on the river. It was the 5♣. 'We were going to clash at some point,' said the Welshman. Romanello is up to 52,000 and Elpayaa is down to 10,000. -- RD

9.55pm: Don't mess the Sal-Bon
Salvatore Bonavena has won an EPT and an IPT and is not a man to be messed with.
If you've ever see the Adam Sandler move "Don't mess with Zohar" you'll know what I'm going on about. Outrageous and unorthodox but he ultimately gets the job done and gets the job done with style.

Richard Ashby would've now wished he'd seen it as he just messed with the Sal-Bon and is a lot the worse off for it. He raised from mid-position and was only called by Bonavena in the next seat to go to a A♣8♣K♦ flop. Ashby check-called a 4,000 bet before both
checked the 6♥ turn. Ashby led out for 4,000 on the river but was insta-raised to 20,000 by Bonavena. Ashby sat there for a while, shook his head and folded leaving himself with 19,500. Onward and upwards for Bonavena who's on 175,000. --MC

9.50pm: Schulman v Deeb
Nick Schulman has just doubled up to about 80,000, taking the latest chunk from Shaun Deeb. It was a pretty standard A-J versus A-K all in coup and they now have almost the exact same amount of chips. -- HS

9.48pm: Sandra Naujoks done
She got it all in with queens against kings and that rarely ends well. Her last 15,000 leave her stack and we're an EPT Dortmund champion down. -- HS


Sandra Naujoks

9.45pm: Margets the Viktor
Viktor Blom is out and it's Leo Margets now stacking his chips. On a flop of [8][5][t] the money went in, Margets shoving and Blom calling. Blom showed pocket aces but had run into a set of tens in the hands of Margets. According to one eye-witness - Egill Einarsson who was sitting next to Blom - "He wasn't very pleased." It's easy to see why. Margets now has 125,000 while Blom is on the rail. -- SB


Viktor Blom

9.40pm: Brazilia
Brazilians are the undisputed world force in football/soccer and when you look at the regular results from the Sunday Majors at PokerStars, it's very rare you don't see a Brazilian on a final table there. They're definitely an emerging force in poker.

Alexandre Gomes and Andre Akkari represent Team PokerStars Pro for Brazil - and both are playing here today. Akkari has slightly more than 50,000, while Gomes has about 40,000. However they're both trailing a man name Thiago Decano, who is our probable chip leader this evening. Decano has 184,000, ahead of Salvatore Bonavena's 175,000. A picture of Decano is on its way in a moment. -- HS

9.35pm: Deeb
Patrick Selin opened for 1,525. Shaun Deeb was sitting next to him and raised to 4,125. Over in the big blind, Toby Lewis asked how much Deeb was playing - about 80k - and called, as did Selin. The flop came 7♦7♠6♦. The action was checked to Deeb who bet 7,625. If they were going to ride on his coat tails it wouldn't be cheap. Lewis passed
and so did Selin.

That may have added a few thousand to Deeb's armoury but he was not done yet. On a flop of 4♣Q♣6♣ Deeb made it 2,450 before Jose Ignacio Sanz in seat nine, the big blind, raised to 7,525. To put it frankly Deeb has his war face on, like he's contemplating something nasty, some terrible act that will bring him chips, credit and power at the expense of some poor soul who really didn't know what they were getting into. Deeb looks like he wants to make this one count.

So he re-raised, 11,575 in total. Sanz got the message and folded his hand and Deeb instantly dropped the war face when a friend dropped off a pair of bright pink headphones, which he soon had wrapped around his head.

But it was the next hand, the type to test even the strongest players, which may ultimately determine how far Deeb goes in the Grand Final. Deeb opened for 1,500 which both Frederic Ferret next to him and Nick Schulman in the cut off both called. The flop came 4♣8♣9♥. Deeb bet 3,525. Ferret called while Schulman left them to it.

On the turn a Q♠. Deeb made it 7,050 this time. Ferret announced "call", leaving himself 13,000 behind. Deeb's expression had not changed from complete focus, while Ferret was looking all over the place. A vital difference - Ferret happy to play his hand and see what happens, Deeb knowing that if the game was played to its natural mathematical and poetic laws, he would prevail.

On the K♦ river Deeb lumped in 60,000. Ferret called. Deeb showed 9♣8♠ but Ferret had him beat with K♥Q♦. Deeb looked like he wanted to scream but his sense of etiquette caught in his throat. For a few seconds he counted to himself, looking up into the sky to recheck his figures. Either way he was down to around 80,000, again. - SB.


Shaun Deeb

9.30pm: Second-hand Thorson
We've just heard from our Nordic blogger that Thorson pulled off a major coup doubling up with K♥Q♥ to 70,000 on a K♣6♠4♠6♣Q♠ board after his opponent fired all three streets with K♠9♥. -- RD

9.25pm: Mostafa lot of chips
He has you know. That's El Mostafa Bel Khayate, by the way, who is sitting with about 150,000 and is the closest challenger at the moment to Salvatore Bonavena. -- HS

9.20pm: Fatima Moreira De Melo is out
The Team PokerStars SportStar had a tough start to the day folding kings face-up with over half her stack in the middle (to aces as it happens) and had been grinding back ever since. Moreira De Melo met her demise getting ace-king in against pocket fives and failing to spike. It was a battling performance after her early setback and she'll certainly be back for another shot at goal. -- RD


Fatima Moreira de Melo

9.18pm: Level over
That's level 7 out of the way. It's straight on to level 8. --SY

9.10pm: Hachem does for the blog
Every time I've walked by World Champ Joe Hachem he's been folding hands but as way of an apology (so I'd like to think) he's just pulled off a great little move showing the table his king high bluff.

Miguel Aguirre Suarez had limped from early position for 600 and Hachem had checked in the big blind. Suarez bet both the 3♦5♥5♦ flop (for 600) and the 7♣ turn (for 600 again). Hachem check-raised to 1,600 and was flat called. On the Q♥ river the Australian Team PokerStars Pro dropped the bluff/value bet hammer with a 4,600 crack at the river.

Suarez folded and Hachem showed K♦J♥ for the bluff. Thanks for the entertainment, Hach. -- RD


Joe Hachem

9.06pm: Negreanu's long cash hunt continues; out in Monte Carlo
Daniel Negreanu is out. He was at a flop with Thomas Bichon and two other players. One of those, El Mostafa Bel Khayate, would turn out to be Negreanu's assassin. That flop was: 3♥5♦4♥ and Bichon checked. One more check followed that before Mostafa bet 11,400 into something similar to that in the middle. Negreanu moved all in for 19,525 and everyone folded except Mostafa, who did think about it for a while, but then called.

Mostafa: 7♥8♣
Negreanu: 4♦6♦

That was middle pair for Negreanu, plus an up-and-down straight draw. Mostafa had a gutshot and overcards. It was the latter that helped him most. The turn and river were both eights 8♥8♦, which were enough to roast Negreanu and keep Kid Poker looking for his first career EPT cash. -- HS


Out: Daniel Negreanu

Here's how the man himself just Tweeted it...

@RealKidPoker: Dang it! I played so unbelievably well today and got screwed. Last hand got it all in on flop. My opponent needed a 6 or a 8 to win. He hit.

9.05pm: Mizzi plays any two... and wins
It must be nice to play any two and win whatever the flop. At times it seems that way for Sorel Mizzi anyway. The Canadian raised from middle position with Q♠6♠ and was called in two spots. A 3,000 shot at the 8♦4♦T♣ flop blew one caller away before Mizzi caught top pair on the turn with the Q♥. Both players checked. When a blank 2♥ arrived on the river Mizzi sprayed out a 8,500 bet and was called. Easy game. -- RD

9pm: Player of the year type call
Max Lykov is almost a cert to be crowned Player of the Year at the upcoming EPT Awards and it's no surprise when he can make calls like the one described below against Markus Golser.

There was history between the two in the hand before the crucial call. Lykov raised from the hijack and Golser defended from the big blind to see a 3♦8♠7♦ flop. Lykov continued with a 2,150 bet when checked to him and Golser folded.

The very next hand Lykov raised again and was called by a player in the next seat along with Golser in the small blind. All three checked the J♠8♥5♣ flop to go straight to the 6♥ turn. Golser checked, Lykov bet 2,650, the third party folded and Golser sat pondering his move. His move was to be all-in for 18,525 which was around 4,000 more than Lykov was sitting on. It was now Lykov's turn to think but he didn't take too long to call and what a call it
turned out to be.

Golser could only table K♠Q♠ for king high and was behind to the Russian's T♣6♣. Golser was metaphorically out the door until the river dropped as K♦! Golser did a "seen-it-all-before" shrug and raked in the pot. Lykov didn't react at all and just looked down at this stack now worth 3,800. -- MC

8.55pm: Rousso flops top trips
Vanessa Rousso flopped top trips with A♥9♠ on a A♦A♠4♥ flop and managed to get it in all-in on the turn against a relatively short stacked pair of tens. A blank 7♦ on the river saw 'LadyMaverick' close to double up to 36,000. -- RD

8.49pm: Spoke too soon
Oh, looks like the dawn light won't come for Dabul after all. She's now out. -- RD

8.47pm: Debul staying alive
Argentinean Team PokerStars Pro Veronica Dabul is short stacked but still in with a fighting chance. Only moments ago she moved all-in from the button for 8,500 over a late position raise and swept the blinds and antes not to mention the 1,200 raise itself. Dabul has 11,000 and will have to keep moving her chips if she wants to see the light of day 2. -- RD


Veronica Dabul

8.45pm: Becker busts; doesn't Matta
And that's that for Boris Becker. He finally got his last 1,950 in the middle, under-the-gun, and John Shipley called. Nabil Matta, to Shipley's left, raised to 7,000 and everyone got out the way, including Shipley.

So, it was Becker's life on the line with these hands:

Becker: A♦J♣
Matta: 9♠9♥

The board pretty much ended it immediately. It came 3♥9♣3♣ and the [10s]7♦ were largely irrelevant. -- HS

8.45pm: No Viktor in this hand for Blom
Viktor Blom has dropped down to 68,000 after doubling-up an opponent. He raised to 1,800 from late position and then called the 5,300 shove from the small blind. The small blind tabled A♣J♣ to Blom's 6♦6♣ and the board ran 5♥J♣T♣A♠7♣. Two-pair good to give the pot to the small blind. -- MC

8.40pm: Nieberg vs the machine
Jan Heitmann plays every hand exactly the same, dead still, almost like a waxwork, his right arms moving automatically to deal with any accountancy issues that might come up. So it went in a hand against Matthew Nieberg.

Heitmann opened for 1,500 pre-flop which Nieberg called for a flop of 9♦J♦9♠. Heitmann and Nieberg both checked for a 3♦ turn which, yes, they both checked. Throughout this Heitmann only expended the minimum of energy, a machine, impervious to outside interference.

A Q♦ on the river. Heitmann bet 2,700. Nieberg waited a second but then passed. Heitmann up to nearly 60,000. -- SB

8.37pm: Marchese's march runs into brick wall
Tom Marchese is also in big trouble. He just ran Q♠Q♥ into the A♣A♠ of Mark De Faria, all in pre-flop. The board bricked and the NAPT champion is down to less than 8,000. -- HS

8.35pm: Game, set and almost match, Rincon
Boris Becker is the equivalent of 40-love and 5-0 down in the third set, the first two of which he lost 6-0. In other words, he's going to need a miracle comeback.

He has less than three big blinds after running into trouble against Poli Rincon. The board was out, showing 9♠6♣6♠ and Becker bet 3,000. Rincon moved all in for about 20,000, slightly less than Becker. Becker made the call and was ahead with his pocket queens to Rincon's K♠J♠. And although Rincon was hoping to hit the flush, he actually hit one of his other outs. The K♣ turned, and the 9♦ river decided it in favour of the former footballer.

Becker is clinging on, but he's going to have to get them in soon. -- HS


Boris Becker

8.30pm: News from Twitter-land during dinner
@FossilMan: Just won 50 euro partnering w/ Moneymaker at Foosball. He's so good it's almost free money. thx Chris!

@VictoriaCoren: Dinner break. I've got 65k now, I think the average is about 40k so I'm hoping to make day 2 - but three more levels to go tonight.

@allingomes: Dinner Break agora...voltamos em 1h e meia... (we have no idea what that means either).

@JasonMercier: busto EPT monte carlo main event... lost every crucial pot today... busted 3.5 hours in :( playing 5k side event...

@RealKidPoker: 21,875 brutally unlucky lvl but mistake free. Was down to 14k. Made ALL the right plays and lost. Dinner break now. -- SY

8.20pm: Back from dinner
Ninety minutes flies by when you're enjoying your €28 cheeseburger. It was rather large, however, and I even left a few bits of lettuce (probably about €3 worth).

Around 360 of today's 497 starters are now retaking their seats and among the happiest will be Salvatore Bonavena, winner of EPT Prague last season, who has one of the best stacks... around 150,000. Our selected counts can be found on the, you guessed it, chip count page. Go on, click it. -- SY


Salvatore Bonavena

PokerStars Blog reporting team (in order of cheapest dinner tonight): Howard Swains (pasta, €22), Stephen Bartley (salad, €25), Rick Dacey, Marc Convey and Simon Young (cheeseburger, €28).

Simon Young
@MrSimonYoung in European Poker Tour