EPT Monte Carlo: Day 2, level 14 & 15 updates (2,000-4,000, 400 ante)

ept-thumb-promo.jpg10.25pm: Mid-break update
A quick chat with Jean Francois "2eazy" Talbot has revealed he actually has 620,000 - at least. He leads. -- HS

10.20pm: Speaking of breaks
They're taking 15 minutes now. Join us for level 16.

10.20pm: €15,000 is a lot of money
The bubble at the EPT Grand Final is bigger than most. Bigger buy-in (€10,000) the bigger the first pay-out level (€15,000). This seems to be on some player's minds right now as we're only nine places off the money and some have voiced concerns that this is causing players to take longer over their decisions than they normally would. No official complaints have been made as yet but it'll interesting to see if they are if it continues after the break. --MC

10.16pm: Moneymaker loses more than spare change
When it gets closer to the money, as it is now, some players tighten up and some players try to take advantage of that bubble fear. Omar Baioumy raised from the hijack to 12,000 and was three-bet by Chris Moneymaker on the button. Baioumy made the call. No action on the 6♣7♣A♦ flop as both players started setting their traps. Baioumy then check-called 33,000 on the J♦ turn before both players checked the J♠ river. Baioumy showed A♠Q♠ for two-pair with a queen kicker. Moneymaker flashed an ace and went back to his massage. -- RD

10.10pm: Talbot and Schulman edges ahead
Nick Schulman is up to 520,000 and Jean Francois Talbot has up to 570,000. Those two could look at each other now and say: "We're the chip leaders." (But it would be a bit weird.) -- HS

10.05pm: Hruby going well
New Team PokerStars Pro Martin Hruby from the Czech Republic is still going strong - he's up to 180,000 right now. -- SY

10pm: It's a feel game
Paul Berende opened for 8,700 from the hijack and the Estonian player Lauri Meidla called in the small blind, leaving himself 35,000 behind.

On the flop of 9♠3♣5♣ Meidla checked to Berende who threw in 90,000, easily covering Meidla who tanked for a while, raising questions about whether his stalling tactics were genuine or owing to the pending bubble.

"I've got a feeling," said Meidla.
"Is it a good feeling?" asked Berende, urging him to take all the time he wanted.

Others were more sceptical.

"I've got a feeling," said Neil Channing, also at the table. "It's called the bubble."

Feeling or not Meidla called. Berende showed Q♣T♥ to Meidla's 6♠7♥.

"You had a feeling with six-seven?" said one player.

It was a question that got lost on the turn card 6♥ and river 7♣, which combined to send the chips to Meidla. - SB


Paul Berende

9.55pm: Thater out horribly
Team PokerStars Pro Katja Thater had been grinding all day and at last looked like she was in a perfect spot to double up. She got in a pre-flop raising war with Sergey Lebedev and moved all in, which required an extra 51,400 from him. He made a quick call:

Thater: K♦K♣
Lebedev: 8♦8♠

You know what's coming. The flop was 8♣[10c]3♣, and although that offered Thater hope of a club flush, the J♦ turn and Q♠ river did not bring it. -- SY


Katja Thater: Kings < eights

9.50pm: Check it out
Here's a table you might like:

Seat one: Vicky Coren
Seat two: Vlad Mezheritsky
Seat three: Ekaterina Kolobekova (you might not know her, but she's got about 340,000 chips)
Seat four: Chris Bjorin
Seat five: Russel Carson
Seat six: Matt "ch0ppy" Kay
Seat seven: Nick Schulman
Seat eight: Moritz Kranich
Seat nine: Davidi Kitai

They've got bracelets and EPT title coming out their ears. -- HS

9.45pm: Taxi for Boatman
When Ross Boatman found himself with pocket tens in an unopened pot in the cut-off it was fairly inevitable it was going all going to go in. The Hendon Mob man pushed his 45,000 into the middle and was called by Kenny Hallaert with A♠K♦ in the big blind - it was verging on a slow roll but we'll give him the benefit of the doubt of being just after the dinner break. An ace in the window wasn't what Boatman was looking for and the Brit went to the rail to meet his brother Barny. -- RD

9.40pm: Deposit in Swiss bank
Chris Moneymaker has lost a big chunk of his stack to Ronald Grauer, putting the Team Pro down to 250,000. The river was already out to leave a 9♥J♥8♠8♥Q♣ board and Grauer had moved all-in for 126,000. Moneymaker made the call only to be shown 9♣8♣ for a full-house by the Swiss. He showed the T♦ for a straight and mucked his cards. Grauer up to 355,000 now. --MC

9.35pm: Pre-flop pressure
Team PokerStars Pro Alex Gomes and Owen Crowe did battle pre-flop and the latter pulled the last punch. It told. Gomes opened to 10,500 from under-the-gun to see Crowe three-bet to 26,500 from the next seat. Gomes didn't look at his opponent once, preferring to glaze down at his stack. He pulled out some blue chips and four-bet to 77,500 putting the pressure right back on the Canadian.

Pressure? What pressure? Crowe moved in for over 200,000 and the Brazilian let his hand go in an instant. Crowe up to 290,000, Gomes down to 188,000. --MC


Owen Crowe: flying

9.33pm: Scott expedition comes to an end
Just before the restart Andrew Scott told us that for the next few hands he'd be Andrew "Desperate". Such was his stack, down to around 60,000, that he confessed he'd be playing any two before long.

When it came to shoving first time his king-eight found no takers. A few hands later he found pocket eights, and after a raise ahead of him he got his chips in, only to run into pocket kings.

The board ran [10d]4♦7♣6♥J♠. Scott had outs on the end but nothing came to keep him alive. Disappointed, and after having endured a long trip, Scott leaves the main event empty handed just 20 places off the money. -- SB

9.31pm: Bjorin's blind check
Whoever said that checking in the dark was a good idea? Big blind Chris Bjorin called a 9,500 raise from David Kitai and instantly checked blind. Kitai opted to check behind him on the A♥7♠7♥ flop. The Swedish legend then check-called 12,000 on the A♠ turn and a further 30,000 on the 9♦ river. Unfortunately for him Kitai held A♦5♦ for a massive boat. -- RD

9.30pm: Maybe he had it
Sami Kelopuro is capable of a lot of things. So when the board was showing [10c][10d]A♣[10h]9♥, and the online terror made it 24,900, everyone folded. He could have had anything there - an ace, maybe, or total air. -- SY


Sami Kelopuro

9.25pm: Chen in that zone
Andrew Chen has the sort of stack that, faced with a raise, is good for only two things: folding or pushing all in. Omar Baioumi found this out for himself when he opened with 8,400 and Chen shoved for his last 37,000. Baioumi didn't fancy a call and let it go. -- SY

9.24pm: Carson and Kay clash again
Russell Carson raised from early position to 9,500 and was called by his neighbour Matt Kay. Carson decided to check-call 14,000 on the T♠K♣8♦ flop which seemed to kill the action for the rest of the hand. Both players checked through the 8♥ turn and 6♠ river with Kay showing 9♠9♦ and Carson a larger pocket pair in Q♠Q♦. Carson's stack has broken the 300,000 mark. -- RD

9.21pm: Marcel's CD, get it now!
While ElkY has been busy signing free copies of his book Kill ElkY, fellow Team PokerStars Pro Marcel Luske has got in on the act as well - he's now signing copies of his latest CD! -- SY

9.20pm: Guerra growls to top
There was a stifled, but nonetheless audible, whoop echoing from the table of Cristiano Guerra - and Italian player who has gone from about 50,000 to his current status closer to 400,000. This latest coup seemed to involve a rivered Broadway straight to Guerra's A♣K♣, sending one player to the rail and Guerra into a manly Italian bear-hug with a supporter. Yep, Guerra has 400,000-ish, and that's a lot. -- HS


Cristiano Guerra

9.15pm: Judah does half his stack
Mel Judah looked incredibly pained when Aaron Gustavson check-raised all-in on the turn of a 3♦5♥3♠K♠ board. Gustavson had check-called 20,000 on the flop before check-shoving over the top of Judah's 35,000 on the turn. Judah did not look happy and passed leaving himself with 60,000. Gustavson is up to 200,000. -- RD

9.10pm: Another elimination after dinner
John Kabbaj has been eliminated straight after the dinner break. There was an early position raise that Kabbaj and Aleksandr Val called from the blinds. The flop came [t][k][9] and Val bet 8,000 from the big blind and was only called by Kabbaj. The turn came a blank and Kabbaj moved all-in for his last 29,000. Call. Kabbaj tabled ace-ten but was behind to Val's king-jack and a jack fell on the river to confirm the big Englishman's exit. --MC

9.05pm: Shark sent to make soup
A short-stacked shark, aka Humberto Brenes, is one of our first postprandial casualties. He shoved from the button with K♣7♦ and was snapped off by K♣Q♣. He's soup. -- HS


Humberto Brenes


Humberto Brenes' chips. They're now elsewhere

9pm: Back
We're back from dinner with 158 players remaining. There's a scheduled two 90-minute levels remaining today, and that means there's a good chance we'll get to the money. For a reminder of what they're playing for, head over to the prize structure page. The bubble will burst when player 129 is banished. -- HS

7.20pm: Chips for dinner
As we head into the dinner break El Mostafa Bel Khayate is the current chip leader with around 420,000. Paul Berende trails that slightly with 410,700. Then comes Chris Moneymaker on 395,000 and Thiago Nishijima and Nicolas Levi on 370,000.

Play resumes in 90 minutes at 9pm.

7.18pm: Pastor pushes Gustavson
'Why didn't I check behind?' Aaron Gustavson asked himself. 'I was squeezing value,' he answered quickly. Gustavson was talking about value betting two-pair (he claims) on a 5♥6♦9♥Q♥A♦ board for 15,000. Team PokerStars Pro Juan Manuel Pastor had check-raised all-in with J♥J♠ and had showed the bluff afterwards. Pastor is up to 160,000 and Gustavson down to 180,000. -- RD


Juan Manuel Pastor, centre

7.15pm: Lacay out
Ludovic Lacay manufactured his own downfall in Monte Carlo. Paul Berende had opened with a bet of 6,500 and then Nathan Tuthill raised it up to 16,400. In the next seat sat Frenchman Lacay, who moved all in for 64,700.

Berende got out of the way, but Tuthill called quickly:

Tuthill: A♣Q♠
Lacay: Q♦J♥

Lacay was drawing mighty thin, but the board bricked. He leaves with a face of thunder just before the dinner break rush. -- SY

7.10pm: Vaserfirer singes Munz
As a hand played out between Simon Munz and Oleksandr Vaserfirer, now table neighbours, a German colleague insisted that this was "going to be Munz's tournament." This is the kind of thing that us press mob are reduced to: tipping a player to win who was the day one chip leader. (I would have been impressed if he'd have said this before day one.)

Anyway, Munz didn't even win this hand. Vaserfirer had raised to 7,500 from the hijack and Munz called to his left. The flop came 8♦4♠9♥ and Vaserfirer led 9,000 at it. Munz called. The they both checked the 4♥ turn and then Vaserfirer came out firing on the 9♣ river, betting 15,000.

Munz took a moment but called. Vaserfirer turned over 8♥8♣ for a boat, which was good enough.

"Obviously not this hand," said the previously proud tipster, although Munz is still healthy with about 250,000. Vaserfirer about the same. -- HS

7.12pm: Luske licked
Marcel Luske is out, sent to the rail by Andre Santos and his pocket nines. It was a bit of a weird one: Santos raised to 7,500 under-the-gun and Luske called in late positon, with Tomer Berda coming along from the big blind.

The flop came 2♦[10s]5♦ and Berda checked. Santos bet 12,000 and Luske called, leaving 10,000 behind. Berda folded, and at this point Luske said that he would be all in blind on the turn. Santos said that he would call blind and tabled those black nines. Luske had K♦Q♠ and stayed behind through turn and river.

Marcel Luske

The Flying Dutchman flies to the rail. -- HS

7.09pm: Deeb done
You may have noticed that Shaun Deeb's name no longer appears on the chip count list. that's because he's now on the rail, victim of his all-in shove with ace-king running into pocket aces.

Shaun Deeb

7.08pm: Channing bluffed
Neil Channing made it 7,600 only for Paul Berende to re-raise to 20,500. It was folded back to Channing who mucked. Berende tabled his 7♠3♥ bluff but Channing, who was tidying up his stack, missed it.

"Did you show a hand? I missed it," Channing said.

"No I didn't," Berende joked (as we all know 7-3 isn't really a hand).

Once told what Berende's bluff was, Channing was intrigued. "Why show down that hand? We all know everyone at this table is capable of three betting with 7-3. Are we now to believe that next time you will have aces? Surely it would be better to showdown aces then everyone will believe you the two or three times after that?"

Berende, still stacking chips, was not really listening as the dealer got on with the next hand. -- SY

7.06pm: pm: Quads not O-Kay for Barbosa
Matt Kay raised from early position and was shoved on by Joao Barbosa from the small blind. The all-in was for around 60,000 and Kay only just had the Portuguese covered. Kay called.

Kay: 9♠9♥
Barbosa: A♠Q♠

The flop wasn't great for Barbosa; 9♠8♠K♣. The Q♦ killed the hand off and the 9♦ was merely a final flourish. Kay is up to 120,000. -- RD

7.05pm: Back in the hunt
Current WCOOP Main Event champion Yevgeniyy Timoshenko has doubled-up to put him back in the game. He raised from early position to 7,200 and then moved all-in when the small blind three-bet to 18,500. The all-in was for 54,200 and the small blind called very quickly with A♣Q♥.

Timoshenko was in great shape with Q♠Q♣ and stayed that way through the T♦4♥J♥J♠6♥ board. The rest of the table, well those in the know, must have secretly been hoping for an ace because when this player gets chips he's dangerous. -- MC

7pm: Yet more for Neuville
We were not there to witness it, but we're told on the hand after Neuville doubled up he won a tasty 80,000 pot when his K-8 made a full house on the river. So he's up to 140,000 now. Must be nice. -- SY

6.55pm: Double up for Neuville
The PokerStars Blog first dubbed Pierre Neuville the Serial PokerStars Qualifier earlier this season (owing to, not surprisingly, his uncanny ability to qualify for EPT events). It's a name that has taken off in his home country of Belgium - and Neuville now proudly sports a crisp white shirt with Serial PokerStars Qualifier printed on the front.

He's here on day 2 at Monte Carlo (having qualified online, of course) and just got a key double up to leave him with a comfortable 100,000.


Pierre Neuville: Changing his name by deed poll to Serial PokerStars Qualifier™

James Mitchell, the winner of the recent Irish Open, had opened with 6,600 which Neuville called. Both checked the 8♦6♠4♠ flop to see a Q♦ turn. Now retired businessman Neuville bet 11,000, only for Mitchell to bump it up to 23,500 - call. On the 7♣ river Neuville moved all in for his remaining 36,300 and Mitchell called with a shrug.

He'll wish he hadn't as Neuville, who had been chasing a flush actually caught his inside straight draw, showing 9♠5♠. -- SY

6.50pm: Bon for Bonavena
Salvatore Bonavena is his usual relaxed self and it's no wonder why. The Italian raised from the cut-off to 7,500 and was called in the big blind. A straightforward 7,000 on the wet K♥Q♣T♣ flop won the pot. If only it was always that easy. -- RD

Salvatore Bonavena

6.45pm: Houghton sent down the river
Laurence Houghton's four-bet all in from the big blind just cost him pretty much all his stack. He was right that the three bettor, in the small blind, had less than his A-Q, but there were aces in the hand of the original raiser. Houghton has less than 20,000, which makes it a long way back for rivermanl. -- HS

6.45pm: Lewis losing it
Following the hand where he four-bet all-in with queen-ten off-suit into Anton Wigg's jacks Toby Lewis has been looking a little flustered. He opened under the gun for 7,500 and John Tabatabai moved all-in for 44,000 (we did say earlier that he'd definitely be all-in against him). Lewis forced himself to muck then said, 'Why is it that you lose one pot and then you ten on the trot?' -- RD

6.40pm: Kay and Carson, Carson and Kay
There's a passing physical resemblance between Russell "rdcrsn" Carson and Matt "ch0ppy" Kay. Well, they've both got an unruly mop of hair and are of a similar age, at least, even if it doesn't go much further than that.

They're both absolute tyrants on the online poker scene, however, and probably know one another's game from countless tournaments on PokerStars. This next hand certainly seemed to be pretty standard, at least for big online players. Anyone else might baulk though.

It was folded to Carson in the small blind and he raised Kay's big. Kay moved all in for an admitedly small-ish stack (around 75,000) and Carson didn't think for that long before calling.

Kay tapped the table and turned over K♥8♥. Carson was dominating with his K♣Q♦ and the flop came [10h][10c]2♣. "I'll take a two," said Kay, but the J♣ turned. He was just a touch premature, however, as the 2♠ appeared on the river, splitting the pot between these two.

"We'll take that," agreed Carson.

Carson has about 230,000. -- HS

6.36pm: Boatman doubles
Ross Boatman has doubled-up to 185,000. A player in the cut-off raised to 7,800 before Boatman three-bet to 22,000 from the small blind. Before he knew it the player in the cut-off moved all-in, covering Boatman by nearly 40,000. Boatman shrugged and made the call with J♥J♦. It was a good call too as his opponent opened A♦T♦ and the board ran 4♦8♥3♣8♣K♠. Boatman looked like he didn't breathe as the board came down but as soon as the river hit the baize his whole persona relaxed. --MC

6.35pm: Asking the questions
Nikita Nikolaev opened with a 7,500 bet and it was folded around to Melanie Weisner, who quickly made it 12,000 more.

"How much do you have left?" Nikolaev asked. "I started the hand with 245,000," came the reply. Nikolaev made the call.

Now it was Weisner's turn to ask the questions. "How much do you have left?" she asked as the dealer dealt a 2♠[10s]8♥ flop

Melanie Weisner

"One hundred and thirty seven thousand," was the response.

With that Weisner fired out a 27,500 bet and that was enough to take the pot. She's up to nearly 270,000 now. -- SY

6.30pm: Lex bets the Veldhuis
Lex Vedhuis has doubled up to around 120,000, his ace-queen getting the better of a pair of tens.

6.25pm: Steindl ousted by Talbot (with help from Andrew Scott)
In the last hand before the level-end break, Johannes Steindl saw his last flop of the Grand Final. He might have liked it as it came king-high, and he had a king-ten. But Jean Francois Talbot, moved to his left in the past level, had an ace-king and although they waited until the turn to get it all in, the big slick stood up.

The skeleton details of this hand were reported to us by Andrew Scott, who had been jousting with Steindl all day. It was Scott's limp from under-the-gun that precipitated a limp-fest and inadvertently disguised Talbot's hand. (Talbot limped from the small blind.) "So I knocked him out," said Scott, tongue in cheek, but with a certain degree of joy. -- HS

6.20pm: Wigg doubles through Lewis
Toby Lewis raised from the cut-off before EPT Copenhagen winner Anton Wigg three-bet to 12,100. Lewis thought for a little while before moving putting Wigg all-in with a large stack of blue and yellow chips. Wigg made the call.

Wigg: J♥J♠
Lewis: Q♦T♥

The flop was a near perfect 8♥J♣7♥ for Wigg giving Lewis only gutshot outs to the nine. Blank 4♥K♦ cards on the turn and river doubled Wigg up to 170,000. Lewis still has some 200,000. -- RD

6.15pm: Chip chips
Your chip leader at the start of this level is Nicolas Levi with around 460,000.

6.10pm: Back from the break
We're back for more. Level 14 is now under way, the last level before the dinner break.

_MG_8698_Neil Stoddart.jpg
Melanie Weisner

PokerStars Blog reporting team in Monte Carlo (in updated order of mosquito bite counts): Stephen Bartley (8), Simon Young (3), Rick Dacey (1 - deserved), Howard Swains and Marc Convey (0).