EPT Monte Carlo: Day 3, level 19 & 20 updates (6,000-12,000, 1,000 ante)

ept-thumb-promo.jpg5.58pm: Break
That's the end of the level. The 43 remaining players are now on a 15-minute break.

5.57pm:Four-betting
You don't need to worry about being near to Claudiu Saizu to find out of he's doing well or winning hands. The man likes to yell and yell loudly when he wins a showdown. This is the main reason why I was most surprised when he took down a pot against Alex Gomes and his reaction would've barely registered on a decibel meter. He raised to 30,000 before Gomes three-bet to 78,000. The Romanian's response was to slide over one big stack of blue chips. A four-bet to 200,000 that'll be then. Gomes thought for a good while and let it go. He's on around 450,000 as we go to break. --MC

5.55pm: Peters picked apart by nut flush draw
David Peters raised under the gun to 26,000 and was called by Herve Costa in the cut-off. Peters, it turns out, had hit the Q♦4♠5♠ flop hard with a big draw and bet 38,000. Costa slid out a large stack of blue and yellow chips in reply to make it 125,000. You could almost see Peters shrug and say "What the hell" as he pushed the rest of his stack in. The cards went on their backs.

Peters: A♠T♠
Costa: A♥Q♠

Costa 'only' had the flush draw to worry about but with one blocker in the shape of the Q♠ he was a big favourite to hold. Blank turn and river cards killed Peters' final table ambitions as Costa raked in a huge stack of chips. From a quick look at the messy stack it looked like the Frenchman was packing 750,000 plus. -- RD

5.50pm: Berende bluffs into a boat
Paul Berende was a huge stack yesterday, a small stack overnight, and built it back up to a pretty big stack again today before bluffing most of it to David Sesso. Here's the latest installment:

Sesso raised to 28,000 from early position and Manuel Bevand called from the cut off. Berende defended his big blind, calling too, but he may live to regret what seemed so innocuous. The flop came 7♣Q♦7♦ and all three of them checked. The turn was A♥ and Berende checked again. Sesso didn't, he bet 65,000, which was enough to get rid of Bevand, but not Berende. The Dutchman called.

The river was 3♦ and it slowed right down. Berende took a long, long time before announcing that he was all in, for more than 500,000. It took Sesso barely one nanosecond to call. Here's why:

Sesso: Q♥Q♣ for the flopped boat.
Berende: K♥J♣ for diddly squat.

Sesso chips up to 1.3 million. Berende is now nursing 230,000. -- HS

5.40pm: Win some, lose some
Alex Gomes just played three hands in a row - one win and two losses. In the first Nick Schulman opened for 28,000 and Gomes raised to around 70,000. Emanuele Rugini then shoved for 224,000. Schulman passed and after some consideration Gomes did too.

Next hand and Gomes was out firing again, 30,000 this time which Gilbert Diaz called in the cut off for a flop of Q♠K♥4♥. Gomes check-called Diaz's bet of 30,000 for a turn card 9♥. Both checked that. The river came Q♥. Gomes checked, Diaz bet 50,000 and Gomes called. K♠T♥ for Diaz but a victorious Q♦T♦ for Gomes.

Then on a flop of K♣J♦4♥ Paul Berende checked in the big blind before Gomes bet 43,000. Berende called for a turn card 8♣. Both checked that for a river card 6♠. Berende then bet 53,000. Gomes made a prompt fold, his stack now around 500,000. -- SB

5.35pm: Perrins bullying the table
Matt Perrins is wielding his big stack well. He had raised three hands on the bounce to 25,000 before he found resistance in the form of Vicky Coren who three-bet to 70,000 from the blinds. Perrins slowly counted out a four-bet to 155,000 asking a big question of Coren to which it seemed she didn't have an answer. Coren passed leaving herself with around 350,000 as Perrins continued to chip up past the one million mark. -- RD

5.30pm: Kranich krushed
Moritz Kranich's last 200,000 chips went in on a flop of J♦5♥Q♣. He had J♣3♣ but Craig McCorkell had J♠[10c] and a much bigger stack. The turn and river blanked and Kranich was knocked out.

That leaves Salvatore Bonavena and Vicky Coren as the only two former EPT champions left in the field -- HS

5.27pm: Eyster Nic Levi's chips
Nic Levi has been knocked out by Kevin Eyster in a very big pot and is up to a joint leading 1.7million. Levi opened the pot with a raise to 26,000 and was called by Eyster on the button and the big blind to go to a 6♠9♠6♦ flop. Levi continued with a 39,000 bet and only Eyster called to the 7♥ turn. Levi changed tact and checked to face a 88,000 bet. The Frenchman moved all-in for another 188,000 and was called by the American.

Levi: 4♠7♠ for a pair and a flush draw
Eyster: Q♣6♣ for trip sixes.

The river came a blank K♣ and the popular Frenchman made his way from the room with a look of anguish on his face. -- MC

5.25pm: Not samba time for Nishijima
The day 1 chip leader has just busted so that's goodbye to Thiago Nishijima. The Brazilian open shoved with T♣J♣ and was called by Omar Baioumi with 4♦4♥. No help arrived for Nishijima who sambaed over to the cash desk to collect his winnings*. -- RD

* Of course Nishijima did not samba, he merely walked. Whether he is a samba or salsa enthusiast in his spare time can't be confirmed at this point in time.

5.20pm: McCorkell larging it
From small acorns grow mighty oaks, and Craig McCorkell is currently sitting behind about 1,750,000 chips, which is the runaway chip lead. This pot is representative of how he's been accumulating those chips today. It started small and grew very large - and McCorkell won it on the river.

Sami Kelopuro raised to 28,000 under-the-gun and McCorkell called on the button. Everyone else let them go at it alone and the they saw a flop of Q♥A♦J♣. Kelopuro checked, McCorkell bet 16,000 and Kelopuro called. The turn was 3♥ and Kelopuro checked again. McCorkell bet 43,000 and Kelopuro called again, taking them to a 9♠ river. Kelopuro checked for a third time and McCorkell bet once again, making it 167,000 this time.

Kelopuro resignedly called and McCorkell showed [10h]8♥ for a rivered straight - good for a 400,000-odd pot. -- HS

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Craig McCorkell

5.15pm: Rockets just in time
PokerStars qualifier James Bowey has been battling a short-stack all day and has got his chips in many times to steal the blinds and antes to stay alive. He's starting to flourish now and is up to 230,000 after finding aces and getting paid. Moritz Kranich opened with a raise to 27,000 from early position and then called the all-in shove from Bowey.

Bowey: A♠A♦
Kranich: A♣T♠

The board ran 9♣9♠J♥5♥Q♠. Kranich down to 200,000 now. -- MC

5.05pm: Button to button: a round with Coren
Although Vicky Coren thanked Ben Roberts for being a lucky charm we think it was us she should thank as our railing orbit saw her go from under 150,000 to over 350,000 in just eight hands.

1) Matthew Szymaszek raised from middle-position and Coren moved all-in for 140,000 with J♣Q♣. Szymaszek called with A♦K♥. Coren binked the river with a straight on a T♠7♦K♠6♠9♣ board to win a 300,000 pot.

2) Coren raises on the button to 40,000 to sweep the blinds and flashes two red aces.

3) Coren folds and the big blind gets a walk.

4) Coren folds and the big blind gets a walk.

5) Coren folds and the big blind gets a walk. (I know, three walks in a row...)

6) Coren passes under the gun before Matthew Szymaszek successfully c-bets
a A♣8♦T♦ flop.

7) Coren calls a raise in the big blind and leads the T♣T♦6♠ in a three-handed pot with a 45,000 bet. It takes the 84,000 pot down.

8) Coren folds to a raise from the small blind.

We picked her up on 140,000 and left her on 350,000 - that's what we call good service. -- RD

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All smiles: Vicky Coren

5pm: Great Brito
Fernando Brito just moved all-in. Hardly surprising as he was down to his last 3,000. He shoved in the small blind and was called by Thiago Nishijima in the big blind. T♣7♥ for Nishijima but a monster A♠Q♦ for Brito. The board came 3♣6♦K♥8♦K♦. "I hope you make the final table," said the dealer and Brito seemed quite pleased. Not for long though. He's now out. -- SB

4.50pm: Pastor-ized
Juan Manuel Pastor is out. He shoved with Q♣2♣ but was called by Paul Berende with A♠7♥. The money went in on a flop of A♣6♣4♠ and the turn 5♦ and river 7♠ put an end to Pastor's day. -- SB

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Juan Manuel Pastor

4.45pm: Cards in the air
Play has resumed. We need to lose 29 more players today.

4.34pm: Break time
Players are on a break, just ten minutes this time.

4.33pm: Judah thrown out
Mel Judah has been eliminated by Pierre Neuville. Neuville raised to 23,000 from under-the-gun and was called by Judah for a Q♦4♦3♣ flop. Neuville checked and then called the 77,000 push from Judah. It was bad news for Judah as his Q♥J♥ was out-kicked by Neuville's K♦Q♠. The turn and river blanked and the Australian clapped his hands together, wished everyone luck and left. --MC

4.32pm: El Bona, El Bona, El Bona
Salvatore Bonavena is up to 780,000 now. Is there any stopping El Bona? David Sesso opened, Martin Hruby called and Ronald Grauer moved all in for 220,000. This must have been music to Bonavena's ears as he then moved all in over the top for about 300,000.

Sesso and Hruby got out the way, leaving Bonavena and Grauer to play for their tournament. Grauer: 9♦9♣, Bonavena: K♥K♣.

The board bricked - Q♠3♥5♠2♠J♣ - and although Hruby gasped at that river, making a couple of commentators think he may have passed pocket jacks, Bonavena scooped. Grauer is gone. -- HS

4.31pm: Perrins breaks the one million mark
We didn't catch the hand that took him into seven figures (1,190,000) but the seat next to Matt Perrins is suspiciously empty. Someone at the same table that doesn't have a monster stack is Vicky Coren. She has just pushed her way past Perrins and co with a 99,000 open shove to scoop the blinds and put herself on 120,000. -- RD

4.28pm: Brito down to the felt
Fernando Brito is down to one big blind - and it's a long way back from there. He was a short stack when he opened from under-the-gun to 30,000 and Claudiu Saizu re-raised from the hijack, making it 90,000. It was folded back to Brito, who called, leaving himself only 31,000 behind.

The flop came 3♥5♠3♣ and Brito checked. Saizu bet 40,000 and Brito folded.

The Portuguese was in the big blind on the next hand and it was folded to Kenny Hallaert on the button. He raised to 23,000 and Brito let his blue 10,000 chip depart. He then folded his small blind too.

Brito is now playing with his last 10,000 chip - and two red 1,000 ones. -- HS

4.25pm: Good call from Gomes
The board of Q♠K♠Q♣3♠A♣ was not very appetising for Alex Gomes, particular as Nick Schulman had bet 64,000 on the river. But with around 100,000 in the pot before that, the man from Brazil made what turned out to be an inspired call.

Schulman: 7♣7♥
Gomes: [10s][10h]

That sent Gomes up to a comfortable 480,000. Shulman is on around 650,000. -- SY

4.22pm: Mitchell out
Jamie Mitchell has added another impression cash to his 2010 season. Following his recent success at the Irish Open the curly haired Brit binked first place in a $1,000 turbo tournament here at the EPT Grand Final for $32,500 before making a good run at the money in the main event.

How did you bust, Jamie? 'Can I lie? I had a straight flush and they had a royal flush,' said Mitchell before admitting that his ten big blind shove with 4♦5♦ was caught out by [a][t]. A promising [7][6][9] flop didn't turn or river any outs. -- RD

4.20pm: Couldn't Nikita this one
Nikita Nikolaev is the latest casualty on a board and with cards in the two player's hands that could've resembled a Razz game. His opponent was Lauri Meidla and the turn was already out to give a 5♠2♥3♣A♠ board.

Nikolaez was first to act from the big blind and moved all-in with 8♣3♥ for a pair of threes. Unfortunately for him it was the perfect card for Meidla on the button as he was sat there with 4♠2♠ for a wheel and re-draw to a straight flush. The river came A♣ and after a count-down of stacks Nikolaev made his exit. --MC

4.19pm: McCorkell v Kelopuro
Sami Kelopuro made it 23,000 and Craig McCorkell called. On the [10d]3♦4♠ flop the Brit check-called Kelopuro's 32,000 bet. That slowed them both down to check the 5♠ turn and J♣ river. "King high," said Kelopuro, but McCorkell turned over A♣4♣ for a pair. -- SY

4.12pm: allhands Gomes
Alex Gomes can't be playing every hand, but it certainly seems like it. He just raised from the button - that's pretty standard - but then faced an all in re-raise from Mesbah Guerfi in the big blind. If Gomes tanks, he usually has a genuine decision and this one was for about 230,000. Gomes added up a lot of things in his head and then called, clapping his hands when he saw that his 4♦4♣ were up against Guerfi's K♦J♠.

It was a race, in other words, but Guerfi ended up the winner. The board came J♥A♦3♥6♦2♥ and that flopped jack was decisive. Guerfi move has about 570,000 and Gomes is trimmed to about 380,000. -- HS

4.10pm: 'Back in the game'
Omar Baioumi doubles through the excitable Romanian Claudiu Saizu. Saizu raised and Baioumi moved all in for 173,000 with A♣Q♣. Saizu called with pocket nines, and board ran 4♠2♦7♥Q♠K♦ to double Baioumi up to more than 350,000. "Yes, I'm back in the game," he said. -- SY

4.05pm: Mitchell is going to need luck of the Irish
Irish Open winner Jamie Mitchell is one of the tournament short stacks at the moment. Andrew Chen shoved for 77,000 and was called by Mitchell in the big blind who put half of his stack into the middle with K♥3♦. An ace on the flop of a A♥9♥9♠J♠6♠ board doubled Chen to 150,000 and battered Mitchell down to 80,000.

The Brit shoved from the big blind the next hand and eventually got a pass from Lauri Meidla. Mitchell flashed the A♣ as he scooped the blinds to get back to 96,000. Make or break is around the corner. -- RD

4pm: allingomes moves up to 600,000
Three players in a row, with three big reputations. Three big hands too - or so it seemed. Davidi Kitai moved all in pre-flop for his last 155,000. Juan Manuel Pastor, to his immediate left, called, but Alexandre Gomes, one seat further round, moved all in over the top of that.

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Alex Gomes

Kitai probably liked this: he was on for a triple up if he could pull something out the bag. But Pastor absolutely hated it and went through all kinds of pain, glared at by a huge crowd of spectators, before folding.

So that left Kitai versus Gomes, with a lot of dead money in there too. Kitai tabled 8♣8♦ and Pastor let out a yelp when Gomes showed J♣J♦. (Pastor said he folded tens, so that's a yelp of celebration, then.)

Gomes thought this was a good time to play his PokerStars Blog One Time Chip™ and said: "Hold. One time."

It worked this time as the board ran 4♥2♣4♠3♦K♠. Gomes is up past 600,000; Kitai is out and Pastor plays on. -- HS

3.55pm: Grauer grinds some back
Salvatore Bonavena had crippled Ronal Grauer earlier this level with kings versus ace-king (the kings held) but Grauer has just ground some back shoving all-in over Bonavena's opening raise. Grauer pulls himself back up to 200,000. -- RD

3.50pm: Aces into kings
Running kings into aces at any point is painful but in a 200NL game you just tap the table and reload but here at the EPT Grand Final that just won't work.
Klaus Pautrot held the kings and Roger Hairabedian held the aces. An ace on the flop sealed the hand for Hairabedia but at least Pautrot had him covered. That's a 575,000 pot for the Frenchman. -- RD

3.48pm: McDouble bust out
Craig McCorkell, who cashed recently at EPT San Remo, is up to 900,000 after busting two players in one hand. Eric Fourniois raised to 30,000 from early position before Stephane Benadiba moved in for 9,000 more from the next seat. McCorkell flat called from another seat along and when the action folded back around to Fourniois he moved all-in for another 100,000. McCorkell smiled and made the call.

Fourniois: J♥J♠
Benadiba: K♥T♥
McCorkell: Q♥Q♠

The board ran 5♠5♥7♠2♦4♠ to send two to the rail. --MC

3.46pm: Giaroni all in again
Vicky Coren opened with a raise only for Italian Gianni Giaroni to move all in for around 150,000. When he does that, he usually has the goods. "Only because it's you," said Coren has she folded A♣ face up. Giarone obliged by showing her A♠K♥. "I never bluff," he said, not for the first time today. -- SY

3.44pm: Two time!
Although we have lost Anton Wigg and Kevin MacPhee today, meaning we won't get a double champion entirely contained in season six, there are still three players in search of their second EPT title.

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Vicky Coren

Vicky Coren and Moritz Kranich are battling strong, as is Salvatore Bonavena. El Bona is currently sitting alongside Andrew Chen, bringing back memories of that legendary final in Prague from season five. -- HS

3.40pm: Andrew Chen on fumes
Andrew Chen moved all in for 80,000 with 9♠9♥ and was called by short-stacked Ronald Grauer with K♥8♣. Grauer had 65,000 - and he doubled up when the board ran A♠[10c]K♦2♦A♥.

That left Chen with just 15,000 - and not surprisingly that went in the middle on the very next hand. David Sesso re-raised to 35,000 and he and Chen were on their backs:

Chen: A♦K♠
Sesso: A♠J♦

Chen had found cards right at the death, and he doubled up and picked up the blinds and antes when the board ran 8♣6♦A♥5♥3♥. Can he engineer a great escape? We'll keep you informed. -- SY

3.35pm: Chris Moneymaker out
The Team PokerStars Pro had around 160,000 left and made a move, but his timing was out. Jean Francois Talbot had opened for a 22,200 bet, and Moneymaker moved all in, getting a quick call.

Moneymaker: J♦4♣
Talbot: 8♦8♣

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Chris Moneymaker

"I only need a jack and a four on the flop," Moneymaker said, more in hope than expectation. But the board ran A♥[10d]5♣5♣7♠ and the 2003 world champion went off to find the cash desk and his €25,000. -- SY

Moneymaker had talked to the video team earlier about his hopes for the day. Even though he's now out, it's always worth seeing what he has to say...

3.32pm: SALVATORE BONAVENA!!!
The man in the hat has just doubled through Ronald Grauer with K♣K♦ against the Dutchman's A♣K♥. The Italian not only dodged an ace across all five streets but picked up a king-high flush on the river to double up to 450,000. Grauer was left crippled by the hand. -- RD

3.30pm: Spicy Perri-Perri sauce
Towards the end of yesterday Matt Perrins had a relatively humble stack and in the space of a couple of levels he smashed into the top five chip stacks ending with 570,000. He's just increased that to 670,000 after busting Melanie Weisne. Perrins raised from the button with A♥7♥ and then called a shove from Weisner who tabled J♥K♠. Perrins ace held.

For those who are interested in railing the sisterhood, Vicky Coren is now the only female left in the field. -- RD

3.25pm: Gomes fills up
Alexandre Gomes gave the impression of a man who had just lost a big pot when Gilbert Diaz checked behind on a board of 9♦5♥3♣9♥Q♠ and showed K♣J♣. "Full house," said Gomes before tabling his Q♥9♠, ruing a missed value bet on the end. Seems unlikely Diaz would have called, though, and Gomes took the pot of around 80,000 anyway. -- HS

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Alex Gomes

3.20pm: Berende on the rise again
Straight back from the break and Paul Berende has doubled up his short stack. He had A♥Q♣ and got it all in against the [10s][10c] of William Stalcup. The board ran 6♣K♥Q♦3♥4♠. That puts Berende back up to about 350,000 - and he's scaling the heights he reached late yesterday (before an even later plummet).-- HS

3.11pm: Hand from the last level: huge hand for Levi
It was a dream turn of events for Nic Levi.The Frenchman raised on the button with aces and had short stacked Jerome Zerbib move all-in from the small blind with [k][9]. That was nice for starters but when Kevin Eyster, not a short stack, moved in from the big blind to isolate with [k][j] then, well, it's your lucky day - especially when the A♠6♦T♦ flop spikes to top set. A blank T♣7♦ turn and river boosted Levi up to 548,000 and kicked his compatriot Jerome Zerbib to the rail. -- RD

3.10pm: Seventy two
We're entering level 19 and 72 players remain. Don't forget, today will end when 24 players are left. So that's...er...something like...er...48 players to bust before home time.

Team PokerStars Pro is still represented by Alexandre Gomes, Lex Veldhuis, Juan Manuel Pastor and Vicky Coren and although each of them has the game, none is currently near the chip lead.

These two folk, however (in addition to Kevin Eyster) ar right up there with round about a million.

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Nick Schulman

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David Sesso, close to chip lead at EPT Grand Final

PokerStars Blog reporting team in Monte Carlo (in order of estimate for answer to poser put to tournament official Alen Babic*. Poser was: "When the one-minute countdown clock is called on a player at an EPT Main Event, how many times out of ten do they fold?"): Simon Young (6), Stephen Bartley (7), Rick Dacey (7 or 8), Howard Swains (9).

*Babic's answer: Eight. Well done Dacey.

Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour