EPT Monte Carlo: Happy Kevin Eyster at Grand Final

ept-thumb-promo.jpgMain Events on the EPT typically last five days, and if you're in the market for easy analogy you could say it's like a working week. The big beers are on anyone left in the office late on Friday night.

That makes today, day three, Wednesday. It's the hump in the middle of the week. If you make it over, then it's a nice slide into the deep money stages, but it can be a real struggle hauling yourself over the top.

For the likes of Kevin MacPhee, Anton Wigg, Chris Moneymaker, Moritz Kranich, Nicolas Levi, Greg Dyer and Gianni Giaroni, it's was too much to face another day at the office. They all hit the boozer this afternoon. But I suggest schmoozing on up to any of Kevin Eyster, Matt Perrins, Jean Francois Talbot or Nicolas Chouity this evening, because they're your best bet for a good time once the weekend claxon sounds.

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Kevin "Happy" Eyster: leader

Eyster is our chip leader of the final 24 at the Grand Final. He was middle management level at the start of the day, with about 250,000 chips. But he made all the right noises at all the right moments today, ending up at boardroom level with 2,768,000.

Perrins (2,518,000), Talbot (2,427,000) and Chouity (2,037,000) will be joining him in the executive lounge. They too went on a relentless chip-gathering mission and it was Talbot who brought an end to the day, when his flopped set of tens ended the hopes of Andre Santos and his flush draw.

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Matt Perrins: Top Brit

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Jean Francois Talbot: Andre Santos's least favourite face

The names of all the last 24 and their all important counts can be seen right now on the chip count page.

If I may, I'd like to divert your attention to a couple of names in particular. Salvatore Bonavena won one of the first EPT events he ever played, over in Prague during season five. As the lone former champion still in the midst, he is the only man still capable of winning two EPTs before the end of season six. Will we be forced into season seven still under that particular hoodoo? Or can El Bona put us out of our misery?

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Salvatore Bonavena: History is in his hands

Andrew Chen shared the Prague final table felt with Bonavena, and they reunited this afternoon in Monte Carlo. Historically, young North American players have made this Grand Final their own and Chen - who was at one stage today down to his last 15,000 - is joined by David Sesso and Nick Schulman as well as Eyster and Talbot in that particular demographic.

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Andrew Chen: These Canadians, coming over here, winning our tournaments...

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Nick Schulman

(Sami "LarsLuzak" Kelopuro is Finnish, but is just as famous over the Atlantic as he is in Europe. Kelopuro has made the last 24 as well.)

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Sami Kelopuro: You may have heard of LarsLuzak

Hats off too to Martin Hruby, the Czech player who joined Team PokerStars Pro ahead of last week's tournament in San Remo, and is now busy making himself known to us by cruising into the final 24. Last season, Pieter de Korver joined Team PokerStars Pro in the weeks before the Monte Carlo Grand Final and then went on to win it. Will lightning strike twice?

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Martin Hruby: The new Pieter de Korver?

There will be no seat around the final three tables for any of Hruby's Team Pro colleagues. Rino Mathis was one of the first out the door during the first orbit; Chris Moneymaker stopped making money in 69th; Juan Manuel Pastor went in 54th, Alexandre Gomes' roller-coaster was derailed in 33rd, while Vicky Coren, the last woman standing, went in 26th, just shy of that magic 24. Congratulations to all of them.

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Vicky Coren: So near but yet...

All the winners so far are on the prizewinners page, and you can look back at today's action with any of the following links:

Introduction and level 17 and 18 updates
Level 19 and 20 updates
Level 21, 22 and 23 updates

It's all sort of the same, only very different, in German, Swedish, Italian, French and Dutch.

PokerStars.tv has moving pictures. The photography on PokerStars Blog is ©Neil Stoddart.

Action begins at noon on day four, when we'll slim this field down by a third and name our final table players. That will all be under the cameras of EPT Live.

Goodnight.

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Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour