EPT Monte Carlo: Level 23 & 24 updates (15,000-30,000, 3,000 ante)
2.40pm: Level up
That's the end of level 24. There will now be a 15-minute break. -- SY
2.35pm: Saizu doubles
Claudiu Saizu keeps on the pressure, moving all in to try to salvage something with his short stack, first moving in behind a Nicolas Chouity raise and then raising on a flop of 9♦6♣2♠ after Kelopuro made it 85,000. Kelopuro then moved in. Saizu bent over the table, straddling his chair, then passed, leaving himself just 400,000 behind.
Then another push in the last hand of the level. Kelopuro made it 70,000 and Nicolas Chouity called. Saizu shoved and Kelopuro raised to force out Chouity. It was 5♣5♠ for Saizu against Kelopuro's T♦8♦. The board ran 2♥9♦3♦K♥K♣ and Saizu doubled up. -- SB
2.28pm: Says who Saizu?
Claudiu Saizu opened for 73,000 and was called by Sami Kelopuro in the big blind. The flop came 4♥3♣K♠. Kelopuro checked to Saizu who bet 113,000. Kelopuro called for a turn card A♥ which both he and Saizu checked. On the T♦ turn Kelopuro bet 255,000. Before he'd even finished the bet Saizu had called showing K♦Q♥. But Kelopuro could beat that, showing K♣4♦.
Saizu banged some chips around, saying a few things in Romanian, before paying off Kelopuro, who looked uninterested. He has 2,300,000 now while Saizu is down to 650,000. - SB
2.25pm: Another flop on the feature table
Things are hotting up under the TV lights, we've just had what must only be our third or fourth flop of the day. Andrew Chen had bet 70,000 and Nick Schulman defended from the big blind. But after the excitement of seeing a flop - both players checked down the whole 4♦9♥7♥[10d][10c] board. Schulman tabled A-5 and that was good. -- SY
2.20pm: Three short hands
2.15pm: Bits and bobs
A string of hands starting well before then petering out. Dominykas Karmazinas opened for 66,000 from under the gun. Herve Costa called as did Craig McCorkell in the big blind.
The flop came 7♠Q♠9♠ which was checked to Costa. He bet 180,000 ending the hand there and then.
Josef Klinger opened the next hand, 75,000 from middle position. Kevin Eyster then re-raised to 220,000 from the cut off forcing Klinger to fold.
Klinger tried again in the next. Matt Perrins showed interest, asking Klinger what he had behind. But the 850,000 answer was too much. He passed.
Finally, Ramzi Jelassi took another pot from Claudiu Saizu, betting on a flop of 3♥A♦8♥, enough for Saizu to fold. - SB
2.10pm: David Sesso eliminated
The American is our 21st place finisher, picking up €50,000 for his efforts this week. Andrew Chen had open shoved for 454,000 before Sesso called all in for his remaining 272,000.
Sesso looked in good shape, his Q♥Q♠ well ahead of Chen's A♣[10d], but the end was swift, with a 9♥A♠8♠ flop. The turn was K♦ and river 2♦. -- SY
2.02pm: River saver puts Saizu back in the game
"I. Am. Back. In. This. Game!" staccato-declared Claudiu Saizu after a river-saver against JF Talbot. Talbot had made it 75,000 from mid-position and then called Saizu's all in shove from the button. It was a little more than 600,000, which Talbot had comfortably covered.
So Saizu's tournament was on the line with A♣3♣ against Talbot's [10c][10s]. "Can we run this twice?" said Saizu, fearing the worst. He was right to be worried. The flop was 7♦8♥6♥ and the turn was 2♣. The river, however, was the A♠ and that sent Saizu pogo-ing across the small tournament area. He moves past a million; Talbot it pegged back. -- HS
2pm: Score draw
Ramzi Jelassi came close to knocking out the man who revitalised his own stack, Caludiu Saizu. Jelassi opened for 63,000 before Saizu choved for around 600,000. Jelassi called with A♦K♣ and Saizu turned over A♣9♣.
"This is scary," said Jelassi with a uncanny eye for trouble. The board came 8♦8♠6♣J♠J♣ for a split pot. -- SB
1.55pm: Team Pro down
Martin Hruby, the newest member of Team PokerStars Pro, is out. Crippled by Salvatore Bonavena a few hands ago, the same man just killed him off. Hruby had open shoved for his last 172,000, and Bonavena made the call:
The board ran [10d]7♠7♥ (so far so good for Bonavena), then 5♦ to give him a little sweat, but the river was 3♥ and Hruby departed in 22nd for €50,000. -- SY
1.50pm: Kelopuro wins blind battle
Sami Kelopuro and Nicolas Chouity were in the blinds and went to a cheap flop. It was 9♠[10s]Q♦. They both checked. The turn was 6♦ and Kelopuro bet 45,000, which Chouity called, and then the river came 2♠. Kelopuro bet 110,000 and Chouity called, but then mucked when Kelopuro opened [10h]8♠. The tens were good. -- HS
1.47pm: Double up for Bonavena
Salvatore Bonavena open shoved for 502,000 and got a call from Team PokerStars Pro Martin Hruby, who had him covered. Everyone else scarpered:
The Italian needed help to keep alive his dream of becoming the EPT's first double champion - and it came straight away on the flop of 3♦A♦5♣. But the 7♦ turn opened a straight draw opportunity for Hruby.... river.... 4♣. All safe for Bonavena who moves over a million. Hruby on fumes (Well, about 180,000). -- SY
1.46pm: Klinger in
Josef Klinger opened for 61,000. Kevin Eyster raised to 186,000 from the button and Klinger moved all in for around 500,000 more. Eyster thought for a while but passed. - SB
1.45pm: "Thanks Charlie"
Ramzi Jelassi moved all in. It was about the fourth time today and there were no takers. Then the fifth time, in behind a raise of 66,000 from Claudiu Saizu in the cut off. It was about 400,000 to call and Saizu did so, showing Q♦9♦ against Jelassi's A♦7♥. "Here we go," said Jelassi as the board was dealt.
Jelassi took his chips from Charlie the dealer. "Thanks Charlie." Jelassi back in the game. - SB
1.40pm: Flop alert. Repeat. Flop alert!
We've just seen the first flop of the day on the feature table (aside from the two all ins). David Sesso had bet 72,000 and Laurent Olive called. The first magical flop showed 9♦4♣6♣, and after all that waiting, they checked it! But on the 4♦ turn Olive bet 130,000 - call. On the K♣ river Olive bet 150,000, and eventually got another call. Olive turned over K♦5♦ for two pair (and the missed flush). It was good. -- SY
This is extraordinarily cagey at the moment. As if the fact that we've had no flops on the featured table wasn't enough evidence, how about this. On table two, consecutive three bets were enough to take down small pots and then on table one Dominykas Karmazinas raised to 68,000 from early position and then open folded black nines when Herve Costa three bet to 130,000 from
the cut off. -- HS
1.33pm: Half and half
An opening 62,000 bet from Kevin Eyster which Craig McCorkell called. Herve Costa was in the big blind and tank folded before the 6♠A♦2♠ flop. Eyster made it 85,000 which McCorkell called for a 2♣ turn. Eyster bet again, 185,000 this time which McCorkell again called. A tentative truce on the Q♥ river as both players checked. K♣Q♣ for Eyster, Q♠T♠ for McCorkell and a split pot. - SB
1.30pm: Where are the flops?
We've had 25 hands on the feature table and have not seen a single flop aside from the all-in showdowns. Just now David Sesso opened, Nick Schulman raised all in and Sesso folded. I've almost forgotten what a flop looks like. -- SY
1.27pm: Nordic on Nordic
Ramzi Jelassi and Sami Kelopuro probably know one another's games pretty well. But that doesn't mean they're averse to mixing it with one another.
Jelassi raised his button, making it 51,000 to go, which was called by Kelopuro in the big blind. The flop was K♠8♦9♥ and Kelopuro check-called a 68,000 bet from Jelassi. The turn was 8♣, which they both checked, and then the [10h] rivered, at which Kelopuro bet 51,000. Jelassi let it go.
Actually, on second thoughts, there's quite a bit of mutual respect on display in that hand. -- HS
1.22pm: Level up
That's the end of level 23, and we're straight on to level 24 without a break. -- SY
1.20pm: The drama-fold
Nicolas Chouity opened for 55,000 which Claudiu Saizu called from the button. Emanuele Rugini then moved all-in for around 56,000. Chouity folded while Saizu went into a period of reflection, elaborately counting chips with hand gestures, rubbing his forehead and then folding. - SB
1.14pm: Chen again
For the second time today Salvatore Bonavena raises and faces an all in three-bet from Andrew Chen, this time for 469,000. For the second time Bonavena was forced to fold. -- SY
Here's the video introduction to the day...
1.05pm: Saizu takes some from Talbot
Claudiu Saizu and Jean-Francois Talbot are the most active players on table two, with the former of those just re-raising the latter out of two pots on the flop. First time, Saizu checked a board of 4♠4♥8♦ and Talbot bet 80,000. Sami Kelopuro, also involved at this stage, folded but Saizu made it 225,000 and Talbot passed.
A hand or two later, it was Saizu and Talbot again at a flop of 2♥9♣9♥ and Talbot bet 100,000. Saizu, this time with position, called and they went to a J♦ turn. Talbot fired 125,000, Saizu re-raised another 210,000 on top and Talbot again shied away. -- HS
1.01pm: To the river
Dominykas Karmazinas opened for 56,000 which was called in the small blind by Aleh Plauski. The flop came Q♥3♦9♠ and Plauski checked. Karmazinas bet 75,000 which Plauski called for a 6♠ turn. Another 180,000 this time from Karmazinas which sent Plauski to the tank for a few minutes. He called though for a A♥ river card. Check, check. Karmazinas showed K♦K♥ to take the pot. -- SB
12.55pm: Feel the force
Roger Hairabedian, perhaps given confidence by his double up a short while ago, is now using his big stack like a sledgehammer. Salvatore Bonavena had raised under the gun to 59,000, only for David Sesso to make it 175,000. When it got around to Hairabedian he thought for a moment before betting two tall towers of blue 10,000 chips - 400,000 worth. Bonavena got out of the way quickly, Sesso thought for a moment or two longer before folding as well. -- SY
12.50pm: Chouity's rubbish makes profitable straight
Nicolas Chouity made it 56,000 from the button and Claudiu Saizu called quickly from the small blind. The two of them were alone to a flop of 7♦J♦8♣ flop and Saizu checked. Chouity bet 82,000 and Saizu called, bringing a 4♠ turn.
Then we went through the same pattern. Chouity checked, Saizu bet 160,000 and Chouity called. Then again on the 6♥ river. Chouity check-called Saizu's 286,000 bet. Choity showed 5♥9♣ and had backed into a straight after raising light pre-flop. Saizu can be forgiven for not having seen that one coming, but was required to ship about half a million to Choity nonetheless. -- HS
12.47pm: Double for Hairabedian
Nick Schulman started this one with a bet of 50,000 and Laurent Olive re-raised to 140,000. It was folded around to Roger Hairabedian who moved all in for 627,000 after a bit of a Hollywood dwell. Olive called:
All well and good for Hairabedian - but the flop caused a major sweat, coming 6♥8♥9♥, meaning a further heart (or a queen, of course), would give Olive the pot. But the 4♣ turn and 7♠ were safe, and Hairabedian doubled to 1,300,000. -- SY
12.45pm: Nothing to see here
None of the early excitement found elsewhere for table one. Ten minutes in and just two flops to speak of. For the second Josef Klinger opened for 55,000 pre-flop which Craig McCorkell raised another 76,000 form the big blind which Klinger called for a flop of 4♣K♠3♥. McCorkell cut short proceedings though, with a bet of 147,000. Klinger passed. - SB
Martin Hruby opened with a raise and Nick Schulman moved all for 130,000. That took the pot. Next Hruby opened again, but this time it was Andrew Chen who moved all in and forced the fold. -- SY
12.32: Bevand loses French battle
On just the second hand at the feature table, Manuel Bevand was eliminated by fellow Frenchman Laurent Olive. Olive had raised, Bevand moved all in and Bevand called instantly.
Bevand was in a world of pain, and nothing happened on the 5♥J♠3♦3♣5♦ board to save him. -- SY
12.25pm: Short-stack for Berende
Paul Berende's short-stack strategy was straightforward: get the chips in early and hope for the best. He did precisely that with Q♥6♦ and was snapped off by Claudiu Saizu's A♥Q♣.
Berende got up to leave even before the A♣8♠J♠J♦2♦ board. Berende is out in 24th. -- HS
12.20pm: Here we go
After the usual short delay, day 4 is now under way. 24 players down to eight. Sounds simple, doesn't it?
It's a busy day in Monte Carlo - and not just for the people who polish Ferraris or swab the deck of yachts. This is day four of the EPT Grand Final Main Event, where 24 players return and seek a place on the final table of eight. That will happen, no matter how long it takes.
Here's your five point plan for catching up with the action so far:
Yesterday's wrap has an overview of day three.
The latest chip counts can tell you where the players stand...
...while the seat draw will tell you where they sit.
All the people on the prizewinners page have taken their money and run.
And you can relive the whole tournament on by clicking on anything in the Monte Carlo category.
The short version of all that is that Kevin Eyster leads but there are plenty of sharks lurking with sufficient chips to do a lot of damage. Play is due to begin at noon - and they'll play out the remainder of level 23 before going straight into level 24 and beyond.
Also at noon, a bunch of High Rollers will trundle into town to ante up €25,000 for their special tournament. Vanessa Rousso won it last year. Who's next?
We'll have full coverage of both events here. -- HS