EPT Monaco: A round with the High Rollers

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With a room full of superstars, a deep stack and a good structure, this High Roller tournament is tailor made for some intriguing action.

And when the stars align like that, our thoughts turn to "A Round With...", the (increasingly) occasional series in which we follow every tiniest piece of action for an entire orbit.

The table under today's microscope is the one featuring Lex Veldhuis. It also features Sorel Mizzi. And Mike Watson. Oh, and Jonathan Duhamel and Ivan Demidov too.

Two of those guys have been heads up for the World Series Main Event - Duhamel in 2010, which he won, and Demidov in 2008, when he finished runner up to Peter Eastgate - another (Watson) has a WPT title and Mizzi has 11 six-figure cashes to his name. Lex is just Lex, which might be even better than all the above.

We join the table for the last 30 minutes of level four, at the end of which the chance to re-enter is no more. Not that any of these guys were under serious threat. Their approximate stacks are as follows:

Seat 1 - Lex Veldhuis - 29,000
Seat 2 - Ognjen Sekularac - 65,000
Seat 3 - Sorel Mizzi - 64,000
Seat 4 - Ivan Kudriavtckv - 93,000
Seat 5 - Mike Watson - 24,000
Seat 6 - Philip Gurian - 49,000
Seat 7 - Jonathan Duhamel - 30,000
Seat 8 - Ivan Demidov - 66,000

Blinds were at 150-300 (25 ante)

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Table 48

Hand one - Sorel Mizzi on the button
Folded to Lex Veldhuis in the hijack, he raised to 700. Ognjen Sekularac called in the cut off and Ivan Kudriavtckv called too from the small blind. All of a sudden, this hand had become a reporter's nightmare. Look at all those consonant clusters.

Anyhow, the three of them saw a flop of 8♥K♣5♣ and (Apple+C, Apple+V) Kudriavtckv checked. Veldhuis bet 1,500 and Sekularac called. Kudriavtckv, however, check-raised, making it 3,400. Veldhuis let the two difficult names go at it alone.

The J♥ turned, Kudriavtckv bet 7,000 and that was good enough to win it.

Hand two - Kudriavtckv on the button
After taking down the last pot, Kudriavtckv was now on the button. But he wasn't allowed to make any of his positional advantage pay as Sorel Mizzi and Ognjen Sekularac opted to go for it.

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Sorel Mizzi, right, and Ognjen Sekularac

Sekularac opened to 600 from the hijack and Mizzi bumped it to 1,500 from the cut off. Sekularac four bet to 4,400 and Mizzi called, all the others having got out the way after the three bet.

The two of them took a flop of 6♠2♥8♦ and a bet of 6,025 took it down for Sekularac.

Hand three - Mike Watson on the button
Jonathan Duhamel opened from under the gun and no one wanted to tangle with the Team PokerStars Pro. They all folded.

Hand four - Philip Gurian on the button
Ognjen Sekularac was in this one again, opening to 800 from early position. Kudriavtckv called in the cut off and Ivan Demidov now decided to join the party from the big blind. That meant that three of them saw a flop of 4♦3♣9♠, which Demidov checked. Sekularac bet 1,125 and both Kudriavtckv and Demidov called.

The 3♦ turned and they checked it through, bringing a 3♦ river.

Demidov threw out one blue chip, worth 5,000. He announced something in the region of a 3,000 bet. Sekularac asked for a count of Demidov's remaining stack, but before he even got an answer, raised to 8,025. Kudriavtckv folded.

Demidov, though, wasn't going away quickly. He went into the tank for a good long while, and eventually emerged with a call. Sekularac turned over A♣2♣ for the turned straight. Demidov flipped A♥2♥ for the same hand.

Hand five - Jonathan Duhamel on the button
It was folded round to Duhamel on the button, and he opened to 600. Ivan Demidov, in the small blind, bumped it to 1,400 and Duhamel called. This has the scent of a hand in which neither player had anything at all.

Anyway, the flop came K♠J♥K♣, which they both checked. That brought the [10s] turn. Demidov fired what looked like 2,700 and Duhamel folded. -- HS

Hand six - Ivan Demidov on the button
Mike Watson, with the shortest stack at the table, opted to get this one started, raising to 750. It made it way round to Sekularac in the big blind, and he asked for a count of Watson's stack. It was about 22,000. Sekularac called from the button, but folded after Watson bet 1,050 on a 5♣J♠7♦ flop.

Hand seven - Lex Veldhuis on the button
Philip Gurian opened to 800 and after everyone else folded, Sorel Mizzi called from the big blind. They both checked a 7♣6♣9♥ flop, and they also checked a A♥ turn. Mizzi bet 800 at the 4♠ river and Gurian called, focing Mizzi to table 6♠3♥. Gurian's pocket jacks started best and finished the same.

Hand eight - Ognjen Sekularac on the button
Jonathan Duhamel opened from mid position and that won him the blinds.

That was the last hand of the "A Round With..." during which Ivan Demidov made a good call to chop a pot, Ognjen Sekularac was by some measure the most active and Lex Veldhuis was barely involved.

Word reached soon after the hand that Jonathan Duhamel had busted early into level five, narrowly missing the chance to rebuy. That means he is gone from that table and won't be back for this event.

Lex Veldhuis also perished soon after. Alex Gomes and Patrik Antonius took their seats. It doesn't get much easier.

We should have some payouts information soon-ish.

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Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour