EPT8 Monaco: Coren and Weisner heads up for the title

ept-thumb-promo.jpgTeam PokerStars Pro Victoria Coren and Melanie Weisner are battling it out for €58,900 in the final of the €5,000 heads-up tournament, the last two players remaining from a starting field of 27. Coren had beaten Dori Yacoub in her semi, while the fast talking American, who has impressed on the tour with five main event cashes over the last two seasons, beat EPT London champ Mark Teltscher in hers.

Coren drew first blood taking the first round in a best of five match after both players got it in with top pair and she caught her kicker. Weisner swung back claiming the second calling Coren's [a][6] shove with [k][8] and spiking a king to draw the tie level. A maximum of three bouts now remain with the runner-up pocketing €39,250. Teltscher and Yacoub took €16,400 for their third-place finishes.

ept monaco_day 1a_victoria coren.jpg

Victoria Coren

We at the PokerStars Blog like to think that we see past such superficial barriers as colour, creed and gender so it was little surprise to us to see Coren and Weisner's name flash up in the final. Coren has an EPT title to her name, won on home territory at EPT London no less, as well as runner-up finish in the inaugural IFP World Championship for an additional $100,000. Wesiner, as mentioned, has been a mercurial talent of late consistently making deep runs but falling just before the money really matters.

A 12th place finish at EPT Prague the year Roberto Romanello won (Season 7) saw her just miss out on the table and back to back 28th place finishes at EPT Copenhagen and EPT Madrid earlier this year simply didn't do her justice. Her performance at Copenhagen, notoriously a tough field, could only be described as eviscerating as she tore her way through the Scandinavian field as chip leader. Then along came two huge coolers. Both times she held ace-queen, both times she was cruelly dominated. First by the big slick of Stig Christensen then, more critically, by Steve O'Dwyer's aces in a huge five-bet button on big blind pot. O'Dwyer went on to make the final table, his second of the season, and Weisner was sent to the rail once more.

Whatever the outcome this will be Weisner's largest live tournament cash, but should she win it will also be her first outright win outside of ladies-only events. And that should lead us nicely to the summary stating that these two women are poker players first and foremost, that stereotypes about fluttering their eyelashes or that female players are more attuned to knowing what people think is marketing gush. We're not going to play up to those stereotypes.. hold on, they're talking about pregnancies and love.

ept monaco_day 1a_coren and weisner.jpg

The verbal barrage begins

"What do you think about that, the biological clock and everything. There are lots of women having babies when they're, like, 45," said Weisner.

"I'm not very good at doings things at the right time in a grown up responsible way," replied Coren.

The pair then started to discuss the concept of true love, questions and answers fired across the table in by far and away the most talkative heads-up I've seen. This was no lovey-dovey slushy chit-chat over a coffee. There was the analysis that you'd expect from a pair of 20-year-old online grinders, just three-bet jamming ranges replaced by the expectation and reality of amour. Both Coren and Wesiner are well-known for being vocal at the table. Perhaps they were both trying to stamp their authority on the match. I caught up with Weisner at the break to find out if that was the case.

ept monaco_day 1a_melanie weisner.jpg

Melanie Weisner

"No, I don't think so. We were talking pretty much all the way through the first match but it was pretty quiet in the second. Sometimes I talk to people to make them play in a more straightforward way but here it's been a separate thing... She's playing pretty good but I still think I'm going to win," said Weisner.

Coren may have something to say about that. The third bout has begun which Coren and Wesiner have marked by cracking open a bottle of red. Now then, that's our kind of heads up.

Update: Coren won the battle and nearly €60,000.

"It was lovely playing with Melanie who played brilliantly and was fun and funny to talk to. Well done both of us," Coren said.

This marks Coren's second win on the EPT. Her first, of course, was her EPT London championship in Season 3.

Main event snapshot
Level 8: blinds 300-600, ante 75
Players: 198 of 271
Click here for live coverage and more features from The PokerStars and Monte-Carlo® Casino EPT Grand Final

Rick Dacey
@PokerStars in European Poker Tour