EPT8 Monaco $25,000 High Roller: Badecker more than holds his own

ept-thumb-promo.jpgAndrew Badecker had a long wait at bagging time last night. As is customary on the EPT, the clock was stopped when it still showed 15 minutes in the day's final level, then tournament staff told dealers to distribute five more hands. This stops people stalling to miss out on the big blind and nonsense like that, and is pretty much established policy around the world.

It also means that tables finish their day at slightly different times. Five big pots can take up to an hour longer to play than five very small ones and Badecker's table got their last quintet done in double quick time. Badecker quickly scrawled 350,000 on his bag as his overnight count, but then had to wait an excruciating amount of time to discover whether he was the leader. Vincent van den Fluit was his closer challenger but was on the table where Max Lykov and Chris Moorman were involved long beyond anyone else.

As it turned out, Badecker got the result he was hoping for. Van den Fluit lost a small pot to peg him back to 341,000, so Badecker saw his name at the top of the pops overnight.

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Andrew Badecker: big stack

And today in the Salle des Etoiles it is something we have grown used to seeing. Badecker has continued to crush, despite sitting with Phil Ivey, Patrick Antonius, Liv Boeree, Faraz Jaka et al. As the tournament lost its 17th player and went down to two tables of eight, it didn't get much easier for Badecker: Daniel Negreanu came to sit on his right, Philip Gruissem to his left and Maxim Lykov opposite.

"The thing about playing good players is that it's fun and challenging and stuff, but I also like playing bad players too," said a smirking Badecker. "It's easier to win."

So much for that refrain among new players, who sometimes foolishly claim they prefer to play against the best because only then can their sophisticated moves pay dividends. "It's fun, but I think I's also like to have eight whales here too," Badecker said.

And Badecker knows. This is far from his first rodeo as he's mixed it with players like this many times before. He won a World Series bracelet in Vegas last summer - in a $1,500 no limit shootout tournament - and a few months later he won another $388,000 for winning a $2,500 buy in at the Borgata.

As we get towards the money here in Monaco, Badecker has been responsible for at least four eliminations and is still in the chip leader, with 883,000. Just before the most recent break, he sent William Reynolds out with A♦K♣ versus Reynolds' K♥Q♣ shove.

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William Reynolds, out short of the money

Badecker's previous biggest cash on European soil was a €18,800 pick-up for second in a side event in Campione. That's less than the buy in in this tournament, so he's clearly set to surpass it.

He may describe Gruissem as his nemesis - and is now playing into him - but Badecker is "running good and playing good". This could be where he evens up whatever grudge he has.

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While Badecker has been playing huge pots, whether he likes it or not, Daniel Negreanu has been consciously "playing small-ball poker". At least that was how he accounted for a stack of about 500,000.

As stated above, Negreanu has moved on over with Philip Gruissem and Max Lykov to table Badecker. Something is going to have to give over there soon. It'll be worth keeping an eye on the hand-by-hand stuff.

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Last two tables

Here are the stacks of the last 16 players in this High Roller event. We are playing one more hour before going to dinner, and then we will probably eat bubble for dessert. Fourteen players get paid.

Andrew Badecker 883,000
Philipp Gruissem 881,000
Artem Litvinov 689,500
Phil Ivey 637,000
Igor Kurganov 594,500
Daniel Negreanu PokerStars Team Pro 500,500
Noah Schwartz 437,500
Martin Finger 426,500
Justin Bonomo 362,500
Joseph Elpayaa 268,500
Nathan Schoo 249,500
Alexander Venovski 244,500
Haralabos Voulgaris 162,000 -64,000
Max Lykov PokerStars Team Pro 131,500 -92,500
Alex Bilokur 126,000 -86,000
Andrey Pateychuk 84,500

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Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour