EPT8 Monaco: Eames and Kabrhel see out opening day
The opening day of any European Poker Tour event tends to be without real plot. It's mainly a matter of surviving through the day's eight levels to return on Day 2 when it becomes interesting. Invariably there are some weighty movers on Day 1A, players who can at least be plucked from the rest as having done some good that could serve them well as the week progresses.
Today those players were John Eames and Martin Kabrhel.
The pair shared the same table from the start of The PokerStars and Monte-Carlo® Casino EPT Grand Final, between them just a dealer and Freddy Deeb, each amassing the two big stacks that were out front when all were bagged up. For Kabrhel 167,800, for Eames 157,200. David "Doc" Sands finished in between that on 160,300.
The Salle des Etoiles tournament room
The two players cut differing figures at the table. English Eames is a solid player, unlikely to fluster easily. He was massaged to the finish, the soothing effects of a big stack doing as much good as the back rub; a triple up with a flopped straight giving him the opportunity to proceed with caution.
Kabrhel is an altogether different figure who needs only a pair of sunglasses and a lift to the tournament room to excel, as those who saw him dominate side events last season will know. "I just play funny," he said, trying to account for his success. He's right, funny strange and funny ha-ha in equal measure.
The Twitter Wall
The rest of the field of 271 followed in their shadow in the Monte-Carlo®Casino European Poker Tour Grand Final.
Deeb, Scott Seiver, JP Kelly and Nicolas Chouity will all return, as will current Player of the Year leader Ondrej Vinklarek. Joining them will be Mickey Petersen, Phil Ivey, Joe Cada, Luca Pagano, Ville Wahlbeck, Richard Toth, Mike McDonald, Vanessa Selbst and Jude Ainsworth.
Not returning, at least not for the main event will be Arnaud Mattern, Jake Cody, Xuan Liu, Andrew Chen, Isaac Haxton, Elio Fox, Antony Lellouche, James Akenhead and Roberto Romanello, who will probably be found in every side event until next week, trying to top Vinklarek to the PoY title.
The Grand Hotel hairpin, part of the Grand Prix circuit
Find all the scores from Day 1 on the Official Chip Count page, with colour features, including news from the head-up event, the Super High Roller and of the new EPT Season 9, can be found below.
Play continues tomorrow when the bulk fo the day one field will take their seats in the Salle des Etoiles. They start at 12 noon tomorrow.
What looks to be the God of hats, in Monaco today
Until then it's goodnight from Monaco.
All photography © Neil Stoddart