EPT8 Monaco: Nick Yunis takes lead as main event unites
And with the playful sound of chips being bagged up for the evening, the last of the seasons Day 1s came to an end tonight with Nick Yunis bagging up most to take 191,700 into Day 2 of The PokerStars Monte-Carlo®Casino European Poker Tour Grand Final tomorrow, some way ahead of yesterday's leader Martin Kabrhel (167,800).
Yunis leads as one of the standout players of the year, evidenced by his current fourth place on the Player of the Year standings (scroll down). Last season he ran deep in San Remo. This year he threatened to do the same in several events without being able to punch through. Could Monaco be his chance to rectify that?
Chasing Yunis are several players whose fortunes will be key tomorrow. Ivan Kudrivtcev was only slightly behind the leader on 186,200. Andoni Larrabe finished in third on 181,300.
There were others showing solid form, including another powerful performance by Ilan Boujenah, who closed on 117,000 chips.
Edgar Stuchly introduced the day's play
If not watching a final table, Boujenah is on it; and if he's not on it he shouting at someone telling them why he should be.
Boujenah has been one of the principle actors of the eighth season. Eyebrows permanently raised, making every glance at an opponent look like one of contempt, he is energy, righteousness, talent and bluster all packed into about five feet and one inch, and a complete softy away from it. Pound for pound he's great value. From Israel, but a loyal member of the Francophone travelling contingent, Boujenah is useful with a big stack. He has one for tomorrow when play restarts; tear out and keep this paragraph.
Ilan Boujenah in teddy bear mode
Elsewhere there were good days for Mathew Frankland, Tom Marchese, Stephen Chidwick, Liv Boeree, Annette Obrestad, Kevin MacPhee, Daniel Negreanu and Ana Marquez, all of whom leave tonight with contented stacks, as well as countless others on a day that began with 394 players and ended with around 250. That makes for around 520 returning tomorrow, and counts for all players from today can be found on the official chip count page.
Seeking consolation in one of the other 36 side events open to players this week are those who departed today. Among them were Eugene Katchalov, Mark Teltscher, Lex Velduis, Shaun Deeb, Victoria Coren, Jonathan Duhamel, Boris Becker, Olivier Busquet, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, Davidi Kitai and David Williams. Several are sure to figure prominently in events still to come.
Day 1 is also a day of administration, with the prize pool confirmed at €6,650,000, paying €1,500,000 to the winner on Monday, minus a few zeros for water and sandwiches. We'll take a step closer to that tomorrow.
Kevin MacPhee (left) and Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier
Until then, check out the live coverage from today here, and feature articles from the day's coverage at the links below.
That's everything for today. Play resumes tomorrow at 12 noon with live coverage starting then also.
Until then we're off to France so we can eat. Goodnight from Monaco.
All photography © Neil Stoddart