EPT8 Monaco: Poker Champ Neuville keeps swinging, Seidel dominant

ept-thumb-promo.jpgNestled in the foothills of the TV set is the second feature table. It's got a small population, just seven players, and its mayor is Erik Seidel. The tall American has been dominating proceedings most of the last level, opening the most pots and winning the majority of those too. Those small victories have taken him from 355,000 back up to 380,000.

Annette Obrestad sits on Seidel's left, a fearless short stack waiting to abuse any spot that comes her way. Action folds to her in the small blind? She jams it in Noah Boeken's eye, he folds his big blind. Boeken min-raises to 8,000 under-the-gun? Guess what, she jams it in his eye again. Boeken looks up at the board. He passes again. Those pots take Obrestad up to 70,000, still short but with a little more ballast than before.

Seidel watches the proceedings with a calm, relaxed detachment while picking at a large bag of pistachios. The orphaned shells rest in a chip rack on a table by his feet. He's been deep in so many big tournaments that this is second nature for Seidel. He looks one step away from pulling out a copy of the New York Times to scan through the business pages.

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Erik Seidel, earlier in the tournament

In contrast Neuville is sat up right, a focussed game face hidden behind blue tinted glasses. Neuville sports the same red pullover that his cartoon avatar wears on the cover of his new board game, Poker Champ. The same yellow 23 is stitched high on the right of his jumper. Neuville does not have many chips left, it's a far cry from the big stack he held on the EPT Copenhagen bubble.

Seidel opens yet again with 9,500 tipped across the line raising into Neuville's big blind. Obrestad passes, Noah Boeken passes on the button but Neuville looks down to see something he likes. He moves his 32,500 stack in. Seidel grimaces and peeks down at his hand. He doesn't look confident.

"I'll give you action," says Seidel and calls with A♥8♠

Neuville is ahead with A♦Q♥ but is far from a lock in the hand. He reaches down beneath the table to pick up a copy of Poker Champ.

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Pierre Neuville, heading for his 12th cash

"You may win a game," says Neuville turning on game show host charm.

The board runs out 2♠7♥6♠T♥T♦ allowing Neuville to double to close to 70,000.

"You win it next time," says Neuville.

"I've seen a lot of people messing around with that. I don't really know what it is," says Seidel peeking over the table.

That pot all but gifts Neuville his 12th EPT main event cash. We're on the bubble and the Belgain Team PokerStars Pro is unlikely to get it in light with the money so close. Another break is upon us.

Tournament snapshot
Level 17: blinds 2,500-5,000, ante 400
Players: 97 of 655
Average stack: 205,500
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Rick Dacey
@PokerStars in European Poker Tour