EPT9 Grand Final Day 4: Charity begins in Monaco before game-faces return to play for real
The last time a day of an EPT Main Event began at 3pm was...well, I'm not sure it has ever happened before. In the very earliest seasons, the whims of the various casinos we visited sometimes dictated we start only when they had got their s-word together, by which time it could often be dark already (I'm looking at you, Barcelona). But a scheduled 3pm beginning? I don't remember that.
On the surface, the reason for the delay is two-fold. We have an incredibly small field for the day four of a main event. Indeed, there are only 34 left and we have two days to trim that to a final table, so no need to hurry. But that's not actually the reason at all. Instead, there is the small matter of a charity tournament occupying the main television stage and featuring the stars of British television, a German tennis professional and a Team PokerStars Pro.
Not much stops the might EPT juggernaut, but Jonathan Ross, John Bishop, Stephen Mangan, Boris Becker and Liv Boeree playing cards for charity, you say? Deal. We'll hold on a couple of hours.
But the time is now nigh for the main event to recommence. They are playing for the not insignificant sum of a €1,224,000 first prize, which will be lining somebody's pocket come Sunday night. Right now, it is Johnny Lodden in the box seat, and he is the only player who has more tournament chips than there are euros on offer for the winner. Lodden's 1,232,000 stack is the only one bigger than a million, but this chasing pack is as armed and dangerous as any assembled all season.
Steve O'Dwyer is second, Andrew Pantling is third and John Juanda is fourth. Heck, take a look at the full line up for play today, a field that includes former EPT champions, Team PokerStars Pros, and some in the cross-over of that venn diagram. (The following list is in chip-count order, but the seat draw is here.)
Johnny Lodden Norway 1,232,000
Steve O'Dwyer USA 963,000
Andrew Pantling Canada 943,000
John Juanda USA 939,000
Vasili Firsau Belarus 837,000
Goran Mandic Croatia 822,000
Noah Schwartz USA 756,000
Jason Mercier USA 746,000
Andreas Eiler Germany 709,000
Daniel Negreanu Canada 684,000
Freddy Deeb USA 670,000
Jake Cody UK 639,000
Gerard Gardelli France 561,000
Grant Levy Australia 513,000
Andrew Lichtenberger USA 512,000
Mateusz Moolhuizen Netherlands 482,000
Victor Ramdin USA 479,000
Conte Francesco Paolo Brazil 388,000
Clyde Tjauw Foe Netherlands 363,000
Mickey Petersen Denmark 362,000
Oleksii Kovalchuk Ukraine 327,000
Paul Volpe USA 247,000
Ville Wahlbeck Finland 228,000
Kevin Vandersmissen Belgium 214,000
Luke Schwartz UK 188,000
Ismael Bojang Austria 186,000
Didier Pitcho France 156,000
German Simon Dansker Argentina 150,000
Laurent Lagreve France 139,000
Kevin Iacofano USA 131,000
Giuseppe Sammartino Italy 113,000
Noah Boeken Netherlands 105,000
Guy Goossens Belgium 98,000
Patrick Naxache France 44,000
We have players from everywhere from the UK to Australia and pretty much everywhere in between. Enjoy the action. It's going to be a thrill ride - and it's going to take much longer than you might think.
Over to the amazing Sarah Grant from PokerStars.tv to tell you more:
A quick note on how to follow our coverage of the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo® Casino European Poker Tour Grand Final. Head to the main EPT Monaco page, where you will find hand-by-hand coverage from the tables in the panel at the top of the page, which also includes current chip counts and payouts as they happen.
Our feature coverage can be found below the panel, including the latest from the side events. And don't forget EPT Live. How could you? It's live now on PokerStars.tv