EPT9 Grand Final Day 4: Time's up for Naxache

Time has finally caught up with Patrick Naxache. The Frenchman arrived at his seat this morning to coax his two big blinds from out of hiding. The three of them would have to take on the might of Steve O'Dwyer, Andrew Lichtenberger and Ville Wahlbeck if the day was to last any long than a hand or two. Naxache was clean shaven for this task, meeting his fate naked, without the stubble of previous day's play on his rubbery face, for once more he was in the spotlight.

The Frenchman had been in the eye of the storm during bubble play yesterday. Naxache was "that guy", the staller prior to hand-for-hand play. Alec Torelli called him out, to the protestations of Naxache who denied any knowledge of doing such a thing. So outraged was Naxache that it took him several minutes to reclaim his composure enough to fold his hand.

Flash forward to now. Torelli is gone, more fool him, while his nemesis had at least 34th place locked up. Naxache folded the first hand and must have been delighted when Giuseppe Sammartino moved all-in with a comparatively massive stack of 113,000, although he would double-up.

Realistically though, what choice did Naxache have than to move in immediately? He could hardly slow play now by design. He tried to stack his chips, all red, in a way that projected at least some vigour, but it was proving difficult. And it was hard to feel virile surrounded by the big stacks and... Christ, where did he go?

At this point I thought I'd lost him. Could he really bust so quickly? I spotted him walking off with the same indifferent look on his face. But no, it was just a table change - out of the Lichtenberger frying pan, into the Jason Mercier fire.

Just as he was yesterday, Mercier is still laughing - her-ha! her-ha! - and is in his environment of choice, surrounded by chips and friends. He welcomed Naxache to the table with nod. Then he peered over at Naxache's red chips.

helicopter_monaco9_d4.jpg
Patrick Naxache on his way back to France (maybe)

"No big chips?" he asked, perhaps unable to believe anyone would want to play such a small amount. Naxache said something in reply and Mercier laughed. Her-ha!

That would be the last bit of fun for Naxache, who shoved on the next hand with queen jack. Grant Levy called with ace-queen. No more playing for time for Naxache, out in 32nd place. That said he was beaten to the door by Guy Goossens and Laurent Lagreve, departures worth an extra €3,500 to Naxache. Perhaps it had been by design after all.

Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.

Click through to live coverage of the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo® Casino EPT Grand Final. Follow the @PokerStarsBlog Twitter account to keep up-to-date with all the EPT action.