EPT9 Monaco Day 1A: Postprandial overview

Players have just returned from their dinner break -- 71 of them remain from a starting field of 108. I don't think that anyone would deny that that's fewer than we would have expected here, but there are plenty of reasons why we could expect an absolutely monster field tomorrow, compensating for that slight shortfall.

The first is the Open Face Chinese event, for which 70 players anted up €2,000. Pretty much all of them can be guaranteed to enter the main event tomorrow; it's only the real poker aficionados who have played the OFC and they won't miss the €10,000 event.


Victor Ramdin among the open-face Chinese crowd

Another reason is the great success of the cash games here in Monaco. This is the first year the Grand Final has had a full complement of cash games on offer, and they are juicy to say the least, with a three per cent rake up to a maximum of €25.

At time of writing, there are 18 tables running, ranging from a couple of €2-€5 games up to a €500-€1,000. There are also a couple of open-face tables that are, predictably, proving popular. That "fad" is clearly no such thing.

Other players are on their way, with some finding passage to the south of France more simple than others. Take poor aerophobic Victoria Coren, who intended to take the train down here. Note the word "intended". Coren has recently tweeted the following:

She followed up with:


I guess that story hasn't yet reached its conclusion.

Back to those who have not only made it to Monaco, but who are playing today: the relatively unknown Pablo Fernandez is heading the field at the moment, with close to 120,000. But the likes of James Mitchell, Jan Bendik and Tatiana Barausova are also riding high, while Jake Cody is enjoying his first Grand Final in PokerStars colours.


Jake Cody and John Eames discuss tactics

At the other end of the spectrum Ville Wahlbeck, Mark Teltscher, Jonathan Duhamel, Sorel Mizzi, Jeff Hakim, Marvin Rettenmaier, Mike McDonald and Vanessa Rousso are some of the big names to have perished already.


A disconsolate Jonathan Duhamel

There are two more 75-minute levels to play, and then the remaining players will bag for the night. The others will no doubt spend some time examining the tournament schedule and deciding the rest of the week.

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.

Our feature coverage can be found below the panel, including the latest from the side events. And don't forget EPT Live, which is live now at PokerStars.tv.