EPT9 Monaco Day 1B: Prager, Levy and 'not that' Mouawad take satellite route to main event

It will have escaped almost nobody's notice, but we have a very lop-sided tournament here in Monaco. The opening flight was a slender 108-player affair, but its twin today is a bulbous 413-entrant beast. By way of analogy perhaps we can use Eugene Katchalov: today is the equivalent of his 2011 vintage, while yesterday was how he turns out these days. (This analogy will make sense here.)

Plenty of theories will no doubt do the rounds for this imbalance (no, not Katchalov's; that's just down to hard work), and one suspects all will be contributory. It's true that plenty of folk wanted to play Open Face Chinese instead of Day 1A yesterday, and several more were still in Sanremo for the IPT. There were plenty testing out the cash-game action, and many more just want to save one night's hotel bill in Monte Carlo.

With so much space in the Salle des Etoiles, it's fine for any to play on whichever day takes his or her fancy.

It's also true, however, that the cheapest way into the €10,000 Grand Final using live poker skills alone -- ie, via a super satellite here in Monaco -- only offered passage to Day 1B. Yesterday, there was a frantic one-rebuy, one-add-on super sat, costing €1,000 per bullet, and then an even-more-frantic €1,100 Last Chance Turbo! satellite, whose franticity (it's not even a word!) was underlined by the exclamation point, which was included in the official tournament title.

"I had all the chips, we were just having fun," said Josh Prager, who was one of the players still in when the mighty prize pools were sliced up to offer 33 €10,000+€600 seats to the main event.

Prager, who is from Yuba City, CA, in the United States, obviously didn't just come over to play the satellite. He said he most likely would have played the main event anyway, perhaps selling a lot of his action. As it is, he's in the field for the knock-down price of €2,000, a fee that has also bought him a slot on the EPT Live feature table, between Daniel Negreanu and Luca Pagano.


Josh Prager: satellite to feature table

The second-chance satellite wrapped at about 3.45am this morning, giving its winners a maximum six hours sleep (assuming they live around the corner and can fall asleep instantly) before joining the field. It means that in addition to the 32+ levels they will likely need to play in order to win this thing, they have added another full day. It's a last-longer of a slightly different kind.

The Australian player Grant Levy also took the satellite route into the main event here, and he will have added about 24 hours of flying to his tally. You'd be tempted to say something like: "It's a young man's game" but then Joe Mouawad also qualified via the super satellite, and he is one of our distinguished elder statesmen on the EPT.

I'm talking about the man formerly known as Joe "Not Joseph" Mouawad, by the way, the name used to distinguish him from the player of the same name, who won EPT London in season four. It could be problematic here this week, though, as Joseph "Yes Joseph" Mouawad is also here, meaning we could have two Joseph Mouawads on the same table. I imagine at that point the world would end.

As it is, we play on. We're into level five and now over the hump of the day. There will be a dinner break at the end of level six, before we play on until about 1am and the end of level eight.

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 now live at PokerStars.tv.