EPT9 Monaco Day 2: Team Pros charging up the leader board
The main event just went on a lesser-spotted 30-minute break. We're accustomed to pauses in play lasting 15 minutes or 20 minutes and even those of 60 or 90, ie, a dinner break. But this "snack" break is a new one to both players and reporters alike, the result apparently of the demands of a television crew. All together now: Prima donnas!
In truth, no one seems to mind too much as players scurried away to make themselves busy. Some spent the time inhaling as much smoke as they possibly could, while others paid lip-service to their other halves who may have come to watch for a bit. Some went over to chat to friends playing the €5,000 side event, and others fulfilled media commitments and chatted into journalists' dictaphones. Some fell asleep on the grass.
For others, the "problem" of how to fill a main event break was a luxury. Plenty have long departed the big dance and have migrated to the cash game room. The pick of the tables in there at the moment is the small matter of a €50-€100 PLO game, featuring Theo Jorgensen, David Benjamine, Benny Spindler, Marcus Golser and Alexey Makarov, aka LuckyGump. The wait list also features Anton Allemann, and one suspects the swings there could be huge and last long into the night.
It's a bit more sedate around the lower-buy in hold'em tables, but not much. The wait list for those games falls off the bottom of the television screen on which it is displayed, and there are some stacks in front of the players that could probably last a couple of orbits on table Jorgensen et al. Suffice to say, the cash game room has been a roaring success.
Back in the main event, though, things are starting to get properly interesting. Jason Mercier, Ville Wahlbeck, Victor Ramdin and Johnny Lodden are all making a big charge up the leader board, and amassing monster stacks. Lodden just flopped a boat and got the maximum from an under-pair. He's up to more than 300,000. Meanwhile Mercier knocked out two opponents on the same hand, and he's getting close to 200,000.
According to Victor Ramdin, Victor Ramdin is "playing extremely well". But this doesn't seem to be an idle boast: he also has about 250,000 to prove it. As for Wahlbeck, the man incorrectly reported as being out on day one (that's why they pay us the big bucks) has the biggest stack I've ever seen in front of him in a hold'em event. It's probably worth about 300,000 too.
The other enormous stacks in the room are also very well known players: Calvin Anderson (365,000), Noah Schwartz (360,000), Freddy Deeb (353,000) and Steve O'Dwyer (330,000). Daniel Negreanu - anyone heard of him? - has about 275,000 too. The cream is duly rising to the top.
There are now fewer than 150 players left, from the starting 531 and two more levels to play today.
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.