EPT11 Grand Final: An event for those good at making second best hands

With the midnight hour having passed here at the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo®Casino EPT Grand Final festival, there are still several trophy events in action along with a charity tournament, the media event, satellites, and cash games.

In other words, it might be the dead of night, but there's plenty of life poker-wise happening in the Monte Carlo Bay Resort and Hotel. Let's quickly hit the two big ones, and share a little from one of the more intriguing small ones in this report.


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The two-day €2,000 Event #46 is down to just four players from the starting field of 263, having been chopped down from 11 since our last visit. Max Greenwood (10th) and Anthony Zinno (9th) were among those knocked out, each earning €8,930, and earlier leader Georgios Sotiropoulos has recently fallen in fifth for €31,500.

With four players left, Hossein Ensan has the big chip lead with close to 1.5 million, nearly half the chips in play at the moment. A prize of €102,300 up top awaits the winner of this one.


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Hossein Ensan, his goal before him


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Meanwhile in €5,000 Event #51 they've reached the money and are down to just five players, the final table having been hit just a short while ago. Among them are Sylvain Loosli, Philipp Gruissem, and Fabian Quoss, with Quoss enjoying the chip lead at present. This trophy comes accompanied by a cool €147,700.

Nick Petrangelo (15th, €9,700), Emil Patel (14th, €9,700), Sorel Mizzi (10th, €12,000), and Jason Mo (7th, €26,100) are among the cashers thus far.


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Finally, we mentioned earlier a new event on the EPT, a €100 buy-in "Second Best Hold'em" tournament with €50 rebuys (Event #57) in which the second best hand wins the pot, understandably creating some strange situations, not to mention strategic challenges.

We were there for the very start of this one when just four players had been seated. The first hand saw the UTG player raise 4x and get one caller, then check after the flop came 6♦T♦3♣. His opponent fired a bet and he laughingly folded his hand face up -- T♠3♦ for two pair. (The winner had 5♣2♣.)

On the next hand a player open-folded K♣K♠, and the table broke up in laughter again.

Eventually a few tables' worth took part, with Andrey Andreev, Aleksandr Denisov, Oded Minond, and Jennifer Shahade among those giving the game a try.

"Multi-way is actually pretty hard," said Shahade, referring to how tricky it can be with several in the pot to finish with exactly the second-best hand, not to mention figure out how to negotiate your way through the betting.

"If there's two people who are engaged in playing against you and one of them is making a mistake, then that mistake can hurt you. So it's an interesting in terms of game theory, but I can't really figure out anything past that yet. Heads-up is easy, though -- there you're just thinking of hand values and reversing them."

She has figured out that playing "nitty" isn't necessarily as bad an approach as in regular hold'em, "since there are so many more combinations of hands with deuces in them." And pushing extra hard with the best bad hands seems a good idea as well. "You get three-deuce off, you can really bet big," she said.


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Doing their second-best best

The top four finishers divide the modest prize pool in this one. And no, second place does not pay more than first.

Click here for a continually updated list of all side event results from the EPT11 Grand Final.

Follow all the action from the €10,000 Main Event is on the Main Event page. Also watch on EPT Live. It's also about time you downloaded the EPT app. There you will get all the latest news, chip counts and payouts. You can download it on Android or IOS.

Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.