EPT11 Grand Final: Jose Carlo Garcia leads as season finale gets underway

Jose Carlos Garcia was feeling good, and why not. The Pole was about to bag up the chip lead at the end of a busy first day in Monaco. He flashed some sort of happy sign with his fingers as a photographer took a shot. Then he played out the last few hands with ease, and standing, a little adrenaline preventing him from sitting still.

In the end it would be by a slim margin, his 182,800 just 3,700 ahead of Joao Simao. But as far as Garcia was concerned that didn't matter. The lead was his, and a big bag of chips to return to on Monday. Naturally, he was delighted.


Jose_Carlos_Garcia_2may15.jpgChip leader and happy about it: Jose Carlos Garcia

"At the beginning I had coolers against two very good players," he said. "Then after the dinner break I had a rush. I'm happy with my play today. I made a couple of mistakes before the dinner break, but things went well. I can't complain."

Garcia is hardly new to this sort of thing. Like many in Monaco this week, he got his spurs online, winning the Sunday Million in March 2013, and continuing to build on three years in the live domain. Today that showed further sign or working well.

"I'm trying to adjust all the time," said Garcia. "It's a bit different. At the beginning I thought the game was like online. But I'm on the tour for three years now so I think I'm getting better. We'll see."

Others have cause to enjoy their day off tomorrow.


Joao Simao_2may15.jpgJoao Simao bagged up the next best stack

Nicholas Chouity can claim to know his way around the EPT Grand Final more than most, having won here in 2010. He showed similar form today, leading at one point and bagging up 168,200 at the close. They'll be joined by the 100 players who reached the end of play today, including:

Jose Carlos Garcia - 182,800
Joao Simao - 179,100
Nicolas Chouity - 168,200
Steven Zhou - 158,000
Roger Hairabedian - 153,800
Charlie Carrel - 153,400
Mustapha Kanit - 138,800
Andras Nemeth - 132,300
Ole Schemion - 121,600
Andre Akkari - 114,900
Steve O'Dwyer - 109,000
Mikhail Kovalyuk - 106,600
Anton Astapau - 98,300
Eugene Katchalov - 95,600
Ivan Luca - 91,300
Dimitar Danchev - 89,600
Fady Kamar - 82,000
Zhou Quan - 81,900
Jean-Noel Thorel - 76,000
Jason Mercier - 74,900
Patrick Leonard - 65,900
Ivan Soshnikov - 64,700
Andrew Chen - 58,500
Connor Drinan - 54,000
Dan Heimiller - 53,200
Jeff Hakim - 51,500
Joep van der Bijgaart - 50,800
Mike McDonald - 49,500
Randal Flowers - 44,600
Martin Jacobson - 42,000
Mike Watson - 39,100
Benjamin Pollak - 35,100
Isaac Haxton - 33,200
Yevgeniy Timoshenko - 25,700
Maria Ho - 23,600
Stephen Chidwick - 22,800
Fabian Quoss - 22,200
John Duthie - 19,600
Daniel Dvoress - 16,000
Jason Koon - 7,600

While they get some rest there will be extended rest, or at least a side event schedule, for those whose main event campaign came to an end today, including the likes of Dan Smith, last year's winner Antonio Buonano, Max Silver, Dani Stern, Bryn Kenney, Scott Seiver, Patrick Antonius, George Danzer and Anton Wigg. The full list, as well as the day's hand for hand coverage, can be found by clicking here.

That's all for openers, but Day 1B is just a few hours away, starting at 12 noon on Sunday. Meanwhile the Super High Roller is heads up and plays on into the night, with each hand available to watch on EPT Live until there is a winner between Eric Seidel and King Midas himself, aka Dzmitry Urbanovich, who seeks a fifth EPT trophy to add to the four he won in Malta. Find all the action here.

Join us again tomorrow.

To get all the latest news, chip counts and payouts, don't forget to download the EPT App on both Android or IOS.

Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.