EPT11 Grand Final: Jose Carlos Garcia pops up again to regain Main Event lead

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Jose Carlos Garcia: Back at the top

People make moves on Day 3, but they go in myriad directions. Some head directly out the door, tail between legs, while some swerve via the cash desk, picking up a small wad of notes. The most enviable few go soaring up the chip-count leader board and then to their hotel room, preparing for another day tomorrow doing the same.

Day 3 is the time for both the bubble and for building a stack and is, for many observers, the most exciting day of the week.

Here at the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo®Casino EPT Grand Final, the bubble passed with barely a whimper. Although there were plenty of players nursing short stacks when it loomed into view, including the former champions Steve O'Dwyer and Nicolas Chouity, Eric Sfez had his kings cracked by Jason Mercier's pocket twos on the first deal of hand-for-hand play.

So much for that excitement. But no matter: the stack building provided exceptional entertainment, and again chips went into the possession of some of the game's biggest stars. (Not Chouity and O'Dwyer, though. They picked up a min-cash each.)

The leader tonight is Jose Carlos Garcia, who is doing everything in his abilities this week to be described as more than merely "Dzmitry Urbanovich's room-mate". Having led this tournament at the end of Day 1A, he dipped only slightly below the parapet yesterday, but came surging back tonight. He has 1,710,000, winning a massive pot at the end of play. He was the first through the million mark and is now closing in on two.

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Garcia, touched by the hands of god Urbanovich

There's some breathing space between him and his closest clutch of followers, but when they include Connor Drinan (1,065,000), Ole Schemion (823,000), Jason Mercier (728,000) and Andre Akkari (574,000), things are never going to be that comfortable.

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Ole Schemion: I'm still here

Drinan is becoming a regular face at the business end of tournaments on this side of the Atlantic, while Schemion is Schemion and Mercier is Mercier. Johnny Lodden, not far behind either, offers the tantalising prospect of a repeat of that 2013 final, at which both he and his Team PokerStars Pro colleague Mercier featured.

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Jason Mercier: Bringing the Heat (shirt)

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Is Johnny Lodden going back to the final?

Akkari is having one of his best runs in this continent too, and just edged ahead of his countryman Joao Simao to be the man being cheered on most vocally from Brazil. Simao has 546,000 chips and would have had more if he hadn't lost a big last-hand pot to Garcia.

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Andre Akkari: Brazil on fire

At the end of the day, only 33 players remained from the 114 who returned to a stack at noon. That's quick going even by Grand Final standards and sets up the prospect of short days between now and the final table, due for Friday. Of course, the €25,000 High Roller begins tomorrow to make sure everyone gets their full fix of action.

If you head to the main Main Event page and look at the panel at the top, you can see the full list of players eliminated and what, if anything, they earned. You can also see the list of chip counts from remaining players, but here's a pretty comprehensive spoiler of that:

Jose Carlos Garcia, 1710000
Connor Drinan, 1065000
Anatoly Chen, 987000
Scott Clements, 909000
Hady El Asmar, 890000
Dario Sammartino, 827000
Ole Schemion, 823000
Johnny Lodden, 728000
Andre Akkari, 574000
Anton Astapau, 561000
Joao Simao, 546000
Jason Mercier, 539000
Tom Hall, 536000
Ryan McEathron, 521000
Muhyedine Fares, 439000
Christopher Frank, 435000
Dmitry Ivanov, 393000
Koichi Nozaki, 387000
Stephen Chidwick, 383000
Adrian Mateos, 376000
Quan Zhou, 370000
Markus Ross, 348000
Ludovic Geilich, 346000
Romain Paon, 332000
Philippe Narboni, 320000
Juan Martin Pastor, 305000
Lyndon Basha, 303000
Mustapha Kanit, 213000
Liviu Ignat, 211000
Vladislav Donchev, 159000
Pierre Neuville, 150000
Felix Stephensen, 125000
Isaac Haxton, 112000
Fabrice Soulier, 73000

We'll play down to our final two tables tomorrow in the Salles des Etoiles. You are cordially invited to join us for that.

Follow all the action from the €10,000 Main Event 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.