EPT11 Grand Final: The richest game in the richest town

It is not yet the end of April, but for anyone involved in the world of poker, summer always begins at around this time. This morning, a large number of poker players, followers, staff and reporters woke up to the sound of waves crashing on to beaches and sun spearing through cracks in the curtain. And if that didn't rouse them, the throaty roar of Ferrari engines or Learjets probably did the trick.

Here we all are again in Monaco for the EPT Grand Final, or, to give it its full and correctly formatted title: PokerStars and Monte-Carlo®Casino EPT Grand Final. It's a ten-day, 78-event monster, which kicked off on Tuesday with a couple of satellites to the France Poker Series (FPS) main event. That €1,100 tournament began yesterday -- all the information is here -- and numbers are very good indeed.

Today, though, the majority of our attention will be on the start of the Super High Roller event, a tournament with a buy in costing 100 times that of the FPS main event. That's right: this is a €100,000 monster, and it already seems set to break its own attendance records. It is the richest game in the richest town in the world.


Just your average view

At time of writing, 50 players have already upgraded "interest" in the event to some kind of confirmation that they are "very interested". Until they sit down with chips in front of them, it's never 100 percent guaranteed, but it seems wholly likely at this stage that we'll be seeing Daniel Negreanu, Phil Ivey, Daniel Colman, Erik Seidel, Martin Jacobson, Sam Trickett, Steve O'Dwyer, Mike McDonald, Scott Seiver and Antonio Esfandiari, plus the ever-present contingent of German super high rollers: Schemion, Altergott, Kurganov, Gruissem, Reinkemeier, Holz, Quoss, et al.

Indeed, of the current top ten money list in world poker, eight are confirmed, including the entire top six. The only question really is: Phil Hellmuth and John Juanda, where are you?

That tournament begins at 12.30pm in the Salle d'Etoiles at the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel and Resort. There are unlimited re-entries, with registration open until the start of play tomorrow. The 50 players already listed means a prize pool of at least €5 million -- and likely to be beyond €7 million when we're done. That could even buy you a one-bedroom condo in the Principality, if you're lucky.

Keep an eye on PokerStars Blog, specifically the EPT Grand Final page, throughout the ten days to come. We'll have all the details from the entire festival here.

Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour