EPT11 Grand Final: Tough at the top as Urbanovich shakes up PoY race
There comes a time during a poker tournament when you have to start "looking at the numbers". For players, it's likely at the end of proceedings -- "Let's look at the numbers," is poker code for "Let's do a deal" -- but for staff and media it's worth looking at the numbers somewhere near the mid-point of Day 1B.
At time of writing, the tournament board in the Salles des Etoiles shows 282 players remaining in Day 1B from 304 who have so far registered. Yesterday, 219 players joined the fray, of whom 113 bagged chips. That means we already have a 523-player tournament, and it's fair to assume at least another 50 will sit down before registration closes tomorrow morning.
There have already been more registrants than in Season 9, when Steve O'Dwyer prevailed, and the aim is to get close to last year's figure of 650. The winner will almost certainly take home more than €1 million, with the precise figure to be confirmed about this time tomorrow. (See table of previous field sizes, winners and their prizes below.)
There are also numbers aplenty on another leader board, which is attracting increasing attention. At the end of this festival in Monaco, we will know who will be crowned the EPT Player of the Year for Season 11, and it's getting pretty tight at the top.
Before the tour took its first ever journey to Malta last month, this POY contest seemed to be a three-horse race, with Joao Vieira, Davidi Kitai and Vladimir Troyanovskiy battling for supremacy at the top. Each had picked up a string of cashes at all of the stops.
But a young Polish player named Dzmitry Urbanovich (you might have heard of him) was hotter than the sun in Malta and his four titles there, from six final tables, catapulted him into contention.
It meant that as the EPT charabanc made its way to Monaco, the top four looked like this:
1 - Davidi Kitai, 2,899.21 points
2 - Vladimir Troyanovskiy, 2,873.66
3 - Dzmitry Urbanovich, 2,778.20
4 - Joao Vieira, 2,670.94
Here's where it started going slightly wrong for Kitai. His sponsors arranged a team-building retreat for their players ahead of the EPT Grand Final, a chance to sit around the camp fire, sleep in a yurt and learn to chant from the Bhagavad Gita. While that's not strictly true, it was genuinely a few days of mindfulness training which, you would think, would be invaluable for the high stakes poker pro.
However, Kitai wanted to be in Monaco already where his main rivals were getting their heads down around the poker tables. And wouldn't you know it, Vieira finished 21st in the High Roller event of the France Poker Series, picking up 165 points, while Troyanovskiy and Urbanovich both made the money in the €100,000 Super High Roller. Troyanovskiy earned 223.35 points for ninth, while Urbanovich got all the way to heads up, which earned him 403.64.
Although these numbers are yet to be made official by ABACUS© The Official Adding Sponsor of the EPT, it seems that the current Player of the Year leader board looks like this:
1 - Dzmitry Urbanovich, 3,181.84
2 - Vladimir Troyanovskiy, 3,097.01
3 - Davidi Kitai, 2,899.21
4 - Joao Vieira, 2,835.94
Kitai is now here and sitting in the Main Event, along with Vieira. Troyanovskiy, who was eliminated from the Main Event yesterday, is chancing his arm in the One-Day €50K. That's also where you'll find Urbanovich and, at time of writing, the borderline supernatural phenom is chip leader. Of course he is.
Before you ask, there's no financial incentive to this Player of the Year race. Nobody wins a dollar beyond the respect of his peers. But in some ways, it's all the more interesting because of that. Just ask Kitai, who practically choked on his mung bean curry when he heard about Urbanovich in the Super High Roller.
EPT Grand final field size and winners
Season 1 - Rob Hollink, 211 players, €635,000
Season 2 - Jeff Williams, 298 players, €900,000
Season 3 - Gavin Griffin, 706 players, €1,825,010
Season 4 - Glen Chorny, 842 players, €2,020,000
Season 5 - Pieter De Korver, 935 players, €2,300,000
Season 6 - Nicolas Chouity, 848 players, €1,700,000
Season 7 - Ivan Freitez, 686 players, €1,500,000
Season 8 - Mohsin Charania, 665 players, 1,350,000
Season 9 - Steve O'Dwyer, 531 players, €1,224,000
Season 10 - Antonio Buonanno, 650 players, €1,240,000
We have all the action from three tournaments today. The €10,000 Main Event is on the Main Event page. The One-Day €50K is on the One-Day €50K page. And the France Poker Series plays to its champion on both the FPS page and EPT Live.