EPT Monte Carlo: Day 1A closes on Monte Carlo Bay

by Stephen Bartley and Brad Willis

Monte Carlo seems like such a proper place to be witnessing such a melee. It's rich, historic, and perfect in nearly every way. The Grand Final is exactly the same. But, like anything that looks perfect, there is an underbelly of wild abandon that will present itself at the times you least suspect. Even if the PokerStars EPT Grand Final welcome party hadn't provided a clue to how wild this event would be, it became immediately clear in the closing levels of Day 1A.

As the chips settled tonight, many of the day's frontrunners were nowhere to be found. Team PokerStars Pros Tuan Lam and Andre Akkari, both who started the day in fine fashion, were both missing in action at the end of the night. It was the same fate faced by Katja Thater earlier in the day. The news is also of the bad kind for Team PokerStars Pro Isabelle Mercier. Isabelle’s hopes of a day two appearance ended with pocket jacks, all in against pocket eights. The flop was harmless enough but a killer eight on the turn busted Mercier after a long struggle at the baize.

Isabelle Mercier -- © Neil Stoddart

It was not all bad for the Team, however, as many of the Team PokerStars Pros ended the day with chips. It was not just one shark for Team PokerStars Pro Humberto Brenes today, but two. His chips are arranged into two tall towers with a toy shark atop each of them. On one side a multi-coloured stack of over 30k, on the other side a tower just as tall made up of entirely green chips worth 25. A good day’s work for Humberto then as the day drew to a close.

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Humberto Brenes -- © Neil Stoddart

Not so good for PokerStars qualifier Christian Grundtvig. The former WPT Paris champion from Denmark moved all-in for less than 3k getting two callers, including Humberto. They checked it down to the river but both Humberto and Grundtvig had to concede to a pair of fives.

Greg Raymer played a tough game today and looked to be off to a fine start. His end, though, came at the same hand of the same man who had played wrecking ball for several hours at the end of the night. Sorel Mizzi single-handedly destroyed a table that had been together all day long. He finished with 65,000 chips.

Greg Raymer -- © Neil Stoddart

Remaining in the field tonight are Luca Pagano, Barry Greenstein, Raymond Rahme, Noah Boeken, and approximately 180 other players who are already thinking about Day 2.

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Noah Boeken -- © Neil Stoddart

The story of the day came from the Nordic lands. Stephan Kjerstad went on a mad rush at day's end and finished with what appears to be more than 100,000 in chips. Johnny Lodden, a man you never want to see with a stack, ended the day with around 90,000.

Tournaments being what they are, however, the chips they have today are merely an indication of where they will start on Day 2. These seasoned pros knew they couldn't win the whole thing on Day 1A. Now they have to wait a couple of days before they play again. This room is reserved for Day 1B players on Sunday.

Selected chip counts can be found on our EPT Monte Carlo Chip Counts page. Full counts will be available in the same place as soon as they are made available by the tournament staff.

Day 1B action picks up at 1pm Monte Carlo time Sunday. We'll be back with full coverage.

For a complete look back at all the coverage of the EPT Grand Final so far, see any of the links below.

Fortunes by the Sea
Picture perefect on the Cote D'Azure
The party before the poker
The Hunt for the Title Begins
Titans clash
Never too soon for some
Profile: Andre Akkari
Greg Raymer: All clammed up
The Negreanu guarantee?
The Stolzmann Crown
Flashing lights and sparkle on table Isabelle
PokerStars Player Lounge
Dinner break odds and ends
Mystery Max and the case of the missing screen name
Heitman takes a hit but Danzer neither shaken nor stirred
Double ups and Team on Team action
Birthday patricide
Passing time and doubling up
The outing of Mystery Max and selected tales
Keeping the opposition right where you want them

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in EPT Monte Carlo