EPT Monte Carlo: Final table live action

If you’re following the action throughout the day you can press refresh for the latest news which will appear at the top of each post. You can also read profiles of the final table players here, as well as keeping tabs on the latest chip counts here and winner information here.

8.10pm -- A few bars of Vivaldi mark the end of the level and a one hour dinner break. The final six players return at 9.10pm for 25K/50K/5K blinds.

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8pm -- Luca makes it 120K pre-flop and Denes Kalo calls for a 9-K-J flop. Now Luca carries on betting, 160K which Denes calls in a flash. The turn, a 3, sees the momentum shift with Denes moving all-in. It's a tough decision but Luca lets this one go, a pot worth over 1.3million.

7.57pm -- A stark reality is starting to become more noticable by the fans. These players are pretty deep stacked. Even if players return by 9pm after dinner, they will only be at 25K/50K/5K level. The shortest stack at this moment is 1.2 million. The average stack is a little over 2.1 million--an M of 20. The reality...some people are going to be pushing it to hit their early morning flights home.

7.53pm -- A potentially lethal pot developed between Glen and Isaac, all unraised pre-flop for a board reading 7c Ac 6c 7s. Glen raised to 300K which Isaac called. At this point Denes was still in but chose now to get out. The river was the 6c and the pot was now 844K high. Isaac checked first before Glen made it 300K. Isaac called but didn't like the outcome - K-9 of clubs for Glen for a flush, with a costly jack-high flush for Isaac. A blow for him, but you sense it could have been a lot worse.

7.50pm -- Maxime made it 100k from the button, Isaac called from the big blind for a flop of 2-Q-6. Isaac checked, as did Maxime. The turn cards brings Qs and Isaac makes it 265K. Max is still with him, calling to see the river 7h. Max bets and Isaac quickly folds. A mistake in the amount he bet? He starts punishing himself for something. The pot goes to Maxime.

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Maxime Villemure

7.45pm -- Luca's father, Claudio jumped to his feet to sweat Luca's big race with Max Villmure. He hasn't sat down since. Luca's crowd has grown as his chip stack has jumped all over the leaderboard. Once a U.S. friendly crowd, the Italians have started to crowd in what could become an international incident. Currently left at the table...one Italian, two Canadians, two Americans, and a Hungarian.

7.36pm -- Glen and Isaac get togethter to see a flop Jd-7s-Kd and they both check the flop. The turn card is the 4h which Glen checks leaving Isaac to bet 155K. Glen calls for a river card 8. Glen checks once more and Isaac goes to his chips, bumping up the pot again by 230K. Glen calls and is shown J-T by Isaac whilst his own cards are only good for the muck.

7.31pm -- A lot of betting in a hand that eventually goes to Denes Kalo in the big blind. Maxime Villemure bet pre-flop, a raise from Denes and a Kalo call. The flop came K-J-6 which Kalo checks. When Maxime bet Kalo re-raised, enough to end this hand before any further cards are seen.

7.30pm -- It probably goes without saying (we're going to say it anyway) that Luca's pot with Max is not only the biggest of the tournament so far, but one that drastically affects how we move forward. If Luca had won the race, he would have had more than 40% of the chips in play. Instead, the stacks are more evenly distributed, meaning play will likely go on for much longer.

7.25pm -- Luca bets 130K pre-flop and Canadian Maxime Villemure re-raises to 400K. It didn't stop there with Luca re-raising all in. Max eventually calls and shows A-K whilst Luca turns over pocket jacks. The board brings an ace on the flop, running Q-A-4-5-4, and Maxime doubles up.

7.20pm -- Denes Kalo has been all-in, and Michael Martin has tried the same but neither found any takers. Kalo may be the short stack but it's hardly short, measuring just under 1million.

7.15pm -- Whether it's a case of stage fright, clumsiness, or caffeine jitters, Michael Martin needs a towel. One false move in his chair sent a can of Red Bull tumbling onto the stage. Martin looked at the spill briefly before realizing there was little he could do about it. He shrugged and turned back to the table. A towel arrived a few minutes later and a stage hand cleaned it up.

7.08pm -- Chorny was visibly rattled by the big hit he took from Pagano. Impossible to say whether he's mad at Pagano for hitting or mad at himself for letting Pagano hit. Regardless, Chorny took a short walk to the rail to cool off after losing more than a million chips in the hand.

7.05pm -- With a board reading 9d 4d 2h 4s, and a pot amounting to 814K, Luca Pagano fired out a bet of 500K, a threatening stack of the new purple chips that put Glen Chorny on the spot. Glen went into the tank for a while, eventually re-emerge to call. The Qh on the river gets Luca betting big again, 400K this time which Glen wastes no time in calling, showing his pocket sixes. But Luca is ahead, showing Kd Qd. It's a massive pot that takes Luca Pagano into the chip lead with 3.3million.

6.55pm -- From the small blind Glen makes it 95K and Isaac calls for one of few flops in this level so far - 4c-6d-7h. Both players check the turn, a 3c, and the river 5c and split the pot playing the board.

6.40pm -- Play resumes after the break with Denes Kalo moving all in almost right away. It's 856K to call but he gets no takers.

6:23pm--The players are taking a break before coming back to level 26 and the 20,000/40,000/4,000 level.

6:16pm--You might remember, Gavin Griffin was quite sick when he won the Grand Final last year. Jason Mercier didn't feel well when he won San Remo. This year, Max Villemure has been running a fever for days. He's now at the final table. Repeat of the flu win? Check it out in the PokerStars Video Blog.

6:11pm--Clashing with Isaac Baron is never fun. Michael Martin just learned this. Michael came in for a raise and Baron called from the blinds. The flop came 36J. Isaac check-called a 110,000 bet. Both players checked the four on the turn. An ace came on the river. Isaac checked again and Michael put out a 250,000 bet. This time, Isaac made it 425,000 more. Martin gave it up. As it stands now, Isaac and Glen Chorn both have more than three million chips. Michael, Max, and Luca all have about half that. Denes is on the short stack with around 600,000 chips.

6:10pm--If you have been watch EPT Live, you've probably see the high-angle jib shots. One of the behind the scenes aspects of any EPT feature table is the jib. To the layman this is a remotely controlled camera strapped to the end of a metal pole about 30 feet long. It comes within inches of set lights and could potentially destroy the set were it not for the expertise of the operator who can manoeuvre this metal girder across the tournament floor like he’s conducting a ballet. It makes for some great shots for the EPT Live teams but can creep up on you like giant metal beast when you least expect it.

6:07pm--About 15 minutes left in the level and the flops are few.

5:51pm--Glen Chorny just came in and got a call from Denes Kalo. It went check-check on a ATK flop. Chorny bet out 105,000 on the turn, a nine. The river was 3. This time, Chorny bets out 225,000 an gets snap-called by Kalo. Chorny turns over pocket nines for the turned set and the win.

5:50pm--On a 7-Q-5 flop Glen bets 95K which Denes eventually calls. Both players check the six on teh turn but when a ten hits the river Denes moves all in. "How much?" asks Glen but the numbers are too much. "I fold" he says.

A few more faces have made their way to the rail. Danny Ryan sits on the back row and PokerStars passport winner Dustin Mele and Anna Wroblowski are looking for seats, but having no luck. Maybe later. One man at the back of the set has found a novel way of improving his viewing experience. He’s brought a pair of opera glasses with him to watch through.

We’ll save references to fat ladies singing until later.

5:45pm--On a 7-Q-5 flop Glen bets 95K which Denes eventually calls. Both players check the six on the turn but when a ten hits the river Denes moves all in. "How much?" asks Glen but the numbers are too much. "I fold" he says.

5:40pm--There’s a heavy US and North American bias in the crowd, and an Italian tricolore flag is draped over the rail. But there were at least some here who represent the east side of that divide. Russian player Valeriy Ilikyan had two supporters on the front row all afternoon who made up for their lack of number by making twice as much noise when Valeriy played and won a hand. But Valeriy’s exit had everyone applauding a great performance

5:35pm--Valeriy Ilikyan eliminated in 7th place--It's all-in for Valeriy Ilikyan with AcQc and a quick call from Michael Martin with AdKd. The board offered not help for Ilikyan and he's out in seventh place for €253,000

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Valeriy Ilikyan

5:28pm--The PokerStars Video Blog crew caught up with Antono Esfandiari upon his exit in eighth place. Here's what he had to say.


5:21pm--Michael Martin doubles up--Michael cames in for a raise to 80,000, Valeriy Ilikyan pushed all-in. Michael called immediately and said, "Bring on the Russians." Michael showed AQ to Valeriy's A4. An ace and queen on the flop mean a double up for Martin. He's up to nearly 1.3 million. Valeriy is now the short stack with half a million chips.

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Michael Martin


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The EPT Grand Final trophy


5:17pm--The PokerStars Video Blog team interviewed final table player Denes Kalo before the start of play today. Here's what he had to say.

5:13pm--Michael Martin is kicking himself. He just missed seeing four diamonds on board and called with pocket fours to Valeriy's jack high flush on a 6s7d3d2dTd board. It didn't cost him dearly, but annoyed him enough to keep him talking for a few hands. "I didn't see the flush," Martin said.

5:11pm--Maxime’s double up demonstrated how a few key words and actions can have a crowd doing exactly the same thing. Say “all-in” and a few people will shoot to their feet. If you then ask for a count a few others will stand up and the rest will begin slowly leaning forward. If you then count out the call the people who were leaning forward will brace themselves to stand. Announce “call” and you’ve got everyone’s attention– standing and leaning forward at the same time.

5:10pm--After a bad return from the break, Max Villemure has doubled up. Valeriy Ilikyan came in for a raise and Max pushed all-in for around 644,000 more. Ilikyan thought for a couple of minute before calling with red nines. Villemire showed AdKd. The board ran out Ac6cTsAs2c and Max doubled up to nearly 1.5 million.

5:02pm--PokerStars qualifier Glen Chorny has picked up a nice pot against Maxime Villemure. It was a battle of the blind with a flop of 3cThTs. It went check-check on the flop, then Max check-called a 150,000 bet on the turn. He checked on the river, a deuce. Glen bet 250,000 and Max tanked. Someone at the table started to get impatient and Max got a tad cranky.

"This is the first time I've taken time, so calm down," Max said. A few seconds later, he called. Glen showed pocket eights for the win.


4:59pm--Chip counts from the break:

Glen Chorny – PokerStars qualifier -- 3,188,000
Isaac Baron – PokerStars qualifier -- 2,730,000
Luca Pagano – Team PokerStars Pro -- 2,031,000

Maxime Villemure -- 1,390,000
Valeriy Ilikyan -- 1,324,000
Denes Kalo -- 1,257,000
Michael Martin -- 981,000

4:55pm--We're back in action after an extended break. Valeriy Ilikyan wins the first pot back in a battle of the blinds with Max Villemure on a KQQ66 board. Ilikyan got two bets in and checked the river and showed a king for the win.

4:45pm--A side note as we wait for play to begin again, Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Rousso is currently at the final table of the €2000 side event. She is second in chips and looking for a big win today.

In other news, you should check out PokerStars newest online poker TV channel at PokerStars.tv. There's tons of great archive coverage of past EPT events.

4:43pm--When we return to play, we'll be at 15,000/30,000/3,000.

4:40pm--Here are your final table players.

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4.31pm -- Play pauses for a 15 minute break. Get highlights from the last level of action at EPT Live.

4.30pm -- A nine-high flush for Isaac on the river in a hand against Valery. It takes Isaac up to 2.8million as the level ends.

4.28pm -- An interesting side note - whilst Luca has cashed eight times on the EPT and made two final tables, his total EPT winnings so far amount to €94,875. His minimum win today will be €253,000

4.25pm -- Denes Kalo raises to 74K and Michael Martin re-raises to 225K. Luca Pagano is in the big blind, looks at his cards, pauses, then announces 'all-in'. Denes passes, so too Michael. After starting with 688K Luca is now up to over 2million in chips.

4.15pm -- Upon Esfandiari's exit, the first person to shake his hand and congratulate him is Claudio Pagano. Of course, it's easier to be gracious when your son has just doubled up for the second time at a final table. Regardless, the gesture was nice and obviously sincere. However, I've also just noticed it's best not to cross Luca's father. An overzealous security guard blocked entry to the gallery for Claudio's companion Susanna. Claudio was, in a word, irate and let the security guard know. Pagano emotions go to the extreme on both sides. All smiles now as play resumes.

4.10pm -- Antonio Esfandiari of the United States, eliminated in eighth place for €168,000
Luca Pagano bets pre-flop and Antonio Esfandiari pushes his entire stack into the middle. It's 480K to call which Luca does without hesitation, showing A-J to Antonio's A-8. The flop could hardly be better for Luca who flops a straight - Q-T-K - leaving Antonio needing a jack to split the pot. But it was not to be for "The Magician." We're down to seven.

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Antonio Esfandiari, eliminated in eighth place -- Photo © Neil Stoddart

4.05pm -- Don't forget you can watch each hand of the final table live form Monte Carlo on EPT Live.

4.02pm -- It's hard to tell who is more stressed out--Luca or his father, Claudio. While Luca maintains his poker face while in a hand, Claudio can't contain his nervousness. During the latest hands Luca played, Claudio has worn his heart on his sleeve. When Luca is re-raised and had to fold, Claudio had buried his head in his arm. When Luca doubled up, Claudio sprang from his seat, dance around, high-fived two people, and screamed, "Yes! Yes! Yes!"

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Team PokerStars Pro Luca Pagano -- © Neil Stoddart

3.59pm -- Team PokerStars Pro Luca Pagano doubles-up
Luca Pagano raises pre-flop. He'd done the same a few hands prior and been pushed off. This time when Isaac Baron re-raised to 240K Luca tank-called for a flop of Jc 3s 4d. Isaac moved in and Luca called, showing K-J of diamonds. For Isaac A-K of clubs. the turn is the Qd, the river a 3d. It gives Luca a flush and doubles him up.

3.55pm -- Despite having more than two million Euros on the line, the final table players have taken a more relaxed air. Antonio Esfandiari has kicked off his sandals and is now barefoot. Glen Chorny has shed his suit coat, and Luca Pagano's black leather Ferrari jacket is having over the back of his chair. TV lights are always hot. With big money at stake, they seem even hotter

3.50pm -- Glen Chorny raises once more pre-flop, Valeriy re-raises and Glen calls, making this a 500K pot before the flop. It comes Ad Jd 3d which both players check for a 3s on the turn. Glen makes it 225K which Valeriy insta-calls for a Ks on the river. With close to a million in the middle both players check, Valeriy saying he just wants to see Glen's cards. Glen shows his A-Q but Valeriy has him beaten with A-K.

3.42pm -- It's a standing room only crowd at the final table stage. Among the notables in the crowd: Claudi Pagano (supporting his son Luca), Season 1 Deauville champion Brandon Schaefer, Season 3 Grand Final champion and Team PokerStars Pro Gavin Griffin, EPT San Remo champion Jason Mercier, Team PokerStars Pro Andre Akkari, 2007 PCA champ Ryan Daut, and well-known PokerStars players #1Pen, and -BBJ-

3.34pm -- Valeriy Alikyan raises pre-flop. It's folded to Antonio who re-raises, stands and begins shaking hands with the others, preparing to say goodbye. It's 280K to call. "If you call I'll show you the nuts, if you fold I'll show you the bluff" says Antonio, not for the first time this week. Alikiyan takes a few minutes and folds. Esfandiari takes the first pot.

3:31pm--Play is underway.

3.25pm -- Players are being introduced and cards should be in the air shortly.

All photos © Neil Stoddart

Stephen Bartley
@StephenBartley in EPT Monte Carlo