EPT9 Grand Final High Roller: Defending champion Kurganov the first to make moves

One of the best things about the season nine style festivals on the EPT is that once the main event is done for the night, the High Roller plays on. One of the worst things about the season nine style festivals on the EPT is that once the main event is done for the night, the High Roller plays on.

There's no one in poker who doesn't like an early night: players, reporters and dealers included. But there's also no one who won't continue into the early hours, should the circumstances demand it. The opening night of a €25,000 High Roller event is almost always demands it. What once might have been considered a prohibitive buy in is now a magnetic one: High Rollers are all the rage and draw massive fields.

Registration is not even done for the event here in Monaco, but already 110 players have shown up, anted up, and joined the fray. Some have subsequently busted and vanished, some have busted and bought back in. This format allows for one re-load, ie, a single chance to join in again if you lose your chips. And you don't even need to decide until noon tomorrow, when registration will officially close before beginning the 11th level of play.

Tobias Reinkemeier has already dipped into his wallet again, after running into Per Ummer's quads. Talal Shakerchi was also out but is now in again; ditto Antonio Esfandiari. Leo Fernandez and Nacho Barbero, on the other hand, are still pondering re-joining the field that was so cruel to them the first time out. They were eliminated and have not yet returned.


Nacho Barbero: out


Talal Shakerchi: out and then in

It is an awesome field, as you might expect. One table has Phil Ivey, Mike "Timex" McDonald, Vicky Coren, Mark Teltscher, Igor Kurganov and Dario Minieri. Actually, scratch that last one, because Minieri bluffed off his stack to Kurganov shortly before the High Rollers went for their dinner, which left Kurganov with the biggest stack in the room.


Dario Minieri: miserable run continues

We talked a little bit earlier about the German High Roller mafia crushing this enormous tournaments for the past few years, and if it's not Gruissem, Reinkemeier or Spindler, it will be Kurganov. He has certainly started the brightest today, and is actually the defending champion in this event.

Last year he beat Daniel Negreanu heads up for €1,080,000. And in the 12 months since, his tournament results have included scores for $128,520, $113,427, $643,976, $527,849 and $290,317. How has your year been?


Igor Kurganov: defending champion leading again

There's a long way to go in this event, however, and you should continue to follow our live coverage, at the top of the main High Roller page, will continue until they bag up at the end.

Then we'll try the same again from noon tomorrow.

Howard Swains
@howardswains in High Roller