PokerStars Championship presented by Monte-Carlo Casino®: Main Event Day 5 live updates

Ace-cracker Michael Kolkowicz takes final-day lead in PokerStars Championship presented by Monte-Carlo Casino® Main Event


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10:30pm: Davidi Kitai eliminated in seventh place (€79,750)
Level 28 - Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

Davidi Kitai has been eliminated in seventh place and with that Day 5 is complete.

Kitai had been nursing a short stack for a while and was lucky to get a pay jump with just five big blinds when Romain Nardin departed in eighth.

Then came a hand that saw Maxim Panyak raise to 180,000 in the cutoff and Kitai, despite having a super short stack, chose just to call to see the flop of 3♥4♠9♥. Kitai then moved all in for his remaining 270,000 and after a short think Panyak called it off with just king-high.

Kitai: A♠3♠
Panyak: K♠T♠

Kitai's bottom pair was in front and while the 7♦ turn brought no danger, the T♥ paired Panyak to send Kitai packing one short of the final day.

With that play concludes. We'll have a full wrap of proceedings shortly. -- BK


NEIL9063_Davidi_Kitai_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Davidi Kitai - 7th place

10:15pm: Romain Nardin eliminated in eighth place (€58,740)
Level 28 - Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

With 100% certainty I can say that this hand will make the TV edit.

It began with a raise to 180,000 under the gun from Romain Nardin. Michael Kolkowicz called from the small blind and Maxim Panyak did likewise from the big blind.

On the J♦6♥Q♣ flop it checked to Nardin and he c-bet 260,000. Kolkowicz then reached for chips and he check-raised to 860,000. That saw off Panyak, but Nardin was going nowhere. He moved all-in for 1.37 million and it was back on Kolkowicz.

He was getting better than 5-to-1 pot odds, but there was no snap call from Kolkowicz. He wanted a count and still he tanked. We'd seen him fold earlier today in a somewhat similar spot against Andreas Klatt -- would lightning strike twice? Not this time, no. Kolkowicz did call the extra and we had a showdown.

Nardin: A♦A♣
Kolkowicz: K♦9♥

Kolkowicz had check-raised with a gutshot and an overcard (although it wasn't live) and he was drawing thin. However, the T♥ turn was one of his immediate outs and he took the lead with a straight!

Nardin needed a king on the river to make a higher straight but it didn't arrive and he was eliminated. What's more Kolkowicz is up to 4.63 million, which is good for the chip lead.

As Kolkowicz said after the hand, "That's poker." --NW


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Romain Nardin - 8th place

10pm: Klatt climbs a little
Level 27 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

It's still relatively slow going here with flops becoming somewhat of a rarity, so when a hand went all the way to the river just now, we thought it was worth reporting.

Andreas Klatt button-raised to 185,000 and Diego Zeiter defended his big blind to see the dealer spread a flop of 8♦K♠7♦. Both players checked and the 6♠ rolled off on the turn.

Again the action went check-check and the 9♠ completed the board. Zeiter checked a final time before Klatt wagered a relatively sizable 350,000. That was too much for Zeiter who let it go as Klatt won the pot and pushed his stack to 4.25 million as he and Andrey Bondar battle for the lead. --BK


NEIL9052_Andreas_Klatt_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

A few for Klatt

9:45pm: Back to business
Level 28 - Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

The final eight have returned. Word from the break was they'll be aiming to play down to six tonight, however long it takes. The blinds and antes have increased, as has the pressure on the short stacks (see counts just below). --MH

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9:25pm: Break time

They've reached the end of another level and the eight remaining players are taking another 20-minute break. Below find an updated look at the stacks. --MH

NameCountryChips
Andrey BondarRussia4,140,000
Andreas KlattGermany3,930,000
Raffaele SorrentinoItaly3,235,000
Maxim PanyakRussia2,990,000
Michael KolkowiczFrance2,920,000
Diego ZeiterArgentina2,125,000
Romain NardinFrance1,775,000
Davidi KitaiBelgium700,000

9:20pm: Bondar takes the chip lead
Level 27 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

On the final hand of the level, Andrey Bondar took the chip lead. He called a raise from Maxim Panyak and Raffaele Sorrentino also stuck around. The three players saw a J♥Q♦3♦ flop. Panyak c-bet 235,000 and Bondar was the only caller. The 9♥9♠ turn and river checked through and the cards were flipped.

Panyak had pocket sixes and Bondar showed A♠Q♠ to claim the pot.


NEIL9061_Andrey_Bondar_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Bondar bounds in front

We'll have full chip counts coming your way during the break -- it's very close at the top. --NW

9:10pm: Panyak pushes higher
Level 27 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Maxim Panyak just took down a three-bet pot to take chips from Michael Kolkowicz.

Kolkowicz raised to 145,000 in the cutoff before Panyak reraised on the button to 345,000. The dealer fanned a flop of J♦9♥9♠ and Kolkowicz check-called a continuation bet of 290,000.

The 7♦ turn was quickly checked through and the T♦ river completed the board. Kolkowicz checked a final time and while it looked like Panyak was contemplating betting, he decided to check behind with Q♥Q♣. That was good against Kolkowicz's J♠T♠ and Panyak scooped the pot to take his stack to 3.2 million.

Kolkowicz meanwhile dips to 2.78 million in chips. -- BK

9pm: Kolkowicz collects
Level 27 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

A curious blind on blind hand between Raffaele Sorrentino and Michael Kolkowicz just played out.

Sorrentino raised to 170,000 from the small and Kolkowicz defended from the big blind. On the Q♠A♦7♣ flop Sorrentino c-bet 170,000 and Kolkowicz stuck around. The 3♦ fell on the turn and Sorrentino slowed down. He checked it over to Kolkowicz and the Frenchman bet 185,000. Call from Sorrentino. The Q♥ then completed the board and both players checked.

Sorrentino showed first -- he had 8♠8♥, but Kolkowicz hand him beat with A♥T♠. He's up to 3.48 million, while Sorrentino slips down to 3.57 million. --NW

8:50pm: Kolkowicz shoves on Kitai
Level 27 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Michael Kolkowicz raised to 145,000 and Davidi Kitai defended his big blind before a flop of 2♠7♣9♦. Kitai checked his option and Kolkowicz continued for 165,000. Kitai made the call and checked again on the J♠ turn before Michael Kolkowicz snap-shoved with enough to cover Kitai's 750,000.

Kitai deliberated on it but ended up folding before the merciful Kolkowicz set Kitai's mind at ease by showing K♣K♦. Kitai let out a deep sigh of relief and the pot was pushed over to Kolkowicz. -- BK


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K-K for Kolkowicz

8:40pm: No panic by Panyak
Level 27 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

We haven't seen a lot of action from Maxim Panyak at the feature table, but he just played a big pot against Romain Nardin.

It folded around to Panyak and he raised to 135,000 from the button. Nardin was in the small blind and he three-bet to 435,000. Went it got back to Panyak he tanked for a short time before moving all-in for 1.85 million. Nardin near instantly mucked his hand.

He slips to 2.1 million while Panyak climbs to 2.3 million. --NW

8:35pm: Who the hell are these guys?
Level 27 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Ever find yourself looking at the final table players and wishing you knew a little bit more about them? Well, Jan Kores, the PokerStars Live Media Co-ordinator, has done your Googling for you. Here are the player profiles for the last eight in Monte Carlo. -- HS

8:30pm: Lucky double for Kitai
Level 27 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Davidi Kitai won't be going home just yet after a lucky river card saw him come from behind to double up through Maxim Panyak.

Kitai was short-stacked with just 475,000 and he pushed it all in with A♣9♣. Panyak looked down at J♠J♣ in the small blind and called it off to put Kitai at risk.

Kitai's partner in the stands chanted for an ace over and over until her wish was finally granted on the river when the cards fell 2♥2♣4♥T♠A♠.

The rail erupted at the sight of the river card as Kitai was saved and secured the double up to 1.09 million. After the bad beat for Panyak he was left with 1.86 million in chips. -- BK


NEIL9097_Davidi_Kitai_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

NEIL9103_Davidi_Kitai_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

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Davidi still eligible for Kitai-tle

8:25pm: Nardin picks one up
Level 27 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

If Romain Nardin has had a nemesis during this tournament, it has been Michael Kolkowicz. The two have played a number of pots together, with Kolkowicz generally having the better of it. The two just played another pot together and this is what happened.

Nardin opened to 135,000 from under the gun+1 and Kolkowicz called from the big blind. On the 5♦2♠8♥ flop, Kolkowicz led for 115,000 and Nardin called. The J♣9♠ turn and river checked through, though. Kolkowicz showed K♠T♠ for just king-high, Nardin opened 4♦4♥ and he took the pot. --NW

8:15pm: Bondar builds through Klatt
Level 27 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Andrey Bondar is stacking chips after picking off a bluff from Andreas Klatt.

Bondar button-raised to 135,000 preflop and both Klatt and Davidi Kitai called from the small and big binds respectively. The flop was spread 6♥K♠2♥ and when it was checked through to Bondar he continued for 270,000.

Klatt called and with Kitai out of the way the J♣ arrived on the turn. Both players checked and the 4♣ landed on the river.

Klatt reached deep and fired for 700,000 but was called by Bondar with A♠K♣ for top pair top kicker. That was good versus Klatt's A♥9♥ busted flush draw and Bondar built his stack to a new total of 3.885 million.

The hit to Klatt's stack sees him drop to 3.815 million in chips. -- BK


8G2A8041_Andrey_Bondar_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

The name is Bondar... Andrey Bondar

8:05pm: Sorrentino takes from Nardin
Level 27 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

The first hand back from the break saw Andreas Klatt raise to 140,000 from middle position, and he claimed the blinds and antes.

Then it was Raffaele Sorrentino's turn to open with a raise to 130,000 from the cutoff, and he did get a customer in Romain Nardin calling from the big blind.

The flop fell J♦5♣4♠. Nardin checked, Sorrentino bet 130,000, and Nardin called. The turn was the 2♣ and Nardin checked again. Sorrentino paused about a half-minute, then bet again -- 260,000 this time -- and after taking some time as well Nardin check-raised to 635,000. Sorrentino called, bringing the pot to 1.9 million.

The 6♥ river then completed the board and both checked. Nardin turned over 8♠6♣ for a pair of sixes, Sorrentino showed A♦J♠ for top pair of jacks, and the latter claimed the pot.

Sorrentino jumps to 4.15 million after that one, while Nardin falls back to 2.2 million. --MH


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Sorrentino surges

7:55pm: Let's play some cards
Level 27 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

The final eight players are back in their seats and play has resumed. --MH


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6:50pm: Chips at dinner
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Here's how they stack up at dinner time:

NameCountryChips
Andreas KlattGermany4,935,000
Romain NardinFrance3,290,000
Raffaele SorrentinoItaly3,175,000
Andrey BondarRussia2,705,000
Michael KolkowiczFrance2,645,000
Maxim PanyakRussia2,340,000
Diego ZeiterArgentina1,985,000
Davidi KitaiBelgium740,000

We'll be back at around 7:55pm. -- HS

6:45pm: Kolkowicz finishes strong
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

The final hand before the dinner break went to Michael Kolkowicz as the Frenchman managed to get some thin value from Romain Nardin. The latter raised to 125,000 from early position and Kolkowicz called from the big blind.

The 7♠T♦9♠ flop checked through and the A♥ fell on the turn. Kolkowicz took up the betting lead, he fired out 180,000 and Nardin stuck around. On the T♣ river Kolkowicz bet a further 330,000 and again Nardin called. Kolkowicz turned over 7♣4♣ and he was good. He's up to 2.645 million and Nardin is down to 3.29 million. --NW

6:40pm: Dietrich done and dusted
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Moritz Dietrich has fallen in ninth place after an incorrect call saw his chips go to Raffaele Sorrentino.

Dietrich raised under the gun off of 16 big blinds to 120,000 and Sorrentino defended his big blind to see a monochrome flop of J♠4♠5♠. Both players checked to the 7♦ turn and Sorrentino picked up the betting lead for 155,000.


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Moritz Dietrich: Out!

Dietrich made the call and the 4♣ river card paired the board. Sorrentino looked back at his hand before moving all in with enough to cover Dietrich's 660,000. It was then Dietrich turn to look back at his hand before smiling and going into the tank for over four minutes.

"I call," Dietrich finally announced but unfortunately for him he'd quickly see the bad news as Sorrentino tabled 7♠7♣ for a full house. That was good against the pocket tens in Dietrich's hand and with that we're down to eight players.

Sorrentino now sits with 3.21 million in chips. -- BK

6:25pm: Nardin dents Dietrich without showdown
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Moritz Dietrich raised to 120,000 from the cutoff, and as usual sat motionless with arms folded as the action moved over to Romain Nardin in the big blind.

After a short study, Nardin three-bet to 420,000 and Dietrich continued to sit quietly for another minute before calling.

The flop came J♦Q♦8♣, and after about a half-minute Nardin continued for 455,000. Dietrich took about the same amount of time before calling, pushing the pot up to 1.82 million and leaving himself only about half that behind.

The turn was the 5♥, and after pausing just a beat Nardin said he was all in. Dietrich let his hand go immediately.

That puts Nardin at 3.99 million, while Dietrich is now down to 960,000. --MH

6:20pm: Klatt continues to build
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Andreas Klatt has crossed the 5 million chip mark after winning a small pot against Maxim Panyak.


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Andreas Klatt: Unstoppable

Klatt raised to 125,000 from early position and Panyak called from the big blind. A 75,000 c-bet from the pre-flop aggressor on the K♠5♠5♣ flop was enough to earn him the pot.

Klatt has 5.045 million to be exact, which is exactly 2 million clear of Romain Nardin in second place. --NW


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Maxim Panyak: Latest to lose one to Klatt

6:15pm: Kitai gets it in
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Davidi Kitai is the clear short stack of the remaining nine and on the second hand at the unofficial table he moved all-in. His shove was from the button and for 745,000. Both blinds folded and Kitai picked up the blinds and antes. --NW

6:10pm: Last table line-up
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

There are nine players left so they're down to the last table. The official final is eight-handed, and the final day features only six players. So this is the "last" table. Don't use the word "final" -- and that's final.

Seat 1) Andrey Bondar - 2,790,000
Seat 2) Andreas Klatt - 4,750,000
Seat 3) Davidi Kitai - 750,000
Seat 4) Diego Zeiter - 1,910,000
Seat 5) Raffaele Sorrentino - 2,325,000
Seat 6) Moritz Dietrich - 1,935,000
Seat 7) Michael Kolkowicz - 1,830,000
Seat 8) Maxim Panyak - 2,460,000
Seat 9) Romain Nardin - 3,065,000

5:55pm: Papazian runs into aces, out in 10th (€44,280)
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

On the outer table Andrey Bondar opened for 115,000 and it folded to a short-stacked Alexandru Papazian in the small blind.

Papazian looked down at his cards, then looked up at the dealer.


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Alexandru Papazian and Andrey Bondar face off

"I would like to bet all my chips," he said using a deadpan delivery, then slid his stacks forward for a bet of 585,000. When folded to Bondar was quick to call, and the grin Papazian was suppressing broke out on his face again.

There was a slight delay before the cards were turned over, and the pair chatted a little about what they had with Bondar not giving his hand away just yet. Then came the reveal, and while Papazian had A♥T♦ he could only chuckle some more when he saw Bondar's A♣A♦, shooting a you-sneaky-dog-you look at him as he did.


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Bondar puts paid to Papazian

The T♥J♣2♠ flop provided a glimmer for Papazian, but the 5♣ turn and 2♣ river didn't improve him further and he's out in 10th. That gives Bondar around 2.8 million now.

There will be a delay as the final nine redraw to sit around the last table of this PokerStars Championship Monte-Carlo Main Event. --MH


5:45pm: Play slowing down, dinner break announced
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

There is nothing to report from the outer table for the last few orbits. It's been a lot of one player opening and the rest of the table folding with chips just slowly going back and forth.

Perhaps they're all biding their time until the dinner break. Hopefully a nice meal will help the players fire up again. -- BK

5:40pm: Chip leaders go at it
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Romain Nardin and Andreas Klatt have been trading the chip lead back and forth but Klatt is now the clear leader after winning a big pot between the pair of them.

Pre-flop Nardin made it 125,000 to play from the cutoff and Klatt called from the button. The flop fell A♥J♦7♦, Nardin c-bet 155,000 and Klatt called. On the 5♥ turn Nardin bet again. This time it was 370,000 for Klatt to stay in the hand. He took longer than on the flop to make his move, but his decision was the same. He called.


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Romain Nardin: Chip lead has gradually eroded

The 2♣ river completed the board and Nardin emptied the clip. He bet 625,000 and the pot now swelled to over 2 million. It all meant that if Klatt called this pot would be bigger than any stack in the tournament other than the player who won it.

Klatt understandably tanked for a couple of minutes but he eventually called. Nardin rolled over 9♥6♥ for just nine high, Klatt showed A♣Q♥ for a pair of aces and he took the pot. He's up to 4.6 million, Nardin is down to 2.6 million. --NW

5:35pm: Schedule your dinner plans
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

What time do you normally have dinner? Well, tonight you're having it earlier than that (I expect). There's a dinner break planned for the end of this level, at around 6:30pm local time. Let's hope there's a restaurant that opens early, maybe to cater for kids' parties. -- HS

5:20pm: Diego Zeiter, elimination cheater
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

For three hands a short-stacked Diego Zeiter was trying. He opened a hand from the cutoff, only to fold to a Andrey Bondar all-in shove. Then he opened again from under the gun and won the blinds and antes.

Then he watched Alexandru Papazian raise from under the gun and Maxim Panyak call from the cutoff, and decided to take the discount and call as well from the big blind, but had to fold to a Papazian c-bet.

After that Zeiter was down to 770,000 and in the small blind -- make it 740,000 after his post and ante. He watched Moritz Dietrich raise to 115,000 from the button, checked his cards, and pushed all-in. Then Papazian shoved from the BB and Dietrich got out, and Zeiter was at risk.

Zeiter: A♦T♣
Papazian: A♥Q♠

The pair bumped fists, then watched the J♣6♦8♦ flop and 9♠ turn bring Zeiter one card from elimination.

Fifth street? The Q♦.

A backdoor straight for Zeiter! The constantly cheerful Papazian shook his head and laughed at the runout, having now slipped to 760,000. Meanwhile Zeiter is back in business with about 1.65 million. --MH

5:10pm: Kitai gets shoved on
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Having recently doubled up, Davidi Kitai no longer had a "one move stack". He could now raise to an amount other than all-in and exercised that option when it folded to him on button. He made it 125,000 to go from a stack of 1.1 million. The small blind folded but Michael Kolkowicz raised all-in.

He had Kitai well covered and Kitai spent over three minutes in the tank before folding. --NW

5:06pm: Back from break, Dietrich doubles
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Similarly, the first hand back from the break was of the all-in-and-a-call variety out on the secondary feature table.

It was a blind-versus-blind affair, starting with a Moritz Dietrich open for 130,000 from the small blind. Diego Zeiter chose to put the pressure on his shorter-stacked foe with an all-in push, and Dietrich called to put his last 1 million or so at risk.

Dietrich: A♠J♥
Zeiter: A♥8♦

The K♥2♥3♠ flop plus T♥ turn kept Dietrich in front, although created a sweat with all of those hearts. But the J♦ river sealed it, and Dietrich doubled to about 2.1 million. Meanwhile Zeiter slips to 825,000. --MH

5:05pm: Pertea out in 11th
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

On the first hand back from the break Marius Pertea was eliminated. He shoved all-in for 370,000 from the button with K♦J♥ and Davidi Kitai called from the big blind with Q♠J♠. It was about half of Kitai's stack to call and if he lost he'd been left with just 350,000.

Kitai's fiancé Caroline was one of the interested spectators on the rail and she called for a queen. One duly arrived on the 8♥Q♥4♠ flop. Another on the turn - the Q♣ - left Pertea drawing dead and the meaningless 5♣ completed the board.


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Marius Pertea will need to vacate his seat

Pertea collects €44,280 for his run in this tournament. Kitai is now up to 1.045 million. --NW

5pm: Blinds up
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

As is always the case, the blinds are now up. It's 25/50/5--add your own zeroes.

We have also just learned that Diego Zeiter, who holds dual nationality between Switzerland and Argentina, has opted for the latter. So his flag morphs seamlessly from red and white to pale blue and white. -- HS


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4:40pm: Break time counts
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

No eliminations in that last level, but a new chip leader. Andreas Klatt's antics on the feature table have put him top of the pops.

Here's how they stand:

NameCountryChips
Andreas KlattGermany3,485,000
Romain NardinFrance3,280,000
Raffaele SorrentinoItaly2,560,000
Maxim PanyakRussia2,425,000
Andrey BondarRussia2,360,000
Michael KolkowiczFrance2,110,000
Diego ZeiterSwitzerland1,920,000
Alexandru PapazianRomania1,550,000
Moritz DietrichGermany1,025,000
Davidi KitaiBelgium725,000
Marius-Catalin PerteaRomania375,000


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Andreas Klatt's unstoppable rise

4:35pm: Pertea well and truly in the danger zone
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Marius-Catalin Pertea is down to just 11 big blinds. He raised to 100,000 from a stack of just 545,000 but folded to a three-bet from Raffaele Sorrentino.

"Interesting that he felt he could raise and fold," said Matt Broughton in the commentary booth. "Yeah, he just lost 20% of his stack," mentioned ElkY. When you put it like that it does seem a strange decision. --NW

4:30pm: Kitai collects; still short on chips
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

The action folded around to Davidi Kitai in the small blind. He had 530,000 - so just over 13 big blinds - and he limped. Raffaele Sorrentino knuckled the table and the dealer fanned a K♣8♣Q♥ flop. Kitai bet 55,000 and Sorrentino called. On the J♣ turn Kitai fired another 90,000 and he took the pot down.

Kitai's up to 655,000 (16 big blinds) now. Meanwhile, Marius-Catalin Pertea is even shorter -- he's got just 13 big blinds. --NW


NEIL8866_Davidi_Kitai_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Kitai looking for spots to chip up

4:25pm: Nothing beats nothing
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Maybe things will explode soon on the outer table, but for the time being the blue touchpaper remains resolutely unlit.

Alexandru Papazian is making the most of things, picking up a pot with a three-bet (to 270,000) after Diego Zeiter's 90,000 cutoff raise, and then getting to showdown in a hand against Moritz Dietrich.

It wasn't a thriller, though. Papazian opened the cutoff, making it 80,000 to play, and Dietrich called in the big blind. They checked a coordinated J♦K♦7♦ flop, then Papazian called Dietrich's 120,000 bet on the 4♣ turn.

The 6♦ filled the board and ended the betting, with Papazian's A♣8♦ better than Dietrich's K♠8♥.

Dietrich has slipped a bit, back to 750,000. Papazian is up to around 1.4 million. -- HS

4:20pm: Clock calling, needling and no showdown
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Another big pot just went down at our feature table. It started when Michael Kolkowicz raised from under the gun and picked up calls from Romain Nardin and Raffaele Sorrentino. On the J♦7♥3♣ flop Kolkowicz bet 215,000 and Sorrentino was the only caller.

The 2♣ turn checked through and the 7♦ completed the board. Sorrentino checked again and Kolkowicz fired out a bet of 540,000.

"It's a really weird spot to bluff," said ElkY who after finishing 12th in this event has hopped in the commentary booth with James Hartigan and Matt Broughton. "It's ambitious to make a jack to fold," added the Frenchman.

Sorrentino had spent two minutes in the tank when Kolkowicz called the clock. Sorrentino found this pretty rich given that Kolkowicz tanks a lot and had spent about seven minutes tanking in that big pot against Andreas Klatt. There was a bit of needling between the two and Sorrentino let him know that from now on he would be calling the clock on Kolkowicz a lot.


raffaele_sorrentino_ michael_kolkowicz_psc_monte_carlo_day5.jpg

Raffaele Sorrentino, left, and Michael Kolkowicz: Feel the needle

As Sorrentino's time ticked down he folded his hand and the pot went to Kolkowicz. He's up to 2.19 million while Sorrentino slips to 2.24 million. --NW


NEIL8771_Michael_Kolkowicz_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Kolkowicz collects

4:15pm: Papazian pushes
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Alexandru Papazian raised to 80,000 preflop from the cutoff before Andrey Bondar three-bet to 220,000 from the small blind. Papazian stuck around and they saw a flop of 5♥7♣4♦.

Bondar continued for 180,000, and after Papazian made the call the dealer burned and turned the 6♣. That prompted a check from Bondar and Papazian bet most of his stack with a wager of 610,000, leaving him with only 40,000 behind.

Bondar relinquished his hand and dropped to 2.4 million while Papazian picks up that pot and pushes his stack up to 1.15 million. -- BK

4:05pm: Wow
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

We needed the four-bet klaxon for this hand and, as it turns out, the five-bet klaxon got a dusting off, too.

Michael Kolkowicz, who's been the most active player at the feature table, raised to 115,000 from the cutoff, Andreas Klatt three-bet to 420,000 from the big blind and Kolkowicz asked his German opponent how much he had left. Klatt did a quick calculation and let Kolkowicz know that he had around 2 million in total. After thinking it over Kolkowicz slid out a four-bet. He made it 1.15 million to play and now Klatt had a big decision.

He took some time and then announced that he was all-in. His total bet was 2.075 million and there was no snap-call from Kolkowicz. There was now 3.24 million in the pot and it was just 960,000 for Kolkowicz to call. He was getting great odds but he tanked for a few minutes and then... folded!

Kolkowicz drops to 1.7 million while Klatt is up to 3.24 million. --NW

4pm: Zeiter finds his pre-flop range
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Same old, same old on the outer table, although just now Diego Zeiter again tried to make things happen.

Or maybe he didn't. We'll never know. But he managed to pick up a pot.

Alexandru Papazian opened to 80,000 from under the gun and Moritz Dietrich called in the small blind. All of this was deliberate and silent.

Zeiter looked at his cards in the big blind and then raised to 280,000. Papazian was quickly out of the way, and it wasn't long before Dietrich followed him with a fold, too.

Zeiter now has about 1.35 million. Dietrich has 1.25 million. Papazian splits the difference. He has around 1.3 million. -- HS


8G2A8102_Diego_Zeiter_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Some for Zeiter

3:55pm: Papazian rakes another
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Alexandru Papazian just took down a pot after a blind-versus-blind confrontation with Diego Zeiter.

After it folded to Zeiter in the small blind he opted to limp in and Papazian checked behind before a flop of T♦2♦A♠. Zeiter led for 40,000, Papazian called, and the 2♥ turn card paired the board.

Zeiter and Papazian both checked it to the 9♦ river where Zeiter checked a final time. Papazian then loaded up and slid 150,000 into the middle. A fold from Zeiter saw him drop to 1.2 million while the pot was pushed Papazian's way and he climbed to 1.4 million in chips. -- BK

3:45pm: Pertea picks up some chips
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Marius-Catalin Pertea, who won his seat to this event in a live satellite, is currently the shortest stack at the feature table. The Romanian has 790,000, so a shade under 20 big blinds.

A short time ago Pertea was facing a bet of 90,000 from Romain Nardin and he elected to three-bet. He didn't move all-in, though, instead making it 290,000 to play. Nardin took a look at the Romanian's stack and then elected to fold his hand. Pertea picks up some much needed chips with that pot. --NW


NEIL9001_Marius-Catalin_Pertea_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Pertea's stack perking up

3:40pm: Small-ball barrel-scraping
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

It has been mostly small-ball on the outer table since Moritz Dietrich's double up, although Diego Zeiter and Alexandru Papazian just played a hand that had potential to grow dangerously.

It was folded to Zeiter in the small blind and he raised it to 130,000. Papazian called in the big blind and they saw a flop of 7♠8♠5♦. Zeiter checked and Papazian bet 160,000. That's when Zeiter made his play. He check-raised to 450,000.

Papazian thought about it for a moment, but let it go.

On the next hand, Dietrich raised to 90,000 from the cutoff and Papazian called from the small blind. Max Panyak also called from the big blind, which meant this was three-way to the Q♠3♠8♦ flop.

After two checks, Panyak bet 145,000 and that was gooood. -- HS

3:35pm: Sorrentino continues to soar
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

It's been a great start to the level for Raffaele Sorrentino and he just put Marius-Catalin Pertea to the test.

The latter opened to 100,000 from utg+1 and the action passed to Sorrentino in the big blind. The Italian three-bet to 280,000 and Pertea now had a big decision. He had just 735,000 back so Sorrentino was, in effect, making him make a choice for all of his chips.

Understandably Pertea tanked for some time, but he ultimately elected to fold. Sorrentino is up to 2.69 million. --NW

3:30pm: Dietrich doubles
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Moritz Dietrich has doubled up through Andrey Bondar after calling off for his tournament life.

It was folded to Bondar in the small blind and he moved all in with enough to cover Dietrich's stack of 675,000. Dietrich made the call from the big blind, and the cards went on their backs.

Dietrich: A♠8♦
Bondar: K♥2♥

Dietrich fell behind on the 2♦T♦Q♣ flop and while he still trailed on the J♣ turn card, the K♠ improved Bondar to two pair but also completed a Broadway straight for Dietrich. That was good enough to keep his tournament alive and he doubled up to 1.375 million.

Bondar falls to 2.2 million. -- BK


NEIL8828_Moritz_Dietrich_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Things looking up for Dietrich

3:20pm: Nardin takes a hit
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Romain Nardin is still the chip leader, but his lead is now about as slender as it has been all day as he just lost a pot to Raffaele Sorrentino.

The latter opened to 90,000 on the button, Nardin three-bet to 335,000 from the big blind and Sorrentino called. The 4♣9♦6♣ flop was checked through, as was the J♣ turn. On the 3♠ river Nardin bet 355,000 and Sorrentino tank-called.

Nardin turned over K♣6♠ for a pair of sixes, but Sorrentino had 7♣7♠ for a better one-pair hand. He's up to 2.4 million while Nardin is down to 3.5 million. --NW

3:10pm: No bet Bondar
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Andrey Bondar was presumably laying a trap on the first hand back after the break, but Alexandru Papazian was able to wriggle out.

Papazian opened from the button, making it 80,000 to go, and Bondar called in the big blind.

There were more checks than a Prague city census as the K♣7♣6♥3♦J♥ board led to no more betting. Bondar opened his K♠T♠ and won the small pot with his top pair.

They're playing again. -- HS


8G2A8050_Andrey_Bondar_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Bondar, trying to trap a Papazian

3:05pm: Back at it
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

The final 11 are back in their seats for more short-handed action and to continue their quest to make the final table. --MH


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2:50pm: Break time
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

That's the end of Level 24 and the remaining 11 players are going to take a 20-minute break before returning to the following stacks:

NameCountryChips
Romain NardinFrance4,240,000
Maxim PanyakRussia2,880,000
Andrey BondarRussia2,550,000
Michael KolkowiczFrance2,515,000
Andreas KlattGermany2,240,000
Raffaele SorrentinoItaly1,750,000
Alexandru PapazianRomania1,695,000
Diego ZeiterSwitzerland1,550,000
Davidi KitaiBelgium945,000
Marius-Catalin PerteaRomania845,000
Moritz DietrichGermany605,000
-- HS

2:50pm: Zeiter on the up
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Diego Zeiter just received a huge boost to his stack after an interesting hand developed between him and Alexandru Papazian.

Zeiter began with a raise to 70,000 from the cutoff and Papazian called on the button before a flop of 7♣7♠6♥. It was checked through to the 5♦ turn where Zeiter picked up the aggression with a bet of 90,000. Papazian wanted to play for more and bumped it up to 225,000. Zeiter called and the 3♠ arrived on the river.

Zeiter checked on the end but after Papazian fired for 320,000, Zeiter moved all in for less than a min-raise with 565,000. That was too much for Papazian who let it go and dropped to 1.85 million. Zeiter now sits with 1.55 million. -- BK

2:45pm: Kitai can't call
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

We've seen a lot of tanking at the feature table and this time it was Davidi Kitai's turn to check into the Tank Hotel for a three-minute stay. He raised to 75,000 from under the gun and Michael Kolkowicz called from the button.

The Q♥6♦9♠ flop was checked through and the Q♠ fell on the turn. Kitai led for 50,000 and Kolkowicz called. On the T♣ river Kitai slowed down. He checked to Kolkowicz and the Frenchman bet 245,000.

As mentioned, Kitai went into the tank for over three minutes. "Queen jack?" he said to Kolkowicz. Another 20 seconds or so passed and Kitai folded.

Kitai is down to 1.03 million and Kolkowicz is up to 2.07 million. --NW

2:40pm: Panyak busts Bertrand "Elky" Grospellier in 12th (€33,600)
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 4,000)

Maxim Panyak opened to 65,000 from under the gun and it folded around to Team PokerStars Pro Bertrand "Elky" Grospellier in the cutoff who re-raised all in with his last 440,000 or so.

It folded through to Panyak who thought just a moment, then called, turning over A♠J♠. Grospellier showed 8♥8♦.

Elky closed his eyes for a moment, then opened them to watch the Q♣9♣5♣ flop keep him in the lead. He continued looking intently at the board as the K♦ turn card came. Then came the river... the J♥.


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Bertrand Grospellier: Fine run is over

Elky's head drooped a little at the sight of the jack that gave Panyak the better pair and the hand. Grospellier is out in 12th, while Panyak is up close to 3 million now. --MH

2:35pm: Playing the board
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 4,000)

Alexandru Papazian raised to 60,000 from middle position, and in his first hand after being moved to the outer table Moritz Dietrich defended his big blind with a call.

The 2♠2♥J♠ flop was checked by Dietrich who then called Papazian's 45,000 continuation bet. Dietrich then led for 60,000 at the A♦ turn card, and Papazian called.

The river was the A♠, putting two pair on board. Dietrich fired 200,000 at that card, putting Papazian in the tank for two or three minutes.

Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier finally called the clock, and after taking up nearly a minute more Papazian called, playfully setting his calling chips in front of Dietrich as though anticipating losing them.

Dietrich had but 9♥8♥ and was playing the board, though, as was Papazian who had 4♦4♠, and the pair split the pot.

Papazian has about 2.15 million still, while Dietrich is on 625,000. --MH

2:30pm: Sorrentino spikes the river
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

A small pot just went the way of Raffaele Sorrentino. He was in the big blind and called a raise of 75,000 from Marius-Catalin Pertea. The flop fell 2♦9♠8♥. Sorrentino checked, Pertea c-bet 85,000 and Sorrentino smooth called.

The A♠Q♦ turn and river checked through and Sorrentino showed Q♥J♣ for a rivered pair of queens. He's up to 1.75 million and Pertea is down to 915,000. --NW

2:25pm: Shuvanov, shove and out
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Dmytro Shuvanov has finished just a few places shy of a final table appearance after a bad beat from Maxim Panyak.


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Dmytro Shuvanov: Last hand

Panyak raised to 65,000 from the cutoff and Shuvanov took the chance to move all in from the small blind for 305,000. Panyak committed a few of the chips from his big stack before seeing he was dominated by Shuvanov's superior hand.

Shuvanov: A♣K♥
Panyak: A♠8♣

Things quickly changed, however, and Shuvanov dropped his head at the sight of the 6♠8♦Q♠ flop. Chasing a king or running Broadway cards to stay in contention he couldn't do it as the 5♥ turn and 2♠ made his exit official.


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Rough beat for Dmytro Shuvanov

Shuvanov leaves us in 13th place while Panyak builds even higher to 2.2 million. -- BK

2:20pm: Nardin applies the pressure
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

After Michael Kolkowicz opened to 90,000 the action passed to Romain Nardin. The chip leader counted out a three-bet and raised it up to 280,000. It folded back to Kolkowicz and he tanked for just over a minute before folding. --NW

2:15pm: Klatt vs Kolkowicz
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Andreas Klatt and Michael Kolkowicz had reached the river of a K♥2♠9♠K♠9♣ board and there was 465,000 in the middle. Klatt was first to act and he made a big bet of 380,000. Kolkowicz had 1.93 million in total and he went deep into the tank. He'd been there for more than three minutes when another player at the table called the clock.

Kolkowicz now had one minute to act but before the 10 second countdown began he mucked his cards.

Klatt takes that pot and leapfrogs Kolkowicz in the chip counts. He is up to 2.1 million. --NW

2:10pm: Big one for Bondar, Shuvanov short
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 4,000)

On the very next hand after the one in which Alexandru Papazian folded to Dmytro Shuvanov's shove, it was Andrey Bondar opening for 75,000 from the button and Shuvanov three-betting to 200,000 from the small blind.

The action back on Bondar, he instantly slid his remaining stacks forward for a four-bet push that totalled 1.26 million. Shuvanov hesitated, holding a chip forward to indicate a call but holding it there for a moment as though considering the alternative, then made the commitment.

"Ahhhh!" said Shuvanov with a wince when he saw Bondar turn over A♦K♣, as Shuvanov had A♣Q♦ and was dominated.

But the flop came 6♥Q♣3♠, and suddenly Bondar was the one who was far behind. Already standing, he pushed his chair forward under the table to ready his departure while the 7♥ fell on the turn.

Then came the river... the K♦!

"Ahhhh!" repeated Shuvanov who then couldn't resist laughing at the rapid reversals of fortune he'd endured. "Why?!" he added, still grinning though pained at what had occurred.

Bondar is suddenly up around 2.55 million and has the chip lead at the outer table, while Shuvanov is in the danger zone with just 255,000. --MH

2:05pm: Whole lotta Shuv
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Alexandru Papazian continues to drive the action at the outer table.

He opened to 60,000 from the cutoff and the action folded to Dmytro Shuvanov, who was in the big blind. Shuvanov started cutting out chips to make a raise.

"Don't make it too big," joked Papazian as Shuvanov prepared his bet.

After 30 seconds or so of thinking Shuvanov three-bet to 170,000. Papazian didn't take too long to decide he was going to four-bet. Papazian made it 375,000 to go and Shuvanov then shoved.


alexandru_papazia_psc_monte_carlo_day5.jpg

Alexandru Papazian: Shoved on

It was about 940,000 total for Papazian. He took one look back at his cards and then folded.

Papazian is down to 2 million and Shuvanov is up to 1.35 million. --NW

2pm: Au revoir Aido
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 4,000)

Sergio Aido has become the next to fall after once again getting into a flip with pocket nines, but this time ending up on the wrong end of it.

Maxim Panyak raised to 65,000 under the gun before Aido opted to shove for 585,000 from the cutoff. It folded back around to Panyak and after a minute in the tank he decided to call it off.

Aido: 9♥9♦
Panyak: A♣Q♦

By the turn the board read K♥5♠7♠T♦ and it looked like Aido would double up with pocket nines for the second time today. The deck had other plans, however, as the A♥ river paired Panyak to eliminate Aido in 14th place.


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So long, Sergio Aido

Aido headed for the payout desk to collect €33,600 and time will tell if he decides to late register for the High Roller that's running alongside the Main Event. Panyak, meanwhile, now has 1.9 million in chips at his disposal. -- BK

1:55pm: Fine call from Dietrich
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Michael Kolkowicz, by far the most active player at the feature table, just made a bit of a mis-step to give Moritz Dietrich's stack a timely boost.

It was another unusual one, but here's how it happened:

Dietrich opened to 70,000 from the hijack and Kolkowicz called in the big blind. Nothing wrong with that. The flop brought the 2♥6♦9♦ and both players checked, leading to the 2♠ on the turn.

Dietrich flicked a small bet into the middle. It was 40,000. Kolkowicz raised to 105,000 and Dietrich called.


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Moritz Dietrich: Bluff sniffing

The 4♥ completed the board and Dietrich checked. However Kolkowicz then put 235,000 out there, which was more than half of Dietrich's remaining 400,000.

Dietrich called and it was indeed a bluff from Kolkowicz. Dietrich's A♥K♦ was better than Kolkowicz's K♠Q♦. -- HS

1:50pm: pm: Kolkowicz stays active
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Michael Kolkowicz has been mainly playing against the neighbour on his left hand side, but decided to mix it up and take on the man to his right, Raffaele Sorrentino.

Of course, that wasn't really Kolkowicz's choice, but after he opened to 95,000 from under the gun, Sorrentino, in the big blind, was the only caller.

The dealer put the 3♣5♠7♠ on the flop and Sorrentino checked. Kolkowicz fired 135,000 and Sorrentino folded. Easy game. -- HS

1:45pm: More pots to Papazian, one for Shuvanov
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 4,000)

A whole lotta Alexander Papazian (still) on the secondary table. The Romanian spent most of the last orbit claiming small pots before the flop either with uncontested opens or with three-bets. Finally after a streak of wins Papazian was stopped in another smallish three-way hand involving Switzerland's Diego Zeiter and Dmytro Shuvanov of Ukraine.

Zeiter opened from the hijack for 70,000 and both Papazian (button) and Shuvanov (big blind) called, then all three checked the 8♦6♣K♥ flop.

The turn brought the T♦ and a leading bet of 125,000 from Shuvanov, earning a quick fold from Zeiter. Papazian took his time, looking over at Shuvanov with one of those how-dare-you-try-to-take-a-pot-at-this-table looks, but finally pushed his hand away.

Papazian still hovers around 2 million to remain the outer table's big stack, while Shuvanov is at 945,000. --MH

1:40pm: Klatt purring
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Pick the bones out of this one, poker fans.

Michael Kolcowicz opened to 85,000 from the hijack and Andreas Klatt called in the big blind. The flop brought theT♥T♦Q♦ but both players checked.

The 3♥ fell on the turn and Klatt led for 130,000. Kolcowicz quickly called.

The K♦ popped out on the river to make this board very intriguing. There were straights, there were flushes and there was a pair. Indeed, there was a potential royal out there now.

Klatt bet 350,000, a big chunk of the 420,000 pot. After a long tank, Kolcowicz folded and Klatt showed the 7♥.

On the next hand, Klatt was at it again. Moritz Dietrich opened to 70,000 on the button and Klatt three-bet the small blind. Dietrich folded.

And then the gremlins descended so there's a five-minute technical-hitch break.-- HS

1:35pm: Dietrich doubles/busts
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

That headline was certain to be written at some time in this level, although the final word was still in doubt. As it happens, it's good news for the tournament short stack Mortiz Dietrich as he just got red sevens to hold up against overcards.

What's perhaps most remarkable is that the overcards--A♦Q♣ to be precise--were in the mitts of Andreas Klatt, who has knocked out both of today's previous eliminated players.

But after Dietrich jammed for around 300,000 and got the call, the board of 9♥9♠4♦6♦8♣ kept 7♥7♦ in the lead and doubled him. -- HS

1:30pm: Bodnar makes a play
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

The action folded to Maxim Panyak in the cutoff and he came in for a raise. He made it 65,000 to go and was duly three-bet by Andrey Bondar. It was now 165,000 to play and Sergio Aido seemed interested. He thought for a couple of minutes but then folded. Panyak didn't need as long to come to the same decision and the pot went to Bodnar. --NW

1:25pm: Chip leaders tangoing once more
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Michael Kolcowicz and Romain Nardin have renewed their acquaintance early in the second level of the day, but they played this one cute--or weirdly, depending on your point of view.

They were in the blinds and Kolcowicz limped from the small blind, but called Nardin's raise to 105,000. That took them to the flop of 5♥3♠K♠ and Kolkowicz checked.


michael_kolkowicz_romain_nardin_neighbours.jpg

Michael Kolkowicz and Romain Nardin

Nardin bet 85,000, which Kolkowicz called, and then they saw the 3♥ on the turn. Kolkowicz now fired. His bet was 135,000 and Nardin called. And then the 8♣ completed the board.

Kolkowicz checked again and it was Nardin's turn to barrel. He put 525,000 out there, which was a big bet by anyone's standards.

Kolkowicz took a long time to ponder options, but backed down. He let it go. Nardin builds his chip lead further. -- HS

1:20pm: ElkY gets it through
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

The action on the outer table has seemed to slow dramatically since players returned from break, but we did just see Team PokerStars Pro "ElkY" Grospellier move all his chips into the middle.

It folded around to ElkY in the cutoff and he jammed all in for 455,000. He was uncontested and picked up the blinds and antes to climb to half a million in chips. -- BK

1:15pm: Dietrich shoves
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

With 240,000 in his stack, which is around eight big blinds, Mortitz Dietrich had one move. And he made it. He open-pushed from late position and got this one through. That's nine blinds now!-- HS

1:10pm: Away they go again
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

We're now into Level 24, where the yellow 1,000-denomination chips are no longer required. There's an ante of 5,000 now. Black 25,000-denomination chips are now in play too. -- HS

12:55pm: Break time counts

NameCountryChips
Romain NardinFrance4,225,000
Michael KolkowiczFrance3,025,000
Andreas KlattGermany2,100,000
Alexandru PapazianRomania1,985,000
Diego ZeiterSwitzerland1,650,000
Raffaele SorrentinoItaly1,480,000
Andrey BondarRussia1,400,000
Davidi KitaiBelgium1,290,000
Maxim PanyakRussia1,280,000
Marius-Catalin PerteaRomania1,165,000
Dmytro ShuvanovUkraine915,000
Sergio AidoSpain525,000
Bertrand "ElkY" GrospellierFrance520,000
Moritz DietrichGermany255,000

12:50pm: Big stacks go at it
Level 23 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

The tournament's two biggest stacks are sat alongside one another at the feature table and the question is, "Will they tangle?" Here's the answer: Yes.

In a recent hand, Michael Kolkowicz opened to 78,000 from the hijack--a big pre-flop raise--and Romain Nardin three-bet to 205,000.

Everyone else got out of the way to avoid becoming collateral damage, but Kolkowicz called.

They then saw a flop of 8♠4♦K♠ and Kolkowicz quickly checked. Nardin checked behind. That brought the T♠ on the turn.

Kolkowicz led 125,000 which, for anyone but especially him, was a pretty small bet. Nardin called.

That call brought the A♣ on the river, which brought with it bags of potential. But despite reaching for chips a couple of times, Kolcowicz checked. That left Nadin with the decision, and he checked too.

Kolkowicz turned over 6♠6♦ but Nardin's J♦8♦ was best.

So it was far from premium for either of them, but that's the game they're playing.

That was the last hand of the level on the feature table and they're taking a 20-minute break. Full chip counts are incoming. -- HS

12:45pm: Double aids Aido
Level 23 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

After folding to that Maxim Panyak shove, Sergio Aido gave up a few more chips to Panyak on the following hand after opening from middle position then folding to a Panyak three-bet from the small blind.

When he folded, Alexander Papazian joked with Aido about the €25K High Roller going on not too far from the secondary feature table and whether or not he wanted to be playing in that one.

Whether or not he does, Aido obviously wants to prolong his Main Event run as far as he can, and to that end open-raised all-in on the very next hand from under the gun for a little less than 275,000.

It folded around to Dmytro Shuvanov in the big blind who looked down at his cards and called the shove, tabling A♣K♥. Aido had 9♦9♣, and after a 4♠T♣T♥2♥9♥ he survives and won't be High Rollering just yet.

Aido is up to about 585,000 after that one, while Shuvanov now has 930,000. --MH

12:40pm: Aido makes a big laydown
Level 23 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Sergio Aido seems to go deep in every tournament he plays. He has secured his best finish in a EPT/PSC Main Event now, with his previous best a 15th place finish at EPT11 Malta.

However, the final table may elude him yet again as he's now down to just 15 big blinds.

Aido took a hit in a hand against Maxim Panyak, in which Aido raised from hijack and Panyak called from the big blind. Aido then bet 62,000 on a 4♦8♣6♣ flop and Panyak called.

The Q♥ fell on the turn. Panyak checked, Aido fired out 146,000 and Panyak check-raised all-in. Aido had just 330,000 back and he went deep into the tank. He shrugged a couple of times. Was it an "I have to call" shrug? Or a "What can I beat?" shrug.

It was the latter. He folded, showing the Q♦ as he did so.

He's now the shortest stack left in and Panyak is now up to 1.15 million. --NW

12:36pm: Shuvanov wins battle of the blinds
Level 23 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Dmytro Shuvanov has added a little more to his stack after besting Sergio Aido in a battle of the blinds. The action folded around to Shuvanov in the small blind and he limped in before Aido checked his option in the big blind.

The dealer spread a flop of 9♥J♦4♥ and Shuvanov led out for 25,000. Aido flicked in a call and the dealer burned and turned the K♦. Shuvanov then gave up the betting lead with a check to Aido who picked it right up with a barrel for 125,000. Shuvanov called and they went to the 2♣ river.

It was checked through on the end and with a smile Shuvanov tabled K♣2♦ for runner-runner two pair. That was good enough to trump Aido's holding and Shuvanov was awarded the pot. He now sits with 1.1 million in chips while Aido dips to 475,000. -- BK

12:33pm: Klatt's K-K KOs Souza
Level 23 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

The opening level couldn't possibly have gone any better for Andreas Klatt. The German, having already won the PokerStars National Championship here this week, has just claimed his second victim of the final table in the Main Event.

It was Douglas Souza who departed, and there was little he could do. Klatt opened, Souza jammed for a little more than 600,000, and Klatt called.

Souza had Q♠Q♥, which is a mighty fine hand. But Klatt's K♠K♦ was considerably better.


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Douglas Souza departs in 15th

There was nothing at all to trouble Klatt on the board and Souza was toast. He leaves in 15th for €33,600, while Klatt moves beyond 2 million in chips. -- HS

12:30pm: Kolkowicz wants to play for more
Level 23 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Michael Kolkowicz has a big stack and he is wanting to play for lots of it. He just pummelled Davidi Kitai in a hand that had the Triple Crown winner sighing under the pressure--and eventually folding.

Kitai opened his button, making it 57,000 to go and Kolkowicz called in the big blind. They both then checked a flop of 8♣6♠7♣.

The A♠ came on the turn and Kolkowicz led out 119,000, which was close to a pot bet. Kitai called.

The 7♥ popped out on the river and Kolkowicz put 338,000 over the line now. Kitai didn't like that one bit. Kitai took a long look over at his neighbour, took off his jacket, rubbed his hands, and then folded.

Kitai is renowned for his live reads and so clearly thought this one wasn't worth it. He let it go. -- HS

12:25pm: Papa knows best
Level 23 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Following that flopped set by Andrey Bondar, Alexandru Papazian took the next three hands at the secondary table, albeit all small ones.

The first saw Diego Zeiter try to limp from the small blind, Papazian raise from the big, and Zeiter call. A flop with an ace followed -- 2♦A♦8♠ -- and when checked to Papazian continued and Zeiter released his hand.

A 60,000-chip open from the small blind earned Papazian the next pot, then on the following one he had the button and opened again, again for 60,000. Only Maxim Panyak called from the small blind, but after a 9♠9♦5♥ flop Panyak check-folded to another Papazian c-bet. --MH

12:20pm: Two hands, one showdown
Level 23 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

New day, same blinds. The first hand at the outer table went to Diego Zeiter. He raised to 58,000 from under the gun and took the pot uncontested.

The Swiss player was involved in the second hand too. Andrey Bondar raised from middle position and Zeiter called from the big blind. The T♦Q♣2♠ flop was checked through and the K♣ landed on the turn.

Zeiter checked, Bodnar bet 65,000 and Zeiter made the call. The 8♥ fell on the river and Zeiter check-called a further 80,000.

Bodnar showed T♣T♥ for a flopped set and he took the pot. --NW

12:15pm: Schillhabel vanquished in 16th
Level 23 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

After watching Douglas Sousa's pre-flop push pick up the previous pot, Stefan Schillhabel, the table short stack, open jammed for 338,000 from UTG+2 on the next hand.

Andreas Klatt then re-shoved for 1.007 million and we had our first player under threat.

Schillhabel had A♦Q♣ to Klatt's 9♠9♣.


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Stefan Schillhabel: First out today

The flop was all around, but not on, Schillhabel's hand. It came T♣J♦5♥. The 2♠ fell on the turn and despite ten outs going to the river, the 4♣ was a blank.

Schillhabel, a day-end chip leader, hits the rail in 16th. He gets €25,700, the last to get that amount. There's a money jump and the next player out gets €33,600. -- HS

12:10pm: Kolkowicz wins one from Sorrentino
Level 23 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Michael Kolkowicz put a quick end to Raffaele Sorrentino's domination on the feature table. Well, domination is overstating it, but after Sorrentino opened for a second hand in succession, from UTG+1, Kolkowicz three-bet to 135,000 from one seat along.

Sorrentino's call bought a flop of J♠K♣5♣ and they both checked. After the 5♠ appeared on the turn and Sorrentino checked again, Kolkowicz's delayed c-bet of 135,000 won the pot.

On the next hand, the chip-leader Romain Nardin opened, but Douglas Souza jammed his short stack and won the pot. -- HS

12:10pm: Sorrentino wins uncontested
Level 23 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Action is now indeed under way and Raffaele Sorrentino opened the first pot on the feature table, making it 55,000 to play. Everyone else folded. -- HS

12pm: And we have action
Level 23 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

There's still about 41 minutes left on Level 23 and we'll rattle through that before possibly pushing right on into Level 24. Equally, they may take a short break. We'll find out soon.

One way or another, action is imminent. Stick with us as we identify our last six. -- HS

11:45am: Seat draw

There's only fifteen minutes until the action is underway. Here's where our 16 remaining players will be sitting at kick off.

NameCountryChipsTableSeat
Sergio AidoSpain69300011
Bertrand "ElkY" GrospellierFrance65300012
Marius-Catalin PerteaRomania111000013
Diego ZeiterSwitzerland184800014
Alexandru PapazianRomania175900015
Maxim PanyakRussia108200016
Andrey BondarRussia128300017
Dmytro ShuvanovUkraine88700018
Stefan SchillhabelGermany35400021
Moritz DietrichGermany45100022
Andreas KlattGermany105900023
Douglas Ferreira SouzaBrazil53600024
Davidi KitaiBelgium153600025
Raffaele SorrentinoItaly162200026
Michael KolkowiczFrance298300027
Romain NardinFrance395600028

The penultimate day is upon us

We're back again for Day 5 of the PokerStars Championship presented by Monte-Carlo Casino® Main Event! It's been an action-packed week of poker with 727 hopefuls pulling up seats in a bid to take home the prestigious title, the trophy and the first place prize of over half a million Euros.

Of those 727 now only 16 remain and it's Frenchman Romain Nardin in pole position who will start the day with 3,956,000 in chips. That's almost a million ahead of current second place Michael Kolkowicz on 2,983,000.

It won't be an easy road to the title for either of these two, however, with the likes of Davidi Kitai, Sergio Aido, and the sole surviving Team PokerStars Pro Bertrand" ElkY" Grospellier all still vying for the championship.

They'll all be playing down to a final table tonight before a champion is finally crowned come tomorrow. Be sure to join us at midday for all the action direct from the tournament floor!

In the meantime you can see how the field stacks up below. -- BK


NameCountryChips
Romain NardinFrance3,956,000
Michael KolkowiczFrance2,983,000
Diego ZeiterSwitzerland1,848,000
Alexandru PapazianRomania1,759,000
Raffaele SorrentinoItaly1,622,000
Davidi KitaiBelgium1,536,000
Andrey BondarRussia1,283,000
Marius-Catalin PerteaRomania1,110,000
Maxim PanyakRussia1,082,000
Andreas KlattGermany1,059,000
Dmytro ShuvanovUkraine887,000
Sergio AidoSpain695,000
Bertrand "ElkY" GrospellierFrance653,000
Douglas Ferreira SouzaBrazil536,000
Moritz DietrichGermany451,000
Stefan SchillhabelGermany354,000


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PokerStars Blog reporting team on the Main Event: Martin Harris, Brad Kain, Jack Stanton, Howard Swains, Alexander Villegas and Nick Wright. Photography by Neil Stoddart.

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