PokerStars Championship presented by Monte-Carlo Casino®: Petrangelo leads as Graziano bubbles

PSC_Monte_Carlo_main_event_day_2_nick_petrangelo.jpg

Petrangelo - top of the class again

Today, for the first time in the PokerStars Championship Main Event presented by Monte-Carlo Casino®, the field began to shrink instead of grow. Before play began there were 11 new entries meaning the field topped out at 727 runners.

Only 340 players had chips in front of them for the first shuffle of the day and it soon became known that only 143 of those players would see a return on their investment. We also knew that the newest PokerStars Championship winner would take home €500,800.

PSC_Monte_Carlo_main_event_day_2_tournament_room.jpg

All set for moving day

It used to be that Day 2 of the Main Event was moving day, the time when the foundation of a stack that could take you deep into the tournament was built. That's still the case but now it's also bubble day, or more accurately it's bubble sweat day. Will it burst or won't it? Would the remaining players go to bed with a min-cash of €7,580 safely in the bank?

With two levels remaining in the day the sweat was very real as the field had been reduced to 173, just 30 places off the money. By the time we entered the last level of the night just 150 players remained and although hand for hand play began with 45 minutes on the clock, it wasn't until we were just 15 minutes from the end of the day that the bubble burst.

Today was the day that the PokerStars Live TV cameras started rolling and it was up on the feature table that the last player to leave with nothing would exit. Salvatore Graziano had less than ten big blinds when he shoved with pocket queens. It was the most classic of races as Davidi Kitai called him with A♠K♠. Graziano couldn't look. He wandered away from the table, only to return when he'd heard that Kitai had flopped an ace.

PSC_Monte_Carlo_main_event_day_2_salvatore_graziano.jpg

Graziano learns his fate

For much of the day the star turn at the feature table was one of the most recognisable players in the world: Patrik Antonius. He also had the biggest stack in the tournament as we entered the final level of the day. Some guys get all the luck. The Finnish pro has almost $7 million in live earnings, but the cash here in Monte Carlo marks his first live tournament cash since August 2015. He'll be back tomorrow with 452,200.

PSC_Monte_Carlo_main_event_day_2_patrik_antonius.jpg

Antonius shined under the television lights

The EPT2 Baden champion couldn't quite hang on to the chip lead come end of play though. That honour went to Nick Petrangelo who bagged up 562,000. Petrangelo is fresh from a €248,400 cash in yesterday's Single-Day High Roller and took us to the bubble when he eliminated Jean Koja. He'll be a force to be reckoned with tomorrow.

PSC_Monte_Carlo_main_event_day_2_soft_bubble.jpg

Koja gets his coat

The stacks of Petrangelo, Antonius, are among these selected players:

Nick Petrangelo - 562,000
Michael Kolkowicz - 470,500
Patrik Antonius - 452,200
Mark Teltscher - 408,000
Stefan Schillhabel - 402,000
Sebastien Malec - 382,500
Andreas Klatt - 375,000
Fabrice Soulier - 364,500
Dan Smith - 333,000
Manig Loeser - 323,500
Daniel Negreanu - 300,000
Hossan Ensan - 290,000
Christopher Frank - 280,000
Remi Castaignon - 275,000
Tsugunari Toma - 243,500
Celina Lin - 200,500
Luke Schwartz - 187,000
Davidi Kitai - 179,600
Sergio Aido - 124,000
Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier - 121,500
Rocco Palumbo - 81,000
Mario Ho - 78,000
Liv Boeree - 63,500
Martin Jacobson - 53,500
Alex Luneau - 42,000
Andreas Hoivold - 32,500

Full counts will appear soon on the chip-count page.

The Red Spades are still in fine fettle with Daniel Negreanu, Liv Boeree, ElkY and Celina Lin all through to Day 3. However, we waved goodbye to the Main Event hopes of Igor Kurganov, Fatima Moreira de Melo, Randy Lew and Jason Mercier today. The latter did though lock up a min-cash.

The 134 players who survived the day all have that min-cash in their locker too and will return at 12 noon to try and secure a bigger payday. We'll be back then to follow all the action, you can see a blow by blow account of the Day 2 action below. Until then, goodnight.

PSCH Monte Calo 2017 location Tomas Stacha-1923.jpg


Day 2 coverage:

 
CHIP COUNTS | DOWNLOAD POKERSTARS
PAYOUTS | ALL MONTE CARLO INFO | SCHEDULE | SIDE EVENT NEWS
• Follow @PokerStarsBlog on Twitter

8:50pm: End of day
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Play has now ended for the day. We're gathering chip counts right now. Looks like Nick Petrangelo is out front.

8:45pm: Mercier and Kaverman KO'd
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier has been eliminated on one of the final hands of the night.

After an open to 6,000 and a three-bet from Douglas Ferreira Souza to 18,000, Mercier cold four-bet jammed for around 120,000. The initial opener folded but Souza called it off to put the Team Pro at risk.

Mercier: T♠T♦
Souza: A♠K♠

It was a fair fight but the 9♦A♥J♠Q♦Q♣ run out saw Souza end up with the best of it.

"Where's my seven thousand?" Mercier called out jokingly.

His table-mates laughed and Mercier was shown to the payout desk for a min-cash. -- BK

8:40pm: Post-bubble boasting begins
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)


8:30pm: Kitai busts Graziano, bubble bursts
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

You have to say this for Salvatore Graziano: he's got guts. Unfortunately, you also have to say this: he has just bubbled this PokerStars Championship Main Event.

The Swiss player pushed his short stack all in twice in consecutive hands, both times against the same player, Patrik Antonius, who had more than 20 times as many chips.

The first time they were at a flop of 8♠Q♣8♥ and Graziano jammed for 11,100. Antonius had more than 440,000 in his stack but folded.

The second time, Antonius opened to 6,000 pre-flop and Graziano moved in for 25,100 this time. Perhaps Graziano had thought Antonius was his only threat, but he quickly learned that was wrong. Davidi Kitai sat behind him and called, from a stack of 160,000.

Antonius folded, but Graziano was still in trouble. After all other hands finished across the tournament room, the cards went on their backs:

Graziano: Q♠Q♣
Kitai: A♠K♠

It was the most classic of all races--but Kitai surged quickly into the lead. The flop fell 8♥A♣4♠ and the turn and river could not help Graziano. They were the 7♥ and the 8♦.

So that's the end of Graziano, and the end of the hand-for-hand period. They're all in the money! -- HS

8:15pm: Ho hangs on, bubble begins
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

There were two simultaneous all-ins and with the first seeing Jean Koja eliminated in 145th place, the stone bubble had officially begun. Maria Ho was already all in and had been called by Waldemar Nowak with the board showing J♠K♦T♣3♠4♦.

Players from nearby tables gathered around to sweat the action before Ho was given the all clear to reveal her hand. That would be A♠Q♠ for the nuts, which was good against Nowak's J♣J♦ for a set.

"Maria with the nuts!" called Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier from an adjacent table.

"It's the only hand I play!" Ho called back stacking her newfound chips.

With that hand Ho climbs to right around 100,000 and hand-for-hand play continues. -- BK

8:10pm: Dealing with bubble pressure
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

8:10pm: Koja soft bubbles
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Jean Koja has just been eliminated in 145th place. He shoved for 10,800 with the A♥9♥ and Nick Petrangelo called with the A♠K♠. The board ran out 7♦K♥8♠2♣K♦, so there was never even a sweat.

Petrangelo now has 520,000, and we're on the stone bubble. --JS


The thrill of live poker starts online. Sign up for PokerStars and begin your journey. Click here to get an account.

8:05pm: Alkalay vanquished two from the money
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Adi Alkalay was all in for a short stack behind A♦Q♠, giving him a pre-flop edge versus Vicente Delgado's 6♥5♥.

Alas for Alkalay, the flop fell 2♥5♠T♠ to pair Delgado's five and swing the edge the other way.

The 8♠ on the turn inspired Iliodoros Kamatakis to call out "sweat!" from across the table, as it gave Alkalay a flush draw to go with his still live overcards. But the river was the T♥ and he's out. Put Delgado on 245,000 now.

That brings the field size down to 145 -- two from the cash. -- MH

8pm: Mercier's might call
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Jason Mercier raised to 6,400 from early position and Hossein Ensan made it 12,500 from the cutoff. The rest of the table got out of the way and Mercier called.

The flop came 5♦9♠5♠ and Mercier check-called a 9,500 bet. A Q♥ came on the turn and Mercier check-called another bet, this one worth 26,100. The river brought a 6♣ and an all-in bet from Ensan. Ensan had about 160,000 and Mercier only had 90,000 left. Mercier tanked for a few minutes and then folded.

To the table's surprise, Mercier said he had ace-king. Ensan still had his cards and showed A♦A♣. The hand put Ensan up to 270,000 while Mercier was left with just about 90,000. --AV

7:55pm: Dziembala dodges a flip
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Marcin Dziembala adds a little to his short stack near the bubble after convincing Bruno Lopez to fold.

Lopez brought it in with a raise to 6,500 before Dziembala shoved all in over the top for 30,100 in total. Despite holding A♠K♠ Dziembala used speech play to the best of his ability to get Lopez to fold. Considering Dziembala will lock up €7,580 if he survives just a few more places we can't say we blame him.

After a minute in the tank Lopez let it go and after being shown Dziembala's hand he confessed he had folded pocket fours.

Dziembala avoids racing for his tournament life and builds to just over 40,000. -- BK

7:50pm: Petrangelo pushing ahead
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Nick Petrangelo is making great use of his big stack as we approach the bubble. He's extended his count by around 100,000 over the past level.

Igor Yaroshevskyy - who you may remember from his deep run at the PokerStars Championship Panama - opened to 7,000 and Petrangelo three-bet to 20,000. It folded back to Yaroshevskyy and he made the call, although interestingly he pulled back his blue 5K chip and two yellow 1K chips, and slid in a new stack of 20 1K chips. Did that mean anything? Probably not.

Anyway, they saw a 6♦2♠K♥ flop on which Petrangelo continued for 16,000 when it checked to him. Yaroshevskyy called once again and the dealer laid the 2♥ river. It checked to Petrangelo yet again and he made it 60,000 to go.

Yaroshevskyy snap-folded and drops to 150,000, while Petrangelo is neck and neck with Patrik Antonius for the chip lead with a stack of 442,000. --JS

7:45pm: Kamatakis knocked back
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

I suppose there's good news for the following. At least they didn't bubble. They did, however, get knocked out very close to the money, so it's going to feel like it:

Robert Haigh, Jose Maria Schwaiger, Walery Engel, Jean Montury, Isaac Haxton, Sylvain Loosli, Ole Schemion, Tom Hall, Christian Stokkeland, Jawad Bengourane, Giovanni Lena, Andrea Rocci, Rony Halimi, Victor Begara, Bradley Marsh, Patrik Tkac, Yang Zhang, Simon Taberham.

simon_taberham_psc_monte_carlo_day2.jpg

Simon Taberham: Close, but no cash

7:45pm: Kamatakis knocked back
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Iliodoros Kamatakis was up around 360,000 just a short while ago and one of the big stacks thriving as the bubble nears. But two quick hands -- an ace-king versus pocket aces, then deuces versus ace-queen -- have knocked him back down to 190,000 all of a sudden.

That bubble is still a bit off, though it's getting closer. There are 147 players left -- four knockouts to the cash. --MH

7:40pm: Ensan withstands all-in
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

EPT12 Prague Main Event champion Hossein Ensan picked up Q♣Q♥, and, well, one thing led to another and Ensan was all in and at risk versus Robert Pankwoski who had A♥K♥.

The board ran clean for Ensan -- coming 6♣T♥2♥6♦5♣ -- and he's up around 225,000 now while Pankowski is down to 90,000. --MH

7:35pm: Last level
Level 14 - Blinds 1,500/3,000 (ante 500)

Level 14 has started, which is the last level of the day. We expect the bubble to burst in this level, or have a very thick skin if not. -- HS

7:28pm: Boeree's all-in goes uncalled
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Following a Tsugunari Toma open, Liv Boeree just pushed her stack all in over the top. It folded back to Toma who considered just a moment, then folded his A♣T♠ face up.

As the last level of the day is about to start -- and with seven eliminations to go before the cash -- Boeree has about 82,000, while Toma has 218,000. --MH

7:25pm: Kaverman suffers a severe setback
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

It was all going so well for Byron Kaverman; it so usually is, for one of the high rolling elite. But it's going to be hard for him to bounce back from this latest setback.

He opened to 6,000 and was three-bet to 16,500 by Xavier Rouayroux to 16,500. It folded back to Kaverman and he took his time, as is his style. A minute or two went by before Kaverman announced he was all in. Rouayroux snap-called.

Kaverman - A♠K♣
Rouayroux - A♥A♦

The board ran out Q♥7♣4♣3♦Q♦ and most of Kaverman's stack was shipped the Frenchman's way. Rouayroux is now up to 138,000, while Kaverman is down to 33,000.

Yep, the comeback will be hard, but nothing's impossible. --JS

7:22pm: Petrangelo keeps picking up
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Nick Petrangelo keeps on picking up pots and battling for the lead.

It's not an easy table to do at, considering Igor Yaroshevskyy is there. Yaroshevskyy raised to 5,700 from the hijack in a recent hand and Petrangelo made it 16,000 from the cutoff. Action folded back to Yaroshevskyy and he called.

nick_petrangelo_psc_monte_carlo_day2.jpg

Nick Petrangelo: Unstoppable surge

The flop came 3♠A♣7♥ and Yaroshevskyy checked. Petrangelo bet 12,000 and it was good enough to take down the pot. We mentioned earlier how Petrangelo won a large pot and took the lead with 380,000. It appears Patrick Antonius has taken it since with about 440,000, but Petrangelo is in hot pursuit with 435,000. --AV

7:20pm: Gresel gets a double through Dvoress
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Paul Gresel has doubled up after a rollercoaster runout saw him end up with the best of it versus Daniel Dvoress.

We caught the action late but it appeared that Dvoress had opened and then called off when Gresel moved all in for around 20,000 in chips.

Gresel: J♣J♦
Dvoress: Q♣T♦

Gresel was in front on the K♦5♥9♠ flop, Dvoress was in front on the J♠ turn (with Gresel spiking a set and Dvoress completing a straight), and then it was Gresel in front again as the 5♣ rolled off to give him a full house.

Dvoress could do nothing but smile as the table shared in gasps and "wows" as the sick runout.

daniel_dvoress_psc_monte_carlo_day2.jpg

Daniel Dvoress: Barely wounded

After that, Gresel moves up to right around 45,000 while Dvoress is barely wounded, still on 170,000. -- BK

7:17pm: Walid Bou Habib bounced
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Walid Bou Habib, the runner-up finisher in the EPT9 Deauville Main Event, is out shy of the cash.

He was all in for his last chips with A♣3♦ versus Douglas Ferreira Souza's 7♣7♦, but the K♦9♦9♣2♦3♣ board was not enough for Habib and he's out. Souza has 155,000.

There are now 152 players left -- just nine off the money. --MH

7:15pm: What Souaid said
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier fired a bet of 11,000 -- about half the pot (ish), with the board 4♥9♠T♦5♠.

Karim Souaid's all-in shove didn't sit well with ElkY, though. As Grospellier thought, Souaid spoke up, and while we didn't pick up on what he said, whatever it was it helped encourage ElkY to fold.

elky_victoria_coren_mitchell_psc_monte_carlo_day2.jpg

ElkY, left, in conversation with Victoria Coren Mitchell

Both Souaid and Grospellier are at around 140,000. --MH

7:10pm: Bianchi busted by Bodnar
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Over on the secondary feature table, Michele Bianchi was all-in for his final 18,000 with K♥J♣ and in bad shape against Andrey Bondar's A♥J♥. It didn't get any better for him as a 5♠7♠9♠7♦T♠ run out saw his Main Event run end about 15 places from the money. --NW

7:05pm: Malec making a mountain
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

A mountain of chips that is. The EPT13 Barcelona winner is up to 280,000 after winning a multi-way pot.

Christopher Frank raised from the button and Malec (small blind) and Evgenii Sboev (big blind) both called.

The three of them were treated to a Q♥7♦K♥ flop and all three players checked. On the T♣ turn Malec led for 11,100 and Sboev was the only caller. The 7♥ completed the board and Malec set out a tower of blue 5K chips into the middle. It was an effective shove of some 35,000 as that is what Sboev had left. The Russian player tanked for less than 30 seconds before folding.

Andreas Klatt is also at that table and the PSC Monte Carlo National Championship winner is up to 410,000. --NW

7pm: Mitchell and Kitai swap places and peril
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

James Mitchell was looking like a lock for the money with about 140,000, while Davidi Kitai was in trouble. But they both just made huge hands and got it all in on the turn and Kitai's was biggest.

The money went in on the turn. The four exposed cards were the 6♣Q♦5♣7♣ and Mitchell had 6♥5♦. Kitai, however, had K♣8♣ and he called all-in after Mitchell shipped.

Mitchell still had outs, but did not hit his boat. So Kitai now moves up to 198,000 and Mitchell is left with 32,000. The money draws closer. -- HS

6:55pm: Negreanu knows when to call
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

It's tough to bluff Daniel Negreanu.

Even when he looks relaxed and is getting a massage, the Team Pro can reach deep into your soul and peek at your hole cards.

Marius-Catalin Pertea tried to bet big on the river to scare Negreanu off, but he just ended up losing a big chunk of his stack. The hand started off when Valerii Lubenets raised to 6,000. Negreanu called from the hijack and Pertea did the same from the big blind.

daniel_negreanu_psc_monte_carlo_day2.jpg

Daniel Negreanu: He can see your hole cards

Pertea then bet 7,300 on the Q♦2♥8♣ flop and Lubenets folded. Negreanu raised to 22,000 and Pertea called. Then Pertea bet 35,000 after the 7♥ came on the river. Negreanu looked at his stack, counted it out and looked pensive.

Then he called. Pertea turned over 4♦2♦ and Negreanu tabled 8♠8♣ for a set of eights. The hand left Pertea with less than 100,000 while Negreanu rose to about 175,000. --AV

6:50pm: Schwartz busts Schwaiger
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Luke Schwartz has just added a few more chips to his stack, after busting Germany's Jose Schwaiger. Schwartz opened to 5,500 on the button and snap-called Schwaiger 30K-ish big blind shove with the A♥A♣. Schwaiger had the A♠6♥, and despite a little sweat on the turn of the 7♥8♣J♦6♣K♦, he couldn't get lucky. Schwartz is up to 191,000 now. --JS

luke_schwartz_psc_monte_carlo_day2.jpg

Luke Schwartz: Staying connected

6:45pm: Guilbert glad not to get called
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

There was about 30,000 in the middle and the board read 2♠6♦T♦. Johan Guilbert checked, then Vishwanath Manjunath bet 10,500. Guilbert responded with an all-in check-raise for approximately 50,000, and Manjunath went deep into the tank.

Guilbert was leaning over while getting a massage, and began describing his situation to Manjunath, noting how he wished to make the money, and wouldn't mind a fold from his opponent.

After a couple of minutes Manjunath indeed folded, showing his hand -- K♠T♠ -- face up as he did.

"You made a good read," said Guilbert. "But I'm all right," he added, noting he didn't mind not having to sweat a turn or river, even though he might have been ahead.

Manjunath has about 130,000, Guilbert has about 120,000. --MH

6:40pm: Good timing
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

"How long did I wait?" said Lauren Monosson as she breathed a sigh of relief after she doubled up. In truth she was never in much danger. She was in the big blind and had been set all-in for her final 35,500 by Xavier Rouayroux, who was the small blind.

Monosson had an easy call with K♥K♦ and Rouayroux could only muster 8♠6♦. The 3♦3♠4♠ flop was fairly benign, but the 2♦ turn meant Rouayroux did have some outs. The T♠ was a brick though and Monosson survived. --NW

6:35pm: A bit more for Mercier
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Douglas Ferreira raised to 5,000 from early position and Jason Mericer called from middle position. Karen Oliver called from the hijack and the three players went to the 6♣T♦4♥ flop.

Ferreira bet 7,200 and both players called, bringing the J♣ on the turn. Ferreira fired away again, this time for 25,000. Mercier looked down at his stack, rubbed his beard and moved all-in for 81,500.

The moved caused instant pain for Oliver.

"So sick," she said. She shook her head and exhaled forcefully a few times. She thought for a few more minutes and then finally folded. Ferreira quickly folded behind and Mercier raked in the pot.

Oliver, still thinking about the hand, said she had ace-jack. She was stunned by Mercier's bet she said, she'd never seen him move all-in like that.

"I didn't want to lose that pot," Mercier said. Then he added that he had king-jack.

"I expected a fold," Mercier said, pointing at Oliver. "Then a snap call with a set of 10s."

There was no set though and Mercier chipped up to about 130,000. --AV

6:30pm: Hall's in trouble
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Tom Hall opened to 5,000 and his sole caller was Luigi Conti in the big blind. Conti would check when the 3♠7♠2♥ flop was dealt, letting Hall in for a c-bet of what looked to be 4,500. Conti then raised that up to 15,100, and Hall made the call.

On the Q♠ turn it went check check, and so the dealer laid the 8♣ river card. Conti checked again, and Hall started to count out a bet. He made it 14,500, and Conti called pretty quickly.

Hall sighed as he showed the K♥J♦ for complete air. It turned out to be a pretty good call by Conti, who had third pair with his A♣7♦. He's up to 130,000 now, while Hall is deep in the dangerzone with just 11,100 left. --JS

6:25pm: Luneau lives
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Alex Luneau has taken his stack past the 100,000-chip mark after winning a sizeable flip against Yang Zhang.

It was Waldemar Nowak who got the action going with a pre-flop raise to 6,100 before Zhang three-bet to 15,000 from the hijack. Luneau was in the cutoff and he felt it was time to play for all of his 51,100. Nowak couldn't compete but Zhang called it off to see that he and Luneau were flipping.

Luneau: A♣K♥
Zhang: Q♠Q♥

The A♠T♠K♦ flop was a good start for Luneau - he took the lead and needed to fade a queen or jack to confirm the double up.

alex_luneau_psc_monte_carlo_day2.jpg

Alex Luneau: Staying alive

"Jack! Give me a jack!" requested Zhang, but the deck refused as the 8♥ turn and 3♦ river bricked off to grant the pot to Luneau.

And with that Luneau takes his total up to 110,000. -- BK

6:20pm: Ole, Ole, Ole!
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Patrik Antonius has still got it.

"It" in this case could be the generic "poker talent" but it could also be "the chip lead". Antonius just knocked out Andrejs Maklecovs in a massive pot on the feature table, vaulting up to around 420,000.

They got it in on the flop with Antonius sitting with 6♥2♥ and Maklecovs with A♥T♥. The board? That read Q♥2♦8♥. So they both had flush draws, of which Maklecovs's was the largest. He also had over-cards to Antonius's deuces.

But the deuces held when the 5♦ and 7♦ rolled off on turn and river and the 180,000-chip pot boosted Antonius. Maklecovs is knocked out a little short of the cash. -- HS

6:20pm: Ole, Ole, Ole!
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Ole Schemion was in a celebratory mood. For a man who has more than $12 million in lifetime earnings winning a pot - and a small one at that - it seemed a little out of character. In the hand in question a K♣A♣3♣ flop was exposed and Faraz Jaka had bet 8,000. He'd been called by Jerome L'Hostis and Schemion now had a decision for his stack of 38,000.

He elected to move all-in. Jaka swiftly folded and L'Hostis did so, but with some reluctance. Schemion clapped loudly a few times and let out a cry of "Yes." He also mischievously showed the 7♠ as he stacked the spoils. --NW

6:10pm: The distant bubble just starts to peek up over the horizon
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

"Thirty from the cash," reported Faraz Jaka as another hand was dealt at his table. Indeed, as Level 13 begins there are 173 players, only 143 of whom will be making the money.

Rocco Palumbo was thus fully aware of this fact when he saw Dan Smith open for 5,300 from early position, then chose to jam all in over that for 23,400. It folded back to Smith who thought a short while, but stepped aside, and Palumbo remains in the hunt.

Palumbo has around 33,000 now, while Smith has a comfortable 265,000. --MH

6pm: Back to it
Level 13 - Blinds 1,200/2,400 (ante 400)

Players are back to it, with two levels until the day wraps. There are 173 remaining and it looks very likely we'll get to the bubble today. -- HS

5:40pm: ICYMI
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 200)

The TV cameras were rolling, but in case you missed Fatima Moreira de Melo's exit, she got it in with K♣Q♣ but couldn't hit against Faraz Jaka's pocket tens. GG. --JS

5:37pm: Break time

That's the end of Level 12. They're heading off to a 20-minute break. With 180 left and 143 due to be paid, the final two levels of Day 2 may or may not get us into the money. -- HS

5:36pm: Bedell bounces Bengourane
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Tom-Askel Bedell is up around 250,000 heading to the break, having picked up more chips after just now ousting Jawad Bengourane.

Bengourane was all in on the turn, having two pair with T♠9♠ on the 6♥T♦9♥2♠ board. But Bedell had a straight with 8♣7♠, and the J♥ river didn't help Bengourane. --MH

tom_aksel_bedell_monte_carlo_day2.jpg

Tom Aksel Bedell: The self-styled "BLOGGER"

5:35pm: Rocci avoids the rail
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Andrea Rocci was down to around two big blinds but he has managed to almost quintuple up after surviving a three-way showdown.

Rocci flicked in his last 2,600 under the gun and both the players in the blinds called before a 6♣3♣6♥ flop. The small blind check-called a bet of 2,000 into the empty side pot and the dealer burned and turned the Q♦.

It then went check check and the 6♦ river double paired the board. The small blind led out for 2,000 with 7♣3♠ and was snapped off by the big blind with 3♥2♠. They chopped up the side pot but Rocci's 9♣9♦ was good enough to scoop the main pot.

Rocci now has 12,000 for a whole six big blinds. -- BK

5:30pm: Calculating doubts
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

"I get you into some doubt?"

So asked Roger Tondeur of his table neighbour Sergio Aido after a recent hand that left both chuckling and shaking their heads.

It had begun with Tondeur raising to 4,500, Aido three-betting from next door for 11,500, and Tondeur calling quickly.

The all-spade 3♠5♠A♠ flop brought a check from Tondeur, a somewhat deliberate bet of 12,500 from Aido, and a quick call from Tondeur. Both checked the 2♥ turn, then the 4♥ came along on the river to put a straight on the board, and Tondeur swiftly bet 20,000.

Aido had to think for about 20 seconds, enough time for Tondeur to have thought afterwards maybe he did manage to get Aido into some doubt.

Finally Aido called, and after Tondeur tabled J♦J♠, Aido showed K♣K♥ and they chopped it. Going to the river, Tondeur had had plenty of outs with his spade draw (plus the jacks), but thought the straight-making four had perhaps given Aido some doubts.

Aido has 137,000 now, Tondeur 112,000.

Oh, and what was Aido's answer? He shook his head no while grinning. Was Tondeur convinced?

Can't say for sure. We are in some doubt. --MH

5:25pm: How did Petrangelo take the chip lead? It's a long story.
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 200)

Nick Petrangelo has catapulted up to the chip counts and now sits atop the field with a stack of 380,000. But to explain how he got there, we have to rewind to the end of the previous hand.

Picking up the action on a 7♥Q♣A♥3♥4♣ board, Aliaksei Boika had bet 14,000 but Usman Siddique had shoved for 59,600. Boika went into the tank but eventually called, only to muck when Siddique showed the J♥9♥ for a turned flush. That hand brought Boika all the way down to just 2,800 - just enough for the small blind (which he was in next), the ante, and a little left over.

On to the next hand. With his newly-acquired stack of around 130,000, Siddique opened to 4,500 and got a call from Kyrylo Kudyma. Boika then under-called all in from the small blind, and Nick Petrangelo defended his big blind. It took a little while for the dealer to separate out the side pot and the pot Boika was involved with, but once everything was set up it went four ways to the flop.

That fell Q♣9♦A♦ and Petrangelo checked, as did Siddique. Kudyma came out with a 6,000 bet, which Petrangelo called, followed by a squeeze to 22,000 by Siddique. Interestingly, both players called and this pot was getting big.

On the J♥ turn though, action slowed right down as everyone checked it through to the 2♦ river. Siddique checked again, as did Kudyma. This resulted in Petrangelo making a huge bet of 80,000, and Siddique snap-folded. Kudyma, though, snap-called.

Petrangelo turned over the K♦5♦ for the nut flush, and Kudyma mucked his hand. Boika had the 2♥4♦ and he hit the rail, while Kudyma dropped down to 61,500 and Siddique has 97,000.

But yeah. Nick Petrangelo. 380,000. Your current chip leader. --JS

5:20pm: Hart-less
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Excuse the pun but Pascal Hartmann is among the notable names who find themselves on the rail after busting during the current level.

Govert Metaal, Bas De Laat, Ibrahim Ghassan, Aliaksei Boika, Morten Mortensen, Adrien Allain and Dermot Blain are also out. That leaves us with just 184 players left with a chip and a chair and an average stack of 118,500, for a smidgen under 60 big blinds. --NW

5:20pm: Need without greed
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

They say if you make your expectations reasonable -- or even lower them in a deliberate way -- you'll lessen your chances of being disappointed. I don't know who "they" are, but that's what they've been saying.

After surviving an all-in hand just now, Onur Unsal said something similar. Over a Lukasz Kubicki open for 4,500, Unsal had pushed with A♣4♣ and Kubicki called him with A♥J♠.

The first four community cards came 8♥Q♥K♦8♠, which set up Unsal to keep his seat with a split pot. But the 4♥ river was even better for him, earning the double.

"I was happy with just the chop," said Unsal with a grin, adding that he'd been running badly up to now, but perhaps his luck was about to start changing.

Unsal's an even-tempered guy, though, and so probably won't let his expectations get out of hand.

He's got 80,000 now, while Kubicki is at 124,000. --MH

5:15pm: Soulier shows big slick
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Jean-Jacques Zeitoun kicked things off with a button raise to 4,300 before Fabrice Soulier bumped it up to 12,800 from the small blind. Zeitoun deemed that a fair price and he called to see a flop of 8♣5♥K♣.

Soulier barrelled for 9,000 and after a minute of deliberation Zeitoun folded A♥J♣ face up. It turned out to be a great fold as Soulier threw A♣K♣ face up across the table.

Zeitoun seemed grateful for the information as he dropped to 68,000 and Soulier lifted to 225,000. -- BK

5:10pm: Smith and Schemion duel, Moreira and Lin take the spotlight
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

In one of the most entertaining hands we've ever covered, Ole Schemion raised to 4,300 from the hijack and Dan Smith called from the cutoff. Raffaele Sorrentino called from the small blind and all three players saw the T♣8♣T♥ flop. Schemion bet 6,000 when checked to, Smith called and Sorrentino folded.

At this point the hand got interesting and very difficult to cover. Not because the action got crazy and not because of anything Schemion or Smith were doing. It was the conversation between Team PokerStars Pros Fatima Moreira De Melo and Celina Lin that had the table and reporters a bit distracted.

They were talking about their...more intimate experiences with other women. Lin described a bet she once had; Moreira de Melo had a few more tales to tell. We'll have to leave out the details for a family blog and turn attention back to the pot. (Buy us a beer and we'll tell. Or maybe buy them a beer. They know more.)

The turn was the 8♦ and Smith bet 10,000. Schemion called and the 5♦ completed the board. Smith upped the bet to 36,000 and Schemion tanked. He shook his head, counted out the bet from his stack and looked pained. Then he called.

Smith turned over A♠T♦ and Schemion mucked. The hand left Schemion with 73,000 while Smith chipped up to about 240,000. --AV

5:05pm: Saber stacking chips and giving out free rub downs
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

During yesterday's play Makram Saber got into an argument with Emin Aghayev with the latter accusing Saber of bad etiquette and being rude to a player who Saber had just eliminated. He might have had a point as Saber's choice of words after winning a pot against Jerome Brion today left a lot to be desired.

By the time I arrived at the table there was a 6♣5♠9♦J♦ board on the felt and around 50,000 in the middle. Saber bet, it was a chunky bet too, 40,000 to be exact. Brion called and the 6♦ completed the board. Both players checked and Saber quickly showed K♠K♣. Brion mucked and this is where the needle, unintentional or otherwise, began.

"Ha ha ha, you had the queens," chortled Saber. "I know it, I know you had the queens."

Brion didn't react but just sat there impassively as Saber began asking Jan Bendik, sat to his left, if he'd have bet the river and what he thought Brion had. This conversation was still ongoing as the next hand was in progress. --NW

5pm: Kings bring big pot to Malec
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Leonardo Vilela opened for 4,500 from under the gun, then Sebastian Malec made it 13,5000 to go from the next seat over. It folded back to Vilela who called, then over the three post-flop streets a similar pattern developed.

With each street Vilela checked, Malec thought a minute or two then bet, and Vilela called quickly... up until the river, that is.

The flop was T♥3♠7♣ and Malec's bet 9,100. The turn was the 2♣ and the bet 23,100. Then the river brought the 3♥ and after Vilela checked Malec pushed all in for 68,000.

That's when Vilela slowed down himself, thinking for a while before finally calling the shove. Malec showed K♠K♥, and while Vilela's hand was only shown for a moment it appeared to be a lesser big pocket pair of face cards.

sebastian_malec_psc_monte_carlo_day2.jpg

Sebastian Malec: Big boost

In any case, Malec bounds up to around 225,000 while Vilela is back to about 100,000. --MH


Sebastian Malec was an online-only player when he won his EPT title. You could be next. Sign up for PokerStars and begin your journey. Click here to get an account.

4:50pm: A blogger without a media pass
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

When poker reporters/journalists/bloggers/whatever you want to call us have to fight our way through the throngs of spectators watching on from the rails, the security here in Monte Carlo knows to let us lot through. How? We all wear media passes around our necks. It makes us feel special.

But instead of wearing media passes in the future, maybe we should just take a page out of Tom-Askel Bedell's fashion book. He's come to work today wearing a BLOGGER hoodie, and yet he's sat at the felt, not reporting on it.

He just took down a pot too and now sits with a very healthy stack. After an open to 4,500, Bedell flatted as did the big blind player. A 6♣T♦2♥ flop was dealt, on which the original raiser continued for 6,500. Bedell called. The 5♣ hit the turn and Bedell took it down with an 11,500 bet when it checked to him.

This blogger is now playing 196,000. --JS

4:45pm: Woodhead pushes, collects
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Stephen Woodhead opened for 4,500 from under the gun, Marius-Catalin Pertea called from a couple of seats over, and when it folded back to Daniel Negreanu in the big blind he came along as well.

The flop fell 9♥8♣4♣, and after a Negreanu check, Woodhead bet 5,500. Pertea bumped it up to 15,000, bumping Negreanu, then Woodhead said he was all in for 47,200 total.

Pertea thought about it for a few beats, but let his cards go to keep his big stack of 185,000. Meanwhile Woodhead moves up close to 80,000, and Negreanu holds steady at 75,000. --MH

4:40pm: Hall busts Blain
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Dermot Blain has lost the last of his short stack here in Level 12, with Tom Hall his final Main Event opponent. Hall wished Blain well as he left, and now Hall will use Blain's chips to try to further his own cause. He has 72,000. --MH

4:35pm: Antoni alive and (sort of) well
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

Besiana Antoni is still in the danger zone but at least she has more than three and a half big blinds now after scoring a double up.

Antoni looked down at A♦7♦ under the gun and moved her last 7,300 into the middle. It folded around to the player in the big blind and apparently he felt pot committed as he called it off with just 4♦3♥.

Antoni couldn't have liked the look of the 8♥6♣4♣ flop but despite her opponent taking the lead, Antoni still had outs to an ace, a seven or a five for the gut shot straight. The 6♥ added any eight to counterfeit the big blind but it was the A♣ on the river that paired Antoni to keep her in the game.

"You never die! You're hanging in there," tablemate Raffaello Locatelli said to Antoni following the double up. -- BK

4:30pm: Kurganov KO'd
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

More details on the Igor Kurganov elimination.

The hand started out small enough. There were three limps and a check from the big blind. Four players saw the 8♣Q♣4♥ flop and they all checked. Then Kurganov bet 5,000 when the T♠ came on the turn and only Christoph Vogelsang called. A K♥ completed the board and Kurganov moved all-in for 22,800.

igor_kurganov_psc_monte_carlo_day2.jpg

Igor Kurganov: Time to say goodbye

Vogeslang called and Kurganov tabled Q♥9♥ for a lot of hair. Vogeslang tabled 6♠2♠ and took down the pot. Kurganov hit the rail while Vogeslang chipped up to about 160,000. --AV

4:25pm: Kurganov out but in good company
Level 12 - Blinds 1,000/2,000 (ante 300)

The third level of the day has come and gone and with it the hopes of many a player have been dashed. Only 216 players remain in the Main Event but the following players may have a big reputation, but their stack, well, I'm afraid that's zero.

Team PokerStars Pro Igor Kurganov is among those who've busted as have Ramin Hajiyev, Jussi Nevanlinna, Maxim Lykov, Keven Stammen, Andrew Chen and Charlie Carrel. --NW

charlie_carrel_psc_monte_carlo_day2.jpg

Charlie Carrel: Not this time

4:20pm: Of all the players...
Level 11 - Blinds: 800/1,600 (ante 200)

PokerStars events in Monte Carlo tend to have a habit of throwing up pretty spectacular tables. You need look no further than that all-time EPT Grand Final last eight of 2013 (O'Dwyer, Negreanu, Lodden, Mercier, Cody, etc.)

With more than 200 players still left here, you might expect a few value spots. But here's a line-up in the middle of the tournament room.

1: Jerome L'Hostis - 155,000
2: Fatima Moreira de Melo - 45,000
3: Ole Schemion - 145,000
4: Dan Smith - 235,000
5: Celina Lin - 155,000
6: Raffaele Sorrentino - 195,000
7: Rocco Palumbo - 55,000
9: Faraz Jaka - 120,000 -- HS

fatima_moreira_de_melo_psc_monte_carlo.jpg

Fatima Moreira de Melo: Tough company

4:17pm: Party of five
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Be wary those who go near Table 5 in search of blog-worthy activity; you won't leave for around ten minutes.

Team Pro Jason Mercier opening to 3,400 from the UTG+1 seat was the reason I first arrived. That was then called by Karen Oliver in the hijack (or UTG+2, whatever you prefer) and Luigi Conti called out of the big blind. Those three saw an 8♣A♣A♥ flop, on which Conti check-called Mercier's c-bet of 4,100 (Oliver folded).

jason_mercier_psc_monte_carlo_day3.jpg

Jason Mercier: Where does beard end and shirt begin?

The turn came the K♣ putting three clubs out there, and both checked to see the T♠ river. Conti checked again, and there'd be no more betting from Mercier. Conti showed A♦7♦ and his trip rockets were good.

As the chips were being pushed the Italian's way, Tom Hall came over the take his new seat to the left of Oliver, bringing 44,000 with him. "How's it going over here?" he enquired, before getting into a lengthy chat with Oliver about air conditioning and how nice it looks outside. Both are Brits, and they seemed to know each other.

hossein_ensan_psc_monte_carlo_day2.jpg

Hossein Ensan: Everything's going great

I wasn't able to eavesdrop too much as another notable hand was immediately taking place after the first. Hossein Ensan opened to 3,500 and Dermot Blain shoved to his left for his last 22,400. Back to Ensan he made the call with the A♣J♣ and was ahead of Blain's K♣Q♣ (no royal flushes, then).

Blain had made a straight by the end of the K♥J♥9♣T♠6♥ board, though, and he doubled up to 52,000. Ensan now has 68,000, Mercier has 59,000, and Conti has 90,000. --JS


NEIL6634_Dermot_Blain_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Bling Blain Bloaw

4:15pm: Ho heating up
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Maria Ho just eliminated a short-stacked tablemate after a flip went her way during a blind-versus-blind confrontation.

It folded around to the small blind and he ripped the rest of it in with A♦9♣. Ho made the call with 3♠3♦ and they were off to the races.

The 8♦Q♠6♣K♥Q♥ runout would see the pocket threes hold and Ho climb to 75,000 as we lose another player here. -- BK

4:10pm: Filho beats Boeree
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Julio Martini Filho raised to 3,800 from the button and Liv Boeree called from the big blind.

The TV staff might've sensed a big hand coming and a cameras flocked to the area. The flop came 8♥Q♣4♥ and Boeree check-called a 4,600 bet. A 6♠ came on the turn and Boeree checked again. Filho upped the bet to 8,600 this time, Boeree called, and the J♦ completed the board.

Boeree checked once more and Filho bet 16,500. Boeree thought for some time and eventually threw in a single chip for a call. Filho turned over A♥6♠ and Boeree mucked. Filho chipped up to 130,000 and despite losing the hand, Boeree still has about double the average stack with 185,000. --AV

4:05pm: Wysocki doubles; still short
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

With less than five big blinds remaining Marcin Wysocki three-bet all-in for 7,300 with K♣J♣. Vicente Delgado was the original raiser and he put in the small amount extra that was required. The Spaniard opened J♠8♦ so Wysocki was in a good spot to double.

A 3♠A♥5♦2♦5♠ runout was safe for Wysocki, and he survived. He's still short on chips, but now has around 10 big blinds with which to play. --NW

4pm: Smith busts Dedusha for the cameras
Level 11 - Blinds: 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Dan Smith is always dangerous, but that goes double now in this tournament where he sits with around 240,000 chips. He just ended Artan Dedusha's day in ruthless fashion, and Dedusha's first appearance on the PokerStars Live stream won't be particularly happy for his supporters.

The hand started with no cameras around the table and a raise to 4,000 from Dedusha UTG+1. When the decision reached Smith in the small blind, he three-bet to 14,500 and they were heads-up to the following flop: A♦3♦4♣.

artan_dedusha_psc_monte_carlo_day2.jpg

Artan Dedusha: Done and dusted

Smith bet 13,000 and Dedusha called and right about then the first TV floor producer showed up and directed a cameraman to film it. The turn was the T♠ and Smith bet 14,500. By the time Dedusha had called this one, there was a sound man and another camera wielding expensive equipment surrounding the table.

The 6♣ completed the board and Smith took a pawful of blue chips, around 85,000, but covering the 39,000 Dedusha still had behind.

The TV crew was now in phalanx formation, aiming their cameras over the head of Fatima Moreira de Melo and directly at Dedusha. "No pressure," Moreira de Melo said. Dedusha offered a wry smile.

Moreira de Melo got up from the table and went over to the water fountain. She brought a cup back for Celina Lin, also at the table, and then poured one for Faraz Jaka on the neighbouring table.

Then she said, "Does anybody else want water?" and the always animated Vasyl Zabrodskyy, one table over, asked for a cup. "I'm the water girl," Moreira de Melo said. "That's what I was on the team," she added, remembering those heady days of Olympic gold medals.

The pressure was now quite intense on Dedusha, and it told when he made the call and tabled A♥7♥. Smith's A♣K♦ had never been behind.

Dedusha bade farewell to the cameras. Smith silently stacked heaps. -- HS

3:55pm: Kaverman collects the spoils
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

A curious anomaly so far in this tournament is the sheer volume of multi-way pots that we've seen and I just saw a four-way pot involving Byron Kaverman. The action was started by Jimmy Guerrero. The Frenchman, who finished third in the EPT Grand Final last year, opened to 3,800 from the hijack. Ove Stenberg called from the cutoff, Kaverman called on the button and Pascal Hartmann completed the line-up when he called from the big blind.

The flop fell A♠3♦T♣ and the action was checked to Guerrero. The pre-flop raiser c-bet 5,500 and Stenberg swiftly raised to 13,000. Kaverman took about 30 seconds and he then smooth-called. Hartmann ducked out the way and Guerrero followed suit.

So it was heads-up to the J♠ turn. Both players checked and the 5♥ completed the board. Stenberg checked it over to Kaverman and he bet 16,700. This sent the Norwegian into the tank, but he emerged with a call. Kaverman showed A♣]T♦ for flopped top two pair and Stenberg mucked.

That pot takes Kaverman up to 100,000 and drops Stenberg to 42,000. --NW

3:50pm: Robert railed
Level 11 - Blinds: 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Macsim Robert's tournament life has come to an end after a bad beat sent him reeling from the poker room.

There were three players active on a board of K♦5♦7♦7♥ and after one check, the small blind wagered 8,000 in chips. Robert was in the big blind and he moved all in over the top for exactly a min-raise of 16,000 total.

It was the initial checker who called to put Robert at risk and after the small blind snap-folded Robert saw he was in good shape to stay alive.

"Flush," said Robert tabling Q♦2♦, a good favourite against K♣5♣.

Unfortunately for Robert the 5♥ landed on the river to improve his opponent to a full house and put an end to Robert's Main Event run. -- BK

3:45pm: Diego on the go
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

There were heaps of chips already in the centre by the time the J♦6♥T♠ flop was dealt. I was then filled in about the pre-flop action: Hau Minh Nguyen had opened from the hijack. Diego Vilela three-bet on the button, and Lee Hon Cheong four-bet out of the big blind. Nguyen then folded and Vilela called to see a flop in position.

On the flop, Cheong continued for 20,000 only for Vilela to then jam for 62,900. It took him a while to come to a decision, but eventually Cheong let his hand go.

Vilela is up to 135,000 now, while Cheong still now more with 144,000. --JS

3:40pm: Vilela races into the lead
Level 11 - Blinds: 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Leonardo Vilela has just appeared on our radar screens, and his blinking light is flashing the brightest and most frantically. He has 280,000 in chips and could well be at the very top of the counts. -- HS

3:30pm: Great call from Petrushevskii
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

I've no idea how long Sergei Petrushevskii had been in the tank, but I was present for around a minute of thinking before the clock was called on him.

His decision was as follows: the board showed the 9♦7♥2♦6♥7♠ and Carlos Mironiuk fired 35,000 into an already big pot. Petrushevskii had enough chips to call and not be eliminated if he lost, but it was for a large percentage of his stack.

As the floor arrived to begin the countdown, the Russian live satellite winner was riffling his chips in his hand, desperately trying to find the answer.

30 seconds left. Then 10. Nine. Eight. Seven. Six. Five. Four...

Petrushevskii tossed in a single 100 chip to make the call. Mironiuk sighed and tapped the table, before he mucked his cards straight towards the dealer. He had nothing.

Petrushevskii showed his hand: the 9♣8♣ for nines (and the sevens on the board). He then got some recognition for a great call from his table next door neighbours.

"On the turn, he check!" said Petrushevskii, explaining his decision. 'Twas a good one; he's up to 162,000 now, while Mironiuk is down to 27,000. --JS

3:25pm: Coren getting short
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Victoria Coren called from middle position and Franck Makaci checked from the big blind. The flop came 7♠Q♥Q♣ and Coren bet 2,000. Makaci called and then both players checked the 9♥ on the turn.

The river brought an 8♦ and another bet. This time it was Makaci who led out, betting 4,300. Coren called, but quickly mucked when Makaci tabled K♣Q♠.

"It could've been worse," Coren said.

Vicky Coren is getting short, but it doesn't seem to bother her. She's reading the newspaper -- like an actual newspaper, not news on her phone. One page has a large quote by Piers Morgan, saying that hell must've frozen over because he agrees with Madonna.

Coren is currently sitting with about 15,000 and will have to make a move soon. --AV

3:20pm: Stammen sent home
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Getting all of your chips in with pockets kings is usually a good thing in poker -- particularly against five-six suited -- but for the recently departed Keven Stammen it was anything but.

Stammen had found himself short-stacked and after what looked like a three-bet jam for a little more than David Urban's opening raise, Urban called it off to put Stammen at risk.

Stammen: K♥K♦
Urban: 6♦5♦

The flop was a sweaty A♥8♠7♦ and by the 9♠ turn Urban had improved to a straight to leave Stammen drawing dead. The inconsequential 4♥ completed the board and a dejected Stammen wished the table good luck as he headed for the rail.

Urban added those chips to his stack and moved up to 190,000. -- BK

3:10pm: Hakim still leads; Boeree closing in
Level 11 - Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

The first two levels of the day are done and dusted but the chip leader remains the same. Jeffrey Hakim still leads, but it's a more slender lead than it once was. As level 11 begins, Liv Boeree and Manig Loeser are his closest challengers.


NEIL6720_Jeffery_Hakim_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Jeffrey Hakim

Here's an up-to-date look at big stacks, notables and more. --NW

NameCountryChips
Jeffrey HakimLebanon260,000
Liv BoereeUK225,000
Manig LoeserGermany220,000
Christopher FrankGermany220,000
Xavier RouayrouxFrance212,000
Makram SaberLebanon210,000
Jason WheelerUSA210,000
Remi CastaignonFrance208,000
Michael KolkowiczFrance195,000
Raffaele SorrentinoItaly188,000
Gianluca SperanzaItaly185,000
Igor YaroshevskyyUkraine185,000
David UrbanSlovakia180,000
Paul TestudFrance180,000
Viliyan PetleshkovBulgaria165,000
Fabrice SoulierFrance160,000
Preben StokkanNorway147,000
Ole SchemionGermany145,000
Patrik AntoniusFinland140,000
Jean MonturyFrance140,000
Celina LinAustralia140,000
Sergio AidoSpain138,000
Morten MortensenDenmark136,000
Stefan SchillhabelGermany135,000
Vicente DelgadoSpain130,000
Emil PatelFinland130,000
Davidi KitaiBelgium128,000
Andreas HoivoldNorway126,000
Jan BendikSlovakia115,000
Alexandru PapazianRomania110,000
Nick PetrangeloUSA110,000
Christoph VogelsangGermany106,300
James MitchellUK106,000
Faraz JakaUSA92,000
Isaac HaxtonUSA87,000
Rocco PalumboItaly85,000
Maria HoUSA85,000
Bertrand "ElkY" GrospellierFrance84,000
Alexandre LuneauFrance83,000
Jack SalterUK81,900
Dan SmithUSA81,000
Byron KavermanUSA80,000
Mark TeltscherUK78,000
Jason MercierUSA77,000
Adrien AllainFrance76,000
Tom HallUK73,000
Sebastian MalecPoland68,000
Fatima Moreira De MeloNetherlands65,000
Hossein EnsanGermany62,000
Igor KurganovRussia60,200
Daniel NegreanuCanada58,000
Pascal HartmannGermany56,000
Sylvain LoosliFrance55,000
Daniel DvoressCanada48,000
Paul-Francois TedeschiFrance47,000
Martin JacobsonSweden44,000
Charlie CarrelUK41,400
Ramin HajiyevAzerbaijan40,000
Benjamin PollakFrance33,000
Andrew ChenCanada29,500
Victoria Coren MitchellUK28,400

The road to Monte Carlo starts on PokerStars. Sign up and begin your journey. Click here to get an account.

2:50pm: Break time

The level is over and players have reached the first scheduled break of the day. Back in 20. --MH

2:50pm: Small hit for Schillhabel
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 100)

German high roller Stefan Schillhabel came into Day 2 as one of the biggest stacks, but today hasn't quite gone to plan. He's still got a very healthy stack, but he sits more in line with the others now having just taken a small hit.

He opened and was called by Francesco Grieco, before Christian Stokkeland jammed for 29,200. Schillhabel called, Grieco folded and the cards were on their backs.

Stokkeland had the A♥T♥ and was up against the K♥K♠. The 4♥8♠A♦ flop was perfect for the at-risk player, as was the 2♥ turn and 5♥ river giving him a flush. Stokkeland is up to 65,000 now, while Schillhabel has 131,000. --JS

2:45pm: Negreanu can't resist
Level 10 - Blinds: 600/1,200 (ante 200)

We just reported a couple of Daniel Negreanu hands, but here's another -- we couldn't resist. In fact in the hand, neither could Daniel.

"I couldn't help myself!" admitted Negreanu when the hand was over. He was talking about a cheeky river bet in a hand against Valerii Lubenets. It didn't work out so well for Negreanu.

Action folded to the Team PokerStars Pro in the hijack and he opened to 2,700. It has become the table's standard opening raise.

Lubenets called in the small blind and then both players checked the K♦T♠2♥ flop. They also checked the 3♦ turn. And then the K♦ fell on the river. Lubenets checked again.

Negreanu tickled 3,000 into the middle and Lubenets quickly called.

"Nines, a pair of nines," Negreanu said.

Lubenets shook his head.

"What you got? Tens?" Negreanu said.

Lubenets nodded. He turned over J♣T♦.

"I knew it," Negreanu said. "I nearly checked. I couldn't help myself!"

Negreanu will go to the first break of the day with around 55,000 still, despite that. -- HS

2:40pm: Good folds and hole cards with Negreanu
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 100)

Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu is well above average in terms of cheeriness and table talk, but his stack is slightly below the tournament average.

In one recent hand, Negreanu raised to 2,700 from early position and Michele Bianchi called from the button. Dmitrii Deviatov called from the big blind and a 2♦A♣3♠ flop hit the board. Action checked to Bianchi and he bet 3,300. Deviatov folded and Negreanu raised to 8,300. Bianchi thought for a bit and then mucked.

"Pick one," Negreanu said, sliding his hole cards forward.

"The two of them," Bianchi said. Negreanu half-acquiesced and showed a 2♥. Bianchi then told Negreanu he had ace-jack and Negreanu said it was a good fold.

Negreanu took down that pot, but lost the next. He raised to 2,700 from under the gun that one and Marius-Catalin Pertea called from the hijack. The flop came J♥T♦4♥ and Pertea bet 3,400 when checked to. Negreanu called and a 3♥ came on the turn. Negreanu checked, Pertea fired 4,000 and Negreanu folded.

The hand put Negreanu at about 65,000 while the tournament average is 83,000. --AV

2:35pm: Ho down (but just a little)
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 100)

It was all friendly until the river. Maria Ho check-called a 1,200 bet from Matthew Hopkins on a K♣9♣3♣ flop. Then she check-called a 1,600 bet on the Q♣ turn. But when she checked on the 7♥ river, Hopkins overbet the pot to 12,400 and Ho snap-folded.

Ho sits with 69,000, while Hopkins is doing rather well, playing 155,000. --JS


NEIL6769_Maria_Ho_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Maria Ho

2:30pm: Two Merciers out
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 100)

Jason is now the sole Mercier left in the field, as his pregnant wife Natasha has just been eliminated. --JS

2:27pm: Lin climbing, too
Level 10 - Blinds: 600/1,200 (ante 200)

While Liv Boeree continues to climb -- she's up to around 225,000 now -- her Team PokerStars Pro colleague Celina Lin is also making hay. Lin just won a decent pot from Romain Lewis to move up to around 170,000.

Lin opened the pot with a raise to 3,000 from under the gun and Lewis three-bet to 8,100 from the small blind. Lin called.

That took them to a flop of A♣8♥T♦ and Lewis bet 6,500. Lin called.

The J♣ came on the turn and Lewis fired again. This time it was 21,500. Lin called.

When the 5♠ appeared on the river, Lewis finally slowed to a check. Lin checked behind and Lewis tabled J♦Q♦. Lin's A♥K♦ was a clear winner. -- HS


NEIL6755_Celina_Lin_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

A win for Lin

2:25pm: Smith and Dedusha duke it out
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Poker players are often quite reserved during a hand, but Dan Smith and Artan Dedusha just engaged in a full-on conversation while engaged in one.

"Now I'm never folding in a million years," quipped Dedusha at the sight of the turn card on a board of A♣5♦3♥J♣.

"Never in a million years?" Smith confirmed, before firing for 3,000 after he was checked to.

True to his word, Dedusha made the call and the 2♥ fell on the river.

"Bet 15K again," insisted Dedusha after checking, perhaps alluding to a previous hand.

"That would be silly," came the reply from Smith, before deciding on a bet of 7,500.

"Seven thousand five hundred?" asked Dedusha.

"Fifteen thousand would be the bluff size, seven thousand five hundred is value," claimed Smith.

"You probably have four-five or something," postulated Dedusha. "You should've bet fifteen thousand, I would call."

"You haven't called yet, you can still make the right decision," Smith warned.

Dedusha didn't take the advice and called to see Smith table A♠4♠ for a rivered straight.

"Ah, ace-four," said Dedusha with a laugh, "ace-six I had."

Dedusha may have lost the pot, but it seems he's found a friend.

Following the hand Smith lifts to 95,000 while Dedusha dips to 58,500. -- BK

2:20pm: More fallers
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

As the blinds go up the field shrinks, and unfortunately for Nicholas Galtos, Alexandros Kolonias, Rafael Moraes, Ran Azor, Craig Varnell, Sam Grafton and Adrian Mateos, they've all assisted in lowering the number of entrants still in this tournament as they're all out.

Mateos can console himself with the fact that he won the €50,000 Single-day High Roller yesterday for €908,000. --NW

2:15pm: ElkY's everyday struggle
Level 10 - Blinds: 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Team PokerStars Betrand "ElkY" Grospellier was grinding through the day yesterday. He battled through several small pots, but managed to survive the day intact. The French pro is still trying to build a big stack today, but is running into a few speed bumps.

In one recent hand, Christian Stokkeland min-raised from the small blind and ElkY called a from the big blind. The flop came J♠J♦6♦ and Elky threw in a 1,500 bet when checked to. Stokkeland called and after the 2♣ came on the turn checked again. ElkY bet 3,300, Stokkeland called again, and the 8♥ completed the board. This time Stokkeland bet, and made it 3,500. ElkY looked pained, he grabbed 3,500 out of his stack and riffled the chips for a bit. The he let them slide out of his hand and into the pot.

Stokkeland turned over J♥7♠ and ElkY shook his head and mucked. --AV

2:10pm: Ait-Abdelmalek escapes tough table
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 100)

France's Rabah Ait-Abdelmalek has just been eliminated from a pretty hard table. Diego Ventura opened to 2,400 and Martin Jacobson made the call, before Ait-Abdelmalek jammed for 21,000. Ventura called, Jacobson folded, and the cards were flipped:

Ventura - Q♣Q♥
Ait-Abdelmalek - 8♣8♠

Being all in, at risk and behind is just about the worst things can get. But there were still two snowmen in the deck. None arrived on the 3♣K♠A♠5♣J♣ board to save him.

Ventura is up to 107,000, while Jacobson has 33,000. He's got a pretty tough player to his left with a big stack: Team PokerStars Pro Liv Boeree, who is currently playing 204,000. --JS


NEIL6662_Liv_Boeree_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Liv lurking with a big stack

2:07pm: Prize pool information
Level 10 - Blinds: 600/1,200 (ante 200)

The prize pool has been announced for this Main Event.

Dates: April 29-May 5, 2017
Buy-in: €5,000 + €300
Players: 727
Total prize pool: €3,525,950

Click for full details

2:05pm: Everything's going great for the reigning champ
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 100)

The man who took down this event last year (when it was an EPT Main Event, of course) is still going strong here on Day 2. Jan Bendik is currently playing 115,000, good for just under 100 big blinds. --JS


bendik.jpg

Thumbs up currently for Bendik (pictured here a few months back at EPT Prague)

2pm: Three Merciers still fighting
Level 10 - Blinds: 600/1,200 (ante 100)

Natasha Mercier (née Barbour) just kept her hopes alive in this Main Event. She got her last 8,000 in pre-flop with A♣2♦ and Jean Montury was the only player prepared to give her a spin.

Montury had K♣J♠ to Mercier's A♣2♦ and Mercier hit the flop. The full board ran 7♠A♥4♠8♣4♥.

Mercier is pregnant with her and Jason's first child, so, in a way, there are three Merciers seated in this Main Event. And they're all still doing just fine, too. -- HS

1:55pm: Do not advance to Level 10
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

The poker gods do not discriminate and there are plenty of big names among the players who exited in Level 9. That level was the end of the road for Oliver Weis, Justin Bonomo, Dario Sammartino, Maria Lampropulos, Benny Glaser, Steve O'Dwyer, Viacheslav Buldygin, Lucas Greenwood, Konstantinos Nanos, Thomas Muehloecker, Javier Gomez Zapatero, Yan Li and Gavin O'Rourke. --NW

1:52pm: Table of Death action
Level 10 - Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

The "Table of Death" candidate we wrote about earlier -- with Patrik Antonius, Benjamin Pollak, Davidi Kitai, Alexandru Papazian and Morten Mortensen -- is providing plenty of action. Not many flops, though.

After Andrejs Maklecovs opened to 3,000, Papazian three-bet from his direct left to 8,500. It folded back to the Latvian and he four-bet it up to 18,000, only for Papazian to five-bet jam for 70,300. Maklecovs thought about it, but in the end thought better of sticking around and folded. He has 50,000, Papazian has 92,000.

In the very next hand, Kitai opened to 3,000 when it folded to him and he, too, was instantly three-bet by his next door neighbour, Martin Lunde. Kitai decided to fold. --JS

1:50pm: No mercy from Mercier
Level 10 - Blinds: 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier is stacking chips after sending short-stacked tablemate Artur Sahakyan packing.

Sahakyan was all in preflop for just 7,500 and was after some help to keep himself in the running.

Sahakyan: 9♣9♦
Mercier: Q♠Q♥

The 4♣Q♦3♦ flop was a tough sight for Sahakyan with Mercier spiking top set. Sahakyan was down to running cards to survive, but it was all over by the J♣ turn card. While the 9♠ river saw Sahakyan also hit a set it was too little too late and he exited the tournament area.

Meanwhile Mercier is up to 115,000 in chips. -- BK

1:45pm: Negreanu dodges four bullets
Level 10 - Blinds: 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Among the many skills in Daniel Negreanu's armoury is the ability to slip out of tricky situations. Case in point: this hand. Not many people are going to lose as little as Negreanu did in this situation.

Switzerland's Michele Bianchi opened to 2,700 from UTG+1 and action folded to Negreanu on the button. He opted to call.

The blinds left them to it and they saw a flop of A♦A♠3♣. Both players checked.

The turn was the 8♣ and Bianchi bet 3,000. "Three?" Negreanu said, then puffed out his cheeks in exaggerated contemplation.

"I believe you," Negreanu said. "I'm going to fold two pair." Negreanu then tossed his cards face up to the dealer. He was letting the J♣J♠ go.

Bianchi asked if Kid Poker wanted to see one card. Negreanu said he did, and pointed to the one on the right. But Bianchi couldn't resist. He showed both. He had A♥A♣ in the hole and had flopped quads.

But let's take another look at this from Negreanu: he calls on the button with pocket jacks rather than three-bets. He checks a paired flop. He then folds for a half-pot bet. Can you do that? -- HS


NEIL6608_Daniel_Negreanu_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Negreanu, sensing more aces than the ones on the board

1:40pm: A tale of two all-ins
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

There were all-in showdowns in two consecutive hands on Table 24. The first involved Natasha Barbour. She was all-in for 4,100 and had picked up two calls. The flop fell 3♥2♣4♣, Lee Hon Cheong bet 5,500 and Raffaello Locatelli made the call. The 5♦ turn checked through and the 8♠ completed the board.

Cheong fired out a bet of 9,000 and Locatelli min-raised to 18,000. At this point Barbour subtly gathered her belongings in preparation to leave -- she obviously figured that with this much action she was beaten. Cheong eventually folded and Locatelli turned over A♥2♦ for the wheel. Barbour couldn't beat it, but she could equal it. She showed A♣T♦ and chopped the pot. That took her up to 6,500, so she's still very short on chips.


NEIL6704_Natasha_Mercier_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Natasha Barbour, still in the game

On the next hand, there was an open to 2,200 and Cheong got involved again. He three-bet to 6,100 and was then faced with an all-in four-bet of 23,000 from Florian Kossler. Cheong called it off and showed A♦Q♥. It was a flip as Kossler held pocket fours. The K♦K♣K♠ flop improved Kossler to a full house but Cheong still had outs. He missed on the J♣ turn but connected squarely with the Q♦ river and eliminated Kossler. --NW

1:37pm: de Graaf departs
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Micha de Graaf has been transformed from a player to a railbird after ending up on the wrong end of a flip versus Pascal Hartmann.

Following a preflop raise to 2,200 by de Graaf, Byron Kaverman made the call, and it folded around to Hartmann in the small blind. He squeezed to 11,200 before de Graaf moved in, Kaverman folded, and Hartmann called it off all in quick succession.

de Graaf: 9♥9♦
Hartmann: A♦K♦

By the turn things were looking great for de Graaf with the board showing 4♣2♣J♦8♠ but the K♥ rolled off on the river to signal the end of his tournament run. He leaves us as Hartmann climbs even higher to 190,000 now. -- BK

1:35pm: Dvoress is doub-Lin' up
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Poor Daniel Dvoress. The Canadian is still yet to win a live poker title, and has had to settle for second (in last night's €50K Single Day High Roller) and third (in the €100K Super High Roller) this week.

But hold on, poor Daniel Dvoress? Nope -- anything but. He's made almost €1.5 million in just a few days here in Monte Carlo. And you know that live title is just around the corner.


NEIL4508_Daniel_Dvoress_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Dvoress, from earlier this week (on his way to another big cash)

It could even be this Main Event, as Dvoress just doubled up through Celina Lin. The hand started with a 2,300 open from Rony Halimi, which was called by Benoit Lam. Lin then three-bet on the button to 8,000, and when it folded to Dvoress in the big blind he jammed for 24,700.

Halimi tanked for more than a minute (later saying he folded ace king) and Lam chucked his hand away instantly. Back to Lin, the Team PokerStars Pro got a count and then made the call.

Lin - 4♠4♥
Dvoress - Q♠Q♥

Dvoress only had two cards to worry about, but after the T♥Q♣T♣ flop any worries quickly melted away. The 9♣ and T♠ rounded out the board, and Dvoress moved up to 53,000. Lin is still very healthy with a 98,500 stack. --JS

1:32pm: Lew out of luck
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

I spotted Team Pro Online's Randy Lew exiting the tournament room, a sure-fire sign his tournament had come to an end.

He told me: "Queens against kings, I had the queens." That'll do it. --NW


NEIL6630_Randy_Lew_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

So long, Lew

1:30pm: Some more for Soulier
Level 9 - Blinds: 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Fabrice Soulier is now up to about 125,000.

The most recent bump came courtesy of Isabel Baltazar. Soulier raised to 2,200 from early position in that hand and Baltazar re-raised to 6,300 from the cutoff. Baltazar called and the flop came 4♣3♦6♥. Soulier check-called a 4,700 bet and the T♠ came on the turn. Soulier checked again and Baltazar bet 6,500.

A 7♥ completed the board and a round of checks completed the action. Soulier turned over 8♦6♦ for a pair of sixes and it was good enough to take down the pot. Baltazar mucked and was left with 14,000 while Soulier chipped up to around 125,000. --AV

1:25pm: RIP the fun at Table 40
Level 9 - Blinds: 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Table 40 was never destined to be long for this world. They're breaking high to low today and started with only 44 tables in the room. That's a shame, because all indications were that Table 40 was going to be combustible, featuring lively professionals and amateurs, TV stars and film subjects. There were two former EPT champions there, too.


8G2A6955_Tournament_Room_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Stacks go up and down, tables break high to low

Sebastian Malec was one of those. He'll have to achieve a lot in his poker career if he's ever to improve on his brilliant breakout performance in Barcelona, where as a Polish Harry Potter look-a-like, fuelled by whiskey, he channelled Scotty Nguyen and won the Main Event.

Alex Luneau was also there, the volatile star of Victor Saumont's Nosebleed documentary. Andreas Hoivold won EPT Dortmund a decade ago, but it still playing at the top level.

But the real wildcard on Table 40 was Vasyl Zabrodskyy, the Ukrainian journalist we met yesterday, who is insistent about only two things: that he can have fun at the table, and that he is an amateur.

Zabrodskyy was driving the early action -- in between sitting in his seat and dancing from the waist up to whatever he was listening to on his iPad. Based on his movements, it was quite a spiky tune.

But Zabrodskyy, UTG+1, popped out his ear bud to announce, "Raise" and then delicately placed a few chips, one by one in a tower, over the line. It amounted to 2,600 and only Luneau called in the big blind. The flop came 7♠K♣J♠ and after Luneau's check, Zabrodskyy bet 3,600 and won.

On the next hand, Zabrodskyy was under the gun and he said, "Raise" again. And again he then delicately placed his chips one by one in a tower over the line. The dealer was watching closely, and told Zabrodskyy that he wasn't really allowed to bet like that -- the one-by-one motion was flirting with string-betting rules.

"But I say 'Raise'," Zabrodskyy said, which was true.

"It's borderline," Hoivold said, coming to the defence of both Zabrodskyy and the dealer.

And it really was: Zabrodskyy was clearly announcing his intention to raise, and his style was to pick a few chips from his stack, then move only those over the betting line. However, he placed them down one-by-one to make a kind of jagged tower. He never went back to his stack for more, nor returned chips that were in his hand. But he also did put them down one-by-one.

"I understand what you're saying, too," Hoivold told the dealer. They decided to get a ruling.

The floor supervisor came over and this was one case where everyone at the table, Zabrodskyy and Hoivold included, told a consistent story. Zabrodskyy even repeated precisely how he was betting. The floor supervisor was pretty clear. He told Zabrodskyy he wasn't doing anything wrong, but asked if he wouldn't mind just putting all of his chips forward first and only then, when the bet is out, "doing your architecture."

Zabrodskyy said that was fine.

So, back to the hand. Zabrodskyy's bet was worth 2,400 this time and Malec called from the hijack. Hoivold also called in the big blind. Those three saw a flop of Q♠T♦5♣ and Hoivold checked. Zabrodskyy bet 3,500 and both Malec and Hoivold called.

The turn was the 2♦ and all three players checked. Then the 7♦ fell on the river and Hoivold led out. He bet 5,200.

Zabrodskyy looked back at his cards and shook his head. He folded. But Malec called and forced Hoivold to turn over his Q♥J♠ to claim the pot.

At that point, the tournament supervisor came back and told them their table was breaking. They will now be scattered across the room, just as they were becoming friends. -- HS

1:20pm: Teltscher takes chips from Ho
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Maria Ho raised to 2,300 in the hijack seat. Next to act, Mark Teltscher three-bet to 6,500. The action folded back to Ho and she stuck around to see a 7♦9♦4♥ flop.

Ho checked it over the Teltscher and he continued for 5,500. The bet was called and Ho didn't take her eyes off of Teltscher as the dealer burned and turned the 8♥. Another check from Ho saw Teltscher fire again -- this time for 12,000. Ho called once again and the 3♦ river completed the board.

A final check from Ho saw Teltscher put his hands behind his neck and turn his head directly to the ceiling, not looking all that comfortable. After a firm check from Teltscher, Ho tabled T♠T♦ for the overpair. Perhaps to Ho's surprise that was no good, as Teltscher turned over A♠A♣ for the winner.

The two exchanged some words and Ho was left with 47,000 in play. Teltscher, on the other hand, now up to 135,000. -- BK

1:15pm: Colman coolered
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Dan Colman started the day short stacked and wasn't able to mount a comeback.

In his final hand, Adrian Ionescu raised to 2,300 from early position and Colman called from the small blind.

The flop came Q♠6♥T♠ and Ionescu bet 2,700. Colman called and a T♣ came on the turn. This time Colman fired away, betting 7,000. Colman had just hit trip 10s with A♠T♥, but the paired board filled Ionescu up. Ionescu flatted the turn and then called after Colman moved all-in for about 18,000 when the J♦ came on the river.

Colman turned over his trip tens while Ionescu tabled 6♠6♣ for a full house. Colman hit the rail while Ionescu chipped up to about 80,000. --AV

1:10pm: Nevanlinna survives
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Jussi Nevanlinna was one of the players who bought in before play started today and it hasn't been going well for him so far. However, he did just manage to double up to survive.

Sindre Tvedt opened to 2,300 from the button with Q♣6♣, Nevanlinna shoved from the small blind for 13,200 with K♠9♦ and Tvedt called the extra. A 7♥K♦5♥T♣A♥ board kept the Finn in front and he's back to square one. --NW

1:05pm: The Hurt Muehloecker
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Austria's Thomas Muehloecker must have doubled up at the beginning of today. Overnight he held just 18,200, but when we just caught him in this hand he was left with 24,000 despite losing a significant chunk of his chips.

He was heads up in a pot against Lander Lijo and the flop showed the 2♥K♦6♥. Lijo checked and Muehlocker led out for 4,200, but then Lijo check-raised to 12,500. Muehlocker was contemplating his decision when we arrived, and after some thinking (and chip counting) he made the call.

The turn came the T♥, putting three hearts on the board. Lijo took his time, and came to the decision that he should put Muehloecker all in. He'd then fold pretty quickly.

Lijo is up to 85,000 now. --JS

1pm: Nitsche busts to Ho
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

It's been an amazing start to Day 2 for Mario Ho. She bought in late last night and ran her stack down to 16,500 by the end of play. Now, halfway through the opening level she's up to 80,000! Part of that rise came at the expense of Dominik Nitsche, whom she just eliminated.

The hand began with a limp from middle position, Ho then raised to 3,200 from the button and Nitsche called in the big blind. Both players checked the 6♠J♥9♠ flop and Nitsche then bet 4,500 on the 8♦ turn. Call from Ho. The K♦ rounded off the board and Nitsche shoved. His bet was around 14,000 and Ho quickly called. Nitsche showed K♣T♦ for top pair, but Ho had turned a straight with 7♦5♦. --NW

12:55pm: Empty seats, messy stacks
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Over on Sam Grafton and Byron Kaverman's table, there are two seats still missing players. The chips of Jimmy Guerrero and Micha de Graft are sprawled over the felt, and it looks like both have decent enough stacks. We can only hope they're okay and get here soon.

Meanwhile, Kaverman was in a hand. On a 4♠Q♦A♦ flop, Kaverman checked to Pascal Hartmann who made it 1,800. Kaverman called to see a turn, which came the 5♦, and both checked. The A♠ completed the board, but there'd no more betting. Kaverman took it down with his Q♥6♠ as Hartmann mucked. --JS

12:52pm: Catching up with Randy Lew
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Team PokerStars Online Randy Lew didn't bother with Day 1s this tournament, but he came to Day 2 eager to play.

Lew bought in at the start of the day and he's been fairly active, trying to run un up his 30,000. In one hand Morten Mortensen raised to 2,500 and Lew re-raised to 6,500 from early position. Action folded back to Mortensen and he called. The flop came A♠J♦6♥ and Lew threw out a 5,000 bet.

It was good enough to take down the pot. Then Lew raised to 2,200 from under the gun on the next one, and won that one as well.

Hideki Takafuji then raised to 2,500 from the hijack the following hand and Alexandru Papazian called from the button. Lew did the same from the big blind and all three players went to the A♠Q♠Q♣ flop. Papazian bet 3,000 when checked to and his opponents folded.

Lew folded the next hand preflop, but opened to 2,200 from the button on the following hand. Benjamin Pollak called from the big blind and a Q♥A♥5♣ flop hit the board. Both players checked and checked again when the 9♥ came on the turn. The river brought a T♠ and a 2,500 bet from Pollack. Lew had had enough and folded.

Lew is now sitting with 34,300 on his journey to a big stack. It's a step in the right direction. --AV

12:50pm: Adams gets pushy (but not shovey)
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Picking up the action on a 4♥6♣K♥ flop, Francesco Grieco led out for 2,600 and Timothy Adams made the call in usual calm, cool and collected manner. The turn then came the 4♣, pairing the board, and Grieco bet again, making it 3,800. Call.

When the 8♣ river landed, Grieco opted to slow down and check it, but Adams wasn't content with checking. He put out a bet of 19,000, leaving himself just 1,400 behind. Safe to say he was pot committed, then.

After a bit of thinking, Grieco folded and looked to Adams as if he was hoping he might get an indication of whether it was the right play or not. But with Adams, you don't get much. He's up to 39,000 now, while Grieco still has more with 46,000. --JS

12:45pm: Karamanishvili versus the penitent
Level 9 - Blinds: 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Ole Schemion is sitting beside Mongolia's Shijirbaatar Sanjaasuren today, but there seems to be even more danger at that table than just those two. At least one player is seeking divine intervention.

Schemion opened to 2,200 from UTG+1 and Jacques Torbey called from two seats along. Bruno "Kool Shen" folded, but Stephen Woodhead called on the button and Levan Karamanishvili called in the big blind. That meant it was five-way to the flop.

The dealer put the 6♠6♥Q♥ flop on the table and Karamanishvili and Schemion checked. Torbey had a string of beads in his left hand -- they looked a lot like rosary beads -- and he ran them through his fingers as though praying. He then bet 4,500.

Woodhead wasn't interested and folded, but Karamanishvili raised to 11,000. Schemion quickly passed, but Torbey quickly called.

The A♣ fell on the turn and Karamanishvili immediately moved all-in for 35,500. Torbey, fingering beads still, took a few beats to make his decision, but then checked his cards again and binned them.

Will he ever forgive himself for betting the flop? -- HS

12:40pm: Jamming on the short stacks
Level 9 - Blinds: 500/1,000 (ante 100)

A couple of first-orbit jams to report.

After Steven Mulder opened to 3,000 from early position, Ariel Malnik moved all-in from the big blind. Malnik, returning with around 80,000, had Mulder's 20,000 covered. Mulder didn't want to risk it. He passed.

A few feet away, Carlos Chang seemed to have limped from the cutoff and Aurelien Guiglini raised to 6,000 from the button. The blinds folded and Chang then jammed for more than 100,000. Guiglini opted to preserve his 25,000 and folded. -- HS

12:37pm: L'Hostis hits Jaka
Level 9 - Blinds: 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Jerome L'Hostis has eclipsed the six-figure chip mark after taking some from Faraz Jaka.

They were looking at a 6♠7♠6♥6♦ board and after Jaka checked in the big blind, L'Hostis checked behind from the under the gun seat. The T♦ landed on the river and Jaka decided to bet 6,500 into the pot of over 10,000.

L'Hostis wasted no time tossing in a call and Jaka tabled J♦7♥ for a full house, only to be beat by the superior full house of L'Hostis who revealed J♣T♣.

Jaka was left with 95,000 in play while L'Hostis pushes his stack over 100,000. -- BK

12:35pm: Early fallers
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Among those vanquished in the opening orbit were Tommaso Briotti, Kosumosu Yamanaka, Adolfo Vaeza, Dick Postel and Christophe Larquemin. --NW

12:32pm: Yawn, another €1.4 million
Level 9 - Blinds: 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Both Daniel Dvoress and Adrian Mateos are seated on the raised part of the main tournament room today, as far away from the main television stage as can be. They won't mind: they were up until around 3am playing heads up in the €50,000 Single-Day High Roller event last night, which Mateos won for €908,000. Dvoress, who was third in the €100,000 Super High Roller, picked up another €652,000.

Both also managed to play Day 1A of the Main Event and bag up chips so they return for the marathon, having completed the sprint. Mateos returns with just shy of 60,000. Dvoress has about 45,000. They have played a lot of poker already, but are fit and ready for more.


8G2A5820_Adrian_Mateos_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

More poker for Mateos (pictured here on Day 1A)

That raised section also houses ElkY and Fatima Moreira de Melo and the random seat draw has put the two Team PokerStars Pros alongside one another. -- HS

12:30pm: Tough crowd
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

There are a lot of candidates for "Table of Death" dotted around the room. Take Table 9, for example -- Patrik Antonius, Randy Lew, Benjamin Pollak, Alexandru Papazian and Morten Mortensen are all housed there. The latter two just played a pot together.

It started with a raise of 2,200 from Papazian. Mortensen, who was in position, then three-bet to 5,800. Call from Papazian. On the K♠4♣7♥ flop Mortensen c-bet 5,600 and Papazian stuck around. That was the end of the betting, though, as both players checked the Q♦T♦ turn and river. Papazian opened K♥J♥ and it proved to be the winner. --NW

12:25pm: Hoivold's over the moon
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

It's been a nice start for Andreas Hoivold, who found himself sat on the right of France's high stakes cash game crusher Alex "alexonmoon" Luneau.

Just now Marius Cazacu opened to 2,300 from the hijack and Luneau and Hoivold called from the small and big blinds. The three saw a 3♦K♣7♠ flop, and there'd be no c-betting as it checked around.

The dealer burned and turned the J♣ and when Luneau checked again Hoivold led out 2,800. That shook off the original raiser, but Luneau made the call to see a 4♦ river card. He'd check that again, and Hoivold fired once more, this time for 3,700.

Luneau had to think for around a minute, staring down his opponent all the while from just a few inches away. Whatever he saw, he decided to make the call, but would muck when Hoivold showed the J♠Q♦ for second pair. Luneau drops to 50,000, while Hoivold is up to 80,000. --JS

12:15pm: Snap Col
Level 9 - Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Dan Colman has had a busy start to his Day 2, and the cards weren't even in the air yet. He was chatting to his selfie-requesting fans, and was more than happy to pose for photos. But sorry to burst your bubble, Daniel, you weren't the only one being sought.

"Excuse me, quick question please," the fan asked me. "Daniel Negreanu... he is here?"

After Negreanu was pointed out, off he went, camera ready. --JS


8G2A6936_Tournament_Room_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Day 2 is underway

12:05pm: Last-minute additions
Level 9 - Blinds: 500/1,000 (ante 100)

We will get a full list of last-minute buy-ins to this event in due course, but the line at the registration desk as play got under way included:

Timothy Adams, Randy "nanonoko" Lew, Byron Kaverman, Dario Sammartino, Luke Schwartz, Viacheslav Buldygin and Jussi Nevanlinna. Tough day just got tougher. -- HS

12pm: Let's play some cards!
Level 9 - Blinds: 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Play has begun here on Day 2. Back in a few to let you know who has joined the fun before the late registration window finally closed for good. --MH

11am: Hakim heads leaderboard to start Day 2


8G2A4373__PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

From all over the world, poker players have come to the Sporting Club at the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel. They've come by car, by plane, by train, by bike and by foot. And some took the helicopter ride over from nearby Nice.

Now two Day 1 flights are done, but today is the day when the PokerStars Championship presented by Monte-Carlo Casino® Main Event really takes off.

Welcome back mes amis for more poker, as Day 2 of the €5,300 buy-in Main Event is scheduled to begin an hour from now.

A total of 329 players made it through the first two Day 1s over the weekend, with Jeffrey Hakim way out in front of everyone to start play today with 305,300.


PSC_Monte_Carlo_main_event_day_1_jeff_hakim.jpg

Hakim having his way so far

Such a profitable Day 1 puts Hakim well ahead of nearest challengers Stefan Schillhabel (203,000), Gianluca Speranza (201,500), Michale Kolkowicz (197,300) and Manig Loeser (195,700).

Meanwhile other big names with big stacks to begin Day 2 include Igor Yaroshevskyy (156,700), Pacal Hartmann (152,100), Remi Castaignon (160,000), Christopher Frank (152,000) and Ole Schemion (144,900).

The PokerStars Team Pros are still being well represented also, led by Liv Boeree (127,400) and Celina Lin (122,500), with Jason Mercier (83,400), Igor Kurganov (76,000), Fatima Moreira de Melo (32,300) and Daniel Negreanu (27,600) all still part of the mix.


NEIL6366_Liv_Boeree_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Liv drawing plenty live

Click here for a full list of start-of-Day-2 chip counts, and head over here for a look at the Day 2 seat draw.

There were 716 players battling during the two Day 1s. Late registration remains open until the first hands are dealt today, which means the total field size and prize pool is yet to be determined.

The plan today is for players to work their way through six 75-minute levels. Also on tap -- the PokerStars Live stream gets going today, with a table including Kurganov, John Juanda, Charlie Carrel and Jack Salter set to be the first one featured.

Play starts at 12 noon. Let's plan to rendezvous then, shall we? --MH


The road to Monte Carlo starts on PokerStars. Sign up and begin your journey. Click here to get an account.

Take a look at the official website of PokerStars LIVE, with tournament schedule, news, results and accommodation details for the PokerStars Championship presented by Monte-Carlo Casino® and all other Festival and Championship events.

Also all the information is on the PokerStars LIVE App, which is available on both Android or IOS.

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.