Kolkowicz krushes frantic day at PokerStars Championship presented by Monte-Carlo Casino®

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Michael Kolkowicz: Leading at the end of a high-octane day

It was another fast and frantic day at the PokerStars Championship presented by Monte-Carlo Casino® Main Event. Fast because they cut a level from the five that were scheduled; frantic because everybody seemed to want to get their chips in and either hop into the €25,000 High Roller or head out to see the sights of Monaco.

We went from 134 returning overnight to 45 who will play Day 4 tomorrow. And the babies flew out with the bathwater. Tonight, the payouts page is a who's who of poker's leading lights, including Team PokerStars Pros, former EPT title winners, and a World Champion.

That champion--Martin Jacobson--was knocked out on the same hand as Nick Petrangelo, who was chip leader coming into the day. (Hand history) Reputations counted for absolutely nothing. Daniel Negreanu, for instance, got smashed to smithereens by Hossein Ensan in the last level.

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Nick Petrangelo and Martin Jacobson bust together

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Liv Boeree and Daniel Negreanu: Free to dance the night away, both out

Yet for all the dimming of the stars, there are plenty more where that came from still battling for a seat at the final table and the €500,800 first prize.

The chip leader tonight is Michael Kolkowicz, who got involved in his own series of dangerous skirmishes. One of them, against another early leader Jerome L'Hostis, vaulted him beyond 1.5 million when it might have left him in peril. Kolkowicz had two pair to L'Hostis's straight when the money went in, but Kolkowicz rivered a boat. He finished with 1.445 million, which is a pip ahead of Stefan Schillhabel's 1.38 million.

Schillhabel too won a series of big pots to make his upward curve more of a mountain range of jagged spikes. No pot was bigger than when his aces beat Nicolas Fuentes Vidal's kings. It was a pot worth more than 1 million and represents the lion's share of Schillhabel's stack. (The very dangerous Davidi Kitai is only a few thousand behind him.)

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Stefan Schillhabel: Second heading into Day 3

The aforementioned Ensan, the former EPT Prague champion, is another big stack. He has 718,000, including the chunk he took from Negreanu after flopping a set of fives and sending Kid Poker home. Team Pro also lost Celina Lin and Liv Boeree today, but there was better news for ElkY.

Nobody in the room has worn the Red Spade for longer than the man nobody calls Bertrand Grospellier. And on a day when the PokerStars Live stream showed repeats of his triumph at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, we all sat in the press room and felt old as we noticed it was nearly 10 years ago.

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ElkY: Can you believe that was ten years ago?

But ElkY wound back the clock today (helped by finding aces at least twice) and bagged up 771,000 chips. He is very much still in the hunt.

Full chip counts for the remaining players are on the chip-count page. Payouts to date are on the payouts page.

Look back on all of today's action below, then join us again tomorrow as we battle onwards. --HS


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7:15pm: Pertea pushes out tanking Tedeschi
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

The very last hand of the night lasted well past all the other tables having finished counting up chips, bagging, and exiting. It involved Marius-Catalin Pertea and Paul Tedeschi, with the pair having built a substantial pot by the 8♠T♠7♠5♣9♦ river, at which point Tedeschi bet 140,000, then Pertea went all in for 537,000 total.

The tank by Tedeschi was fairly epic, lasting seven or eight minutes, most of which Pertea spent with his head buried in his folded arms. Finally Tedeschi let his hand go, and Pertea looked up with a big grin as though he'd just stolen the last cookie in the cupboard -- and no one would know he did, as he resisted the "show the bluff!" calls by pushing his cards away face down. --MH

7:10pm: Last three hands
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

The clock is paused and they will play three more hands before bagging for the night. -- HS

7:06pm: Tomovic busts to Ensan
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

In one of the last hand's of Day 3, we lost Aleksandar Tomovic up on the feature table. He called all in for 145,000 to Hossein Ensan's shove, and was racing with the 9♣9♠ against the A♠K♠. The K♣8♦2♠ flop gave Ensan the lead, which he'd hold on the 3♣ turn and 5♦ river. --JS

7:05pm: Kings help Klatt, King Dan short
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Andreas Klatt just survived a late night all-in after getting his last chips in behind K♦K♣ and being up against Dan Smith's Q♠Q♣.

A runout of 8♠9♣7♥5♠J♥ meant Klatt kept his seat, now with about 235,000, while Smith is hanging on with just 115,000. --MH

7:02pm: Muradov survives once again!
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

You just try and eliminate Shakhabiddin Muradov. Go on. I bet you can't. This guy's invincible.

He just got his 88,000 stack in on an A♥8♣K♣ flop with the A♠7♣, but that was trailing Diego Vilela's A♣J♦. However, the 8♦ turn meant this was a chop unless a jack hit the river. Instead it was the 8♥, and this one was a chop. --JS

7:01pm: Because you smiled
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

There are a lot of "gut-feeling" reasons for calling a shove. They were suited, I put you on a small pair/ace-king. But because an opponent smiled is a new one for this reporter. Michael Kolkowicz had raised to 23,000 only for Lukasz Kubicki to shove all-in for 222,000 total. Kolkowicz was in the tank but eventually he elected to call.

Kubicki: A♠J♥
Kolkowicz: A♥Q♦

"I called because you smiled, I promise you I don't call otherwise," said Kolkowicz as they waited on the community cards.

The 6♥J♠7♣8♠7♠ run out kept Kubicki in the tournament. Kolkowicz didn't seem that stressed about the loss. He's still got 1.4 million reasons to be happy at the moment. --NW

7pm: Smith trebles, Kamatakis busts
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

We've just lost Iliodoros Kamatakis from this main event. In a three-way all-in, Dan Smith was at risk with the A♥T♣, Kamatakis was at risk with the 8♥T♠, and Malec (who had them both covered) had the K♠Q♥. At the end of the board Smith's ace-high was still good, which means he trebles up. --JS

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Dan Smith: Treble

6:55pm: Souaid scoops a pot and shows one
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Day 1A end-of-day chip leader Jeffrey Hakim is still in contention, but he just lost a pot to Karim Souaid.

The board was showing T♥9♣4♦K♣ and after Souaid checked in the big blind, Karim fired for 32,000. Souaid made the call and a very connected J♣ rolled off on the end.

Souaid took another look at his cards and then decided to lead out for 68,000. Hakim checked the amount but he deemed it too much, throwing his hand away and surrendering the pot to Souaid.

Souaid showed the T♣ before raking in the chips.

"That's a very good card to have, the ten of clubs," said Hakim.

Hakim now has 470,000 while Souaid improves to 540,000. -- BK

6:50pm: Schillhabel continues to soar
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Stefan Schillhabel has hit the dizzy heights of 1.45 million after winning a pot against Davidi Kitai. They'd reached a J♣4♥A♥ flop by the time I picked up the action. Schillhabel (big blind) checked it to Kitai (early position) and Kitai bet 24,000. Call from Schillhabel. Kitai fired a further 44,000 on the 2♦ turn and Schillhabel wasn't budging. The 5♠ river checked through and Schillhabel's A♠9♣ was good. --NW

6:45pm: Koklowicz KOs earlier leader L'Hostis
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Jerome L'Hostis was the chip leader earlier today -- the first player to a million chips, in fact. But he's on the rail now after a huge confrontation with Michael Kolkowicz ending in a rough river and his elimination -- and a big bunch of chips for Kolkowicz.

We arrived on the turn, though by then the buzz around the table helped us piece together that Kolkowicz had opened from under the gun and L'Hostis had called out of the big blind.

The flop then came Q♣K♣J♠ and went check-bet-call, pushing the pot up around 175,000. L'Hostis then checked the turn and Kolkowicz bet an even 100,000.

That's when we sidled up and saw L'Hostis check-raising all in for 308,000, forcing a long think from Kolkowicz. He counted out chips, then finally said "there's too much in the middle" while making the call.

L'Hostis tabled A♦T♠ for a flopped straight and Kolkowicz disappointedly showed his K♥J♦ for two pair. But then came the river... the J♥! A full house for Kolkowicz, and a late Day 3 exit for L'Hostis.

Kolkowicz jumps back into the chip lead and by a decent amount. He's still stacking, but looks to be at around 1.55 million with less than a half-hour to go in the day. --MH

6:40pm: Big decisions on a small board
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Sergio Aido took a hefty pot off Alexandru Papazian with the old tank-jam.

Action started when Aido raised to 18,000 from the hijack. Papazian re-raised to 54,000 from the button and Aido called. The flop came 4♣7♦T♣ and Aido checked. Papazian bet 36,000, Aido called and a 5♥ came on the turn.

Aido checked again and Papazian bet 85,000. Aido thought and then thought some more. Someone called the clock and Aido thought for a few more seconds. Then he moved all-in. It was Papazian's turn to think and he asked for a count. Aido's all-in was worth 382,000, a bit more than half of Papazian's stack.

Papazian folded and Aido chipped up to 650,000 while Papazian was left with about 700,000. --AV

6:35pm: Petrushevskii over Smith
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

If I told you that two of the three players in the following hand have made a final table of an EPT Main Event--they're Sergei Petrushevskii, Dan Smith and Sebastian Malec--you'd probably assume it was the last two. But you would be wrong. For all of Smith's accolades at PokerStars sponsored events--eight tournament victories--he never went to the final of a big one.

In this hand, Petrushevskii--who placed fourth in Prague at the last ever EPT Main Event in December last year--opened to 20,000 from under the gun, Malec--who triumphed at EPT13 Barcelona of course--called from the cutoff and Smith did likewise from the button.

The Q♠Q♦4♠ flop checked through to Smith and he bet 30,000. Petrushevskii was the only caller. The 7♦K♣ turn and river both checked through and Petrushevskii showed down jacks. It was the best hand. He's up to 620,000 while Smith slips to 330,000. --NW

6:30pm: Nardin hits trips
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Players were three handed on a flop of J♣2♠T♣ and after Romain Nardin checked in the big blind, Andreas Klatt checked behind and Stefan Huber bet 41,000. He was called in two spots and the 3♠ arrived on the turn.

It was checked to Huber again and he continued for 107,000. Nardin stuck around and with Klatt out of the way the dealer revealed the J♥ river card.

Nardin checked a final time and Huber decided to do the same as Nardin tabled J♠5♠ for three of a kind. That was good to take him up to 640,000 while Huber fell to 385,000. -- BK

6:25pm: Big-stacked Koklowicz not staying content
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

The pot wasn't that big, nor was Raffaele Sorrentino's river bet of 50,000. But chip leader Michael Koklowicz seemed to agonize plenty over it, anyhow, before finally coming up with a call.

The board read T♥7♣J♥A♥4♠, so when Sorrentino tabled K♦Q♣ that meant he'd turned a Broadway straight. Koklowicz disappointedly showed his 9♠8♠ -- he'd flopped a straight that ended second-best, and with a smile on his face grumbled a little. Sorrentino collected the chips and now has 315,000.

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Raffaele Sorrentino: Broadway

"You lost one pot!" observed Lukasz Kubicki from the other side of the table, an allusion to how well things have been going for Koklowicz today, and the leader nodded with a chuckle.

He's doing just fine with 1.14 million, but is still battling for every last chip. --MH

6:20pm: Nice try Dan, but it's hard to fold aces
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Picking up the action on a J♦4♥Q♣ flop, Dan Smith had checked it over to Maxim Panyak who made a bet of 12,000. Smith matched that to see the T♣ turn, and that street checked through.

When the 5♠ river completed the board, Smith checked again and Panyak came in for 37,000. Smith took his time and after a minute or so counted out a big raise to 180,000. He slid it into the middle, and Panyak didn't take too long to call.

Smith quickly flipped over the 9♦9♠, but that was no good against Panyak's A♠A♣. Despite the big raise which - let's face it - is going to work a lot of the time, Panyak's good call brings him up to 875,000, while Smith slips to 425,000. --JS

6:15pm: Delgado doubles Huber
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Stefan Huber found himself on the small blind with pocket 10s and a desire to double up.

There was a raise to 18,000 and he just called, but then Vicente Delgado three-bet to 73,000 from the big blind. The initial raiser folded and Huber found his opportunity. He moved all-in for 274,000 and Delgado snap-called.

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Vicente Delgado: Ouc

Huber turned over his T♦T♥, but Delgado showed a bigger pocket pair, the biggest: A♠A♣. Huber needed a ten and luckily for him, the 6♥T♠5♣7♣5♦ complied. Huber doubled to about 600,000 while Delgado dropped to 290,000. --AV

6:10pm: Negreanu hits the rail
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Daniel Negreanu's race is run. He has just shipped all his chips into the stack of Hossein Ensan after a hand that got ugly on the flop.

It started in very genial fashion with an open-raise to 18,000 from the cutoff from Negreanu and a call from Ensan in the big blind.

The flop came 6♣J♠5♥ and Ensan checked. Negreanu bet 22,000, Ensan then raised to 55,000, and Negreanu clicked it back to 100,000.

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Daniel Negreanu: Not going so great any more

Ensan then moved all-in and Negreanu called it off. He had about 124,000.

"You got something good?" Negreanu said.
"Set," Ensan said.

Ensan's 5♣5♦ was way ahead of Negreanu's J♦Q♦ and Kid Poker was drawing dead on the K♦ turn. -- HS

6:06pm: Panyak attack knocks out Malnik, makes short stack of Kamatakis
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

On the secondary feature table, Iliodoros Kamatakis opened from middle position to 22,000 and it folded around to Ariel Malnik on the button who slid his last chips forward.

Even before Malnik had completed the motion, Maxim Panyak similarly pushed his chips all in as well, and after the big blind folded Kamatakis went into the tank.

First he asked how much Malnik's bet was -- 82,000. Then he asked about Panyak -- he'd re-raise-shoved for 224,000. Kamatakis then counted out his chips to see he had about 290,000 after his open. Finally he came up with the call, and the cards went on their backs.

Panyak: 9♠9♦
Kamatakis: A♣K♦
Malnik: Q♣Q♠

The dealer soon spread the flop, which contained an ace but also a nine, coming A♥9♥7♦. Panyak was way ahead with a set, and Malnik's shoulders slumped as he stood.

The turn was the 5♣ and river the T♥, and Malnik is out. Panyak jumps up around 540,000 after winning that one, while Kamatakis is now down to about 65,000. --MH

6:05pm: Cutting it short
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Tournament officials have announced that this will be the last level of the day, which is a slight amendment to the published schedule. There's about 75 minutes left on Day 3. -- HS

6pm: Lopes leaves us
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Bruno "Kool Shen" Lopes was just sent to the payout desk after things went wrong for him in a hand against Luiz Duarte.

Lopes checked first to act on a flop of T♣3♥4♥ before Duarte made it 14,000 to go. Lopes then moved all-in with just ace high and was called by Duarte with a flush draw.

Lopez: A♣8♣
Duarte: K♥2♥

The 5♣ brought a flush draw for Lopes too but also meant Duarte was open ended. It was the 7♥ on the river that completed Duarte's flush instead and with that Lopes was relegated to the rail. -- BK

5:55pm: It's all gone quiet
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Not a lot to report from the outer tables. The first 15 minutes of the level have passed largely without incident. The closest I got to seeing an interesting pot is when Lukasz Kubicki three-bet shoved for 190,000. Renaud Lejal had already committed 18,000 to the pot but that was as far as he was prepared to go with whatever hole cards he was holding. He mucked and Kubicki survived. --NW

5:50pm: Triangle out twice
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Very shortly after returning from the break, Makram Saber open-pushed from the cutoff seat and slid his player ID card into the middle too, as though it was a potential souvenir for anyone bold enough to bust him.

But he found no tourist willing to pay the 108,000 fee for this piece of memorabilia, so he lives to fight on.

The same applies to both Sergei Petrushevskii and Iliodoros Kamatakis, who were tangling on a neighbouring table. Petrushevskii started it with a raise from the cutoff, Kamatakis three-bet the small blind to 66,000 and Petrushevskii jammed.

Kamatakis's 280,000 was the effective stack (Petrushevskii had a couple of hundred thousand more) and Kamatakis opted to let it go.

So both of the earlies all-in triangle deployments of Level 18 resulted in very little. --HS


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Kamatakis' folding face

5:45pm: Another level
Level 18 - Blinds 4,000/8,000 (ante 1,000)

Play has resumed for the penultimate level of the day. Another 90 minutes then, let's get to it. --JS


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

5:25pm: Another break

Just 55 remain, and they're all off on another 20-minute break before going back at it. Two more 90-minute levels left to go today. --MH

5:20pm: Aces help ElkY (again)
Level 17 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

In the last hand of the level on the feature table, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier raised to 13,000 from the button and Marius-Catalin Pertea called from the small blind.

Hossein Ensan then made it 31,000 to go from the big blind, prompting a four-bet to 82,000 from Grospellier. That chased Pertea, but Ensan didn't hesitate that long before pushing all in and ElkY called in a flash to commit his stack of 370,000 or so.

Ensan: T♣7♥
Grospellier; A♥A♣

It was a move by Ensan, and the timing of it was perfect for ElkY. The board came Q♣4♠J♦Q♦5♦, and ElkY has 799,000 now going to break while Ensan slips to 379,000. --MH


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ElkY elevating

5:17pm: Here's something you don't see too often
Level 17 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

We're used to three-bets, cold four-bets, five-bet jams and the like, but one thing you don't see much of in the late stages of tournaments is a player limping in from early position. Especially when the player doing so is a seasoned pro.

So when Paul Tedeschi limped for 6,000 just now from UTG+1, I had to stick around. What would this pro limp with in this spot? It seemed like valuable information.

Nobody else got involved in the hand, so when it folded to Diego Vilela in the big blind he quickly checked, letting the dealer spread an A♥8♠3♥. Vilela checked it and Tedeschi made it 12,000, which Vilela called.

On the 5♣ turn both checked, but on the 2♠ there was now four to a straight. Vilela came out for 26,000, and after some time spent thinking, Tedeschi laid it down.

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Paul Tedeschi: Limping strategy

We'll never know what he limped with, but we do know that Tedeschi now has 600,000 and Vilela has 360,000. --JS

5:15pm: Three-pair beats three-pair
Level 17 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

The havoc being wreaked by Stefan Schillhabel shows no signs of abating. He has just claimed his umpteenth casualty of this tournament, sending Geoffroy Combette to the payouts desk.

Combette open-pushed for 62,000 and Schillhabel was sitting immediately to his left with J♥J♣. It was an easy call for Schillhabel, and an easy win against what turned out to be 7♦7♥ for Combette.

The board was a double-paired T♥Q♥Q♣6♦T♦ but Schillhabel's three-pair was bigger than Combette's.

Schillhabel has 1.2 million now. -- HS

5:10pm: Papazian picks one off
Level 17 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Chunjie Liu raised from the cutoff and Alexandru Papazian quickly made it 50,000 from the small blind.

Action folded back to Liu and he moved all-in for 240,000. Papazian thought, looked down at his large stack and called. Liu showed A♣K♦ and Papazian tabled J♥J♠ for a flip.

The T♠5♣A♦ flop fell in Liu's favor, but then a J♣ came on the turn to give him emotional whiplash. A T♥ completed the board and Liu's aces couldn't beat Papazian's full house.

Liu hit the rail while Papazian chipped up to 950,000. --AV

5:05pm: Schillhabel's stack skyrockets
Level 17 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Stefan Schillhabel has just emerged as one of the frontrunners here after a cold deck was responsible for him almost doubling up and taking out Nicolas Fuentes Vidal.

We were late to the party but the two players were amid a raising war and the most recent bet was Schillhabel for 113,000. Vidal clicked it back again, Schillhabel ripped it in and Vidal called to see the bad news.

Schillhabel: A♥A♦
Vidal: K♠K♣

The 2♣J♣5♣ added clubs to Vidal's outs but the 7♠ turn and 2♠ river meant Schillhabel would begin and end with the best of it. The dealer cut down Vidal's stack of 532,000 and with Schillhabel covering that Vidal was sent to the payout desk.

Schillhabel now sits with a whopping 1.15 million. -- BK

5pm: Tedeschi takes one out
Level 17 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Paul-Francois Tedeschi raised to 14,000 from the button and Franck Makaci moved all-in for about 60,000 from the big blind. Tedeschi called and turned over T♥9♥ to Makaci's K♥7♦.

Makaci was ahead, but that didn't last long. The 9♦5♣A♥A♠3♦ board paired Tedeschi's nine and he scored another elimination. Makaci hit the rail and Tedeschi's stack grew to 645,000. --AV

4:55pm: Vidal sends Demenkov home
Level 17 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

From the big book of Hands That Played Themselves, we present this short feature.

Arne Coulier opened to 13,000 from under the gun and Sergei Petrushevskii called in the hijack, followed by a call from Nicolas Vidal on the button.

Vladimir Demenkov only had 65,000 in his stack in the big blind and he looked down at A♠Q♠. Yes, this was his time.

After Demenkov shoved, Coulier and Petrushevskii folded but Vidal called. He was sitting with J♣J♦. As it was written.

Demenkov was racing for his tournament and stood to win a little more than just a standard double up. But it wasn't to be. The board ran 3♥T♠9♦3♦3♣ and the jacks held up.

Demenkov is the latest to depart, leaving us with 58 players. -- HS

4:52pm: Loeser's edging closer
Level 17 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Manig Loeser is on course for yet another super deep run in a PokerStars Championship flagship event. In Macau back in March, he finished third in the Super High Roller behind Fedor and Steve O'Dwyer. He's now up to 380,000 here today.

That amount came after he just took a nice pot against Remi Castaignon. There was around 130,000 in the middle already and Loeser had made a bet of 78,000 after it checked to him. That was enough for Castaignon to lay his hand down and leave himself with 238,000. --JS


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Loeser is a winner

4:50pm: Now that's just overkill
Level 17 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

The run out of the community cards in this hand were just not necessary. They were the equivalent of kicking someone in the head when they're passed out on the floor.

The hand began with a raise from the button to 14,000 from Shijirbaatar Sanjaasuren. The small blind called and Karim Souaid then three-bet to 65,000 from the big blind. Sanjaasuren shoved and Souaid tanked, before calling all-in for 260,000.

Souaid: A♣Q♥
Sanjaasuren: J♠J♣

The 2♥Q♦A♠ flop gave Souaid a stranglehold on the hand and left Sanjaasuren with just two immediate outs. The 9♣ turn changed nothing but the Q♣ river improved Souaid to a wholly unnecessary full house. He's up to about 560,000 while Sanjaasuren slips to 260,000. --NW

4:48pm: Carreira crashes
Level 17 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Clemente Malheiro Carreira's Main Event run is over.

Down to just a couple of big blinds, Carreira finally found a hand worth playing -- A♦A♠ -- and Jerome Brion was willing to challenge him with 9♥9♦.

Alas for Carreira, the board came [Q]K♠9♠6♥2♠, giving Brion a set to win the last of Carreira's small stack.

Brion has 342,000 now. There are 61 players remaining. --MH

4:47pm: Kober can't vanquish Ventura
Level 17 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Another flip for a tournament life and another double-up is what we just witnessed as Diego Ventura
and Philipp Kober butted heads.

Ventura got his last 148,000 in from the button versus Kober in the hijack and the two of them left it to a coinflip to decide their fate.

Ventura: J♦J♣
Kober: A♥Q♥

The cards fell 4♣5♠9♠9♥4♠ which was safe for Ventura to see his jacks hold and enable him to double-up to 310,000. Kober, on the other hand, was knocked back to 190,000. -- BK

4:45pm: ElkY doubles through Kid Poker
Level 17 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Two Team PokerStars Pros went to battle on the feature table just now after Daniel "Kid Poker" Negreanu raised from the button, the small blind called, then Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier reraised all in for 143,000 from the big blind.

"I'll gamble with you," said Negreanu who called before the man in the middle stepped aside. Negreanu had K♣Q♣, but ElkY had picked up A♦A♣.

The board came 3♣3♥7♥7♠T♥, meaning it was over by the turn, and Grospellier is up to 309,000 while Negreanu slips to 383,000. --MH

4:40pm: Set over set, Aido doubles
Level 17 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Sergei Petrushevskii raised to 14,000 from under the gun and got a few callers. The first was Sergio Aido, who called from the hijack. Then Bruno Lopes called from the small blind and Marius-Catalin Pertea did the same from the big blind.

The flop came 6♦T♣9♦ and Petrushevskii halved the number of contenders with a bet of 25,000. Aido called, the blinds folded and a J♣ came on the turn. Petrushevskii moved all-in and Aido quickly called.

Aido turned over J♥J♦ for a set of hacks and Petrushevskii smacked his hand on the table in frustration. It set over set frustration. Petrushevskii tabled 9♣9♣ and a K♣ completed the board. The hand left Petrushevskii with 220,000 while Aido doubled to 480,000. --AV

4:35pm: Good call, Kool Shen
Level 17 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Bruno Lopes -- a.k.a. Kool Shen, one of France's most popular rappers -- has just picked up a few much-needed chips from Arne Coulier after making a great call.

It folded to Lopes in the small blind and he limped, which let Lopes check his option to see a J♥A♥Q♥ flop. Coulier led for 8,000 and Lopes called, bringing the A♠ on the turn, which both checked.

On the 5♥ river, Coulier made it more difficult for Lopes with a 21,000 bet. Lopes only had 68,000 behind, so it was for a big chunk of his remaining stack.

After some thinking and staring down, Lopes tossed in a single chip to make the call. Coulier turned his T♠9♣ over with false confidence, because he had complete air. Lopes had a pair with Q♦2♣, and that was good for him to take it down.

Lopes now has 128,000, while Coulier has 345,000. --JS


NEIL7707_Bruno_Lopes_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Kool Shen still in the show

4:32pm: Dietrich slays Chen
Level 17 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Mortiz Dietrich is up to 740,000 now, flopping a straight in a blind-on-blind battle with Ke Chen.

Chen turned top pair and it seems likely that that's where the money went in. Dietrich had 9♠T♥ and Chen had K♠Q♣. The board was 7♦8♣J♥K♣6♣ and Chen has now departed the tournament room, with his last 80,000 or so nestling in Dietrich's stack. -- HS

4:30pm: Lewis busts to Bendik
Level 17 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

"All-in and call on table two," was the audible cry from across the room.

Table 2 is the secondary feature table and I arrived to see Romain Lewis all set to leave. He was all-in on the turn of a 8♠T♦2♦7♥ board with A♠T♥ and drawing dead against Jan Bendik's 9♣6♥. Lewis looked to have pushed on the turn for 50,000 into a pot of roughly 60,000.

The K♠ river was merely a formality, and Lewis was on his way. --NW


NEIL7571_Jan_Bendik_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Bendik looking for second straight Monaco Main Event title

4:25pm: Ship it to Shulga
Level 17 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Peyman Luth is sharing the wealth by giving short stack Maksim Shulga a double-up.

After an open from Luth, it folded to Shulga in the big blind and he committed his last 45,000. Luth agreed to run it and players revealed their hands.

Shulga: J♥T♥
Luth: 9♦8♦

"Good jam," quipped a tablemate as Shulga's jack high was the best of it as the dealer presented the 6♣7♣2♠2♣Q♥ board.

Shulga held and doubled to 95,000 while Luth is left with 270,000. -- BK

4:22pm: To show or not to show
Level 17 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Win a hand without showdown, and you're presented with a choice. Do you show or do you not show?

Something in the region of 99 percent of hands don't get shown, but perhaps one in 100 times someone wants his table-mates to know what he's up to. And here are two such incidences happening within about 30 seconds of one another.

Jeff Hakim opened a pot from the cutoff. He made it 14,000 to play. Shijirbaatar Sanjaasuren called from the button and Karim Souaid called from the big blind.

Those three took to a flop. It was K♦5♠2♠ and Souaid checked. Hakim bet 20,000 and Sanjaasuren folded, but Souaid now carefully counted out a check-raise. He made it 70,000 to play.

Hakim folded very swiftly and Souaid couldn't resist. He turned over the 9♠8♦ to general underwhelment.

But that level of disinterest was nothing compared with what Michael Kolkowicz had to endure. He put in a three-bet squeeze from the big blind after Raffaele Sorrentino (button) called Lukasz Kubicki's cutoff raise of 15,000. Kolkowicz made it 57,000.

Kubicki folded without even asking for a count and although Sorrentino took the time to find out how big the bet was, he folded, too.

Kolkowicz then offered to show his hand -- one or both of his cards, to one or both of his opponents. But both of them shrugged and the dealer put him out of his misery, dragging them into the muck.

The tournament chip leader, Jerome L'Hostis, is on that table too, with his 1.2 million stack. -- HS

4:20pm: Ensan busts Lubenets, pushes toward lead
Level 17 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

On the feature table, Valerii Lubenets was just all in for his last 115,000 or so with 9♥9♦ and the Ukrainian was hoping that pair would hold against Hossein Ensan's A♦K♦.

The 2♦6♥A♥ flop hit Ensan, though, and Lubenets was suddenly well behind. The 2♥ turn provided a flush opportunity, but the river was the 6♦ and Lubenets is out.

Ensan is now up around 945,000 and challenging for the lead. --MH

4:15pm: Some survive
Level 17 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

While the majority of the action has been eliminations recently, some short stacks have gotten their much-needed double-ups.

Ariel Malnik was one of them. Dan Smith raised to 13,000 from the button and Malnik moved all-in for 78,000 from the small blind. Smith and showed 4♠4♦ for a flip against Malnik's A♦T♠.

The A♠K♠A♣ flop fell heavily in Malnik's favor and a player congratulated him.

"Careful," Malnik said. "Not yet."

A four could still give Smith a full house, but a T♥ came on the turn to give Malnik the full house and leave Smith drawing dead.

"Now you can say it," Malnik laughed. A K♣ completed the board and Malnik chipped up to about 190,000 while Smith dropped to 480,000. --AV

4:10pm: Gonzales gone
Level 17 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Jose Gonzales is the most recent player to be felted after a cooler saw all his chips go to Alexandru Papazian.

The community cards were spread 8♥A♥Q♦2♣ and after Papazian bet 28,000, Gonzales moved all in for approximately 155,000. The third party quickly folded but Papazian snapped it off with Gonzales in rough shape.

Gonzales: A♠8♦
Papazian: 8♠8♣

Gonzales held two pair but still only had two outs to keep his Main Event dream alive versus Papazian's set. The 3♠ meant it wasn't to be for Gonzales and he exited the tournament area.

Papazian pushes further up the chip counts, now with 720,000 in play. -- BK

4:05pm: It's raining exits
Level 17 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Igor Yaroshevskyy, Jason Wheeler and Andreas Hoivold all exited the tournament within a couple of minutes of each other. This is what happened.

Hoivold was first to go, he three-bet shoved for 80,000 with A♥J♦ and Shijirbaatar Sanjaasuren looked him up with A♦K♣. The K♦T♥7♣A♣9♣ flop sealed Hoivold's fate.

Next on the chopping block was Yaroshevskyy. He too fancied a three-bet jam with ace-jack. His final 63,000 went in with A♥J♠ and he was ahead of Mikko Turtiainen's K♠Q♣, The Finn flopped a king though and that meant Yaroshevskyy's deep run in this tournament was over.


NEIL7909_Igor_Yaroshevskyy_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Igor out after his final Yaroshove-skyy

The biggest of the three pots involved Jason Wheeler and Jerome L'Hostis. The latter was the chip leader at the start of the level and he and Wheeler got into a pre-flop raising war. Wheeler four-bet jammed with queens and L'Hostis called it off with A♠K♥. Just as in yesterday's bubble hand this classic race went the way of the overcards as a A♣8♦3♦A♥2♦ board favoured the Frenchman. He's up to 1.1 million now. --NW

4pm: Not what Tedeschi wanted to see
Level 17 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Picking up the action on a 4♥5♣7♣T♥ board, it was a Brazil vs. France battle as Diego Vilela was heads up against Paul-Francois Tedeschi. Vilela led into the 50K-ish pot for 35,000 and the Frenchman called to see a river card: the Q♣. That put three clubs out there.

Vilela tossed in three green 25K chips and Tedeschi was forced into the tank for a minute or two. Towards the end of his thinking process he started to smile and chat to the Brazilian, which led me to believe he was going to fold.

"Will you show me one?" he asked Vilela. "You pick," came the reply.

Tedeschi did fold, and Vilela was true to his word. He slid his cards over and Tedeschi flipped over the 8♦. He glanced back at the board.

"Oh... oh no!" he said, which brought laughs from everyone at the table, including Tedeschi himself. He's on 545,000 now, while Vilela has 446,000. --JS

3:55pm: Play resumes; L'Hostis on top
Level 17 - Blinds 3,000/6,000 (ante 1,000)

Players are back and cards are in the air once again, with Jerome L'Hostis the chip leader at the moment with 946,000. --MH

jerome_hostis_psc_monte_carlo_day3.jpg

Jerome L'Hostis: Chip leader


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3:35pm: Break time

Busy level, everyone. Well done. Why don't you all take 20 minutes to relax? You earned it. --MH

3:32pm: Start big, finish big
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Paul-Francois Tedeschi raised to 11,500 from middle position and Dmytro Shuvanov three-bet to 42,000. The rest of the table got out of the way and Tedeschi called. It was the last time they'd bet for a while.

Both players checked the J♥3♦J♠ flop and checked again when the A♦ come on the river. Players then ended the hand with a bang. A 7♥ came on the river and Tedeschi bet 95,000. Shuvanov thought, counted his stack and thought some more.

"Ace-king?" Shuvanov asked.

As it would turn out, he was right. Shuvanov called and then mucked when Tedeschi tabled A♥K♦ for a pair of aces. The hand put Tedeschi up to 620,000 while Shuvanov dipped to 560,000. --AV

3:30pm: Jaka sent packing
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Not so long ago, we observed that the likes of Faraz Jaka is not afraid to get involved with hands that others might only ever play if they were in the big blind. Well, you live by the sword and sometimes you die by it. This is one of those times.

Jaka is out. He was in the big blind. He had five-seven. But he also got very unlucky.

Stefan Huber opened his button and Jaka called in the big blind. (Huber related this later.) The flop was Ace-Five-Seven and they both checked.

The Nine on the turn brought a flush draw and Jaka bet 19,000. Huber called.

The river was an off-suit king.

Jaka checked, Huber bet 11,000, and then Jaka jammed for 180,000. Huber called and his pocket kings, which had gone from best to worst to best again, now sent Jaka packing.

Huber moves up to 380,000, while Jaka may find himself interested in the ever-growing €25,000 event going on over the other side of the Salle des Etoiles. --HS

3:25pm: Lemme tell you about Teltscher
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

We've just lost the EPT2 London champ, EPT4 Barcelona runner-up, and EPT12 Barcelona $25K runner-up in one hand.

It's Mark Teltscher, of course. After Nicolas Vidal opened to 12,000 from the hijack, Teltscher made it 32,000 from the cutoff. It folded back around, Vidal jammed and Teltscher called.

Vidal - A♠Q♣
Teltscher - A♦J♦

It was domination nation, and when the board ran out 4♣2♣Q♦6♠J♠ Teltscher was crippled down to 9,500. He got it in in the next hand with the A♣2♦ and was called by Arne Coulier with the T♠T♥. The board (6♣T♦9♥A♠K♠) gave Coulier a set and the knockout.

So, to summarise, Teltscher's out. --JS


NEIL7735_Mark_Teltscher_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Teltscher felted

3:20pm: Hoivold hurt by Papazian
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Andreas Hoivold was left shaking his head after getting most of his stack in drawing dead to a chop and doubling up Alexandru Papazian.

On a board of 2♣5♠A♥3♥ Papazian was all in holding A♠4♠ for a wheel against Hoivold's ace king. Hoivold had three outs to chop but the K♥ river left his stack in bad shape.

Papazian pushes his stack north to almost 400,000 while Hoivold is left nursing less than six big blinds. -- BK

3:15pm: L'Hostis is l'eading
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

We just saw Jerome L'Hostis win a decent-sized pot against Jeff Hakim and it looks like it's put him into the chip lead. The action to the river is unknown, but with a full A♣Q♥5♥5♠7♠ board exposed Hakim bet 52,000.

There was no call from L'Hostis -- instead he raised to 155,000. Hakim tanked and some table talk seemed to suggest that he thought L'Hostis may have rivered a full house with pocket sevens. Hakim mucked and L'Hostis is up to 840,000. Hakim slips to 340,000. --NW

3:12pm: Schillhabel hits the heights
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Two big hands played out simultaneously on tables which, if they were represented by a poker hand, would be a suited two-gapper. By that I mean they were tables belonging to the same tournament, but there was a bit of a leap between them requiring some speedy shuttling between the two.

They both went to showdown, however, so it was worth all the hot-footing.

In the first, Paul Tedeschi made a standard open from the cutoff and Fabrice Soulier three-bet the button, making it 35,500 to go. Thiago Crema cold four-bet to 85,000 from the small blind, but Tedeschi then ripped it in for 222,000.

Soulier retreated, but after a long while in the tank, Crema called for about 80 percent of his stack. Crema's dwelling time here was long enough that the other hand played out in its entirety, but let's dispense with chronology and tell you how this one ended first.

Actually, it was fairly standard. Tedeschi had A♥K♣, which is certainly good enough for the five-bet shove. And Crema had A♦Q♦, which is certainly borderline enough to warrant a long thinking time.

There was nothing dramatic on the 9♥6♠8♥3♦T♦ board, which meant Tedeshi moves up to around 500,000 now, a high point for the tournament. Crema is left in tatters with around 65,000.

So, over on the other table, Paul Gresel made a standard open and Stefan Schillhabel moved all-in for absolutely heaps, comfortably covering Gresel.

Gresel called with 9♥9♠ and was racing Schillhabel's A♠T♣. But there was the T♥ on the flop and the T♠ on the turn and, with no nines to be seen, Gresel was knocked out.

Schillhabel's table broke immediately after that and floor staff started racking his chips. He has at least 800,000 now though and that's right up there at the top. -- HS

3:10pm: Delgado gets it done
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Iliodoros Kamatakis doesn't seem too pleased after doubling up Vicente Delgado. Kamatakis began discussing with another tablemate how viable getting 40 big blinds in with pocket threes could really be, but first, let's give you a rundown of what happened.

We were late on the scene but from what we could gather it appeared that Delgado had opened, Kamatakis had three-bet from the small blind and then Delgado made a big jam for 195,000. Kamatakis had called it off and they were off to the races.

Kamatakis: A♦K♥
Delgado: 3♣3♦

The Q♥8♣7♦7♠2♠ run out meant that the pocket threes would hold and Delgado would receive a big double up.

"Nice hand," said Kamatakis, "I had a good feeling..."

Unfortunately for Kamatakis that feeling never eventuated into the winning hand and he falls to 280,000. Delgado, meanwhile, sits on right around 400,000. -- BK

3:05pm: Malec moving up
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Sebastien Malec is creeping his way back up to the half-million mark.

A chunk of those chips came from Krisztian Fejerdi. In that hand, Fejerdi raised to 11,000 form the hijack and Malec three-bet to 31,000 from the button. Fejerdi called and a 3♥7♣T♣ flop hit the board. Fejerdi checked and Malec bet 21,000.

Fejerdi thought, called and checked again when the 2♠ came on the turn. Malec upped the bet to 44,500 and Fejerdi thought for even longer. Then he called.

A J♠ completed the board and Fejerdi checked one more time. This time Malec bet as much as he could, all-in. Fejerdi quickly folded and was left with about 100,000 while Malec neared the 500,000 mark. --AV


NEIL7908_Sebastian_Malec_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Malec nearing half a million

3:02pm: Dietrich's tricky for Smith
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Having just picked up a bunch of new chips, Dan Smith has now lost a chunk to Moritz Dietrich. Smith started the hand with a 12,000 button open which Dietrich called out of the big blind. The flop came A♦5♦6♠ and Smith continued for 11,000. That was then raised to 40,000, and Smith made the call.

On the 4♥ turn, Dietrich didn't stop down the aggressive path and this time made it 70,000. Smith would call that bet to see the 4♣ river, pairing the board. Dietrich slid out a ton of chips and when Smith got a count it turned out to be 160,000. Let the thinking commence!

Smith leaned back in his seat and placed both palms on the top of his head. As the time went by, he even moved his palms together under his chin, as if he was praying for the answer of what to do. After a couple of minutes, Smith tossed his cards so that they landed perfectly on the muck pile, and left himself with 570,000. Dietrich is up to 658,000 now. --JS

3pm: Antonius sent home
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Another knockout of a big name on the feature table to report, this time involving Patrik Antonius.

Antonius was just eliminated by Jerome Brion in a hand in which Antonious held 9♥8♣, Brion Q♠Q♣, and a board of J♥5♠9♠A♦K♥ added up to a better pair for Brion.

Antonius heads home in 79th, and since he's a Monte-Carlo resident we can say that literally. Meanwhile Brion bumps up to 405,000. --MH


NEIL7886_Patrik_Antonius_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Antonius out

2:52pm: Petrangelo and Jacobson eliminated; Nardin takes the chip lead
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Want a hand involving the start-of-day chip leader and a WSOP Main Event champion? Oh, go on then. The term big pot doesn't really do this hand justice. Massive... yeah, that'll do.

It started with an open to 11,500, Martin Jacobson then made it 40,000 to go. That raise might seem a little on the large size, but it was 95 percent of Jacobson's chips and was essentially an all-in shove. Nick Petrangelo flat-called, only for Romain Nardin to three-bet squeeze. It folded back to Jacobson and he duly committed the rest of his chips.

nick_petrangelo_martin_jacobson_bust.jpg

Nick Petrangelo and Martin Jacobson bust together

When it got back to Petrangelo he, too, moved all-in -- for about 350,000 -- and Nardin called, too! This was a 750,000-chip pot!

Nardin showed A♦K♣, Petrangelo had pocket jacks and Jacobson pocket tens.

The 9♠4♥9♦ flop kept Petrangelo in front, as did the 5♠ turn. But the A♠ river sent the huge pot to Nardin and he's now the chip leader. He's also, so we're told by a French colleague, one of France's best online poker players. He's yet to have a breakout live result, could this be his time? --NW


NEIL7895_Nick_Petrangelo_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Petrangelo goes from top of the counts to the rail

2:50pm: Bad beat for Pankowski
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

At least Robert Pankowski can tell his friends he got a bad beat. The PokerStars qualifier from Poland has just hit the rail in something like 85th place, losing with aces in a three-way pot involving Michael Kolkowicz and Raffaele Sorrentino.

It looked like Kolkowicz opened to 17,000 from under the gun and Sorrentino called in the small blind, prompting a shove from Pankowski in the big blind for 47,000. I'm not 100 percent sure about this because 17,000 seems like a big open-raise, but that's what Sorrentino had on the table in front of him when I arrived and it's too small for a three bet.

Whatever. The important bit is that Kolkowicz and Sorrentino both called the shove and they then saw the K♣J♦6♦ land on the flop. Kolkowicz then bet what looked like 33,000 but he dragged it back in instantly because Sorrentino mucked.

michael_kolkowicz_monte_carlo_day3.jpg

Michael Kolkowicz: Busting Pankowski

Pankowski had A♣A♦ but Kolkowicz had K♥J♠. The turn and the river were blank and the two-pair accounted for Pankowski.

Kolkowicz, meanwhile, has around 560,000 now. -- HS

2:45pm: Antonius escapes
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Jerome L'Hostis has really been getting the best of Patrik Antonius in the past few orbits, so a change of scenery is just want the Finnish high stakes legend needed.

In this last hand, L'Hostis opened to 12,000, Antonius three-bet to 32,000, and L'Hostis four-bet to 172,000. Antonius had to give it up and dropped to 110,000, while L'Hostis is now playing 680,000.

Antonius has now been moved onto the feature table (away from L'Hostis) where he'll join Daniel Negreanu and ElkY. --JS

2:42pm: Smith up, Dvoress and Schwartz down
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Dan Smith is nearing the lead. His most recent influx of chips came from Daniel Dvoress.

Smith raised, Dvoress moved all-in for about 120,000 and Smith called. Dvoress turned over Q♦8♦ and Smith showed a dominating A♦Q♠. Dvoress couldn't improve and he hit the rail while Smith chipped up to about 670,000.

It was a bust-filled time for the table as Luke Schwartz exited the table moments before. --AV

2:40pm: Lin all-in, and out
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Big pot over on the feature table to share after Hossein Ensan and Team PokerStars Pro Celina Lin got into a big preflop reraising war that concluded with Lin all in and at risk with A♦Q♠ versus Ensan's T♠T♦.

The T♥8♦2♥ flop couldn't be much worse for Lin, giving Ensan a set. The 9♠ on the turn still left Lin drawing live, but the 8♣ competed the board and she is out in 87th place. Ensan is way up around 650,000 now. --MH


NEIL7834_Celina_Lin_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Lin eliminated

2:35pm: Kamatakis can't KO Demenkov
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

The recently short-stacked Vladimir Demenkov has found a little breathing room after scoring himself a double up and them some, mostly from Iliodoris Kamatakis.

"All in and call," announced the dealer as we headed over to check out the action.

Demenkov was all-in in the small blind and there was still the chance at a side pot with the big blind and Kamatakis in the under the gun seat still active.

The flop landed 3♦Q♦Q♥ and the big blind check-folded after Kamatakis bet at it. With no more action both Kamatakis and Demenkov tabled their hands.

Demenkov: A♣6♥
Kamatakis: A♥J♥

Demenkov was drawing thin but he did have a little hope of a chopped pot to go with his three outs for a win. The 6♣, however, was met with a loud clap from Demenkov as took the lead. The 3♠ river changed nothing and Demenkov was awarded the pot.

He now sits with 70,000 while Kamatakis is still stacking 340,000. -- BK

2:30pm: Kitai in the big blind
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Conventional wisdom has it that most players only tend to see a flop with utter garbage when they're in the big blind. But both Davidi Kitai and Faraz Jaka have a reputation for being, let's say, "creative" with some of their hands. We've seen time and again each of them turn up with significantly less than premium holdings at the end of big pots.

With this in mind, it's fair to say that in this recent hand, Kitai and Jaka's "range" was anywhere between aces and seven-deuce. Kitai actually was in the big blind pre-flop, so that widens the gaping expanse even further.

There was a huge pile of chips in the middle already when I arrived on the turn. The board read 2♥3♣J♣2♦ and Kitai led for 52,000. Jaka called.

The A♣ completed the board and now this was very tricky indeed. Kitai counted out 85,000 and pushed them forward, putting another tough decision back on Jaka.

Jaka took his time about it. And after a good few minutes, he called. Kitai turned over 8♠2♠--an absolute pearler of a big blind hand, but one that had flopped exceptionally well.

Jaka mucked and is now nursing around 260,000. Kitai, however, extends his tournament lead to around 680,000. -- HS

2:27pm: Nowak gets whacked
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

With just 17,000 chips to his name at the start of the level, it was going to take something spectacular for Waldemar Nowak to get back to a playable stack. As it was, his bustout hand was fairly spectacular.

He three-bet all-in for 28,500 with A♥3♥ and Thiago Crema, who had open-raised, called off the extra required holding 7♦4♠.

The Q♥A♣J♠ flop all but sealed the deal for Nowak, but he hand't counted on the 4♥7♠ that fell on the turn and river. Crema went runner-runner to eliminate him and he's now got 240,000. --NW

2:25pm: Nardin doubles through Petrangelo
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Nick Petrangelo raised to 10,000 from the cutoff and Alexandru Papazian made it 30,000 from the button. Romain Nardin was on the small blind and moved all-in for 135,000.

Action folded back to Petrangelo and he counted his stack and also moved all-in. Papazian folded and Nardin turned over A♦8♥. Petrangelo showed a dominating A♠K♠, but the 8♣3♠9♥7♣4♥ board gave Nardin a pair of eights and the double up.

Petrangelo dropped to 230,000 while Nardin doubled to about 300,000. --AV

2:20pm: L'Hostis takes Antonius' chips hostage (and the chip lead)
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

A big chunk of Patrik Antonius' chips have just been sent Jerome L'Hostis' direction. It was a "Barry Greenstein" -- i.e., an ace on the river -- that did it.

L'Hostis kicked off the hand with an 11,000 open from middle position and Antonius called to his left. Nobody else got involved, so it went heads up to the J♠3♠4♣ flop. L'Hostis opted not to c-bet, so when it checked to Antonius he led out 15,000. Call.

That took them to a 5♥ river, and L'Hostis checked again. The high-stakes legend continued, coming in for a bet of 35,000 this time. Again, that bet was called and things moved to fifth street.

The A♦ completed the board and for a third time L'Hostis checked. Antonius bet big; it looked to be around 85,000, although we never got an exact count and L'Hostis insta-called.

"Two pair," said Antonius, but when L'Hostis turned over A♣J♦ for top two it meant Antonius was either losing or chopping. He was losing. He mucked his cards with reserved anger and dropped down to 138,000, while L'Hostis has a huge stack now worth 655,000. He's your new chip leader. --JS

2:15pm: Panyak stings Schwartz
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Maxim Panyak is no longer nursing a short stack after doubling up through Luke Schwartz.

Panyak checked on a flop of 4♥A♣5♣ and after Schwartz bet 7,000, Panyak piled it in for an 40,000 total. Schwartz double-checked the amount and didn't look too pleased, but he called it off to put Panyak at risk.

Panyak: A♠4♠
Schwartz: T♣7♣

Panyak's top and bottom pair was out in front but Schwartz had a chance at a flush to send Panyak packing. Fortunately for the latter the 5♥ turn and 5♦ river cards brought no danger to see Panyak double to 110,000.

Schwartz, meanwhile, sinks to just 75,000. -- BK

2:10pm: Kitai v Malec
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Liv Boeree may have departed the secondary feature table, but the table draw has ensured there are still at least two former EPT champions there. Davidi Kitai is seated around the felt from Sebastian Malec and they just got involved in a recent pot.

Kitai opened to 12,000 from the cutoff seat and Malec called in the big blind. Kitai kept pushing through flop (6♣A♣A♠), turn (2♠) and river (6♦) betting 11,000, 26,000 and then 38,000 on subsequent streets.

Malec called the first two, but then folded on the end.

As the hand played out, tournament staff brought Mickael Mamou to the table to fill one of the vacant seats. Mamou sat down with only 30,000 in his stack and so immediately saw a new table-mate make a river bet for more than he owned.

Worse for Mamou: it barely even dented either Kitai or Malec. Kitai has 530,000 in his stack; Malec still sits with 420,000. Faraz Jaka has 350,000 at that table, too. -- HS


NEIL7844_Davidi_Kitai_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Kitai's eyes on the prize

2pm: Back at it; Schillhabel leads
Level 16 - Blinds 2,500/5,000 (ante 500)

Players are back and Level 16 is underway. Stefan Schillhabel returns to the chip lead -- here's a look at the top of the leaderboard at the moment:

NameCountryChips
Stefan SchillhabelGermany533,500
Dmytro ShuvanovUkraine496,000
Dan SmithUSA495,000
Michael KolkowiczFrance490,000
Davidi KitaiBelgium475,000
Sebastian MalecPoland475,000
Diego VilelaBrazil470,000
Andreas KlattGermany455,000
Jerome L'HostisUK435,000
Nick PetrangeloUSA430,000

stefan_schillhabel_monte_carlo_day3.jpg

Stefan Schillhabel: New leader

Daniel Negreanu (426,500), Remi Castaignon (400,000), Hossen Ensan (363,500), Patrik Antonius (340,000), and Faraz Jaka (340,000) are also among the big stacks to start the level. --MH


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

1:40pm: Break time

The remaining 99 players are taking a 20 minute break. --JS

1:38pm: Ace high versus ace high
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Alexandru Papazian and Nick Petrangelo were faced with an 8♥8♠5♥ flop and Papazian checked from the small blind. Petrangelo bet 8,000, Papazian called and a 7♥ came on the turn.

Papazian checked again and Petrangelo upped the bet to 31,000. Papazian thought for a bit and called, bringing a 3♠ on the river.

Papazian checked again and this time Petrangelo checked behind.

"Ace high," Papazian said, showing A♣6♦. Petrangelo also had ace high, but his A♥2♠ had the worst kicker out there and Papazian took down the pot. Petrangelo dipped to 430,000 while Papazian chipped up to 260,000. --AV

1:36pm: Aido doubles through Teltscher
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Roger Tondeur, of Switzerland, turned to look at the tournament information screen and noticed that they had just hit a pay jump. He was right. The player out in 104th got €7,580 while Mr or Mrs 103 got €9,540. (We'll fill in our payouts page very soon.)

Tondeur's observation may have had an influence on the hand that immediately played out in front of him, but equally (and probably) maybe not. In it, Sergio Aido and Mark Teltscher went to battle and it's questionable whether either has ever allowed a €2,000 pay increase affect their decisions.

Aido opened to 8,000 from the cutoff and Teltscher very quickly three-bet to 32,000 from the small blind. Aido wasted no time at all in moving all-in for 89,000 and Teltscher barely let his opponent finish articulating those two syllables before he said "Call".

So they were now playing for Aido's tournament life.

Aido: A♣K♥
Teltscher: A♦J♣

The board bricked out. It came 4♣7♦T♠T♣6♣. That meant a double up for Aido, thwarting his ambitions to hop into the €25,000 over the other side of the tournament room. He now has about 190,000 and can keep his eyes on the first prize in the Main Event.

Teltscher is also still well stacked with about 280,000. --HS

1:35pm: Overheard
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

There's a €25,000 High Roller taking place today and as the players were waiting to take their seats they were recounting a few stories about cash games. Ike Haxton was telling a story about a high stakes game that Leon Tsoukernik had been in charge of. Turns out it was a good one to overhear.

We're not sure if Ike was in the game or not but Mikita Badziakouski - who was present for this story - had been trying to get into the game but there were no seats open. After 12 or so hours of waiting Badziakouski got a 4am call informing him that there was now a seat for him. He arrives and is seated under-the-gun+2 and, as is custom in cash games, is given the option to post a big blind to be dealt in right away. Badziakouski declines to post, which is the sensible option, as he'll be the big blind in two hands anyway.

The two hands pass and as Badziakouski goes to post his big blind Tsoukernik says. "This isn't a game for nits, you're out!" Ouch! --NW

1:30pm: Aces fail Takafuji
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Hideki Takafuji had been nursing a modest number of chips, and had just pushed all-in and gotten no callers to add the blinds and antes to his stack.

He must have been glad on the next hand to look down at A♠A♣, and this time getting action, albeit from the shorter-stacked Marcin Dziembala.

Five cards later, Takafuji wasn't as glad about things, although to his credit he continued to sport a smile. The board had come Q♠J♣K♦4♥K♠, the river king making Dziembala trips to crack Takafuji's aces.

Dziembala is at 74,000 now, while Takafuji busted shortly after. --MH

1:27pm: Hoivold hits Ho
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Maria Ho will have to be content with a Day 3 finish after losing a flip to tablemate Andreas Hoivold. Ho was all in and at risk preflop for roughly 50,000 and needed to improve to stick around.

Ho: K♦J♦
Hoivold: 8♥8♣

The 2♥T♥A♦ brought Ho some extra outs to Broadway and while she actually took the lead on the K♥ turn, the 5♥ river brought a four-card flush for Hoivold to eliminate Ho.

Apparently Hoivold didn't notice the flush and congratulated Ho before swiftly apologising for the accidental needle. Ho didn't seem to mind and wished the table good luck before departing.

She leaves us as Hoivold moves up to 250,000 in chips. --BK


NEIL7711_Maria_Ho_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Ho down (and out)

1:25pm: Lam survives
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Yesterday Benoit Lam laid down aces post-flop at the feature table. As it turns out he was incorrect - his opponent had kings - and he came into today with just 42,000. He'd gained a few chips this level but was still short when he moved all-in.

It was 56,500 for anyone who wanted to call and Sebastian Malec decided to give him a spin. It was pocket tens for Lam and pocket nines for Malec. The 8♦7♣6♦ flop gave Malec an open-ended straight draw but he missed the 4♥A♦ turn and river and Lam doubled up. It was a mere scratch for Malec though as he's still got 430,000. --NW

1:21pm: GG Liv
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

We reported a short while ago a hand in which Liv Boeree's pocket kings failed to outlast an opponent's ace-king (see below, 12:43pm).

Alas for the Team PokerStars Pro, she'd lose the last of her short stack shortly thereafter. --MH

1:20pm: Big shove from Zeiter
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Action quickly escalated on Table 10 where Diego Zeiter and Xavier Rouayroux went to battle, leaving the likes of Patrik Antonius, Jason Wheeler and Jeffrey Hakim to play the part of bystanders.

It seemed clear that there had already been an early-position open by the time I arrived to the table because Zeiter, in the cutoff, had 30,000 chips over the line in front of him, representing a three-bet, and Rouayroux had 65,000, in the big blind, had 65,000 out, representing a four bet. The original raiser was long gone.

Zeiter called after a long pause, which meant they were heads up to a J♦9♥9♠ flop. Rouayroux bet 40,000 and Zeiter called.

The 2♣ fell on the turn and preceded two checks. Then the T♣ landed on the river and Rouayroux checked again. Zeiter seized his chance and moved all-in for his final 170,000.

Action was slow throughout this hand, possibly the result of all the cameramen now swarming around. But this bit was fairly quick: Rouayroux folded.

That's a big pot heading in the direction of Zeiter, while Rouayroux is now left considerably shorter. --HS

1:17pm: Davidi and conquer
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Belgian pro Davidi Kitai is a formidable player. He's also very quiet and reserved at the tables, so if you're passing by repeatedly and aren't paying attention, it's easy to miss how he has come to collect big stacks, as he often does.

Kitai started today with just under 180,000, but now he's up to 340,000 and in the top 20.

Just now we saw him go to the river versus Luigi Conti in a small-pot, blind-vs.-blind hand. With the board showing J♠4♠9♦9♠2♣ Kitai checked from the SB, and Conti bet 20,000 from the BB. Kitai sat motionless for a moment then called, and Conti mucked his hand without showing what he had. He's now down to 80,000.

Kitai did show his hand -- Q♦5♠ (!) -- and collected the pot. --MH

1:15pm: Jaka dip
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

And it appears the reign of terror has come to an end.

Faraz Jaka has lost the chip lead at his table. It appears to be Sebastien Malec who led the insurrection to take down Jaka. Malec is now up to about 510,000 while Jaka is down to 380,000.

Malec appears to be a more benevolent leader, but Jaka is still strong and more than capable of retaking his throne atop the chip counts page. --AV

1:10pm: Nedelcu cut down by Schillhabel
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Narcis-Gabriel Nedelcu is out of the Main Event after pushing a short stack with A♠Q♠, getting called by Stefan Schillhabel in the big blind with 9♦9♥, and watching a board unhelpfully roll out 3♦5♣J♣J♠6♠.

Schillhabel is challenging for the chip lead with about 470,000. --MH

1:05pm: The Jaka jams
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Faraz Jaka is a highly-visible menace at his table.

Aside from nearly having more chips than every player at his table combined, Jaka has a bright, neon yellow hat. He's also terrorizing his opponents with constant jams. Jaka has about 500,000 while the the five players to his left each have less than 100,000.

Jaka won uncontested jams from the button and cutoff with a preflop all-ins, but he finally got a caller when he jammed from the hijack. Usman Siddique was on the big blind and called for about 60,000.

Jaka showed Q♦8♦ and Siddique tabled A♣A♠.

"You might get screwed," Jaka said.

The man's a soothsayer. The flop came 8♠4♦5♦ and everyone was feeling the diamond coming. It didn't come on the turn though, that was a K♠. But the river brought a 6♦ and an elimination. Siddique hit the rail while Jaka chipped up to about 525,000.

The Jaka reign of terror continues. --AV

1pm: Istomin is no more
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Aleksei Istomin's tournament has come to an end after he ran a big pair into the even bigger pair of Jerome Brion. Istomin was all in preflop for his last 40,500 and things didn't look good.

Istomin: J♥J♦
Brion: K♣K♦

The A♣T♦K♥ flop took away Istomin's outs to a jack but meant he had four queens to hit a gutshot straight. The 4♠ turn was no help and Istomin was left down to just one card to potentially save him.

"Come on, queen one time!" begged Istomin, but the 6♣ was no help.

He departs as Brion builds to 275,000. --BK

12:58pm: Frank tries to push-upwards
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Christopher Frank began today with 280,000, though now sits with about 165,000 after the first 45 minutes or so of play.

Perhaps that slip in the counts is what inspired Frank just now to step away from the table, swiftly do about 15 push-ups, then sit back down with a flushed face and wide grin.

Asked how many he could do, Frank replied about 60, then added how it helped him clear his head.

Geoffrey Combette looked down at his 35,000 stack, then said he'd do some push-ups, too, or perhaps sit-ups, should he get a few more chips. --MH

12:55pm: Not your average hand
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

This hand took almost ten minutes to play out, but there was good reason for that: it was a really big pot! The initial raiser was Jeff Hakim. He made it 10,000 to go and was swiftly three-bet by Hannes Speiser. It was 28,000 total now for Hakim to continue, but he took it upstairs. He four-bet to 78,000 and Speiser called.

So, as the two players went to a flop there was now around 166,000 in the pot. To put that in perspective, the average stack at this stage is 181,750. Yep, this was a big pot. The flop fell T♥4♦9♦ and Hakim continued for 56,000. Call from Speiser. The 7♣ turn was checked by both players and the 9♣ completed the board. Hakim announced that he was all-in. He was the covering stack with 240,000 to Speiser's 136,000 so it was the Austrian's tournament life that was on the line.

Understandably he needed some time, but after he'd spent a few minutes in the tank Patrik Antonius called the clock. "Aces or kings?" Speiser said to Hakim, but his opponent wasn't talking. With around 20 seconds left on his countdown Speiser mucked and this sizeable pot was shipped to Hakim. He's up to around 510,000 now. --NW

12:50pm: A crushers convention
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

There's really no end of tasty tables out in the field for tournament reporters to focus on today--and, perhaps, for the PokerStars Live producers to experiment with should they decide that three Team PokerStars Pros (including the winningest player of all time) doesn't suit their production demands.

For my money, this is the pick:

Seat 1: Dan Smith
Seat 2: Ariel Malnik
Seat 3: empty
Seat 4: Daniel Dvoress
Seat 5: Ke Chen
Seat 6: Jan Bendik
Seat 7: Christoph Vogelsang
Seat 8: Luke Schwartz

That's the defending champion nestled among an absolute bevvy of crushers, including the ever-compelling Schwartz.

Arguably nobody is crushing quite as much as Dvoress at the moment. He finished third in the €100,000 Super High Roller tournament, and then second in the €50,000 Single-Day High Roller. His trip to Monaco is already worth more than €1.5 million, and he's cashed the Main Event now too. He may be looking enviably over the other side of the tournament room at the moment, though, because another €25,000 buy-in event is just getting started. We at least know where he will be going if it goes south in the Main Event.

A few hands from that table:

-- Dan Smith opened to 8,000 from under the gun and got folds around the table.
-- Ariel Malnik open-pushed for 85,000 from under the gun, but his bid to be put out of his mercy failed. Everyone folded.
-- Daniel Dvoress opened to 8,000 under the gun and Christoph Vogelsang three-bet to 22,000 from the cutoff. Smith thought long and hard about it in the small blind, but folded. Dvoress folded too.
-- Vogelsang opened to 9,000 from the hijack and won

One suspects it'll get more interesting as the day wears on. That table won't be breaking any time soon. --HS

12:45pm: Nardin not done yet
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Tsugunari Toma has taken another hit after just doubling up Romain Nardin.

Toma opened to 8,000 under the gun and when it folded around to Nardin in the big blind he shoved all in over the top for 53,000. Toma made the call and the cards went on their backs.

Nardin: A♥J♠
Toma: K♣Q♣

Nardin stood up to sweat the run out but when it came T♣4♦2♦2♥2♠ he took his seat again. The board was safe and Nardin doubled to 110,000 while Toma drops even further, now down to 95,000. --BK

12:43pm: Conti gets there in all-in versus Boeree
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Liv Boeree raised, next-to-act Luigi Conti three-bet pushed, and when it folded back to Boeree she called the push.

Boeree had K♥K♣ while Conti showed A♥K♦, meaning Conti needed an ace or some other favorable combination of community cards to survive.

The T♦J♠5♠ was the start of such a combination, and the A♥ on the turn the rest of it, making a straight for Conti. The 3♣ river sealed it, and Conti is back to around 60,000 while Boeree slips down to just 40,000 or so. --MH

12:40pm: Hand holds for Hoivold
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Last night some of those whose reports you are reading today might have been playing in the Charity Event here in Monaco. One might have been down to less than three big blinds at one point, finding it necessary to go with just about any two cards.

Alluding to the situation, he might have brought up Dan Harrington's famous "zones" and their colors -- green, yellow, orange, red -- meant to correspond to stack sizes.

"I think I'm in the dark brown zone," he said. "Deep dark brown."

Andres Hoivold returned today to a stack of about eight big blinds, and he'd slipped a little further before getting his chips in behind 8♥8♣ versus the Dmytro Shuvanov's 5♣5♦. The board ran clean for Hoivold -- 9♦K♦J♣3♥2♠ -- and he's back around 50,000 and on the borderline between orange and yellow. Shuvanov has 255,000.

"Now at least we can get a decent pot off of you," cracked Arne Coulter, and Hoivold agreed. --MH

12:35pm: Hoivold stays in the hunt
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

There are still plenty of players involved in this tournament who sampled glory on the PokerStars Championship's precursor: the European Poker Tour.

The defending champion Jan Bendik is making another deep run in Monaco, Remi Castaignon is in the top ten in counts, ElkY is another former EPT champion, Liv Boeree won up the coast in Sanremo, Patrik Antonius prevailed in Baden, Mark Teltscher won in London, Davidi Kitai in Berlin, Sebastian Malec in Barcelona and Andreas Hoivold in Dortmund.

It's the latter who is the focus of the following hand. He just doubled his overnight short stack into something more workable, taking a chunk from Marius-Catalin Pertea in the process.

Action folded to Pertea in the small blind and, eyeing Hoivold's 37,500, moved all-in. "Ah, I gotta look," Hoivold said. He looked. He called.

Hoivold: A♦K♥
Pertea: T♣8♥

Hoivold had an advantage, but there was plenty that could go wrong. A flop of 7♠6♦T♦ would fit the bill.

However the A♠ turn was, in Hoivold's words, "Better". And the Q♦ kept him ahead.

Hoivold now has about 85,000 so stays in contention alongside all those other champions. --HS

12:32pm: Vamos Vilela
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

There was already over 70,000 in the pot by the turn with the cards spread Q♦2♦8♠T♥ and Diego Vilela and Tsugunari Toma were the two active players. Toma led out for 36,000 from the big blind and Vilela made the call on the button to see the 7♣ river.

Toma decided against firing again, checking it over to Vilela who promptly checked behind.

"Ten," announced Toma, tabling T♠9♣, but that couldn't beat Vilela's A♠A♣.

The pot was pushed to Vilela who climbs to 395,000 while Toma takes a hit and drops to 210,000. --BK

12:30pm: Luth doubles through Teltscher
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Mark Teltscher took a hit to start the day.

Teltscher was in a raised pot against Peyman Luth and all the chips went in on the flop. The flop read 5♠8♠6♣ and Teltscher moved all-in. Teltscher started the day with about 400,000 while Luth had 125,500 behind. While Teltscher had Luth covered, he didn't have him beat.

Luth called and showed A♠8♣ while Teltscher tabled a flush draw with J♠2♠. The turn brought a 5♦ and the river was the A♣. No spades for Teltscher.

Luth doubled up to about 260,000 while Teltscher dropped to 230,000. --AV


NEIL7745_Mark_Teltscher_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Tough start for Teltscher

12:25pm: Tvedt can't hold
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Over on the secondary feature table Faraz Jaka came in for a raise to 9,000. Sindre Tvedt, who was to his direct left, raised all-in for just 25,000 and the action passed to Usman Siddique. He re-raised all-in and that was enough to get rid of Jaka.

Siddique: A♣J♣
Tvedt: 6♠6♣

It was a race and the pair held firm on a 9♣T♣4♦ flop. The J♠ turn was a dagger to Tvedt's Main Event hopes though and the K♣ river didn't rescue him. He headed to the exit in 130th place and collects a min-cash. --NW

12:20pm: Bendik busts Luneau
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Jan Bendik won the Main Event here in Monte-Carlo a year ago when it was called the EPT Grand Final. But he returned as one of the shortest stacks in the room to start Day 3, and so it wasn't a surprise to see him pushing all in early.


8G2A7437_Jan_Bendik_Christoph_Vogelsang_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Bendik getting to work early

Given a chance to open from the button, Bendik open-shoved and got no interest from the blinds. Then on the next hand he did it again from the cutoff, and this time an even shorter-stacked Alex Luneau called all in from the small blind.

Dan Smith thought about it in the big blind, then tossed away his pocket fours face up, and the other two showed their cards.

Luneau: T♦T♠
Bendik: J♦J♥

The flop fell J♠Q♠Q♦ and eyebrows raised all around as Bendik had improved to a full house. The T♣ on the turn produced a reaction as well, giving Luneau a lesser full house and leaving him drawing thin but still alive.

The K♣ river promped a "whew" from Bendik, the hand's winner, and Luneau departs. Bendik is still short with 105,000, but the title defense is still in play. --MH


8G2A7397_Alex_Luneau_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Luneau says goodbye

12:15pm: Zeitoun gets early double through Delgado
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

After a Vicente Delgado mid-position open, Jean-Jacques Zeitoun reraise-pushed his short stack from the button and after a short think Delgado decided to gamble.

Delgado had Q♠T♣ while Zeitoun showed A♥K♣, and the 7♣T♦2♦ flop hit Delgado's hand.

"No," said Zeitoun.

The turn then brought the A♠ to swing the edge the other way.

"Yes," said Zeitoun.

The 9♦ river then assured Zeitoun could keep his seat, and he offered one more comment.

"Yes," he said. "Good call."

Zeitoun is back to about 100,000, while Delgado still has about 220,000. --MH

12:10pm: It's ten past noon, bon soir!
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

The sun is out, the clock has only just ticked into "PM" but for the U.K.'s Stephen Woodhead, it was bon soir.

On what was only the first or second deal of the day, Woodhead moved all-in over Moritz Dietrich's late-position open and Dietrich made a standard call. Woodhead returned with only 14,500 chips.

They were racing, at least at the start. Dietrich had 5♠5♦ to Woodhead's A♣Q♥. But the dealer put the 3♦2♦5♥ on the table and Woodhead said, "Bon soir."

The 7♦ turn and 2♠ river completed the board and that was a short day at the office for Woodhead. Dietrich pushes beyond 300,000 after that. --HS

12:05pm: About last night... Vicky vs. Faraz
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

There were about 15 minutes left in Day 2 last night when the bubble burst, after which a few more hands played out at each table before the bagging began. During that stretch lone two-time EPT Main Event winner Vicky Coren Mitchell got involved in hands on a couple of occasions with Faraz Jaka, and only one of them survived those skirmishes to make to the bagging stage.

In the first hand Mitchell raised and when Jaka called, Mitchell joked he was calling with 9♥7♥. The flop then fell 7♦9♥2♥, provoking a response from the table.

"Make that nine-seven of clubs," said Mitchell with a smile. Even so, she continued with a bet which Jaka called. The turn brought the K♥ and another bet from Mitchell, and this time Jaka pushed all in.

Mitchell puzzled over the situation a bit before folding, then Jaka didn't help clarify things much by showing one of his cards -- Q♠.

A couple of hands later the pair were at it again, and the board showed Q♠2♠Q♦5♦ when Mitchell led with a bet once more. Once again Jaka pushed all in, and this time Mitchell decided he might be doing so light and so called with what she had left.

She tabled A♠6♠, but Jaka did have something with 7♦7♣, and after the 9♣ completed the board Mitchell wished the table luck before departing.

Jaka added those chips to what had become a formidable stack, and he starts today with 416,500, good for a spot in the top five as play begins. --MH


NEIL7392_Faraz_Jaka_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Jaka (pictured yesterday on Day 2)

12pm: Let's build a stack
Level 15 - Blinds 2,000/4,000 (ante 500)

Play is already under way again on Day 3 of this Main Event. Today's the day we'll see some very big stacks develop.

Levels are now 90 minutes long and there are five of them on the schedule. There's a 20-minute break at the end of each one. Play will go on to around 9pm-ish.

Let's build a stack. -- HS

Welcome to Day 3 of the PokerStars Championship presented by Monte-Carlo Casino® Main Event

Another day in paradise and another day at the poker tables as Day 3 of the PokerStars Championship presented by Monte-Carlo Casino® Main Event is set to kick off at midday. A 727-player field has already been culled to 134 and will be thinned even further over the five 90-minute levels in store for today.

Of those still in contention it's notable American pro Nick Petrangelo out in front. He had a stellar Day 2 on the felt and bagged up 562,000 in chips. That places him comfortably ahead of current second place Michael Kolkowicz on 470,500 and fan favourite Patrik Antonius in third spot with 452,500.

As for the Team PokerStars contingent, Daniel Negreanu, Liv Boeree, ElkY and Celina Lin are all still in the running. You can see their chip counts along with everyone else's on the Day 3 seating draw right here.

Players have all locked up €7,580 but will be vying for the first-place prize of €500,800. Let's see who will survive the action and whether anyone can usurp Petrangelo's throne as the frontrunner. -- BK

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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.