Nardin heads last 16 at PokerStars Championship presented by Monte-Carlo Casino®


Romain Nardin: Leader after a series of huge pots

Forty-five players walked up the curvy Monte-Carlo Bay Casino road, past Ferraris and Lamborghinis to take a shot at one of the year's most prestigious poker titles this morning. They took a seat in a tournament room that looks out into the Mediterranean Sea and battled for half a million Euros--first prize of the Main Event of the PokerStars Championship presented by Monte-Carlo Casino®.

Michael Kolkowicz led the pack of 45, but he's since been dethroned and the field has been whittled down to 16 contenders. Their new leader is Romain Nardin, who finished the day with 3.956 million.


Michael Kolkowicz: Overtaken, but still with heaps

Nardin dethroned Kolkowicz back in Level 22 when he eliminated Arne Coulier, dominating the shorter stack's K♣J♥ with A♥J♦. It wasn't a runaway lead at the time, that came later in the day when Nardin eliminated Vicente Delgado in a massive pot.

Nearly 2 million chips went in pre-flop that hand. Delgado risked it all with A♣K♥, but Nardin had an ace with an even better kicker, another ace. Nardin's A♥A♦ avoided cracking on the 3♣J♦8♥T♣7♣ board and he catapulted to 3.5 million chips.

Kolkowicz, our start-of-day leader, finished closest to Nardin and will come into Day 5 with 2.983 million. He knocked out the players departing in 18th and 17th to end the day. A full list of eliminated players is on the payouts page.

Team PokerStars Pro Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier is also coming back to battle for the title tomorrow. ElkY--who has more than $11 million in live tournament earnings and multiple major tournament wins--hasn't seen a major final table in a while, but now he's just a day away. The French Team Pro is coming back with 653,000.

One of our survivors has already tasted Monacan victory this championship. Andreas Klatt won the €1,100 PokerStars National Championship here last week after he beat a field of 1,252 players. That victory put him in on top of the MonteDam Swing leader board and earned him €151,445. Now he still has a shot at an even bigger prize.

Our final 16 players are already guaranteed €25,700, but our eventual champion will take home €500,800. While that dream is still alive for our final 16 players, it's been crushed for everyone else.

Jan Bendik, the defending Monaco champion, Dan Smith, Sebastien Malec and Paul Testud all took a seat today, but left earlier than they'd hoped. They're in good company though and the elite club of PokerStars Championship presented by Monte-Carlo Casino® Main Event bustees will only keep growing.

Have a scroll through below to see how it played out. Then join us tomorrow as we play another day of poker and get down to our final table. Here's the list of those still battling:

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

Day 4 coverage archive

• PLAYERS: 16 (of 727) | CHIP COUNTS
PAYOUTS (€3,525,950 total; €500,800 for first)
• Follow @PokerStarsBlog on Twitter

8:55pm: Hakim busts to end the day
Level 23 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

And just like that it's over. Up on the feature table Jeffrey Hakim got it in with the T♣9♠ and was called by Michael Kolkowicz's A♦T♣. An ace on the flop secured Hakim's fate, and as we're now down to 16 play is done for the day.

We'll be back shortly with a full wrap of the day, plus all end of day chip counts. --JS

8:50pm: Tedeschi ousted by Kolkowicz
Level 23 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

We're now down to just 17. Michael Kolkowicz opened with the 9♠9♣ and Paul Tedechi jammed for 405,000 total with the K♣J♣. Kolkowicz thought for a while but eventually made the call, and those pocket nines would hold up on the 4♣5♠T♥T♠7♥ runout.

Kolkowicz is up to just under 2.6 million now. --JS

8:40pm: Shuvanov living up to his name again
Level 23 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Some action from one of the outer tables: chip-leader Romain Nardin opened from under the gun and everybody folded. Nardin showed pocket aces. Don't weep for him.

Rafaelle Sorrentino opened to 55,000 from under the gun and ElkY called in the cutoff. Nardin called in the big blind and they saw a three-way flop: K♥K♠4♦. It went: check, check, bet of 77,000 from ElkY, fold, fold.

That's about it from that particular table, but on the other outer table:

Dmytro Shuvanov opened to 48,000 from the cutoff and Sergio Aido three-bet to 136,000 from the button. Action made its way back to Shuvanov and he shuv(ed)enov to make Aido fold.

"Close," Aido said of his potential call.

After the hand, the tournament director carefully explained to the table what will happen at the end of the night. If they get down to 16 players, they will stop and do a redraw overnight. If they get to the end of the level (about 60 minutes from now) they will stop regardless of how many are left. --HS

8:35pm: Kubicki KO'd
Level 23 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Lukasz Kubicki has been sent home at the hands of Dmytro Shuvanov.

Kubicki was down to approximately 215,000 and he moved all in with it preflop. It looked like the shove might get through until it folded to Shuvanov in the big blind and he called to put Kubicki at risk.

Kubicki: J♣T♦
Shuvanov: A♠9♦

Kubicki was behind and while his cards were live he failed to improve on the 3♠4♠6♦5♣5♦ runout. He departs as Shuvanov moves up to 980,000. --BK

8:30pm: OK - now Huber needs an Uber
Level 23 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

We've just lost Stefan Huber from this event. He open-jammed for 305,000 on the button and got a quick call from Andrey Bondar in the big blind with the A♠5♠. Huber was live with his Q♥3♥, but would need to hit.

However, the 9♦9♠4♣8♣J♣ board brought him absolutely zero help. He's out in 20th, and Bondar increases to 1.37 million. --JS

8:25pm: Play along at home with Raffaele Sorrentino
Level 23 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Let's do things a little differently on this hand. We're going to tell you Raffaele Sorrentino's hole cards and put you in his shoes. Try and answer honestly about what you've have done on each street.

In this hand Sorrentino was on the button and looked on as Douglas Ferreira Souza raised to 57,000 under the gun. Sorrentino peaked down at A♦Q♠. Have you made your decision yet? Sorrentino's was to call and ElkY also called from the big blind.

The Q♦2♠4♠ flop looked pretty good for Sorrentino. ElkY checked, Souza c-bet 74,000 and now the action was on Sorrentino. Top pair top kicker is a pretty decent holding in this spot. Is it worth a raise?

Not in Sorrentino's book it wasn't as he again elected to call. ElkY folded and so it was heads-up to the 3♥ turn. That card didn't seem to change a lot and it didn't change Souza's plan of attack. He bet 148,000 and Sorrentino now had another decision. He tanked for a minute or so and then called.


Douglas Sousa: Is this man bluffing?

The 4♥ fell on the river and Souza moved all-in. Although he had 1.1 million the shove was for an effective 430,000 as that's what Sorrentino had left. How happy are you about top pair, top kicker now?

Let's not forget that this is an under the gun raise and he's bet all three streets. Does your hand value start to shrink now at all or is this a snap call?

Well Sorrentino tanked for so long that Stefan Schillhabel called the clock on him. With just two seconds left on his countdown Sorrentino made the call. Souza showed T♠9♠ for a busted flush draw and Sorrentino proudly flipped his hand.


He was pretty pumped after winning that hand and now has a stack of 1.5 million, while Souza is down to 655,000. --NW

8:20pm: Kolkowicz gets the best of Tedeschi
Level 23 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Michael Kolkowicz opened on the button to 68,000 and was three-bet to 168,000 by Paul Tedeschi in the big blind. That raise was called and they saw a J♥2♠A♠ flop. Tedeschi continued for 120,000, only for Kolkowicz to raise all in!

Tedeschi snap-folded and drops down to 493,000, while Kolkowicz is up to 2.08 million. Considering this was a hand involving Tedeschi, it all moved quite quickly. --JS

8:10pm: Back in the room
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Off they go again. Ninety minutes or four eliminations. It's going to be close.

7:40pm: Break time
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

That's the end of Level 22. We'll play one more level, or until four more players are eliminated, and then bag up for the day. But before that, a 30-minute break!-- HS

7:36pm: Petrushevskii pummelled
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Sergei Petrushevskii is the latest Main Event casualty after getting the last of his chips in behind and failing to improve versus Douglas Ferreira Souza.

Souza opened to 45,000 before Petrushevskii pushed all in for right around 250,000. Souza made the call to put Petrushevskii at risk and the two of them flipped over their hands.

Petrushevskii: Q♠T♣
Souza: A♠J♦

"Ace, jack, king," said Petrushevskii with a wink.

Unfortunately for him the flop landed A♦6♥9♦ to see him fall even further behind. The A♥ turn card meant Petrushevskii was drawing dead and the 5♣ river finalised his departure.

Souza stacks up his chips for a new total of 1.3 million. -- BK

7:35pm: Aido doubles
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

It was an action-packed minute before break.

While Sergei Petrushevskii was busting at one table, Sergio Aido was doubling up at another. Alexandru Papazian started that hand off with a raise to 40,000 from under the gun. Shuvanov called from the cutoff and Aido moved all-in for 402,000 from the button. Papazian called, Shuvanov called and we had a flip.


Sergio Aido: Timely double

Aido turned over A♠J♦ while Shuvanov tabled 7♦7♠. The 6♥A♣K♣Q♦3♦ board paired Aido's ace and he doubled up to about 900,000 while Shuvanov dropped to 850,000. --AV

7:32pm: Delgado done and dusted; Nardin streaks clear
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

A huge pot just played out on the secondary feature table. It began with a raise to 44,000 from under the gun by Roman Nardin. He was called by Raffaele Sorrentino and the action passed to Vicente Delgado, who was in the big blind. Delgado then three-bet to 250,000 from a stack of 1 million.

Nardin, who is the chip leader, took a look at Sorrentino's stack which amounted to 825,000 and he then announced that he was all-in. This sent Sorrentino into the tank. At first there was a chance that this was just posturing, a face saving exercise. But, the longer he stayed there, the more you believed he actually had a genuinely tough decision. Reluctantly he released his cards and Delgado took a look back at his own cards before calling.

Delgado: A♣K♥
Nardin: A♥A♦

Before any community cards came down Sorrentino said that he'd folded jacks, and there was no reason to doubt him. Even less if you'd seen his reaction to the 3♣J♦8♥ flop.

The T♣ turn gave Delgado a gutshot straight draw and he playfully tried to whip the table and amassed spectators into calling for a queen.

The 7♣ river was a blank though and Delgado departed. After that hand Roman Nardin is up to 3.5 million, which is almost double that of his nearest challenger. --NW

7:30pm: Souza and Schillhabel
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Douglas Souza raised to 43,000 from early position and Stefan Schillhabel called from the big blind.

There was an 8♣8♥6♠ flop and a bit of action. Souza bet 45,000 when checked to and Schillhabel went for the old check-raise and amde it 122,000. Souza called and a K♥ came on the turn. Both players checked and then checked again when the T♦ came on the river.


Stefan Schillhabel: A dip

Souza showed A♥T♠ for a rivered pair of tens while Schillhabel turned over 7♦4♠. The pot put Souza up to 1.1 million while Schillhabel dipped to 560,000. --AV


Douglas Souza: A surge

7:25pm: Massive pot goes to...
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Michael Kolkowicz was under the gun and opened it up to 57,000. That got two callers in Andrey Bondar and Davidi Kitai, the latter of whom was on the button.

The flop came T♦5♥6♣ and it checked to Kitai. The Belgian made it 75,000, only for Kolkowicz to raise to 190,000. Bondar folded, but Kitai called.

The turn came the 9♥ and and Kolkowicz continued for 235,000. Kitai matched that too, and the 8♠ river landed, putting four to a straight on board. Kolkowicz bet big after tanking for a while, but we didn't get the amount as Kitai snap-called.

We were expecting to see sets or two pairs, but instead what we saw was that both had rivered a straight. Kolkowicz had the A♠7♦ (and so had been raising with air on the flop) and Kitai had the 7♠7♣ (meaning he called with two over-cards on board).

It was a weird, wonderful hand that keeps Kolkowicz with 1.8 million and Kitai with 1.58 million. --JS

7:20pm: Shuvanov doubles through Dietrich
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Top marks for trying go to Mortiz Dietrich, but the pot went to Dmytro Shuvanov as the Ukrainian made a really good river call to double up.

The hand in question was a blind on blind battle with Dietrich raising from the small and Shuvanov calling from the big. On the 7♠9♥2♦ flop, Dietrich fired out a bet of 50,000 and Shuvanov called.

The T♥ landed on the turn and Dietrich fired again. This time he bet 130,000. Shuvanov needed a little more time on this street but again he called. As he committed the chips he stared menacingly at Dietrich as if he was trying to intimidate him. Perhaps he wanted a free showdown?

He wasn't going to get one as on the 4♦ river Dietrich moved all-in. It was an effective shove of 321,000 as Shuvanov was the shorter stack of the two.

He tanked for a while and then said: "Sometimes it's time," and then called.

Dietrich showed Q♦J♦ for a busted straight draw and Shuvanov showed Q♥9♠ for a good call wth second pair. He's up to 1.125 million while Dietrich slips to 590,000. --NW

7:15pm: Kitai confuses
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Maxim Panyak opened pre-flop and his only caller was Davidi Kitai, so it went heads up to a 4♣5♣T♦ flop. Kitai checked and Panyak continued for 45,000 which Kitai called.

On the 3♣ turn, Kitai then decided to lead out for 112,000, and that was called. The pot was pretty big by this point, and on the 7♥ river Kitai fired again for 250,000. Panyak tanked for a while but eventually decided to fold.

Panyak has 1.02 million now, while Kitai increases to 1.49 million. --JS

7:10pm: Delgado doubles ElkY up
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Team PokerStars Pro Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier is well and truly out of the danger zone now after scoring himself another double up - this time it was through Vicente Delgado.

The action folded around to ElkY in the cutoff and he min-raised to 40,000. It folded around further to Delgado in the big blind and, after a moment of deliberation, he raised enough to cover ElkY's 395,000.

ElkY snapped it off with A♥K♣ and had Delgado's A♠T♥ dominated.

The 3♠A♣9♦Q♥A♦ runout meant ElkY was not only safe but now sitting with 810,000 in play. For Delgado it's back to right around a million. -- BK

7:05pm: Cancel Huber's Uber
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Stefan Huber has just doubled up to 355,000, at the expense of Jeffrey Hakim who drops to 337,000. Huber open-jammed on the button for 152,000 with the A♠Q♠, and Hakim called from the big blind with the A♥8♥. "You're ahead!" Hakim told Huber before the cards were shown.

There was no help for Hakim on the T♠9♥3♦5♠4♠ board, which in fact had given Huber a flush. --JS

7pm: ElkY back in the danger zone
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

From middle position Roman Nardin announced that he was raising. He made it 42,000 to play and the chip leader picked up calls from Raffaele Sorrentino (hijack) and ElkY (big blind).

The three players looked on as the dealer fanned a 3♦8♦J♥. No one was interested - yet - and the 5♦ fell on the turn. ElkY took up the slack and he led for 66,000. Nardin was the only caller. The 2♠ completed the board and ElkY elected to check it over to Nardin.

The Team PokerStars Pro only had 243,000 back and Nardin made him play for it all. There was no exaggerated tanking from ElkY, he took a few breaths and then mucked his hard. He's got 12 big blinds to work with now, Nardin has far more. He's now playing a stack of 2.6 million. --NW

6:55pm: Zeiter zaps Shuvanov
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Diego Zeiter is nearing the 2 million mark after taking a big pot off of Dmytro Shuvanov.

The handed started when Shuvanov raised to 48,000 from under the gun. Action then folded to Zeiter's small blind and he three-bet to 150,000. Shuvanov called and the flop came 3♥2♦5♣. Zeiter check-called a 160,000 bet and both players checked the K♥ on the turn.

A 7♦ completed the board and Zeiter bet 250,000. Shuvanov thought in his Shuvanov way and pried Zeiter with questions.


Diego Zeiter: How do you feel? Pretty good

"How do you feel right now?" Shuvanov asked him. Followed by: "Ace-jack? Ace-queen?"

The answer was one higher, ace-king. Shuvanov called and then mucked when Zeiter tabled A♥K♦ for a pair of kings. The hand put Zeiter up to 1.85 million while Shuvanov dropped to 600,000. --AV

6:50pm: Panyak panics Kolkowicz
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Davidi Kitai opened to 47,000 and both Maxim Panyak (small blind) and Michael Kolkowicz (big blind) called to see a 9♠J♠5♣ flop. Panyak checked it, and Kolkowicz came out with a 115,000 lead. That got Kitai to fold, but Panyak shoved for 727,000 total.

Kolkowicz was very interested, so much so he counted out calling chips and used the stack to try and subtly get a read on his opponent. In the end he decided to fold, bringing Panyak up to 1 million. --JS

6:45pm: Cheong's gone
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Up on the feature table, Lee Hon Cheong opened to 45,000 from the cutoff, only for Andrey Bondar to three-bet on the button to 112,000. Back to Cheong, he shoved and Bondar snap-called.

Cheong - 3♦3♠
Bondar - K♠K♥

Cheong was in big trouble and would need to hit a three to survive. But when the board ran out 9♥T♣6♦T♦6♥, he was outta here. Bondar is up to 1.22 million now. --JS


Andrey Bondar

6:40pm: Ventura vanquished
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Diego Ventura won't be surviving to the penultimate day tomorrow - he was just eliminated by Moritz Dietrich.


The end of Diego Ventura

Ventura was short-stacking and pushed his last 145,000 into the middle from the hijack seat pre-flop. It folded around to Dietrich in the big blind and he woke up with a hand to call it off.

Ventura: 7♥7♦
Dietrich: A♠K♦

They were off to the races and Dietrich found himself out in front on the K♣T♠Q♦ flop. The T♦ turn and 4♣ were no help to Ventura and he was sent on his way.


Diego Ventura: in more comfortable times

With that elimination Dietrich eclipses the 1 million-chip mark. -- BK

6:35pm: Some good reads from the High Roller
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

The €25,000 High Roller tournament got under way today, and here's a great read about one of its competitors Daniel Dvoress, who has been crushing Monte Carlo this week. Actually, he's been crushing 2017. Give it a read!

6:30pm: ElkY spikes the river to stay alive
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Apologies for the spoiler alert in the title, but as it suggests ElkY has just doubled up. He shoved for 190,000 from the cutoff with A♥5♣ and Marius-Catalin Pertea called from the small blind with a dominating A♣8♠.

The 2♠3♦3♣ flop opened up some chopportunities. The 6♣ turn increased ElkY's outs and he duly made a straight on the 4♦ river. He's now got just over 400,000 while Pertea is down to 1.3 million. --NW


A small dip for Marius Pertea

6:25pm: No panic for Panyak
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

An instant double up on the feature table for Maxim Panyak, who got his last 384,000 into the middle and found a call from Stefan Huber. Yet again, this was a race. Huber's A♠J♠ was up against Panyak's 8♠8♦ but the board bricked out and the pocket pair won.

Panyak has more than 750,000 but Huber is now in some peril. He has only about 120,000. -- HS

6:20pm: Redraw
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Here's how they line up now:

Feature table

1. Maxim Panyak 384,000
2. Michael Kolkowicz 1,956,000
3. Stefan Huber 532,000
4. Paul-Francois Tedeschi 883,000
5. Lee Hon Cheong 454,000
6. Andrey Bondar 709,000
7. Davidi Kitai 1,467,000
8. Jeffrey Hakim 445,000

Table 2

Seat 1: ElkY - 193,000
Seat 2: Douglas Souza - 1,035,000
Seat 3: Marius-Catalin Pertea - 1,492,000
Seat 4: Vicente Delgado - 1,322,000
Seat 5: Romain Nardin - 1,327,000
Seat 6: Sergei Petrushevskii - 321,000
Seat 7: Raffaele Sorrentino - 616,000
Seat 8: Stefan Schillhabel - 978,000

Table 3

Seat 1: Dmytro Shuvanov - 1,250,000
Seat 2: Sergio Aido - 376,000
Seat 3: Diego Ventura - 155,000
Seat 4: Lukasz Kubicki - 470,000
Seat 5: Andreas Klatt - 900,000
Seat 6: Alexandru Papazian - 1,570,000
Seat 7: Diego Zeiter - 1,230,000
Seat 8: Moritz Dietrich - 675,000

6:10pm: Speranza KO'd by Kitai
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

We're now down to 24 remaining after Gianluca Speranza falls at the hands of Davidi Kitai.


Gianluca Speranza: Out!

It was Alexandru Papazian who opened to 45,000 from the cutoff, and after Kitai called on the button, Speranza squeezed all-in from the big blind. Papazian let it go but Kitai was keen to run it.

Speranza: 4♥4♣
Kitai: A♣K♠

Kitai took the lead on the 8♠3♣A♦ flop and with Speranza unable to find a four on the 6♦ turn or 3♠ river he was our 25th place finisher.

Speranza says goodbye as Kitai climbs to 1.4 million as that elimination means we're redrawing to our final three tables. There's a brief pause while that happens. -- BK


Davidi Kitai: Another victim

6:05pm: Delgado busts Malec
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Another one down.

Vicente Delgado raised to 60,000 from the cutoff and Sebastien Malec moved all-in for about 400,000. The blinds folded and Delgado called with A♠J♠, dominating Malec's A♥9♦.


Vicente Delgado, right, ends Malec's two-time hopes

The board ran 6♦6♣K♠8♠5♥ and Delgado's ace-jack high took down the pot. Malec was eliminated in 26th place while Delgado's stack rose to 1.34 million.

"He already won one," Delgado joked to the table after Malec left. --AV

6pm: Check(raise)ing in on Schillhabel
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Up on the feature table, Stefan Schillhabel is getting a little tricky. Or should I say checky.

After opening from the hijack and being called by Paul Tedeschi in the cutoff, the two saw a 2♣8♠9♠ flop. Schillhabel decided not to c-bet and checked it, letting Tedeschi in for a 58,000 bet. Schillhabel then check-raised up to 195,000, and--unbelievably--that got a fast fold from Tedeschi. --JS

5:55pm: Nardin ascends to the top
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

We just mentioned that Michael Kolkowicz had been chip leader from wire to wire today. Well, he's not top dog anymore as Romain Nardin just eliminated Arne Coulier to leapfrog him at the top of the chip counts.

It all went in pre-flop with Coulier all-in for around 475,000. He had K♣J♥ and was dominated by Nardin's A♥J♦. The 3♦5♣2♥A♠9♦ board kept Nardin in front and he's up to 1.95 miliion. Coulier is out in 27th and collects €19,840. --NW


Romain Nardin: 1.9 million reasons to be cheerful

5:50pm: They're back
Level 22 - Blinds 10,000/20,000 (ante 3,000)

Players have returned from their break and action has re-started. Full chip counts are over there on the chip-count page. Michael Kolkowicz has still not been anything but the chip leader for the whole day so far. -- HS

5:30pm: Klatt sends us to a break with a shove
Level 21 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Andreas Klatt put his newfound wealth to good use in a hand shortly after Manig Loeser's departure. He opened to 38,000 only for Alexandru Papazian to three-bet to 113,000 from one seat along.

No problem. After waiting for the blinds to leave the arena, Klatt shipped for 700,000 and Papazian folded. Not only that, but Klatt timed his shove to coincide with the end of Level 21, so off they all go on a break. --HS

5:25pm: Loeser loses
Level 21 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Manig Loeser was down to 288,000 and it went all-in with A♦8♣.

Things were looking good for Loeser when Andreas Klatt called with A♦3♣, but the 3♠2♠Q♣J♠4♠ board quickly changed that. Klatt hit a pair of threes and took down the pot while Loeser hit the rail.

Klatt chipped up to 700,000 while Loeser finished in 28th. --AV

5:20pm: Aido into the action at last
Level 21 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Sergio Aido is the shortest stack at the feature table and he's been patiently waiting to get involved. A lot of the bigger buy-in events that he plays have shot clocks, so that combined with his stack means he's not exactly been enjoying the slow pace of play.

Nonetheless when Stefan Schillhabel opened from under the gun the Spaniard decided to defend from the big blind. On the 5♥5♣K♠ flop Schillhabel bet 30,000 and Aido check-called. The 4♠ fell on the turn and Aido checked again. Schillhabel fired again, this time it was 75,000 for Aido to call and he decided to stick around. Both players checked the J♣ river and Aido's 9♠5♠ was the best hand. Those flopped trips mean Aido is now up to 554,000 while Schillhabel is down to 713,000. --NW

5:15pm: Sorrentino saved
Level 21 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Rafaelle Sorrentino's tournament life was just saved by the arrival of a lucky river card.

After a button-raise from Moritz Dietrich, Sorrentino shipped it in for 254,000 from the small blind. The big blind folded but Dietrich called to put Sorrentino at risk.

Sorrentino: 6♠6♦
Dietrich: 9♥9♣

Sorrentino was searching for a six and while the situation looked dire by the turn on a 5♣J♦K♦T♣ board, the miracle 6♣ river appeared to keep Sorrentino in the hunt.

He doubles up to 530,000 as Dietrich drops back to 615,000. --BK

5:10pm: On the cutting room floor
Level 21 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

There has been three recent shoves on the secondary feature table, but I'm confident that none of them will make the TV edit. Our bar is lower, however, so fill your boots.

1: Manig Loeser opened to 40,000 and Andreas Klatt moved in for 400,000. That won him the pot.

2: ElkY open-pushed for 186,000 from under the gun and everyone folded.

3: Klatt opened to 38,000 from under the gun and Dmytro Shuvanov called in the cutoff. Loeser also called in the big blind and so this was three way to the flop of 8♦J♠A♥.

Loeser checked, Klatt checked and then Shuvanov bet 65,000. Only Klatt called. The turn was the 3♦ and Klatt checked again.

Nominative determinism came into play at this point with Shuvanov shoving. Of course he did. He had about 800,000 so it was Klatt's 400,000 that was the effective stack.

Klatt didn't like it, so folded. Shuvanov moves up to around 1 million. --HS

NEIL8429__PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Shovey Shuvanov

5:05pm: Testud taken out
Level 21 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

In his final hand of the tournament, Paul Testud raised to 32,000 from the button and Alexandru Papazian called from the small blind. Davidi Kitai called from the big blind and all three players checked the K♦7♥Q♦ flop.


Alexandru Papazian: Bearded assassin

The turn brought a J♥ and a 77,000 bet from Papazian. Kitai folded, Testud called and a 3♦ completed the board. Papazian led out again and bet 93,000, but this time Testud raised all-in for 254,000.

Papazian called and showed a flush with 8♦7♦ while Testud tabled a straight with A♦T♣. Testud was eliminated in 29th place while Papazian chipped up to over 1.5 million. --AV

8G2A7596_Paul_Testud_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Testud's outta here

5pm: ...and more slow going
Level 21 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

You pay your money and you make your choice. The pace of play at the feature table is, if we're being kind achingly slow. The commentators have said that it's currently about 12 hands per hour. It's Paul Tedeschi who's bearing the brunt of the viewer and commentator jokes over the amount of time he's taking to act. I'd say there's a decent chance this table gets switched out at the break. --NW

NEIL8267_Paul-Francois_Tedeschi_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Tedeschi's slooooooooow

4:55pm: Slow play
Level 21 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Nothing to report from the outer tables. Action has really slowed down. --JS

4:45pm: Shoved on and shoving
Level 21 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Sergei Petrushevskii was both shover and shovee in two recent hands and eventually doubled up.

On the first hand, Romain Nardin opened to 35,000 from the cutoff and Petrushevskii raised to 91,000 from the button. After the blinds got out the way, Nardin moved in for around 850,000, which left Petrushevskii's 300,000 as the effective stack.

Petrushevskii thought about it, then folded.

A few hands later, a similar situation seemed to be brewing. Nardin opened to 35,000 and Petrushevskii, in the hijack now, moved in for 257,000. This time the players behind Petrushevskii did not immediately fold. Instead Arne Coulier called from a stack of about 850,000.

It was only after Coulier got involved that any quick folding took place and Nardin ditched his original raising hand. That left Coulier and Petrushevskii to strap on the spikes and hit the track.

Petrushevskii: T♦T♠
Coulier: A♠Q♥

The flop was immediately gratifying for Petrushevskii. It was the 4♠T♣4♦. His boat was never in danger through the J♦ turn and 8♣ river.

"Don't play all-in with me," Petrushevskii told Coulier. "In Prague, I win 10 all-ins in a row. That's how I make final table."

I can confirm that that's true. But it's perhaps notable that Petrushevskii didn't say that until after this hand was done and dusted.

Petrushevskii now has about 550,000 while Coulier has 580,000 still. --HS

NEIL8390_Fatima_Moreira_De_Melo_Arne_Coulier_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

She's cool, he's Coulier

4:40pm: Malec moves in
Level 21 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Sebastian Malec is sitting a little prettier after getting it in good and holding against Diego Ventura.

Malec raised to 32,000 from under the gun and when it folded around to Ventura in the small blind he announced that he was all in. The big blind threw his hand away but Malec called off for 304,000.

Malec: J♥J♣
Ventura: T♥T♣

Malec was ahead and had all but locked it up after spiking top set on the 5♣3♠J♠ flop. By the A♥ the double up was official before the 3♥ even arrived on the river.

Malec moves up to 620,000 while Ventura is left short on 135,000. --BK

NEIL8402_Sebastian_Malec_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Malec in red

4:35pm: Ventura doubles through Malec
Level 21 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Diego Ventura raised from the cutoff and Sebastien Malec re-raised from the small blind. Ventura four-bet all-in for 219,000 and Malec called.

Ventura tabled the preflop nuts, A♣A♥, while Malec tabled A♦T♠. The 5♥T♦4♦ flop gave Malec a pair of tens, but it wasn't enough to beat pocket aces and the 4♥ on the turn and K♠ on the river did nothing to help Malec.

Ventura doubled to 450,000 while Malec dropped to 314,000. --AV

4:30pm: Tedeschi evens the score against Hon Cheong
Level 21 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Earlier today (see 1:40pm post) Lee Hon Cheong all but eliminated Paul Tedeschi when he went runner-runner to make the nut flush and down Tedeschi's flopped straight. That left Tedeschi with just 90,000 but he's since rebuilt. He now has more than Hon Cheong after winning a big pot that took more than 12 minutes to play out.

It began with a raise to 37,000 from Douglas Ferreira Souza from utg+1, Hon Cheong flat called from the hijack and Tedeschi then three-bet to 140,000 from the big blind. That got rid of Souza but Hon Cheong tank-called.

Tanking from Hon Cheong would become a theme of this hand. The flop fell Q♥4♥K♥ and Tedeschi led for 162,000. Hon Cheong tanked again and eventually called. There was now 663,000 in the pot and Tedeschi had just 375,000 behind. It came as no surprise then when he moved all-in on the 2♠ turn. Hon Cheong had 797,000 in total so the bet was a decent portion of his stack. He tanked for over three minutes, at which point the clock was called. The time ticked down but Hon Cheong appeared no closer to calling at any point during his 60 second countdown and his hand was ruled dead.

After that hand Tedeschi is up to 1.038 million while Cheong is down to 797,000. --NW

4:25pm: Papazian puts ElkY to the test
Level 21 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Team PokerStars Pro Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier is now nursing a short stack after being put to a river decision for most of his chips by Alexandru Papazian.

Papazian raised to 32,000 preflop and both ElkY and Manig Loeser called from the small and big blinds respectively. It was checked over to Papazian on the 9♣A♦T♠ flop and he continued for 38,000. ElkY called, Loeser folded, and the dealer turned the T♥.

It was quickly checked through to the 7♠ river card where ElkY loaded up and fired for 72,000. Papazian went into the tank before finally deciding on a raise to 225,000. ElkY had a total of only 275,000 so it was a big spot for the Team Pro.

After thinking about it and looking slightly frustrated ElkY decided to let it go and the pot was awarded to Papazian. He eclipses the 1.1 million mark as ElkY is left with right around 200,000. --BK

NEIL8334_Elky_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Dangerzone for ElkY

4:22pm: ElkY's blind defence goes awry
Level 21 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Although Hossein Ensan, Jan Bendik and Remi Castaignon have been knocked out today, there are still three former EPT champions in the mix. Two of them, Davidi Kitai and ElkY, just did battle with Kitai leaving ElkY disconsolate. (Although when you see the hands, there's blame to be apportioned all round.)

Kitai opened to 40,000 from the cutoff and ElkY called in the big blind. They took to a flop of 7♥3♠T♠. ElkY checked, Kitai bet 40,000 and ElkY put out a check-raise to 133,000. Kitai called.

The 7♦ came on the turn and ElkY checked again. Kitai bet 55,000 this time, but ElkY resisted a second check-raise. He called.

The 8♦ completed the board and both players checked--although Kitai took a long while to do so.

ElkY turned over his T♣3♣ and it was nearly an inspired blind defence with filth. He had flopped two pair. But Kitai had K♣7♣ and had turned trips. --HS

4:20pm: Brion busts to Bondar
Level 21 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

Jerome Brion is out. Having played almost all hands since the break, including that bit part in the pot won by Sebastian Malec described below, Brion then lost two more hands and hit the rail.

In his penultimate hand, Brion raised from the cutoff and Diego Zeiter called in the big blind. They then saw the flop: 2♦4♦3♥.

Zeiter check-called Brion's bet of 35,000, which took them to the A♠ on the turn. Check, check.

The river was the 3♣ and Zeiter bet 50,000. Brion called, but watched the pot pushed towards Zeiter after the latter tabled his A♥6♠.

It was almost certainly the very next hand when Brion got it all in pre-flop against his neighbour Andrey Bondar. Brion had A♥T♣ to Bondar's J♠J♥ and although there was a ten on the turn, it was not enough. All the others were blank.

That puts pay to Brion's battle and leaves Bondar with around 750,000. --HS

4:15pm: Kolkowicz versus Sousza
Level 21 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

An intriguing hand between Douglas Ferreira Souza and Michael Kolkowicz just played out at the feature table. Souza was the pre-flop aggressor. He raised from the hijack and Kolkowicz called from the button.

The flop fell 6♥6♦4♣ and Souza fired out a bet of 48,000. Call from Kolkowicz. On the 2♠ turn Souza slowed down. Kolkowicz bet 94,000 and Souza smooth called. The 7♣ river checked through and Souza's pocket threes were the best hand at showdown. He's up to 1 million while Kolkowicz is down to 1.4 million. --NW

4:10pm: Red tracksuit, red triangle
Level 21 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

The triangle that matches Sebastian Malec's track-suit was recently deployed after the young Polish player and EPT Barcelona champion four-bet jammed for his last 350,000 here in Monte Carlo. The red track-suit remains in place, though, as everybody folded.

Malec started it with a raise to 36,000 from the cutoff and then Jerome Brion called on the button. Moritz Dietrich three-bet to 110,000 from the big blind, prompting Malec to push.

Brion folded swiftly and Dietrich retreated as well. The track-suit, which wouldn't look out of place on a drugs kingpin, frightened them off. --HS

4:05pm: Ensan eliminated
Level 21 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

In the first few minutes of Level 21, Hossain Ensan moved all-in for 209,000 from under the gun and Sergei Petrushevskii called from the big blind.

Ensan showed 9♦9♥ and Petrushevskii a slightly better red pair of T♥T♦. Ensan needed a nine, but the flop brought a ten instead and Petrushevskii hit a set. Ensan was eliminated in 30th place while Petrushevskii chipped up to 560,000. --AV

4pm: Souza eliminates Lejal
Level 21 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

A couple of hands into the level Renaud Lejal took his final stand. He shoved all-in for 243,000 with A♦Q♦ and Douglas Ferreira Souza three-bet all-in over the top with A♠K♦. The 8♣T♠5♠8♠8♦ board meant both players made trip eights, but Souza's kicker played.

Lejal was actually out in 31st meaning he hit a pay jump and collected €19,840. There was an elimination at one of the outer tables just before he exited. Information on that one coming right up. --NW

3:55pm: Back in action
Level 21 - Blinds 8,000/16,000 (ante 2,000)

The third level of the day has kicked off. Full chip counts are available here. --JS

3:35pm: Break time

They're on a 20-minute tournament break. Back at 3:55pm for Level 21.

3:31pm: Castingnon exits; down to the final 32
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Five tables have become four as Remi Castaignon just exited in 33rd position. He was in the big blind and called a raise from the small blind - Diego Zeiter. On the 9♠4♠A♣ flop Zeiter fired out a c-bet and Castaignon stuck around.

The 3♣ turn was where the fireworks went off. Zeiter bet again. This time it was 77,000 for to continue. Castaignon elected to risk everything he had though and raised all-in for 252,000 total. Zeiter quickly called and showed A♦3♥ for two pair. Castaignon turned over 4♣2♣. He was behind, but had flush and straight draws working for him as well as the two remaining fours. The river was the 2♠ and although he made two pair it was still the second best hand.

So he exits, while Zeiter is now up to 1.2 million.

They're doing and four-table redraw now. --NW

3:30pm: Kitai can't call
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Andreas Klatt raised to 28,000 from the cutoff and Davidi Kitai defended his big blind.

The flop came 3♥4♥A♣ and Kitai check-called a 25,000 bet. The turn was a K♠ and Kitai check-called another bet, that one worth 70,000. An 8♥ completed the board, putting three hearts on the board and Kitai decided to lead out. Kitai bet 122,000 and Klatt, who only had 197,000 behind, moved all-in.

It was just an extra 75,000 for Kitai, but he looked pained. He shook his head, counted out the bet and buried his head in his hand. Kitai thought for three minutes and a player called the clock.

Kitai eventually folded and Klatt showed him the A♦ before he raked in the pot. The hand put Klatt up to 583,000 while Kitai dipped to 826,000. --AV

3:25pm: Loeser lives
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Manig Loeser is alive and kicking after a flip versus Diego Ventura went his way.

Loeser was all in pre-flop with 9♠9♦ and needed to hold against Ventura's A♣Q♦. That's exactly what Loeser did as the board ran a clean 2♦5♥7♣8♥K♣ to secure his double up and relegate Ventura to a short stack of 125,000.

Loeser meanwhile lifts to 520,000 in chips. -- BK

3:20pm: Shuvanov closing in on a million
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Dmytro Shuvanov raised to 28,000 from the button and Andreas Klatt called from the big blind. Both players checked the 8♦2♠J♥ flop and a 4♣ came on the turn.

Klatt checked again and Shuvanov bet 43,000. Klatt called and a K♣ completed the board. Shuvanov bet 90,000 when checked to and Klatt called after some thought. Shuvanov showed J♣T♥ and Klatt mucked.

Shuvanov is now nearing the seven-figure chip mark with 912,000 while Klatt dropped to 332,000. --AV

3:15pm: Hakim doubles through Ensan
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Jeffrey Hakim is still in contention after fading a three outer to double up through Hossein Ensan.

Ensan button-raised to 24,000 before Hakim shipped it from the big blind for 261,000.

"How much is it?" asked Ensan, mid-massage with his shirt unbuttoned.

When he got confirmation on the number Ensan made the call and Hakim had a sweat for his tournament life.

Hakim: A♦Q♥
Ensan: K♥Q♣

Hakim had Ensan dominated and the ace queen would hold when the cards fell 5♥3♠9♦4♦Q♠. That hit drops Ensan back to 810,000 while Hakim's stack hikes to 550,000. -- BK

3:05pm: Action table is, well, actiony
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Not a pot goes by at the secondary feature table without something interesting happening. There are no raise and take its here. There's tons of three-betting, lots of squeezing and plenty of interesting post-flop spots too. The following hand involved a little from Column A and a little from Column B.

Stefan Schillhabel got the action started. He raised to 28,000 from under the gun, Paul Tedeschi called from early position and it folded around to Michael Kolkowicz. He three-bet squeezed to 68,000 and Tedeschi was the only caller.

The flop fell A♦3♥6♣ and Kolkowicz led for 43,000. It was a bet that Tedeschi raised to 138,000 and Kolkowicz then went deep into the tank. When he emerged it was to raise. He made it 320,000 to go and Tedeschi folded his hand.


Michael Kolkowicz: Chip leader gonna chip lead

They've got hole card readers on this table so it'll be interesting to see if that one makes the TV edit. It was certainly a curious hand. At the end of all that Kolkowicz is up to 1.69 million and Tedeschi is down to 920,000. --NW

3pm: Loeser doubles through Huber
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Germany's Manig Loeser is still alive in this one, having got a bit lucky to double against Stefan Huber, who is on a bit of a downswing right now.

Loeser was all in for 99,000 with the A♣8♣ against Huber's Q♣Q♠, but a 7♠8♥A♥ flop was just what Loeser's doctor ordered. The T♥ and K♣ completed the board, bringing Loeser to 210,000 and Huber to 407,000. --JS

2:57pm: An Ensan amount of pressure
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Sergei Petrushevskii was really up against it just now. With somewhere between 300,000 and 350,000 already in the middle, he was heads up in a pot against Hossein Ensan on a 4♦T♦K♥3♥ board. Petrushevskii had checked it to the German, and Ensan had made it 190,000, almost half of Petrushevskii's 400,000 stack.

In the end he decided to fold after the clock was called, but showed his hand: the K♣Q♠ for top pair. He urged Ensan to show a bluff, but to no avail.

Ensan's up to 1.07 million now. --JS

2:55pm: Bondar builds through Huber
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Stefan Huber just took a hit after an action river card saw him double up Andrey Bondar.

Huber raised to 26,000 pre-flop and Bondar defended his big blind before a flop of 2♠8♣K♣. Bondar check-called a bet of 18,000 and the 4♠ landed on the turn. The action was then checked through and the 5♠ rolled off on the river.

Bondar led out for 44,000 but Huber moved all-in over the top with enough to cover Bondar's 188,000 total. Bondar snapped it off with Q♠8♠ for a rivered flush which was good against Huber's A♦3♦ for a rivered straight.

After being hit by the cold deck Huber still stacks up with 680,000 while Bondar builds to 470,000. -- BK

2:50pm: The Tedeschi train can't be stopped
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

I don't know what Paul Tedeschi did during the 20-minute break but by god it's worked. That or he's just picked up some good cards. He started the level with just over 100,000, he's now up to 950,000.

The pre-flop action in the following hand is unknown, but looking at the pot size the heavy favourite is that Tedeschi raised from under the gun and that Sergio Aido (button) and Stefan Schillhabel (small blind) both called.


Paul Tedeschi: Unstoppable train

What I do know is that on a 8♣K♠7♠ flop the action was checked to Sergio Aido and the Spaniard bet 82,000. Schillhabel smooth called and Tedeschi then check-raised to 235,000 total. Aido folded but Schillhabel called. On the 4♦ turn Schillhabel checked to Tedeschi and he instantly moved all-in. It was about 300,000 for Schillhabel to call but he quickly released his hand. --NW

2:45pm: Bendik busts
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Jan Bendik won't have a repeat win in Monte Carlo.

Bendik got it in with A♠Q♠ against Jerome Brion's A♥9♠ and Brion hit a nine on the flop. Bendik couldn't improve on the turn or river and hit the rail while Brion chipped up to about 450,000.


Jan Bendik: The end of the former Monaco champ

There will be a new Monte Carlo champion as the man who triumphed here last year heads home. -- AV

2:42pm: Peyman his money; Luth is out
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

There are many ways to get all the chips into the middle for a big all-in pot. The hand that eliminated Peyman Luth wasn't as straightforward as some.

Luth opened to 26,000 from early position and picked up calls from Raffaele Sorrentino (small blind) and Diego Zeiter (big blind). The first non-standard part of the hard occurred when Sorrentino led for 26,000 on the T♥Q♣4♥ flop. Curious. Zeiter had enough of a hand to stick around though and he called. The hand then took another twist when Luth raised to 120,000.

That increase saw off Sorrentino but Zeiter wasn't budging. He was the covering stack and he moved all-in. It was now Luth who faced a big decision. Luth had about 220,000 back and after much tanking he called it off.

Luth: A♦T♦
Zeiter: 4♣4♠

It was a bad misstep by Luth and one that would cost him his tournament life. The 5♠ turn and 6♣ river completed the board and Luth tumbled out of the tournament. Zeiter is up to 850,000. --NW

2:40pm: Testud takes out Smith
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Dan Smith moved all-in for 80,000 from the cutoff and Paul Testud called from the big blind.

Smith tabled Q♣8♦ and Testud showed A♣K♦. Smith was in need of some help, but the 9♦2♥7♦K♥6♠ board left Smith drawing dead on the turn.


Time to ponder now for Dan Smith

Testud took down the pot with a pair of kings and chipped up to 350,000 while Smith was eliminated in 34th place. --AV

2:38pm: Vilela busts to Delgado
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Diego Vilela jammed from under the gun but got no callers. That increased his stack up to 180,000 for the next hand, and when Vicente Delgado opened to 25,000 on the button Vilela shoved again and Delgado made the call.

Vilela - A♥7♠
Delgado - A♠J♠

Delgado had Vilela dominated in this Spain v Brazil encounter, and after the 2♠J♦7♥5♦A♣ board both had two pair, but Delgado's was best. He's up to 630,000, while Vilela makes his way out. --JS

2:36pm: Kitai and ElkY collide
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Davidi Kitai raised to 28,000 from the cutoff and ElkY called from the big blind.

The flop came K♥K♣A♥ and Kitai bet 22,000 when checked to. ElkY called and an 8♦ came on the turn. ElkY check-called again, this time for 68,000. The river brought a J♦ and ElkY went for another check. Kitai bet 220,000, about half of ElkY's remaining stack, and it was good enough to take down the pot.


ElkY survives collision with Davidi Kitai

Kitai chipped up to 1.14 million while ElkY dipped to 532,000.

The feature table then shrunk the following hand, but it was because they moved Sebastian Malec to another table. --AV

2:30pm: Aido chips up
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Sergio Aido, one of the two remaining Spaniards left in this Main Event, opened to 30,000 and it folded to Lee Hon Cheong in the big blind. The Hong Kong native defended, and they went heads up to an 8♣Q♣9♥ flop.

Cheong checked it to the original raiser; so far so standard. Aido made a c-bet of 32,000 and Cheong called. Again, no real surprises.

But a surprise did come on the 8♥ turn when Cheong decided to lead out himself. He made a bet of 70,000, but that didn't shake off Aido who made the call.


Sergio Aido: Typically aggressive

The river was the 7♠, but there'd be no more betting. Cheong rolled over the A♦9♠ for two pair, but as Aido had the Q♠J♦ he had the bigger two pair and took it down. He's up to 890,000 now, while Cheong still has more with 1.01 million. --JS

2:25pm: Papazian puts Smith in the red zone
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Alexandru Papazian raised to 30,000 from the cutoff and Dan Smith defended his big blind.

Both players checked the 5♠6♣2♥ flop and a 9♣ came on the turn. Smith bet out 27,000 and Papazian called. The river brought another nine, the 9♥, and Smith bet again. Smith bet 40,000, Papazian thought and then raised to 135,000.

Smith only had 177,000 behind and it was his turn to think, bury his head in his hand and thoughtfully riffle his chips for a bit. Smith called and then mucked when Papazian showed A♦9♦ for trip nines.

The hand put Papazian up to 644,000 while Smith was left with just 82,000. --AV

2:20pm: The worst seat in the house
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Jan Bendik is not happy. Not one bit.

For the past three hands, he has folded with frustration as he sees his antes eat away at his chip count. In the end he decided there was only one thing for it: a new chair.

Bendik got out of his seat, dragged away the chair he was sitting on, and swapped it for a new one. He explained to a dealer at an empty table nearby: "Every hand, deuce. Seven-deuce, jack-deuce, eight-deuce..." --JS

2:15pm: Duarte dusted by Dietrich
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Luis Duarte has been felted after a bad beat from table-mate Moritz Dietrich.

Duarte was in great shape when the money went in pre-flop, holding A♥K♥ to Dietrich's K♣Q♣. Unfortunately for Duarte that isn't always enough as he was swiftly reminded when the board came down 6♣3♣4♦5♦A♣ to see Dietrich river a flush.

Duarte took the beat in stride, shaking the hands of his fellow players before being shown to the payout desk.

Dietrich meanwhile climbs to more than 1 million in chips. -- BK

2:10pm: Double double for Tedeschi
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

Going into Level 20 Paul Tedeschi was the shortest stack of the remaining players. He has now doubled twice and has 585,000.

We missed the first double, but caught the second one live. In the hand in question Tedeschi raised to 30,000 on the button, Krisztian Fejerdi moved all-in from the small blind for 271,000 and Tedeschi called.

Tedeschi: A♠T♠
Fejerdi: A♥7♥

A J♦8♣3♣2♦K♠ run out kept Tedeschi in front and he's now right back in this with a comfortable stack of nearly 50 big blinds.


Krisztian Fejerdi: Free to watch Juve at Monaco tonight

It's not so bright for Fejerdi. Tedeschi actually had him slightly covered, so he departs in 40th place. --NW

2pm: Back at it
Level 20 - Blinds 6,000/12,000 (ante 2,000)

The chip-count page has now been updated with the remaining 40 players' stacks. The top two are as they were at the start, with Michael Kolkowicz leading Stefan Schillhabel. But Marius-Catalin Pertea and Lee Hon Cheong are now both significant forces too.


Marius-Catalin Pertea: Moving in the right direction

Play is under way again. -- HS

1:42pm: Take a break

The players have gone on a 20-minute break, so we will too. We're going to fetch the full chip counts in the meantime, so join us back here soon. --JS

1:41pm: Diego v Diego
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Diego Vilela is still alive and kicking, scoring a double through Diego Zeiter towards the end of Level 19. Vilela had about 110,000 and K♣K♥. Zeiter had about 460,000 and A♠T♣. There was a king on the flop, which rendered the ace on the turn redundant.


Diego Vilela: Double through Diego

Vilela now has about 230,000, while Zeiter has 335,000 still. -- HS

1:40pm: Cheong chops down Tedeschi after brutal runout
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Paul Tedeschi's very carefully constructed tournament run has just come crashing down around his ears. He has just lost all but about 90,000 of his stack in an sickener of a hand against Lee Hon Cheong.

But what's a sickener for Tedeschi is a fantastic boon for Cheong. He will start the new level with close to 1 million in chips (full, accurate counts coming soon).


Paul Tedeschi: Brutalised

The pre-flop action went raise, three-bet call. That was Tedeschi in mid-position and Cheong on the button.

They then saw a flop of 8♦7♦9♥.

They both checked, which led to the 4♥ on the turn. It looked like a bet-call at this point, bringing the pot up to about 280,000. (Us reporters were mostly over the other side of the room, so missed the specifics.)

The K♥ completed the board and Tedeschi moved 188,000 into the middle. Cheong paused a few seconds but then moved all-in for 411,000 total. Tedeschi slumped back in his seat.

This was not much more than a min-raise, but Tedeschi did the very opposite of snap call. In fact he took as long as he possibly could, asking for the bet to be dragged in so he could see precisely what he had to pay. He cut down his own chips, and after a good few minutes, somebody called the clock.

Tedeschi took at least half of his one minute allocation but then tossed in a calling chip. Cheong showed him the A♥8♥ for the runner-runner nut flush. A despairing Tedeschi turned over J♦T♦ for flopped straight (with inside straight-flush draw) that had been ruined by the runout.

Tedeschi too is ruined. It's going to be a long way back from here. (Postscript: On the next hand, he picked up aces, shoved, but got no action.) --HS

1:35pm: Malec takes a pot off Papazian right before break
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

The main feature table got some new additions and some more action. Davidi Kitai and Andreas Klatt filled the empty seats while Alexandru Papazian and Sebastien Malec got into a big hand.

Papazian started it off with an early position raise to 20,000 and Malec called. The flop came 4♠J♥6♦ and Malec check-called a 16,000 bet. Both players checked the K♦ on the turn and a 5♥ completed the board.

Malec checked again and Papazian bet 51,000. Malec re-raised to 199,000 and Papazian tanked. The pot wouldn't get any bigger though, Papazian folded and was left with 507,000 while Malec chipped up to 635,000. --AV

1:30pm: Nardin knocks outs Souaid
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Romain Nardin is now stacking what were once Karim Souaid's chips after a preflop confrontation saw Souaid sent to the payout desk.

We arrived just in time to see the pair of them all in with Nardin holding A♦J♣ and Souaid behind with Q♣9♦. Souaid fell further behind on the J♦A♣7♣ flop and he was down to just running cards to avoid elimination.

"The ten of clubs," called Nardin for a little extra sweat, and the T♣ is exactly what landed after his premonition.

The 7♦, however, bricked off and Souaid couldn't hold on. He departs as Nardin builds to 940,000. --BK

1:25pm: Hakim hurting
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Jeff Hakim ended Day 1 of this tournament with a gargantuan stack of 305,300. For the first time, in what seems like forever, he's just slipped below that figure after losing a big pot to Marius-Catalin Pertea.

The latter opened to 24,000 from middle position and Hakim defended from the big blind. Hakim then check-called bets of 32,000 and 72,000 respectively on the J♥5♦2♦ flop and T♣ turn. Both players checked the 5♣ river and Pertea's Q♦J♦ was the best hand at showdown.

Pertea climbs to 1.25 million and Hakim is down to 280,000. --NW

1:20pm: Like Hube but better (Hube, Huber, Hubest)
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Switzerland's Stefan Huber is another very familiar face on the European tournament circuit who is surely due a major title very soon. The single biggest score among his $1.2 million recorded earnings is a whisker less than $300,000 for a $5,000 side event at the PCA in 2010. He has gone deep umpteen times since then.

He's still purring here too, winning a recent pot from Diego Ventura. This one was hard to figure out with both players taking the betting lead at various times.

Huber started it with a raise to 22,000 from the hijack. Ventura called in the big blind and they peeked at the 8♥T♦5♠ on the flop. Ventura checked and Huber bet 14,000, but then Ventura check-raised to 45,000. Huber called.

The 3♦ emerged on the turn and Ventura led 70,000 at it. Huber called. Then the 2♥ came on the river.

Ventura slowed to a check but Huber now put a small bet forward. His 59,000 tickle was enough to persuade Ventura out of it. Huber is now beyond the 500,000 mark. --HS

NEIL8118_Stefan_Huber_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

The Hube

1:15pm: Sanjaasuren sent home
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Well it's a long name but a short day for Shijirbaatar Sanjaasuren. He started this afternoon as a shortstack and failed to spin it up.

Players were three-way to a flop of 9♣T♥6♦ when Sanjaasuren moved all in from the small blind for his last 28,000. Paul-Francois Tedeschi called from the big blind and Stefan Schillhabel did the same from the button before the J♣ arrived on the turn.

Tedeschi and Schillhabel both checked it through to the 6♣ river and Tedeschi then led at it for 38,000. Schillhabel let it go and Sanjaasuren quickly saw his K♠T♣ was no good against Tedeschi's Q♦J♦. --BK

1:10pm: Shuvanov eliminates Gierse, takes table lead
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Marius Gierse raised to 21,000 from the button and Dmytro Shuvanov three-bet to 55,000 from the small blind. Gierse called and the flop came 3♠A♠7♠. Shuvanov bet 50,000 whenchecked to and Gierse called. Then the turn brought an 8♥ and a 60,000 bet from Gierse.

Shuvanov went back into question mode, prying his opponent for information.

"Flush?" Shuvanov asked. "No?"

Gierse remained stoic, not saying a word. Shuvanov tried to raise, but didn't put in enough chips and it was ruled a call. An A♥ came on the turn and Shuvanov shoved. It was Gierse's turn to think after that. Gierse thought for about five minutes and then a player called the clock.

"Why are you so nervous?" Gierse asked Shuvnov. "So damn nervous."

Gierse audibly went over the hand and kept staring at Shuvaov as the the dealer counted down. Gierse called with a handful of seconds left and was eliminated from the tournament.

Both players showed an ace for trip aces, but Shuvanov had a better kicker with A♦Q♦ to Gierse's A♣4♣. Gierse was eliminated in 42nd place while Shuvanov took the table chip lead with 851,000. --AV

1:05pm: Push, push
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Time your pushes well and you can pick up chips with a minimum of sweat. Andrey Bondar and Luiz Duarte just managed it--although we'll never know if they actually wanted a call.

Bondar, in the big blind, was faced with a raise to 22,000 from Stefan Huber and called for a 6♦Q♦7♣ flop. Both players checked and the 8♦ landed on the turn. Bondar checked again.

Huber then put 16,000 into the middle and Bondar moved all-in. It was for 203,000 and was too much for Huber. He passed.


Andrey Bondar: Shove, fold

Over the other side of the room, Duarte was one of three players who had seen a flop of 3♠9♦6♠. Davidi Kitai, who was in the big blind, checked. Duarte, in the hijack, then moved all-in for 107,000.

Renaud Lejal, on the button, thought for a good long while before folding, and Kitai snap-folded behind. --HS

1:03pm: Ensan's got moves
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Among the myriad of ways that poker has changed over the last few years it's that the older generation are now just as unpredictable as their younger counterparts. No longer is a three-bet from a silver fox a guaranteed premium hand. Take Hossein Ensan, for instance; he turns 53 later this month but has got an armoury stacked full of tricks and he just pulled one out the bag in a hand against Sergei Petrushevskii.

It was the latter who got the action started. The Russian raised to 22,000 from under the gun and Ensan, who was to his immediate left, put out a small three-bet to 39,000. It folded back to Petrushevskii and he made the call.

On the Q♣2♠J♥ flop Ensan c-bet 39,000 and Petrushevskii check-called. Neither player moved a chip on the J♠ turn and the 9♠ completed the board. Petrushevskii completed a post-flop hat-trick of checks and waited on Ensan to act. The German reached for a stack of blue 5k chips took one of the top and then placed a bet of 95,000 into the middle. His opponent thought for perhaps a minute or so and then called. Ensan rolled over A♠6♠ he'd got there with a backdoor flush and bet it for value on the paired board. Petrushevskii couldn't top it and slid his cards into the muck.

After that win Ensan is up to 860,000 while Petrushevskii slips to 340,000. --NW

8G2A7773_Hossein_Ensan_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg


1pm: Papazian picks some up off Shuvanov
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Dmytro Shuvanov raised to 22,000 from early position and Alexandru Papazian called from the big blind. The flop came K♦6♣7♠ and Shuvanov continued for 25,000 when checked to. Papazian called and a 3♣ came on the turn. Both players checked and a 3♥ completed the board.

Papazian bet 60,000 and sent Shuvanov to the tank.

"Eight-nine?," Shuvanov asked.

"Could be," Papazian said and smiled. "Eight-ten, nine-ten, thee-five."

Shuvanov decided it wasn't worth it and folded. Papazian chipped up to 692,000 while Shuvanov dropped to 471,000. --AV

12:55pm: Klatt catches Souaid with his hand in the cookie jar
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Andreas Klatt just made an impressive river call to pick off Karim Souaid's bluff and earn himself a healthy pot.

With the board showing 4♥2♦2♣Q♠A♦ Klatt checked it over from the big blind to Souaid on the button before Souaid loaded up and took a stab at it for 85,000.

Klatt had just Q♣9♣ but he managed to find a call to beat Souaid's T♠9♠ for nothing but air. That pot sees Klatt climb to 670,000 while Souaid's stack shifts to 320,000. --BK

12:50pm: Deja vu for Delgado; Castaignon doubles
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

It's usually a nightmare when you have a hyper-aggressive player sitting to your direct left. But if you're in the mood for laying traps (and if you're getting help from the dealer in your endeavours) then it's a delight. Just ask Remi Castaignon.

Castaignon, the former EPT Deauville champion, has Vicente Delgado sitting alongside him today. Delgado has been known to put in huge aggressive plays, whether or not they put his tournament life on the line. There was one on Day 2 in Panama -- when he pushed A♥2♥ into Igor Yaroshevskyy's kings -- that meant he went from chip-leader to bustout in fairly dramatic fashion.


Remi Castaignon in trapping mood

Castaignon may or may not know of Delgado's reputation, but there was a whiff of deja vu about this hand. Action folded to Castaignon in the small blind and, with only Delgado in the big blind behind him, Castaignon limped in.
Delgado took a couple of moments, but then announced that he was all-in, covering the 230,000 in Castaignon's stack.

Castaignon instantly called. Trap: sprung. Castaignon turned over K♥K♦, the precise hand Yaroshevskyy had when he took all of Delgado's chips in Panama. And what do you know? Delgado again had A♠2♣. Will he ever learn?

The result was also the same. After a board of 6♠T♦4♠2♦6♦ Castaignon scored the double to 450,000. Delgado is left with 380,000. --HS

12:45pm: Muradov makes an exit
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Another player has fallen here as Shakhabiddin Muradov loses a flip to Karim Souaid.

Souaid kicked things off with a raise to 27,000 before Muradov moved his last 158,000 into the middle. After asking for a count Souaid called it off to put Muradov at risk.

Muradov: T♠T♥
Souaid: A♦J♣

It was a fair fight until the 7♠Q♥A♠ flop saw Souaid shoot into the lead and Muradov chasing a ten or running cards to stay alive. While the K♥ brought gut shot outs the Q♠ couldn't help Muradov and he was eliminated here on Day 4.


The end of Shakhabiddin Muradov

Souaid now sits with 490,000 in play. --BK

12:40pm: Schillhabel stacks more
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Stefan Schillhabel started the day second in chips but has just taken the chip lead after winning a big pot that didn't even make it to a flop.

Lee Hon Cheong was the initial raiser. From the hijack he made it 23,000 to play and Schillhabel then raised it up on the button. It was now 68,000 for anyone who wanted to enter the hand and Paul Tedeschi seemed interested. The Frenchman was in the big blind and he methodically counted out a cold four-bet of 168,000. That aggression saw off Cheong but Schillhabel wanted to know how much Tedeschi had back (about 390,000). A few beats later Schillhabel shoved all-in and Tedeschi immediately released.

After that win Schillhabel is up to 1.6 million. --NW

NEIL7978_Stefan_Schillhabel_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Schillhabel, pictured yesterday on Day 3

12:35pm: Two doubles and a knockout
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Well, wasn't this a profitable reporting trip: two double-ups and a knockout.

The double ups first:

1. Krisztian Fejerdi open-pushed from the button for 131,000 and Douglas Souza called in the small blind.

This was a race: Souza's 5♠5♦ held a slight edge over Fjerdi's 5♠5♦ but only until the flop brought the 8♣T♥6♦. The Q♥ turn and 7♣ river changed nothing.

That was a double for Fejerdi, who is up to around 280,000. Meanwhile Souza has 255,000 now.

2. Karim Souaid and Andreas Klatt got involved in a raising battle from button and big blind, respectively. It ended with all of Klatt's 250,000 chips under threat.

Klatt had J♣J♠ to Souaid's A♥Q♥ and the flop far from ended it. It fell 5♦J♥6♥. "Flush draw for seat six," whispered a floor producer into his microphone to remind everyone what was going on here.

But the draw missed. The turn was the 2♦ and the river the 9♦. That gave Klatt more than half a million to play with now, while Souaid has about half of that.

3. The elimination. Sorry to fans of Chebli Chebli but he has been bounced out of this tournament. He got it all in pre-flop with 6♥8♠ and Gianluca Speranza had 9♦9♣. I'm not certain when the money went in, although a board of 4♥A♦4♠3♣Q♠ offered nothing to Chebli and he hits the rail. --HS

12:30pm: Sorrentino survives
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

A multi-way pot developed over on table one. Raffaele Sorrentino raised to 22,000 from middle position and picked up calls from both blinds. Peyman Luth, who was in the small bind, led for 36,000 on the Q♦6♥8♥ flop, Diego Vilela smooth called and Sorrentino then moved all-in.

His shove was for 154,000 in total, Luth had enough information to know he was beat and he stepped aside. However, Vilela needed a count and after a couple of minutes in the tank he called it off. Sorrentino opened K♣Q♥ and was looking to fade Vilela's flush draw as the Brazilian held 4♥3♥. The Q♠ turn improved Sorrentino to trips and he held on the 7♦ river.

That pot sees him move up to 420,000 while Vilela is down to 185,000. --NW

12:25pm: Another feature table double
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Paul Testud, the other feature table short stack, got it all-in with J♠J♥ against Dmytro Shuvanov's A♦J♦. Testud was in the lead and the K♣3♣6♣4♣T♦ board kept him there. Testud doubled to 200,000 with his pair of jacks while Shuvanov dropped to about 497,000. --AV

12:20pm: Chebli chopped down by Huber
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Switzerland's Stefan Huber now has over half a million in chips after doubling up through Chebli Chebli.

Chebli opened to 23,000 before Huber moved all in next to act.

"How much?" asked Chebli, clearly interested.

"Around 250," replied Huber.

The dealer cut down Huber's stack and it turned out he was right - the total came to 249,000. Once the tally was confirmed Chebli called it off and the cards went on their backs.

Huber: J♥J♦
Chebli: T♥T♦

Huber was in great shape to scoop the pot and he faded danger on the 9♥3♣7♣ flop. He improved to a set on the J♠ turn, and while that actually doubled Chebli's outs with a gut shot straight draw, the 2♠ river was safe for Huber and he locked up the pot.

He stacked up his chips as Chebli was left with just 50,000 for five big blinds. --BK

12:15pm: Slow three-bet, slow fold
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

The tournament itself is moving along at an agreeable clip, but some hands are still taking a long time whether they feature significant action or not. The following is a case in point.

The bare facts are that Latvia's Shakhabiddin Muradov opened to 22,000 from early position and Karim Souaid, of France, three-bet to 75,000 from the big blind. Muradov folded to preserve his 180,000 stack.

However not only did Souaid take a long time to count out that three-bet, cutting his chips into small piles of 10,000, then sprinkling additional chips laboriously on top, but Muradov looked back at his cards at least three times during his two or three minutes in the tank before folding and showing the A♥.

Still, the tournament director has announced that we'll play a maximum of five levels today, come what may, and we'll end sooner if they are down to the last 16 players. With the level shaved from yesterday's action, my prediction is we get all the way through with about 20 left. --HS

12:10pm: Smith doubles early
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Dan Smith came into Day 4 as the shortest stack of the tournament. Smith then moved all-in for 96,000 from the hijack on the third hand of play and Alexandru Papazian called from the big blind.

Smith tabled K♣T♦ and Papazian showed A♥8♥. The J♦A♦Q♣ flop fell heavily in Smith's favor, giving him a straight. The turn was a 2♥ and a K♠ cemented his double up. Smith doubled up to about 220,000 while Papazian dropped do 570,000. --AV

12:05pm: And they're off...almost
Level 19 - Blinds 5,000/10,000 (ante 1,000)

Chips are still being unbagged, but cards will be in the air very soon. The plan as far as we know it is still to play five 90-minute levels. --JS

10:45am: We're on Day 4, with time to spare

What did you do with your bonus 90 minutes last night?

Yesterday, when we found out around 7pm that we were only going to play four levels on Day 3 instead of the scheduled five, everyone was scrambling to make plans. Some went for dinner, others played more poker, and the PokerStars Blog team were seemingly the only people in Monaco who decided to hit the bowling alley. A few perfect games later, and we're back today for Day 4.

NEIL4741_Branding_PCMON2017_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Just 45 players now remain in the PokerStars Championship presented by Monte-Carlo Casino® Main Event, and they're all deep into the money at this point. Michael Kolkowicz is out in front with a 1.445 million stack coming into the 5K/10K level, but there's plenty of tough competition still in. Stefan Schillhabel and Davidi Kitai sit second and third in the counts respectively, while Team PokerStars Pro ElkY, Sergio Aido, Alexandru Papazian, Manig Loeser and Dan Smith are all alive. Smith comes into the day with the shortest stack, but if anyone can forge a comeback, it's him.

Two other players to watch are Jan Bendik, who took down the EPT12 Grand Final Main Event here in Monte Carlo last year, and Sebastian Malec, who won the EPT13 Barcelona Main Event.

Play begins at 12pm local time, so make sure you bookmark this page and keep hitting refresh. The plan today is to play another five 90-minute levels, although that could change once again. If it does, we might see you down the bowling alley again tonight. --JS

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

Live reporting team
@PokerStars in Monte Carlo