3pm: Level over
That’s the second level of the day done, 11 in total. Join us in 15 minutes for level 12. — HS
2.55pm: Enjoy your break, Cristiano
On the stroke of the break, Cristiano Guerra has all but tripled up in one of those spots you dream about. Isabelle Mercier opened for 3,800 from early position and Scott Montgomery moved all in from the small blind. Guerra peeked down and saw A♥A♦ and, of course, it all went in.
It got even better for Guerra when Mercier, covering his 55,000-ish stack, insta-called, and they were three way to a flop, two players all in:
Guerra: A♥A♦ (medium stack)
Mercier: K♥K♣ (big stack)
Montgomery: 9♣9♠ (short stack)
The board was completely dry and so the aces held up. Montgomery is out and Guerra moves beyond 150,000. — HS
2.50pm: Raymer out and Hachem crippled
World Champions Greg Raymer and Joe Hachem have both just lost key races with Raymer hitting the rail and Hachem is sore need of a double up.
Raymer had open shoved for eight big blinds with pocket sixes and was called by ace queen. An ace came on the flop and Raymer couldn’t connect with the turn or river. Hachem had shoved from the button with king-queen and was called by Gilbert Diaz with ace-jack. A king on the turn was crushed by an ace on the turn.
Fellow Main Event winner and Team PokerStars Pro Chris Moneymaker is still going strong though and has a mountain of chips in front of him. He could easily be the tournament leader with close to 400,000. — RD
2.45pm: From Bonavena to Barbosa
I went out onto the tournament floor for a Salvatore Bonavena hand. I came back with a Joao Barbosa one instead.
Not that Fortress Bonavena hasn’t been firing broadsides this afternoon. As the big stack the iconic Italian has been leading the others, taking pots uncontested. A figure of control, his shirt is open at the neck with not one but two pairs of glassed hanging from it. A top up espresso is on the way to fuel-inject a stack of around 170,000.
On the next table, and with a flop of Q♠4♣9♣ already dealt, Joe Hachem checked the big blind before Barbosa bet 4,700. Jose Ignacio Sanz called and Hachem folded.
The turn came A♥. Barbosa made it 7,500 this time. Again Sanz called for a 8♣ river card. Firing again, Barbosa made it 18,500, leaving himself 45,000 behind. Sanz took some time about it but called, showing K♦Q♣. But Barbosa had that beat with A♣8♦. Up to 110,000 chips. – SB
2.40pm: Crowe taking flight
Owen Crowe is the first player to bust into the 300,000 level of the poker stratosphere. The Canadian can simply do no wrong at the moment. The pot that he scooped to push him even further ahead of the field was one where he caught the river on a J♦2♦4♣J♣Q♣ board with K♥Q♥. Facing a 28,800 bet on the river from a heavily flopped A♦4♦ Crowe elected to flat call giving himself a stack which sits many times over the average 85,000. — RD
2.35pm: News in brief
2.30pm: Van Den Berg departs
In an invective of Dutch, Thierry Van Den Berg has just detailed his elimination to our sister blog from Holland. The short version, without the incomprehensible fury, is that he had a suited ace-king but couldn’t beat Tomer Berda’s deuces. — HS
2.25pm: Tabatabai with queens… apparently
John Tabatabai knows how to move his chips about. A 12,000 three-bet from Emanuele Rugini was swiftly put in its place by the Brit who made it 30,000 to go from the button. Rugini riffled his chips and then passed. Noah Schwartz asked Tabatabai, ‘Queens?’ A sage nod from Tabatabai didn’t really mean a great deal coming from the notoriously aggressive player. Tabatabai is up to more than 100,000. — RD
2.20pm: Roche remains
Charlotte Roche is up to 90,000. The novelist’s most recent offering featured pocket fours for the heroine against a villain’s ace-king and a double up of a 45,000 stack. It’s not going to be a bestseller, but they’re the facts. — HS
2.15pm: Houghton trims the field a bit more
The rate of eliminations is still high – it’s as if we were back in San Remo again. There were 413 players taking their seats today, and already 100 of those seats are now empty.
The British online terror Laurence Houghton just accounted for one of those casualties. Known as “rivermanl” on PokerStars, he got all in with 8♥8♠ and was up against Richard Kemperman with A♦3♣. Houghton had him covered.
Kemperman was drawing to an ace or some unlikely straight or flush issue, but the flop was an emphatic Q♦8♣K♦ and Kemperman never recovered from that. Houghton on around 40,000. — SY
2.10pm: Just making money
We all owe a lot to former WSOP Main Event champion Chris Moneymaker. He is often credited for triggering the modern day poker boom and if that boom hadn’t of happened I doubt this tournament would have a first prize of €1.7 million and we may not be here to bring you all the action.
The man himself is going very nicely and has just eliminated Vladislav Varlashin to reach 186,000. Varlashin shoved for 14,800 from early position and was called by Moneymaker two seats along. Varlashin tabled tabled A♦7♦ but was dominated by his opponent’s A♣Q♥. Moneymaker had to dodge a lot of bullets after the flop came 5♠4♦6♦ but prevailed trough the J♠ turn and 9♥ river. –MC
2.05pm: Deeb slows it all down
They’re getting through about one hand per 20 minutes on table 29 at the moment and it’s all Shaun Deeb’s fault. Not that he’s stalling or anything, but he’s putting his opponents to a lot of tough decisions and they’re using their time banks up to the full.
After the hand featuring Melanie Weisner that lasted through the break, Deeb just had to sit and stare blankly forward for another 10 minutes or so when Imad Derwiche pondered. Deeb had moved all in for 54,200 on a board of 10♠2♦8♠. There was already about 33,000 in the pot.
Derwiche seemed to be preparing to call, but didn’t in the end. Deeb scooped without showing and is up to around 90,000, give or take. — HS
2pm: Scroll down
There’s a great post down the page a bit – go to the 1.30pm time stamp. It’s only just gone up but fits in their chronologically. It describes in Bartley-esque detail two hands that lasted all the way through the recent break. Scroll down a touch and read it. — HS
Here’s the video team’s introduction to the day. All you have to do is click the little white triangle. Simples.
1.55pm: Coren not happy
Team PokerStars Pro Vicky Coren, normally a bubbly sort of person, does not look too happy with life at the moment. She began the day with 114,000 but is now down to 64,000. That explains the little black cloud. Some of her loss was on this hand: On a 3♣8♣10♦ flop she had bet 10,000 but faced an all-in re-raise from Emanuele di Domenico for around 40,000. That was too much, and Coren let it go. — SY
1.50pm: Raymer climbing back
Greg Raymer is on something of a roller coaster (an analogy which creates an unlikely vision in the mind). He started out with 62,000 at the start of the day and is now on 30,000. But there were some frantic moments inbetween because he was down as low as 10,000. That’s when we first picked him up in action, moving all in to an initial raise from Andrey Gulyy. That was enough to pick up a few thousand extra.
Next hand Joakim Broberg opens with a 3,200 bet, and Raymer next seat along moves all in again. Broberg folds and Raymer holds up the A♣. “I don’t know what the other card is,” he said. “I didn’t even look.”
Those two hands took him back over 20,000 – and when we walked by his table a few minutes later he was on that 30,000 mark, presumable having taken a bite out of someone else. — SY
1.45pm: Boatman doubles through Gulas
What starts as a good idea can soon sour and the quicker you realise that the better. Josef Gulas unfortunately only caught wind of his idea being a stinker when Boatman turned over aces.
A short stack had moved all-in from the hijack for just 3,200 (a min-raise at the current level) and Gulas had raised to isolate from the button to 10,500. Hendon Mob member Ross Boatman four-bet over the top to 22,500 (a touch over half of his stack) and after a little posturing Gulas moved all-in covering Boatman.
There aren’t a huge amount of hands that the British pro could have folded with more than half of his chips in the middle and pocket aces was certainly one that wasn’t going into the muck. But what did Gulas hold?
The 5♠4♦2♦ flop left Boatman miles ahead with Gulas needing a miracle runner-runner to catch up. It didn’t come and Boatman is up to 100,000. — RD
1.30pm: Two tribes
Into the break, but not for four players. Two hands, played at tables alongside each other, played on deep into the break and on neither would we see a card.
On a flop of 4♦7♣6♣ Sander Lylloff checked to Alex Keating who bet 4,000 before Lylloff came back at him, making it 10,500. Keating called for a K♠ turn. Both checked for a 2♣ river. Again Lylloff checked and Keating made it 14,500 to play. Lylloff then sent the American into seven minutes worth of tank, raising to 40,000.
Keating was troubled by his seven minutes of solitary confinement, with only his overactive imagination for company. Lylloff waited, his arm on the table and his head resting on the arm, resisting Keating’s Jedi mind tricks probing for information.
With seven minutes left on the break Keating folded, then begged Lylloff to show. Lylloff thought about it but seemed to be enjoying Keating’s misery too much and simply passed his cards to the dealer.
Lylloff went for his few minutes of break. Ironically, Keating had lost his blue wristband which allows him entry back into the tournament room. He couldn’t leave for a break anyway.
The same went for Shaun Deeb on the next table. He had his wristband though. He couldn’t leave because of Melanie Weisner.
The board read Q♣7♠10♥10♦4♠. There was around 30,000 in the middle and Weisner had bet 7,900. Deeb though fired back, 35,000 total which put the pressure back onto Weisner.
The same seven minutes Lylloff had endured had already passed. The other players had long since departed for a break and just Weisner and Deeb remained. But after five more minutes of nothingness players began returning only to find these two still at it – Weisner deep in thought.
For Deeb’s part he looked a picture of calm. Since his last EPT furlough he’s grown his hair and the curls fall round his ears. Combined with a neat open neck shirt he looks like the 1980s version of the player who has savaged the sports-clothing-and-flip-flop online realm for years. He seemed untroubled by the near 15 minutes it took Weisner to act. More players were drifting back. Weisner had 120,000 behind, Deeb much less.
“Will you show me if I fold?” asked Weisner, more a plea than a solution to the impasse. Deeb said nothing, and with 42 seconds left on the clock she folded.
“Will you tell me later?” asked Weisner.
“No,” replied Deeb. — SB
That’s the end of level 10, the first of today. There is now a 15-minute break. Normal coverage will resume shortly. — SY
1.27pm: Gustavson surges into lead
EPT champions earn a seat in the Grand Final in addition to their monster cheque. The best performance in Monte Carlo from a returning champion is still Brandon Schaefer’s second place to Rob Hollink after winning in Deauville on season one. But could Aaron Gustavson be making a play to go one better?
Who knows, but after winning that hand against Timoshenko, Gustavson has now obviously taken down another sizeable one. He has about 250,000 chips as we reach the end of level ten. That’s your tournament chip leader – or very close – I reckon. — HS
1.26pm: Pot control and bluff catching
EPT London winner Aaron Gustavson has already added 150,000 to his stack and is up to more than 200,000. The latest victim of his accumulation was Yevgeniyy Timoshenko. Gustavson raised to 2,700 from early position and was only called by Timoshenko in mid-position to go a 2♠7♦4♣ flop. Gustavson continued with a 5,000 bet. Call. The turn came 7♣ and Gustavson went into pot control mode and check-called a 11,200 bet from his opponent. Both checked the 7♣ river and Timoshenko announced: “Ace”. It was no good though as Gustavson opened A♣2♣ two-pair and the pot. Timoshenko down to 73,000. -MC
1.25pm: Mitchell pounces on Perfilov
Jamie Mitchell recently won the Irish Open as well as taking down a side event at this EPT Grand Final and he’s trying to grind up a chip stack here as well. Pavel Perfilov started the action with a raise from early position to 2,800 which was called by Mitchell on the button. Perfilov led 4,600 into the K♦7♣4♦ flop and was called by Mitchell. Both players checked the J♠ turn before Mitchell bet 6,800 on the 3♥ river. Perfilov called, was shown 9♣9♠, nodded and mucked his hand as Mitchell raked in the 25,000 pot. — RD
1.23pm: Five bet Lex
This one got a bit frantic pre-flop, but hold onto your hats, it ends with a split pot.
Nick Schulman raised to 2,800 from early position and Harry Touil called from his left. Hayden Fortini, that table’s overnight big stack, three-bet to 9,500 and this wasn’t even done yet. Philip Wiszowaty, encouraged by the button in front of him, made it 23,200 and Lex Veldhuis, in the small blind, moved all in for 46,100. Got that? Well, Schulman, Touil all folded, but Fortini called.
Ready for the anti-climax? Both Fortini and Veldhuis had pocket queens and the board didn’t provide any four-flushes. They ended up splitting the value of all that other dead money, which hauls Veldhuis up to about the average stack. — HS
1.20pm: Hachem up
Joe Hachem just doubled up with a pair of threes against the ace-king of Tommaso Briotti. He now has around 25,000. — SB
1.17pm: Step eight, Monte Carlo
If you do a search in the PokerStars lobby for stevie444, the online moniker of Stephen Chidwick, the chances are you’ll find him playing about eight high-stakes sit-and-goes at the same time, typically “steps” satellites to these major live events. Chidwick is a PokerStars qualifying machine; he’s the guy who once won 100 World Series packages, worth a million bucks.
If you go to any of those tables to rail Chidwick, there’s also a significant chance you’ll notice another name at the same games. “busto_soon” is the Dutch version of Chidwick, known in the real world as Johan Van Til.
In short, Chidwick and Van Til typically spend about eight hours a day playing against each other online, spread across about eight tables. (That’s 64 hours per day, by my estimation.) And whaddya know, today in Monte Carlo, they’re on the same table in this real life MTT, either side of Owen Crowe.
Good luck, Mr Crowe. Those two know each other’s games, that’s for sure. — HS
1.15pmSadoub lays bait for shark attack
Humberto Brenes just moved all-in. He’d opened for 2,600, and Eric Sadoun in seat two had raised to 9,100. Facing this Brenes moved a tower of chips into the middle, his glasses perched on the end of his nose, jaw working on a piece of gum. Then he put the toy shark on top.
Sadoun thought long and hard as a passing photographer ignored him and took several dozen shots of the Team PokerStars Pro. He’d be all in to call and wasn’t ready for that. He passed. Brenes up to around 90,000. — SB
1.14pm: Absent big blind almost bedazzles Boeree
PokerStars player Daniel Groth is yet to arrive at the tournament and while his 54,000 is slowly anteing away his absence is still managing to have a significant effect on the table. Liv Boeree had raised from the cut-off to 2,800 and was reraised to 7,400 by Sami Kelopuro on the button. Boeree must have wondered how much Kelopuro was attacking her for her own assault on a vulnerable big blind but she ended up giving the Finn the benefit of the doubt. Kelopuro flashed A♣K♥. Good pass. — RD
1.10pm: Gomes outraced
They call him “allingomes” and it’s a policy that works frequently for Alexandre Gomes, the Team PokerStars Pro from Brazil. But he has just lost a huge slice of his stack when he found a pretty good spot for his trademark move, but ran into difficulties.
Here’s how this complicated one played out. Mariano Balaguer opened to 2,700 from the cut off and Dylan Linde, in the cut off, moved all in for his last 30,000-odd. Jan Heitmann passed his button, but the small blind called before Gomes, in the big blind, moved all in over the top, covering the lot of them.
Balaguer, the opener, got out the way, as did everyone else except Linde, already all in. Gomes had A♦K♥ and Linde had 10♠10♦, which meant they were racing. It all started very well for Gomes, when the flop came K♣4♦5♣. But the turn was the equivalent of rocket-propelled sneakers for Linde. It was the 10♥ and he flew over the finishing line to win. Gomes is down to about 80,000 after that. — HS
1.08pm: Papa Pagano triples
Claudio Pagano has just tripled-up to nearly 30,000 after a three-way all-in. He was up against another short stack in Miguel Borges and Josef Klinger who had them both covered and they all got their chips in pre-flop. Showdown:
The board ran 8♥3♥9♥6♠7♥. Klinger looked set to knock both players out but Pagano spiked a heart on the river to stay alive. Borges, the favorite at the beginning of the hand, was eliminated. — MC
1.05pm: Timoshenko floats then sinks
Yevgeniyy Timoshenko called a raise on the button with king queen and decided to float the 3♣J♣3♦ flop. His opponent check-called a 11,200 bet on the 7♥ turn before both players checked the 8♥ river. Timoshenko’s float was sunk by A♠10♠. — RD
1pm: Klinger’s on the starboard bow
Claudio Pagano moved all-in and was called by Josef Klinger in seat two, perhaps the only player at the table who Pagano had covered. He showed A♦J♣ to Klinger’s A♥K♥. The board came 6♠7♦6♥5♠9♥. Pagano had been out of his chair after the flop but after a count was left with a little more than 10,000. – SB
12.57pm: Quad Chinese aces for Carson
Russell Carson could be forgiven for thinking that he used all his luck up at EPT Snowfest where he finished runner-up to Allan Baekke. Daniel O’Brien will choose to think not after Carson eliminated him.
It wasn’t any normal coin-flip type elimination either. It hurts a lot to go out with pocket aces in an all-in showdown to an under-pair. But to have your face rubbed in the dirt when your opponent flops quads on you really stings. Carson’s two black eights matched up with two more red ones on the flop to send O’Brien to the rail. Carson up to 120,000 now. — MC
12.55pm: Thater fades the A
Katja Thater was one of the shorter stacks coming back today with just 17,000. We caught up with the Team PokerStars Pro as she shoved for most of that – 16,700 to be precise – from the button into Sami Kelopur’s big blind. Kelopuro made the call.
The board ran out 10♦2♠3♣4♠J♣ to double Thater up to 35,000. — RD
12.50pm: Setting a marker
There are four stacks of more than 100,000 on table five, three of them in a row. That fearsome line begins with David Sesso (121,000) in seat five, passes through Isabelle Mercier (101,600) in seat six and ends with Claudiu Saizu (147,600) in seat seven.
Are they going to steer clear of one another? Are they hell. Sesso just opened for 2,800 from mid-position, Mercier folded, but Saizu three-bet to 7,900. Folded back to Sesso, he four-bet to 22,300 and Saizu ended up folding.
I reckon the tournament chip leader could be on this table by the end of the day. — HS
12.45pm: Boeken busts
Noah Boeken and Luca Pagano are Team PokerStars Pro-mates, and friends off the felt. But don’t expect Boeken to be extending his friendship to the whole Pagano family as Papa Pagano, otherwise known as Claudio, has just eliminated Boeken within the first level today.
Boeken moved all in for 17,100 with A♥Q♠ and Pagano called from the blinds with A♦J♣. That was good for Boeken until the board ran 10♠Q♣A♣K♣7♥ and filled Pagano’s straight. Boeken departs. — HS
12.42pm: Double up for Perrins
The start of day 2 is always a tumultuous affair with players looking to three- and four-bet shove their way back into contention. It can lead to some strange showdowns but the hand we witnessed was a classic and inescapable coin toss. Matt Perrins raised from early position to 2,800 and was three-bet to 11,900 by Simon Ehne. Perrins made the inevitable shove with Q♠Q♥ for 38,700 and was called by Ehne with A♥K♣.
The board ran out 2♣J♦3♦3♣8♣ to double Perrins up to near 80,000 and drop Ehne to less than 10,000. — RD
12.40pm: Yorane trouble
The dealer called the floor and the fate of Yorane Kerignard was about to be taken out of his hands. After Steven Van Zadelhoff bet 4,600 from the small blind on a flop of Q♣10♣3♠ Kerignard said “Eighty”. There was only one slight problem. Kerignard had meant eight. That brought up another problem: it would have been too small a raise. And there was another problem: Kerignard didn’t have eighty. He had 50,000.
The floor man was called and declared that the spoken declaration was binding and essentially Kerignard would have to move all-in. There was some sympathy for the Frenchman whose first language is not English. Everyone seemed to believe that he meant eight, even though that wouldn’t have been a good enough raise, and even though there are rules and they’re written down to be vigorously enforced.
Kerignard was resigned and moved his chips in. Now Van Zadelhoff began to laugh, not quite knowing what to do. Eventually he said “I call,” with about the same conviction Kerignard had shown.
10♠K♣ for Kerignard, K♦Q♦ for Van Zadelhoff.
But while this was tragedy going in it was pure Disney coming out. A J♠ turn and A♣ river saved the day for Kerignard, splitting the pot and provided what all agreed was a just outcome. Seriously, I’m wiping away a tear as I type.
“Honestly, I was meaning eight,” said Kerignard in one last plea for clemency, before turning to Van Zadelhoff. “I’m sorry sir.”
“It’s all right,” replied Van Zadelhoff. “I know it was an accident.”
The two men got up from their chairs and embraced while those around them who had watched the hand clapped their hands.*
*For dramatisation purposes only. — SB
12.35pm: Bouncing round
Every stage of every tournament has its own particular strategies, and the early levels of day two is usually about getting to know a whole table full of new opponents in as stealthy a manner as possible.
Here are a few hands from around the tables:
A queen flopped and that set was good enough against what turned out to be pocket eights for Lam (who is now out) and an A-Q for Battisti, who is now down to about 10,000. Szikrai all but triples his overnight stack.
12.30pm: Slippery slope
Overnight chip leader Thiago Nishijima has already lost nearly 50,000 off his stack after doubling-up Anirudh Seth. Nishijima had ace-queen to Seth’s nine-ten. It all went in on a flop containing a jack and a queen and the latter ended up making a straight to climb to 100,000. Nishijima back to 215,000. –MC
12.25pm: Hruby shoves it back up Berende
Team PokerStars Pro Martin Hruby opened for 2,600 from middle-position and was three-bet from the button by Paul Berende to 7,100. Berende started the day second in chips and has more than enough to try and bully – particularly from the button. How much this factored in Hruby’s decision to four-bet back at him as opposed to having a genuine hand we don’t know, but the Czech made it 22,000 from his 74,000 starting stack and took the pot down. Hruby picks up an easy 10,000. — RD
12.20pm: Lewis trying to establish himself
Toby Lewis is a recognised player in the UK poker scene but isn’t well known here among the big boys of Europe. The first hand we see him play he three-bet Ekaterina Kolobekova from the small blind to 7,600 but was forced to lay down when the Russian four-bet to 17,800. Lewis is sat on over 130,000. — RD
12.15pm: Back to the online grind
Team PokerStars Online member Luca Moschitta only played one hand today and it didn’t go well for him. When the action folded to him in the cut-off he pushed for his last 22,000 and was called by David Sesso in the next seat. Showdown:
The board ran Q♠8♥6♥5♦3♣ and the cry “Seat open” rang out from the dealer at table 8. We’ll be hearing many more shouts like that one throughout today. — MC
12.12pm: The countdown begins
Coming back for day two with 7,900 in your stack, you only have one strategy: all in with any ace. Yuriy Kozinskiy found A♠10♠ on the first hand he was dealt, tossed in those chips, and got a call from Guillaume De La Gorce with K♦Q♥. One queen high flop later and Kozinskiy is out, the shortest possible day two. — HS
12.11pm: All in, call, out
That didn’t take long. One player is out already in what must have been the quickest dealt flop, all in and call we’ve seen in months. — SY
12.10pm: Under way
Play has begun, expect some carnage as the shorties do their thing. — SY
11.55pm: Waiting for the off
Here we are then, back again in Monte Carlo for day two of the EPT Grand Final. Yesterday, we determined that this year’s jamboree would feature 848 players, each paying €10,000 a head. And then during nine hours of play spread across two opening flights, we showed our gratitude by slaying half of them.
Today is when the survivors from two day one fields merge as one (click through for the table draw) in the Salles des Etoiles. There are 413 still around making a play for the money – the biggest prize of which is worth €1,700,000. Anyone who is still alive when player 129 departs is in the cash, then it’s all about how much. See the full prize payouts on the prize structure page.
Our leader is Thiago “XTheDecanoX” Nishijima, who was yesterday’s success story. He managed to accumulate 264,200 chips by the end of the day, ahead of Paul Berende, who had 195,000 and then day 1A’s leaders Simon Munz (175,200) and Chris Bjorin (171,000).
We definitely won’t be deciding our overall winner today – even the chip leader at the end will be only about 10-1 to make the final table. But there will be a lot of dreams dying through our seven, 75-minute levels. Like vultures, we’ll be here to pick over their bones.
Of course, if it all goes belly up – and even if it doesn’t – there’s a way either to drown sorrows or to celebrate wantonly. The end of tournament party – featuring the ceremony for the EPT award winners – takes place at 8.30pm on Friday at the Stagione 6 nightclub. Put it in your calendar.
Play is due to begin at noon. — HS
PokerStars Blog reporting team (in order of pick for the Monaco Grand Prix winning team) Howard Swains (McLaren – from home town of Woking), Simon Young (Red Bull – reminds him of vodka), Marc Convey (Force India – likes a good curry), Rick Dacey (“I don’t even know what sport you are talking about”), Stephen Bartley (Tyrrell)*
* Tyrrell have not raced in Formula 1 since 1998 so that’s a bit of a long shot