Sunday, 27th November 2022 10:59
Home / Uncategorized / EPT Grand Final: €10K Single re-entry high roller Day 1 coverage archive

With one day in the books and another 10 still to come, the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo®Casino EPT Grand Final is a marathon. But it’s a marathon comprising a number of sprints.

The first of those raced away at a remarkable clip this afternoon in the Sporting Club at the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel. It was Day 1 of the first €10,000 high roller event, and it attracted a remarkable 156 players. To think they only opened about five tables at the start, so unsure were the tournament organisers that anybody was yet in town. Of course they were. And they’re all already playing.

Leading the pack heading around the first bend is Paul Newey, who bagged up 189,500 chips tonight after eight levels of play. He did that on his first and only bullet (so far), boosted by an early double-knockout when he rivered a full house against a flush and a set. Jean-Noel Thorel is close behind, with 189,000.


Early leader: Paul Newey

The prize pool swelled with the money of those less fortunate. About 50 players were knocked out, of whom 21 have already taken the optional re-entry.

Registration is open until the start of Level 11 tomorrow, which is the third they will play. So there may well be many more players and more re-entries. We’ll also know the full size of the field, and the prize structure, somewhere close to the mid-point of the day.

Among the other big stacks tonight are the following:

Julian Stuer – 180,000
Bryn Kenney – 168,000
Vlad Darie – 166,000
Stefan Sontheimer – 155,500
Koray Aldemir – 151,200
Onur Unsal – 148,500
Jason Wheeler – 137,000
Kully Sidhu – 137,000
Farid Jattin – 135,900
Steve O’Dwyer – 133,000

But there are big names all the way through this field. Other familiar faces, and their stacks, include:

Charlie Carrel – 130,300
Chance Kornuth – 121,800
Dzmitry Urbanovich – 93,500
Patrik Antonius – 39,300
Jason Mercier – 24,000

Action grows even more frenetic tomorrow, when the France Poker Series (FPS) main event and the Monaco Cup both get going and there’s also a €10,000 super-satellite to the super high roller tournament. Our focus will be on the FPS and this €10K, where they will play another 10 levels. The first two will last 45 minutes, then it’s 60-minute levels until the end.

Scroll down to read all of today’s coverage. And that chip-count page will have the full counts from the day’s play as and when we get them.

Goodnight for now.

* * * * *

12:54am: Day 1 comes to an end

With all of the tables having dealt their final hands, Day 1 has come to an end with Jean-Noel Thorel, Andrey Zaichenko, and Paul Newey looking as though they’re bagging up some of the biggest stacks in the room. Back in a while with a recap of today’s first day of action from the €10K Single Re-Entry High Roller. –MH

12:45am: Six more hands
Level 8 – Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

The clock has been paused and after a draw of a card the tournament director has ordered each table to deal six more hands, then Day 1 will be complete. –MH

12:41am: Even bluffers can be bluffed
Level 8 – Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

Pedro Oliveira was the man bluffing a short while ago, but he was the one being bluffed just now. Steve O’Dwyer did the bluffing and he was very happy with himself at the end of the hand.

Around 30,000 lay in the middle and Oliveira led for 22,400 before O’Dwyer raised to 71,700. Oliveira went into the tank for a while and then picked up his cards to look at them and said, “Probably the worst fold I ever make” before tossing them in the muck.

He pleaded with O’Dwyer to show one and the former champion of nearly every tournament held showed the K. “Ahhhhh!” responded Oliveira. He dropped back to 105,000 as O’Dwyer rose to 124,000. –MC

EPT12_MON_Velli-27_Steve O'Dwyer.jpg

O’Dwyer shows one
12:34am: Almost done
Level 8 – Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

The big board shows 15 minutes left to go in the night’s level, and they’ll be pausing that clock soon to deal the final hands of the night. A total of 176 players have registered to this point, with 136 of them still in with a chance of making it to tomorrow’s Day 2. –MH

12:32am: It’s good to be Dzmitry
Level 8 – Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

The young Polish wizard is up to his old tricks again. They say you’ve got to play well and run well to win a tournament, and playing well is something you don’t have to worry about when it comes to Dzmitry Urbanovich. However, we just caught a bit of his lucky side.

Urbanovich opened to 2,500 and was three-bet by Senh Ung to 6,000. It folded back to Urbanovich who jammed for 30,800 and Ung snap-called with JJ. Urbanovich trailed with 99, but — like we told you already — he gets lucky. Sorry for the spoiler.

The first three cards came K8J, giving Ung a set and Urbanovich a club flush draw. He’d hit the flush on the turn when the 7 fell, but would need to fade the board pairing to secure the double. It was the 10 that landed on the river, and the chips shipped to Urbanovich who’s up to 63,000. Ung is down to 19,500. –JS

12:26am: Peters gets a Fast double
Level 8 – Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

David Peters has just got a much needed double-up and it came at the expense of Dietrich Fast. The American was all-in for 16,600 with KQ and needed help as he was up against Fast’s AJ. The J9J flop dropped the chance of a Peters double-up from 38.21% to 17.17%. However the 10 turn was just the ticket for Peters and he held on the 8 river to climb to the relative safety of a 35-big blind stack. –NW

12:18am: Gruissem opens, then Gruissem opens
Level 8 – Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

Philipp Gruissem, whose moustache keeps the dashing Douglas Fairbanks look alive, opened to 2,300 from early position. Dmitry Yurasov was opposite in the hijack and raised to 6,000. The action was folded back to Gruissem who pulled back his original bet and replaced it with a four-bet worth 13,400. That got a quick fold from Yurasov.

On the next hand they did it all again. Gruissem, under the gun this time, opened for 2,300 and Yurasov raised to 6,000. Dan Smith was waiting this time. From the button he raised to 13,800, forcing Gruissem to fold. Yurasov though announced he was all in for around 35,000 more. Smith called, and shrugged when they both turned over ace-king. The board ran blank. They split Gruissem’s chips. –SB

12:13am: Yaghmai takes a Chance
Level 8 – Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

From under-the-gun Nariman Yaghmai raised it up to 2,200. Then from one seat along Bahram Chobineh smooth-called only for Chance Kornuth to make the price of poker in this hand 8,500 straight.

That didn’t deter Yaghmal or Chobineh — they both called and the flop fell A92. The action was on Yaghmai and he elected to move all-in, a bet worth about the size of the pot. That got rid of Chobineh, but Kornuth swiftly called and it was time for showdown.

Kornuth: AK
Yaghmai: AK

The Q and 5 completed the board and they chopped the pot. “I’m glad you didn’t have ace-queen,” said Kornuth to Yaghmai, before adding “Pleasure doing business with you.” –NW


8 500 1,000 100

12:07am: Oliveira holds out no branches

Sometimes you’ve got to bluff in this game, other times there’s just no need. Pedro Oliveira bluffed in a big pot, and then the very next hand, a straight won him a small pot.

In the first hand (the last of Level 7), he and Christian Christner had made it to the river of a 52974 board and around 85,000 chips had found their way into the middle. Christner checked from the hijack and folded after Oliveira bet 27,000. Oliveira showed a bluffing KJ and added, “You were going to fold, then you raised!” Christner’s stack dropped to a still impressive 140,000.

In the very next hand (the first of Level 8, although the blinds/antes weren’t yet bumped up so it was essentially still Level 7), Oliveira raised to 2,000 and Andrei Konopelko was the only caller from the small blind. Both players checked the 9410 flop before Oliveira check-called 2,000 on the 6 turn. The river was the 7, Oliveira checked again, and then winced once Konopelko checked behind. That’s because he’d gotten there with A8, beating Konopelko’s A6. He rose up to 135,000. –MC

12:06am: Antonius cut in half
Level 7 – Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

It hasn’t been the best evening of poker for Patrik Antonius, a man known for winning the equivalent of High Roller first-place prizes in single cash game hands alone. He’s down to 25,000 — half the starting stack — after losing a pot to Edmund Yeung.

I picked up the action with 7,000 in the middle and the board reading 6828. Yeung bet 3,500 and Antonius called (Mihai Niste was also in the pot but got out of the way at this point).

The river came the 9 and now the bet from Yeung was 5,200. Antonius thought for a minute or so and eventually made the call, but he must have been trying to catch a bluff as Yeung’s 610 for a pair of sixes to go with the eights on the board was enough to claim the win. –JS

EPT12_MON_Velli-107_Patrik Antonius.jpg

Antonius, still among us
12:05am: For those about to rock (a second entry), we salute you
Level 7 – Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

You know what they say — if at first you don’t succeed, try again. Only once mind you, give up after that.

So far more than a dozen have bought back in for their one and only second chance in this single re-entry event. That group includes Fady Kamar, Oleh Okhotskyi, Alexander Kopylkov, Bahram Chobineh, Pierre Neuville, Sergio Aido, Sean Winter, Pratyush Buddiga, Adreas Munoz, Mike Watson, Anthony Zinno, Isaac Haxton, Adrian Mateos, Jack Salter, Dominik Nitsche. –MC


In the re-entry line… FIRE!
12:03am: Zaichenko tied for the lead
Level 7 – Blinds: 400/800 (100 ante)

Andrey Zaicenko has been increasing his chip stack over the past few levels and is now tied with Orpen Kisacikoglu for the lead with 145,000 chips. Find the latest selected chip counts here. –SB

12:00am (the stroke of midnight): The Grim Reaper strikes from afar
Level 7 – Blinds: 400/800 (100 ante)

Something seemed to be brewing on the table featuring Chance Kornuth and Dominik Nitsche, and it was brewing between those two alone. Nitsche, from middle position, raised to 1,800 and Kornuth, in the hijack seat, raised to 4,500.

Action folded through the blinds and back to Nitsche, and he four-bet to 11,000. Kornuth looked at a stack of about 40,000 more and moved all-in. Nitsche, with a similar stack size but with a clear plan for just such an eventuality, snap-called.

Nitsche turned over AK and was in pretty good shape against Kornuth’s Q10. That’s before the flop brought the Q nestled between the 7 and 2, however, and the 9 turn, followed by the 2 river, didn’t dig Nitsche out of the hole.

The dealer established that Kornuth’s total stack was worth 45,100. Nitsche had him covered by about 1,300 — crumbs by the standards of Level 7.

Here’s an amusing coda to this hand. Nitsche isn’t the type of player to allow any kind of bad beat dampen his habitually cheery mood and immediately after seeing almost all of his stack slid to his neighbour, he shared a joke with Charlie Carrel, then picked up his phone.

Immediately upon turning on the screen, it became apparent there was a photograph of the EPT Media Co-ordinator Mad Harper on it, beaming out from amid some text. It turned out that Nitsche was reading an article that had recently been published on (whisper it) another poker website* that profiled our friend and colleague Mad.

In the interview she gave to (whisper it) that other poker website, Harper remembered her early days on the EPT when her job involved giving out baseball caps to players who had just been eliminated from the tournament.

In her eagerness to make sure she didn’t miss out anybody, Harper used to lurk behind the short-stacked players, preparing to hand them their consolatory free gift. It led to players regarding her as a kind of Grim Reaper character, looming menacingly in the background as they went through their death throes. She retold this story with glee.

Harper is not in Monaco this week, but Nitsche has now found out that her powers transcend geographical location. There she was, looming on his phone, waiting to sell him a ticket to eternal tournament damnation**.

*Imagine you were dealt two fives in Texas hold’em. Then imagine you named a database of online tournament results, and a forum, after that hand. You’ll find the interview there.

**Well, not really eternal. There’s a re-entry, too. –HS

11:49pm: The Gruissem twosome
Level 7 – Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

Mustapha Kanit isn’t the only man in the room sporting a mustache. Philipp Gruissem also has some groomed hair upon his top lip.

Gruissem kicked off this hand with a 2,000 bet, which was called by Pablo Melogno behind him and Andres Munoz in the big blind. It was a pretty-looking flop as it came A8A, which Munoz checked to the raiser. Gruissem continued for 2,500 and Melogno called, while Munoz threw his hand away.

The turn was the 9 and both checked, leading us to the 4 river. Now Gruissem picked up his betting habit again with a 5,500 wager, and Melogno didn’t take too long to call. Gruissem was confident to begin with — he showed the A2 for trips. However, those two cards weren’t good enough, as he was outkicked by Melogno’s A10.

Gruissem slipped to 44,000, while Melogno increased his stack to the exact same amount. –JS

11:40pm: Ramos too slick for Mateos
Level 7 – Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

Adrian Mateos will likely always have fond memories of this stop of the tour as he won his EPT title here in 2015. He’s just been knocked out of this event, however, with Felipe Ramos claiming the scalp.

In the hand in question, Mateos opened to 1,800, there was a smooth-call, then Ramos then raised it up to 8,000 total. Back on Mateos he moved all-in for 28,200 and when it folded back to Ramos he tanked for about 10 seconds before calling.

Mateos: AQ
Ramos: AK

The K3787 board kept Ramos in front and he’s up to around 74,000 whilst Mateos still has the option to re-enter. –NW

EPT12_MON_Velli-18_Adrian Mateos.jpg

Mateos down, not necessarily out
11:31pm: Nacho flushed away
Level 7 – Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

Just before the last break, Nacho Barbero bowed out in a 100,000-chip pot. Here’s what happened.

Barbero and Vlad Darie took to an 3810 flop when the chips went flying in. Barbero, and his remaining 45,300, were just covered by the Romanian.

Barbero: KJ for the second-nut flush draw.
Darie: A10 for top pair and nut-flush draw.

It looked like a great flop for Barbero, but it truth it was an awful one. “Good luck guys!” he said after the board ran out 6 then 10, giving Darie trips and the pot. Darie moved up to 127,000. — MC

Next year, it could be you. Click here to get a PokerStars account.


7 400 800 100

11:11pm: One last break

Level 6 is done and players are taking what will be the last 15-minute break of the night. Two more 45-minute levels after that, and Day 1 will be over. –MH

11:10pm: Orpen Kisacikoglu into the lead
It’s a small lead, but it’s a lead nonetheless for Orpen Kisacoglu with 157,000 to Paul Newey’s 155,000. Find the latest selected chip counts here. –SB

11:09pm: Even Mercier bows to Kanit
Level 6 – Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

Mustapha Kanit is king of the EPT right now, and maybe even the poker world. You know this is the case when Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier comes all the way across the room to touch you for luck. It didn’t end at touching though, as the two had a funny exchange.

Mercier: “I just wanted to touch you!”

Kanit responds while pointing at Mercier’s beard: “What’s this? It’s bigger than your head, bro!”

Mercier answers while pointing at the patches on Kanit’s chin: “What about this? If you could grow one, you would!”

Kanit has the last word: “We grow Moustacha over here, bro!” while stroking his moustache. –MC

EPT12_MON_Velli-111_Mustapha Kanit.jpg

The mustachioed Mustapha
11:08pm: Luca gives Ozgur an ‘Arda decision
Level 6 – Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

In a hand that extended into the break, Ivan Luca really put Ozgur Arda to the decision on the river. It started when Luca got the action started, raising to 1,500, Arda three-bet to 4,100, and Luca stuck around.

There was no betting on the 8QK flop, and the 2 hit the turn. Luca fired out a bet of 4,100 and Arda smooth-called. The 7 finished off proceedings and Luca overbet the pot, firing out a bet of 25,750. Arda tanked for over four minutes before throwing his cards away. He’s down to 45,000 whilst Luca is up to 98,000. –NW

11:02pm: Freitez train coming
Level 6 – Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

Julian Thomas opened it up to 1,300 and Ben Heath instantly raised it to 3,500. It folded to Venezuela’s Ivan Freitez and he shoved all-in for 23,250, which got folds all-round. Until it got to Heath, that is, who snap-called with QQ.

Heath was way ahead of Freitez’ A7, but the 2510 flush-draw providing flop certainly didn’t help the young Brit. Freitez was waiting for a spade to arrive, but the 6 turn wasn’t amenable. The 4 then came screeching in on the river to give the Freitez train a flush and leave Heath’s ladies without a ride. Heath is down to 23,000 after that one while Freitez bumps up close to 50,000. –JS

10:59pm: Wunderkinder
Level 6 – Blinds: 300/600 (75 ante)

There’s no objective way to determine who is the hottest prospect in world poker, but two of the top candidates can slug it out among themselves this evening. Dzmitry Urbanovich has just showed up to get his EPT Grand Final campaign started. His neighbour is Fedor Holz. You pick one. –HS

10:56pm: Carrel wants it all
Level 6 – Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

I arrived at the table to see a 46K flop on the felt and a bet of 5,000 in front of Charlie Carrel. There was about 7,900 in the pot (in addition to Carrel’s bet) and action was on Aviv Meir. He elected to raise, making it 12,000 in total, and it didn’t take Carrel too long to come back over the top with a bet of 23,000.

Meir wanted to see what Carrel had back and Carrel obliged. “I’ve got about 35,000,” he said, adding “I want to play with it all or with none of it.” Meir thought it over for a little longer and then mucked his hand. –NW

EPT12_MON_Velli-12_Charlie Carrel.jpg

Charlie Carrel: Committed
10:50pm: The fashionably late continue to trickle in
Level 6 – Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

Late registration is open until the start of Level 11 of this event, and they’re only playing eight levels today. That means the great and the good of poker are continuing to arrive to take the numbers in this event ever higher.

Patrik Antonius, who has a home in Monte Carlo, has made the short journey to play and high roller regular Thomas Muehloecker has also joined the fray.

We may even get an appearance from a certain Kid Poker, although chances are he won’t be buying in until tomorrow. –NW


10:46pm: Four times four
Level 6 – Blinds: 300/600 (75 ante)

Joao Simao opened from the under the gun and Nick Petrangelo was the only caller, sitting to Simao’s right in the big blind.

There was no hanging around from there, particularly after the flop fell 449. Petrangelo checked, Simao bet 1,200 and Petrangelo quickly moved all-in for only 5,450 total.

A priced-in Simao called, but chuckled upon seeing Petrangelo’s hand. It’s not that he had a four. It’s that he had two f them. Simao’s QJ was already drawing dead against Petrangelo’s 44. –HS

EPT12_MON_Velli-47_Nick Petrangelo.jpg

Nick Petrangelo: The fours are with him
10:42pm: Stars from 2012 do battle
Level 6 – Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

Mohsin Charania and Justin Bonomo are still stars in the poker world, but here on the EPT they shone brightest at the Grand Final back in Season 8. Charania took down the Main Event that year for €1,350,000 while Bonomo won the Super High Roller for €1,640,000.

The two are sat beside each other today and recently got their chips in after both found big hands. Charania was in the cutoff and three-bet an open to 3,100 before Bonomo cold four-bet to 6,100. The original raiser folded but Charania five-bet to 22,000 and called all-in for 26,225 after Bonomo jammed.

Charania: KK
Bonomo: QQ

The board ran 35965 to miss both players. Bonomo dropped back to 41,000. –MC

10:37pm: Ike doesn’t like being put to the test
Level 6 – Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

Ike Haxton has been there and done it when it comes to poker, so there’s nothing that can happen that he hasn’t handled before. That doesn’t mean it’s nice when you’re forced to make a decision for your tournament, though.

Haxton opened to 1,200, and Andrei Konopelko made the call. Julian Stuer then made a three-bet to 5,200, which Haxton would call. But not Konopelko — he shoved all-in for 84,700, which got Stuer out the way easily.

Meanwhile Haxton was harder to get rid of. He sat for a couple of minutes with his palm over his forehead, deep in thought. He eventually felt it was best to give it up, though, and Konopelko raked it in. –JS

10:33pm: Kenney sent to back of the Qu
Level 6 – Blinds: 300/600 (75 ante)

Bryn Kenney is a relatively recent arrival to this tournament, but if he thought he could get an early fillip, he picked the wrong man to go to battle with when he took on Boyuan Qu. Actually, I’m not sure this was anything but totally standard, but Qu has just doubled his short stack through Kenney.

Kenney opened to 1,500 from under the gun and it folded around to Qu in the big blind. Qu shoved for slightly more than 9,000 and Kenney got a count before calling. He tabled 55 and was trailing Qu’s JJ.

The dealer didn’t hang about. She flew through the board of Q9A64 and Qu had double what he started with. –HS

10:30pm: Chip counts in Level 6
Level 6 – Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

Paul Newey still leads, while Steve O’Dwyer is a close second after sending Sean Winter to the rail. Find the latest selected chip counts here. –SB

EPT12_MON_Velli-92_Paul Newey.jpg

Paul Newey, newly on top
10:25pm: There is only one Mustapha! There is only one Kanit!
Level 6 – Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

He won the €25K High Roller at the last EPT stop, bro. He followed it up by a win in the Sunday Million just a couple of weeks later, bro. He’s only in his early twenties and he’s already a legend, bro. It can only be… Mustapha Kanit.

The Italian is in the house and ready to play in this €10K. So, let’s go, bro. –JS


6 300 600 75

10:24pm: Dvoress check-raises Wheeler out of it
Level 5 – Blinds: 250/500 (50 ante)

Jason Wheeler opened to 1,150 from early position and action folded around to Daniel Dvoress in the small blind. Dvoress called, and Rocco Palumbo also called from the big blind.

The flop came A85 and both Dvoress and Palumbo checked. Wheeler tossed out a continuation bet of 2,100 but Dvoress seized on it almost immediately. He raised to 5,600.

Palumbo snap-folded and Wheeler wasn’t far behind.

That was one of the final hands in Level 5. They’re now going into Level 6, with blinds of 300-600 and a 75 ante. –HS

10:17pm: One red wine and one triple-up please
Level 5 – Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

Chance Kornuth had a decent amount of time to wait before he saw whether his squeeze all-in was rewarded in a triple-up. He wasn’t worried as he had a glass of wine for company.

Peter Roche had opened to 1,500 from early position and was called in one spot before Kornuth made his move — for 12,525 — from the button.

“How much is that?” asked Charlie Carrel with a sense of urgency from the big blind. He called and so did Roche. The flop fanned 377 and Carrel led for 6,000. Roche folded to leave the EPT Dublin €25k High Roller finalists to it.

Carrel: AK
Kornuth: JJ

The board ran out 10Q and Kornuth’s wine tasted a little more Reserve-like. –MC

10:07pm: A view out to sea
Level 5 – Blinds: 250/500 (50 ante)

The unexpected turnout for Day 1 of this event has meant that it’s overspilled already into the high stakes cash game area. There’s one tournament table up in that section, which this evening has afforded the lucky eight players a spectacular view over Monte Carlo bay–and, as an added bonus, the sight of a firework display across the Principality.


Hey…! Look over here!!!
Yeah, like any of them even batted an eyelid.

It was business as usual despite the million euros being strapped to rockets and launched into the Med as Anthony Zinno, Dario Sammartino, Ivan Soshnikov, and Vlado Banicevic got involved in a pot. Soshnikov opened from under the gun, making it 1,000 to play. Banicevic, one seat to his left, called and that persuaded both Zinno and Sammartino in from the blinds.

The flop fell 657 and Zinno, first to act, led out. He bet 1,600. Sammartino and Soshnikov folded, but Banicevic called. The 3 came on the turn and Zinno kept up his aggressive line. He bet 5,000. Banicevic called again, and that took them to the 4 river.

Zinno bet again, this time 7,000. Banicevic sigh-called, but Zinno turned over K3, playing the board. Banicevic was also doing that, but he had essentially been outdrawn. He had flopped a set with his 66. –HS

9:51pm: Ace hand for Thorel
Level 5 – Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

Two big hands don’t always equal a big pot, but it did in the following instance.

By the time a J47 flop hit the felt there was already enough in the pot to suggest they’d been some heavy preflop action. Atanas Malinov checked to Jean-Noel Thorel and the Frenchman bet 5,500. Malinov hadn’t checked to give up, however, as he check-raised to 14,500 total. Call from Thorel.

The 6 fell on the turn, Malinov moved all-in, and Thorel quickly called. The Bulgarian showed pocket queens, but he was behind to Thorel’s AA. The A river improved Thorel further and he doubled up.

Thorel was all-in for 25,700 on the turn, and so is up to around 85,000. Malinov meanwhile is down to just 3,800. –NW

EPT12_MON_Velli-36_Jean-Noel Thorel.jpg

Jean-Noel Thorel likes the look of his hand
9:43pm: Big pot brewing
Level 5 – Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

I glanced over at one of our many tables and saw roughly 18,000 in the pot. Then I directed my stare towards the completed board — 105JK8. Next I noticed there were two players in the pot — Oliver Weis and Farid Jattin. And finally I clocked that Weis had checked, and Jattin had put out a bet of 13,400.

Before I had a chance to process all of that, Weis then jammed over the top for roughly 50,000. I was still counting out exactly how much the raise was when Jattin made a quick call, only to muck when he Weis revealed his AQ for a rivered straight.

Jattin has slipped to 24,000, while Weis is sitting pretty with something near 120,000. –JS


Day 1 of the €10K Single Re-Entry High Roller continues

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5 250 500 50

9:21pm: Break time

They’ve reached the end of Level 4, and players are taking another 15-minute break. –MH

9:19pm: Some counts
Level 4 – Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

Below are the current counts of some of the names and notables in the field today. –NW

Name Chips
Ivan Luca 91,000
Philipp Gruissem 76,000
Andrey Zaichenko 73,000
Isaac Haxton 72,700
Ben Heath 63,000
Charlie Carrel 59,000
Vladimir Troyanovskiy 47,800
Benjamin Pollak 47,600
Ollie Price 41,000
Stephen Chidwick 39,800
Sean Winter 38,900
Nick Petrangelo 37,400
Daniel Dvoress 37,200
Mike Watson 34,500
Chance Kornuth 24,125

9:17pm: Aido doubles (to eight per cent of a starting stack)
Level 4 – Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

It was one of those double-ups where the player is happy about winning the pot, but also perhaps wondering whether it would have been better for to bust and re-enter. Sergio Aido was very short, but he’s just managed to double — and he’s still very short with just 4,000 or 8% of the 50,000 starting stack.

Aido jammed for 1,950 and it folded to France’s Hassan Fares in the small blind. Not knowing that there had been any action before him, Fares took out his small blind and put out a 500 chip instead, intending to call the 400 big blind. The floor had to be called when he said it was an honest mistake, but the ruling was that the 500 had to stay in. Fares folded and waved goodbye to the extra 200.

Chaofei Wang snap-called from the big blind though, and turned over his AJ, which was ahead of the Spaniard’s QJ. Only until the flop however, which came 4Q6 and Aido shot ahead. The turn was the 2 and the river the 7, and the chips shipped Spain’s way. –JS

EPT12_MON_Velli-78_Sergio Aido.jpg

Some aid for Sergio Aido
9:12pm: Piotrowski chops Chobineh
Level 4 – Blinds: 200/400 (50 ante)

I arrived on the river with the board showing 9QJJ4 and Bahram Chobineh having just committed the last of his chips versus Przemyslaw Piotrowski.

Piotrowski tabled QJ for a full house, and Chobineh briefly flashed his cards — king-ten for a straight — before departing. Piotrowski is now up to 110,000 and challenging for the chip lead as Level 4 nears its end. –MH

9:10pm: Newey takes the chip lead
Level 4 – Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

As the song says, “Live and die on the river.”

Paul Newey is up to 115,000 after eliminating Yang Wang and Pierre Neuville in the same hand, our thanks go to Oliver Price for filling in the details for us. Pre-flop, Yang and Neuville limped and Newey raised to 2,000. Both players called.

The flop fell [Ax][Tx][6x] with two hearts and before the turn had come down all the chips were in the middle and it was easy to see why.

Newey: [Ax][Tx] – top two pair
Neuville: [6x][6x] – bottom set
Yang: Q7 – flush draw.

The K was a blank but a ten on the river improved Newey to a full house and eliminated both of his opponents. This is a re-entry of course so we may see them again. –NW

9:08pm: Jattin collecting
Level 4 – Blinds: 200/400 (50 ante)

Farid Jattin opened for 1,050 from early position, then Alexandre Rivero made it 2,875 from the button and Jattin called. The flop came 10J7, and Jattin check-called a bet of 3,050 from Rivero. With much deliberation, both then checked down the 5 turn and 2 river. Jattin then tabled 87 for a pair of sevens, and Rivero mucked.

Jattin has 75,000 now, while Rivero sits on about 30,000. –MH

9:05pm: A hand that fizzled out
Level 4 – Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

Sometimes you get excited watching the beginnings of a hand due to multiple bets going in from early position (a good sign), and a player out of position getting involved as well (another good sign), but then you’re left underwhelmed at the way it plays out.

Dominik Nitsche opened to 1,000 from early position before Chance Kornuth three-bet to 3,200 from the next seat. The action folded around to Nariman Yaghmai in the big blind and he had a good think before calling. Nitsche called too and they were the last chips to enter the pot. The Q96J2 board rolled out and all three players checked it the whole way down.

Yaghmai opened pocket fives and lost out to his two opponents who both opened Ace-nine and chopped the pot. After all that excitement at the beginning and no player had the decency to win the pot outright. — MC


Dominik Nitsche: Not this time

9pm: Wu stares at Luca, Luca stares at nobody
Level 4 – Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

On a flop of 510J there were five players in the pot, with Ozgur Arda of Turkey first to act. He checked, and Andrei Streltsou of Belarus bet 2,400. Next to act was Raymond Wu, who called, prompting a fold from seat eight.

It meant the action was on recent Eureka Rozvadov winner Ivan Luca. Never one to hurry a decision, or to change his expression, Luca paused before moving some chips around and raising to 7,000. Slow, methodical, and for these reasons all the more menacing.

That forced folds from Arda and Streltsou and gave Wu a decision. He looked at his cards again, and then at Luca (oblivious), and then mucked. Luca is up to around 82,000. – SB

8:55pm: Ramos’s rocky start
Level 4 – Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

Felipe Ramos is in the building, but he’s got a tough table with both Martin Finger and Sam Chartier sharing his felt. He just lost a pot to the man to his left – Finger – and here’s how it played out.

Abdel Omais kicked things off with an open to 850, which Ramos, Finger and Chartier all called. It was four to the flop, which came the 8210 and was checked all the way around. The Q fell on the turn and it checked to Ramos, who took control with a 2,000 bet.

Only Finger made the call so we were heads-up by the time the 7 hit the river, and now Ramos checked – allowing Finger to put in a bet of 5,900. That was enough to secure the fold and the win. –JS

8:50pm: The Ivan Freitez way
Level 4 – Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

There was no messing about from Ivan Freitez in a hand he played out with Isaac Haxton and Julian Stuer. He had the look of a man who wanted to get his chips in quick and had to wait until the flop before it was feasible.

Stuer opened from under the gun and was called by Haxton in the cutoff before Freitez squeezed to 4,000 from the button. Both players called to the KQ3 flop and checked the action over to the former EPT Grand Final champion. He immediately moved all in for 17,175. Yaghmai and Haxton both released their hands. — MC

8:45pm: Schillhabel having a sick year, but not sick anymore
Level 4, Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

If you were to glance at the the top 10 highest money earners in live poker tournaments this year the majority would come as no surprise. David Peters, Fedor Holz, Steve O’Dwyer, Bryn Kenney and Connor Drinan make up the top five.

It’s only when you reach the lower echelons that you might say, “Who’s that?” In eighth place is Devan Tang. Every penny of his $1,405,500 earnings came when he finished third – behind Holz and Peters – in the $200,000 No Limit Hold’em Triton super high roller series

Then comes Stefan Schillhabel. The German pro is having some 12 months. He finished fourth in the EPT Malta main event in October for €260,500 and hasn’t stopped there. We last saw him on the EPT in Dublin where he did the UKIPT/EPT main event double cash. In the UKIPT he was sick for the latter stages of the tournament. Coughing his lungs up and chain sucking cough sweets on his way to an 18th place finish.

Since then he’s had his breakout win, taking down the WPT Bay 101 Shooting Star in March for just under $1,300,000. He had a further two small cashes in America but is now back in Europe. He had a couple of small cashes at the Grand Final last year but will be hoping to make a bigger splash this time round. –NW

8:41pm: Kopylkov KO’d
Level 4 – Blinds: 200/400 (50 ante)

We came upon a hand involving Alexander Kopylkov that left him looking less than pleased. Then came another that ended with a big weary smile from the Russian, though not from gladness. Rather it was one of those what-can-you-do grins we’ve all seen poker players make sometimes right after losing their stacks.

In the first hand, Kopylkov had check-called a turn bet from Farid Jattin to built a pot up over 20,000. The board showed 56210, and after the 4 river Kopylkov checked again and Jattin fired another 10,500. Kopylkov thought a bit and called, and that’s when the frown came when Jattin showed J10 for jacks and the best hand.

Down to a short stack, a few hands later Kopylkov watched a middle-position player raise to 700, Oliver Weis call from the button, and Martin Jacobson call from the small blind. Kopylkov then chose to reraise all-in for his last 5,300, knocking everyone out but Weis.

Weis turned over 77 and Kopylkov needed to improve with his A5. The 325 flop brought him some hope, then the 4 turn made him a wheel.

But the river was the 6, putting a six-high straight on the board and giving Weis a seven-high straight, enough to send Kopylkov to the rail — though not without a wry grin.

That’s just the third knockout so far today. Weis is up around 40,000 now. –MH


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8:40pm: 119 entered so far
Level 3 – Blinds: 150/300 (25 ante)

Moving through Level 3, the big board is showing 119 entrants thus far, with 117 still with chips. Among those joining the fun this level so far are Fabian Quoss, Martin Jacobson, and Pablo Melogno. –MH

8:35pm: Early hit for Mercier
Level 3 – Blinds: 150/300 (25 ante)

Jason Mercier had barely had time to tuck into his dinner before he hit a slight bump in the road of this event. He opened to 700 and it got two callers – Julien Stuer (to Mercier’s immediate left) and Ike Haxton in the big blind.

The flop was the JJ2 and Haxton checked it, allowing Mercier to continue for 1,150. Stuer made the call, Ike gave it up, and we saw the 9 on the turn. Now the bet from Mercier was 3,700, but Stuer had plans of his own and bumped it up to 11,200. Mercier gave it up, dropped to around 44,000, and went back to his dinner.

Maybe it’ll have a Popeye/spinach like effect and he’ll be raking in the pots in no time. –JS

8:30pm: Dan Smith’s giant elastic band
Level 3 – Blinds: 150/300 (25 ante)

Dan Smith has with him an enormous blue elastic band, something I’m not sure we’ve seen before at the Grand Final festival. Actually it looks like a useful way to stretch the body out a little after hours sat hunched over chips and cards. It’s small, portable, and discreet, or is until it’s put to use.

Which Smith does from time to time, standing behind his chair up to pull apart what looks like a cam belt in front of him, then behind his back, then above his head. Which came in useful in a hand against Mareshki Veselin.


Dan Smith: A man with good form in Monaco

Veselin opened from the small blind which Smith called from the big. The flop came A5A. The action was checked to Smith who bet 800, which was called for a K turn. Now both players checked.

With the 7 on the river Veselin immediately bet 2,100. Smith paused for a few moments, tilting his head sideways and stretching his neck in a way that might well have been impossible had he not loosened up with the blue rubber band.

It was no good though. No pain in the neck but pain in having to fold, which he did, giving the pot to Veselin. – SB

8:25pm: Early leader Sontheimer
Level 3 – Blinds: 150/300 (25 ante)

The early leader in this one appears to be Germany’s Stefan Sontheimer. At least he sits atop the embryonic chip-count page.

8:20pm: Nacho dips into Chobineh’s chips
Level 3 – Blinds: 150/300 (25 ante)

With about 7,000 in the middle and the board showing 6710, Ole Schemion led with a bet and got callers from both Bahram Chobineh and Nacho Barbero. The turn brought the 6, and this time Schemion checked. Chobineh took the invitation to fire a bet of 2,600 and only Barbero called. Both remaining players then checked the 2 river.

Chobineh showed 87 for sixes and sevens, but Barbero had a better two pair with Q10 and claimed the pot. Barbero bumps up to 75,000 with that one, Schemion still sits with about 45,000, and Chobineh slips to 18,000. –MH

8:15pm: Nacho Nacho man
Level 3 – Blinds 150/300 (25 ante)

Nacho Barbero is up to 61,000 after making a tough, but ultimately correct, river call against Bahram Chobineh.

There was no betting on the 9Q3 flop, but Chobineh picked up the betting baton on the 8 turn. He fired out 3,200, Barbero stuck around but Ole Schemion, who also still had cards, ducked out of the way.

So it was heads-up to a 9 river. There followed a pause from Chobineh, a bet of 6,200 and a long tank from Barbero. He plucked the required chips from his stack, thought for about another 10 seconds and called.

Chobineh rolled over A10 for a failed bluff, while Barbero had picked off that bluff with third pair, 108 to be exact. –NW

8:10pm: Duarte bets, Price pays
Level 3 – Blinds: 150/300 (25 ante)

Paul Newey opened for 700 from middle position, then Luiz Duarte three-bet to 2,000 from the cutoff seat. Oliver Price called the re-raise from the button, the blinds and Newey stepped aside, and the flop came 256. Duarte led for 3,000 and Price called. The turn was the 8 and Duarte was betting again, this time 9,000, and Price called once more.

The river then brought the A, and when Duarte pushed out 16,000 Price decided he’d had enough and let his hand go. Duarte is up to 75,000 now while Price drops to about 40,000. –MH

8pm: Check please
Level 2 – Blinds: 150/300 (25 ante)

This hand seemed to be as dull as dishwater, but then again, some hands can be deceiving.

Fedor Holz opened it to 750, Orpen Kisacikoglu called, Daniel Dvoress also matched it from the small blind, while Rocco Palumbo gave up his big blind. The three saw a 828 flop, and it went check-check-check. (There would be a whole lotta checkin’ in this one). The turn was the J and the checks were in the mail once more. Then the A hit the river.

It really didn’t seem like anyone had any of this up until this point, so would that Ace have changed much? The Ace has showdown value, so that could warrant all players to check. Then again an Ace could be best, so maybe that would have been worth a bet. Then again, what do I know about high-level poker?

All I know is Dvoress checked, then Holz checked, and the action was on Kisacikoglu. He waited a moment before putting out a bet of 1,400, and here’s where the hand sprung into life. Dvoress patiently counted out a 5,000 raise and slid it across the line.

Holz gave it up quickly, and the action was back on the man from Turkey. He made the call and Kisacikoglu mucked when Dvoress flipped over the A8 for a full house. He had it all along, and must have been waiting for someone to catch up.

His plan worked perfectly, but he’s still not quite back up to a starting stack with 43,000. –JS

7:50pm: Jason joins the game
Level 3, Blinds 150/300 (25 ante)

Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier has just taken his seat to take the field to 110 players. Mercier had a deep run in the main event here in Season 11, finishing 28th. Over the years this stop of the tour has been a happy hunting ground for him. In 2013 he had an outright victory in the Open Face Chinese event and a second place in the €100,000 super high roller. Oh, and he was also on that ridiculous main event final table, which was won by Steve O’Dwyer. –NW


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7:40pm: End of the level, break time

With two levels done, players are heading for their first break of the day. –HS

7:38pm: Gu gets a few
Level 2 – Blinds: 100/200 (25 ante)

In the last hand of Level 2, Justin Bonomo opened for 525 from under the gun, Huidong Gu called from the cutoff, and Mohsin Charania also called from the big blind.

The flop came 108J and it checked around to Gu who bet 1,500. Only Charania stuck around. Both remaining players then checked the 2 turn, then after the J came on fifth street Charania bet 4,000. Gu paused for several seconds, then raised to 12,000, and after thinking himself a short while Charania called.

Gu turned over J10 for a rivered full house and Charania mucked. Gu goes to break with about 68,000 while Charania has 35,000. –MH

7:37pm: Easing into the chip-counting game
Level 2 – Blinds 100/200 (50 ante)

We’ll get that chip-count page working after the first break (which is coming up). In the meantime, here are three counts:

Phil Gruissem – 49,000
Dan Smith – 55,000
Stephen Chidwick – 52,000


The dashing Phillipp Gruissem

Starting stack was 50,000. (So you can see why we haven’t been massively bothered with the chip-count page to now.)

7:35pm: River bombs working well
Level 2 – Blinds 100/200 (50 ante)

If you rarely show down to win a hand in a poker tournament you’re (in the long run) going have a large return on your investment. Pierre Neuville, Steve O’Dwyer and David Yan just fired big river bets to get their respective opponents off their holdings.

Neuville was in the big blind and bet 7,500 on the river of a 610A98 board and Imed Mahmoud tank-folded, while showing an ace, from the cutoff. The Belgian raked in the pot while showing an ace of his own.


Pierre Neuville: Ace

Moments later, O’Dwyer had similar success versus Orpen Kisacikoglu. Far fewer chips had made it into the middle by the time their board rested as K5Q106. Kisacikoglu checked from the big blind and wasted little time in folding to O’Dwyer’s 3,200 bet.

David Yan had the tricky task of ousting Jean-Noel Thorel from a hand, but he succeeded. His 6,000 turn bet was followed up by a 20,000 river bet. Thorel called quickly on the turn but the final 210846 board wasn’t worth such a wager and he also folded.

Neuville and Yan moved just past 60,000 and O’Dwyer moved up to 72,000. – MC

7:30pm: Some light reading
For all you stats fans out there, here’s a brilliant look at some of the numbers from all the festivals on the European Poker Tour. Which player’s EPT cash comprises the largest percentage of their overall career earnings? Which 11 players recorded their first career cash with a main event win? All of that, and more!

7:25pm: “Poker viral”
Level 2 – Blinds: 100/200 (25 ante)

What do you call it when a hand played at one EPT stop is still being talked about at the next one? We have our answer.

Chance Kornuth and Charlie Carrel are sharing a table here at the start of this €10K single re-entry high roller. You may recall those two were also sharing a table near the end of a high roller at the last EPT festival in Dublin — the €25K high roller in which Kornuth finished second and Carrel third.

The hand they were discussing? You remember it, too — the one during four-handed play in which eventual winner Mustapha Kanit bluffed Anton Bertilsson off the latter’s pocket queens holding only queen-high. (Bertilsson would go on to finish fourth.)

“It went like… poker viral,” explained Carrel to the rest of the table, well describing how discussions of the hand spread wildly through the poker world once it had aired on EPT Live.

Expect more “poker viral” hands from Monaco, especially once cards-up coverage of events begins starting with the €100K super high roller final table later this week. –MH

7:20pm: If at first you don’t succeed…
Level 2, Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Fady Kamar was the first player eliminated today but this is a single re-entry tournament and he’s hopped back in.

The second bullet is currently going the same way as the first. He’s down to 46,000 after losing a pot to Christian Christner. –NW

7:15pm: Ask and you shall receive
Level 2, Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

A few players had been clamoring for a late night or early morning satellite to this event, given that late registration is open until the start of level 11 – roughly 2.45pm local time tomorrow.

Well we’ve just heard that there will be a €1,000 + €50 hyper turbo satellite at midnight tonight. Players will get an 8,000 starting stack and 10 minute blinds. –NW

7:05pm: Late arrivers
Level 2 – Blinds: 100/200 (25 ante)

Level 2 is well under way, where the blinds and antes have remained the same but the field is increasing with every pass between the tables. Remember that late registration is open (and the ability to re-enter also allowed) all of the way until the beginning of Day 2

Among the latest to join the group are Justin Bonomo, Chance Kornuth, Andrey Zaichenko and Ivan Luca. –MH

7pm: Shak’s spreadsheets
Level 2 – Blinds: 100/200 (25 ante)

You don’t get anywhere in life without putting in the hard work. However, you’ve also got to remember to take time for yourself too. Work hard, play hard, as they say.

One man who epitomises that is Dan Shak. A very successful man away from the felt, Shak is here mixing it up in this €10,000 event – his “fun” job, if you like. Every time I’ve covered Shak in an event though, he always has his laptop at hand while he plays, deep in both spreadsheets and spread pots. Today is no different.


Dan Shak’s mobile office

Meanwhile, Jack Salter, Matas Cimbolas and Ivan Luca are just a few of the many new names in the field. –JS

6:55pm: Finger’s impression
Level 2 – Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Martin Finger – tanned and in attire ready for summer – is in a relaxed mood and really looking forward to the poker festival.

“Every time I come to Monaco, I get a great first impression,” said the former EPT main event, high roller and super high roller champion. “Sometimes, before coming, I worry before about numbers but this year I’m excited again, especially with the numbers already in this high roller.”


Martin Finger: Now chasing a turbo high roller title

Finger went on to ask if the number of players is looking good for the next 12 days and we told him that more than 300 players alone have won their way in the main event on PokerStars, including about 120 via the Spin and Go promotion.

“Wow,” Finger said. “You’re probably just playing Spin and Goes for fun and then you win. What do you do? Take a week off work and come to Monaco of course!” –MC

Next year, it could be you. Click here to get a PokerStars account.


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6:46: Solid Orpening level for Kisacikoglu
Level 1 – Blinds: 100/200 (25 ante)

With more than 20,000 in the middle and four players still vying for the pot, the board showed 4K67Q when Ole Schemion checked from the small blind. Sitting to his left, Mareshki Veselin fired a bet of 11,000, then across the table in middle position Orpen Kisacikoglu called. Sean Winter was also in the hand on the button and he folded, and Schemion chuckled a little before sending his cards to the muck as well.

Veselin turned over 53, having turned a straight, but Kisacikoglu had rivered a flush with J10 and collected the big pot. Kisacikoglu is up over 75,000 now as the day’s first level concludes. –MH

6:45pm: Former neighbours, together again
Level 1 – Blinds: 100/200 (25 ante)

Ike Haxton, Steve O’Dwyer and Justin Bonomo all used to live in the same building in Las Vegas – the infamous Panama Towers. While they’ve since moved on (Haxton and Bonomo have lived in Malta for the past few years) the three friends (plus the fourth member of that group, Scott Seiver) probably know each other’s games better than any one.

The good news for us, then, is that Haxton, O’Dwyer and Bonomo are all on the same table right now. All we need is Seiver to arrive and get a seat on that table and it’ll be friends reunited. –JS

6:44pm: Fashionably late arrivals
Level 1 – Blinds: 100/200 (25 ante)

Team PokerStars Pro Andre Akkari, Dominik Nitsche, Byron Kaverman, Francisco “Tomate” Benitez and Mike McDonald have all now taken their seats around the felt. –JS


Andre Akkari: Team Pro in from Brazil

6:42pm: Greenwood scores a knockout
Level 1 – Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

We reached the table to see the final throes of a huge pot between Fady Kamar (hijack) and Sam Greenwood (cutoff). There was around 8,500 already in the middle and a complete board of 358K4 on the felt.

There had been significant river action too as there was a bet if 15,075 in front of Greenwood and an all-in bet of 33,475 in front of Kamar. Though they were sat side by side Greenwood stared straight ahead and it seemed he was faced with a really tough call. He was playing with his remaining 5,000-denomination chips and seemed set to drop them over the betting line a couple of times only to change his mind at the last second.

Eventually, though, Greenwood decided calling was the correct course of action and dropped his chips over the line. Kamar showed 44 for a rivered set but Greenwood had got there one street earlier with KK. The Canadian is up to 83,000 as a result while Kamar has, we think, gone to rebuy. –NW

6:40pm: Banicevic calls, collects
Level 1 – Blinds: 100/200 (25 ante)

Playing from the hijack seat, Nick Petrangelo opened for 425 and was called by both of the players to his left: Vlado Banicevic (cutoff) and Fady Kamar (button).

The flop came 96Q and Petrangelo continued for 900, with only Banicevic sticking around. Both players checked the A turn, then the J completed the board.

Petrangelo paused a moment, then pushed out a bet of 2,000. Banicevic thought about the same amount of time and called, then saw Petrangelo table his 95 for a pair of nines. Banicevic turned over KJ for a better pair, and he claimed the pot. –MH

6:38pm: Unorthodox but not unexpected start for Schemion
Level 1 – Blinds: 100/200 (25 ante)

Ole Schemion doesn’t do many things the traditional way – from his poker to his fashion to his method of transport around poker rooms. (We’ve seen him ride a skateboard around the tables at previous EPT stops). One thing that does seem to be a tradition for him is getting off to great starts in tournaments.

He is on his feet and dressed casually today, but his poker is still far from traditional. After facing an open to 650 from Bahram Chobineh, Schemion made the call from the big blind and the two saw a 1058 flop. Now, the usual play would be to check to the raiser, but Schemion led straight out for 750. This resulted in a raise to 2,200 from Chobineh, which Schemion called.

The A landed on the river but instead of checking Schemion once again snatched the betting lead. He put out 3,800 and got his Chobineh to lay it down.

Schemi-on and upwards for the German. –JS

6:35pm: SirWatts is served
Level 1 – Blinds: 100/200 (25 ante)

Lots of multi-way action early on in the day’s first level where players began with stacks 250 big blinds deep.

Just now 2016 PCA Main Event champion Mike Watson watched his neighbor raise and he chose to three-bet from the cutoff, earning a couple of callers behind plus the original raiser. A bet from Watson on the single-suited 793 flop winnowed the field to just one opponent, then another on the A turn earned him the pot. Watson chips up close to 60,000 in the early going. –MH

6:30pm: High roller or musical chairs?
Level – Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Don’t get comfortable in your seats, players, as you may not be there long.

The tournament is growing to such an extent – the eighth table is being opened, and the ninth will be along shortly – that many players are being moved from their original seats to new tables to be joined by fresh players. Two such players were Isaac Haxton and Simon Deadman.


Simon Deadman: Back to the tournament scene

We’re hoping Deadman can still remember how to play tournament poker. He was last seen on tour leaving the PCA and heading to Las Vegas where he’s been grinding cash games until now. — MC

6:25pm: Nothing but names
Level 1 – Blinds: 100/200 (25 ante)

Players are continuing to flock in o the tournament room for this high roller event. Sam Greenwood and Daniel Dvoress are here, but a sighting of former PCA winner and two-time WSOP bracelet winner John Gale didn’t actually mean he’s playing this one. Gale looks like he’s actually playing the FPS satellite.Expect the big names to keep on coming’ nonetheless –JS

6:15pm: Ante up!
Level 1, Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

There aren’t too many tournaments that have an ante from Level 1, but this one does. The players are forced to put in at least 25 of their 50,000 starting stack in the middle on every single hand during the opening level.

The idea is, of course, that a running ante creates action–and on the first hand I witnessed the action folded to Dan Smith in the small blind. He completed and Martin Finger checked his option. Neither player bet the “actiony” 9710 flop but Finger fired out 325 on the 6 turn and he took the pot.

So, it seems that no matter how you try to force the action players will still play snug at the start. –NW

6:10pm: Another Grand Final champion
Level 1 – Blinds: 100/200 (25 ante)

In addition to Adrian Mateos, the reigning Grand Final champ, Ivan Freitez has also slipped into this event. Freitez won the Grand Final when it decamped to Madrid for a season, but he’s mixing it in the €10,000 high roller today, sitting next to Dan Smith. –HS

6:07pm: First arrivers
Level 1 – Blinds: 100/200 (25 ante)

Preparations are still being finalized over in the main tournament area for the two-week festival, so Day 1 of our event is happening over on one side of the already thriving cash game area where about 20 tables are in action.

About 20 players are already in their seats to begin the tournament today with more arriving as Level 1 begins. Among those here for the first orbit are Ole Schemion, Stephen Chidwick, Ben Heath, Charlie Carrell, Nick Petrangelo, Isaac Haxton, Martin Finger, and EPT11 Grand Final Main Event champion Adrian Mateos. –MH


Adrian Mateos, back at the scene of greatest triumph

6:04pm: Shuffle up and deal
Level 1 – Blinds: 100/200 (25 ante)

The first arrivers are in their seats and the initial hands of the €10K Single Re-Entry High Roller are underway.

As the tournament director just explained, they’ll be playing eight 45-minute levels today, with late registration open all of the way through today and to the start of Level 11 tomorrow. –MH


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5pm: The EPT Grand Final festival set to begin

It’s day one of the EPT Grand Final festival in Monaco. After five hard fought contests around Europe (and the Caribbean) we’ve reached the Riviera, the spiritual home of the European Poker Tour.

We start today with the Single Re-Entry High Roller event, with the unusual start time of 6pm local time (12 noon ET). We’ll play eight 45 minute levels for an early morning finish, and then come back for the more traditional start time of 12:30pm for Day 2 tomorrow.

This is an new event to the festival, which precedes the super high roller which begins on Thursday. A seat today costs you $10,000 (and another €10,000 if you want the re-entry), with the final table on Thursday.

While we wait for the start in an hour’s time, take advantage of the links below for some of the background to the festival, and the EPT App which features all the details of every one of the 80 events to be played over the next ten days.

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Take a look at the official website of the EPT, with tournament schedule, news, results and accommodation details for the rest of the season.

Also all the schedule information is on the EPT App, which is available on both Android or IOS.

PokerStars Blog reporting team at the EPT12 Grand Final: Howard Swains, Stephen Bartley, Marc Convey, Nick Wright, Jack Stanton and Martin Harris. Photography by René Velli. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog



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