Wednesday, 8th February 2023 00:06
Home / Uncategorized / EPT12 Grand Final: €25K High roller Day 1 coverage archive

We all knew this tournament was going to be huge – it always is. So it wasn’t a huge surprise to see a new Grand Final record set for the biggest ever €25K.

That was certainly true today as 173 players ponied up the €25,000 buy-in for this three-day high roller event – ten more than last year! We had 47 re-entries (making 220 entries total) so second bullets were being fired at will (although a third was out of the question), and that’s going to guarantee we have one heck of a juicy prize pool after registration closes tomorrow, when 95 players will return.

This is the biggest buy-in event left on the schedule here at the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo®Casino EPT12 Grand Final, and it’s therefore the last chance for these guys to either dig themselves out of a financial hole (Monte Carlo is expensive!), or if you’re Ole Schemion – who won the 100K and came runner-up in the single-day 50K – it’s your last chance to not win at least six figures here in Monaco. I don’t think he’s going to be able to pull that off, though.

Schemion’s still in but short with 20,400 after busting and re-entering at the last level of the night, but the player leading the way overnight is none other than Niall Farrell. It was a great day for the EPT12 Malta champ and France Poker Series main event runner-up; he got off to a flying start and never came back to earth, remaining at the top of the counts for much of the day.


Niall Farrell’s hot streak in Monaco continues
When asked if he believed in the curse of the chip leader, Farrell said: “No man, I’ll take being the chip leader all the time.”

“[Today was] pretty great all round. My value bets got called and my bluffs got through.”

He’ll start tomorrow with 311,200 going into Level 11 (1,000/2,000, 300 ante), and will be looking to extend his lead on the other biggest stacks in the room, including Enrico Coppola (302,100), Saar Wilf (288,000), Dong Zhao (278,900), David Dayan (272,900), Dan Smith (272,500), and Ivan Luca (271,300).

We had several Team Pros in the running, including Andre Akkari, Jason Mercier, Liv Boeree, and Friend of PokerStars Felipe Ramos. They all survived and will be back tomorrow.

Elsewhere, Jean-Noel Thorel was up and down the counts in his typical style; Igor Kurganov managed to amass a nice stack while also playing a heads-up match on his laptop; and defending champ Charlie Carrel dusted off two bullets and won’t be returning tomorrow.

One player who didn’t get off to a flyer was Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu. He busted in brutal fashion not long after registering late in the day, when Phil Gruissem rivered a straight against his top set. It didn’t take him long to buy back in though, and he ended the day with 136,700.

Here’s how the biggest stacks in the room look, plus a few other notable names:

Niall Farrell – 311,200
Saar Wilf – 288,000
Dong Zhao – 278,900
David Dayan – 272,900
Dan Smith – 272,500
Ivan Luca – 271,300
Erik Seidel – 177,300
Andre Akkari – 170,000
Daniel Negreanu – 136,700
Adrian Mateos – 124,000
Anthony Zinno – 123,000
Steve O’Dwyer – 77,600
Liv Boeree – 71,400
Mike McDonald – 56,700
Jason Mercier – 54,900
Dzmitry Urbanovich – 38,600
Igor Kurganov – 25,000
Ole Schemion – 20,400

Play kicks off at 12:30pm tomorrow so make sure you come back and join us for Day 2 of this event. Tomorrow also sees 28 players return for Day 5 of the main event, including Team Pro Vanessa Selbst, Dario Sammartino, Antoine Saout, and Joao Vieira all still in the hunt. Play in that tournament starts a bit earlier at noon.

Get some sleep, and we’ll see you tomorrow. Bonsoir! –JS

01:10am: Play ends
Level 10 – Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

That’s it for day one of this event and it looks like Niall Farrell has finished with the biggest stack in the room. A recap of the day’s play will appear above shortly. Overnight chip counts will be made available in an hour or so, but the seat draw will not be available on the blog until play has started tomorrow at 12.30 CEST. –NW

12:50am: Last five
Level 10 – Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

The clock has been paused and there will be five more hands before play is done for the day. Niall Farrell, Dan Smith and Ivan Luca all have around 280,000 and are contesting the chip lead. –NW

12:35am: How high will we go?
Level 10 – Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

The tournament has just ticked up to 210 entries (including 40 re-entries), so it’s not quite equalled last year’s edition, which got 215 entries in total. However, with late registration open until the start of play tomorrow, it’s a case of when not if this eclipses that figure.

12:35am: How go Team Pro?
Level 10 – Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

With about 25 minutes left in the night there are four members of Team PokerStars Pro still going strong. They are:

Daniel Negreanu – 115,000
Liv Boeree – 114,000
Andre Akkari – 102,000
Jason Mercier – 39,600

12:15am: Korotkikh shows the bluff
Level 10 – Blinds 800/1,600 (ante 200)

Enrico Coppola opened to 3,300 and Mikhail Korotkikh then made a big all-in move. His shove was for 69,000 and Coppola, who had a stack of around 200,000, was giving it some serious thought. Eventually though he elected to fold and Korotkikh showed J8 as he took the pot.


10 800 1,600 200


12:05am: Chidwick eliminates Soika
Level 9 – Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Daniel Negreanu’s second bullet is going better than the first as he’s up to 70,000. He looked on as Stephen Chidwick and Ihar Soika played a big pot. On a 385 flop Soika bet 2,700, Chidwick raised it up to 8,000 and Soika smooth called.

The 7 hit the turn, Chidwick moved all-in for an effective 15,000 and Soika snap called. He turned over KK and was ahead of Chidwick’s 99. However, the 6 river filled Chidwick’s straight and he’s up to 65,000 as a result whilst Soika is out, for now. –NW

12am: Petrangelo having fun
Level 9 – Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Despite having just under 20 big blinds Nick Petrangelo is in a jovial mood. He’s at a fun table, one that includes Paul Hoefer and Georgios Zisimopoulos. A round of beers arrived just in time for Petrangelo to open to 2,700, it folded round to Hoefer, who was in the big blind, and the German called the extra 1,500.

The 893 flop was checked through and the 4 fell on fourth street. After Hoefer checked Petrangelo said: “Now it’s time to start betting,” before he too checked. The 8 fell on the river and Hoefer bet 4,000. Petrangelo – who started the hand with about 22,000 – flicked in the call and Hoefer rolled over J7.

“Do you have a straight?” said Petrangelo cheekily as he opened AK. “Oh no, you have nothing,” he added and Zisimopoulos, Hoefer and Petrangelo cracked up at the joke. –NW


Nick Petrangelo
11:58pm: Dvoress is no moress
Level 9 – Blinds 600/1,200 (100 ante)

Serbia’s Ognjen Sekularac opened up a pot to 2,900 and Mark Teltscher called out of the small blind, as did Daniel Dvoress from the big. The flop came 42K and it checked to Sekularac who continued for 3,300. Teltscher made the call, and Dvoress decided the time was right to get it in. The bet was 21,300 and that was too much for the original raiser, but Teltscher made the call.

Dvoress – 97
Teltscher – K10

Dvoress would need a heart to pop Teltscher’s top pair to the post, but it came the 10 on the turn and the 2 on the river and he was out. Teltscher is now playing 120,000. –JS

11:45pm: Boeree busts Bensadoun
Level 9 – Blinds 600/1,200 (100 ante)

Jonathan Bensadoun moved all-in from the under the gun for 20,000 and it folded around to Team Pro Liv Boeree. She asked for a count and made a quick call when she discovered the amount. It folded the rest of the way and Boeree was way ahead with her AQ against 710.

The 10J9 flop put Bensadoun in front but only until the Q turn. The J river sealed the Frenchman’s fate and Boeree moved up to 66,500. –JS

11:30pm: King Kenney
Level 9 – Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Bryn Kenney is up to 150,000 after winning a big pot against Ariel Mantel. The American was the pre-flop aggressor, raising it up to 2,700, Mantel defended from the big blind. On the 872 flop Kenney c-bet 3,300, Mantel check-raised to 9,000 and Kenney called.

On the J turn Mantel fired out 11,500 and Kenney again smooth called. On the 10 river Mantel shoved for an effective 50,000 and Kenney went into the tank and emerged with a call. Mantel was bluffing with 54 and Kenney had called him down to 109. Mantel was left with a micro stack but doubled up to around 10 big blinds shortly afterwards. –NW


Kenney’s climbing
11:20pm: Farrell gets there
Level 9 – Blinds 600/1,200 (ante 200)

Xixiang Luo let out a loud cry of anguish and it didn’t take too long to figure out why. He’d got his stack of 70,000 in the middle pre-flop with AA and Niall Farrell had put him at risk with KK. The 67810 flop and turn were clean, but the K river was a fatal blow.

Luo even got out his phone to take a photo of the board for posterity. “Make sure you get me in the picture because then people will know why it happened,” quipped Farrell. He’s up to 245,000 now and the last time he got off to this good a start he won EPT Malta. –NW

11:10pm: Gruissem gets lucky to bust Negreanu
Level 9 – Blinds 600/1,200 (100 ante)

Not a good start for Kid Poker…


Felipe Ramos filled us in on the hand. Phillip Gruissem opened under the gun and it folded to Negreanu who defended his big blind. Negreanu led for 4,000 on the Jack-seven-eight flop and Gruissem raised to 10,000, which Negreanu called. The turn was indeed a six and Negreanu jammed with his top set. Gruissem called with top pair but got lucky to make a straight when a nine hit the river.

Negreanu is gone but, as he says, it’s only his first bullet. We’re sure to see him again, but in the meantime Gruissem is up to 110,000. –JS


9 600 1,200 200


10:51pm: Break time
Level 8 – Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

Players have gone on their last break of the day. Back in 20 minutes. –JS

10:50pm: A Stern hand for Kurganov
Level 8 – Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

Kully Sidhu opened to 2,500 under the gun and it folded to Zvi Stern in the cut-off. He made the call, and was the only caller when Igor Kurganov three-bet to 10,000 from the big blind.

The two saw a 3103 flop land and Kurganov continued for 8,000. That bet was called and the K hit the turn, but now Kurganov slowed down and checked, as did Stern.

We saw the 6 river card and Kurganov woke up again with a 26,500 bet. Stern, headphones on, thought for a good minute or two – counting out the chips and waving them in his hand. Eventually he slammed down the call and Kurganov quickly turned over the AA. Stern looked a little surprised and mucked. He’s down to 92,000 while Kurganov is up to 159,000. –JS

10:45pm: Great call from Mercier
Level 8 – Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

I reached the table to see a K7A710 board on the felt. There was roughly 15,300 in the middle and a bet of 8,500 in front of Dietrich Fast. The player in the tank was Jason Mercier and it was a decent percentage of his stack to call, but call he did. Fast showed 86 for a busted draw, Mericer had 33 for a pair of threes!

He’s up to 53,000 now, Fast is down to 9,000. –NW

10:35pm: Story time with Daniel Negreanu
Level 8 – Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

Have you heard the one about the mice and the tubes? I’ll let Kid Poker explain.

Daniel Negreanu: “There were these mice, and there was a tube that they could go down and at the end would be some cheese [These aren’t his exact words, but you’ll get the idea.]. The mice would go down it five times and get the cheese, but then they would switch it so that the mice would get electrocuted [I’m not sure who ‘they’ are].

“Even though they were now getting electrocuted, the mice continued to go down the tube. They think ‘But I got cheese once!’ And that’s like poker. If people win early, they continue to play, because they think ‘Well, I won once! It could happen again!'”

Salman Behbahani, Felipe Ramos and Phil Gruissem were riveted, like school kids in an assembly. –JS


Listen up, schools in session
10:25pm: Peters busts, re-enters
Level 8 – Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

David Peters just busted out in a huge flip against Roman Emelyanov. The American opened to 3,300 from the small blind with AQ only for Emelyanov to move all-in from the big blind for 65,000. Peters tanked before calling and he was racing against Emelyanov’s pocket eights.

Depite flopping a gutshot straight draw to go with his overcards Peters bricked the turn and river but has since re-entered with a fresh stack of 50,000. –NW

10:20pm: Fun and games with Jean-Noel Thorel
Level 8 – Blinds 500/1,000 (ante 100)

Jean-Noel Thorel was up to 220,000 but he’s dropped back down to 110,000 after losing a series of pots. The main beneficiaries of those chips appear to be Ivan Luca (168,000) and Simon Higgins (140,000). –NW

10:17pm: Negreanu’s in the house
Level 8 – Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

As he so often does in tournaments, Team Pro Daniel Negreanu registered for this event after the dinner break. He’s in the mix and started with 50,000, but one of his first hands didn’t go to plan. He made it 2,200 under the gun only for Phil Gruissem to make it 5,500 and Salman Behbahani to make it 13,200. Negreanu gave it up, as did Philbort. –JS

10:08pm: Sick run-out
Level 8 – Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

A pre-flop betting war saw Oliver Weis get it in with the JJ and Yang Wang get it in with the QQ. The pot was big and Wang’s hopes were high.
But then the dealer started dealing.

The flop? A10J.

The turn? K.

The river? Q.

A chop worth 25K to Weis. –JS

10:05pm: Gruissem and Jaka continue to go at it
Level 8 – Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

When you’re sat next to someone at the poker table it’s nice to be polite and friendly, but there’s no love lost when you’re both in a pot together. Phillip Gruissem and Faraz Jaka are positioned in Seat 5 and Seat 6 at their table and every time I walk past they seem to be gunning for one another.

In the latest battle the board read the A2JQ and Gruissem led for 9,000. Jaka called on the button and when the 4 hit the turn the German shoved, putting Jaka’s stack at risk. He had 21,500 behind and opted to fold.

As soon as the hand was over, though, the two were smiling and giggling once again. –JS

10pm Antonius falls to Schillhabel
Level 7 – Blinds 400/800 (ante 100)

Stefan Schillhabel is up to 98,000 after eliminating Patrik Antonius. In the hand in question it was three to a Q109 flop, Antonius bet 4,500, Pablo Melogno folded and Schillhabel smooth called. On the 4 turn Antonius committed his final 21,400 and after a few seconds thought Schillhabel called it off.

Antonius: AK
Schillhabel: AQ

Antonius needed a heart a jack or a king to stay alive but missed the lot on the 4 river. –NW


8 500 1,000 100


9:55pm Multi-tabling
Level 7 – Blinds 400/800 (ante 100)

Igor Kurgnaov is multi-tabling and multi-screening at the moment. That’s because he’s still very much alive in this event and he’s also playing heads-up against Bill Perkins in his Global Poker League match.

It all means Kurganov has his laptop perched on his legs to play that match and he’s also got his phone propped up so he can follow the action on Twitch, which has hole cards shown on delay.

9:35pm: This is getting silly…even more for Farrell!
Level 7 – Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

You can now add another starting stack to Niall Farrell’s count as he’s now playing 208,000.

Georgios Sotiropoulos was the man who gave him the gift. Igor Yaroshevskyy opened to 2,000 before Sotiropoulos three-bet to 5,500 and Farrell four-bet to 11,600 on the button. Only Sotiropoulos called and the duo saw a 6J8 flop, which was checked to Farrell. The Scot continued for 8,400 and Sotiropoulos jammed for his last 26,000. Farrell snap-called and the cards were flipped:

Farrell – KK
Sotiropoulos – 97

Sotiropoulos had got it in with an open-ender but couldn’t hit on the 2 turn or 7 river. He’s gone, but Farrell now sits more comfortably at the top of the chip counts. –JS

9:15pm: Farrell increases his stack
Level 7 – Blinds 400/800 (ante 100)

Niall Farrell was the chip leader at the dinner break and he just won a big pot against Ahmed Fatah to move up to 170,000.

I joined the pot on the turn to see a 5K4Q board on the felt. Farrell (under-the-gun+2) bet 10,000 into a 17,000 chip pot and Fatah check-raised to 22,500 total. Farrell had a think and then elected to smooth call.

The 5 fell on the river and Fatah slowed down, checking the action to Farrell. The Scotsman riffled some chips for a bit and then moved all-in. The bet was for an effective 29,000, as that’s what Fatah, had left. He tanked for a long time before laying his hand down.

Pot to Farrell. –NW

9:05pm: Stephensen doubles through Greenwood
Level 7 – Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

Sam Greenwood has made a bit of a slip up and it’s cost him most of his stack. Felix Stephensen made it 2,000 to go on the button and Greenwood bumped that price up to 6,500. Stephensen then came back over the top to 12,800 and Greenwood put him all-in, which the Norwegian snap-called.

He had the KK and that was crushing Greenwood’s 77. In the end the board showed the 6J2A5 and Stephensen is up to 110,000, while Greenwood has just 12,700. –JS

8:55pm: Great dessert for Gruissem
Level 7 – Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

He may not have been able to have a pudding after his dinner due to time constraints, but Phil Gruissem has had a sweet start back from the break.

On a 4J8 board he checked to Faraz Jaka who made it 5,000 to go. The German called and the turn came the 10. Gruissem checked and Jaka put him all-in, followed by a quick call.

Gruissem had turned a straight with the 97 which was ahead of the 1010 set of Jaka. The river was the A which didn’t pair the board or provide quads, and Gruissem doubled to 56,600. Jaka is down to 36,000. –JS


Good start to the level for Gruissem
8:52pm: Run!
Level 7 – Blinds 400/800 (ante 100)

A number of the high rollers were a touch tardy in returning from the dinner break and, when a floorperson announced that the level was starting, this made several of them break into a jog to reach their table in time to receive cards.

We’re used to poker players doing some runner-runnering but not actual sprinting. So the sight of Sam Greenwood and Stefan Schillhabel being involved in a race of a different kind was refreshing.

We’ve no idea if they made it, but one player who definitely didn’t was Ramin Hajiyev. The Azerbaijani had missed the opening hand but saw the dealer pitching cards for the second and made a baseball style slide to try and reach his seat in time to be dealt into the second hand of the level. He was given out. “Nice slide, commented Amit Makhija though as Hajiyev took his seat. To be fair to him he didn’t seem at all bothered about having missed the hand. At least he was now at the table, unlike Alain Goldberg who’d yet to return.

Meanwhile whilst some elected to put in some cardio work to reach their table as quickly as possible Jason Mercier and Patrik Antonius, who two of those who simply sauntered to their seats without a care in the world. –NW

8:50pm: Could it be? Can it be? It is! It’s Kanit!
Level 7 – Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

Mustapha Kanit has joined the field, and that in itself deserves its own post. Expect to see his name a lot going forward, as the popular Italian always provides excellent entertainment – regardless of how high the tournament buy-in is. He’s kicking off with 50,000. –JS


7 400 800 75


7:30pm: Dinner time big stacks
The high roller’s entry number had risen to 165 by the time dinner break came around and 134 remain. They now take a 75 minute break. Meanwhile, here are the counts of those who have passed the 100k-mark so far:


Name Country Chips
Niall Farrell United Kingdom 150,000
Wilf Saar Israel 148,000
Andrey Pateychuk Russia 145,000
Thomas Muehloecker Austria 141,000
Marko Neumann Germany 133,000
Jean-Noel Thorel France 130,000
Rocco Palumbo Italy 128,000
Paul Hoefer Germany 128,000
David Dayan Brazil 124,000
Dong Zhao China 123,000
Yang Wang China 122,000
Xixiang Luo China 120,000
Steve O’Dwyer Ireland 117,000
Francisco Benitez Uruguay 115,000
Erik Seidel United States 110,000
Andrew Lichtenberger United States 104,000


‘Hey Mum, I’m chip leader’
7:15pm: Jacks no good for O’Dwyer
Level 6 – Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

Steve O’Dwyer had dropped down to 46,300 after tangling with fellow former EPT Grand Final champion Mohsin Charania.

O’Dywer opened to 2,200 from second to act and was called by Charania on the button and Zvi Stern in the big blind. The flop came 73Q and O’Dwyer continued for 2,200. Only Charania called to the A turn where O’Dyer fired another 4,500. Charania called again and the board got wetter with the 9 river. Both players checked and O’Dyer announced he had jacks with no diamond. Charania’s AQ had that beat he raked in the pot to move up to 86,500. — MC

7:05pm: Voulgaris busts, while Greenwood doubles
Level 6 – Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

Looking back on Haralabos Voulgaris’ under-the-gun shove all-in for 12 big blinds with the J8, it might seem a little inpatient. Then again, we’re in the middle of the NBA finals, so perhaps the prolific basketball bettor had tape to study.

He was called by Mikita Badziakouski in the utg+1 seat who held the 99. The board ran out 6257K and it was an airball for Voulgaris. Badziakouski now has 82,500.

On another table, Luc Greenwood – one of three Greenwood brothers in this event – was busy doubling up through Ariel Mantel. The Argentinian opened under the gun before Greenwood three-bet to 4,000 on the button. Mantel then four-bet to 11,400, and Greenwood five-bet jammed for 40,750! Mantel called.

Mantel – QQ
Greenwood – KK

There was a sweat on the turn of the A109J board (Greenwood didn’t want to hit a set, that’s for sure) but the river was the 4. Greenwood doubled to 82,000, while Mantel has 95,000 left. –JS

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7pm: Carrel’s okay with losing 50k
Level 6 – Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

Charlie Carrel was sat at an empty table in the main tournament room, with the look of a man who has busted, albeit with a smile across his face.

PokerStars Blog, “Busted?”

Carrel, “Yeah, my second bullet too! I had a set over straight in a three-bet pot but I’m okay with it because of yesterday.”

The yesterday Carrel is referring to is his victory in the €5k tournament last night. The win earned him €172,000 so life’s still pretty good for the likable young pro. — MC


You can’t win them all Charlie!
6:50pm: More folding
Level 5 – Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

They say that folding is, in the long run, the most profitable move in poker. That doesn’t mean you can fold yourself to a tournament win though. There’s a lot of folding going on – maybe it’s just this blogger that’s running bad. Maybe this post is the equivalent of folding.

Sam Chartier opened to 1,200 and called after Ben Heath three-bet him to 4,600. The flop came 436 and both players to the 4 turn where Chartier led for 4,600. Heath called and faced anther 13,300 bet on the 2 river.

“If I’m wrong I’m really dumb,” said Heath. He took another 30 seconds and then folded to drop to 38,000. Chartier moved up to 51,000.  –MC


6 300 600 75


6:35pm: More folding
Level 5 – Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

They say that folding is, in the long run, the most profitable move in poker. That doesn’t mean you can fold yourself to a tournament win though. There’s a lot of folding going on – maybe it’s just this blogger that’s running bad. Maybe this post is the equivalent of folding.

Sam Chartier opened to 1,200 and called after Ben Heath three-bet him to 4,600. The flop came 436 and both players to the 4 turn where Chartier led for 4,600. Heath called and faced anther 13,300 bet on the 2 river.

“If I’m wrong I’m really dumb,” said Heath. He took another 30 seconds and then folded to drop to 38,000. Chartier moved up to 51,000.  –MC

6:20pm: Second and final bust for Buddiga; Tsoukernik’s gone too
Level 5 – Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

It has not been a good day for Pratyush Buddiga. He’s well and truly out of this one after busting his second bullet after just a few hands.

Yang Wang made it 1,300 under the gun and there were three callers, including Sean Winter on the button and Mark Teltscher from the small blind. Buddiga was in the big and he put out a squeeze to 7,500, which only Wang would call.

We needed a flop and we got one: 6Q3. Both players checked and the K hit the turn. Now Buddiga put out a delayed c-bet of 11,000 which Wang called, and moved all-in for 24,000 on the 4 river. He was called.

Buddiga – AK
Wang – QQ

Top pair wasn’t going to beat Wang’s set of Queens anytime soon, and Buddiga went on his way.

Meanwhile at another table, Leon Tsoukernik has also busted his second bullet. –JS

6:05pm: Germans folding
Level 5 – Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

Fabian Quoss and Rainer Kempe folded hands on adjacent tables but in very different circumstances.

Quoss had three-bet to 4,500 from the button after Robert Crossley had opened to 1,500 from the hijack. Crossley called to the 5A3 flop and led for 12,000. Quoss open-folded KK and his opponent nodded and flashed A-Q.

Moments later, Kempe and Zvi Stern battled. Stern opened to 1,025 and then four-bet to 7,025 after Kempe three-bet him to 2,850. Kempe called and both players checked a 1097 flop. The turn was the 3 and Stern led for 6,500. Kempe called and then check-folded to a 13,000 bet on the 2 river.

Crossley – 47,000
Quoss – 42,000
Stern – 80,000
Kempe – 23,000

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5:55pm: Muehloecker shoots up the chip counts
Level 5 – Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

How does 260 big blinds sound? Pretty good to Thomas Muehloecker, who just eliminated Adnan Chamaa.

Chamaa began the hand with a raise, only to be three-bet by Muehloecker to 3,500. After the call, the flop came the J510 and Muehloecker decided not to c-bet, instead check-calling a 6,000 bet. The Q hit the turn and now Muehloecker check-raised the 9,000 bet from Chamaa to 22,000. The UK player made the call with 24,000 behind.

The river was the 3 and Muehloecker put Chamaa all-in, and I guess by that point he felt pretty priced in. He called, but got the bad news quickly: his JJ set had been pipped on the turn by Muehloecker’s AK for a straight. And like that, Chamaa was gone.

Muehloecker is now playing 130,000. –JS


Muehloecker’s off to a great start
5:40pm: Buddiga busts brutally
Level 5 – Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

Yuck. Gross. Sick. All those words.

Yingui Li just put Patyush Buddiga all-in on a Q865 board with the JQ and Buddiga snap-called with the AA.

The river was the J, giving Li two pair.

Buddiga swiftly went to re-enter, while Li now has 78,000. –JS


5 250 500 50


5:11pm: Break time

Players are now on a 20 minute break. Here are the current chip leaders:

Niall Farrell – 143,000
Erik Seidel – 110,000
Andrey Pateychuk – 110,000
Xixiang Luo – 92,000

5:10pm: News in brief: high roller edition
Level 4 – Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

–    Liv Boree won a small pot off Vladimir Troyanovskiy. They were heads up to the turn with a board reading 25AQ and Troyanovskiy check-called a 3,500 bet before both checked the Q river. Troyanovskiy opened 88 but Boree took the pot with AK. She rose to 62,000 and he dropped to 25,000.

–    Dominik Nitsche has busted his first bullet but is still smiling. “Of course!” he answered when asked if he was buying back in.
–    Jack Salter failed to a win a seat in the last satellite for the high roller today, but has bought in anyway. That satellite is still running and the prize pool is big enough to award eight seats and €18,070 in cash for ninth. Sixteen still remain and those still in include Ludovic Geilich, Edmund Yeung, Matt Wood and Steven van Zadelhoff. –MC

5pm: Tsoukernik busts to Farrell; in for another bullet
Level 4 – Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

Leon Tsoukernik played fast and furious today, but it’s cost him his first €25K bullet.

Niall Farrell opened to 1,000 from on the button and Xixiang Luo bumped it up to 2,600 out of the small blind. That intrigued Tsoukernik enough to make the call from the big blind, and Farrell came along too.

The three saw a 65K flop fall and it checked around, prompting the dealer to burn and turn the 3. It checked to Tsoukernik and he made it 3,500 to go, and only Farrell matched it.

That brought the 4 on the river and Tsoukernik once again led for 5,000. Farrell had something up his sleeve though – a raise to 22,000. Tsoukernik didn’t seem to like it, but decided to move all-in for 31,000. There wasn’t exactly any fold equity there so Farrell had an easy call, especially considering he had the 97 and had made a straight on the river. Tsoukernik had the 53 for two-pair but that wasn’t good enough.

Farrell now has 141,000, while Tsoukernik has already re-entered. –JS

4:50pm: Are you picking on me?
Level 4 – Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

That’s exactly what Chance Kornuth asked Leonardo Cucchiarini after he opened from under the gun when Kornuth was in the big blind – presumably not the first time this has happened.

The raise was 1,000 and it folded to David Dayan  in the small blind who came along, and Kornuth defended. The flop was the 296 and Cucchiarini continued for 2,000. Only Kornuth called to see the 5 hit the turn, and it went check-bet 2,800-call.

Both checked the 4 river, which put four diamonds out there. Kornuth showed the 87 for a turned straight, however Cucchiarini had the JJ and won it with a flush. –JS


Come on man!
4:40pm: Reinkemeier sings a Carrel of joy
Level 4 – Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

Charlie Carrel will be disappointed to have been involved in a cooler in the blinds versus Tobias Reinkemeier, but the fact he won the €5k last night for €172,000 means he’ll probably be over losing it pretty quickly.

The action folded around to Jason Wheeler on the button and he raised it up to 1,050. Carrel three-bet to 3,600 from the small blind and then Reinkemeier four-bet to 10,500 from the big blind. Wheeler moved out of the way but Carrel had no such intentions – he moved all-in and Reinkemeier shrugged all called off for 40,700.

Reinkemeier: 1010
Carrel: AK

The board ran Q49QJ to see the tens hold. Carrel dropped to 16,000 as a result. –MC


4 200 400 50


4:25pm: Chamaa using sports mode
Level 3 – Blinds 150/300 (25 ante)

Monaco is probably one of the only places in the world where a person would wear the apparel of a car they own. Adnan Chamaa has a Bugatti cap and bodywarmer on, so after writing this post, I’m off to hunt around the car park looking for a Veyron.

Chamaa played a hand with Andrei Konopelko and got the Belarusian to fold on the turn by using the over-bet function. It’s just like sport mode in the Veyron.

Around 12,500 lay in the middle and Chamaa led for 17,000 from the small blind. Konopelko went into the tank for a few minutes and then Chamaa piped up with, “I can help you if you ask me?”

“Call?” answered Konopelko.

Chamaa, “Good hand?” Konopelko nodded. “A pair? Two pair?”

Konopelko decided to fold and he asked Chamaa to show one. The latter obliged and opened A while adding, “I shouldn’t show but it’s okay! Now. I showed you one so you tell me one of your cards.”

Konopelko said he had a queen. He lost the post but his stack is still worth 85,000. Chamaa moved up 42,000. — MC

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4:10pm: Schemion makes good fold – or so he’s told
Level 3 – Blinds 150/300 (50 ante)

Here’s the Luo down:

Xixiang Luo opened from the cut-off but was three-bet to 2,500 by Ole Schemion on the button. Luo then four-bet to 7,250 and the German came along for a flop.

Flop: It came the 268 and Luo bet 7,125. Schemion called.

Turn: 10, Luo bet 13,200, Schemion called.

River: 8. Now Luo jammed for 29,225 and Schemion had a tough decision on his hands. He thought for longer than he usually seems to take, and eventually made a fold he didn’t look too confident about.

“Good fold,” said Luo, and he showed the A. “You have pocket Jacks?”

Schemion pointed upwards, indicating he had better.

“Queens?” Luo asked. Schemion nodded. “Very good fold.”

I guess we’ll never know if Luo was being honest. It doesn’t really matter now though – he’s up to  84,000 while Schemion is playing around 30,000. –JS

4pm: Dominik Nitsche gets double Quossed
Level 3 – Blinds 150/300 (50 ante)

The two Germans at the table – Dominik Nitsche and 50K high roller winner Fabian Quoss – are really gunning for each other so far today.

In the first pot Nitsche made it 800 and both Adrian Mateos and Fabian Quoss called out of the blinds. The flop came the 23Q and it checked to Nitsche who continued for 1,800, only to be raised by Quoss to 5,000 when Mateos got out the way.

Nitsche would call though, and the 2 hit the turn for three-to-a-flush on board. Quoss led for 6,500 and Nitsche let it go.

Just a couple of hands later they’d be at it again. Quoss opened to 800 on the button and Nitsche three-bet to 3,000 after Ariel Mantel called from the small blind. Quoss then four-bet to 7,400 and Nitsche again had to fold.

Nitsche is down to around 17,000 while Quoss has around 60,000. –JS

3:45pm: Seidel soaring
Level 3 – Blinds 150/300 (50 ante)

Erik Seidel had almost doubled his starting stack already after eliminating Raouf Ibrahim. It must be something to do with the super-food salad he was eating all the way through the hand.

Ibrahim opened to 800 from first position before Ollie Price three-bet to 3,000 from the next seat and Silver four-bet 5,200 from the cutoff. Seidel, sat in the small blind, casualty rested his wooden fork inside his salad container and five-bet to 12,500. Ibrahim called, Price folded quickly and Silver took longer in folding.

erik_seidel_hr1_4may16.jpgErik Seidel (playing an invisible violin?)
The flop fell 48J and Seidel bet 11,000 and called after Ibrahim raised all-in for 22,700. “I hope you don’t have the diamonds” said Seidel.

Ibrahim: 1010 for an over pair and one diamond.
Seidel: KK for a bigger over pair and bigger flush draw.

The board ran out 34 and Ibrahim (genuinely) tanked Seidel and the other before departing. Silver said he had folded queens. –MC

3:30pm: Tsoukernik misreads the situation
Level 3 – Blinds 150/300 (50 ante)

Czech entrepreneur and casino owner Leon Tsoukernik is no stranger to high stakes tournament action. The enormous buy-ins don’t mean all that much to such a successful guy.

He just proved this in a hand against Sam Greenwood that would see the pro double up. Greenwood made it 750 and Tsoukernik three-bet to 3,000 from the big blind. Greenwood then moved all-in.

Tsoukernik asked how much it was for and the answer was “ninety nine”. Thing is, we found out after the hand that Tsoukernik thought that meant 99,000 – not 9,900 which was the reality.

“Can we re-buy in this event?” he asked, before making an emphatic call when he was told he could. He had just the AJ. And he made the call thinking the shove was for double the starting stack!

Greenwood had the KK and was ahead, but by the turn on the 425J board Tsoukernik had outs. Any Ace, Jack or three would win it for him, but it came the K and Greenwood doubled, while Tsoukernik has around 30,000 left. –JS

3:20pm: Philbort wants a rule change
Level 3 – Blinds 150/300 (25 ante)

Philip Gruissem wants some time back and a rule change after he spent time closely watching a hand play out, only for no cards to be shown on showdown.

Faraz Jaka had opened from under the gun and was called by Yaxi Zhu in the small blind. Both checked the A4Q flop before Zhu check-called 2,400 and 5,200 on the 65 turn and river. Jaka mucked his hand to drop to 34,525 whereas Zhu got back up to 41,000.

“Stupid rule,” said Gruissem. “He mucked [points at Jaka], she mucked [points at Zhu] and I watched the whole f***ing hand and didn’t get to see any cards!”

There are 115 entries, the latest being Anthony Spinella, who seemed to me meditating while awaiting his seating assignment. –MC

3pm: Thorel doubles through Holz
Level 3 – Blinds 150/300 (25 ante)

A two-man pre-flop betting war resulted in a four-bet to 4,300 from Fedor Holz and a shove all-in from Jean-Noel Thorel for 30,000. Holz thought for over a minute but eventually made the call with the JJ. It was no good, as Thorel had the goods with his KK.

The board ran out QK476 and Thorel moved up to 60,000 with top set. Holz is down to 30,000. –JS


3 150 300 50


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2:40pm: Break time

Players are now on a 20 minute break

2:36pm: Yang Wang, thank you Sam
Level 2 – Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Sam Greenwood has been left short after doubling up Yang Wang. Ole Schemion started the hand off with an open to 600 and Wang called in the cut-off, before Greenwood three-bet to 2,000 on the button. Both called.

A 510K flop hit the felt and it checked to Greenwood, who continued for 4,500. Schemion gave it up but Wang raised it up to 11,000. Greenwood called to see the Q turn, and Wang continued to hold on to the betting lead with an 18,000 wager, but Greenwood went nowhere. The 8 completed the board and Wang moved all-in for 25,000 exactly.

Greenwood was deep in thought and his process led him to making the call with his AA. That wasn’t the winner though; Wang had the J8, so had check-raised the flop with nothing, semi-bluffed the turn with his many draws, and then got paid when he hit. He’s up to 101,000, while Greenwood is down to 12,000. –JS

2:35pm: Re-entries and lucky sevens
Level 2 – Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Mikita Badziakouski and Isaac Haxton wasted little time in buying back in for their one second-chance.

Orpen Kisacikoglu is in no danger of buying back in as he won a pot off Sam Chartier to rise to 75,000. The Canadian, who busted the main event late yesterday, raised from the cutoff, bet 900 on the flop and 1,900 on the turn. Kisacikoglu stuck with him all the way from the small blind and both checked the river when the board read 4K25K. Kisacikoglu opened 77 and Chertier mucked to drop to 34,000. –MC

2:25pm: Two gone already and Zhu halved
Level 2 – Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Isaac Haxton was the first player out and he soon joined on the rail by Mikhail Korotkikh. Despite her great start, Yaxi Zhu’s woes have continued. She’s down to 26,000 after raise-folding on the river versus Dietrich Fast.

Around 10,000 sat in the middle by the time the board rested as 9947A. Fast bet 3,800 from under the gun and was check-raised to 12,000 by Zhu in the big blind. Fast shoved and Zhu went into the tank. She went from a confused look, to a pained one and back to confused. She decided to fold. — MC

2:20pm: Schemion’s Aces too much for Chidwick
Level 2 – Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

I’m just going to say it now: if Ole Schemion comes first or second in this tournament, then I think it’s safe to say the man isn’t human. If he manages a top-two finish in his third high roller in little over one week, he must be some kind of highly-advanced poker bot dressed up to look like a 23-year-old wunderkind.

He’s off to a good start here as usual, having just taken down a pot against Stephen Chidwick. Schemion opened to 625,000 which Chidwick then three-bet to 3,000 out of the big blind. Schemion four-bet to 8,625 and Chidwick called.

The flop was the J3J and Chidwick checked to the last aggressor. Schemion continued for 6,000 which was called, so we saw the K hit the turn. Both checked.

They’d also both check the 6 and Schemion turned over the AA. After Chidwick mucked he dropped to 40,000, while the poker bot – sorry, I mean Ole Schemion moves up to 75,000. –JS

2:15pm: McDonald’s Fast
Level 2 – Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

After an open to 450 (from a player so new to the tournament that I’m yet to clock his name), Leonardo Cucchiarini made the call. The action was then on Mike McDonald who three-bet to 1,800, only to run into a four-bet from Dietrich Fast to 4,800. McDonald was the only caller.

mike_mcdonald_hr1_4may16.jpgMike McDonald
The pair saw a 972 flop fall and play slowed down with both checking. The A was an interesting turn card; Fast opted to check again and McDonald put out a bet of 6,000 which was called.

The 4 landed on the river and both Fast and McDonald shut it down. Fast flipped over his A6 and the Ace was enough for the win. He’s up to 60,000 now while McDonald has slipped to 38,000. –JS

2:10pm: Patrick Bruel – a man of many talents
Level 2 – Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

One of France’s most famous singers; an actor; a commentator; and a poker player with a WSOP bracelet and more than $1.5 million in live earnings. We could only be talking about Patrick Bruel.

bruel_schemion_hr1_4may16.jpgPatrick Bruel alongside Ole Schemion
He’s in the field for today’s 25K and is sure to make some noise (whether or not he’ll sing is a different question). –JS


2 100 200 25


1:40pm: Thorel getting short
Level 1 – Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

As the first level draws to a close, 79 players have taken their seats. That number will soon be three figures though as a look at the long(ish) registration line indicates we’ll be seeing many new face soon.

j-n_thorel_hr_4may16.jpgJean-Noel Thorel
Don’t forget that this is a re-entry event so we’ll be seeing some of these faces twice today and/or tomorrow. Jean-Noel Thorel is in danger of becoming the first casualty, he’s down to 9,000 after folding on the river to Stephen Chidwick.

The Brit, whose recently engaged (congrats!) opened to 500 from first to act and was called in three spots. The flop fanned A27 and Chidwick continued for 1,500. Only Thorel called to the 6 turn where he quickly called off another 3,000. The board completed with the 4 and Chidwick bet 2,500. Thorel looked like he was going to raise but ended up folding. –MC

1:35pm: Farrell finds his feet
Level 1 – Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Niall Farrell, who finished second in the France Poker Series main event earlier in the festival, is already up to 75,000 after just a couple of hands. On an 8AK97 board the Scot put out a bet of 13,000 with the A9 and Brazil’s David Dayan called before mucking. –JS

1:25pm: Zhu’s good start over

Yaxi Zhu has dropped back to below her starting stack after running into a full house belonging to Alexandros Kolonias.

Ivan Deyra opened from under the gun and was called by the Team Pro on the button and Kolonias in the big blind. All three checked the 7108 flop before Deyra led for 1,500 on the 10 turn. Zhu called but Kolonias check-raised to 7,000. Only Zhu called to the 6 river where she tank-called 15,000. Kolonias opened 88 and Zhu mucked. –MC

1:20pm: Timokhin came here to play
Level 1 – Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Russia’s Alexander Timokhin won his seat into this event in a live satellite, and so far he’s been super aggressive. Take hand this for example; pre-flop he put in a cold four-bet to 5,200 and Kully Sidhu was the only caller. The flop came J4J and he instantly led out for 15,000 – more than the pot. The big blind is only 200!

It’s going to be interesting watching him against the pros today. –JS

1:10pm: Good start for the Team Pro
Level 1 – Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

In tournament poker, it’s now how you start but how you finish that counts. That being said, it’s still pretty nice to hit the ground running.

That’s exactly what Team Pro Yaxi Zhu has done. On a 3210 flop, Roman Emelyanov checked to her and she bet 1,500 which got a call. The turn was the A and Emelyanov checked once more, before calling another bet of 2,800. He’d also check the 4 river before calling a final 6,000 bet. Zhu flipped over her AK and top pair was good for the win. She has 61,000 now. –JS

1:05pm: A few more names
Level 1 – Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Timothy Adams, Vladimir Troyanovskiy, and Haralabos Voulgaris have all taken their seats. Meanwhile, Niall Farrell, Luc Greenwood, Mike McDonald, Justin Bonomo, Faraz Jaka, and Thomas Muehloecker are all waiting to register. –JS

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1pm: Short-handed play all round
Level 1 – Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Play may be underway but many tables still only have three to four players at them. Team PokerStars Pro Yaxi Zhu tried to sit at the wrong table before being sent the right way; Timothy Adams had no such problems; and Artem Metalidi said hi as he joined Dietrich Fast and Emil Patel’s table.

These latter three then played out a pot together. Fast opened to 450 and was called by Patel (button) and Metalidi (big blind). All three checked the 72Q flop before Fast bet 750 on the 2 turn. Metalidi hung around to the 8 river but had little interest in calling Fast’s 2,200 bet. –MC

12:50pm: New arrivals
Level 1 – Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

There’s still only a handful of players in their seats, now including Francisco Benitez, Orpen Kisacikoglu, and Dietrich Fast. Isaac Haxton, Stephen Chidwick, and Daniel Dvoress are all in line to register right now. –JS

12:40pm: Looks like a slow start
Level 1 – Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

Poker players are not great timekeepers, and the high rollers can be the worst offenders. With a couple of minutes to go until play kicks off, only seven players had turned up; Saar Wilf, Paul Newey and Ole Schemion being three of them.

Walking back through the overflow room, one can see 56 players (so far) in the last-chance satellite. That will be enough to generate sevens seats and a cash prize. Tournament registration is also located in that room with Adrian Mateos, Segio Aido and Jean-Noel Thorel all lined up waiting to buy in. — MC

12:15pm: Registered so far

Play begins in about 15 minutes for now. So far the following players have registered: Rocco Palumbo, Steffen Sontheimer, Vladimir Troyanovskiy, Kully Sidhu, Sam Greenwood, Haralabos Voulgaris, and Paul Newey.

11am: The €25K EPT High Roller starts today

It’s the last of the big events in this festival yet to start but the EPT High Roller kicks off in less than an hour. We’ll be following all the action here with live updates. Play starts at 12.30pm — SB


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Take a look at the official website of the EPT, with tournament schedule, news and results.

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

PokerStars Blog reporting team on the EPT12 Grand Final main event: Stephen Bartley, Marc Convey and Jack Stanton. Photography by Rene Velli. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog

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