Thursday, 8th December 2022 17:24
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As a usual kick-off to the the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo®Casino EPT Grand Final, the France Poker Series Monaco Main Event is traditionally a popular starting point for poker players coming to beautiful Monaco to take part in the lengthy festival. With 80 events on this year’s schedule, this €1,100 buy-in event provides a perfect opportunity for a person to get his or her poker feet wet after literally doing so in the surrounding beach and/or a hotel pool.

We wondered at the start of the day what sort of turnout we’d see, eyeing the 993 who played this event a year ago when 265 took part on the first of two Day 1 flights. That standard was met and then some this time around, with a remarkable 349 Day 1A entrants. If tomorrow follows form, then, we may see well over 1,000 playing this event.

After a dozen 45-minute levels today that big field was whittled down to just 91 players advancing to Friday’s Day 2. We followed numerous big stacks throughout the day, but it was the Russian Andrey Andreev who emerged during the late afternoon as a leader, then later in the night retook first position to claim the chip leader status for the time being in this event.

Andreev finished the night bagging a cool 281,300 to put him ahead of the chase pack. His achievement also earned him the reward of a pair of tickets to Saturday’s football match between French Ligue 1 sides AS Monaco and EA Guingamp, a bonus going to the Day 1A, Day 1B, and Day 2 chip leaders.


Andrey Andreev
Others who thrived today to end the night with bigger-than-average stacks included the following:

Kasra Pour Khomamy – 263,000
Mario Melis – 219,000
Ivan Freitez – 190,200
Niste Mihai – 184,200
Bertrand Guenoun – 182,000
Tudor Purice – 153,000
Yury Gulyy – 134,600
Ariel Mantel – 129,400
Patricio Rojas – 128,300

Also making it to Day 2 from today’s starting flight were:

Govert Metaal – 101,100
Miguel Silva – 89,400
Jean Brecard – 65,500
Mario Lopez – 57,900
Rasmus Agerskov – 34,400

Meanwhile included among the many less fortunate failing to make it through today were Dinesh Alt, Lee Markholt, Mohsin Charania, Nacho Barbero, Fabian Chauriye, David Yan, Amos Ben, Natasha Barbour, and Pierre Neuville.

Tomorrow we go back to the start for Day 1B for another 12 levels. Late registration will be open until the start of Level 5 tomorrow, at which point we’ll find out just how big the FPS Monaco Main turns out to be.

Play starts at 12 noon tomorrow. Be sure to return here then as we find out together who the next France Poker Series Main Event champion will be. Until then bon soir.


11:25pm: Day 1A has ended
Level 12 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

Play is over and just under 100 players have made it through from the 349 who entered. Stay right here for a recap of the day’s action. –NW

11:15pm: Last three hands
Level 12 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

The tournament clock has been paused and they’ll be three more hands before play is done for the day. –NW

11:05pm: Andreev still the man to catch
Level 12 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

With about 20 minutes left of Day 1A there are 108 players remaining and the average stack is 80,800. One man who has more than that is Andrey Andreev, he’s lost a few big blinds but still has a commanding stack of 285,000. –NW

10:55pm: Nasty turn of events for Purice
Level 12 – Blinds 1,000/2,000 (300 ante)

Tudor Purice’s stack is still well above the average, but he would’ve been challenging for the chip lead had he held in a pot against Patricio Rojas. The LAPT6 Peru champion bet 7,000 on the A54 flop, Purice raised to 19,500, Rojas shoved for 61,800 and Purice snap called.

Purice: 54
Rojas: AJ

The A turn gave Rojas trips and left Purice drawing dead, Purice drops to 135,000 whilst Rojas is up to 141,000. –NW


12 1,000 2,000 300

10:35pm: Selected chip counts
Level 11 – Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

As the final seconds tick down on level 11 it looks like Andrey Andreev has broken away from the pack and opened up a large chip lead. His stack of 307,500 is over four times the average stack. If anyone beats him to the end of day chip lead it’ll be because he’s lost chips, not because someone else has eclipsed his high point.

Nane Chips
Andrey Andreev 307,500
Tudor Purice 183,000
Johan Guilbert 172,000
Ariel Mantel 160,300
Miguel Silva 128,000
Govert Metaal 128,000
Felix Bleiker 112,000
Josh Prager 101,000
Yury Gulyy 61,000
Julien Brécard 59,000
Rasmus Agerskov 34,200

10:31pm: Confirmed busto
Level 11 – Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

Another round of eliminations to share. Among those leaving us post-dinner were Stanislas Volle, Pavel Veksler, Vidak Banicevic, Dinesh Alt, Robert Spano, Fernando Cimaglia, , Alexander Timokhin, Yvan Kabalane, Tomas Jozonis, Jason Kiselis, Frank Delval, Thomas Aicardi, Gregory Hassan, John Field, and Lee Markholt.

Also out are David Sellam, Philippe Lamigeon, Pedro Chaves, Serge Ekert, Antony Darmani, Florian-Dimitrie Duta, Ricardo Alain Manquant, Nicolas Martin, Christine Menusier, Jan-Eric Schwippert, Atanas Malinov, Thierry Lelouche, Gerard Cohen, Egidio Aragno, Alexandre Viard, Tony Cousin, and Jean Louis Natale. –MH

10:22pm: The uninterrupted march to the rail
Level 11 – Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

The carnage continues with players continuing to be eliminated at a rapid pace.

Just now we saw several go out in short order at nearby tables. First Andrei Streltsou fell when his ace-seven failed to hold against an opponent’s king-queen.

Soon after that came a three-way all-in between Francisco Acevedo with KK, Nunzio Vacirca AQ, and Steponas Venckus with 55. A king on the flop would mean both Vacirca and Venckus were drawing dead by the turn, with Acevedo left to stack about 150,000.

The board shows 117 players currently remaining. –MH

10:15pm: Win with the ace-high!
Level 11 – Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

I joined the action to see Marine Menager all-in for 21,000 on a 10109 flop with 87 and up against Noris Barcimanto who held AK. Although behind there were worse spots for Menager as she had a 48.18% chance to win the hand. The 3 turn and 3 river saw Barcimanto hold, though, and Menager banged her fist on the table as the board completed.

Barcimanto is up to 87,000 after that hand. –NW

10pm: Domination nation
Level 11 – Blinds 800/1,600 (200 ante)

Action folded to Felix Lambertz in the hijack and he opened to 3,600. Next to act was Kasra Khomamy, the German had plenty of chips and looked like he was tempted to raise, before settling on a call.

That would have a knock-on effect as Alfio Rotella shoved all-in for 24,600 and when it got back to Lambertz he moved all-in for 44,100. This made Khomamy jolt upright and take off his mirrored sunglasses. He paused a few beats and then mucked his hand.

Lambertz: AQ
Rotella: AJ

The 68A28 board kept Lambertz in front and Rotella was sent to the rail. –NW


11 800 1,600 200

9:49pm: Boost for Brecard
Level 10 – Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

With Level 10 nearly done, there are 135 players left in the Day 1A field. Among them is Julien Brecard of France’s PokerStars TV Stars team, who just enjoyed a big boost to his stack to push up close to 75,000. –MH


Brecard chipping up
9:39pm: Gone but not forgotten
Level 10 – Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

Around 200 of the 349 players who started today with dreams of winning the FPS Main Event have been knocked out. Recent eliminations include: Malek Grabsi, Mohsin Charania, Kamran Aliyev, Michal Mrakes, Laurent Marc, Sharman Olshan, David Giorsetti, Peter Johnston, Gaetan Cauchy, Peter Horkay, Felix Lambertz, Eric Abbas, and Aurelien Angenieux. –NW

9:37pm: Guenoun goes to the top
Level 10 – Blinds: 600/1,200 (200 ante)

Bertrand Guenoun just survived a huge all-in at his table on the far side of the room, and when the stacking was done he now appears to have around 208,000, which means he’s now contending for the chip lead as Day 1A moves into its final levels.

As we mentioned earlier, whoever finishes the night atop the leaderboard will be picking up a pair of free tickets to Saturday’s football match between French Ligue 1 sides AS Monaco and EA Guingamp. –MH

9:25pm: Double knockout!
Level 10 – Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

“Much better,” said Alexander Timokhin as he racked in the chips of two vanquished opponents. He’d opened to 3,000, Maxime Zimmermann shoved for 9,100, Jorge Dominguez then moved all-in over the top for 22,600 and when it got back to Timokhin he made the call.

Timokhin: 77
Zimmermann: AQ
Dominguez: AQ

It was bad news for the all-in players as they had each others outs. The 2J6108 board meant the pair held up and Timokhin climbed to around 65,000.

150 of the 349 players remain and the average stack is 58,200. –NW

9:14pm: Pariente knocks out Aliyev
Level 10 – Blinds: 600/1,200 (200 ante)

More than half of the table were still in the hand for the Q9Q flop, but when Kamran Aliyev pushed his short stack all-in everyone skedaddled save Guy Pariente.

Aliyev had J10 for a straight draw and needed help versus Pariente’s AQ, giving the latter trip queens. The turn was the 6 and river the 6, improving Pariente to a full house and ending Aliyev’s night.

Pariente is now up around 95,000. –MH

9:12pm: Boyard doubles through Bleiker
Level 10 – Blinds: 600/1,200 (200 ante)

With the board showing 8K527 and about 20,000 in the middle, Felix Bleiker checked over to Sebastien Boyard who shoved his last 25,000 or so in the middle. After some time in the tank Bleiker called, then mucked after Boyard tabled 87 for two pair.

Boyard bumps up to 75,000 now, while Bleiker slips to 65,000. –MH

9:10pm: Starter for 10
Level 10 – Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

As level 10 gets underway these are the top 10 stacks in the room:

Name Chips
Gilles Silbernagel 200,700
Tudor Purice 184,500
Miguel Silva 167,000
Johan Guilbert 166,400
Kasra Pour Khomamy 154,500
Fahd Boudaouine 134,000
Mamouni Smain 134,000
Andrei Konopelko 116,000
Morgan Aceto 116,000
Denys Shafikov 112,000


Miguel Silva looking super
9:05pm: Play resumes
Level 10 – Blinds 600/1,200 (200 ante)

Players are back from dinner and have settled in for Level 10. They’ll be playing three more 45-minute levels tonight (without a break), then bag up for the night. –MH


10 600 1,200 200

7:50pm: Dinner break
Level 9 – Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

The players have been released out into the wild on a 75-minute dinner break. Play will resume at roughly 9:05pm local time. –NW


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7:40pm: Three-way all-in
Level 9 – Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

Miguel Silva — who currently looks to be our chip leader — opened to 2,200, Ricardo Manquant then three-bet to 5,300 total. Next to act was Benoit Martin. He moved all-in but had less than Manquant’s bet, 4,900 to be exact. Then Patrick Schuhl moved all-in! He had just 400, though.

Back on Silva, he took a look at Manquant’s stack and elected to fold an it was time for a three-way showdown!

Manquant: 66
Martin: Q10
Schuhl: J7

The 8577J board meant Schuhl octupled up (!), Martin was eliminated and Manquant made a profit too! –NW

7:31pm: More eliminations
Level 9 – Blinds: 500/1,000 (100 ante)

More players have hit the rail as the dinner break approached. Tallying up the latest eliminations, Stephane Malderez, Yassine Azouaou, Najib Kamand, Niculina Grasu, Charles Laczny, Thi Xoa Nguyen, Laurent Herisse, Vlad Stefan Lache, Kevin Pennaneac’H, Pascal Jean Pierre Boyer, Stephan Ouzilou, Florent Bruno, Stephane Debeil, Maxence Debar, Jean Pucci, Feras Abid, Favia Francesco, Yevhen Lazorkin, Damien Naguy, Tahar Said, Kevin Gougis, Clemente Malheiro Carreira, Moshe De Leon, Nasrodin Pirmamod, Remano Giulio, Nikolay Panchenko, Anthony Matray, Christophe Girard, Decy Dublin, and Pierre Neuville have all met their FPS Monaco Main Event ends. –MH


Neuville no more
7:15pm: Marozas down to zero
Level 9 – Blinds: 500/1,000 (100 ante)

After opening from early position, Danius Marozas saw Jorge Dominguez reraise all-in from a couple of seats over, and it when it folded back to Marozas he decided to call and commit the rest of his short stack.

Marozas had 107 and a couple of live cards versus the AQ of Dominguez, but the 825KA board didn’t hit either of them and Marozas hit the rail.

The eliminations continue at a healthy clip, with the overall Day 1A field now down to 167 — less than half the number of players who started the day. –MH

7:10pm: Rung laddering up
Level 9 – Blinds 500/1,000 (100 ante)

There was a bet of 3,700 in front of Romano Giulio and by the time the action got back to him he was facing not one, but two all-ins! First to shove was Laurent Herisse, his shove was for 8,500 and Philip Rung had then re-shoved for 15,300 total. You could tell Giulio wasn’t exactly loving life, but nonetheless he called off the extra.

Giulio: AJ
Herisse: KQ
Rung: AA

Rung got the sort of board you love to see when you’ve got aces and are up against two players. It ran 96438 and he was home and dry after the turn. He’s up to around 40,000 whilst Giulio drops to 35,000. –NW

9 500 1,000 100

6:57pm: “How could you play that hand?”
Level 8 – Blinds: 400/800 (100 ante)

That post title is a fiction. No one said anything like that following a three-way hand involving Marine Menager, Ivan Arbatskii, and Guido Pezzotta. Someone might have thought it, but we’re bound at PokerStars Blog to report only what can be seen and heard, and not what people are thinking. Or what we think they are thinking.

The board showed 910J52, and one by one the players showed their hands. Menager had A5. Arbatskii turned over A5. And Pezzotta revealed A5. The dealer set to work on the three-way split.

The three players’ might have been even on that one, but not overall. Both Menager and Arbatskii are hovering around the 50,000-chip mark at present, but Pezzotta is one of the bigger stacks in the room at present with about 135,000. –MH

6:55pm: C’est fini
Level 8 – Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

They think it’s all over, it is now… for the following players: Sergey Malyavko, Sergio Galliano, Kohei Nakai, Laurent Azoulay, Alban Marques, Gilbert Diaz, Vladas Tamasauskas, Alfredo Pagliaro, Matas Cimbolas, Quentin Dellis, Giorgio Calligaris, and Turgut Guner. –NW

6:48pm: One in, one out
Level 8 – Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

From under-the-gun Nicolas Martin moved all-in for 11,000 with A10 and he got looked up by Damien Naguy who held QQ. A AJ986 board doubled Martin to around 24,000 whilst Naguy dropped to 6,200.

Meanwhile Jason Wheeler was involved in a big hand. There was a bet of 4,000 in front of Bertrand Guenoun and Wheeler had moved all his big chips over the line – it looked to be somewhere between 20,000-25,000, Guenoun made the call.

It was unclear if Guenoun thought Wheeler was all-in or not but the American had 1,400 back and committed them on the 8510 flop, Guenoun called the extra and it was time for showdown. Wheeler showed AQ and needed help against Guenoun’s AK. He didn’t get any on the 7 turn or 7 river and was swiftly on his way. –NW

6:38pm: Silva surges to the lead
Level 8 – Blinds 400/800 (100 ante)

Miguel Silva is up to 147,000 after eliminating Danilo Colomba in a huge pot. I joined the action on the turn with a 94Q3 board on the felt. There was a bet of 16,500 in front of Colomba and Silva then shoved for what looked like 75,300 total.

Ricardo Manquant was still in the hand and he tanked before folding, Colomba snap-called. “Do you have nines?” asked Silva to Colomba. Neither player showed their hand for about ten seconds and then Silva got the ball rolling by opening 44. Colomba rolled his eyes and showed AQ. He was drawing dead and the 2 completed the board. –NW

6:34pm: Kings serve Vacirca
Level 8 – Blinds: 400/800 (100 ante)

We saw Nunzio Vacirca jump out to an early chip lead today, but the last few levels had been less exciting for the Frenchmen. But just now he hit a big hand again, making a set with KK to claim most of Tahar Said’s stack. Vacirca is back up around 90,000 after that one. –MH

6:30pm: No good for Giedraitis
Level 8 – Blinds: 400/800 (100 ante)

Andrius Giedraitis was standing and checking his phone, all of his chips already committed on a 4Q7 flop. At last the action reached Armand Lopez who called, turning over AQ. With a free hand Giedraitis tabled his KJ and began calling for kings, but the 10 turn and 5 river didn’t answer his request and he’s out. –MH

6:28pm: Nacho no more
Level 8 – Blinds: 400/800 (100 ante)

Players are back in action to begin Level 8, minus one of those who just now returned from the break. Nacho Barbero lost the last of his short stack to begin the level, leaving 210 players to continue battling on Day 1A. –MH


8 400 800 100

6:02pm: Smoke ’em if you got ’em

With about 220 left from the Day 1A field, players are taking another 20-minute break. –MH


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6:01pm: Two big flushes, one winner
Level 7 – Blinds: 300/600 (75 ante)

In the last hand of the level, Andres Federico Jeckeln had made a big river bet on a K9345 board, then with some reluctance made a call of Yvan Kabalane’s all-in raise in response. Kabalane showed AJ for the nuts, while Jeckeln turned over the next-best K8.

Jeckeln slips to about 44,000 while Kabalane is now up around 110,000 going to the break. –MH

6pm: Tough fold, right fold?
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

Johan Guilbert had bet 16,125 on the river of a 8QQ75 board and was faced with an all-in shove of 39,900 from Ikam Benyeffou.

After getting a count Guilbert began squeezing his cards and kept on looking back at them. He then folded J10 face up. As Beneyeffou took the pot he showed one card, the A. –NW

5:45pm: 100 out
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

Exactly 100 of the 349 players who showed up today have seen their stack reduced to dust. Some of those to feel the hangman’s noose around their tournament life are: Gregory Luttke, Sebastien Bailet, Simone Petrini, Said Mouthadi, Benjamin Sibuet, Vincent Garat, Cyril Ramey, Thierry Martinez, Carlo Dito, Jose Pellegrini, Jean Montury, Raynor Smeets, Nicolas Proust, Ludovic Sultan, Neil Van Der Merwe, Mangano Fabio (and breathe) Paul Tedeschi, Julian Thomas, Monica Nezosi, Henri Kasper, Alexandr Komarov, Eddi Makhoul, Anthony Borde, Fabian Chauriye, Jeremy Nock, Oleh Okhotskyi, Andrey Pateychuk, Kully Sidhu and David Yan. — NW

5:33pm: A Said finish
Level 7 – Blinds: 300/600 (75 ante)

Said Mouhtadi is out. He made a move with his short stack versus two opponents holding 98 on a 626A board, but unfortunately for the Moroccan player one of them had AK, meaning Mouhtadi was already drawing dead. –MH

5:25pm: Chip leaders!
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

Stack’em high!

Name Chips
Andrey Andreev 147,000
Miguel Silva 110,000
Felix Bleiker 98,000
Emre Pasagil 96,000
Guido Pezzotta 79,500
Remi Picart 77,000
Andrei Konopelko 68,000


Andreev out in front
5:30pm: The names keep coming
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

A few players who’ve busted the €10,000 high roller event have made a hop, skip and a jump into the FPS Main Event. We mentioned a moment ago Mohsin Charania had made the trip over, as has Jason Wheeler.

The latter isn’t the only EPT champion to have late registered this event as Jean Montury is having a bash at this, as are Tudor Purice and Josh Prager. –NW


Prager is a player
5:17pm: Deal another!
Level 7 – Blinds: 300/600 (75 ante)

They’re crashing straight through to Level 7 without a break, with the next respite coming at the end of this level. After that will come two more 45-minute levels, then the 75-minute dinner break. –MH


7 300 600 75

5:16pm: Smeets meets end
Level 6 – Blinds: 250/500 (50 ante)

With the board showing 972, Raynor Smeets put the last of his chips at risk versus Mohsin Charania. Smeets had 87 for sevens, but was outkicked by Charania who’d made the same pair with 107.

The turn was the 10 and river the 8, giving both players two-pair hands but Charania’s remained bets, and Smeets was eliminated. Charania has 35,000 now. –MH


Chips for Charania
5:13pm: À la recherche du chips perdu
Level 6 – Blinds: 250/500 (50 ante)

Down to his last 7,000 or so, Nicolas Proust was just all-in versus two opponents and hoping queen-jack would outrun both king-queen and king-nine.

Alas the board brought no help to the Frenchman, and Proust is out, left only to remember chips past. –MH

5:05pm: Chip leaders!
Level 6 – Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

Stack’em high!

Name Chips
Andrey Andreev 147,000
Miguel Silva 110,000
Felix Bleiker 98,000
Emre Pasagil 96,000
Guido Pezzotta 79,500
Remi Picart 77,000
Andrei Konopelko 68,000

4:55pm: Bolimowski can’t believe it
Level 6 – Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

They say there’s a fine line between genius and madness and Julien Bolimowski can’t quite believe he’s out of the tournament, but credit to Vladimir Lesik for making a tough call.

I picked up the action on the river with a complete board of K954Q on the felt. Bolimowski had shoved for 13,850 into a pot of roughly 16,000.

At this point Lesik was in the tank, he asked for a count and then after seeing what he’d be left with should he call and lose, he made the call. Bolimowski didn’t look happy at this and no wonder as he had 76 for a bluff, Lesik meanwhile had made the call with KJ. He’s up to 51,00 as a result. –NW

4:44pm: Some poker for Picard
Level 6 – Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

There’s a celebrity in today’s field to tell you about, French singer William Picard, best known as part of the music group Début de soirée who scored their biggest hit, “Nuit de folie,” in 1988.

The Début de soirée member isn’t making his poker debut here, as he’s already notched a cashed in tournament in Cannes last fall. –MH


Picard playing cards
4:34pm: Chauriye cut down
Level 6 – Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

Fabian Chauriye has joined those on the rail as Level 6 begins, having just lost the last of his stack to Miguel Silva. –MH


6 250 500 50

4:20pm: Gone
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

The number of seat opens are, unsurprisingly, increasing in pace with the blinds. Unfortunately for: Sofiane Belkilani, RudyHadjedj, Mike Adamo, Georges Chow, Amos Ben Haim, Declan S. Connolly, Guillaume Marechal, Rong Xia, Darius Narmontas, Ludwig Boulogne, Maris Paeglis, Cedric Demore, Osvaldo Venegas, David Gouyer, Christos Xanthopoulos, Bahram Chobineh, Natasha Barbour, Armano Di Giorgio, Dror Amiram, Ramiro Araujo, Julien Brahimi, Sandro Pitzanti, Jeremy Palvini, Sophiane Merabti, Michel Bouskila, Cyrille Lacogne, Vladimir Lesik, Patrick Clarke and Fabien Matthieu they’ve all busted before the halfway point of Day 1A. –NW


Barbour now out
4:13pm: Iapadre bowls over Boulle
Level 5 – Blinds: 200/400 (50 ante)

Following an under-the-gun raise and call, it folded to Jean Boulle in middle position who reraise-shoved his last 9,550. Action revolved around to Rosato Iapadre in the big blind who tanked for a while, then called Boulle’s push, after which the remaining players released their hands.

Iapadre: 1010
Boulle: AK

The board ran out an uneventful 69953, and Boulle bid the table adieu. Iapadre is now at about 45,000. –MH

4pm: Like Belgian buses
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (50 ante)

Pierre Neuville has always been fairly easy to pick out in a crowded poker room. The septuagenarian has been mixing it with the kids for years now and his attire of choice is starkly different. A button down shirt and v-neck pullover a staple of the Belgian’s wardrobe.

He played the €10,000 high roller yesterday but despite dropping down in buy-in level he’s still finding it hard to build a stack. He’s down to 14,600 at the moment.

Elsewhere fellow Belgian, Quentin Dellis, is fairing far better. He’s only been in the tournament a short time but has increased his stack…just. He’s up to 25,050. It all counts! –NW

3:56pm: Further incentive to put your best foot forward
Level 5 – Blinds: 200/400 (50 ante)

It’s still early, relatively speaking, with only a little over four levels down and nearly eight more to go today. Later on, though, we’ll be eyeing closely that leaderboard, in part because an extra prize awaits the player finishing the night on top.

Besides positioning themselves well going forward, players finishing Day 1A, Day 1B, and Day 2 with the chip lead will be winning a pair of tickets to Saturday’s football match between French Ligue 1 sides AS Monaco and EA Guingamp. That’ll present one more goal to shoot at for the players. –MH


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3:49pm: Darcourt done
Level 5 – Blinds: 200/400 (50 ante)

Players are back in action, minus one Frenchmen — Guillaume Darcourt who busted before the last break. Late registration is now closed, so we’ll soon bring you the official total of Day 1A entrants. –MH

5 200 400 50

3:27pm: Let’s take a break

With four levels down, players are taking another 20-minute break. This marks the last opportunity for those late registers to get in the game today. –MH


You can bet there will be an even bigger field for tomorrow’s Day 1B
3:23pm: Menager managing quite well
Level 4 – Blinds: 150/300 (25 ante)

Following a middle-position raise and button call by Vidak Banicevic, Marine Menager made it 2,000 to go from the big blind and both of her opponents called. She fired 2,500 on the 733 flop, losing the MP player while Banicevic stuck around. He’d call again a bet of 5,000 from Menager after the 7 came on the turn.

The river brought the 5 and one more 5,000 bet from Menager, and Banicevic called one last time. Menager tabled her KK for kings and sevens, and Banicevic mucked. He’s down around 16,000 now while Menager climbs close to 60,000 with a few minutes to go in Level 4. –MH


More for Menager
3:20pm: Big names and big stacks
Level 4 – Blinds: 150/300 (25 ante)

Below are a selection of big names and big stacks. There is almost certainly some crossover.

Name Chips
Cyril Ramey 70,775
Jorge Dominguez 60,000
Andrei Konopelko 59,000
Jean-Marc Dominici 51,000
Julien Brécard 48,500
Noris Barcimanto 47,500
John Field 46,300
Gilles Silbernagel 44,000
Guillaume Darcourt 43,000
Rasmus Agerskov 34,000
Yury Gulyy 31,000
Paul Tedeschi 25,000
Matas Cimbolas 21,000
Natasha Barbour 16,700
Nacho Barbero 16,600
Dinesh Alt 13,200
Vladas Tamasauskas 13,000

3:09pm: Down to the felt
Level 4 – Blinds: 150/300 (25 ante)

The field keeps growing, but a few more have fallen here by the day’s fourth level. The recently felted include William Batista Arruda, Yan Li, Artur Karamuca, Valeriy Skudar, Natan Chauskin, Alessio Bassanelli, Kyosti Isberg, Fernando Erize, and Francisco Gottardo.

3:05pm: Sick river
Level 4 – Blinds 150/300 (25 ante)

This was one of those car crash hands where neither player wanted to put the brakes on and it ended in a massive collision. After a raise to 500 from middle position, Cyrille Lacogne raised it up to 1,500 on the button only for Peter Johnston to three-bet to 4,200 from the big blind. Fold, then a call from Lacogne.

On the 2610 flop Johnston bet 5,400 and Lacogne was going nowhere. On the K turn Johnston check-called a bet of 5,000 and the 2 paired the board on the river.

After another check from Johnston there followed an all-in bet of around 18,000 from Lacogne and a snap call from Johnston. He rolled over KK for a full house and Lacogne looked pained as he showed AK for the nut flush. He’s down to 3,200 whilst Johnston is up to about 58,000. –NW

2:55pm: More for Moro
Level 4 – Blinds: 150/300 (25 ante)

“Oh, wow… wow.”

So said Francesco Moro, giving voice to his reaction to a showdown just now. There was already more than 25,000 in the middle when his opponent Sandro Pitzanti shoved the river with the board showing 96107Q. After a bit of a tank Moro had finally come up with a call, putting his last 10,000 or so at risk.

Moro showed his hand — 88 for a straight — then made his comment after seeing Pitzanti had but 109 for two pair. Moro is now up around 50,000 while Pitzanti slips to 14,000. –MH

2:45pm: Barbero deals knockout blow to Denisov
Level 4 – Blinds 150/300 (25 ante)

After a raise to 600 and three calls, Nacho Barbero moved all-in for 10,100 and found a call from Aleksandr Denisov, who himself was down to 6,100.

Barbero opened AK and was in a dominating spot as Denisov had K4. The J76103 board gave no help to Densiov and the high roller, who has over $1,600,000 in lifetime earnings, was on his way. –NW

2:40pm: Last level for late entry
Level 4 – Blinds: 150/300 (25 ante)

They’ve leveled up again, with this fourth level representing the last one during which players can register. Technically they’ll have until the start of Level 5, actually, so we’ll see then how far this year’s FPS Monaco Main Event Day 1A field has exceeded the 265 who played Day 1A last year. (Last year a total of 993 ultimately took part.) –MH


4 150 300 25

2:21pm: Passport stamps for LAPTers
Level 3 – Blinds: 100/200 (25 ante)

Earlier we mentioned two-time LAPT Main Event champions Mario Lopez and Nacho Barbero (both of Argentina) and frequent LAPT Main Event final-tablist Fabian Chauriye of Chile were part of today’s field. There are more represenatives of the Latin American Poker Tour here today as well.

The Chilean Patricio Rojas, winner of LAPT6 Peru, is here, as is his fellow countryman and former LAPT Player of the Year, Amos Ben. Brazil’s Fernando “Grow” Garcia is now part of today’s field as well. –MH

2:12pm: Fast start for Freitez
Level 3 – Blinds: 100/200 (25 ante)

EPT7 Madrid Main Event champion Ivan Freitez has joined the proceedings over here in the FPS Monaco Main Event after having busted the Single Re-Entry High Roller, and he’s quickly begun building a stack.

Just now Freitez picked up a pair of black aces in a hand versus a short-stacked George Bogdan Ana, and by the time they were through Ana was on the rail while Freitez was stacking up chips totaling around 70,000. –MH


Freitez on the felt
2:11pm: 300!
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

“Tonight we dine… somewhere where we can get in and out during the 75-minute dinner break so we don’t miss a hand.”

Yes, the FPS Main Event is up to 300 runners on Day 1A and that means we’ve already eclipsed the Day 1A total from Season 5, which attracted 265 runners. So it’s already a good 10% up on last year and late registration is open until the start of level five.

Helping to take that total skywards are Nacho Barbero, who has now shown up, and Govert Metaal. The latter is one of the best known Dutch players and indeed sits seventh on their all-time money list. He’s racked up $2,118,513 in lifetime cashes so far and his two biggest scores came in back-to-back PCA $25,000 High Rollers in 2013-14. –NW


And now… Nacho
1:57pm: Back in action
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (25 ante)

They’re up to 291 entrants here at the start of Level 3. Late registration remains open for two more 45-minute levels plus the break that follows. –MH


3 100 200 25

1:41pm: Break time

Players are now taking their first 20-minute break of the day. –MH


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1:27pm: Vaulting Vacirca
Level 2 – Blinds: 75/150

We noted Nunzio Vacirca earning an early knockout — the earliest of the tournament, in fact — back at the start of the day. He’s just added another elimination to his credits here in the second level, pushing his stack up over 80,000 already to earn him a high spot on the Day 1A leaderboard.

This latter one saw Anthony Apicella-Albertini check to Vacirca on the turn with the board showing 102A8, then call when Vacirca bet to push the pot up over 15,000. The river was the Q, prompting an all-in shove of 7,600 from Apicella-Albertini, and Vacirca quickly called.

Apicella-Albertini turned over AQ, having flopped top pair and rivered a second pair. But Vacirca turned a set with his 88, and a dismayed Apicella-Albertini headed railward. –MH


Vacirca collecting
1:25pm: Proust takes a pot
Level 2 – Blinds 75/150

There have been plenty of big pots so far today and another seemed to be brewing at table 25 as I wandered by. There were five players still with cards as the 296 flop came down and Apostolos Chantzis was first to stick his head above the parapet, firing out a bet of 1,075. Nicolas Proust raised it up to 2,500, the three other players folded but Chantzis made the call.

There would be no further betting on the 4 turn or 6 river, Proust’s Q9 proved the winner at showdown as Chantzis had called the flop raise with AQ. –NW

1:21pm: Lopez loses a few
Level 2 – Blinds: 75/150

Two-time LAPT Main Event champion Mario Lopez is here, and just now the Argentinian faced a challenge after three-betting before the flop and getting a couple of callers in the two Frenchmen, Laurent Herisse and Kamel Djemai.

Lopez had position, but after watching the Q98 flop and his two opponents check, he checked behind. The 7 turn then saw Herisse check, Djemai bet, Lopez call, and Herisse step aside.

The board-pairing 7 river followed, and Djemai quickly checked. Lopez gathered a bet of 3,800 together and pushed it forward, but when Djemai called, Lopez mucked his hand without showing, conceding the pot. Lopez is down to about 19,000 now while Djemai chips up to 35,000. –MH

1:15pm: Loads in, three out
Level 2 – Blinds 75/150

Having lost a bit pot earlier (see 1:01 pm post) Alexander Kopylkov is now out and he’s been joined on the rail by Alexils Thobellem and Salvatore Crapanzano.

But there are plenty of players still picking up fresh stacks of 25,000 with Matas Cimbolas and UKIPT5 Dublin champion Vladas Tamasauskas both now in and both at Table 25 alongside Dinesh Alt. At least 264 players have entered today. –NW


Day 1A well underway
1:01pm: More chips on the Mantel
Level 2 – Blinds: 75/150

Here’s another eyebrow-raiser, coming early in Level 2.

Preflop action had already built a decent-sized pot between Alexander Kopylkov and Ariel Mantel when Kopylkov check-called a bet of 2,500 from Mantel following a 494 flop. Mantel check-called once more following the K turn, the bet being 6,000 this time, then the 5 completed the board.

Kopylkov checked again, and after Mantel shoved his last 10,600 in the middle Kopylkov hemmed and hawed a bit before coming up with a call. Mantel turned over 65 for a busted flush draw turned two pair on the river, then Kopylkov disappointedly showed his AJ, also a busted flush draw that evolved into fifth-street hero call. –MH

12:52pm: They keep coming
Level 2 – Blinds: 75/150

More than 240 players are now registered as they move into the day’s second level. –MH


2 75 150 0

12:45pm: A few more familiar faces
Level 1 – Blinds 50/100

The field continues to swell with more than 225 players now part of the action.


One swell(ing) field
Dotted around the field you’ll find the likes of Patrick Clarke, the Irish Open winner and fourth place finisher in the recent EPT12 Dublin Main Event. He’s at the same table as Nacho Barbero, although the latter has yet to show. He played the €10,000 high roller yesterday and it may well be that he doesn’t play this event to Day 1B.

If he does wait until tomorrow he’ll avoid the likes of Dinesh Alt, Vlad Lache, Rasmus Agerskov and Jeremy Nock, who’ve all started their campaign today.


12:45pm: Go big or go home
Level 1 – Blinds 50/100

The players aren’t shy about playing big pots early on that’s for sure and the all-in triangle is seeing more use in the opening level that we expected.

The triangle was called up for another job when Jacques Napiot shoved on the river for 10,250 into a pot of 14,000. Philippe Lamigeon was his lone opponent and he eyed up the 5A6109 board as he weighed up his decision.

He took his time, so much so in fact that Napiot called the clock. Before half of his allotted minute was up Lamigeon – who’d have 7,500 left should he call and lose – made up his mind to fold. So Napiot is back to starting stack whilst Lamigeon drops to 17,750. –NW

12:37pm: Bienvenue! More arrivals
Level 1 – Blinds: 50/100

More than 200 are now taking hands as today’s first level continues. Among the many French players we’ve spotted thus far is Guillaume Darcourt, perhaps best known for his relatively deep WSOP Main Event run in 2011 (where he finished 35th) and his WPT Bucharest victory the year before.


Orange you glad to be here, Guillaume?
Fabian Chauriye of Chile is also part of the Day 1A field, hoping to better some of his recent deep runs such as his 16th-place finish in this year’s PCA Main Event and his runner-up showing in the most recent LAPT Main Event in Viña del Mar, Chile.

Natasha Barbour is also here, fresh off a couple of cashes in the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown in Florida. She finished runner-up in a $1,500 no-limit hold’em event at last summer’s WSOP for a $284,911 score. –MH

12:21pm: Hello goodbye
Level 1 – Blinds: 50/100

Talk about early action. Just over 10 minutes in and we’ve already seen an elimination.

Catching up with the board showing 62966 and a lot already in the middle, Halimi Rachid pushed in his last chips — just over 10,000 from the 25K starting stack — and got a call from Nunzio Vacirca.

Rachid showed KJ for air, something Vacirca must’ve thought to be likely as he had 44 for a winning full house. –MH

12:15pm: Introductions over, let’s play poker
Level 1 – Blinds 50/100

Before play began Cedric Biilot – the President of the EPT – made a brief introduction to the players. “Thank you and welcome to EPT Moncao, we hope you have a good time at the tables,” he said. He then passed the microphone to Thomas Lamatsch and the tournament director gave a few instructions about the format of the tournament.


All right, everyone… Lamatsch is on!
Roughly 183 players witnessed this, with Yury Gulyy one of those looking on. The Russian player had a successful time of it last year in Monaco, finishing second in the FPS High Roller for €109,345. –NW

12:06pm: Shuffle up and deal
Level 1 – Blinds: 50/100

The first 45-minute level of the day is underway. There are about 180 seated for the day’s first hands, with the field sure to grow significantly as late registration lasts to the start of Level 5.

Back in a few with an update on who is taking part today. –MH


1 50 100 0

11:55am: Season 6 of the FPS about to begin

Whilst the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo®Casino EPT Grand Final series marks the end of Season 12 of the European Poker Tour, the FPS Monaco event is the start of Season 6 of the French Poker Series.

So, what can we expect over the next five days? Well if history has taught us anything the answer is players and lots of them. Given the queue of players snaking out the door to buy into yesterday’s satellite to this €1,100 event it shouldn’t come as a shock if this event breaks some records.

Last year Sebastian Supper topped a field of 993 to claim the trophy and €177,000. He defeated a final table that included the like of Pablo Gordillo, Joseph Mouawad and Luca Moschitta to seal the deal.

On that occasion 265 came out for the first of two Day 1 flights so today’s final total of players will be a good barometer of the likelihood of this event reaching the 1,000 player mark.

As we did last season we’ll see the champion crowned under the bright lights of EPT Live, with the final taking place on Sunday. There’s a lot of poker to be played before then though. Cards are in the air at noon. –NW

Key FPS Monaco Facts:

– 25,000 starting stack
– Blinds starting at 50/100 for 250 big blinds
– Levels are 45 minutes on Day 1 and they’ll be 12 of them. From Day 2 onwards levels increase to 60 minutes.
– Late registration remains open until the start of Level 5
– Day 1A is today, Day 1B takes place tomorrow, the field will then combine for the first time on Friday. We’ll reach the money during the 10 levels of play on Day 2 (approximately 15% of the field will be paid) and then play down to a final table on Saturday. On Sunday the final table will play out on the TV table on EPTLive with cards-up coverage. Cue mad celebrations and swigging of champagne from the trophy (possibly).
– Full FPS Monaco schedule here.
– There’s a boat load of other events today including a €100+€20 satellite to this event. That tournament starts at 16.00 CET.
– It’s not all about the poker here in Moncao. There are plenty of #StarsFun activities including the player party at Jimmy’z Nightclub on April 29 a Sports Simulator Challenge and Live Spin and Gos. Full details on that available here.


Take a seat, poker fans
PokerStars Blog Reporting Team at FPS Monaco: Martin Harris and Nick Wright. Photos by Jules Pochy. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog

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