The final level of play has started and the field has been reduced to 170. The players in the boss seats are Joe Ebanks, Vadim Shlez and Annette Obrestad, who have about 500,000, 450,000 and 415,000 respectively.
Ebanks might not immediately register on the radar of many live tournament followers, despite a final table at the LAPT event in Costa Rica last year. However, filling the ” ” between his first and last names with the online moniker ender555 should raise his familiarity a notch. ender555, has been in the top ten of the online tournament leaderboards for some time, and has been taking down the major tournaments with startling regularity. Here in Monte Carlo, he’s simply a young and quiet guy with an iPod, which could fit scores of similar competitors. But those chips stand him well out from the crowd.
Shlez would be another missable enigma, were it not for the towers of gold and red chips in front of him. The man from New York inched into this event in the final satellite tournament in Monte Carlo. And he very nearly didn’t make it. He was all in on the bubble and made a full house with his ace-six to survive. Then another player was knocked out giving all those remaining their seat in the Grand Final.
He’s made fine use of it so far, most notably eliminating the impossibly obdurate Joao Barbosa, and continuing to build up close to the half million mark.
As for Obrestad. Well, a player whose first name is usually enough to send shivers down the spine of poker players hardly needs any further introduction.