EPT12 Grand Final: Day 1B? Daher 1B more like

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In a room containing more than 500 people, plus an overspill of nearly 300 next door, you’ll do well to attract all of the attention for even a minute, let alone an entire day.

But as the field swelled to a record size for a main event of the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo®Casino EPT Grand Final, Day 1B was all about Albert Daher, from Lebanon, who has never been out of the chip lead.

He knocked out two players before Level 1 was over, and continued to crush for the next seven levels too, bagging 266,600 chips tonight. That’s significantly more even than last night’s leader.

There are a whole host of superlative talents tailing him, including Sebastien Lebaron (234,400) and Kulli Sidhu (231,000). This was also a big day for the Team PokerStars SportStar Fatima Moreira de Melo, who has 149,200, Randy „nanonoko“ Lew, who has 143,000, and Vanessa Selbst, who marks her return after a break with a day worth 155,000. 

But Daher heads the 435 (approx) remaining and will be the man to catch when the field combines for Day 2 at noon tomorrow.

It’s worth mentioning Daniel Negreanu tonight as well, but not on this occasion for his successful appearance. Negreanu’s tournament was one of the briefest. He arrived just after the dinner break and played only two hands. He lost both and was quickly eliminated.

His Team PokerStars Pro colleagues Johnny Lodden, Luca Pagano, Eugene Katchalov and George Danzer also perished, but Selbst, Randy Lew, Yaxi Zhu, Naoya Kihara, Liv Boeree, Celina Lin, Chen Ang Lin and Lex Veldhuis are still involved.

Here are some selected chip counts (the full list won’t be with us until much later, but we’ll update the Blog as soon as we get it).

NAME COUNTRY CHIPS
Albert Daher Lebanon 266,600
Sebastien Lebaron France 234,400
Kulli Sidhu United Kingdom 231,000
Markku Koplimaa Estonia 199,900
Vanessa Selbst United States 155000
Fatima Moreira de Melo Holland 149,200
Randy Lew United States 143,000
Naoya Kihara Japan 123,100
Chen Ang Lin Taiwan 79,400
Nacho Barbero Argentina 75,700
Celina Lin China 27,300
Felipe Ramos Brazil 23,900
Lex Veldhuis Holland 14,300

So, yes, it’s a record-breaking field here already–vindicating the decision to slash the buy-in to €5,000 from its more usual €10,000. The final number was 782, but registration is still open. Come along tomorrow to play.

The single-day €50,000 tournament is still under way, so follow that to its bitter conclusion. Marc Convey is your host.

From the main event, goodnight. 

Full coverage from Day 1B:

11:50pm: Katchalov out
Level 8 – Blinds: 300/600 (75 ante)

Eugene Katchalov just busted the main event. He moved in with ace-queen on the turn, with a queen on the flop. The key factor were the two diamonds on the board, which made a flush for his opponent on the river. – SB

11:40pm: Lin finishing strong
Level 8 – Blinds: 300/600 (75 ante)

Team Pro Chen Ang Lin just secured his stack a late boost. He opened from the cut off for 1,400 which Alexandru Papazian called from the big blind. 

The flop came [ks][2c][4c] which was checked to Ang. He bet anothet 1,500 which was called. 

The turn was the [as]. Another check from Papazian before Lin bet another 4,100. Again, Papazian called. 

The river card now, the [7h]. Papazian checked to Lin who made it 10,050 to play. Papazian called instantly, but slapped the table when Lin showed [ah][2s]. 

Lin now up to 82,000. – SB

11:25pm: Barbero and Kihara and a 40K pot
Level 8 – Blinds: 300/600 (75 ante)

A tense hand played out between Nacho Barbero and Naoya Kihara just boosted one of their stacks to 125,000.

Barbero opened for 1,400 which Kihara then raised to 4,000 in the cut off. Barbero, working out of early position, called for a flop of [8d][td][6d]. 

Barbero began a series of checks. This time it led to a bet of 4,500 from Kihara, which was called. On the [8c] turn both checked, and then on the river card [qd] Barbero checked again. 

At this point Kihara bet again, a further 10,700. Barbero pulled faces as he looked over at Kihara, who was not making any faces at all. Grinning, Barbero said that he hoped Kihara hadn’t got pocket queens. He hadn’t. When Barbero called Kihara turned over [ad][ks]. Crucially the ace was a diamond, for the but flush. Barbero mucked his [kd] face up. 

Kihara up to 125,000 while Barbero slips to 100,000. – SB

11:10pm: Deadman very much alive
Level 8 – Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

British pro Simon Deadman has just doubled up. He called Thomas Saxler’s pre-flop small blind open from the big blind and the two saw a [ts][2s][td] flop fall. Saxler continued for 3,500 and Deadman matched it.

The turn came the [ah] and now the bet from the German PokerStars Qualifier was 7,000. Deadman called once more.

The [5d] completed the board and Deadman shoved after Saxler checked to him. The bet was 21,125 and Saxler didn’t take long to throw in calling chips. He’d wish he hadn’t though when Deadman turned over his [ts][9s] for trips. Saxler could only muck.

Deadman is now playing around 45,000. –JS

10:55pm: Mojave deserts some chips
Level 8 – Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

Heading over to Felipe ‚Mojave‘ Ramos‘ table, I caught the Friend of PokerStars mid-hand. A [5h][9h][5d] flop had been dealt and Ranno Sootla checked it to the Brazilian, who put out a bet of 1,800. Sootla then raised it to 4,700 and Ramos called.

We needed a turn and the dealer gave us one – the [8s].Now Sootla led out for 5,200 and again Ramos called. The river was the [4d] and both players checked, but Ramos sure looked like he felt he should have bet when Sootla turned over the [2h][4h] for a busted flush draw that hit bottom pair at the end.

Anyway, the chips slid Sootla’s way and Ramos is now on 21,300. –JS

10:40pm: Daher the danger
Level 8 – Blinds 300/600 (75 ante)

Albert Daher has had the kind of day that poker players dream of. He got a big stack early and has simply pummelled anybody who dared get near him. 

His latest victim was Andres Artinano Munoz, who had the audacity to open to 1,500 from early position and then call when Daher raised to 5,000 from the button.

They went heads-up to the [kc][2h][jc] flop and a pattern was quickly established. Munoz checked, Daher bet, Munoz called on every street. On the flop, it was 6,000. On the [8h] turn it was 14,500. On the [7c] river it was 25,000, and that was for almost all of Munoz’s remaining stack.

Munoz figured out that he would be left with only about 9,000 if he called the final bet, but with Daher doing the betting, he seemed to think it was worth it. Bad news. Daher turned over [ac][ad] and built his stack past 250,000. Munoz is in a spot of bother.

Yesterday’s end-of-day leader, Roman Verenko, had 198,000. There’s a strong chance Daher is going to knock that into a cocked hat. — HS

LEVEL SMALL BLIND BIG BLIND ANTE
8 300 600 75

10:50pm: A futile search for Chance Kornuth
Level 7 – Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

This hand happened a little while ago, but I just found it in the notebook and it jogged my memory. Action folded to Albert Sebag, a PokerStars qualifier from France, on the button and he opted to limp for 500.

Andrei Stoenescu, in the small blind, made it 1,600 to play and then Chance Kornuth, in the big blind, made it 3,600.

Sebag was massively disgruntled. „I knew it!“ he grumbled, the muttered something in French that I didn’t catch. 

It looks like it has been a rough day for Sebag with Kornuth sitting in the big blind. Although Kornuth is as affable as players get at the table, he’s also pretty sharky (as his €10K high roller result will attest) and it must be absolutely miserable having him to your left when the conversation stops.

Sebag had had enough. Who is this kid? He picked up his phone and opened up a browser, then went to Google. He pieced together all the information he could find and typed „poker“, „chance“ and „rungood“ into his phone, i.e., the game, the name of his tormentor (I’m guessing he had asked) and the name of the clothing company whose livery Kornuth was sporting.

However if you think about it, all those terms, even added together, don’t bring you to Chance Kornuth. And so even Sebag’s Google search was an exercise in frustration. He tried shifting the order of the words. He made „run good“ two words instead of one.

But no, still just a lot of general poker stuff and no closer to knowing the identity of the kid in the big blind. He turned his phone over and got on with it, with a Gallic sigh. — HS

10:55pm: Kerignard takes his chance
Level 7 – Blinds: 250/500 (50 ante)

Yorane Kerignard arrived for the Main Event this afternoon with six blue chips. He’d lost a few since then but looking down at two red kings found an opportunity to get them all back, particularly when there was a raise and a re-raise in front of him. 

Sylvain Loosli started it, opening for 1,200. Patrick Fortin was in the hijack and raised to 3,300. Kerignard, on the button, paused, then four bet to 7,600.

That wasn’t even the end of it. Laurent Strouk was in the big blind and hadn’t folded yet. Instead he called Kerignard, leaving Loosli to get out of their way. Then Fortin paused, taking a minute before he too called. They would see a flop.

[2d][3d][th]

Strouk checked before Fortin bet 60,000, easily covering the others. Kerignard called before Strouk passed, and watched Fortin turn over [jd][8d] for a flush draw. Kerignard’s [kh][kd] looked good, but not for very long. The turn card [7d] gave Fortin his flush. The river card [7c] couldn’t save Kerignard. 

He stood quickly, muttered his best wishes, and left. – SB

10:50pm: Boeree heads to the races and finds a winning ticket
Level 7 – Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

Chance Kornuth opened to 1,300 in the cut-off and Abdulaziz Abdulaziz made the call on the button. The action then got to Team PokerStars Pro Liv Boeree in the big blind, and she felt it was the right time for a three-bet to 4,400. That got rid of Kornuth, but Abdulaziz then jammed having Boeree covered.

She had 25,625 behind and thought for a minute, eventually telling the table she didn’t want to race. That’s exactly what she ended up doing though; when she made the call her [ah][kc] was up against the [9c][9d].

Help arrived quickly with a King in the window of the [ks][2s][4h] flop.The [jh] turn and [5s] river kept her in front and Boeree secured the double-up to 51,850. –JS

10:45pm: Nitsche’s niche? Flopping two pair
Level 7 – Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

Dominik Nitsche was in the single-day 50K high roller last time I saw him. Now he’s doubling up here in the main event.

There was an open to 1,000 and Team PokerStars Pro Yaxi Zhu, Kitson Kho, and Domink Nitsche (big blind) came along.

The flop came the [kh][qd][5d] and there was a c-bet to 1,600. Zhu folded, but Kho called. Nitsche then moved all-in for 15,750 and only Kho called.

Nitsche – [kc][qs]
Kho – [ad][jd]

Both had flopped big, but Kho was trailing with his flush draw. The [6c] hit the turn changing nothing, and neither did the [ac] river. Nitsche is up to 32,000. –JS

10:40pm: Lodden’s challenge ends
Level 7 – Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

Johnny Lodden usually loves the Grand Final. But his reserved seat at the final table will go to someone else this time as he is now out. — HS

10:30pm: A corner of Monte Carlo that is forever Macau
Level 7 – Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

At the beginning of play today, Team Online’s Naoya Kihara expressed his joy that he was sitting with his friend Juicy Li, keeping the Asian contingent strong on that table. Not only are both of them still there–Kihara with 110,000 and Li about 95,000–but Celina Lin, the Chinese Team PokerStars Pro, is also now on that table. She is a multiple winner of the coveted Red Dragon on the APPT and knows both Li and Kihara well. Lin has 26,000 at the moment, but that’s still more than 50 big blinds.

Randy „nanonoko“ Lew is on a neighbouring table, and he is having a pretty good day as well–as noted below. He has about 100,000 too. He just knocked out Joe Mouawad as well to build his stack a bit more.

Mahomed Aissani opened the pot in question, limping for 500 from mid-position. Lew raised to 2,000 from one seat along but then Mouawad shoved for about 19,000 from the small blind. Aissani folded but Lew called. The fact he didn’t ask for a count was bad news for Mouawad.

Mouawad tabled [ad][qc] but was dominated by Lew’s [as][kd] and there was nothing to get excited about on the board. — HS

10:10pm: Lew among the leaders
Level 7 – Blinds: 250/500 (50 ante)

PokerStars Online Pro Randy Lew is up to nearly 100,000 after sending a player to the rail. 

After a bet of 1,000 Philipp Krummenacher called on the button and small blind Stephan Fajg did the same. The action then reached Lew in the big blind who re-raised, making it 4,450. Krummenacher and Fajg both called for a flop.

[6d][kd][7h]

Fajg checked to Lew who bet 6,100. That prompted Krummenacher to move all in for roughly 11,000. Krummenacher folded but Lew called. 

Lew: [td][kh]
Krummenacher: [ad][9d]

The turn came [6c] and the river [2s], much to Krummenacher’s irritation. 

He’s out though, while Lew is now on about 96,000. – SB

10:20pm: Plenty of fallers
Level 7 – Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

It’s all getting a bit feisty out there. The latest list of eliminations includes: Kevin MacPhee (mutilated), Mar Sen (slain), Louis Linard (lanced), Tiemo Goenen (gone), Mikalai Pobol (pulverised), Artur Koren (kaput), Carlos Chang (chomped), Dimitry Yurasov (yahooed), Raymond Wu (wiped), Shaan Siddiqui (shelved), Ghassan Bitar (bounced), Daniel Wilson (wasted), Jason Wheeler (whipped), Ludovic Geilich (gutted), Gleb Tremzin (trounced), Stefan Schillhabel (shafted), Ognjen Sekularec (spewed), Farid Jattin (jettisoned), Max Pescatori (pushed), Andre Difelice (defeated) and Stefan Fuchs (come on, you’re better than that). — HS

10:15pm: Short day for Negreanu – plays just two hands before busting
Level 7 – Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

Actually, you can scratch what we just said. Daniel Negreanu has been eliminated after just two hands of play.

He opened to 1,175 (the first hand he’d played) and it folded around to Markku Koplimaa in the big blind who made the call. The flop fell [ts][3c][ks] and Koplimaa checked to the Team PokerStars Pro, who continued for 1,600 and was called.

The [ad] hit the turn, which both checked, taking us to the [6h] on the river. Koplimaa checked once more and Negreanu said: „I should bet here, but I won’t.“ 

He turned over the [kh][jd] which was the winner against Koplimaa’s [7d][7S], but the two would soon meet again. On the next hand, in fact. 

Negreanu kicked it off again with the same open – 1,175 – and it got to Koplimaa again, this time in the small blind. He opted to three-bet to 3,450, and Daniel Dvoress gave up his big blind, so the action was back on Negreanu. He made a quick call.

„Good luck,“ said Koplimaa. 

„I need luck?“ asked Negreanu. „Oh, well that means you must have it already then.“

The flop was the [ks][5s][9c] and Koplimaa continued for 3,600. The [7h] hit the turn after Negreanu made the call, and he’d also call a bet of 7,700 on fourth street. 

The [jh] completed the board and Koplimaa asked Negreanu how much he had. „Seventeen and a half with change,“ was the answer.

He put Negreanu all-in and Kid Poker began his thought process. He pointed at the cards and tried to use them to figure out what Koplimaa must have. Eventually, he decided he might be ahead and made the call with his [ad][kd]. It looked good right? Top pair top kicker?

Only problem was that Koplimaa had turned a straight with the [8d][6d]. Negreanu said his goodbyes and now needs to find something else to do with his night. It shouldn’t be too hard for him here in Monte Carlo! –JS

10pm: One in, one out
Level 7 – Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

Daniel Negreanu has hauled himself along to the Salle des Etoiles this evening, joining the action just after the dinner break. There are now 779 players registered for play today–a good chunk of whom are already out, of course.

The arrival of the Canadian Team PokerStars Pro has actually just evened out the number of Red Spades. Andre Akkari is now out. — HS

9.55pm: A different way to leave a poker tournament
Level 7 – Blinds: 250/500 (50 ante)

Busting from a main event is an unhappy experience at the best of times. Which is why most players not only leave their seat as quickly as possible when the poker Gods strike, but also the tournament room – at least until the €300 Turbo begins, or the bar opens.
 
That’s the usual practice. But not for one player just forced to accept his fate by a pair of queens. 

As the last card was dealt this young man stood up from his seat, in no hurry at all to depart the premises. Instead he slowly picked up his track top and put it on. Then, he picked up his card protector and his headphones, which he placed back in their case, which then went into the bag he had with him. 

Then there was his cushion, and the plastic bag he’d brought with him to put it in. He located it in a pocket and awkwardly packed the cushion away. Then he checked his phone, picked up his bag, picked up the stretch purple thing with a ball on each end (what the…?) and his player ID. Actually sir, the dealer needed that back. 

All in all two minutes past before he left. During which his table mates… make that former tablemates… tried to pretend he wasn’t there. – SB

9:45pm: Fatima scores double elimination – one of which was Akenhead
Level 7 – Blinds 250/500 (50 ante)

You may have seen Team PokerStars‘ Fatima Moreira de Melo singing an incredible version of the song ‚Clown‘ on TV show It Takes 2 (if not, YouTube it). Well, there’s no clowning around right now; it’s all business as she’s just knocked out two players in one hand.

Tomas De La Maza moved all-in for his last 6,600 and it folded to Moreira de Melo on the button. She flat called, and the action came to James Akenhead in the big blind. After he about 10 seconds he announced he was all-in – an attempt to isolate De La Maza no doubt. But it was never going to work; Moreira De Melo snap-called and turned over her [ah][ad].

Akenhead had a good hand too in the [ac][kc], while De La Maza held the [as][ts]. The board ran out [3h][2h][qd][4s][9d] and both Akenhead and De La Maza headed for the exit.

„See you in Vegas?“ De Melo asked Akenhead. „Oh for sure,“ came the reply.

Moreira de Melo has 135,000 after that one. –JS

9:30pm: Cards in the air
Level 7 – Blinds: 250/500 (50 ante)

Play resumes in the main event. There are two more levels to play today. 

LEVEL SMALL BLIND BIG BLIND ANTE
7 250 500 50

8:10pm: Dinner break

Players will shortly be on a 75 minute dinner break. Play resumes at 9.30pm. 

7:55pm: Latest bust-outs
Level 6 – Blinds: 200/400 (ante: 25)

Here we are again. The long list of eliminated players: Luca Pagano, Christian Thiry, Koray Aldemir, Julian Thomas, Sergio Aido, Pablo Gordillo, Paul Ephremsen, Gaetano Dell’Aera, Anatoly Chen, Eric Nhouyvanisvong, Sam Benoliel, Ole Eide, Ronaldo de Oliveira, Abbas Moradi, Adb El Fatah Ahmed, Alexandr Komarov, Nasrodin Pirmamod, Daniel Duthon, Francois-Charles Scapula, Padraig O’Neill, Gaetan Cauchy, Georgy Komarov, Yury Gulyy, Katsuhiro Muto, Stephane Gabarre, Jean Paul Zaffran, Kevin Pascal Barden, Simon Higgins, Darren Nelson and Jean Baptiste Tomi. – HS

7:50pm: Talking Gu
Level 6 – Blinds: 200/400 (50 ante)

It turns out Falk Schubertspeaks a little Chinese, to the delight of Guigong Gu. So it seemed a shame when the dealer told them it was English only. 

Gu raised the next hand, which he does a lot, making it 900 from early position. The action folded to James Akenhead in the small blind who called for a flop of [7s][qc][as].

He then checked to Gu who bet 1,400. Akenhead called. 

The turn came [qs]. Both checked that, and the [7c] river card that followed. Akenhead showed [ah][qd] for the full house. Gu looked at it for a few moments, then again at his own [ad][9d], before surrendering. Meanwhile Akenhead was regretting checking the river. – SB

7:45pm: Three-way action
Level 6 – Blinds: 200/400 (ante: 25)

Here’s a three-way all-in to report, accounting for the departure Vincent Perez and more than doubling the stack of Michael Melin. Nikita Nikolaev didn’t love it either, but he had enough to cover them both and is still in.

I reckon the money probably went in after this flop: [6c][4c][2s]. That’s because Perez had and over-pair ([7d][7h]), Nikolaev had the nut flush draw and bottom pair with [ac][2c] but Melin had [4s][4d], for a set.

The [8s] turn and [3d] river helped nobody, so that was the end of Perez. Melin had a stack of 33,700 and now has a lot more. — HS

7:30pm: Urbanovich buzzing
Level 6 – Blinds: 200/400 (50 ante)

I’m not sure how long Dzmitry Urbanovich has been in this tournament (he registered late) but in the five minutes I’ve been aware of his presence, I’ve seen him all in and called twice. The first ended in a chop, the second in a double up.

On the first hand, it looked like Jovan Pupovac had opened to 800, Effendy Widjaja called from one seat along, and Urbanovich three-bet from the cutoff, using a 5,000 chip and an inaudible mutter of the actual raise amount. Pupovac then four-bet to 10,500 which got Widjaia out of the way, but Urbanovich shoved for 41,700.

Pupovac called and tabled his [ad][kh]. Urbanovich showed his [ah][ks]. The dealer told them to take their bets back by the time the first four community cards showed [4d][9s][9d][7s]. The river was irrelevant. Let’s say it was Mrs Chips the Carpenter’s Wife.

Not long after, Urbanovich was all in again, this time looking at a flop and turn of [6d][8s][3h][tc]. Widjaia called — Urbanovich’s shove was for 16,175, so plenty had already gone in — and the Polish phenom said, „Full house.“ He showed [3c][3s].

Widjaia had a ten, but it wasn’t enough. Urbanovich is buzzing. –HS

7:15pm: Smurfit Smurfs it(?)
Level 6 – Blinds: 200/400 (50 ante)

Some action from Alan Smurfit, a veteran of the game who proudly displays his gold WSOP bracelet from 2007. He and Lex Veldhuis are seated next to each other and both were involved in a pot a short while ago. 

Jose Schwaiger opened from under the gun. The action was folded around to Lex Veldhuis in the small blind who called, as did Smurfit in the big blind. 

The flop came [6d][kc][ah]. Action was checked to Schwaiger who bet another 1,500. That forced a fold from Veldhuis but not Smurfit. The Irishman, who leaves in Monaco, raised to 6,500. Schwaiger figured he was beaten, and folded the [ad] face up. – SB

LEVEL SMALL BLIND BIG BLIND ANTE
6 200 400 50

6:50pm: Ping wrong
Level 5 – Blinds: 150/300 (ante: 25)

A measure of confusion greeted the showdown on Table 26 where Ping San Chan turned over his cards and seemed to connect with a low board. But even though the dealer was one of those convinced by his claims on the small pot, pushing the chips in his direction, it’s fortunate that Eduardo Santi was keeping an eye out. The pot belonged to him.

Santi started things going, opening to 750 from mid-position. Dimitrios Farmakoulis called from the hijack and then Hani Bahna called from the button. Ping was priced in from the big blind.

So it was four players to a flop of [3d][5d][8s] but four checks followed. Then the [2d] came on the turn and all four players checked again, even though this was now a very good flop for someone priced in from the big blind.

The [3s] came on the river and Ping opted to spring his trap. He bet 2,000. Only Santi called, forcing Ping to turn over [4s][7c] which really, really looked like a straight. Santi turned over his [5s][6s] which really, really looked like it had lost.

The dealer turned over Santi’s hand and started pushing the pot to Ping. „No!“ Santi said. „It’s me! It’s me!“ The dealer double-checked and realised the error of her ways. Santi got his money. — HS

6:40pm: Buddiga busts with aces
Level 5 – Blinds: 150/300 (ante: 25)

Albert Daher was the beneficiary of some gifts in the early levels when at least two players paid him off in full when he had the goods. It meant he was the first player to have a six-figure stack, and that’s allowed him the freedom to take some unorthodox lines and continue to increase his holding.

Just ask Pratyush Buddiga about that. Or, rather, don’t. He’s just been knocked out with aces by Daher.

Daher opened from the hijack (I’m afraid I didn’t see the precise amount) and Buddiga three bet his button. Nothing about this seemed weird, including the bit where Daher called.

„How much are you playing?“ Daher asked Buddiga and learned that it was about 23,000.

The flop came [5h][9s][8h] and Daher checked. Buddiga bet 4,200 and Daher called. After the [3h] came on the turn, Daher asked Buddiga if he could see his stack, and at this point there was 19,350 there.

Daher picked up a handful of blue chips and put them over the line. That covered Buddiga and put him into the tank. He took a good few minutes over this decision — it was for his tournament life, after all — but eventually called and showed [ac][as].

Daher had [3d][5d], hitting two small pair on the turn. The [3h] on the river filled him up and Buddiga was gone. — HS

6:20pm: Ping San Chen looking good
Level 5 – Blinds: 100/200 (25 ante)

In a sea of twenty-somethings in t-shirts and baseball caps, there is Ping San Chan of Canada, in a tailored jacket, gold watch, elegant wedding ring and a stack of chips around the 100,000 mark. Furthermore he’s taking charge at his table, as his opposition are finding out. 

In the first of several hands I watched him play he opened for 800 from middle position and got two callers, from the button and from the big blind. The flop came [6s][ac][5d] which was checked to Chan who bet 1,200. The button, Dimitrios Farmakoulis, called, while Hani Bahna folded in the big blind. 

The turn came [7s]. That was checked. So too the [qh] river. Chan showed [ah][8h] to win the hand. 

He won the next hand too. After Bahna opened for 600 on the button, Chen Ang Lin raised to 1,200 in the small blind. Chan was in the big blind and four bet 6,000. Bahna agonsided and folded, so too did Lin.

A few hands later more chips. Chan opened for 800 in the hijack. Alexandru Papazian called from the button, as did the big blind Farmakoulis. 

The flop came [ah][kh][jd]. Chan bet 1,600 and took the pot there and then. Playing well and winning, Chan is among the leaders with more than 100,000. – SB

6:05pm: A long list of eliminees
Level 5 – Blinds: 150/300 (ante: 25)

Have you ever started a job you wish you hadn’t, but continued anyway basically out of nothing but pointless stubborness? Well, that’s what just happened when I decided to type out the names of all the players who have been eliminated so far from this event. I am an idiot, but here’s the product of that lunacy. This lot are out:

Samuele Grassi, Guillaume Darcourt, Andrew Chen, David Yan, Daniel Smith, Lee Markholt, Jens Moysich, Roman Herold, Robert Schiffbauer, Michael Kolkowicz, Clive Smith, Naji Tannoury, Senol Karahasan, Daniel Merrilees, Dirk van Luijk, Sita Divari, Marlon Burgoon, Jorge Dominguez, Aliaksei Boika, How Many More Of These Guys, Fernando Halac, Pierrick Burban, Raffaele Castro, Jean-Philippe Peyratoux, Navid Saberin, Fabio Freitas, Ian Nelson, Jin Hui, Torbjoern Skrunes, Emil Lukac, Viacheslav Kabaylov, Nader Alfred, Alexandre Amiel, Pennacchia Thomas, Benjamin Winsor, Raul-Narcis Olarescu, Martin Kus, Graydon Kowal, Not Even Half Way Yet, Jeremias Mendoza, Neil Van Der Merwe, Dan Oren, Ke Chen, Hiroyuki Noda, Mamouni Smain, Adrien Tantaro, Amar Al-Hussona, Aleksandar Tomovic, Idaino Jos Lopes, Boutros Naim, Ivar Orn Boovarsson, Belmehel Dja Daouadji, Olivier Puche, Angel Cobo, Efim Rudnik, Are You Serious, Erik Ross Bardsgard, Claudio Monteforte, Yuguang Li, Andrew Christoforou, I’m Losing The Will To Live, Antonio Matias, Niste Mihai Gabriel, Filippo Gandini, Ryan Rivers, Yaron Zeev Malki, Jacques Torbey, Guiseppe Vicidomini, Roman Emelyanov, Manuel Leal Borges, The End Is In Sight, Dorde Jovanovic, Mart Tammoja, Mihails Morozovs, Artur Karamuca, Martin Nikolov, You Will Not Believe It, Someone Just Brought Another Load of Tickets By, Oleksii Liashenko, Mariano Martiradonna, Andreas Fluri, Uladzimir Zakharau, There Is No One Reading, Andrey Zaichenko, Antonino Venneri, Bruno Fitoussi, Anatoly Filatov, Tomasz Kokoszka, Igor Dubinskyy, These Are Basically Made Up Names, Mathieu Maroccini, Michael Ferrari, Danut Chisu, Arman Nugmanov, Ronny Lovoll, Carole Segoura, Souhail Nassar, Well Done If You Have Got This Far, Souhail Nassar. — HS

LEVEL SMALL BLIND BIG BLIND ANTE
5 150 300 25

5:35pm: Break time
Level 4 – Blinds: 100/200 (ante: 25)

That’s the end of that level. They’re heading for a 15-minute break.

5:30pm: Chebli more than doubles
Level 4 – Blinds: 100/200 (ante: 25)

Duke Lee opened to 525 from early position and Chebli Chebli three bet to 1,600 from a couple of seats to his left. Mikhail Korotkikh called from the cutoff and as did Alexander Nemchin on the button.

When it came back to Lee, no one would have been surprised to see him call too, but instead he four-bet to 6,525. And this wasn’t done yet. Chebli shoved for 9,650 more and the two to his left folded.

Lee, however, called and we were looking at a race:

Lee: [qc][qd]
Chebli: [ah][ks]

This time the over-cards came up trumps. The board ran [jc][5d][as][5h][ad] and Chebli lives to fight again. — HS

5:20pm: Adeniya on the rise
Level 4 – Blinds: 100/200 (25 ante)

A small victory for Martins Adeniya, playing on one of the tables closest to the TV stage. 

He opened for 500 in late position which the small blind Rowley Ruitenberg called for a flop of [ad][5d][jc]. Both checked for an [ac] on the turn. Ruitenberg checked again before Adeniya tossed in a 1K chip. Ruitenberg called for the [6h] on the river. Again Ruitenberg left it to Adeniya to lead, which he did, betting 2,000. Ruitenberg called with pocket eights, but Adeniya had that beat, holding [kh][js].

He’s now up to 41,000. – SB

5:05pm: Nosebleed star now goes glory hunting
Level 4 – Blinds: 100/200 (ante: 25)

Any excuse in these parts to promote the brilliant documentary Nosebleed by our PokerStarsBlog colleague Victor Saumont. It follows the life of the French high-stakes players Alex Luneau and Seb Sabic and it’s great. (We had a chat with Saumont about it a little while ago.

Luneau used to be predominantly a cash-game player, but now says that he wants to get some recognition in the tournament arena. Hence his appearance here in the main event in Monaco, and hence the small crowd of folk around his table for a recent hand against Andrey Konopelko.

When I arrived, they were all the way to the river, with the board reading [6d][6c][3c][3d][8c]. There was about 35,000 in the pot by this stage and Konopelko had checked.

Luneau said that he was all in and Konopelko immediately asked for a count. The dealer chopped down the stack and told Konopelko that it was 21,625. Konopelko seemed a bit sceptical of that, and asked a couple more times for the count. 

Eventually the dealer convinced him that she had done her job correctly the first time and he slammed down his calling chips. All of us watching were thrilled we were going to see Luneau’s hand.

Luneau could have had absolutely anything in this spot. If there’s one thing you learn from watching Nosebleed it’s that the Frenchman is tricky. He will play anything. Even after learning the action in this pot from a colleague — Konopelko opened to 500; Luneau three-bet to 1,500; Konopelko four-bet to 4,500 and Luneau called — it could still be any two cards. 

(Konopelko bet 3,500 on the flop, Luneau called. Konopelko bet 8,500 on the river, Luneau called.)

But what did he have? Well, Luneau this time actually had a hand. He had [ah][ad]. Konopelko furiously flipped his [kc][ks] and paid off Luneau to the full.

In Nosebleed, Luneau goes bracelet hunting in Las Vegas (Spoiler: Unsuccessfully.) But it would be great to see him at an EPT final table. He has bundles of star quality. — HS

4:40pm: What could possibly be the problem with too many chips?
Level 4 – Blinds: 100/200 (25 ante)

There are now more than 700 players in seats for Day 1B. But while this is great news for players, and the tournament in general, it does have some drawbacks. Principally the supply of chips. 

When you buy in to an EPT Main Event you’re presented with a stack of chips in useful denominations. With nine players per table this allows for a free flowing exchange. One player is never far from a neighbour who can make change.

But with 700 players on one day, expediency often takes priority, and new arrivals are presented with six blue chips, each worth 5,000, before being directed to their seat. 

This was the case of Yorane Kerignard, but he wasn’t the first, as the dealer at his table knew.

„Floor!“

There was now such a drought of change that one dealer had no option but to call for help. Almost every bet involved the player with all the change giving it to someone else. Kerignard opened from under the gun for 500,  using one of his 5K chips. 

It led to a slightly comic situation whereby throughout the hand he had to explain to the dealer how much he was betting. The dealer then did his best to make up the change. It had the effect of keeping everyone involved in each hand, whether they were playing it or not. 

When another player arrived to fill the vacant five seat, the dealers spirits visibly dropped. He must have felt like six blue chips he was carrying with him were designed specifically to make his life harder. 

„I told them,“ said the floor man, answering the dealer’s wordless plea. 

A new hand began, but this would be the last involving players holding up fingers to denote how much their 5K chip was really worth. For help had arrived in the form of a fresh rack. Like water to parched desert, it flushed away all the dealer’s problems and he watched contented as blue chips were exchanged for browns, for reds, for yellows… 

Now he shuffled the deck for the next hand with more speed than before. „Blinds and antes!“ he said, with joy in his voice. – SB

4:20pm: Biggest yet
Level 4 – Blinds: 100/200 (ante: 25)

With more than 700 players now registered today, we are looking at our biggest ever EPT Grand Final main event. The buy in may have been cut in half – down to €5,000 from €10,000 – but with more than 1,000 total players, this is huge. — HS

4:20pm: Stuttering conversation
Level 4 – Blinds: 100/200 (ante: 25)

Goodness knows, we’ve all been involved in some conversations that have ended abruptly. I mean, „Fancy a second date?“ usually does it. For poker players, conversation usually stops when one of the chatters decides to get involved in a pot. Everyone else quickly shuts up to allow the hand to play out without the distractions of smalltalk.

Such was the case on Vanessa Selbst’s table recently, where she and Tudor Purice were nattering on about something or another before Purice opted to raise to 500 from under the gun and Selbst three bet him to 1,600 from the hijack. Putting the world to rights had to wait. They both buttoned it fairly quickly.

The flop came [8h][8d][5c] and they both checked. The [th] came on the turn and Purice checked, allowing Selbst to pick up the pot with a bet of 1,700.

The dealer shoved the chips to Selbst and prepared the deck for the next hand. As that process went on, the early saplings of a new conversation appeared between Purice and Selbst, but frost quickly descended again. Selbst raised from early position, Purice called from the big blind and this time they took in a flop of [9h][9d][8d]. Purice checked, Selbst bet 600 and took it down.

The next hand on the table was played out largely in silence, even though Selbst was not involved and Purice only minimally. Colin Lovelock opened the pot from the hijack and picked up three callers: Jesper Hougaard on the button, Purice in the small blind and Gerard Sanches in the big blind.

Those four saw a flop of [jc][9d][8d] and both Purice and Sanches checked. Lovelock bet 1,000, Hougaard folded but Purice and Sanches both called.

The [3c] came on the turn and Purice and Sanches checked again, allowing Lovelock to bet 1,600 at it. Only Sanches called this time.

So the field had thinned to only two players by the time the [6c] came on the river. Sanches checked, Lovelock now bet 3,500 and after Sanches banged the table in frustration, the field thinned to one. Sanches folded. — HS

LEVEL SMALL BLIND BIG BLIND ANTE
4 100 200 25

4pm: Johnson gets the better of Katchalov
Level 3 – Blinds: 100/200

Four players saw a flop, including Team Pro Eugene Katchalov. 

[5d][4s][8c] It was checked to Katchalov in late position who bet 400. Keith Johnson of the UK and Bartolomeo Tato were the two players who called for a [kc] turn card. Again, more checked leaving Katchalov to bet another 1,000. 

Johnson, almost with contempt, tossed in a chip to call, while Tato backed out. The river came [9h]. Neither player wanted to put more into the pot. Check, check.

Johnson showed [9c][7d] which was good enough for the win. Katchalov mucked, down slightly to 31,000. – SB

3:55pm: Wheeler’s three kings
Level 3 – Blinds: 100/200

Jason Wheeler opened to 550 from early position but got very little respect. Niall Murray, to his immediate left, called as did Kenneth Haugland on the button.

The flop came [3h][kh][2c] and Wheeler bet 700. Murray stuck around, but Haugland believed Wheeler now.

The [kc] came on the turn and perhaps Wheeler no longer believed himself. He checked. Haugland bet 1,200 and Wheeler called.

Wheeler also checked the [7c] on the river, but instantly called after Haugland bet 2,400 on the end. Haugland showed [ah][9h] and Wheeler’s [js][kd]. — HS

3:45pm: Four bet shove
Level 3 – Blinds: 100/200

Samuele Grassi and Falk Schubert had 1,600 in the pot pre-flop and that bought them [ah][ad][4h] in the middle. Then it went a bit nuts. I think Grassi, who would have been in the big blind, must have led at it, because when I arrived Schubert, who would have been under the gun, had 3,500 in front of him, and Grassi had 9,350 in front of him. That’s consistent with a lead, a raise and a three-bet.

Then came the four bet. Schubert moved all in for 25,025 and Grassi had another decision. He pondered. He peered from beneath his hood. He rubbed his chin. He folded. –HS

3:40pm: Darcourt preserves his stack
Level 3 – Blinds: 100/200

Roberto Romanello prodded the hornets‘ nest and then scampered when they started to swarm. After Emmanuel Murgia opened to 400 from under the gun, Romanello, a couple of seats around, raised to 1,500.

Guillaume Darcourt called on the button and that only prompted Murgia to shove for about 19,000. Romanello folded with the haste of a finalist in the speed-origami championships, leaving Darcourt to ponder a decision for his tournament life.

With only about 9,000 behind, he decided to give it up and on they went. — HS

3:30pm: Goulder and Johnson looking to continue good runs
Level 3 – Blinds: 100/200

Alex Goulder, who made the final table of the main event in Dublin, is sitting alongside Keith Johnson, who made the final table of the €25,000 at the same stop in the Irish capital. It’s good to have someone to talk to or, in Goulder and Johnson’s case, somebody to watch football streamed on your phone with. (It’s Manchester United 1 Leicester City 1 at time of writing.)

At just about the time that United opened the scoring, Goulder won a small pot from Cristiano Guerra. Guerra opened to 400 from the button and Goulder called in the big blind. They checked the [ac][qd][6s] flop and then Goulder bet 200 at the [td] turn. Guerra called.

The river was the [3h] and Guerra call-mucked after Goulder bet 1,100 and showed [ad][6c]. — HS

3:25pm: Bendik gets better of Yan
Level 3 – Blinds: 100/200

David Yan’s woes continue. On a flop of [ks][ts][jd], and with five players involved in the hand, he bet 2,000 which was called by Jan Bendik (the three other players folded). The turn came the [9c]. A check from Yan before Bendik lumped in 20,000. This easily covered Yan who had little choice but to fold. 

Yan drops down to 5,875 while Bendik recovers some ground, up to 27,500. – SB

3:15pm: Yes, for Jaoui
Level 3 – Blinds: 100/200

Jack Salter, a former runner up in this event, was looking at a board of [jh][jd][4s][3d][kd]. He was also looking at a bet of 1,475 from David Jaoui. Salter thought for a few second, picked up some chips, exnteded his arm to its full reach, and dropped a raise to 7,050 in the middle. 

Now Jaoui had to think things through, which he did, nudging a call across the line. It was a good decision. Salter turned over [ad][th] but Jaoui’s [js][qs] was the clear winner. – SB

3:10pm: Fine call from Filatov
Level 3 – Blinds: 100/200

Anatoly Filatov just made a pretty remarkable call to take his stack close to100,000. For a man who has shown up today in green shirt, green bowtie and white braces, he had better be good at this game otherwise it’s a pretty conspicuous walk of shame.

Hani Bahna opened to 500 from the button and Filatov made it 1,500 from the small blind. Then it went back to Bahna who made it 4,500 and Filatov made it 10,000. Bahna called.

After all that pre-flop back and forth, they finally saw some community cards: [8s][jd][kd]. Filatov bet 7,000 and Bahna called.

They both finally slowed down on the [7s] turn, but after the [kh] came on the river, more chips went in. Filatov checked but then faced a bet of 10,000 from Bahna. Filatov took a moment before calling and forced Bahna to show his [ac][qh].

That meant that Filatov’s [as][8d] was good. –HS 

2:30pm: Break time
Level 3 – Blinds: 100/200

Players are off on their first break of the day. Action will resume in 15 minutes. –HS

LEVEL SMALL BLIND BIG BLIND ANTE
3 100 200

2:20pm: A tough start for Yan
Level 2 – Blinds: 75/150

A flop of [3s][9d][ad] and David Yan was betting, making it 600 to play. 

Yan stands out as his table, not only because he is the youngest, but because his clothing features images of sushi – t-shirt and cap alike, which I want to say is a first for the Grand Final. He waited for his one opponent to act, Abbas Moradi in seat eight, who called. 

The turn came [6d]. Another bet from Yan, 1,300 this time. Moradi seemed suspicious, but kept at it, calling once more to see the [as] on the river. 

Now Yan checked and Moradi seemed happy to do the same. 

Yan: [qd][kc]
Moradi: [js][jc]

The jacks would win it. Moradi moving back up to 27,000. Yan meanwhile has had a tough first two levels, down to 10,300. – SB

2.10pm: Zhu moving up
Level 2: Blinds – 75/150

Yaxi Zhu, one of Team PokerStars Pro’s most recent acquisition, is playing in one of her first EPT Main Events. She’s doing all right as well, and just got paid off in a small pot against Florian Decamps. 

Zhu opened from the cutoff to 400 and Decamps defended his big blind. It took the two of them to a flop of [9h][5h][4c] and Decamps checked. Zhu bet 650 and may have thought that would get it done, but Decamps raised to 1,800. Zhu called.

The turn brought the [th] and Decamps led for 2,700. Zhu called. Then the [4s] came on the river and both decided they had committed enough chips to this pot. Following two checks, Decamps showed his [8c][6d] which was not beating Zhu’s [jd][jc]. –HS

1:55pm: Juicy squeezed
Level 2: Blinds – 75/150

Juicy Li and Jesper Feddersen had got 1,025 in the pot by the time the flop was out. The [jd][jc][2d] was spread. Li bet 400, Feddersen called and they saw the [th] turn Li bet 1,000 again, Feddersen called and they saw the [kc] on the river.

Li now checked and Feddersen bet 1,575. Li called, but she couldn’t beat Feddersen’s [ac][qc]. –HS

1:50pm: Akenhead turns against Smith
Level 2 – Blinds: 75/150

James Akenhead opened for 400 in early position. Huidong Gu called in middle position, as did Samuele Grassi next to him, Falk Schubert next to him. Next to him was Daniel Smith, who moved all-in for his last 3,250. 

Akenhead was next to act, and moved all-in himself for a little more than 17,000. Gu asked for a count, and took a moment, but he would pass. As would Grassi and Schubert. 

[qs][qd] for Smith
[6s][6h] for Akenhead

The board ran out [4c][kc][8s] [6d][9c]

The flop was fine for Smith but not the turn, and his winced on seeing it. Life was unfair at that moment, and all he could do was pick up the toy card protector and leave, although not before complimenting Fatima Moreira de Melo, in seat 7, on something. – SB

1:30pm: Man down
Level 2: Blinds – 75/150

They are now into Level 2, with at least 579 players having registered for play today. — HS

LEVEL SMALL BLIND BIG BLIND ANTE
2 75 150

1:15pm: Man down
Level 1: Blinds – 50/100

The impeccable accuracy of the previous hand reported suffered just after the turn was dealt because, on a neighbouring table, the dealer bellowed the first „Seat open!“ of the day. That meant there was at least one player who did not make it through the first level.

Ivar Boovarsson was his name and, although details are scarce, Albert Daher was the man stacking up a hefty pile of chips. „I don’t know why…“ Daher began, as he began to stack. „It’s my first four-bet and he doesn’t…“

None of these sentences ended, but the sentiment was clear.

„Young guys don’t like to believe,“ one of Daher’s table-mates said. Well, he better believe this: Boovarsson is out. — HS

1:10pm: Kornuth has company; Boeree bests Gordillo
Level 1: Blinds – 50/100

Chance Kornuth sent out a rather plaintive tweet at the beginning of play today. „Who’s playing the #EPTGrandFinal Main event today!?“ he said. „I haven’t seen one person I know yet.“

It’s likely he now has. Kornuth is sitting at one of the most stacked tables this afternoon with Pablo Gordillo, Liv Boeree, Abdulaziz Abdulaziz and Julian Stuer, among others.

Kornuth is chatting away to Boeree in particular, although kept quiet when the Team PokerStars Pro played a recent hand against Gordillo, which earned her a good few thousand chips early in the day.

Gordillo opened to 300 from early position and Boeree called from the small blind. They were left alone to see a flop of [qh][9d][2d] and Boeree checked. Gordillo bet 400 and Boeree called.

The [jh] came on the turn and, reader, I confess: I did not see what happened here. Something happened on a neighbouring table (see next update) that attracted my attention and by the time I returned to this pot, the [7h] was on the board and there was a blue 5,000-denomination chip in front of Gordillo.

(I think Boeree may have bet 1,000 and been raised, but I’m not 100 percent.)

Anyway, Boeree called and Gordillo showed [ac][kh]. Boeree had [qd][6d] and the dealer shovelled the pot in her direction. — HS

1pm: Carlino has his way, while Rudnik says nothing
Level 1 – Blinds: 50/100

Joseph Carlino is playing the Main Event, who you might remember as the kung-fu kicking songster from EPT Deauville a year or so ago. 
He’s dressed in black and has on a black scarf, on which is pinned lily of the valley. He first watched a hand featuring Efim Rudnik and then played a hand featuring Efim Rudnik. 

Rudnik is notable in that it was he who was found trying to get into the wrong hotel room at the Meridien a few nights ago. HE spent five minutes rattling a door until the occupant came out to explain, in no uncertain terms, that he’d got the wrong room. I know all this because it was my room. He’d said nothing. 

In that first hand Rudnik won the pot with a lavish bet of 4,000 on the end, which amused Carlino, who laughed. 

„Why, why, why, why, why four thousand? Ping. Boom.“

Rudnik said nothing. 

Carlino opened the next hand for 250,000. Rudnik called for a flop of [2d][9d][jc]

Rudnik threw out 700 which Carlino called. Throughout the entire hand Carlino showed no sign of doing anything but calling all the way. 

The turn was the [5d]. Rudnik looked at his cards again, and acting quickly through out 500 this time. Carlino called. 

The river came the [5c]. Rudnik looked at his cards again and bet 500 one last time. Carlino called before Rudnik’s 500 had stopped spinning. 

[js][2h] for Rudnik
[jd][qs] for Carlino.

„I win?“ said Carlino, surprising even himself. 

Rudnik said nothing. — SB

12:45pm: No messing around on Table 17
Level 1: Blinds – 50/100

You never find anybody complaining about slow play in Asia. It’s true. If you ever play on the APPT, you had better get used to doing things quickly: registering, sitting down, putting your bets, calls and raises in, and bagging up. It’s all done at least 50 percent quicker than it is in Europe.

Sixiao „Juicy“ Li is one of Asia’s pre-eminent poker stars and she is bringing her usual hasty approach to the Monaco tables. It’s rubbing off on her table-mates too: action on Table 17 is whizzing along.

Here’s two hands: first, Li opened to 250 from the hijack and Vincent Verdickt, to her left called. Team PokerStars Online’s Naoya Kihara was next to act, but he folded his button, and both the blinds also folded.

The flop came [ac][kh][3c] and Li immediately bet 325. Verdickt immediately called. The [8d] came on the turn and now Li immediately checked. Verdickt immediately bet 700 and Li immediately folded. She immediately picked up her glittery phone and immediately wrote out a text message or something.

On the next hand, Li folded, so Verdickt opened from the hijack, making it 250. Oliver Muller called on the button and Viacheslav Kabaylov called in the small blind. That meant three of them saw a flop of [ad][kd][as], which is about as dangerous as it gets.

But all this action happened in a flash too: Kabaylov checked, Verdickt bet 300, Muller called, Kabaylov folded.

The [ks] came on the turn and both remaining players checked immediately. The [qd] came on the river and this was now a very scary board. But again, it took about 10 seconds total for Verdickt to check, Muller to bet 600 and Verdickt to fold.

Next hand, please! — HS

12:30pm: Danzer in main event action
Level 1: Blinds – 50/100

George Danzer played the charity event last night and, if you believe PokerStars Blog’s Jack Stanton, he „got lucky“ to send our scribe to the rail in the early stages. You don’t win three WSOP bracelets without getting lucky. It’s a lesson our man Stanton is yet to learn. (He’s been relegated to life with the €50,000 high rollers as a result of his ignominy.) 

Danzer, however, is in the main event, where he just lost a small pot to Samuel Bonnett. Bonnett opened to 250 from under the gun and it folded to Danzer in the big blind, who called. They then saw a flop of [2d][js][5s].

Danzer check-called Bonnett’s bet of 325, taking them to the [as] on the turn. The pattern was check–bet-call again, this time 525. And then they both checked the [4c] river.

Danzer turned over the [ts][th]. But Bonnett had [jd][kd]. That one was for Stanton. — HS

12:20pm: Cheeky five-high
Level 1: Blinds – 50/100

Action is predictably tentative in these early stages, although if you flop and flush, you flop and flush and you’re going to want to get involved.

Martin Nikolov was the lucky man: he opened to 250 from the button and Daniel Tudorie three-bet from the small blind to what looked like about 750. (This all happened very quickly.) Nikolov called.

The flop came [4h][jh][9h] and, after Tudorie bet what looked like 625, Nikolov called. They then saw the [2d] on the turn. Tudorie fired again, this time 800, and Nikolov raised to 2,100. Tudorie called.

The river was the [td] and Tudorie was now a touch less gung-ho. He checked. Nikolov bet 3,800 and Tudorie instantly called. However he mucked when Nikolov tabled his [5h][2h].

He had it all along. Well, with the exception of pre-flop, when he had five-high. But it got stronger from there. — HS

12:10pm: Only to be expected
Level 1: Blinds – 50/100

The tournament board shows that 487 players are already registered for today, so we will comfortably pass the 500 mark and make this one of the biggest Grand Final main events in recent memory. Of course, the buy-in has dropped to €5,000 this time, when previously it was €10,000. But there’s still going to be an enormous prize pool with 800+ total players now highly likely. 

The Red Spades in today’s field will include: Fatima Moreira de Melo, Nagoya Kihara, Lex Veldhuis, Randy Lew, George Danzer, Luca Pagano, Johnny Lodden, Chen Ang Lin and Liv Boeree. — HS

12pm: Down to it
Level 1: Blinds – 50/100

The opening ceremony is complete and action is now under way. There are eight one-hour levels to come, with a dinner break after six levels. — HS

11:45am: Huge field expected for Day 1B

It’s Day 1B of the EPT Grand Final main event and there will be an absolute flood of players coming through the door for a noon start. Stick with us.

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 and Howard Swains. Photography by Neil Stoddart. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog


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