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EPT8 Monaco: 130 to become 24 with bubble on the way

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Day 3 is perhaps most critical in the week-long evolution of a poker tournament, where a buy-in becomes either a pay-out or a check-out and the first glimpse of the final table comes into view. If what came before was pre-amble, the drinks before the curtain goes up or the local warm-up act. What lies ahead is the main feature, which may or may not deliver, but that's what you paid for nonetheless.

A total of 130 players return today for the The PokerStars Monte-Carlo®Casino European Poker Tour Grand Final, tasked with surviving an unpredictable day and becoming one of 24 remaining players.

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The view of the hairpin turn on the Formula 1 circuit, albeit with what looks like an old Buick driving round it

Those of a mathematical bent will have noticed that we normally have about 17 levels left to play by this stage, on average, making for some long days ahead. Rick Dacey even thinks we could breach nine levels today. He said something else too, but given that he has been summarily dismissed for such thoughts, we'll never really know what they were.

It's a good point though. We don't stop until we have just three tables remaining. It's why Day 3 is usually the most exciting day of an EPT main event, with the bubble up first. It's one worth rolling your sleeves up for even if your only effort is in pressing F5 every few minutes.

Leading today is Max Martinez, the Team PokerStars Pro from Italy, who came from out of nowhere yesterday, having dug himself out of more than one hole, to snatch the lead. The full list of chip counts can be found on the official chip count page and a full seat draw is on the way.

All the action will be here until the finish. Play starts at 12 noon.

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