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EPT8 Monaco: Charania and Martinez off to slow starts

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Yesterday Mohsin Charania took the lead midway through the afternoon and pretty much stayed there, that was until Max Martinez snatched the lead with minutes to play and got his picture taken for the cover of the blog.

Charania, from Chicago, remained unfettered by the whimsical nature of the game and remains remarkably upbeat for a player who's Day 3 started in the opposite direction of his Day 2.

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Mohsin Charania

"It' started off pretty bad," he said at the break. "I lost the first seven or eight hands and then got it in with ace-king versus ace-queen. I held. Then I just called someone down with ace high on three streets and it was good. I think I might have 550,000 now so it's got better."

Yesterday things went far smoother.

"I just steady climbing," he said, "I won a flip yesterday and then had aces against ace-ten, and held. After that when you've got that many chips it's pretty easy to keep accumulating them."

For Charania this could be the breakthrough event he's been looking for. It's not the first time he has held the chip lead, doing so previously at EPT Deauville this year until the wheels fell off and he crashed out. Now he's looking to go deep.

Joining him there will likely be chip leader at the start of play today Max Martinez, who explained how his day yesterday had gone from bad, to worse, to brilliant over the space of six levels.

Martinez talks through with a permanent smile or a look of utmost seriousness, while his mouth moves from side to side like he's chewing something.

"I started the day not so good," he said in a thick Italian accent. "I lost a big pot for my stack. I remained with 15k. Then I won a lot of pots uncontested and ran up to 170k. Then I lost a big pot against (Fabrice) Soulier; when I got aces he got queens and a third queen on the flop.

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Max Martinez

"With 60k I three-bet a little and ran up again to 150k. Then I win a flip, nines against king-queen and then ace-jack versus eights. At the end of the day in a four-way flop, I found a set on an ace-jack-three flop, I had threes. Soulier had ace-nine of clubs; top pair flush draw. We went all-in and I won this pot.

For Martinez it's a day at work, but it was hard not to think that two setbacks in a day were more than enough to persuade a player that this might not be their event. Evidently Martinez took no such cue.

"I thought a lot this way for years before," said Martinez. "I crushed my tournament because I was upset and shoved randomly. You must be patient a little bit because sometimes you will find a right spot to shove, and if you're lucky you can double up and it's then another tournament."

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