EPT10 Grand Final: Steely Vladimir Troyanovskiy heads massively depleted field

The PokerStars and Monte-Carlo®Casino EPT Grand Final got serious today, with the announcement of the prize-pool, the accumulation of some enormous stacks and the departure of some all-time heroes in circumstances you wouldn't wish on anyone. All of it is usually covered by the blanket heading "That's poker!" but when the stakes are so high and the competition so fierce, it demands a closer look.

First up, that prize-pool. When registration closed at the start of play today, we had counted 650 players into this tournament, each parting with €10,600 for the privilege. It meant they were contesting €6.5 million between them and 95 will be paid. Only one can win, though, and there's €1,240,000 on offer for the chosen individual. That's poker--at least the way we play it these days.

The chip leaders tonight are Vladimir Troyanovskiy, Idris Ambraisse and Marcello Marigliano, the former of whom is hardly a stranger to any dizzying sum. He is a regular in the Super High Roller and High Roller tournaments and made final tables in both of them at the PCA last season. Perhaps he has struggled to focus on a "mere" €10,000 buy in tournament before now, but he's certainly been on top of his game in this tournament so far.

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Vladimir Troyanovskiy: High Roller comes good

Troyanovskiy started today with 172,200 and increased it to 450,500 by the close. He is top of the pile.

Now on to those sob-stories, the most poignant of which features the biggest star in the game today. Phil Ivey is rarely out of the headlines these days for all kinds of skirmishes in casinos across the world, but he is always best when he lets his chips do the talking. He raced up the leader board today and was close to the chip lead at one point this afternoon, but was almost immediately shunted out of the door.

Ivey flopped a straight with jack-nine at the same time as Marigliano flopped a bigger one with his king-jack. It all went in and Ivey went out.

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Turned out to be a temporary loan on the chips for Phil Ivey

Marigliano ended the day with 421,700 and a good shot at another major success. The Italian professional, known as luckexpress10 online, has likely played Ivey at the nosebleeds and also took on Tom Dwan in the Full Tilt Million Dollar Challenge. This is already his best showing on the EPT.

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Marcello Marigliano: Put paid to Phil Ivey

Ivey was by no means the only superstar to hit the rail today. Antonio Esfandiari, Ivan Demidov, George Danzer, Praz Bansi, Eugene Katchalov, Mike McDonald, ElkY, Mickey Petersen, Tom Middleton, Annette Obrestad, Gus Hansen, Viktor Blom and Liv Boeree all perished, as did Steve O'Dwyer, the defending champion. Only about 125 players remained at the very end, which leaves us already pretty close to the money.

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Antonio Esfandiari: The rail is that way? OK

Here are some more selected chip counts:

Vladimir Troyanovskiy - 450,500
Idris Ambraisse - 434,300
Marcello Marigliano - 421,700
Sebastian Von Toperczer - 418,000
Malte Monnig - 387,000
Steve Silverman -- 369,900
Talal Shakerchi -- 365,800
Nick Maimone - 358,800
Johnny Lodden - 326,500
Abdulaziz Abdulaziz - 283,100
Hendrik Latz -- 278,400
Simon Deadman - 278,000
Philipp Gruissem - 268,000
Ville Wahlbeck - 265,100
Daniel Stern - 256,100
Sam Trickett - 237,000
Ole Schemion - 233,600
Scott Clements -- 229,700
Adam Reynolds - 194,600
Rono Lo - 188,900
Johannes Strassmann - 186,000
Angel Guillen -- 175,400
Niall Farrell -- 150,900
Mark Teltscher -- 146,000
David Williams -- 145,900
David Yan -- 144,000
Terrance Reardon - 125,800
Igor Kurganov - 109,700
Christoph Vogelsang - 108,700
Mohsin Charania - 96,500
Noah Boeken -- 85,600
Andre Akkari - 82,100
Dominik Panka - 55,800
JC Alvarado -- 44,000

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Steven Silverman: Last year's high roller champ

The best way to catch up with all the action is to scan through the panel at the top of the main EPT Grand Final Main Event page.

We also wrote about the following in our feature coverage today: the Gus Hansen hokey-cokey, a little known condition known as Kannnichtalleinzufindensitz, Marcel Luske's career as a dealer and the wonderful Juicy and Yaxi, here from China.

We breathed deeply the wonderful Slovenian oxygen, celebrated George Danzer's first ever live tournament win, and got to Jonathan Odogwu before he becomes a TV star.

There will be more of all this tomorrow -- with added bubble!

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