EPT Monte Carlo: Final Table Play-by-Play

March 11, 2006

The European Poker Tour Grand Final final table is set to begin at 3pm (9am ET). Click refresh and scroll to the bottom of this page to see the lastest information.


Seat 1: Marc Karam (Canada) 231,900

Marc hails from Ottawa, Canada and in recent months has developed quite a reputation as a poker player there. After cashing in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, the well-dressed PokerStars qualifier quietly made his way to the final table in Monte Carlo.

Seat 2: Marcel Luske (Holland) 486,000
A player who needs no intrudction, The Flying Dutchman is famous all over the world for his stellar poker play, sharp dress, upside-down sunglasses, and table-side serenades.

Seat 3: Jeff Williams (USA) 495, 700
American University of Georgia Student Jeff Williams (known online as “yellowsub86”) traveled from the music capital of the Southeast, Athens, GA, to play in his first major live event. At just 19, he stands to make more money than he’s ever seen. As a surprise, the Bobby Baldwin look-alike’s parents just dropped in before the final table to root him on. Williams qualified on PokerStars.com.

Seat 4: Ross Boatman (UK) 119,700
Another player in need of no introduction, Ross Boatman is a member of the famous (perhaps, infamous) Hendon Mob. Boatman has been a force at the tables for years and it comes as no surprise to anyone that Boatman is here.

Seat 5: Thierry Cazals (France) 766,650
French management consultant Thierry Cazals makes a profession of turning businesses from failing to success. Now, he has turned several near-death poker experiences into the chip lead at the final table.

Seat 6: Arshad Hussain (UK) 131,600
A well-known UK player with a taste for flashy cars, Arshad Hussain is an FPP qualifier on PokerStars.com. When heads up in his PokerStars qualifier, Arshad’s opponent offered him a deal, which he refused, preferring to play in this event than take any cash. He had only 6000 in chips after day one and was feeling horrible about his chances. But in a taxi, a cameraman told him about young Ben Grundy who last year survived on a shortstack all the way to the final table. Arshad has done the same.

Seat 7: Fraser Dunphy (UK) 125,600
Fraser Dunphy is like a lot of recent graduated university students. It’s been several months since he graduated. Since then, he’s not found himself in a job. Nonetheless, he’s found a way to pay the bills. He’s been playing poker. He says any money he makes at this final table will be far and away his biggest win. No word on whether he’ll keep looking for a job after this.

Seat 8: Aleksander Strandli (Norway) 633,500

Aleksander ‘Klinsmann18’ Strandli’s dream was to join the Norway army equivalent of the SAS. But his nickname of Smaen, which means ‘the little one’ in Norwegian couldn’t have been more apt. Aleksander only weighs 64kg. SAS training involves running around with a 68kg backpack on. Within a few days, Aleksander had dislocated his shoulder and that was the end of that. So young Aleksander, now 21, turns his attention to poker and starts a year of intense online (PokerStars, of course) and Oslo card room performances. In February, an Norwegian online company took Aleks to the EPT Deauville tournament as a blogger. While there, he entered a $500 side event, and won it for 68,000 euros. A few weeks later, he qualifies on PokerStars.com for the EPT Grand Final. And now he’s on the final table as second chip leader …guaranteed at least 84,000 euros even if he goes out in the next five minutes!

3:18pmPlayers are getting seated and a giant poker-chip birthday cake has just been rolled out in honor of Joe Hachem’s birthday. Play should begin shortly.

3:28pm–Blinds are 5000/10000/1000. Play is beginning.

3:32pm–On just the second hand of the tournament, Thierry Cazals (who hit a four-outer to stay alive last night) just got a taste of his own medicine. Cazals came in for a raise to 40,000. Fraser Dunphy pushed all in for 123. Cazals called. Dunphy showed AJ to Cazals’ AK. The board came out 823/5/J to double Dunphy up.

3:32pm–On just the second hand of the tournament, Theirry Cazals (who hit a four-outer to stay alive last night) just got a taste of his own medicine. Cazals came in for a raise to 40,000. Fraser Dunphy pushed all in for 123. Cazals called. Dunphy showed AJ to Cazals’ AK. The board came out 823/5/J to double Dunphy up.

3:35pm–Arshad isn’t going to get blinded out here. He just pushed in on the fourth hand of the finl table, but got no call. On the next hand, he raised again, this time just to 30,000. Again, no call.

3:39pm–Ross Boatman just doubled up after pushing all in in early position with AK. Marcel Luske woke up in the big blind with pocket queens, but a king on the flop and ace on the river doubled Boatman’s chips.

3:45pm–Fraser came in from early position, Jeff Williams made it 200,000 to go. Fraser thought fo a good while before mucking. If you failed to catch it above, Williams parents dropped out of the sky this morning after flying all night from America to see their son play.

Williams and his mother being interviewed by the EPT crew

4:00pm–Bored out there? Sorry. If someone even says raise (or anything that sounds like it), everybody folds. The action will pick up in a minute or two, I’m sure.

4:03pm–Just as sure as I type the words, Fraser Dunphy comes in for a raise, and once again, Jeff Williams decides to come over the top of him. Just like last time, Fraser laid it down. Williams has played two pots, both of them picking off Dunphy.

4:09pm A small tangle between Cazals and Hussain in an unrasied pot went no where fast as Hussain mucked his hand.

4:19pm–It’s hard to put Thierry Cazals on a hand, but when he re-raises to 150,000, it’s enough to scare Ross Boatman out of a hand–after a considerable amount of thought.

4:28pm–Raise fold. Raise fold. Raise. Think. Fold. Such is the first level of final table play.

4:34pm–Marcel can’t catch any luck today. He calls an all-in with a big pair, and gets out-raced. This time, he comes in for a raise with AQ, calls Hussain’s all-in re-raise and finds he’s up against pocket queens. Marcel loses again, and Hussain doubles up.

4:38pm–Action! Unfortunate action, as it turns out for Fraser Dunphy who is eleated to have his pocket aces all-in against Jeff Williams pocket tens. The elation evaporates when a ten appears on the flop. No ace and Dunphy is out. Dunphy earns €84,000 for his eigth place finish.

4:44pm–Hey, all you guys at PokerPoker.ca, it’s not much, but since I know you’re watching, Marc (or, Myst if you prefer) just picked up a few chips with a strong re-raise.

4:52pm–Marc comes in for a raise to 40,000. Not sure how much it affected everyone’s decision, but it looked like Ross Boatman prematurely exposed both his cards before everyone had time to act. Regardless, Marc picked up the blinds and antes.

4:54pm–Marcel comes in for a raise and Hussain pushes all in. Last time this match-up happened, Hussain held queens to Marce’s AQ. This time, Marcel spends several minutes chatting with Hussain, standing up, looking out from his sunglasses, hands in and out of his pockets, tiilting his head, asking if Hussain has queens again. In short, Marcel really doesn’t want to fold. But ultimately, he does. Sure enough, I think Arshad just showed…a five…to the crowd.

4:59–We’re on a ten-minute break

5:09pm–Fresh chip counts:

Marc 272K
Marcel 174K
Jeff 664K
Ross 187K
Thierry 745K
Arshad 324K
Aleksander 626K

5:15pm–Players are returning to their seats. In an homage to the old “Late Night Poker” days, Thomas Kremser is calling the action while the love of his life deals.

Blinds are up to 7500/15000/1500

5:21pm–Aleks limps from small blind, Marc raises to 35K more from big blind, Aleksander lays down his hand.

5:29pm–Tough hand for Jeff Williams scores Aleksander a 200K pot. Aleksander bumped it to 50K and Williams made it 190K to go. Aleks thought for all of five seconds before announcing all in. Williamns folds pretty quickly.

5:32pm–Marc picked up another pile of blinds and antes with a standard raise.

5:38pm–Marc raises to 45K from the button, Marcel calls in the small blind. Flop is 39A. Marcel moves all in for 76K. Marc and Marcel chat like they are having tea. In fact, Marcel pours a cup of tea and stirs in some sugar while Marc ponders his move. Marc counts out his chips, perhaps wondering if Marcel is playing the old stop-and-go on him. Question is, how strong is Marc? Apparently, not strong enough. He mucks.

5:41pm–Happy birthday, Joe Hachem!

5:45pm–Poker is a funny game. Although Marc has played as tight/aggressive game as anybody here, the moment his opponents smell blood, they attack. Marc, undaunted by his laydown against Marcel, comes in for a raise in the cutoff two hands later. This time, Jeff Williams pushes all in from the small blind. Marc eventually mucks again.

5:48pm–It’s not been 24 hours since Thierry made a flush with the highest card in his hand being a five and became the chip leader. He tried it again in a battle of the blinds with Arshad. This time, he still needed on spade to come, holding 3-5 with one spade. on a board of 4TJ (three spades). Arshad with JT and the fopped two pair is happy to get his chip in versus the loose Frenchman. no spade on the turn and a jack on the river gives Arshad the full house and he doubles though.

5:52pm–Welcome to Action Beach. Ross gets all his chips in with 77 versus Jeff Williams (who called the all-in) with AT. Jeff doesn’t improve and the Hendon Mobster doubles through.

6:00pm–This was an interesting little hand. In a battle of the blinds between Marcel Luske and Jeff Williams, Luske limped in and Jeff checked his option. Marcel then checked blind…and so did Jeff! The flop came out 4Jx. Then the turn was a queen. Marcel bet out the size of the pot and Jeff moved all in. Marcel thought for a second before mucking. Jeff showed him a queen.

6:10pm–Well, as Mad once told me, some said it would end in tears. In this case, it didn’t necessarily end, but I have to think Thierry is thinking about crying. It appared the action went: Jeff came in for the standard raise, Thierry re-raised to 190K, Jeff moved all in, and Thierry called. All in pre-flop with AJ suited versus Jeff Williams AQ suited. Thierry failed to improve. His slide from the chip lead continues. Jeff, who had taken some seriou hits is back on track.

6:15pm–Okay, took a few minutes to sort out the massive chip movement. Joe Hachem is now on the mic and calling the game. I would like to have a chip count, but play continues unabated. We’ll have to wait until the next break.

6:17pm–When I do this kind of thing, I say “Woops.” Marc Karam is saying something else. Marc tried to steal from the button with J7o and ran into Marcel Luske’s pocket eights. The flop was worthless…then the dealer ran out…runner-runner sevens. Marcel stood, stuck his finger in his throat, and pretended to vomit on the stage. Still, even for a pro, €112,000 is nothing to puke about.

6:29pm–Ross Boatman just committed half his stack to a pot on a AJx flop. Jeff Williams check-raised him all in and Ross mucked, leaving himself barely 120K to play with.

6:35pm–Marc just picked up a small pot. As he was raking his chips, his railbrd gave him a cheer. He cocked his head, laughed, and only said, “Suited.”

6:41pm–It appears Aleksander has been hit with a ten-minute penalty. Near as I can tell, Thierry moved in from the button and Aleksander (in the big blind) exposed his cards before Arshad could act in the small blind. Arahad eventually folded. Now Aleksander is watching the action from the bleachers. That’s tough.

6:44pm–With Ross and Thierry shortstacked on his left, Jeff is taking full advantage of his lead, moving all-in whenever it is only he and the others left to act.

6:48pm–And that’s it for Ross Boatman. All in from the button with T6 suited in clubs versus Arshad’s pair of jacks, Ross fails to improve and is out in sixth place for €140,000.

6:51pm–Break time.

7:02pm–Fresh (approximate) chip counts:

Marc: 350K
Jeff: 1 Million
Thierry: 120K
Arshad: 670K
Aleksander: 750K

7:08pm–Players are returning to play 45 minutes before a dinner break.

Blinds: 10K/20K/2K

7:14pm–Greg Raymer is now calling the action. While I’m not much of a shoutout kind of guy, I’d like to thank all the PokerPoker.ca crowd for reading here. I also hear there’s a ton of people back in Georgia watching Jeff’s progress here. Thanks for reading.

7:17pm–Some people might start calling Jeff Williams a bully. Marc raised from the small blind and Jeff came over the top all in. Marc didn’t like his hand well enough to call and laid it down.

7:23pm–While the action has slowed down a bit, I thought I might let you in on the pre-tournament betting lines from the BlueSquare folks.

Marcel Luske 11/4
Alexander Strandli 7/2
Thierry Cazals 4/1
Jeff Williams 5/1
Marc Karam 8/1
Arshad Hussain 9/1
Ross Boatman 9/1
Fraser Dunphy 12/1

7:29pm–A brief moment of excitement and Thierry moved in from the cutoff and gets a call from Aleksander in the small blind. Marc considers playing but folds. As it turns out, both Thierry and Aleksander hold AJ Thierry’s is suited, but it is irrelevant, and the pot is chopped.

7:34pm–Thierry lives at Marc Karam’s expense. Short-handed now, Marc likes his A8 and raises from the cutoff. Thierry pushes from the small blind. It’s not too much more for Marc to call. Thierry shows AT, makes a ten on the turn and doubles through. Marc likely lost about 100K on that pot.

7:44pm–Arshad comes in for a raise to 50K and Aleksander comes over the top all-in. Arshad gets a look on his face that says, “What the hell does that bet mean?” It would be a reasonable question. It was, in fact, the definition of “overbet.” Arshad must have something nice, because it pains him to fold. AK? Pocket jacks? Hard to say. Regardless, he has to feel good because Aleksander shows him pocket queens. Arshad undoubtedly made a good laydown there.

7:47pm–Jeff Williams just loves to re-raise from the big blind. Facing a button raise to 60K from Aleksander, Jeff comes over the top for more than 150K more. In the past, Jeff has folded to an all-in re-raise. Aleksander doesn’t look like he can play his hand for that much. However, maybe he’s just a good actor. No, in fact, he doesn’t want to play.

7:50pm––Marc moves all in but gets no action (regardless of whether he wanted any). Blinds and antes will have to do.

7:54pm–So, Jeff has his eyes on Marc and UNDER THE GUN asks how many chips Marc has. It happens to be 126K straight. Jeff raises to 80K and picks up the pot.

7:55pm–Thierry moves all in for 94K. Folded around to Jeff who has to call 74K more. He says “Alright” an calls. Thierry has KQ to Jeff’s QJ. They both flopped their queen. Jeff opens up an open-ender on the turn, but doesn’t develop and Thierry doubles up.

7:58pm–Furiously chewing on his gum, Marc moves in from the button. He doesn’t get any action, but picks up the blinds and antes. His gum chewing slows down. On the very next hand, Marc moves in again. He asks for action this time, but doesn’t get it.

7:59pm–On the last hand before the dinner break, Marc moves in AGAIN. And AGAIN, everybody folds. We’ll be back in one hour.

8:52pm–Fresh approximate chip counts:

Marc: 215K
Jeff: 1.38 million
Tierry: 170K
Arshad: 550K
Aleksander: 720K

9:08pm–We’re back underway.

9:09pm–Not a bad start for Marc. On the first hand he gets a walk in the big blind.

9:10–Arshad raises to 50K and Marc immediately moves all in, shouting, “Let’s gamble, baby.” This will be the fifth consecutive hand Marc has take down, if Arshad folds. Obviously Marc coulbe be moving with ATC here. Who know. As Arshad considers, Marc says, “It’s not a big hand.” Thing is, Marc’s stack represents about half of Arshad’s. TO gamble here could put Arshad on the shortstack if he loses. Marc is now talking up a storm, revealing real or fake details about his hand. Two minutes pass and Arshad seems stricken with pain. Finally, he folds.

9:15pm–Finally, Marc pump-fakes with his chips and folds the first hand out of the last six. That leaves Jeff to raise from the small blind, enough to put short-stacked Tierry all in. Jeff’s move here has become pretty predictable. As someone said earlier, it’s straight out of the Hoyt Corkins school of poker. Nonetheless, Jeff shows an ace as Thierry mucks.

9:17pm–From the button, Jeff makes it 60K to go. Tierry moves all in from the small blind. Arshad folds. Jeff would have to call 79K more. If he was at all big, this is pretty much an insta-call. Finally he says, “Let’s gamble, I call.” Jeff shows A4 of spades. Tierry shows AT in clubs. Board comes 6cjcKs/2s. Now Jeff has a spade draw. THE TEN OF SPADES FALLS ON THE RIVER and Tierry Cazals exits in fifth place. He earns €168,000.

9:20pm–Quick note: Every one of the four remaining players qualified for their seats in PokerStars.com satellites. Not to mention, Arshad Hussain is here on a complete freeroll, having won his seat in a Frequent Player Point freeroll.

9:27pm–A bit of a delay here. I can’t confirm what’s happening, but with four players remaining, I think everyone can guess.

9:37pm–Okay, despite rampant specualtion, it appears we’re going to play on as normal.

9:41pm–Since that little interlude, the action has dried up just a tad. Marc lost a few chips (okay, around 45K) in a battle of the blinds that didn’t go to showdown, but other than that…WAIT…

Aleksander comes in for a raise to 45K and Marc comes over the top for more than 230K. That, friends, is quite a raise. That wins him a pot.

9:47pm–Mark raises to 60K, looks at the table and says, “Re-raise me.” Jeff obliges and re-raises to 250K. Uh-oh. Looks like Aleksander is counting his chips. This could be a dangerous spot for Jeff. Nevermind, we’re back to Marc, who looks plainly at Jeff and says, “I think you’re full of it.” Still, Marc could be full of it as well. The amount of time that has eleapsed since the action came back to him likely tells the story. Marc isn’t calling. He turns over AT offsuit and mucks.

9:58–Jeff comes in for a raise to 65k and Aleks calls from the big blind. The flop comes down 6s9s5h. Both players check. The turn is the 8h. Again, the players check. The river comes as the jack of hearts. Alekander bets 50K, Jeff raises to 130K. Aleks calls. Both players show a seven for the straight. Aleks had an ace, Jeff had a three. Split pot.

10:02pm–Bad time to read Jeff for a bluff. Marc and Jeff check down the board until the river, where Jeff bets 60K. Marc calls and then mucks when he sees Jeff’s jack-high flush.

On the very next hand, Marc (down to 120K or so in chips) moves all in and Jeff instantly calls. Marc shows 85o. Jeff shows a pair of nines. The flop came down 574, giving Marc a pair and a gutshot draw. The turn was a deuce, giving Marc four more outs(Misread that one). But the river was another four and Marc has been eliminated in fouth place, earning, €195,000.

10:11pm–Fresh chip count:

Jeff 1.872 million
Arshad 346K
Aleksander 772K

10:23pm–We’re on a bit of a break here. Play will resume shortly.

10:28pm–We’re back underway.

10:31pm–Wish I had the hand history on this one. All I know is that Jeff pushed on the river, Arshad called, and had the winner. Arshad just doubled up.

10:41pm–With the shortstacks gone and Arshad having doubled up, we’re back to playing poker again. The push-fest is over and players are dueling a little bit. What first looked like an early night may not be now.

10:49pm–And as sure as I predict dueling poker being played, the two biggest stacks decided to hit each other with frozen ropes. Aleksander came in for a raise, Jeff came over the top, Aleksander thought for a moment and then called with K8. Jeff looked disgusted and flipped over QT. The board ran out…and spiked a ten on the river. Aleksander was eliminated in third place and earns €251,000.

10:51–In the process of running that last hand down, another hand developed. Missed most of, but I know there was an ace and jack on board. With more than 250K in the pot, Jeff bet 250 on the river and Arshad folded. Lee Nelson, by the way, agrees with Lee Jones, that Jeff Williams looks a lot like a latter day Bobby Badlwin.

JEFF WILLIAMS WINS, AT vs A8 all in pre-flop. details to come.

Jeff called Arshad’s all in. Arshad flipped A8o. Jeff celebrated and turned over ATo. The board came out 597/7/3. Jeff wins it.


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