EPT Monte Carlo: Full house on day 1b

April 29, 2009


Yesterday it was Bertrand Grospellier, today it was the European Poker Tour itself setting the records. While yesterday “ElkY” played more than 60 tables at the same time online, the EPT nearly did the same in the real world – 54 tables, packed into the tournament area and beyond, and all playing at once – the biggest Grand Final field ever.

As the queues formed at the registration desks it became obvious the turnout would be big, but few predicted 935 players, complete with a €10,000 buy-in and change to play the side events, would arrive in Monaco for a shot at glory. But they did, and the story of their first day is now complete.

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Of that 935, day 1b hosted 539 of them. Their mission was the same as those here yesterday – eight one hour levels played ten handed at the start, with a 30,000 starting stack. By the close of play, after 227 had fallen to the rail and into the consolation of Monegasque sunshine, two players were poised at the top of the chip lists; Ami Barer and Steeve Berdah, each hovering around 200,000.

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Ami Barer

It was always a big ask for Team PokerStars Pro to match the performances of Lee Nelson and Luca Pagano yesterday, each of whom ended day 1a on mighty stacks of around 200,000. But still, a good few had a bash.


Ivan Demidov

Ivan Demidov was chief among them, carrying the flag the highest, finishing on around 73,000. But the Riviera does something to the German ShootingStars. Johannes Strassmann again finished at the northern end of the chip count list, as did Johannes Steindl and EPT Dortmund winner Sandra Naujoks, each of them finishing on more than 100,000.

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There was a flip side to that. Gavin Griffin was among the early eliminations, followed by Katja Thater. It was late in the day when Ylon Schwartz busted, but that still left a solid force of Team Pros. The names Grospellier, Boeken, Rousso, Hachem, Eastgate, Demidov, Ramdin, Mercier, Kravchenko and Khan will return to action tomorrow.

Still high profile after all these years, tennis legend Boris Becker, fresh from a cash in the WPT last week, picked up where he left off, surviving a tricky table of Florian Langmann and Nuno Coelho to finish the day on close to 60,000. PokerStars qualifiers put in now typically impressive displays. Canadian player Carl Pion for instance, closed the day on more than 100,000.

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Boris Becker

From the celebrity ranks fans of hip hop artist Nelly found he was unable to transfer his musical talent to the poker table, busting in the first level. All of which happened before Gus Hansen had even turned up. But while the great Dane arrived late he left early, as did French rugby star Sebastian Chabal. American David Williams fared better, bagging up 125,000 at the close.

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Sebastian Chabal

Still, there are worst places to be stuck with no table to go, and even if an evening saunter around Monte Carlo doesn’t stir the soul there is always a €500 shoot out tournament starting tomorrow, not to mention the high roller event the day after.

That’s all ahead of us but for now we focus on day two of the Grand Final starting at high noon tomorrow.

You can have a read parallel coverage of the day in total gibberish to all but the French, Italian, Dutch, Norwegian, German and Swedish.

Video blogs, and an archive of all PokerStars televised action, are always available at PokerStars.tv. All static photography on PokerStars Blog comes (c) Neil Stoddart.

And remember to follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter for more updates and breaking news.

That’s it for day 1b in Monte Carlo. More of the same tomorrow.


As the players awaited the start of action this morning, the videoblog team caught up with Sarah Desmond, a PokerStars qualifier from New York, New York, who shared her excitement and apprehension about her debut on the European Poker Tour. As the clock ticked down at the end of the day, Desmond was still in the thick of the action, and we despatched our cub reporter Chris Hall to rail her for a while and then to hear her thoughts as an EPT veteran – of one day.

The video is next, the post mortem below. It’s a neat insight into the life of a PokerStars qualifier at these major European Poker Tour tournaments.

Watch EPT Monte Carlo S5: Interview with Sarah Desmond Day 1b on PokerStars.tv

Day end, by Chris Hall

After eight gruelling hours, Sarah Desmond’s day ended with her making it through to day two, but only just. “It’s my first EPT but I just didn’t get many hands all day and was just grinding,” she explained as she began to pack up all her things from table 33. “I stayed on the same table all the time, we had one bust-out and one player moved and everyone else pretty much stayed where they were. I had A-Q twice andthen Q-Q twice and then that was about it for the day.”

When asked about how her table played, she said, “It was fairly aggressive, there was always a raise in before me, so I still needed the cards.” Towards the end of the day her chip stack really began to dwindle and it was touch and go if she would be able to make it through. However in the third to last hand she was all-in withQ♣Q♦ against another player’s A♠K♠. A flop of K♦10♥J♥ left her down but not yet out and the 10♣ on the turn increased her outs from seven to nine. A huge sigh of relief came when the 9♠appeared on the river sealing her chance to play on into day two alongside around five hundred others.

“I decided I needed a drink tonight or I needed to double up,” Desmond said. “Queens were good enough to put it in with.”

She followed this double up with a blind steal on the final hand, giving her a stack of exactly 20,000 to take into the second day. Not bad for your first ever EPT.


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