EPT Monte Carlo: Mark Demirdjian bags enormous Main Event lead at the end of Day 1A

April 28, 2018

Let’s start with a cliché. You can’t win an EPT on Day 1, but you can lose it. Actually you can lose it twice.

The EPT returned to Monaco with aplomb today, one of the Tour’s spiritual homes, and with a field of nearly 300 to prove it.

Topping that field right now is Mark Demirdjian, who closed on 350,500 chips.

Mark Demirdijan, end-of-night leader

That figure came at the end of a long day. Ten levels took us past midnight and a field reduced to 103 from 282 entries (245 + 37 re-entries).

Click here for full chip counts for everyone who made it through Day 1A.

During the course of today Demirdjian managed to eliminate both Stephen Chidwick (see 6:10pm), and Victoria Coren Mitchell (see 5:20pm). Then pressed home his advantage to lead by some way. He ended the day sending Jean Noel-Thorel to the rail in much the same way.

Nick Petrangelo is in a distant second but still towering above most of the field with 213,000. Team PokerStars Pros Celina Lin and Leo Fernandez also made it through the day. Fernandez bagged 66,700 while Lin finished just below starting stack with 28,200.

Lin’s fiance and Team PokerStars Online Pro Randy Lew also managed to bag some chips. Lew finished 7th in the National Championship and then jumped into the main after dinner break. He’ll come back to day 2 with 74,400.

Dan Abouaf also ended in fine shape with 193,000 with Antoine Saout (123,600) and Timothy Adams (115,400) among the familiar faces ending well above the average.

There were lots of fallers today, including Ole Schemion and Mustapha Kanit. Some used their re-entry option, only to fall a second time. That list included Stephen Chidwick and Team Pro Liv Boeree.

It closes out the first day of the Main Event. Day 1B will start at noon tomorrow with the same schedule, before the field unites under one (retractable roof) on Monday.

The Main Event wasn’t the only event taking place today. Catch up on our Super High Roller coverage here.

Scroll down this page for our coverage archive, which gives the full story from the day. – SB

Main Event Day 1A Coverage Archive

• PLAYERS: 103 of 282 entries (37 re-entries); late reg. open all day
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12:25pm: Day 1A concludes

They’ve reached the finish line, with Mark Demirdjian assuredly the Day 1A chip leader and Nick Petrangelo and Dan Abouaf among those closest to him at the top of the counts. Back shortly with a full recap of an exciting day of poker. –MH

12:20pm: Four more hands
Level 10 – Blinds 600/1,200 (BB ante 1,200)

The tournament clock has been paused, and all tables have been instructed to play just four more hands to end Day 1A. –MH

12:10pm: Petrangelo nicks another
Level 10 – Blinds 600/1,200 (BB ante 1,200)

Nick Petrangelo has been steadily accumulating here during the end stage of Day 1A. He’s not that close to leader Mark Demirdjian, but he’s comfortably ahead of just about everyone else with about 215,000.

Petrangelo just picked up more after absorbing Vallo Maidla’s short stack just now. Maidla was all in with 9♦9♥ against Petrangelo’s Q♥10♠, but a Q♣2♣J♠A♦6♥ runout gave Petrangelo the better hand to score the knockout with about 15 minutes to go in the night. –MH

12:05am: Late-night leader
Level 10 – Blinds 600/1,200 (BB ante 1,200)

Sometimes it’s hard to see who’s leading towards the end of the night, but not tonight.

Mark Demirdjian is clearly in the lead by a longshot at the moment. Demirdjian has amassed 336,000 so far and the closest contenders seem to be hovering around the 175,000 mark. Aside from knocking out Stephen Chidwick and Victoria Coren earlier in the day, Demirdjian said he recently won two big pots to further inflate his stack.

If his stack isn’t prominent enough, Demirdjian also has a shirt with seven-deuce offsuit coming out of a flame in the back. –AV

11:55pm: The battle of Thorel, part deux
Level 10 – Blinds 600/1,200 (BB ante 1,200)

Jean-Noel Thorel was a big stack earlier today, but after running kings into aces he lost a significant percentage of his stack. Soon after that, he lost the rest, and he immediately reported back to the cashier’s desk to buy back in again.

That makes Thorel the 37th player to re-enter today, bringing the overall number of entries to 282. Of that bunch, just over 100 remain in action with less than a half-hour to go tonight. –MH

11:45pm: Tingvall cracks Fernandez’s aces
Level 10 – Blinds 600/1,200 (BB ante 1,200)

It was the look of exasperation on the face of Luis Fernandez that caught my attention. He looked ceilingward with arms raised, obviously frustrated.

Looking down at the board, it was easy to see an all-in situation had developed on the flop between Fernandez and Carl-Fredrik Tingvall on his right. The board read 3♥J♠5♥, and with a glimpse of the pair’s tabled hands everything became clear.

Tingvall: 5♣5♠
Fernandez: A♣A♥

Oof. A set for Tingvall to best Fernandez’s pocket rockets, and after the 6♥ turn and 2♦ river Fernandez’s tournament had ended with his being dealt the best starter in hold’em on his final hand.

Presto! Just like that Tingvall has 88,000. –MH

11:35pm: Haxton doubles through Schwippert
Level 10 – Blinds 600/1,200 (BB ante 1,200)

Jan-Eric Schwippert and Isaac Haxton battled for a bit at the unofficial final table of the Super High Roller last night. Haxton was able to make it through the day and cash, though, while Schwippert bubbled and ended his run without anything to show for it.

Now Schwippert’s doubled up Haxton in the last level of the day in the Main Event.

Schwippert raised to 2,200 from middle position that hand and Haxton moved all-in for 19,300. Action folded back around to Schwippert and he thought for a bit before calling.

Haxton turned over 4♥4♠ and Schwippert showed A♥J♥ for a flip. The flop came 7♠Q♥5♠ and Haxton nodded. A 3♠ came on the turn and he nodded even more. Then a 10♣ completed the board and Haxton doubled to about 40,000 while Schwippert slipped to 23,000. –AV

A thirst-quenching double for Ike

11:30pm: Last level
Level 10 – Blinds 600/1,200 (BB ante 1,200)

You read the headline. You know the drill. One hour to go. –MH

11:25pm: Straight over straight for Lew
Level 9 – Blinds 500/1,000 (BB ante 1,000)

Randy Lew was just all in on the turn against a lone opponent who had a straight. That part sounds pretty bad for Lew. The board was 7♠9♣10♠K♥ and Paul Newey had 8♥6♠.

But Lew didn’t mind it a bit, because he had Q♠J♣ for a better straight. The river blanked, and Lew survives with 63,000 while Newey slips to 27,000. –MH

11:20pm: Tough days
Level 9 – Blinds 500/1,000 (BB ante 1,000)

Francesco Grieco had been up to more than 100,000 but is now at a more modest 60,000.

Details of why are not known, but he is at a table that now features Antoine Saout, Justin Bonomo and Jake Cody. – SB

11:15pm: Triple, reduced double and a bust
Level 9 – Blinds 500/1,000 (BB ante 1,000)

While that may sound like an esoteric sports term or something you’d order at a hip coffee shop, it’s exactly what happened in the course of two hands over at one table.

The first was the triple and reduced double.

Dragos Trofimov was down to 15,900 and moved all-in from the button when action checked to him. Paul Newey was on the small blind and rejammed for about 45,000. Julian Stuer had them both covered and called from the big blind.

Trofimov: 10♣8♣
Newey: A♦J♠
Stuer: A♣K♥

Stuer had the best hand, so of course he lost both pots. The board came 4♦10♦6♥J♣10♥ and Trofimov took down the main pot and tripled up with trip tens. Then Newey won the sidepot and got a reduced double up to 55,000. Even after losing both pots Stuer had the bigger stack with 65,000.

Then Stuer busted Liv Boeree the following hand.

Boeree raised to 2,200 from the hijack and Trofimov three-bet to 6,500 from the cutoff. Boeree then moved all-in for about 18,000 and Trofimov quickly called. Boeree showed K♥K♦ and Trofimov tabled A♣Q♥.

Boeree was in the lead, so of course she lost. The board came 7♣6♥9♥A♠J♥ and Boeree hit the rail while Trofimov chipped up to 75,000.

“I think I haven’t played properly one single hand,” Trofimov said. “But I’ve sucked out lots.”

“It’s still early,” Randy Lew responded. “There’s lots to go.”

“I can’t control it,” Trofimov said. We’ll see how long his uncontrollable suckouts can last. — AV

11:05pm: More for Juanda
Level 9 – Blinds 500/1,000 (BB ante 1,000)

John Juanda keeps adding chips to his stack, the latest coming following a preflop confrontation with Stefan Eggenberger that went the Poker Hall of Famer’s way.

Eggenberger was all in for his last 20,000 or so with 10♥10♠ and needed that pair to hold against Juanda’s A♠J♥. But the A♥Q♠J♥ flop paired Juanda’s hand twice, with the 8♦ turn and 7♣ river sealing it.

Eggenberger is out, while Juanda is now up to 135,000. –MH

Juanda jumping up the leaderboard

10:55pm: Chidwick making moves
Level 9 – Blinds 500/1,000 (BB ante 1,000)

Stephen Chidwick moved all-in. Again.

The Brit let 11,400 roll into the middle, getting a call from Nick Petrangelo in the small blind.

Petrangelo showed A♥Q♦

Chidwick showed just the 10♠, leaving the other card for later.

Petrangelo called for “no ten” and got a queen out of it. The board ran Q♥3♠3♦6♠J♦, at which point Chidwick showed his other card, the A♠.

Chidwick grinned at Petrangelo as he left.

“F*** that guy,” said Petrangelo. “He won $2 million last week!”

Petrangelo up to 160,000. – SB

10:50pm: End-of-Day-1A danger zone
Level 9 – Blinds 500/1,000 (BB ante 1,000)

The field has been more than halved and we’re down to about 130 players. Ole Schemion was one of the most recent eliminated players. Schemion fell to Igor Yaroshevskyy’s aces and Yaroshevksyy is now up to about 115,000.

While Yaroshevskyy is up there, a few other players are struggling in the danger zone. Dominik Nitsche recently joined them after losing a pot to Wei Lin. Lin raised to 2,000 from the button and Nitsche called from the big blind.

The flop came down 7♣J♥4♥ and Lin bet 1,000 when checked to. Nitsche raised to 2,800 and then Lin threw in a three-bet to 8,000. Dominik Nitsche only had 7,000 behind and folded, leaving him with under 10 big blind.

Ryan Riess is also in the red zone, he has slightly less than Nitsche with 6,900. Vladimir Troyanovskiy has a bit more than both of them but is also short with 11,800. We’ll see if they survive the last few levels. – AV

10:40pm: Late night big stacks
Level 8 – Blinds 400/800 (BB ante 800)

As the new level began, I took it upon myself to scout some big stacks, and now have returned to provide a list of who is loving life right now and making things difficult at others at their tables.

Shyngis Satubayev (Kazakhstan) – 175,000
Makoto Haga (Japan) – 160,000
Mazin Khoury (UK) – 160,000
Nick Petrangelo (US) – 150,000
Vlado Banicevic (Montenegro) – 145,000
Jean-Noel Thorel (France) – 135,000
Dmitar Danchev (Bulgaria) – 125,000
Timothy Adams (US) – 120,000
Anton Kraus (Bulgaria) – 120,000
David Peters (US) – 120,000
John Juanda (Indonesia) – 120,000

Apparent chip leader Satubayev is currently second on the all-time money list for players from Kazakhstan. He’s just a couple of thousand bucks behind leader Aidyn Auyezkanov, meaning even a min-cash here would put him at the top of that list. –MH

10:30pm: Let’s do this
Level 9 – Blinds 500/1,000 (BB ante 1,000)

Players are back, the limits have been raised, and there are two more hours to go. –MH

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10:10pm: Last break of the night

Take 20, everybody. When players return on the other side, they’ll have two more one-hour levels to go. –MH

10:07pm: Killer Queens
Level 8 – Blinds 400/800 (BB ante 800)

Jake Cody had opened for 2,000, getting a call from Ramon Munoz. But Francesco Grieco was waiting on the button. He made it 5,400 to play, hen set about looking as disinterested as possible. Cody called. Munoz called.

The flop came 5♣J♦2♦. Action checked to Grieco who announced “sixty-eight,” and assumed his same demeanor. Again, Cody called, and Munoz called, too. Those two then checked the turn, the 4♠. Grieco bet big this time, 23,300 total. That did it. Cody folded first, then Munoz.

Grieco showed Q♠Q♦. Then he asked Munoz: “Jack? Flush?” to which Munoz said nothing.

Grieco is back up to 104,000. – SB

10:05pm: Gyorgyi gets some off Haxton
Level 8 – Blinds 400/800 (BB ante 800)

Snjezana Milisa raised to 2,000 from middle position and got four customers.

But Milisa dropped out after the flop along with a few others. That flop came J♦4♠3♦ and Issac Haxton bet 2,700 when checked to. There were three folds, but Krisztian Gyorgyi called to bring us to the turn, a 10♥. Both players checked and a 4♥ completed the board.

Gyorgyi then bet 6,300 and Haxton thought for a bit. Then he called. Gyorgyi turned over J♥10♦ for tens and jacks and that won the pot. Haxton mucked and dipped to 55,000 while Gyorgyi is up to 75,000. –AV

10pm: Nice Saturday so far for Satubayev
Level 8 – Blinds 400/800 (BB ante 800)

Shyngis Satubayev has a nice, big stack now, all of which came in a huge hand a short while ago between himself and Dinest Alt. Might even be the hugest so far.

It started with Satubayev raising to 2,000, then Alt three-bet to 7,000 in the small blind and Satubayev called. Both checked the A♦J♣5♣ flop, then after the 3♣ turn Alt led for 6,600, Satubayev made it 21,500 to go, and Alt called.

The river was the 4♦. This time Alt checked, and Satubayev shoved for 47,900. Alt called with A♠Q♥ for aces, but Satubayev had the nut flush with A♣Q♣ and claimed the big pot, pushing Satubayev to 155,000 while Alt has but 4,500.

That pot also pushed Satubayev ahead of Jean-Noel Thorel who has about 150,000 at the moment as the night’s final break approaches. –MH

Thorel soaring

9:55pm: Some chips for Cody
Level 8 – Blinds 400/800 (BB ante 800)

Jake Cody is still battling his way up to average stack. Javier Fernandez started that hand with a raise to 1,800 from under the gun and Jake Cody called from the hijack. The rest of the table got out of the way and the flop came 2♦8♦10♠.

They both checked and the J♥ came on the turn. Cody bet 3,600 and Fernandez called, bringing a 5♠ on the river. Cody fired again, this time for 10,500 and it was good enough to take down the pot.

Cody chipped up to 45,000 while the average stack is at 53,000. –AV

9:50pm: Dangers of Masseussing
Level 8 – Blinds 400/800 (BB ante 800)

There are always several masseuses prowling the tournament floor and others massaging away. You always hear the benefits of tournament massages, but few people tell you about the dangers.

Ole Schemion recently found out about one of them the hard way. Schemion was getting his massage with his chest against a pillow, resting against the table. But there was something else in between the two objects, a wine glass.

The wine glass shattered, sending shards across his chips and on the floor. No masseuses or players were injured though and play continued as scheduled.

Don’t drink and massage kids. –AV

9:47pm: Facing defeat with aplomb
Level 8 – Blinds 400/800 (BB ante 800)

Mark Teltscher would deliver the news of his hand with aplomb. What else can you do when you suspect you’re a little behind?

The board had been dealt: 8♠3♠7♦J♥9♣. Teltscher’s bet of 2,200 had been called by Maroun Jazzar on the button taking things to a showdown.

Teltscher leaned forward to get a good look at what Jazzar had turned over — A♣K♠. That was better than what Teltscher had (a hand including a queen, he noted), and Jazzar took the pot.

Teltscher returned to his normal position as Jazzar stacked his chips. He has something in the region of 125,000. Teltscher meanwhile has 55,000. –SB

9:45pm: Freitas frying the pros
Level 8 – Blinds 400/800 (BB ante 800)

It’s hard to take on a pair of seasoned, patched-up pros, but Fabio Freitas was able to do that.

Davidi Kitai started that hand with a raise to 1,700 from under the gun and Team PokerStars Pro Celina Lin called from middle position. Freitas called from the big blind and the flop came Q♣6♦3♦. Kitai then bet 2,500 and everyone called. Things slowed to a check after the A♥ came on the turn and an 8♥ completed the board.

Freitas then started things off with a bet to 6,000. Kitai quickly folded but Lin thought for a while and called. Freitas turned over A♦Q♥ and Lin mucked. The pot put Freitas up to 80,000 while Lin dipped to 26,000. –AV

9:40pm: Kanit cut down
Level 8 – Blinds 400/800 (BB ante 800)

Bad news, bro — Mustapha Kanit is out. But he could be back. With this single re-entry, there’s no sense being overly definitive about these “knockouts” when players have another entry available.

At the moment the big board is showing 281 entries so far today (with 36 re-entries among them), and 151 players currently in action. Remember, late registration (and that re-entry option) is available through the start of Day 2. –MH

9:35pm: Chidwick saves a bunch of money by folding to Grieco
Level 8 – Blinds 400/800 (BB ante 800)

Stephen Chidwick has returned to the Main Event for another try. His re-entry has drawn him a seat exactly one to the right of where he first started today.

Chidwick recently became the top ranked player on the Global Poker Index, becoming the first British player to reach top spot. Now he’s trying to get something going on Day 1A. That effort ran into trouble a short while ago against Francesco Grieco.

The board was already dealt 2♠9♦2♣A♦10♣. Chidwick was on the button, watching Grieco bet 1,300 from the big blind. He had his headphones on, but with one earpiece slightly skewed, so he could hear anything important.

He heard nothing. And could do nothing either. Except fold, which he did.

No real problem for Chidwick, who still has more than he started with. But more significantly, it moves Grieco up to around 125,000. – SB

9:30pm: Linton busts Ivlev
Level 8 – Blinds 400/800 (BB ante 800)

Following a raise by Paul Linton, Andrey Ivlev reraised all in for approximately 14,000, and when the action returned to Linton he said “all right” to risk almost all of a similarly-sized stack.

Ivlev had A♠9♣ and was against Linton’s 6♠6♦, and when an ace flopped it appeared good news initially for the at-risk player. But there was a six on the flop, too, as it came A♦9♥6♥ to give Linton a set, and after the 4♦ turn and Q♣ river Ivlev was out.

Linton is back around the starting stack of 30,000 with that one. –MH

9:25pm: Late arrivers, noted belatedly
Level 8 – Blinds 400/800 (BB ante 800)

As players have been busting, more have arrived to join the proceedings. A couple who came in a short while back are sporting red spades — Team PokerStars Pros Jake Cody and Leo Fernandez.

The sign of Leo

Dominik Nitsche is another of the relative latecomers to help grow the field. –MH

9:20pm: Bonding not buying
Level 8 – Blinds 400/800 (BB ante 800)

Fabio Sperling raised to 2,500 from middle position and then Lars Bonding three-bet to 6,200 from the hijack. Action folded back around to Sperling and we got a K♠9♣7♥ flop after he called.

Bonding kept the action going with a bet of 6,300 and Sperling called. Both players checked the 8♣ on the turn and a 5♦ completed the board. Sperling then put in a chunk of chips large enough to put Bonding all-in. Bonding thought for a bit, but couldn’t bring himself to call.

Bonding is now down to 27,000 while Sperling is up to 95,000. –AV

9:10pm: Khoury comes up with the call versus Bonomo
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (BB ante 600)

Mazin Khoury raised to 1,300 from middle position, a bet that Justin Bonomo called from nearby. Speaking of nearby, Bonomo was just nearby on the main stage playing the final table of the €100,000 Super High Roller where he continued his great year with a fifth-place finish.

James Hoeppner also called the raise from the button, and the trio saw the flop come 10♠8♥9♠. It checked around to Hoeppner who bet 3,000 and the other two both called, then all three checked the 3♣ turn card.

The K♦ came on the river, and after Khoury checked Bonomo bet 6,000. That caused Hoeppner to give up, and Khoury looked a bit uncertain himself as he took some time to decide what to do. Ultimately he called, and when Bonomo showed A♣J♣, Khoury showed he had best with J♠10♣ for a pair.

Khoury has 85,000 now, Hoeppner 52,000, and Bonomo 20,000. –MH

9:05pm: On the Mooney
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (BB ante 600)

The board read 6♦8♣4♠2♥9♣. But Liv Boeree was looking for a read on countryman John Mooney.

Liv had put money in the pot, but Mooney had raised that to 10,000 and was now feeling chatty.

Boeree tried a few Jedi mind tricks, but to no avail as Mooney, in his own words, “garbled a bit, just to confuse things.”

But what he really wanted was a call, which he didn’t get.

But he did show: 4♣4♦ – SB

9pm: Happy Hoeppner
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (BB ante 600)

It was one of those hands you watch expecting things to come to nothing. Then, when one player moves all in and the other calls, you realize you have some catching up to do.

First the board: 6♣4♣6♠J♠

It was around this point that American James Hoeppner shoved for 24,000. The action was now on Ouri Cohen, the Frenchman, who didn’t looked thrilled at what was going on, but at least he had Hoeppner easily covered.

He called.

Hoeppner: A♠A♦
Cohen: 10♣J♣

The waited for the river, which was black but not the club Cohen needed.

River: 4♠

Hoeppner doubled up to around 50,000, which is about the same as Cohen now has. – SB

8:50pm: Not another dime
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (BB ante 600)

Sometimes you just can’t call, even if it’s just an itty-bitty bit more.

That’s what happened to Team PokerStars Pro Liv Boeree just now. The hand started off with Rasmus Roider raising to 1,500 from under the gun. Christophe Larquemin called from the cutoff, John Mooney did the same from the button, and Boeree went along from the big blind.

Action checked to Roider on the 3♦4♥3♣ flop and he bet 2,500. Mooney folded while Larquemin and Boeree called. This brought a 10♣ on the turn and a round of checks. Then Boeree took the initiative and after the 2♣ completed the board bet 8,500. Roider folded, but Larquemin moved all-in for a whopping 9,500.

Boeree thought for a bit but just couldn’t bring herself to pay the extra 1,000. Boeree folded and was left with 22,700 while the put Larquemin up to about 33,000. –AV

Liv and let live

8:40pm: About last night
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (BB ante 600)

It was a little after this time last night the PokerStars party train left the station.

Strike that. Wrong choice of metaphor.

It was a little after this time last night the PokerStars party bull rushed its way into the night, bucking a few people off as it went. Take a look, and you’ll see what we mean:

8:30pm: Lollygagging your way into the Main Event
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (BB ante 600)

Ole Schemion has arrived. The Nuke Laloosh of poker, here to announce his presence with authority, bringing the heat.

Enter Ole

First though, some hellos.

First Schemion turned one way to say hello to everyone, then turned the other way. He got responses from some tablemates, but not all.

Schemion’s seat is immediately to the right of Oleg Yaroshevkyy — who nodded hello — and to the left of Arnaud Enselme — who preferred silence, possibly because Schemion’s arrival meant he had to move his stuff from the vacant seat to make room.

And why would you welcome Schemion? To all but those endowed with supreme confidence with your own ability, it’s like welcoming the taxman into your house. Albeit one wearing a beard, a low-cut vest, and a denim shirt torn off at the sleeves.

For his part Schemion plays the boy wonder. He looks around at his surroundings, not like a man who has earned nearly $14 million in tournament poker, but like a newbie taking part in his first rodeo. Everything is fascinating.

Including whatever hand he’d been dealt first, which was worth a raise to 1,400 under the gun.

Enselme, still not acknowledging Schemion, called form the big blind to see a flop of Q♣5♣10♠. He then checked it.

Schemion though tossed in another 1,100. Again Enselme called, watching the 2♣ land on the turn. He checked again.

“Twenty-two hundred,” said Schemion, putting a blue chip, worth 5,000, into the middle. That was enough to force a fold from Enselme.

Presence announced. – SB

8:20pm: Post-dinner decisions
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (BB ante 600)

There have been plenty of papers and a few doctoral theses written about the post-dinner bustout phenomena* and today is no exception. Several all-ins have already happened across the tournament area in the first hands of Level 7, while other short stacks are waiting for the right moment.

Orpen Kisacikoglu is one of those starting to get short and he just now got involved in a big pot. Mikita Badziakouski started that hand off with a raise to 1,300 from under the gun and Kisacikoglu called from the button. James Hoeppner went along from the big blind and the flop came A♦2♣6♥. Badziakouski bet 1,300 when checked to, and both opponents called. Action checked to Badziakouski again after the 6♦ came on the turn and he bet 4,000.

Kisacikoglu looked down at his stack, just about 12,000, and thought. Kisacikoglu decided to fold and Hoeppner quickly folded behind. While Kisacikoglu is short, Badziakouski is at about starting stack with 30,000.

*There have been no such papers or theses (obviously signaling a need)

More like Mikita Goodziakouski, amirite?

8:10pm: Hello, Lew
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (BB ante 600)

Team PokerStars Online’s Randy Lew had a dinner break at nearly the same time as the Main Event players despite not being in it. Lew was over at the final table of the National Championship, but busted in 7th during the middle of our dinner break.

Lew had some dinner and then decided that was enough downtime from his final table finish and decided to buy into the main event.

8:05pm: Poker time
Level 7 – Blinds 300/600 (BB ante 600)

Okay, dinner break. Get out of here. We’re done with you. Time to play some cards.

All right, dealers… you know what to do

There will be four more one-hour levels before play concludes tonight. –MH

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6:50pm: Dinner break

They’ve reached the end of Level 6, and now players are off on a 75-minute dinner break. Bon appétit. –MH

6:45pm: Happy eaters
Level 6 – Blinds 200/500 (BB ante 500)

These bunch of six-figure players should enjoy their upcoming dinner break more than usual:

Mark Demirdjian – 160,000
Christopher Frank – 140,000
Makoto Haga – 110,000
Carl-Fredrik Tingvall – 108,000
Thomas Lilamand – 105,000
Tibor Nagygyorgy – 105,000
Norberto Andres Korn – 104,000
Jean-Noel Thorel – 102,000
John Mooney – 101,000
Pete Chen – 100,000

That aforementioned meal time is almost here — just a couple of minutes away. –MC

6:40pm: The pleasure/pain principle
Level 6 – Blinds 200/500 (BB ante 500)

Pain met pleasure for Christophe de Meulder just now.

In the middle of a hand, from which he did well, a massage therapist was doing things to his right arm that should require a license to attempt. From the layperson’s point of view, he was either having his arm forcefully dislocated or popped back in.

Either way there was a flop of J♥6♣J♣ and a few players, among them De Meulder and Davidi Kitai.

On the flop the action was checked four ways to Kitai, who bet 1,700. De Muelder, one-handed, raised to 6,700, forcing out the others. Except for Kitai, who called.

Then turn came 8♦ and the massage moved to De Meulder’s fingers. The massage therapist was either trying to pull them off, or steal his jewelry.

Unfazed by this, or by the loud crack, De Meulder, who was now listing heavily to starboard, bet 17,700.

Kitai folded. De Meulder comfortably up to around 65,000. Well, not that comfortably. – SB

6:30pm: Antonius dominates, doubles
Level 6 – Blinds 200/500 (BB ante 500)

There was a bunch of preflop raising between Georgios Vrakas and Patrik Antonius. Vrakas eventually re-raised to 12,100 from the button and Antonius moved all-in for 28,000 from the small blind.

Vrakas thought, someone called the clock on him, and then he thought some more. Then, with 30 seconds to spare, Vrakas called.

Vrakas turned over A♥10♠ and Antonius showed a dominating A♠Q♣. The board ran 8♦J♠2♣4♠7♣, and Antonius doubled to 50,000 while Vrakas dipped to about 50,000. –AV

A win for the Finn

6:25pm: Aces in different places
Level 6 – Blinds 200/500 (BB ante 500)

Mustapha Kanit, Jean-Noel Thorel and Jose Gonzales were on a 4♦A♣Q♣ flop with about 4,000 in the pot. Thorel and Gonzales checked to Kanit, who bet 1,500. Gonzales folded, but Thorel raised to 3,500.

Kanit then made it 11,500 to go and Thorel called, bringing a 2♥ on the turn. Action checked to Kanit again and he made it 13,000 to go. That was too much for Thorel. He looked down at his cards and then flashed an A♠.

“Good fold,” Kanit said, and he too showed an ace, the A♦. Both players kept their other card a secret and Thorel dipped to 105,000 while the pot put Kanit up to about 50,000. –AV

A Mustaphantastic grin

6:20pm: Chisu chased off
Level 6 – Blinds 200/500 (BB ante 500)

Another player has busted. This time Danut Chisu.

He’d shoved, with plenty of action before things reached him in the big blind.

Acting behind him in late position was Vlad Darie, who also shoved, easily covering Chisu’s 8,000. The button was still in the hand at this point, but quickly backed out, leaving it to Chisu and Darie.

Chisu: 4♥4♠
Darie: A♠K♦

The board ran out 9♠J♠A♣7♦7♥ to end Chisu’s day.

Chisu said his farewell. In traditional poker fashion, nobody flinched. – SB

6:15pm: Viera back in, Frank on the up
Level 6 – Blinds 200/500 (BB ante 500)

Joao Viera has re-entered after busting a little earlier.

He sat down to the right of Christopher Frank just as the “young” German won a pot to rise to 105,000. In the hand, Frank had bet 5,500 on the river of a 7♣2♦K♣10♥8♥ board and got Julian Stuer to fold.

Viera then realised who Frank was and went on to tell him how much his appearance has changed since they first met some years ago. Frank giggled as he saw the funny side of the gentle needling and admitted he was getting “old!” –MC

6:10pm: A Chidwick storm
Level 6 – Blinds 200/500 (BB ante 500)

Stephen Chidwick was not a happy bunny. He stormed out of the room after his flopped top set was brutally outdrawn by Mark Demirdjian, who moved up to 130,000. We’re not sure when or how the chips went in, but Chidwick had more than 40,000 behind when he called his stack off.

Chidwick: J♠J♦
Demirdjian: A♦10♦

The board: 6♣J♥5♥Q♠K♣ to make Demirdjian a runner-runner straight. –MC

Chidwick cut down

6:08pm: Level 6 begins
Level 6 – Blinds 200/500 (BB ante 500)

Guys. Guys!!! Level 6. LEVEL 6!!! –MH

6:05pm: This is my reaction to an all in. There are many like it, but this one is mine
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (BB ante 400)

Igor Yaroshevksyy has it cracked.

He is able to look the same whether all in, or folding pre-flop. Whatever the situation he sits bolt upright, eyes hidden by sunglasses, and unmoved by events in front of him.

In this case, in front of his was a full board of 2♣10♣8♦A♦Q♠ and all of his chips.

His opponent (soon to be eliminated without revealing his name) was weighing up the call. Of the many ways a player can appear when weighing up a call, this man had chosen “comically agonized.”

He fretted for a little while, with a broad grin on his face. Then, suitable tormented, he pushed his cards away like a baby might push away vegetables.

He laughed.

Yaroshevskyy didn’t.

But the Russian did stack up around 42,000. – SB

Unflappable Igor

5:55pm: Are you experienced?
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (BB ante 400)

Vladimir Troyanovskiy has plenty of EPT experience, not least from the tour’s first event back after its year off, in Sochi last month.

Vladimir Troyanovskiy (from earlier in the series)

He just restored his stack to about the 22,000 level.

On a flop of 7♠6♥7♦, Troyanovskiy led the betting, making it 1,200 here, and another 3,000 to play on the 9♣ turn.

He got a call both times, ushering in the 5♣ river, at which point Troyanovskiy tapped the table unenthusiastically, watching K♣10♦ being turned over.

Well, he had that beat. His 9♦A♦ was good for the pot. And to get him back to that 22,000. – SB

5:45pm: Peters outpaired
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (BB ante 400)

There was about 10,000 in the pot and a 10♣2♦J♦7♠5♦ board on the felt when David Peters moved all-in for about 11,000. Action was on Antal Roth and he quickly called. Peters turned over K♦K♥ and Roth tabled his A♣A♥.

Peters hit the rail while Roth got the pot and a fist bump from one of his tablemates. He’d freed them from one of the most treacherous players in the game. –AV

5:40pm: An entertaining wait with De Meulder
Level 4 – Blinds 200/400 (BB ante 400)

If a player is going to tank for several minutes, he or she better make the wait as interesting as possible for tablemates and bloggers like. Thankfully, Christophe De Meulder was a visual treat and the time passed by quickly.

De Meulder and Mihai Niste were heads-up to a 8♥9♦4♦ flop that both checked. The turn was the 2♣, and De Meulder check-called a bet of 2,500. The river then brought the 5♥ and another check from De Meulder, and this time Niste pushed all in for his last 16,000.

De Meulder’s next few minutes went something a bit like this:

– Cut out calling chips from 52k stack
– Stand
– Readjust seating position (left leg probably a bit dead due to the way he was sitting)
– Stare at Niste
– Double-check cards
– Nibble little finger nail (right hand)
– Riffle calling chips
– Count remaining stack (36,000)
– Riffle calling chips back into stack
– Say, “Wow”
– Nibble little finger nail (left hand)
– Check cards again
– Wince
– Yawn (that was actually the player in seat 4)
– One last study of Niste
– Fold!

Next hand, dealer. –MC

Christophe De Meulder, river dancer

5:35pm: Overheard…
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (BB ante 400)

The ace must have been good.

“Kiss my ace!”


5:25pm: Filling up and doubling up
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (BB ante 400)

It’s never good to be all-in with a good pocket pair, just to be called by an even better one. But it always feels good to hit a fill up and double up.

John Mooney started things off with a raise to 1,000 from early position. He was holding pocket kings and was probably quite happy with the action he got. Rasmus Roider re-raised to 3,000 from the hijack and Hong Cheng Lee, who got dealt pocket jacks, moved all-in from the button for 7,000.

Action was back on Mooney and he rejammed for about 60,000. Roider had about 70,000 behind and thought for a bit, but went for the fold instead.

Lee showed J♦J♣ while Mooney turned over his K♣K♦. Things immediately went Lee’s way on the J♠9♦Q♣9♣Q♥ board though and he doubled to 15,000 while Mooney dipped to about 50,000. –AV

5:20pm: There’s always tomorrow
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (BB ante 400)

Vicky Coren Mitchell told us that she was in the middle of texting her husband (semi-joking) that she was just warming up today ready for a re-entry tomorrow, not realizing she was actually “blogging” her own exit.

She put the phone down as she had been dealt jacks. Unfortunately for her Mark Demirdjian had aces in the next seat and the two went to war. Chips in, cards on their back and a blank board later left Coren Mitchell with another decision: finish writing and sending the text, followed by another, or just tell the bad news straight away?

Either way, Coren Mitchell will be back tomorrow for another try. –MC

Au revoir (and not goodbye), Vicky

5:10pm: Vexing hand for Valletta, Abouaf ascends
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (BB ante 400)

A tough end for Cataldo Valletta just now after losing his stack to Dan Abouaf.

We picked up the action shortly after the A♣Q♥7♥ flop fell — a fateful flop for Valletta, as it happened. From the looks of things, Abouaf had led into that flop from the blinds with a bet, Valletta had made it 9,000, then Abouaf well all in and after thinking it over Valletta called.

Valletta had two pair with A♠7♠, but Abouaf had a better two pair with A♦Q♦. The 2♦ turn and 2♥ river kept Abouaf in front, and Valletta departed. Abouaf has about 95,000 now. –MH

5pm: Let’s be Frank
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (BB ante 400)

Christopher Frank’s on the up. His stack has grown to 45,000 after he got two streets of value out of Josip Simunic with top-top.

The action was three-way to a 4♦10♦K♠ flop and Frank bet 3,000 when the action was checked to him in the cutoff. Simunic was the only caller from the big blind and the two remaining players checked the J♥ turn. The 4♥ completed the board. Frank bet 7,000 and Simunic called in a flash.

Frank opened A♦K♦ and scooped as Simunic mucked. –MC

4:55pm: Overexcited overpairs
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (BB ante 400)

Things were gearing up to a be a chunk pot. Kenny Hallaert kicked things off by raising to 1,000 from middle position and Mark Demirdjian called from the cutoff. Jan-Eric Schwippert then re-raised to 5,100 from the button and both Hallaert and Demirdjian called.

The flop came 4♠Q♥4♥ and Schwippert bet 4,000 when checked to. Hallaert called, Demirdjian folded and a 7♥ came on the turn. That’s when things cooled down a bit. Both players checked and then checked again after the 2♠ completed the board.

Another round of checks brought an end to the pot and both players turned over overpairs. Hallaert had eights, but Schwippert had him beat with 10♠10♦.

Hallaert is down to 20,000 after the hand while Schwippert is up to 46,000. –AV

You win that one, says Hallaert

4:50pm: Play resumes
Level 5 – Blinds 200/400 (BB ante 400)

Back at it. They’ll play a couple more hours, then comes the dinner break. –MH

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4:30pm: Break it up

They’ve reached the end of Level 4, and so players are now off again on another 20-minute break. –MH

4:25pm: More opening from Orpen
Level 4 – Blinds 100/300 (BB ante 300)

Orpen Kisacikoglu remains active here at the end of Level 4, having just opened a few pots from early position. One went his way, the other didn’t.

In the first, Kisacikoglu opened to 700 from early position one hand and got three callers. The four players went to the 8♣3♣K♦ flop and action checked around. The A♥ came on the turn and Kisacikoglu bet 1,800. That was good enough to take down the pot.

Kisacikoglu then raised to 700 from under the gun the following hand. He got four callers that hand and the flop came A♥2♠A♦. Kisacikoglu then bet 800 when checked to and David Eggenberger called from early position. Børge Sandsgaard then raised to 2,300 and Kisacikoglu let it go.

Kisacikoglu is now just over half the starting stack with 16,300. –AV

4:22pm: Something fishy this way comes
Level 4 – Blinds 100/300 (BB ante 300)

It’s not so rare to see a fish in a poker tournament, or several actually, but not one like this. Rest assured, if you saw a man dressed as a giant clownfish shaking his tail and giving a thumbs-up, you weren’t hallucinating. Well, not about that at least.

The real reason for this fishy presence won’t be revealed until tomorrow, during the Twitch Special livestream on PokerStars TV. If you want to learn what all this fishy nonsense was about, tune in tomorrow at 12:30 CEST to find out. –AV

It’s what you might call a poisson project

4:20pm: Maurer mows down Kruse
Level 4 – Blinds 100/300 (BB ante 300)

On his second and last possible entry, Fedor Kruse raised to 1,000 from middle position, then Florian Maurer reraised to 2,500 from the button. It folded back to Kruse who pushed it up to 5,000, and Maurer called.

The flop came 9♠2♠5♣. Kruse bet 3,000, and Maurer called. The turn brought the Q♣, and after just a short pause Kruse pushed all in for his last 13,800.

Maurer took about 15 seconds then called, showing Q♥10♠ for a pair of queens. Kruse showed he was drawing to a flush with K♣7♣, but the 4♠ river didn’t cooperate and now Kruse is out for good.

Maurer has about 70,000 now with the break almost here. –MH

4:15pm: Farewell, Fares
Level 4 – Blinds 100/300 (BB ante 300)

Muhyedine Fares went all in on a board of 6♥K♠J♠Q♥. He had a pretty good hand — Q♣J♣ for two pair. But Roland Chassing called him with a better one — 6♦6♥ for a set of sixes.

“Merde,” said Fares at the sight of Chassing’s hand.

The 6♣ river made quads for Chassing, rubbing more salt in the merde, and Fares is out. Chassing is up to 55,000 now. –MH

4:10pm: Kisacikoglu digging in
Level 4 – Blinds 100/300 (BB ante 300)

Orpen Kisacikoglu is one the players on a second and final entry of the Main Event. The Turkish high roller is on grind mode to get his second chance going in the right direction. Just now we witnessed him win two small pots on the bounce to get back up to 17,000.

In the first he opened to 700 from the cutoff and was called in two spots. The flop fell 6♠3♦8♠ and Kisacikoglu continued for 1,000, only picking up a caller from James Hoeppner in the big blind. The 4♣ turn and 10♠ river were then checked through and Hoeppner opened Q♥8♥, but soon saw he’s been rivered by Kisacikoglu’s Q♦10♦.

Børge Sandsgaard opened to 700 from the under the gun the very next hand, picking up calls from Kisacikoglu and Hoeppner. He continued for 1,000 on an A♦7♣K♣ flop and was only called by Kisacikoglu. The latter took over from there on in, betting 1,500 and 3,500 on the K♦ turn and 4♣ river. Sandsgaard hung around to the river where he folded.

Orpen Kisacikoglu

A total of 198 players remain from the 228 who have entered Day 1A field. –MC

4pm: Ace-ace for Morten Mortensen
Level 4 – Blinds 100/300 (BB ante 300)

Philippe Le Touche had spun up his stack early on today, but he’s slipped back down to 35,000 after a skirmish just now with Morten Mortensen.

With the board showing 2♣5♥Q♠8♦4♣ and a decent amount of chips in the middle, Le Touche bet 6,000 and Mortensen had to tank just a bit before calling.

Le Touche turned over K♠Q♣ for top pair, but Mortensen’s A♦A♥ were better and he claimed the pot. Put Mortensen up to 48,000 now. –MH

A-A for M-M

3:55pm: Sometimes a chop can feel like a Nguyen
Level 4 – Blinds 100/300 (BB ante 300)

Sometimes a chopped pot can feel like a win, especially if you’ve already lost half your stack.

Thi Xoa Nguyen has history with this place. One of her biggest wins came in the Main Event two years ago, where she narrowly missed out on the final table. Nguyen’s got a job to do if she wants to go deep again, but got back up to 12,200 after making a good call to chop a pot.

She opened to 700 from under the gun and bet 1,000 on a 4♣8♣8♠ flop. Andrei Konopelko was in the big blind and defended before calling the c-bet.

The 4♦ turn was checked through and Nguyen snap called when faced with a 900 bet on the 6♠ river. Konopelko opened K♠7♠ and Nguyen K♥10♥. –MC

3:50pm: Swift double for Schwippert
Level 4 – Blinds 100/300 (BB ante 300)

There were a lot of face cards involved in Jan-Eric Schwippert’s double up, almost half the ones in the deck. Francois Evard raised to 800 from early position that hand and Schwippert three-bet to 2,600 from the big blind.

Evard then re-raised to 15,000 and it was more than enough to put Schwippert all-in. Schwippert quickly called and turned over Q♣Q♠ to Evard’s J♣J♦. The K♠K♦A♥ brought a pair of kings into the mix and then a 10♠ came on the turn to give them both a straight draw. That really didn’t matter though since the card each player needed for a straight would fill the other up.

But the 2♦ came on the river instead and queens stayed in the lead. Schwippert doubled to about 25,000 while Evard dropped to 27,000. –AV

3:45pm: Bensadoun down, more for Maurer
Level 4 – Blinds 100/300 (BB ante 300)

With the board showing 5♣J♦7♣3♥, Jonathan Bensadoun pushed all in for his last 10,000 or so and after a short period of contemplation Florian Maurer called the shove.

Bensadoun had 6♦6♠ but was behind Maurer’s J♥9♥, and after the A♣ completed the board Bensadoun had lost his stack. Maurer is now up to 43,000. –MH

3:40pm: A whole ‘nother level
Level 4 – Blinds 100/300 (BB ante 300)

Three levels are done, and they’re moving on to Level 4. The big board shows 209 entries so far. –MH

Day 1A continues

3:35pm: Adams wins quietly, Jiang not so much
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (BB ante 200)

Timothy Adams has moved back up to 25,000 after a successful flop three-bet in a four-way pot. While he was winning his pot without saying a word, Sihai Jiang was cheering loudly on an adjacent table after doubling up to 56,000. To be fair, if Jiang had lost his flop, he would’ve been out as he’s already on his second bullet.

Stephen Chidwick was the aggressor back on the other table, leading out for 700 on a 2♠5♥ 4♠ flop. The button raised to 3,000 and that put Adams (BB) into deep thought. Eventually he reraised to 8,200 and got folds from all three opponents.

An adamant reraise from Adams

While Adams was tanking, Jiang (A♣K♣) and Boutros Naim (Q♥Q♠) got into a preflop raising war that saw the former all-in. Naim walked away from the table as Jiang cheered in a flush on a board that ran 5♣Q♦3♣4♣7♣.

Naim dropped to 30,000. –MC

3:30pm: Nagygyorgy, pace setter
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (BB ante 200)

Tibor Nagygyorgy just won another small pot at his table. That wouldn’t be such an interesting thing to say generally, but with the chips he collected the Hungarian player appears to have nudged up over the 100,000-chip mark, which so far appears to be one of the biggest stacks around on this first Day 1 flight. –MH

3:25pm: Closing in on 200
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (BB ante 200)

We’re nearly at 200 players. One of the newest entries (or re-entries, rather) is Daniel Dvoress. He has a fresh rack of chips and seat card looking for his next table. –AV

Dvoress readies to renew the battle

3:20pm: Family Lodge
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (BB ante 200)

A lot of people were interested in Harry Lodge’s raise.

Lodge made it 600 from under the gun and he got five callers. It was almost a family pot except for the few players at the table who hate family reunions. Then a lot of people lost interest on the flop.

Action checked to Muhyedine Fares on the cutoff and he bet 1,100. Action folded around to Lodge and he raised it up to 4,000. Fares called and a 2♠ came on the turn. Lodge, who started the party, also brought it to an end. Lodge bet 6,400 and Fares folded.

Lodge is now up to about 38,000 while Fares dipped to 25,000. –AV

Harry Lodge

3:15pm: Lin straightened out
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (BB ante 200)

Celina Lin has dropped down to 27,000, unable to beat a straight in a three-way pot.

The Team PokerStars Pro opened to 500 from early position, picking up calls from Andreas Freund and Tomas Macnamara in the blinds. All three checked the J♣A♣10♣ flop before Lin’s delayed 2,800 c-bet on the K♥ turn was only check-called by Macnamara. The river was the 7♠ and both players checked. Macnamara opened A♦Q♦ for a straight and moved up to 32,000 after Lin mucked. –MC

3:10pm: Naim sinks Siogli
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (BB ante 200)

With the board showing 4♥10♦9♦ and three players involved, the small blind checked and Boutros Naim bet 3,000 from the big. Then from late position Efraim Siogli pushed all in, and after the man in the middle got out Naim called the raise.

Naim: Q♦8♦
Siogli: J♥J♦

Siogli was ahead but Naim had both a flush draw and a gutshot straight draw. Oh, and an overcard, too, which the Q♥ hit. The 4♦ completed the board, improving Naim further to a flush, and he claimed the pot.

Siogli’s been stacked, while Naim now has about 50,000. –MH

3:05pm: Coren Mitchell forced out of retirement
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (BB ante 200)

There was widespread praise at the decision to bring back the EPT brand this year. I’ve got the feeling there was one living room in North London where the news wasn’t so well received (in a joking way) though.

It took nearly 100 EPTs before Vicky Coren Mitchell became the first double champion on the tour and that record would’ve stood for eternity. But now there’s the risk she’ll be caught by another. The only option Coren Mitchell had was to dust off that card protector and get back on tour.

Coren Mitchell just took her seat next to Kenny Hallaert and we’ll be keeping a close eye in her throughout the day. –MC

Kenny Hallaert and Vicky Coren Mitchell

3pm: Bensadoun four-bets, collects
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (BB ante 200)

Jonathan Bensadoun of France opened to 700 from under the gun, then saw Germany’s Steffen Sontheimer three-bet to 2,400 from the hijack seat. The action circled back to Bensadoun who rechecked his cards, then he made it 5,300 to go. Sontheimer thought a bit, and called.

The flop came a coordinated 7♦9♥10♦ and both players checked. The 10♥ turn kept the board plenty wet, and when Bensadoun bet 6,000, Sontheimer decided he couldn’t continue. Both players are hovering around the starting stack of 30,000 halfway through Level 3. –MH

2:55pm: Thorel takes out Muelhoecker
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (BB ante 200)

There was about 7,500 in the pot and a Q♦7♦2♦ flop on the board. Thomas Muelhoecker was on the button and bet 5,000. Jean-Noel Thorel, his sole opponent in the hand, moved all-in for about 25,000. Muelhoecker had slightly less than that and thought for a while before calling.

Muelhoecker showed K♣Q♥ for top pair, but Thorel had a set of sevens with 7♣7♥. Muelhoecker hit the rail while Thorel chipped up to about 52,000. –AV

J-N-T… he’s dyn-a-mite!

2:50pm: Le Touche hanging tough
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (BB ante 200)

Phillippe Le Touche is at that difficult table we mentioned earlier — the one where Matthias de Meulder, Joao Vieira, and Justin Thomas are sitting, with Thomas Muehloecker having also joined them now.

Le Touche is handling the situation more than all right, however. Just now he was in a preflop raising war with Thorel that ended with Le Touche five-betting, Thorel folding, and Le Touche showing pocket aces. Le Touche is up over 75,000 now. –MH

2:45pm: The Goose ruffling feathers
Level 3 – Blinds 100/200 (BB ante 200)

Steffen “Goose” Sontheimer loves having fun at the poker table, and is especially good at needling opponents. That behaviour is mainly saved for the players he knows well in high roller events – in the Main Event he’s behaving very well.

He played two pots in a row for a 1-1 score that left him with 37,000.

In the first hand he was heads-up with neighbour Roland Chassing and they had made it to the river where a Q♠6♥8♦J♥9♣ board lay at rest. Chassing led out for 3,000 from the big blind and called when Sontheimer raised to 7,000. Sontheimer opened Q♥10♦ for a straight and Chassing mucked angrily.

Sontheimer lost a small one the very next hand. Jonathan Bensadoun raised 400 into his big blind and went on the bet 900 on a 9♦3♣Q♦ flop. Sontheimer stuck with him through those bets and the K♣ turn that was checked, but he folded to a 2,000 bet on the Q♠ river. –MC

2:35pm: Play restarts
Level 2 – Blinds 100/200 (BB ante 200)

Play restarts in Level 3.

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2:15pm: Break time

The level ends. Players are now on a 20-minute break. –SB

2:10pm: A partial information game
Level 2 – Blinds 100/100 (BB ante 100)

“That could mean a lot of things.”

So said Isaac Haxton at the conclusion of a hand just now between himself and Krisztian Gyorgyi. The latter had led with a bet of 1,600 after the J♥J♣6♦, then with great deliberation called after Haxton raised to 3,500. The turn then brought the 9♠ and Haxton checked, and when Gyorgyi bet 5,000, Haxton folded.

Encouraged to show one card, Gyorgyi turned over the 10♥, prompting Haxton’s statement and subsequent speculation that he might have had pocket tens. In any case, the pot went Gyorgyi’s way and he has about 34,000 now. Haxton is on 24,000 with the day’s first break almost here. –MH

2:05pm: O’Dwyer wants his title back
Level 2 – Blinds 100/100 (BB ante 100)

Steve O’Dwyer has had many highs throughout his illustrious poker career, but winning the Main Event here in Season 9 might just top the lot.

Steve O’Dwyer has a good PokerStars track record in Monaco

He’s won many a High Roller title against the best of the best, but they’re usually small in field size compared to a Main Event. His victory here had the best of both worlds: 530 opponents to get through plus a star-studded final table that included Johnny Lodden, Daniel Negreanu, Jake Cody and Jason Mercier.

O’Dwyer approaches the first break of the day with an impressive 78,000 chips.

Some of these came curtesy of Erich Tedeschi. O’Dwyer raised to 300 from the cutoff and was called on one spot before Tedeschi squeezed to 1,400 from the big blind. Only O’Dwyer called to a A♥Q♥5♣ flop where he called another 800. The turn was the 6♥ and Tedeschi led for 2,100 only to fold when O’Dwyer raised to 6,500. –MC

2pm: Late arrivers
Level 2 – Blinds 100/100 (BB ante 100)

Matthias De Meulder showed up at the start today. Well after he arrived, his table draw became a bit more challenging as Joao Vieira, Justin Thomas, and Jean-Noel Thorel all took seats there during Level 2.

It’s a Vieira tough table

Elsewhere Paul Newey and Nacho Barbero are among the players who’ve taken seats in the day’s second level. –MH

Arriving: Nacho, chips

1:55pm: Piling in
Level 2 – Blinds 100/100 (BB ante 100)

We’re now over the 160 entries mark as players keep piling in. While it’s good for the prize pool, many of the new entrants aren’t players you’d like to face.

Jan-Eric Schwippert, who bubbled the Super High Roller yesterday, has taken a seat. He’s seated close to Steffen Sontheimer –but at a different table– and the two are parlaying in German in between hands, probably strategizing on how to dominate poker even more.

Austrian powerhouse Thomas Muelhoecker has also taken a seat. He’s now playing with Jean-Noel Thorel and Julian Thomas. Then Ignacio Barbero, the three-time LAPT champion from Argentina, took a seat at Isaac Haxton’s table. Things are getting dangerous ladies and gentlemen, real dangerous. –AV

1:50pm: Angsten kicks out Kisacikoglu
Level 2 – Blinds 100/100 (BB ante 100)

Herbert Angsten had raised to 300 from early position and the small blind might have called. Orpen Kisacikoglu then three-bet all in for about 3,500 from the big blind, and Angsten called the push. The small blind folded, if indeed the small blind was in the hand (that part happened in the corner of your humble scribbler’s eye).

Angsten tabled his hand — A♣A♠ — and Kisacikoglu playfully tossed his A♥4♥ with mock anger toward Angsten. The J♠4♣7♥ flop did open the door slightly for Kisacikoglu, but the J♦ turn and 6♥ river closed it back and he busted his first stack.

We’ll surely see Kisacikoglu again. I’ll try to keep my eyes fully open for that. –MH

1:45pm: Jiang and Fitoussi the first to re-enter?
Level 2 – Blinds 100/100 (BB ante 100)

The tournament clock reads that two players have already re-entered the Main Event. We’re doing some digging to who they are, but right now we think that they might be Sihai Jiang and Bruno Fitoussi. They’ve both busted and we think they’ve bought back in but haven’t taken their seats again yet.

We reported that Jiang lost a big one to Mark Teltscher earlier and things obviously never improved for the Chinese player.

The last time we had eyes on Fitoussi was when he made a big river fold to neighbour, Philippe Le Touche. It left the French poker legend with 8,900 chips that soon disappeared.

French poker legend Bruno Fitoussi

Fitoussi’s seat was taken by Jean-Noel Thorel (French legends everywhere!) and these two, along with Matthias De Meulder played out a pot.

Le Touche raised to 300 from under the gun and was called by JNT and De Meulder. Le Touche continued for 700 on a 4♣9♦2♣ flop and was only called by De Meulder.

The Belgian called another 2,400 on the Q♦ turn before he folded to a bet on the 6♦ river. Le Touche showed his J♦J♣ claiming that it must’ve been good. His stack grew to 48,000 whereas De Meulder dropped to 24,000. –MC

1:40pm: O’Dwyer dealing blows
Level 2 – Blinds 100/100 (BB ante 100)

Steve O’Dwyer is already doing a bit of damage at his table and is up to about 55,000.

In one hand O’Dwyer hit a bigger full house than Benoit Lam’s full house. There was about 4,000 in the pot on the river and O’Dwyer bet 4,800. Lam raised to 10,000 and O’Dwyer quickly called.

Lam showed 8♥8♦ and had a full house with an eight on the flop and two aces on the board, but a six on the turn gave O’Dwyer’s A♠6♦ aces full of sixes. Then O’Dwyer took more down with pocket queens.

Yunsheng Sun raised to 300 from middle position that hand and O’Dwyer three-bet to 1,100 from the hiajck. Frederick Coquereau called from the button and Sun went along as well. The flop came J♣9♦2♠ and O’Dwyer bet 1,300.

Coquereau raised to 2,600, Sun folded and O’Dwyer called. The turn brought a J♥ and a 3,200 bet from Coquereau. A 4♥ landed on the river after O’Dwyer called and both players checked.

O’Dwyer turned over Q♣Q♦ and Coquereau mucked. O’Dwyer is now up to about 55,000. –AV

1:30pm: Kruse control
Level 2 – Blinds 100/100 (BB ante 100)

We told you during Level 1 how Fedor Kruse busted his first stack and bought back in. Just now I spotted Kruse in his new seat here at the start of Level 2 where he was all in yet again.

I only arrived on the turn with the board showing J♣3♦A♥A♠ and about 5,000 sitting in the middle. Things looked a bit check-raisey, with Kruse in the big blind and his lone opponent, Roland Chassing, in the cutoff seat.

Chassing had 1,500 sitting in front of him, what looked like a bet made after a Kruse check. But Kruse had a raise to 6,000 before his place at the table, and after some thought Chassing called.

The Q♦ fell on the river, and Kruse unhesitatingly pushed all in with his last 12,000. Chassing thought long and hard about it, but ultimately folded to preserve his stack of 16,000. Meanwhile with that pot Kruse is back to close to the 30,000-chip starting stack. –MH

1:25pm: New level, but no change
Level 2 – Blinds 100/100 (BB ante 100)

It’s a new level, but the blinds and the big blind ante remains the same. So far the big board shows 145 entries, with late registration (and the ability to take that single re-entry) available through the start of Day 2. –MH

1:20pm: More Haxton happenings
Level 1 – Blinds 100/100 (BB ante 100)

Aside from Wi-Fi secrets, Haxton was also playing a little bit of late position poker.

Action checked to Ahmed Fatah on the small blind and he checked. Haxton did the same from the big blind and a 5♦J♠4♠ flop hit the board. Haxton threw in another 100 when checked to and Fatah called. A Q♥ came on the turn, Haxton made it 300 and we had another call. The 7♥ completed the board and this time Fatah led the action with a bet of 800. Haxton thought for a while and finally called.

Fatah showed a straight with 6♣3♣ and Haxton mucked.

Haxton then checked from the small blind the following and and Dimitri Huley raised to 400 from the big blind. Haxton called and they went to the 6♠A♠9♠ flop. Haxton check-called a bet of 500 and the 4♥ came on the turn. They both checked that and checked again after the 3♠ completed the board. Huley showed A♣10♥ and Haxton mucked again.

Haxton: 0-2

Then Haxton won the next hand. Action folded to Fatah on the cutoff and he raised to 300. Haxton three-bet to 1,000 from the button and action folded back round to Fatah. He let Haxton have that one.

Haxton: 1-2 –AV

1:15pm: Jedlicka reigns over Petrangelo
Level 1 – Blinds 100/100 (BB ante 100)

Always nice to see a three-way four-bet pot at the end of Level 1 to spice things up.

Nick Petrangelo opened to 200 from under the gun before Stefan Jedlicka three-bet to 700 from the hijack. Hiroyuki Noda called from the big blind only to see Petrangelo four-bet to 3,100. Both opponents called to a 5♦6♦9♦ flop where Petrangelo continued for a relatively small 2,500. Jedlicka was the only caller before they both went on to check the 10♥Q♣ turn and river down.

Stefan Jedlicka

Petrangelo dropped to 28,500 when he saw that his A♣5♣ had lost to Jedlicka’s K♣K♠, who rose to 38,000. –MC

1:10pm: New features for the Main Event
Level 1 – Blinds 100/100 (BB ante 100)

There are a couple of new features to the Main Event this year.

The first of those is known as a Big Blind Ante.

This involves the player in the big blind paying the ante for everyone at the table. The main benefit is to speed up play (it’s thought it can add up to two more hands every half an hour).

The other change takes effect at the start of Day 2 when a 30-second shot clock will be used.

Players will receive four time bank cards at the start of Day 2, with two additional cards at the beginning of each day. — SB

1:05pm: A rare instance of Haxton giving away information at the table
Level 1 – Blinds 100/100 (BB ante 100)

Isaac Haxton just busted in sixth place over in the €100K Super High Roller final table, and soon after bought himself a seat in the Main Event.

We passed by his table just now to find Haxton giving away information to his opponents. Spelled right out for everyone to hear. No shinola.

It was the wi-fi password. Others were asking, and Haxton happily provided it.

Haxton won’t tell you what he had last hand, but he will tell you the wi-fi password

Speaking of giving out information, we can inform you that Haxton’s fellow high roller Steffen Sontheimer is in the field now. So, too, are Ryan Riess and Christopher Frank. –MH

Ryan Riess is among the field of Day 1A

1pm: Hosenbux felts Kruse
Level 1 – Blinds 100/100 (BB ante 100)

“What is your name, again?” asked Luke Haward while leaning forward in his seat. “Fedor,” answered Fedor Kruse from across the table.

Arguably the most active player right now: Luke Haward

Haward has been spending the first couple of orbits getting to know everyone at the table, making amiable conversation with each of his opponents. Despite the pleasant table talk, the first half-hour had proven a little frustrating for Kruse who was already down to just 3,000 chips. From the looks of things, Mickael Hosenbux had been the beneficiary of Kruse’s troubles, as he was already up over 50,000.

The next hand saw a player raise from early position, then Kruse reraised all in for his small stack. It folded around to Haward who folded, wishing Kruse luck as he did. Action then reached Hosenbux in the big blind who put in a reraise to knock out the original raiser, and the two remaining players showed their cards.

Kruse: K♠J♠
Hosenbux: A♦Q♠

The board came an uneventful 4♣6♥6♣4♥10♦, and Hosenbux took the last of Kruse’s chips to boost his stack to 58,000.

“It was nice meeting you, Fedor,” said Haward. “I hope we meet again.” They may well do so, even today, as Kruse indicated an intention to re-enter. –MH

12:55pm: Blast from the past off to a flier
Level 1 – Blinds 100/100 (BB ante 100)

Mark Teltscher was one of the early stars of the EPT. The child backgammon phenomenon entered the PokerStars world in style back in Season 2, winning EPT London for his first ever recorded cash. He almost stopped all that, “Who’ll be the first to win two EPTs?” chatter a couple of seasons later when he lost heads-up to good friend Sander Lyloff at EPT Barcelona.

Former EPT winner Mark Teltscher (from all the way back in Season 2) among those playing today

Teltscher’s in the Day 1A field and just won a tidy pot to see his stack grow to 45,000.

The action was three-way to a 6♠2♣7♠ flop where Teltscher led for 1,200 from the big blind. Sihai Jiang (UTG) and Christophe Larquemin (button) both called. Teltscher refused to slow down and went on to bet 2,600 and 8,200 on the 8♣Q♥ turn and river. Both opponents called the turn bet but only Jiang called the river bet.

Teltscher opened Q♦Q♣ for a river set and Jiang shook his head before mucking his hands. –MC

12:50pm: Super outcasts
Level 1 – Blinds 100/100 (BB ante 100)

There are only a handful of players left in the Super High Roller, the rest have been cast out of the main, high-rolling stage.

Some have found refuge and solace in the main event though. Daniel Dvoress, Steve O’Dwyer and Nick Petrangelo have all successfully re-emerged from SHR banishment to take a seat in the main event.

Both Dvoress and O’Dwyer were eliminated earlier in the SHR, but Petrangelo nearly made the money but was eliminated in 9th.

Now the high rolling trifecta will see how far they can make it today. –AV

12:45pm: Bondar clubs Salikaev
Level 1 – Blinds 100/100 (BB ante 100)

In one of the first hands of the day, Andrey Bondar raised from under the gun to 400 and saw it fold around to Efraim Siogli who called from the button. Boutros Naim called as well from the small blind, then Yuri Salikaev squeezed to 1,500 from the big blind. All three of the others called, and the flop came all clubs — 10♣3♣7♣.

Naim checked and Salikaev continued for 2,000, with only Bondar sticking around. The 3♥ turn paired the board and elicted another bet from Salikaev, this time for 3,800. Bondar considered a couple of beats then called again.

The 2♣ river put a fourth club on the board, and without much hesitation Salikaev fired another 5,300. Bondar called right away, tabling K♣J♣ for a flopped flush. Salikaev showed that his Q♣Q♠ had improved to a flush on the river, one just a pip below the winner’s.

That’s a nice boost for Bondar to start, up over 45,000 from the 30,000-chip starting stack, while Salikaev slips to around 17,000. –MH

12:35pm: Charity Event in aid of Right to Play
Level 1 – Blinds 100/100 (BB ante 100)

The Super High Rollers play to a winner today (coverage here). And the first flight of the Main Event has also started.

But there’s another event on the schedule tonight, one that might not have quite the same payday, but can still be life changing.

Later today PokerStars is hosting a charity event in aid of Right To Play.

Starting at 6pm local time tonight, it has a €150 buy-in, with unlimited €50 rebuys.

All the money in the prize pool goes to Right To Play, which helps fund vital work with some of the most disadvantaged children around the world.

As well as contributing to a great cause, the top five finishers in the tournament will win prizes donated by partners Helping Hands, the European Poker Tour, and PokerStars travel.

The prizes are the following:

1st: €1,000 player credit
2nd: iPhone 7
3rd: latest mini iPad
4th: €300 live tournament credit
5th: €200 live tournament credit

Team PokerStars Pros will be among those playing, with entry (and rebuys) open to everyone.

It’s not just a great cause, but the event is played in a great atmosphere and spirit.

Register in the usual way at the registration desk outside the tournament room. — SB

12:30pm: Fun start at Table 10
Level 1 – Blinds 100/100 (BB ante 100)

A family pot has already taken place at Table 10, but it’s not as big a deal as you might think, as only three players were in attendance.

Orpen Kisacikoglu raised to 300 off the button picking up calls from Herbert Angsten and Snjezana Milisa in the blinds. The flop fanned 10♥5♠6♥ and Milisa led out for 700, picking up calls by both opponents. The 4♣ turn was checked through to the 5♥ river where Angsten took a turn at a lead with a 1,000 bet before Milisa snap raised to 2,500.

“What a fun start!’ laughed Kisacikoglu as he folded. Angsten called and Milisa opened A♥Q♥ for a flush. “Got you!” commented Kisacikoglu before concluding with, “Oh my!” –MC

12:20pm: The magic number
Level 1 – Blinds 100/100 (BB ante 100)

There are a lot of 1s and 100s at the beginning of day 1A. Not only are all the blinds and the big blind ante exactly 100, there are now 101 players in the main event.

Level 1+100 big blind = 101. Conspiracy? Probably not.

One of the most recent additions that tipped us past the triple-digit mark is Team PokerStars Pro Fatima Moreira de Melo.

Fatima Moreira de Melo among those taking her seat on Day 1A of the Main Event

De Melo recently took her seat and got involved in a small pot against Georges Ghrayeb. Ghrayeb raised to 300 from under the gun that hand and De Melo called from the big blind. The flop came down A♠5♣2♦ and De Melo check-called a bet of 600.

Ghrayeb then fired again after the 3♣ came on the turn and De Melo folded. Ghrayeb flashed A♦Q♦ before he raked in the pot, just so everyone knew he was serious. –AV

12:10pm: The Main Event begins
Level 1 – Blinds 100/100 (BB ante 100)

Following a few preliminaries, play has begun. Those preliminaries included a reminder that Main Event players each have a chance to win one of two Platinum Passes. One will go to the winner of the tournament, while the other $30K package to the 2019 PCA and the PokerStars Players No-Limit Hold’em Championship will be randomly awarded to a lucky recipient at the start of Day 2.

Among the early arrivers here for the first hand are Maya Geller, Andres “Cacho” Korn, Harry Lodge, and Team PokerStars Pro Celina Lin.

A few of the high rollers are here, too, at the beginning. Orpen Kisacikoglu is one of them. Timothy Adams (fresh off his runner-up finish in a €10K event here a few days ago) and Stephen Chidwick are also seated and playing at the same table. –MH

Chidwick takes a chair

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11:55am: What’s in store today?

We’re minutes away from starting. We’re set for ten one hour levels today, with a dinner break after six of them (6:45pm approx). That means a finish at roughly 12:30am. — SB

11:15am: Getting ready for Day 1A on a beautiful Saturday

The sun is shining, the pigeons are bothering slightly less at the breakfast buffet and families are enjoying the Mediterranean coast on this beautiful Saturday morning.

We’re also gearing up for some poker.

Day 1A of the 2018 EPT Monte Carlo Main Event is set to start in about 45-minutes. Aside from some of the world’s best poker players, today’s tournament features a €5,300 buy-in and ten 60-minute levels of play. We’ll have a 20-minute break after every two levels and a 75-minute dinner break after level six.

Bust before dinner? Don’t worry, you’re allowed one re-entry this event and registration is open until the start of day 2. And while today’s action is just getting started, the €100K Super High Roller is wrapping up today. Christoph Vogelsang leads the final six and they’re fighting for the title and €1.5 million. Head on to our Super High Roller live updates page starting at 12:30 CET for all that action.

Interested in joining some of the action yourself? Check out the EPT Monte Carlo schedule and see if there are any events that are right for you. If you just want to keep up with the action, stick with us right here.

Action kicks off at 12:00 CET. –AV

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PokerStars Blog reporting team on the €5,300 Main Event: Stephen Bartley, Martin Harris, Marc Convey, and Alex Villegas. Photography by Neil Stoddart.


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