Monte Carlo is founded on money – it’s a tax haven, a billionaire’s playground and one of the most charming spots in the whole of the world to spend €10 on a bottle of water. Its marriage to the European Poker Tour is beautiful: poker is about a lot of things – including mathematics, strategy, mind games and fearlessness – but ultimately it’s about money too, chunks worth up to €2,500,000 a pop.
Today, day three of the EPT Grand Final, is when money comes even more to the fore. At day’s close yesterday, there were 139 players still in the hunt for the title and that record-breaking first prize. Unfortunately for some, the €9,350,000 purse only divides into 88, which means 50 players will yet walk away empty handed. (Except for the dregs in their €10 bottle of water.)
The pack today is among the fiercest ever assembled for the deep stages of such a populous event. The Dutchman Marc Naalden is at its apex, but will see some sharp fangs if he peers over his shoulder. Annette Obrestad is closest in the slipstream, with Joe Ebanks, Vadim Shlez and the PokerStars qualifier Peter Traply closely following. And only marginally further down the ladder is the ShootingStar Johannes Strassmann and the Team PokerStars Pro Luca Pagano.
Then there are other leading lights including Ludovic Lacay, George Danzer, Sandra Naujoks, Alex Kravchenko, Lee Nelson, Andreas Hoivold, Sorel Mizzi, Sebastian Ruthenberg, Marcel Luske, Ilari Sahamies, Dag Martin Mikkelsen, Mikke Norinder, Benny Spindler, Mike Watson, Lee Nelson, Phil Laak, Isabelle Mercier, Andre Akkari, Joe Hachem and many, many more.
Go to the chip count page to get the full overnight starting stacks, and continue to check the other chip counts page, which will have the approximate counts updated throughout play. The full prize structure can be found on the payouts page, where the prizewinners will also be listed as and when they are decided.
Play is due to begin at noon (read 12.15), and this is going to be a hugely compelling day.