At the mid point of level 21, and with 43 players remaining posting blinds of 8,000-16,000, there were pots occurring simultaneously on five of the final six tables.
This is the kind of poker being played here in Monte Carlo, where the stacks are big, the egos bigger, and the prizes they’re all playing for even bigger than that again.
On the far table, now featuring the overnight chip leader Marc Naalden and his 1,500,000 stack, players are busy trying their darndest to prise something out of him, else get their steals through. Few pots are getting to a flop and blind stealing is the order of the day; different from what was going on elsewhere.
On the neighbouring table, Roland Lee, from the United States, made it 37,000 on the button. Leonardo Patacconi, the PokerStars qualifier from Italy, re-raised from the big blind, making it 116,000 to play. Lee was playing about 460,000 and Patacconi had 500,000 behind. They asked one another for the information and confirmed it before seeing a flop of 8♦7♦2♣. Patacconi insta-fired 150,000 on the flop and Lee was more considered before announcing all in. Patacconi folded.
Next table down and Bart Spijkers was involved with Steven Silverman. Both these men had been on massive heaters today and had been getting their chips in time and time again. Spijkers made it 41,000 to play from mid-position and Silverman called from the big blind. On a flop of A♣2♣6♦, Silverman checked and Spijkers bet 200,000. Silverman took a moment, but folded and was shown A-6 for top two.
Another couple of sidesteps to the left and it was the two huge stacks of Vadim Shlez and Matt Woodward at it on a board of J♠4♣5♥. Shlez had bet 250,000 on the button and Woodward was thinking of the call. He didn’t.
Then we were onto the next table, where Grayson Physioc had raised to 40,000 from the cut off, and the player on the button made it 105,000 more. Physioc thought better of it and let that go.
And so onto the unofficial feature table, with Annette Obrestad, Ludovic Lacay, Joe Ebanks, Sandra Naujoks and Sebastian Ruthenberg all camped around it. Lacay, with the monster two-million-plus stack raised from the small blind after it was folded all the way around to him, and Roger Hairabedian shoved from the big blind for something like 500,000. Obrestad and Lacay shared a chuckle and then Lacay laid it down. Hairabedian showed a solitary four.
Update: Since that post, Joe Ebanks has busted. He was all in pre-flop with 8-7 and was called by Ami Barer, with A-Q. An ace turned and Ebanks was busted. Also there, Annette Obrestad has had a torrid time of late and is down to her last 200,000.