Certain things are just easier in a High Roller’s world. You need to get to Monte Carlo from Nice? Helicopter it is, or maybe give the Ferrari a spin. You want a round of drinks, and one for the nanny, there’s your €1,000, no problem. Similarly, if you need to get to the final table of a poker tournament before the sun comes up, rely on the High Rollers to get it done.
They may have parted with at least €25,000 a head and be eyeing a first prize of more than a million, but we eased through day two of this event at the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo® Casino EPT Grand Final. There were 45 players at noon, but only room for eight big reputations at the final tomorrow, so they duly set about deciding who it would be.
The answer they came up with was as follows:
Seat one – Philip Gruissem – 990,000
Seat two – Igor Kurganov – 1,288,000
Seat three – Daniel Negreanu – 660,000
Seat four – Justin Bonomo – 2,202,000
Seat five – Max Lykov – 271,000
Seat six – Artem Litvanov – 331,000
Seat seven – Noah Schwartz – 522,000
Seat eight – Nathan Schoo – 387,000
As ever that is a spectacular final table for a single poker tournament, and demonstrates once again what an off-the-charts brilliant season a couple of those guys are having.
Justin Bonomo described himself earlier today as running “hotter than the sun”, and he wasn’t only responding to a pot in which he sent two players to the rail with the worst hand.
In that spot, Bonomo had called all in with jacks against queens and kings, but turned a jack to send two out. But really Bonomo was referring to his victory earlier in the week in the €100,000 Super High Roller event, which netted him more than a million.
He is taking a massive lead to this final again, a huge chunk of which he won on the last hand of the night. He was up against Phil Ivey, which is formidable enough. But when you take on Phil Ivey, who is holding a set of kings, and still win, you know this is your time.
When they got all the money in on the turn on what would prove to be the final pot, Bonomo had top pair and a flush draw. The latter hit on the river and Ivey was out in ninth.
“When you’re hot, you’re hot,” Bonomo said. Two High Roller titles in a week – plus a main event cash – is positively ElkY-esque.
Grospellier himself flamed out of this tournament, but that doesn’t mean Team PokerStars Pro isn’t represented. The ever-reliable High Roller supremo Daniel Negreanu booked his place at the party tomorrow with a display of characteristic grit.
As big pots were taking place all around him, Negreanu stuck to his small ball game – and all of a sudden he had a huge stack. If you small ball it enough in the right spots, that tends to happen.
Negreanu on form is a pleasure to watch, and he too is running hot. He made the same Super High Roller final table that Bonomo won, so tomorrow will be a match between the form players of the month.
Negreanu isn’t the only Team PokerStars Pro heading to the final tomorrow. Maxim Lykov is another who is a delight to see in full flow, and the way he ground up from being a short stack at bubble time demonstrated just how complete this young man’s game has become. We’ve seen him destroy tournaments with a big stack (EPT Kyiv, for example), but he has many, many gears.
All of that is before we even begin with another sensational story. What a year is being had by Philip Gruissem. The young German won the High Roller in Barcelona (for €234,000), he won the High Roller in London (€450,200) and final tabled High Roller events in both Prague and San Remo.
If you chopped him in half at the waist, the words High Roller run through him like a stick of Monte Carlo rock. Gruissem is third in chips heading into his fifth High Roller event of the season. I’m not sure anything even close has ever been achieved before.
Did I forget anyone? Well, there was almost Phil Ivey until he flew too close to the Bonomo sun. So it rests on the shoulders of any of Igor Kurganov, Artem Litvinov, Noah Schwartz or Nathan Schoo to write their own story tomorrow. Otherwise it’s the same old, brilliant, faces.
Play begins at noon, and we’ll have full coverage here. Click through if you want to check out how things went down in the main event today, or look back on today’s action with the links below.
Andrey Pateychuk bubbles
Daniel Negreanu fits in among the leaders
Andrew Badecker: chip leader
A Round With … Phil Ivey and Liv Boeree
Bright stars shining brightest
The run-good myth
The return of the High Rollers
Thanks again to Lina Olofsson for pictures. See you tomorrow.