The European Poker Tour stop at the Monte Carlo Casino in Monaco is beginning to wind down. Saturday will mark the close of the perennial favorite event on the European circuit with not one but two events. The €5000 EPT Monte Carlo Main Event and the €25,000 High Roller will both be in action, with Morten Hvam looking to finish what he started and a star-studded High Roller field looking to crown a champion.
Hvam Looks to Close the Deal
He was in the lead after the Day One action was complete. He stumbled a bit on Day 2 before coming back strong on Day 3 to recapture the lead. After Day 4 of the €5000 EPT Monte Carlo Main Event, Morten Hvam is in prime position to take home the championship, with only five men standing between him and the title.
Hvam entered Day 4 with a slight lead over Ramon Colillas and the remaining fourteen players to start the action, but he quickly went to work improving on that lead. He would knock out the United Kingdom’s Niall Farrell when, with Farrell holding a pocket pair of Queens, Hvam would end the board with a flush to knock off the former EPT champion. From there, it was a simple factor of seeing who would come up to do battle with Hvam.
Many thought that player would be the (currently) only victor of the PokerStars Players’ Championship, Ramon Colillas. Colillas was only about 400K behind Hvam when the cards hit the air on Friday, but he steadily saw his chip stack plummet rather than grow. He would double up through Yannick Cardot to stay viable, but in the end came up as the “bubble boy” for the final table action after falling to Dragos Trofimov in seventh place.
The major mover of the day was Marcelo Simoes of Brazil. Simoes would charge to the lead late in the evening, most of the time without even showing his hands. At one point, Simoes’ stack sat at 7.69 million before he suffered a few setbacks. He will sit as the most serious challenge to Hvam for Saturday’s final table action, with the rest of the pack a distance back:
1. Morten Hvam (Norway), 7.35 million
2. Marcelo Simoes (Brazil), 6.89 million
3. Hugo Pingray (France), 5.525 million
4. Erkan Soenmez (Germany), 4.85 million
5. Jaime Cervantes (United States), 4.735 million
6. Dragos Trofimov (Moldova), 3.085 million
Every player is guaranteed a €167,050 payout when they hit the felt on Saturday in the EPT Monte Carlo Main Event. The real prize is up top, of course, with nearly one million Euros (€939,840, to be precise) for the victor.
Dimitar Danchev Leads Star-Studded High Roller Field
Thirteen players remain in the €25,000 High Roller tournament, the sole survivors of the sixty-nine players and nineteen re-entries who returned on Friday. They will play down to a champion on Saturday as well, with Dimitar Danchev leading a host of powerful players who are all looking to take this crown.
The early action was frenetic as those newcomers and the shorter stacks were sent from the Monte Carlo Casino without anything to show for their efforts. In fact, with only twenty-seven players receiving a payday in the event, more than half of the High Roller field who returned on Friday was going away empty handed. That was the reality that players such as Mikita Badziakouski, Mattias Eibinger and Ole Schemion had as the action moved into the evening.
The money bubble would pop in a dramatic fashion. Pedro Garagnani got his final stacks of chips to the center of the table and was looked up by Dominik Nitsche. Garagnani had to feel good about his pocket Kings but, when Nitsche’s pocket Aces were turned up, that feeling quickly went away. The ten-high board never threatened the status quo, eliminating Garagnani on the bubble.
After Garagnani’s departure, the floodgates opened to the cage. Sam Greenwood, Thomas Muehloecker, Arnaud Mattern, Christoph Vogelsang, and Pascal Lefrancois all left with something to show for their efforts.
Danchev was responsible in part for Vogelsang’s departure. In an all-in situation, Danchev’s pocket Kings were able to find a four-flush in clubs against the pocket Aces of Vogelsang. After the chips were counted, it was Danchev who was the at-risk player; Vogelsang was left with only nine thousand in chips before being knocked out by Steve O’Dwyer.
With almost 1.5 million in chips, Danchev was comfortable in sitting back and riding to the end of the night. He would see a few people creep closer to him, but Danchev would stay atop the standings ahead of tomorrow’s final day action in the event.
1. Dimitar Danchev, 1.379 million
2. Bruno Lopes, 1.116 million
3. Gianluca Speranza, 1.073 million
4. Jean-Noel Thorel, 1.005 million
5. Byron Kaverman, 912,000
6. Ramiro Petrone, 536,000
7. Marton Czuczor, 520,000
8. Steve O’Dwyer, 466,000
9. Dominik Nitsche, 455,000
10. Manig Loeser, 445,000
11. Rodrigo Seiji, 424,000
12. Joao Viera, 325,000
13. Davidi Kitai, 285,000
These thirteen players will return at 12:30PM Saturday (approximately 6:30AM Eastern Daylight Time), with PokerStars live streaming the action over Twitch and YouTube. The prize for these men is €951,950 to the eventual champion, which will be determined Saturday night.