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PokerStars.com EPT Monte Carlo Grand Final: Day 1b

Sunday's second flight of the PokerStars.com EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo began play with 450 players. This puts the total starting field for the €10,000 buy-in event at 842 players, 136 more than last year, when Gavin Griffin took down the 2007 EPT Grand Final title.

The second flight had no shortage of name players. WSOP Champions Joe Hachem and Chris Moneymaker took the field today along with former tennis pro and fellow Team PokerStars player Boris Becker. Daniel Negreanu, Gus Hansen, Mike "Timex" McDonald, Chad Brown, Antonio Esfandiari, Juha Helppi, Dario Minieri, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, Thor Hansen, Vanessa Rousso, Erik "Erik123" Sagstrom, and 2007 WSOP Main Event final tablist Alex Kravchenko represented just a sample of the caliber of Day 1b's field.

Max Pescatori was an early Day 1b casualty when he re-raised his relatively short stack all in with {a-Clubs}{j-Hearts} only to be called by Antonio Esfandiari's {a-Diamonds}{k-Clubs}. The {k-Hearts}{q-Diamonds}{5-Diamonds}{4-Diamonds}{4-Hearts} board couldn't rescue the "Italian Pirate." In a limped pre-flop hand, William Thorson may not have realized he was up against Christoph Haller's pocket aces. Thorson had the best of it with his {q-Spades}{j-Clubs}, however, when all the money went in on the turn with a {q-Diamonds}{j-Diamonds}{6-Hearts}{2-Clubs} board, Unfortunately for Thorson, the {6-Spades} river brought about a reversal of fortune and the end of his day. Bertrand Grospellier took his leave when he had the misfortune of running pocket jacks up against pocket kings.

In his clay to felt transition, Boris Becker was unable to find an advantage in Day 1b play and was eventually relegated to spectator status. Chris Moneymaker and Joe Hachem are both Team PokerStars players and both former WSOP Champions, but only Hachem will move on to play Day 2. Gavin Griffin's defense of his EPT Grand Final title also came to an end on Day 1b.

By the time play came to a close, local French player Cyril Bensoussan had accumulated a stack of approximately 130,000 chips, which should secure his spot as chip leader going into Day 2. Also well positioned for Day 2 play are Raul Paez and Anders Berg.

The total prize pool and payout structure will be announced during Day 2 action. Follow along with the PokerNews' tournament reporting team when the combined field gets underway on Monday 1:00 pm local time (GMT+1).

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