2018 PokerStars and Monte-Carlo©Casino EPT

Feature Coverage
Day: 2

Feature Coverage

Day 2 Completed

Opening Event Reaches Official Final Table After Ahadpour Bubbles

Timothy Adams
Timothy Adams

After a seemingly interminable bubble, the €10,300 Eight-Handed Shot Clock Single Reentry at the 2018 PokerStars and Monte-Carlo©Casino EPT has reached a final table, with Timothy Adams doubling down on his status as Day 1 chip leader to pace the field into the final day.

Behzad Ahadpour was the unfortunate player leaving empty-handed after a long day.

Adams finished Day 2 with 1,006,000 heading to 6,000/12,000/12,000. He's looking at a tough final table with the likes of Stephen Chidwick, Ryan Riess and Rainer Kempe among those looking to topple him from his strong run here in Monaco.

"It was a good day," Adams said. "Things went my away in a lot of spots. The bubble was long, but I was able to get some chips."

Here's the way everything will look when the eight-handed final table gets rolling on Thursday:

SeatPlayerCountryChip Count
1Timothy AdamsCanada1,006,000
2Juan PardoSpain220,000
3Ryan RiessUnited States702,000
4Vladimir TroyanovskiyRussia158,000
5Stephen ChidwickUnited Kingdom357,000
6Orpen KisacikogluTurkey231,000
7Paul NeweyUnited Kingdom93,000
8Rainer KempeGermany771,000

"There's more poker to be played tomorrow," Adams said. "I'm familiar with everybody here. It's the same old faces."

The field grew from 47 Day 1 entrants up to 71 by the time registration closed after the first two levels of the day. It didn't take long for the field to get whittled down to a few tables, but that's when things slowed down considerably.

When the field reached 10, it meant dual bubbles of both the final table and the money. What ensued was essentially a 10-way stalemate as the bubble lasted more than two hours.

Kempe and Adams were the most active players at one table, butting heads repeatedly and tangling in three-bet pots. Adams bested Kempe in a key pot late when he check-raised and called a three-bet with second pair and a gutter on the flop and hit two pair on the river. No more bets went in but it was still a hefty pot.

At the other table, it appeared Riess got the best of the bubble play as he was able to chip up from being short to the third-place stack at the close of the day.

Short stacks doubled up the few times they were put at risk as hand-for-hand play continued to drag on slowly and laboriously. Finally, Kempe set the stage for the knockout by doubling with aces through Ahadpour's nines. Left with 11 big blinds, Ahadpour shoved over Adams' open and got called instantly as Adams held ace-king. Dominated with ace-seven, Ahadpour binked a seven on the flop but a king hit in no time on the turn to end the grueling bubble grind.

Behzad Ahadpour bubbles.

Tournament staff gave instructions to bag with 10 minutes left, but some players protested that they wanted to finish out the day fully. The last 10 minutes wound, and Jan Schwippert wound up going bust when Juan Prado prevailed over him in a battle of short stacks with live cards in the blinds, six-five over queen-ten.

Everyone else is guaranteed at least €26,000 when play resumes at 12:30 p.m. local time here in Monaco, with the winner set to walk away with €201,500. Adams said the players joked that it was a two-bullet satellite to the €100K later in festival.

Come on back to PokerNews' continuing coverage of EPT Monte Carlo to see who will stake claim to the trophy and those two bullets.

Tags: Behzad AhadpourTimothy Adams

515 Players Enter €1,100 EPT National Day 1a, 159 Remain

Andreas Ioakimides
Andreas Ioakimides

After ten levels of play, Day 1a of the €1,100 EPT National has been wrapped up with 159 out of 515 entrants surviving. Although they bagged up for the night, play has simply been suspended as Day 1a will continue on Thursday. At noon local time, cards will be back in the air until 73 players are remaining. Each of them will then be in the money and Day 1a will subsequently be concluded.

Topping the chipcounts throughout the day, as well as at the end, was Andreas Iaokimedes, a recreational player from the United States. Iaokimedes usually prefers the lower buyins on the American circuit events, most notably the Heartland Poker Tour, but is here in Monaco on holiday and to play some poker. Asking Iaokimedes about his poker plans in Monte Carlo, the American responded he's playing the earlier €10K (since busted), the €1,100 EPT National and the Main Event before flying back home. Iaokimedes finished the day with 409,400 in chips, way ahead of his nearest challengers.

Among those that bagged chips for the night was Maria Konnikova, Friend of PokerStars and PCA $1,650 National winner. The writer finished the day with 82,300, after being up to 160,000 at one point. Konnikova appeared to have a ton of fun at the table today and had a good number of laughs with her fellow tablemates, especially with Joao Vieira.

Maria Konnikova, all smiles on Day 1a
Maria Konnikova

"She's super, super nice," the Portuguese pro pointed out, who was in good spirits himself as well. After busting the €10K earlier today, one would think Vieira being all smiles after bagging a €1K wasn't expected. However, Vieira doesn't let an unfortunate result in a bigger event dictate his focus for smaller events.

"You have to get into the habit of always trying your best, always focus 100%," Vieira said, "otherwise you won't make it. I needed a few minutes after a 10K, but after that I get into the habit again. The 1K was a bit more chill but my focus stays the same." The focus surely was there, as Vieira brings a healthy stack of 213,800 forward.

Day 1a won't be the only starting day that wraps up on Thursday, as Day 1b and Day 1c will kick off and finish on the same day as well. While Day 1a sports 60-minute levels throughout, Day 1b will feature shorter levels of 30 minutes and Day 1c will speed it up even more with just 20 minutes per level. Each day plays until the money has been reached, before all surviving players will come back on Friday, April 27. The winner of this big event will be crowned on Saturday evening in Le Sporting Casino in the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort, and will receive a Platinum Pass on top of the first place prize.

Tags: Andreas IoakimidesJoao VieiraMaria Konnikova

Half the Field Left on Day 1a of EPT National; €10K on Bubble

Gaelle Baumann
Gaelle Baumann

After eight of the ten levels on Day 1a, around half the field remains in the €1,100 EPT National. A slew of familiar faces joined the fray, including Team PokerStars Pro Liv Boeree Kenny Hallaert, Thomas Muehloecker, Liv Boeree, Quentin Lecomte, Xuan Liu. Gaelle Baumann and Georgios Vrakas, who won both a regular and a high roller edition of the Nationals last year. After busting out of the €10,300 8-Max, Maria Ho, Mustapha Kanit and Jack Salter also took their seats in this event.

Stack wise, none of them have made any waves thus far. One player that surely did is Andreas Iaokimedes, who amassed heaps during the day and is the presumable chipleader with 320,000 in chips. The American circuit grinder is looking for his first cash outside his home country and positioned himself in prime position to do so. Another player wielding a large stack is Sonny Franco, who's playing 285,000 as we enter the final stages of the day.

Liv Boeree
Team PokerStars Pro Liv Boeree

In the €10,300 No-Limit Hold'em 8 max, 12 players are left, and Timothy Adams just created some distance to solidify his position on top of the counts. In a blind on blind confrontation with Juan Pardo, Adams four-bet to 68,000 and Pardo called in position. On the {J-Diamonds}{J-Spades}{6-Clubs} flop, Adams continued with 30,000, Pardo raised to 66,000 and Adams called. Both players checked the {2-Spades} on the turn and {A-Spades} on the river that followed.

Adams tabled {A-Clubs}{K-Spades} for aces and jacks and Pardo mucked, shaking his head. The sizable pot drove Adams up to 660,000, while Pardo slipped to 200,000.

Further update from the €10K: the players are on their final break of the night and are on the money bubble with 10 left. Michael Dix was eliminated when his pocket sevens fell to {k-}{q-}. Rainer Kempe moved into the chip lead with about 850,000 after eliminating Adrian Mateos with queens against {a-Hearts}{k-Diamonds} but he has since lost some chips jamming fives over Pardo's tens and failing to catch up.

Timothy Adams
Timothy Adams remains top dog in the €10K

Imad Derwiche Gains Valuable Experience Facing Incredibly Tough Table

Table 1 on Day 2 of Event #1 before the redraw.
Table 1 on Day 2 of Event #1 before the redraw.

Timothy Adams bagged the chip lead at the end of Day 1 in the €10,300 No-Limit Hold'em at the 2018 PokerStars and Monte-Carlo©Casino EPT. A reporter asked him about his experience grinding through a lineup of the same players all day, and Adams dropped a relatively innocuous quote that nonetheless seemed startlingly relevant for himself and six other players on Day 2.

"There are favorable table draws and there are not-so-favorable table draws," he said. "Of course, you'd want a favorable table draw."

The reason this quote sprang to mind on Day 2 was because Adams and some of his competitors had drawn a table startling far on the not-so-favorable side of the spectrum. Take stock of the following lineup, which would not look out of place in a $100K, that PokerNews recorded as Level 12 wound to a close. Also note that Steve O'Dwyer just busted in the currently empty #8 seat shortly before.

1Stephen Chidwick5Justin Bonomo
2Timothy Adams6Imad Derwiche
3Ryan Riess7Adrian Mateos
4Sam Greenwood8--empty--

That's six of the best no-limit players in the world who need no introduction. Their total winnings amount to about $75 million — the "low" man is Timothy Adams with a "measly" $8.5 million.

Oh, and there's Imad Derwiche, too.

Derwiche laughed at his predicament, well aware of the situation and completely self-effacing.

"I am the fish of this table."

Imad Derwiche
Imad Derwiche had to face off with one of the toughest lineups imaginable.

But, it's a line Derwiche has used before, and in a situation that showed he might not be so fishy as he proclaims. Last year here in Monte Carlo, Derwiche made it to three-handed play in the €10,300 Pot-Limit Omaha High Roller, facing off with Sampo Ryynanen and Sylvain Loosli.

"Two professionals and a fish," he announced.

Derwiche showed he might have some shark in him, though, as he emerged victorious for €174,600. It wasn't his first big score here, either. He's showed he can play a little two-card as well, coming runner-up to Charlie Carrel in the €25K High Roller here in 2015 for €750,000.

Overall, Derwiche has done all right for himself with $1.6 million in cashes, and his attitude about facing off with as tough a table as you'll find might be a hint as to why the so-called fish might not be chum after all. Far from worried or intimidated, he expressed excitement.

"It's incredible," he said. "It's fantastic. You learn every day. They are technically better than me. But, I am fighting."

That ability to fight, and have a chance, distinguishes poker from so many other sports, games and other competitive pursuits, Derwiche pointed out. Sure, anyone can step onto a tennis court and try to swing a racket at a Roger Federer serve. Anyone can pair up with Rory McIlroy and try to ape his shot after he tees off on a par five.

But the chances of hitting the ball back past Federer or matching McIlroy shot for shot are essentially nil. A person might still be able to say they're fighting, but it's really no fight at all. In poker, good timing and some luck can put lesser-skilled players on equal footing with even the world's best.

"Don't be afraid," Derwiche said simply, summing up his approach. "You can't be afraid. You have to be strong."

And indeed, Derwiche was holding his own. He had a stack of 120,000, just a bit below the average count, heading into the three-table redraw.

Whether he winds up with a successful finish or not, Derwiche looks like he's going to have to retire his go-to line soon if he keeps making runs in these events. Deception might be a part of poker, but at some point, the fish camouflage isn't going to fit anymore.

15 Remain as High Rollers Enter Dinner Break

Stephen Chidwick
Stephen Chidwick

It's time for the dinner break in both the €10,300 No-Limit Hold'em, as well as the €1,100 EPT National. In the high roller, play is down to two tables with Stephen Chidwick as the chipleader.

The redraw and chipcounts in the dinner break are as follows:

SeatTable 1CountsTable 2Counts
1--empty----Maria Ho75,000
2Adrian Mateos85,000Jan-Eric Schwippert198,500
3Michael Dix122,000Ryan Riess79,500
4Justin Bonomo130,000Orpen Kisacikoglu117,000
5Timothy Adams395,000Stephen Chidwick540,000
6Juan Pardo195,000Vladimir Troyanovskiy460,000
7Rainer Kempe488,000Benjamin Pollak260,000
8Behzad Ahadpour165,000Paul Newey204,500

From Hollink to Bendik; A Look at Past Winners of the EPT Grand Final Main Event (2015-2016)

In the fourth and final instalment regarding the past winners of the EPT Grand Final, we take on the last two years of the EPT Grand Final: 2015 and 2016, as well as last year's PokerStars Championship. Three parts are already down — you'll find them here, here and here.

As we come to the end of this storied event's history, we'll come across possibly the biggest shake-up the stop has ever seen. In 2016, the buy-in was reduced to €5K after being a €10K event since the start. Besides the two remaining EPT events, we'll also take a bonus peek at Raffaele Sorrentino's victory last year, which was achieved under the PokerStars Championship banner.

112015564Adrian MateosSpain€1,082,000
1220161,098Jan BendikSlovakia€961,800
PSC2017727Raffaele SorrentinoItaly€466,714

2015 - Winner: Adrian Mateos (€1,082,000)

Adrian Mateos

Much like 2013, the year Steve O'Dwyer launched himself into the absolute upper echelon of tournament poker, the 2015 EPT Grand Final Main Event saw one of poker's biggest current stars Adrian Mateos firmly establishing his name by winning it all at just 19 years of age, ending Spain's 11-year EPT title drought in the process.

A massive setup on Day 5 proved pivotal on Mateos' road towards the championship. Holding pocket queens, Mateos was facing all ins from both Juan Martin Pastor and Christopher Frank, who held aces and kings, respectively. Indeed, you won't believe what happened next!

Despite winning big in the massive setup, Mateos still entered the final table as one of the shorter stacks. The Spaniard also faced tough opposition in the likes of Ole Schemion and Johnny Lodden. Mateos dispatched a short-stacked Schemion first, before successfully pulling off a gigantic bluff against Lodden to take on the other big name.

Soul crushed, Lodden busted not long after in fourth. After Hady El Asmer bowed out in third, Mateos was left with a 2-1 chip disadvantage against Muyedine Fares from Senegal. After a flopped two pair held up against top pair for piles, it was easy cruising after and Mateos secured the victory shortly after. It was the Spaniard's second seven-figure cash at just 19 years of age, after winning the World Series of Poker Europe Main Event earlier in 2013.

Still only 23, Mateos already holds three WSOP bracelets and the EPT Main Event title and boasts over $13 million in lifetime winnings, undoubtedly making him one of poker's biggest tournament stars of today.

2016 - Winner: Jan Bendik (€961,800)

EPT 12 Grand Final Winner 2016 - Jan Bendik celebrates with his family & friends

For the first time in EPT Grand Final history, the buy-in got slashed; the €10K was shed and reduced to €5,300, in line with all other EPT events. As a result, the field saw a massive increase in contestants to 1,098, almost double compared to the previous year's 564.

Jan Bendik of Slovakia conquered the biggest ever field in Monaco and took home €961,800 in the process. Bendik's victory was a fitting conclusion to the season of the "reg," with all the titles going to already well-established and experienced players. A former EPT Player of the Year, the Slovakian got another crowning moment as he made his way to the biggest cash of his career.

The final table was dominated by the French, who held no less than four trump cards with Adrien Allain, Jimmy Guerrero, Pierre Calamusa and Antoine Saout. Bendik navigated the French minefield, eventually dispatching Allain heads-up after a closely fought contest. The final hand was one of the biggest coolers in EPT history: after Allain flopped a set of eights, Bendik turned a higher set of tens to dust off the Frenchman in cruel fashion.

PokerNews' Sarah Herring interviewed Bendik after his victory:

2017* - Winner: Raffaele Sorrentino (€466,714)

*under the PokerStars Championship brand

Raffaele Sorrentino

After PokerStars had opted to shelve the EPT for a year, it was Raffaele Sorrentino that showed his prowess on the new PokerStars Championship tour. While essentially the same event under a different banner, audiences disagreed and turnout dropped to 717 players. Sorrentino defeated an ultra-hot Andreas Klatt heads-up, who just got off a PokerStars National victory worth €151,445 days before.

It was one of the fastest heads-up in Monaco history due to a big cooler: Klatt got dealt pocket queens and ran those in Sorrentino's pocket aces to bust in second. Sorrentino nearly pulled off an incredible second win in Barcelona later that year, eventually finishing third to add another €850,110 to his lifetime winnings.

In the video below, Sorrentino speaks with PokerNews about his victory:

Who will join this exclusive club in 2018? Follow all the excitement on PokerNews as we bring complete coverage from the 2018 PokerStars and Monte-Carlo©Casino EPT Main Event starting April 28, all the way down to the final table on Friday, May 4.

Down to 24 in the €10K

Timothy Adams
Timothy Adams

Sylvain Loosli flopped top pair with {10-Clubs}{9-} on a flop that was nine-high with two clubs. Unfortunately for him, Juan Prado held {q-Hearts}{q-Diamonds} and had Loosli drawing for his tournament life. The turn was a {k-Clubs}, but Loosli couldn't find a ten, nine or club on the river to survive.

With the elimination of the French pro in 25th, that leaves 24 players left who redrew to three tables with blinds going to 1,500/3,000/3,000. Here's a look at how the remaining field is arrayed:

SeatTable 1Table 2Table 3
1Behzad Ahadpour (80,000Michael Dix (180,000)Sam Greenwood (122,000)
2Imad Derwiche (119,000)Jan Schwippert (184,000)Juan Prado (183,000)
3Adrian Mateos (150,000)Maria Ho (298,000)Stephen Chidwick (294,000)
4Rainer Kempe (102,000)Adrian Hanauer (54,000)Orpen Kisacikoglu (170,000)
5John Juanda (85,000)Vladimir Troyanovskiy (111,000)Mustapha Kanit (218,000)
6Leo Fernandez (38,000)Davidi Kitai (73,000)Paul Newey (246,000)
7Timothy Adams (308,000)Justin Bonomo (124,000)Benjamin Pollak (122,500)
8Philipp Gruissem (107,000)Joao Vieira (37,000)Ryan Riess (114,000)

Late Registration in €10,300 No Limit Hold'em Closed; 71 Entries, First Place Prize of €201,500

Mustapha Kanit
Mustapha Kanit

Late registration for the €10,300 No Limit Hold'em tournament has now officially closed. 49 unique players plus 22 reentries created a total prize pool of €688,700, with 9 players leaving richer than they came. The winner will take home a first place prize of €201,500 on Thursday, April 26.

Four tables of eight players each remain after a little over three hours, with Maria Ho (295,000) still leading the way. Mustapha Kanit (290,000), Timothy Adams (270,000) and Stephen Chidwick are among the top stacks in the room. Also in contention are John Juanda, Rainer Kempe, Joao Vieira, Isaac Haxton, Steve O'Dwyer, Justin Bonomo, Davidi Kitai and Philipp Gruissem, while the red spade is represented by Team PokerStars Pro Leo Fernandez.

They'll be playing for the following nine prizes:

PlacePrize in EURPrize in USD

Ole Schemion is one of the players that busted the high roller, which ended the defending champion's attempt at a back-to-back. After busting, Schemion quickly jumped into the €1,100 EPT National and is one of the 301 active players, out of 367 entries. Michal Mrakes, Matthias de Meulder, Antoine Saout, Benny Glaser, Ana Marquez. Platinum Pass holder and Friend of PokerStars Maria Konnikova are also out in the field today.

Konnikova, a Russian-born journalist from New York City, is working on her book project "The Biggest Bluff" which is set to appear at the end of 2018. The book details her journey through the poker world, working her way up from amateur to pro in the process. Using Erik Seidel's tutelage to her advantage, Konnikova topped the PCA $1,650 National at the PCA earlier this year, where she won $84,600 and a Platinum Pass worth $30,000, punching her ticket to another Bahamas trip right away.

Maria Konnikova
PCA National winner Maria Konnikova