2018 PokerStars and Monte-Carlo©Casino EPT

Feature Coverage
Day: 6

Feature Coverage

Day 6 Completed

Steve O'Dwyer Wins €50K Single-Day High Roller (€676,300)

Steve O'Dwyer
Steve O'Dwyer

Steve O'Dwyer won his eighth tournament with a buy-in of at least $50,000 when he shipped the €50,000 Single-Day High Roller at 2018 PokerStars and Monte-Carlo©Casino EPT.

O'Dwyer got €676,300 for topping the 41-entry field, continuing his amazing run in high roller events. It's his second PokerStars $50K title this year already as he also won the one at PokerStars Caribbean Adventure for $769,500.

"That was one of the most absurd final tables I've ever played," O'Dwyer said afterward as he wound down. "Luckily, I ran really hot all in. Made some good reads... and probably some bad plays. That's poker."

€50,000 EPT Single-Day High Roller Final Result

PlacePlayerCountryPrize (EUR)
1Steve O'DwyerIreland€676,300
2Nick PetrangeloUnited States€467,410
3Steffen SontheimerGermany€298,300
4Justin BonomoUnited States€228,700
5Daniel DvoressCanada€179,000
6Rainer KempeGermany€139,200

One such read secured him the tournament. On a completed ace-high board featuring four to a wheel and a couple of clubs, O'Dwyer faced a bet of all but Nick Petrangelo's last few crumbs. Petrangelo had barreled every street, and O'Dwyer used a couple of time extensions.

"Why do I think you're full of shit?" he asked.

The American transplant found the call button with queen-five and it was good as Petrangelo could only offer a verbal surrender and a muck before sending over the last of it for the tournament the very next hand.

What made the final table so absurd, though, was the table dynamic.

While O'Dwyer has had a lengthy, successful career that's spanned thousands of tournaments and dozens of final tables, he's likely never participated in one quite like this one. The structure — featuring single reentry and 30-minute levels — often results in shorter stacks, but the 2018 edition of this event took things to the extreme. Final table average stacks consistently hovered around 15 big blinds and it was largely a preflop shovefest.

Considering the money jumps of tens of thousands of dollars, that makes for some white-knuckle poker.

An extended money bubble that took about an hour and basically consisted of short-stack all-in Russian roulette saw Sam Greenwood take the fateful pull. He lost a flip to Petrangelo with ace-king suited against sevens and will have to console himself with his €1.5 million from winning the €100K Super High Roller.

Final Table

At that point, with blinds at 10,000/25,000/25,000, only Petrangelo had a somewhat comfortable stack with 1.4 million while everyone else was nursing an average of under 20 bigs. What followed was a test of patience and quick mental math as everyone constantly asked one or more opponents for a stack estimate.

Not only was it critical to know the stacks of players who had entered the pot, but everyone needed a rough idea of everyone else's stack as well to figure ICM implications. It wasn't uncommon for a player to get ask for three counts before or during a single hand, and that was paired with a 30-second timer adding to the pressure.

It took about two hours before Rainer Kempe finally went bust, during which time the average stack sank to about 13 big blinds. Justin Bonomo and Daniel Dvoress each got down under five big blinds but avoided their graves as shorties kept doubling up.

"Of course [it's frustrating]," O'Dwyer said of the situation. "You're just rooting for everyone all in to bust."

Finally, the deadlock broke when Kempe got caught shoving jack-nine into Steffen Sontheimer's king-queen suited.

Dvoress went out next at the hands of Bonomo, who ran his stack of less than two big blinds all the way into the chip lead. Unfortunately for him it was short-lived, he jammed on the button and Petrangelo woke up with sixes, which absolutely crushed six-five suited.

"Well, it was fun being chip leader," he said.

The American couldn't recover and went out fourth. Sontheimer followed in third when ace-three couldn't hold against Petrangelo's king-four. That left O'Dwyer and Petrangelo, and postflop poker became the norm once again with stacks of 25 big blinds, which must have seemed like double or triple that to the players.

Petrangelo put the pressure on and O'Dwyer made his fateful call to all but sew things up.

Steve O'Dwyer and Nick Petrangelo: Heads Up in the €50K
Petrangelo congratulates O'Dwyer.

O'Dwyer said the stacks at the final table forced him to make his focus absolute.

"You just have to be on your toes," he said. "Dynamics change so fast. If you have the chips, you get to be the bully, and if you don't you have to figure who else is the bully and adjust."

In the end, O'Dwyer made enough adjustments and got lucky enough times to pocket another huge score, and he made it to the registration desk to sign up for Day 2 of the Main Event before calling it a night at Le Sporting.

Tags: Steve O'Dwyer

Keeping it Cool: Børge Sandsgaard Wins the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo©Casino €330 EPT Cup (€47,000)

€330 EPT Cup Winner Børge Sandsgaard
€330 EPT Cup Winner Børge Sandsgaard

Børge Sandsgaard has done it again! The Norwegian, who cashed no less than four times at last year's PokerStars Championship, won the €330 EPT Cup at the 2018 PokerStars and Monte-Carlo©Casino, claiming his second trophy in two years after winning the €1,100 Turbo last year. Sandsgaard bested a field of 1,057 entries, who came from four starting days.

Sandsgaard received €47,000 for his victory after making a deal heads-up with Jose Astima, where the latter would receive €42,000. The two agreed to stop playing after the deal was made, eschewing heads-up play, and Sandsgaard was declared the official winner.

A cool and collected Sandsgaard spoke with PokerNews after the abrupt ending.

"I never get excited," he explained. "There's something wrong with me," he followed, emotionless. "I don't get excited, so I don't get nervous."

Asked if that's a good quality for a poker player to have, Sandsgaard concurred.

"I think it's the best. No heartbeat," he said while pointing at his throat, a common tell that many poker players have a hard time controlling.

Last year, Sandsgaard went on a rampage in Monaco, cashing no less than four times. Highlights were a victory in the €1,100 turbo (€15,600) as well as a massive third place in the €1,100 National (€83,350). He acknowledged Monaco is a special place for him.

"I don't play so much live," he added about not appearing often on other stops. Once he does, he's proven to be a dangerous contender and can now call himself an EPT winner on top of that.

€330 EPT Cup Final Result

PlacePlayerCountryPrize (EUR)
1Børge SandsgaardNorway€47,000
2Jose AstimaFrance€42,000
3Enzo VitaleItaly€23,500
4Hugo BasinFrance€17,800
5Giovanni RosadoniFrance€13,600
6Benoit AlziaryFrance€10,000
7Kevin EnjalbertFrance€7,500
8Patrick CohenFrance€5,400
9Stephen ForsterUnited Kingdom€4,237

The day started with 158 out of 1,057 players, who were all in the money after surviving one of the four Day 1s. Although many players were left at the start, with an average stack of 20 big blinds and 30-minute levels the field got whittled down to the final nine in a little over five hours.

Final table action

Keeping up the trend before the final table, the bustouts kept following each up in quick succession at the final table as well. Stephen Foster (9th - €4,237) was gone directly after the start, while Patrick Cohen (8th - €5,400) followed him shortly afterwards. Cohen was all in with pocket fours but couldn't crack Børge Sandsgaard's pocket aces, the first of many pots the eventual winner would ship.

Kevin Enjalbert became the 7th place finisher (€7,500) after losing with king-queen against Hugo Basin's jack-ten when the latter hit a jack on the flop to win the hand. The next scalp was for Sandsgaard again: he took out Benoit Alziany in 6th place (€10,000). After Sandsgaard knocked out Alziany, he, Basin and Jose Astima held nearly equal stacks of 6 million, while Enzo Vitale and Giovanni Rosadoni were the short stacks with 2 million each.

After the dinner break, former chipleader Hugo Basin found himself on a downward slope and lost several key pots to Sandsgaard to drop to 2 million. Subsequently, the Norwegian claimed the chip lead and never surrendered it afterwards. He knocked out Rosadoni in 5th place (€13,600) with pocket queens against ace-deuce of spades.

Astima, not very active up until that point, then knocked out Basin next (4th - €17,800). Basin shoved king-jack in the small blind and Astima called with queen-jack in the big blind. The queen flopped to end Basin's run. It was another payjump for short stack ninja Vitale, who survived being extremely low on chips throughout the final table. With his last few big blinds, he finally fell in third after losing ace-king against Sandsgaard's jack-ten of spades.

Astima and Sandsgaard compared the numbers, made the deal and agreed not to play heads-up anymore. And just like that, the winner of the EPT Cup was crowned. Congratulations to Børge Sandsgaard!

Winner_Event8 EPT Cup_Borge Sandsgaard
Børge Sandsgaard

Tags: Borge SandsgaardEnzo VitaleHugo BasinJose Astima

€330 EPT Cup: Børge Sandsgaard Wins!

€330 EPT Cup final table
€330 EPT Cup final table

Børge Sandsgaard has become the winner in the €330 EPT Cup after making a deal with Jose Astina heads-up. The deal left Sandsgaard with €47,000 and the trophy, while Astina received €42,000. The players agreed with a handshake and play was instantly stopped.

Sandsgaard won the €1,100 Turbo here in Monaco last year (€15,600) as well as becoming 3rd in the €1,100 National for €83,350. In total, Sandsgaard cashed four times at last year's PokerStars Championship. This year, he continued with what he's been doing last year: winning titles.

A recap of the final table is to follow.

Tags: Borge Sandsgaard

€50K High Roller: Sam Greenwood Bubbles

Sam Greenwood
Sam Greenwood

Sam Greenwood squeezed all in for 263,000 in the big blind at 10,000/25,000/25,000. Nick Petrangelo, the opener called, and small blind Justin Bonomo folded.

Petrangelo: {7-Clubs}{7-Hearts}
Greenwood: {a-Clubs}{k-Clubs}

The flop came {6-Spades}{9-Spades}{10-Hearts} and Petrangelo called for an eight.

"If I bubble this f****** tournament..." Greenwood joked.

He did since it ran out {9-Clubs} and {8-Diamonds}.

"Sorry, Sammy," Petrangelo said. "You'll be all right."

Indeed, after shipping the €100K in addition to the rest of his recent success, Greenwood will likely still be able to put food on the table. Here's how the rest of the tournament looks going into the money with six minutes left in the level:

1Steffen Sontheimer253,000
2Justin Bonomo920,000
3Steve O'Dwyer484,000
4Daniel Dvoress490,000
5Rainer Kempe510,000
6Nick Petrangelo1,380,000

Sontheimer doubled first hand after the bustout when his {10-Spades}{8-Spades} prevailed over Bonomo's {a-Diamonds}{q-Diamonds}.

A Business Man from Iran Takes on the Pros with his Smile as Secret Weapon

Ali Reza Fatehi
Ali Reza Fatehi

Two years ago, Ali Reza Fatehi, a businessman from Iran and based in Dubai, emerged on the international poker circuit and finished third in the €100,000 Super High Roller here in Monaco. Back then, he scored a payday of €828,500 and he was back in action during the current festival at Le Sporting.

Fatehi once again reached the final three before having to settle for the very same position, earning another €669,920 for his efforts. And he has a secret weapon to take on some of the world's best poker players at the poker tables: an almost infectious smile no matter the outcome of a hand.

“The €100,000 in 2016 was my first-ever tournament that I entered with such a big buy-in," he said. "I don't remember what happened, I got lucky, I played good? I don't know. And all that with the toughest players in the world.

"This time, it was different because I now have a lot more experience on them and I can feel I cannot compare myself with me from two years ago. I am coming to be a winner this time, but you see the hand against Christoph (Vogelsang) I cannot do anything with the nut straight on the flop and he had the gutshot straight flush draw and hit.”

Fatehi picked up poker as a kid and learned different variations early on. They started with five-card poker when he was a teenager. Eventually, they moved on to a hidden-card game with others open, then Mexican poker, and finally hold'em. He was taught poker by Farbod Goharbin, who he lost all his money to in just one hour at the home game. "But then, I taught him black jack and won all the money back!" Fatehi joked.

In 2016, a business trip to the Cote D'Azur and turned out to further light the poker fire. Now, Fatehi's a regular face in events all over, but especially PokerStars-hosted festivals.

Furthermore, he has encouraged his friends and countrymen to take part in poker tournaments. He is friends with EPT Main Event champion Hossein Ensan, among others, and several Iranians have taken part in higher stakes tournaments in the last few years.

Behzad Ahadpour (L) and Ali Reza Fatehi
Ali Reza Fatehi and fellow Iranian Behzad Ahadpour (left) in the €100,000 Super High Roller

“I invite all my friends, I push them," he said. "I didn't know anything about poker before, and you see how I run it up. And after that, if you check those two years, you can see a lot of Iranians start to come to the events — we can do it!"

Fatehi has picked a very specific tournament type in order to improve his game, one that comes with a big buy-in and tends to attract some of the best poker players in the world. Because how else would someone be able to get better if not facing the best?

Ali Reza Fatehi

“I enjoy to challenge with the best in the world," he said. "I prefer to play with them because I can improve myself more.”

The World Series of Poker in Las Vegas would be an option, however the visa and travel requirements are quite complicated. Instead, Fatehi has decided to continue his efforts in the European poker circuit. And whenever the Iranian is around the tables, his trademark smile is around.

“In business, with family and friends, in gaming, I am always like that," he said. "I make jokes and like to have fun. You know, it is not just playing poker, it is life. You have to enjoy all seconds of it and I don't want to sit there like a robot and just play poker.”

His smile and positive attitude also has an influence on the high roller regulars as well. He believes such positivity is infectious, and he can see how he lifts the mood at the table with his easygoing approach.

Fatehi is participating on Day 1b of the €5,300 Main Event and would love to make a deep run in it. It is not just the monetary aspect that is important for him, though. He stressed that enjoyment of the game comes first.

Speaking of money though, Fatehi has moved up to second place in the Iranian all-time money list behind Amir Vahedi If his results over the last two years are any indication of things to come, it is just a matter of time before he will be taking over the top spot.

Tags: Ali Reza FatehiBehzad AhadpourHossein Ensan

€330 EPT Cup: Dinner Break with Five Players Left

The players in the €330 EPT Cup have gone on a 60-minute dinner break with five of them remaining. Their stacks are as follows when they'll come back in the 60,000/120,000 level.

SeatPlayerCountryChip CountBig Blinds
1Jose AstimaFrance6,000,00075
2Giovanni RosadoniFrance2,200,00028
4Enzo VitaleItaly2,100,00026
6Børge SandsgaardNorway6,000,00075
8Hugo BasinFrance5,100,00064

Benoit Alziany (6th - €10,000), Kevin Enjalbert (7th - €7,500), Patrick Cohen (8th - €5,400) and Stephen Foster (9th - €4,237) have been eliminated thus far.

Fun and Games at Twitchy Pete's Monte Carlo Mayhem

Fintan Hand Twitch Tournament Winner
Fintan Hand Twitch Tournament Winner

Where else would you find poker players wearing mittens, dressed as fish and calling all-in for the tournament life with five-high? Twitchy Pete’s Monte Carlo Mayhem!

A stellar cast of PokerStars Team Pros saw Celina Lin, Randy Lew, Lex Veldhuis, Fintan Hand, Ben Spragg, Jake Cody, Fatima Moreira de Melo and Liv Boeree take to the felt all in with a chance of winning a $10,000 SCOOP High Main Event ticket, along with $5,000 in tournament buy-ins for their fans.

"It was awesome," said Lex Veldhuis, despite him being the first eliminated. "I really like playing against people you have known for a while. It's really awesome

"I mean you still had the SCOOP Main Event ticket up top, but the forfeits and everything was going through everyone's heads. It's almost like we were thinking harder in certain situations because there are honor and gimmicks and trash talking. I think that made things really interesting."

Fellow Team Online pros Fintan Hand and Ben Spragg agreed with Veldhuis that there was a real competitive streak in everyone wanting to get one up on their fellow ambassadors.

"It's been a lot of fun," said Spragg, "Having fun playing with everyone. It's a soft table too(!) Every pot is not exactly the way you'd usually play it, because it's against people you don't usually play with and of course, you want to beat them!"

"There's also a bit of banter because we're changing the games up," said Hand, "We played worst hand wins for a while, and there was this huge hand with Fatima [Moreira de Melo] making a call with five-high."


Yes, you read that correctly. Team Pro Fatima Moreira de Melo called all-in for her tournament life with five-high. With the table playing 'worst hand wins' for the rest of the level, Spragg raised to 10,000 with {5-Spades}{8-Hearts} from under the gun and Jake Cody three-bet to 30,000 with {7-Hearts}{2-Clubs}. Moreira de Melo called with {5-Clubs}{3-Diamonds} in the hijack and Spragg folded.

A strange assortment of hands saw a flop of {8-Clubs}{9-Hearts}{7-Spades} and it was at this point that host Joe Stapleton stepped back to the table and explained that, because the level had finished, the rules were returning to normal.

Cody bet 20,000 and Moreira de Melo called. The turn was the {4-Clubs} and both players checked. The river was the {a-Spades} and Cody moved all in for 119,900, covering the 114,100 of his fellow Team Pro.

Fatima Moreira de Melo

In one of the weirdest river decisions in the history of poker, Moreira de Melo tanked and contemplated calling with five-high.

She continued to tank, getting to her feet as she thought. "It just feels like I should call. It's that delicious feeling where you feel like you just want to."

After a few moments more she called and lost to Cody's pair of sevens. "If you had been right, it would have been the coolest thing ever," remarked Liv Boeree.

Boeree was also involved in several funny hands, most involving her wearing a pair of brightly colored oven gloves.

Liv Boeree

"I love it," she said, "The boxing gloves have become part of my body! It just feels weird playing poker without them."

Also having to contend with a new piece of poker apparel was Celina Lin, who was forced to wear a fish costume for part of the tournament.

"It felt like a sauna!" she explained, "It's a lot of fun. I'd never met Fintan or Spraggy before this trip and they're really cool guys. The gimmicks and random things that Joe's thrown in are really fun."

Celina Lin

Three-handed both Fintan and Spragg were still in action, battling with Boeree. In the end it was Fintan Hand who emerged victorious after his {10-Diamonds}{8-Diamonds} spiked an eight against the {a-Spades}{5-Diamonds} of Boeree to take down his second trophy in two days, after winning the Right to Play charity event yesterday evening.

Tags: Ben SpraggCelina LinFatima Moreira de MeloFintan HandJake CodyLex VeldhuisLiv BoereeRandy Lew