The European Poker Tour is back in action – at least for a short bit before the World Series of Poker – holding their EPT Monte Carlo for the first time in three years. The return of Europe’s most popular tournament series has brought the biggest names out for the festivities, with the €5000 Main Event and the €25,000 High Roller going at the same time. Both will have a great deal of action on Friday when they return to the felt at the Monte Carlo Casino.

Final Sixteen Players Set for Run at Main Event Title

Denmark’s Morten Hvam has been up and down the leaderboard through the first few days of the tournament, but Day 3 would see him finish on the upswing. Hvam started off the day with 465,000 in chips after leading on Day 1, but he would quickly add to that stack and never look back.

In one of the early hands of action on the featured table for the PokerStars livestream, Hvam would square off against Gaelle Baumann in a blind versus blind battle. After a K-8-6 flop hit the table, Baumann would check her option and, after Hvam put out a small bet, Baumann challenged him with a check raise to 36K. Hvam did not waste any time putting out a three bet that would have required Baumann to commit her stack. After she plopped those calling chips in the center, she was not happy with the outcome:

Baumann: K-9
Hvam: A-K

Top pair/Ace kicker was good enough for the lead for Hvam, and an Ace on the river added insult to injury. Hvam would scoop up those chips and, along with some late evening knockouts, end up atop the standings for Day 3:

1. Morten Hvam (Denmark), 3.895 million
2. Ramon Colillas (Spain), 3.480 million
3. Hugo Pingray (France), 3.36 million
4. Nariman Yaghmai (Iran), 2.6 million
5. Francky Magliocco (France), 2.55 million
6. Ferenc Deak (Hungary), 2.19 million
7. Erkan Soenmez (Germany), 2.075 million
8. Marcelo Simoes (Brazil), 1.845 million
9. Jussi Nevanlinna (Finland) 1.710 million
10. Yannick Cardot (France), 1.525 million

High Roller Event Packs the Seats

Normally a €25,000 buy in tournament will feature a smaller field, partially because of the size of the buy-in and partially because of the quality of player. That did not seem to apply to the EPT Monte Carlo €25,000 High Roller event, which drew in 160 entries over its Day 1 action. Only 69 of those players will come back for action on Day 2 on Friday, but there could be a few stragglers who will come in before late registration closes with the start of play.

Two of the noted denizens of the “high roller” community made sure that they would be coming back on Friday with decent stacks. Both Stephen Chidwick and Steve O’Dwyer battled their way through the day, with the duo taking different courses to their Day 2 stacks. O’Dwyer launched out of the gate very quickly and coasted to the end of the day. Meanwhile, Chidwick came off the mat after some early troubles, but will be around with a very strong stack for the Day 2 fun.

While O’Dwyer and Chidwick were the focus of many in the Monte Carlo Casino, it was Germany’s Sirzat Hissou who was able to work his way to the overall lead. In fact, he is the only player over the 300K mark in a closely bunched field:

1. Sirzat Hissou (Germany), 359,000
2. Troy Quenneville (Canada), 294,800
3. Orpen Kisacikoglu (Turkey), 263,200
4. Kent Staahle (Norway), 255,900
5. Steve O’Dwyer (Ireland), 251,500
6. Stephen Chidwick (United Kingdom), 246,800
7. Ramiro Petrone (Argentina), 245,800
8. Mathias Eibinger (Austria), 216,500
9. Pascal Lefrancois (Canada), 197,100
10. Rodrigo Sejii (Brazil), 188,700

Action in both tournaments will resume tomorrow, with plans to play to the final table for the Main Event. Both tournaments will feature live streaming through PokerStars’ Twitch outlet on a 30-minute delay for both events.

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