Battling through one of the most difficult final tables in recent memory, Nicolas Dumont was able to vanquish several top professionals on his way to winning the championship of the European Poker Tour Monte Carlo in Monaco on Friday.
Dumont was at the helm of the ship at the start of action on Friday, sitting on a stack of 5.255 million chips. The problem was that the seven players behind him – Tomas Jozonis (3.8 million), Honglin Jiang (2.985 million), Patrik Antonius (2.975 million), Javier Fernandez (2.755 million), David Peters (2.4 million), Krisztian Gyorgyi (1.94 million) and Ole Schemion (1.16 million) – were so tightly packed together and with similar chip stacks that one move among this crowd would bring a challenger to Dumont. All it would take is one knockout, it was just a question of how quickly it would come.
The answer to that question was one hand. Right off the opening bell, Peters opened the betting and Antonius made the call. Schemion wasn’t looking to play for just a raise, however, three betting with an all-in move. Peters gave some respect to the German, but Antonius wanted to look him up and called. Schemion found some paint with his K♦ Q♦, but Antonius did him better with an A♥ J♥. The J-9-5 gave something to both men – top pair/top kicker for Antonius, a gut shot straight draw for Schemion – but that’s where it would end. A deuce on the turn and a four on the river didn’t aid Schemion, sending him to the rail in eighth place.
Antonius was quite active in the early going, but not always to his benefit. He doubled up Peters when his inferior A-Q couldn’t catch up with Peters’ A-K and then shifted some chips to Jiang after he was three-bet. Eventually, Antonius couldn’t take advantage of his knockout of Schemion, settling back in with a similar stack that he had before the Schemion elimination.
Fernandez was the next player to go after several efforts at doubling up. Fernandez continually pushed all in with meager holdings, looking to increase his short stack, but that tactic only works if you aren’t called. When Fernandez pushed holding an A-4 and Jozonis decided he’d had enough and called with only an A-10 off suit, the “all in” move worked for Fernandez’s final time. A ten high board unnecessarily paired Jozonis to give him the hand and send Fernandez to the rail in seventh place.
Dumont was remaining quiet at this point, but he was keeping his lead also. After a raise from Antonius, Dumont three bet the hand and Antonius came along with a call. A 7-K-8 flop brought a check from both men, but a Queen on the turn saw Dumont fire off 450K and Antonius check-call. Another King on the turn saw Antonius check for a third time and Dumont put out 525K into the now-sizeable pot. Antonius called after using two time bank cards (the players were on a 30-second shot clock) and was dismayed to see that Dumont had slow-played him massively; the pocket Kings Dumont turned up with the two on the board gave him quads, easily crushing Antonius’ pocket tens and sending him to the basement of the chip counts.
This wasn’t the last time these two would clash. After a level up, Antonius saw a K-Q off suit on the button and moved in, with chip leader Dumont sitting in the big blind. Dumont took a quick look at his cards and made the call, turning up an A♦ 8♦ for the battle. A 9-4-10 flop didn’t help either player and a second nine on the turn kept Dumont in the lead. Looking for a King or Queen on the river, Antonius instead saw a seven, ending his run in the tournament in sixth place.
After taking this hand, Dumont began to toss his weight – and the chips – around. He four-bet Jiang out of a pot and, after Jiang drew closer to him, jumped over the 10 million chip mark in besting Jiang out of another pot in which Dumont got three streets of action. Jiang, however, would find the other players on the felt a bit more giving of their chips, knocking off Gyorgyi and Jozonis (even though Jozonis had ended Peters’ day in fourth) to take over the lead as heads up play began.
The duo would battle over an hour, with both holding the lead at some point, before one colossal hand saw the end of the event. With Dumont holding a slight lead, he limped into the final hand and Jiang raised the action. Dumont, after a moment’s thought, now three-bet Jiang to 1.55 million and Jiang fired right back with an all-in move. It was the wrong time for that, however, as Dumont more than happily called and tabled his pocket Queens that he’d trapped Jiang with. Jiang could only show an inferior pocket pair of sixes that, after a 7-K-3-8-3 board was dealt, eliminated him in second place and crowned Dumont the champion of the EPT Monte Carlo.
1. Nicolas Dumont, €712,000 (and a Platinum Pass)
2. Honglin Jiang, €434,000
3. Tomas Jozonis, €308,000
4. David Peters, €232,000
5. Krisztian Gyorgyi, €184,000
6. Patrik Antonius, €139,500
7. Javier Fernandez, €99,900
8. Ole Schemion, €68,300