The field of the 2017 PokerStars Championship presented by Monte-Carlo Casino Main Event (man, I hate that name) was cut by two-thirds on Tuesday, as the 134 players that began the day are now just 45. France’s Michael Kolkowicz is the chip leader of the first PokerStars Championship Main Event in Europe with 1.445 million chips. Not far behind is Stefan Schillhabel with 1.380 million. Davidi Kitai is also above the million chip mark.
One of the more stunning developments of Day 3 was the busting of Nick Petrangelo, who was the chip leader going into the day. Now, early-to-mid tournament chip leaders often hit the rail well before the final table, but in this case, it is the suddenness of Petrangelo’s departure that was so surprising.
It was just two hands, really, that did him in, though doesn’t every hand in a tournament ultimately contribute to the end result? In the first hand, Petrangelo raised pre-flop and then Alexandru Papazian three-bet to 30,000 chips. Romain Nardin then moved all-in for 135,000 and Petrangelo shoved all-in over the top. Papazian folded and Petrangelo showed A-K suited, way ahead of Nardin’s A-8 offsuit. Nardin, though, flopped an 8, sucking out on Petrangelo and staying alive while Petrangelo saw his chip stack fall to 230,000.
Not long thereafter was a bombshell of a hand.
One player raised to 11,500 pre-flop, 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event champ Martin Jacobson re-raised to 40,000, leaving himself very thin. Petrangelo called, Nardin then four-bet, and Jacobson called off the rest of his chips, the obvious play at that point. Petrangelo proceeded to move all-in for 350,000 (he had chipped up since the suckout hand) and Nardin stayed right with him, calling.
Nardin held A-K, Petrangelo had pocket Jacks, and Jacobson, the shortest stack of the three, had pocket Tens. Nardin was behind, but he was very much drawing live. The flop was 9-4-9, helping nobody and keeping Petrangelo in the lead. The 5 on the turn changed nothing. That all just served to build up the drama, as an Ace was dealt on the river, giving Nardin the best pair and knocking two fantastic players out of the tournament.
That massive pot took Nardin up to 800,000 chips. He wasn’t able to keep up his hot streak, but he is still alive going into Day 4 with 577,000 chips.
The plan for Wednesday is for the 45 remaining players to gather at noon local time at play through five 90-minute levels, each followed by a 20-minute break. Everyone at this point is guaranteed at least €15,420. That figure does not increase until there are 31 players left in the field. Six-figure prizes are not awarded until the final six, so there may be some big moves made early as players jockey to build up their stacks.
2017 PokerStars Championship Monte-Carlo Casino Main Event – Day 3 Chip Leaders
1. Michael Kolkowicz – 1,445,000
2. Stefan Schillhabel – 1,380,000
3. Davidi Kitai – 1,087,000
4. Maxim Panyak – 921,000
5. Marius-Catalin Pertea – 860,000
6. Moritz Dietrich – 821,000
7. Bertrand Grospellier – 766,000
8. Sergio Aido – 719,000
9. Hossein Ensan – 718,000
10. Alexandru Papazian – 670,000