This being the European Poker Tour, idiosyncrasies abound when compared to similar poker tournaments stateside. The achingly slow blind structure is an example of a laudable difference between EPT and Andy Black, Bertrand Grospellier, Marc Goodwin and Jonathan Little. The two men found themselves petty-bickering over a flop of Q♠ Q♣ 2♣, with Hachem eventually three-betting and Little putting him all-in. Remarkably, the 2005 WSOP Main Even champion opted to make the call despite not actually having a queen, but Little did, and his ace-queen was good to crack Hachem's pocket aces and send the pro to the rail early in level two.
On the flip side of the break, Patrik Antonius got rid of Phil Ivey, calling the G.O.A.T.'s all-in with a double gutshot straight draw and a flush draw and hitting his fifth diamond on the river. Following Ivey were Jeff Williams, Vanessa Rousso and Juha Helppi, the latter of whom cooled off after flopping a set of queens and getting all-in with an opponent who had happened to flop the nut flush.
Then the field broke for an extended series of level and dinner breaks, as detailed above. They returned just in time to learn of the payout structure for this event, which after a glance at the prices on the restaurant menus in this town (€20 for a cheeseburger, no fries or drink) must have relieved most of the players with its lucrative payouts.
The scoop is as follows: A total of 706 players wound up at the felt in Monte Carlo this year, creating a prize pool of a whopping €6,626,400 ($8.8 million), of which 64 players will be paid. The lowest earner will take home €13,270, and the final eight players will all be guaranteed at least a six figure payday. First and second place both become millionaires, with the grand prize totaling €1,825,010 ($2.4 million).
Gus Hansen chose to celebrate the above revelation by promptly busting out of the tournament, sent packing at the hand of Chad Brown who, like every player on this day, made his flush draw after getting all the money in on the flop.
This hand was a wicked three-way all-in that saw Hansen push with bottom two pair, another opponent push with top pair top kicker, and Brown push with 9♣ 6♣ high. Sure enough, Mr. Vanessa Rousso hit his club and sent two players packing, vaulting himself into the chip lead and staying there for the remainder of the day.
Hansen, for his part, was not entirely disappointed by the loss, as it allowed him plenty of time to focus on the finer things in life; namely, the Playboy Playmates who roamed the tournament floor, tempting players like Sirens with their nightclub passes and scanty attire.
Brown would be joined at the top of the leader board by Patrik Antonius, who seemed to be riding a wave of luck that saw him hit every ridiculous draw to bust players. Also remaining in the hunt are Andy Black, Isabelle Mercier, and Joe Beevers, with about 175 players chasing.
The hot poker action will resume in nine hours' time, with the two halves of the field being combined into one uber-field at 2 p.m. Monaco time. For anyone stateside, it's brutally early, but with a PokerListings.com live update the closest thing to a Monte Carlo vacation of your own, you'll want to set that alarm and get comfortable - there's plenty of poker yet to be played.