Griffin, Karam poleaxing EPT Grand Final

Gavin Griffin

They've cut it to eight at the European Poker Tour's Grand Final in Monte Carlo, but it's looking like it'll be a two-man sword fight for the title. Your likely combatants: prohibitive chip leader and one of the youngest World Series of Poker bracelet winners ever, Gavin Griffin, and his nearest rival, the powerhouse Canadian Marc Karam.

Of course, as often happens, a final table in the poker world can turn on a dime.

But if play holds true to form on Day 5 of the EPT Grand Final as it has on Days 1-4, it should for all intents and purposes be the aforementioned Griffin and Karam at the ready for heads-up play.

Reason #1: Griffin's massive $2.6 million stack, which puts him clearly in the lead and gives him a huge chip advantage on his nearest competitor to start the final table.

Reason #2: That nearest competitor is Karam, whose $1.7 million in chips is not overwhelmingly ahead of the other six, but who has been around the leaderboard for much of the tournament and deservedly so, with aggressive betting and imaginative play showing he's to be reckoned with.

The only caveat: The players will have to keep their attention on the tournament rather than on the occasional €20,000 sit-and-go carrying-on in other parts of the Salle des Etoiles, spearheaded by 2005 Joseph Hachem and other well-heeled eliminatees.

They must also be wary of the latent threats - in the form of Hendon Mobster Andy Black - still lurking at the final table with them.

But, a ridiculous €1.8 million first-place prize should manage to hold their attention and it's bound to be a barnburner of a table, regardless of who gets to the final two.

PokerListings.com's Owen Laukkanen has been in Monaco all weekend - nursing both a single €20 cheeseburger for sustenance and a host of silver dollar-sized blisters from wearing wicker sandals without socks - to provide the best coverage in the business to the Live Tournaments Section.

And he's succeeded famously; check it out for great hand recaps, intimate and telling details from the tables and a revealing exclusive interview with Team Bodog pro Josh Arieh.

Action at the final table begins at 4 p.m. Monte Carlo time, which happens to be 10 a.m. (EDT) and 7 a.m. (PDT), and here are your approximate chip counts heading in:

PlaceNameChip Count
1st Gavin Griffin $2,597,000
2nd Marc Karam $1,742,000
3rd Soren Kongsgaard $1,612,000
4th Josh Prager $1,593,000
5th Kristian Kjondal $1,203,000
6th Steve Jelinek $758,000
7th Andy Black $683,000
8th Ram Vaswani $432,000

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