Potijk Leads, Buddiga Chases at EPT Grand Final

Pratyush Buddiga
Pratyush Buddiga has a chance to improve on his eighth-place finish at the recent EPT Berlin.

The PokerStars EPT Grand Final in Monaco has reached the home stretch with 26 players remaining and Holland’s Geert-Jan Potijk in the lead.

Also still in it with a shot at the €1.5 million first-place prize are Ben Vinson, Pratyush Buddiga, Jason Wheeler, Mohsin Charania, Andrew Pantling and Amit Makhija.

Pratyush Buddiga is coming straight off an eighth-place finish at EPT Berlin less than two weeks ago which, as it turns out, is the only reason he’s here in Monte Carlo at all.

“I wasn’t going to come here until I got eighth in Berlin so it’s definitely working out,” Buddiga told PokerListings.com in the day’s final level.

“Coming off the disappointment of the close call in Berlin it’s pretty nice to have another chance at redemption but you never know, I could be out in 26th or I could win,” he said.

Buddiga is a former Scripps National Spelling Bee champion who has notched cashes on the EPT, WSOP and WSOP Circuit since turning to poker just a couple years ago.

Buddiga was sitting with 150,000 in chips when the bubble broke but went on a run from there and finished the night with 970,000, good for seventh position out of the 26 who remain.

“I’ve been lucky in some flips but I’ve been able to chip up a lot without showdown, so even if those races hadn’t gone my way I would still have a stack,” said Buddiga.

Ben Vinson
UK pro Ben Vinson finished fifth our of 26.

“I had never gone deep in a big tournament before Berlin so I think that’s helping at this stage,” he added.

Vinson, Wheeler, Charania Keep Pros’ Hopes Alive

Also through to Day 4 are a handful of professional poker players who should be familiar to the astute poker fan.

Ben Vinson, a UK pro with a long list of cashes dating back to 2006, finished fifth in chips with just over 1 million, while France’s Lucille Cailly, the last woman standing in this event, is just a few steps behind with 999,000.

Cailly has had two previous EPT results but is now guaranteed the biggest score of her career since everyone who returns tomorrow will pocket at least €35,000.

Two more American professionals, Jason Wheeler and Mohsin Charania, are sitting in the upper-middle class of the chip counts with 903,000 and 875,000, respectively.

Heading into Day 4 dead last in chips is live tournament regular Amit Makhija with 317,000.

Here are the top ten counts heading into Day 4:

  • 1 - Geert-Jan Potijk 1,320,000
  • 2 - Bernard Guigon - 1,212,000
  • 3 - Georges Dib - 1,118,000
  • 4 - Andoni Larrabe - 1,071,000
  • 5 - Ben Vinson - 1,039,000
  • 6 - Lucille Cailly - 999,000
  • 7 - Pratyush Buddiga - 970,000
  • 8 - Anatoly Gurtovoy - 945,000
  • 9 - Sergio Castelluccio - 944,000
  • 10 - Vadzim Markushevski - 922,000
Justin Bonomo
Just a few days ago Justin Bonomo won the Super High Roller for €1.6 million.

Bonomo, Benger Among Busted

American pro Justin Bonomo was fresh off winning the €100,000 Super High Roller event here in Monte Carlo and managed to make a deep run in the main event as well.

Bonomo worked the shortstack like a pro, navigating himself to 28th place and a €35,000 payday. It doesn’t quite stack up to the €1.6 million he won just a few days ago, but in Monte Carlo you need every euro you can get your hands on.

The last surviving member of Team PokerStars Pro was Matthias de Meulder, who finished in 34th place for €30,000.

The Belgian got unlucky to go, all-in preflop with pocket queens against Jason Wheeler’s pocket jacks. A jack on the flop sent the pot to Wheeler and de Meulder out the door.

Canadian online MTT crusher Griffin Benger also went bust today, but snagged his first EPT cash.

Benger got unlucky with pocket tens against A-6 in a big preflop all-in, and then got what was left of his stack in with A-8 against A-9 shortly after.

PokerListings.com spoke with the former pro video gamer about his millions in online poker earnings and what it was like to move from video games to online poker. Check that interview here.

Also busted today but getting a piece of the cash were Erik Seidel (46th), Stephen Chidwick (48th), Sandra Naujoks (51st), Leo Margets (57th), Basil Yaiche (59th), Angel Guillen (66th) Tristan Clemencon (67th) and Noah Boeken (91st).

Day 4 will see the final 26 reduced to eight. Check our Poker News Section for the update.

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