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EPT -- Grand Final Day 1A

World's Best Kick Off Highly Anticipated EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo


Phil IveyThe European Poker Tour Grand Final in Monte Carlo began today with a turnout of 396 players. Day 1A saw a mix of some of the most respected online and live players the poker world has to offer, including Daniel Negreanu, Barry Greenstein, Chris Moneymaker, Chris Ferguson, and Annette Obrestad.

Unfortunately, a big helping of that field busted out before end of play. Some of the casualties were Phil Ivey (pictured left) — who, after an early growth spurt, went on to bleed chips during the opening levels — EPT San Remo champion Constant Rijkenberg, Jonas Klausen, Orjan Holt, Davidi Kitai, Michael Mcdonald, Team PokerStars pro Greg Raymer, Marion Nedellec, Markus Golser, and 2009 PCA Champion Poorya Nazari.

Dennis Phillips was doing well throughout the day and appeared to be in good form. In one hand, he bet from the cutoff on a board of J 7 6 J, and one opponent called him down, making the pot 25,000. The 2 fell on the river, and Phillips bet 8,800. His opponent made the call once again, and Phillips flipped up A 5  to take it down. The WSOP main event final tablist was up to 50,000 after the hand, and only got bigger and better from there, dwindling a little towards the end to finish the day off with around 82,000 in chips.

The atmosphere was truly spectacular at the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel, as anticipation and excitement filled the air. On one side of the room, Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier took part in a sit-and-go record-breaking feat whereby he attempted to play as many sit-and-go tournaments online as possible within an hour. He finished at a a staggering 62. Frequently, some familiar faces from the celebrity world could be seen sauntering through the lavish interior of the casino — the remains of the Ante Up for Africa charity tournament, which took place last night, of which the final table contestants were:

Seat 1: Dario Minieri, Team PokerStars ProIsabelle Mercier

Seat 2: John Duthie, Team PokerStars Pro

Seat 3: Patrick Chene

Seat 4: Sebastian Chabal

Seat 5: Luca Pagano, Team PokerStars Pro

Seat 6: Tony G

Seat 7: Daniel Negreanu, Team PokerStars Pro

Seat 8: Teddy Sheringham, England Football Star

Seat 9: Isabelle Mercier, Team PokerStars Pro

Isabelle Mercier (pictured right) was the champion in the end, and the tournament raised €260,000 for charity relief work in war-ravaged Darfur, Sudan in Africa.

Other celebrities here for the same tournament, and who are now mingling with the poker community, include hip-hop artist Nelly, singer/songwriter Christina Milian, and Liverpool Football Club goalie Pepe Reina. Nelly will take to the felt tomorrow, along with a host of other pros and online whiz kids for day 1B of the Grand Final main event.

The chip counts we currently have for day 1A show that Lee Nelson is the chip leader with 212,000, followed soon after by Luca Pagano with 158,000, Dario Minieri with 110,000, and Annette Obrestad with 105,000. Official chip counts will soon be released before tomorrow’s victims take to the floor here at the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel and Casino. Join the Card Player live reporting team at noon CEST (3 a.m. PDT) to follow all the action.