The European Poker Tour (EPT) Grand Final in Monaco got under way last night, with the first starting flight of the Main Event taking place in the principality.
At the end of Day 1A, Las Vegas-based player Dan Smith currently sits atop of the chip ladder, albeit only just. Smith will start the second day of play with 136,500 chips to his name, 600 chips more than second placed Pablo Fernandez. While the lead is miniscule and the other starting flight is yet to be played, all eyes are set be on Smith throughout the tournament.
The American is no stranger to the EPT nor to Monaco – He blitzed last year’s EPT in the tiny rich country, taking out first space in all three events he took part in. For his stellar play in last year’s EPT Monaco, he won a total of €521,480 (around US$690,000), not bad for less than one week’s work.
His accolades have not just been limited to Monaco, however. Smith also placed first in the €50,000 No Limit Hold’em Super High Roller event in August’s EPT Barcelona, earning himself €962,925 (around US$1,183,000) in the process. Such accolades – and they are just the cream of Smith’s amazing poker resume – certainly make Smith one to watch over the next few days. Given his performance in last year’s EPT Monaco, he is certainly a favourite to take out this year’s Main Event.
It will not be an easy ride for Smith though, as 52 other players made the cut from Day 1A, and a larger field will be playing in today’s second starting flight. One player who didn’t make the cut after Day 1A is tennis legend Boris Becker, who busted out before the end of the first day’s play. It was a quick and unfortunate end for the German, who first played in the EPT Monaco five years ago and was hoping to build on his relative success at last month’s EPT Berlin Main Event.
Gleb Privalov took out the first side event at the EPT Grand Final Monaco, winning the €5,200 PLO six-max turbo event. Privalov won €48,000 (around US$62,800) for his efforts in the 28 player tournament. Russian player Artem Litvinov came in second place, taking home a respectable €35,600 (around US$46,600) for his solid play in the event.
Day 1B of the EPT Grand Final Monaco Main Event takes place later today at Monte Carlo’s Salle des Etoiles. Numerous other events, including an 8-handed no limit event and a no limit heads up event, are also set to take place over the next nine days.