Monte Carlo Poker Epic Kicks Off


Lower entry field may be due to travel problems associated with Iceland's volcano

This year's entries for the Pokerstars' EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo were disappointingly lower than the 2009 event at 848 - about a hundred less registrants - probably due to travel difficulties in Europe associated with the eruption of a volcano in Iceland and the subsequent disruption of air traffic.

Nevertheless, the excitement was palpable as the first two days of play kicked off this week with a slew of top names in the game competing for a total prize pool of Euro 8 480 000 and an enticing winner's prize worth Euro1,7 million.

Among those entering were Phil Ivey, Roland de Wolfe, Men Nguyen, Johannes Steindl, Phil Laak, Jennifer Tilly, Neil Channing, Greg Raymer, Chad Brown Alex Kravchenko, Patrik Antonius, Arnaud Mattern and Luke Schwartz.

On Day 1a the first field of 351 players abandoned clear and sunny weather for the confines of Le Sporting Club as the tournament commenced, and this first group were whittled down to 173 players nine levels later, with German pro Simon Munz in the chip lead on 175 200. Unfotunately for them, top aces who were eliminated by the end of day 1a included Laak, Barry Greenstein, Alex Kravchenko, Barny Boatman, Erik Seidel, Phil Ivey, Patrick Antonius and Matts Mattern.

Day 1b saw more stars hitting the felt, among them 2009 World Series of Poker Main Event champ Joe Cada, 2009 WPT Champinship winner Yevgeniy Timoshenko and 2009 WSOP Main Event last woman standing Leo Margets - all of whom had survived the action when play ended at 11.30pm, with only 252 players still in the running from a day 1 b field of 497.

The survivors of the two first days will combine for the next leg of the tounrey, which starts Tuesday with a total surviving field of 428.

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