Eight players remain, one will stand tall at the end of the day. The PokerStars and Monte-Carlo©Casino EPT is back in the principality in on the French Riviera and after five action-packed days, the lion's share of the €3,768,450 prize pool is still up for grabs. All players are guaranteed at least €68,300 for their efforts but all eyes are locked on the €712,500 first-place prize and the coveted moniker of EPT champion that awaits the winner.
There's also a free $30,000 Platinum Pass ready for the winner. Everyone one of the remaining players is eligible for the extra prize, except David Peters, who already won a Pass at the PCA. If Peters would win today, the runner-up will receive the prized Pass instead.
The action-packed Day 5 of the Main Event will go down in history as one of the most exciting days in recent poker history. A field of 16 shed half its hopefuls and went down to 8, where seemingly every one of the final 8 players held the chip lead at some point. Chipleader coming into the final day is Nicolas Dumont, who will start the day with 5,255,000 in chips.
Joining Dumont on stage are Tomas Jozonis (3,800,000), Honglin Jiang (2,985,000), Patrik Antonius (2,975,000), who can be a two-time EPT champion if he was to win, Javier Fernandez (2,755,000), Peters (2,400,000) and German mastermind Ole Schemion, who will start as the short stack with 1,160,000.
Rounding out the final 8 is Hungarian qualifier Krisztian Gyorgyi (1,940,000), who put himself on the highlight reel for years to come with an instantly classic seven-deuce play that went viral shortly after. Gyorgyi has no recorded live cashes and qualified for this event for just $5 on PokerStars.
Cards will be in the air at noon and the final table will be broadcasted with cards up on a 30-minute delay. PokerNews will time the updates along with the stream as to not spoil anything as it happens live here in Le Sporting in the Monte Carlo Bay Resort & Hotel. Follow the action from start to finish as we crown a new EPT champion!
|Seat||Player||Country||Chip Count||Big Blinds|
|3||David Peters||United States||2,400,000||24|
|8||Honglin Jiang||New Zealand||2,985,000||29|
Player profiles below courtesy of PokerStars
Javier Fernandez is another product of the strong contingent of Spanish pros who relocated to the United Kingdom to continue playing online in the global liquidity pool. Fernandez, who originally comes from Madrid, now resides in Cardiff, sharing an apartment with another grinder, fellow countryman Manuel "manuverd0n" Bardón.
Fernandez launched his live tournament career here at EPT Monte Carlo. He'd arrived at the festival with only six reported live cashes to his name but immediately added a seventh and most valuable. He outlasted a 57-strong field in the €2k Turbo, denying Ryan Riess heads-up to claim the €33,200 first-place prize and his spade trophy.
But it turned out to be just an appetizer for Fernandez who now found his way to the six-handed Main Event final table, securing himself his first six-figure payday.
Fernandez only started earning the attention of poker media but the 30-year-old his online résumé boasts over $1.7 million in tournament winnings. Fernandez is known as "que_te_crio" on PokerStars where he's notched two runner-up finishes in SCOOP events and two Bounty Builder High Roller victories.
Javier Fernandez in EPT Main Events:Previous cashes: -
Previous final tables: -
Total Main Event winnings: -
Javier Fernandez' Main Event run:
|Ended Day 1 with||139,000||35 / 299|
|Ended Day 2 with||393,500||84 / 120|
|Ended Day 3 with||1,605,000||2 / 45|
|Ended Day 4 with||2,120,000||3 / 16|
|Ended Day 5 with||2,755,000||5 / 8|
Tomas Jozonis is currently the Lithuanian #1-ranked player on the prestigious PocketFives online tournament leaderboard. The 27-year-old poker pro has a degree International Business and Communication but he attempted to make yet another career. Jozonis is a passionate beach volleyball player who was trying to get into the Lithuanian professional league in the past few years. A series of knee injuries prevented him from reaching the top level but Jozonis still loves the game. "I think I started too late," he said.
Now his career is solely poker-oriented and Jozonis' hard work starts paying off. While he's already amassed over $400,000 in live cashes and lies in 14th place on Lithuania's all-time money list, Jozonis true live poker breakthrough came here at EPT Monte Carlo, having already locked up the top live result of his career. His largest previous cash was A$95,760 for a ninth place in the 2017 Aussie Millions A$25k Challenge.
Jozonis mainly specializes in online tournaments. He plays usually three or four times a week and his bio reveals over $3 million in online winnings. That is a great experience to bring to a stacked final table. He's looking to become the first ever EPT Main Event champion from Lithuania. Five of his fellow countrymen previously made it to the top eight. Mantas Visockis had the closest shot at the title, coming second to Ruben Visser at EPT9 London.
Tomas Jozonis in EPT Main Events:
Previous cashes: 1
Previous final tables: 0
Total Main Event winnings: €14,110
Tomas Jozonis' Main Event run:
|Ended Day 1 with||93,500||89 / 299|
|Ended Day 2 with||198,000||50 / 120|
|Ended Day 3 with||1,141,000||5 / 45|
|Ended Day 4 with||4.075,000||1 / 16|
|Ended Day 5 with||3,800,000||2 / 8|
It's been eleven years since a teenager David Peters appeared in Monaco to fire the €10k EPT Grand Final Main Event. Peters almost made it to the final table, falling in 12th place for €66,360. Back then, it was only Peters' fourth reported live cash (and the biggest at the time) as he still wasn't allowed to play in most of the United States.
Peters has added more than 200 live cashes since then, winning well over $20 million. His pedigree boasts dozens of six-figure results as well as three seven-figure rewards, with the latest one of them coming last month in the inaugural Super High Roller Bowl China.
Now a seasoned pro with numerous achievements to his name, Peters returned to Monaco shortly after celebrating his 31st birthday. He had no success in a couple of high rollers but then stormed through the Main Event where he was pacing the field for two consecutive days (Day 2 and Day 3).
He will claim his sixth EPT Main Event cash on Friday, and second from a final table. His nearest bid for the title came at EPT13 Prague where he banked €397,300 for a third-place finish.
Peters' has already come close to reaching PokerStars Live Main Event final table but he was downed in 11th place at PCA 2018 after crushing the tournament for almost three straight days. But the PCA 2018 didn't have a bitter end for Peters as he won the lottery for a Platinum Pass, being luckily selected in a drawing. Should he win here at EPT Monte Carlo, the Pass awarded to the champion would go to the runner-up instead.
David Peters in EPT Main Events:
Previous cashes: 5
Previous final tables: 1 (3rd at EPT13 Prague for €397,300)
Total Main Event winnings: €541,906
David Peters' Main Event run:
|Ended Day 1 with||191,300||15 / 299|
|Ended Day 2 with||603,500||1 / 120|
|Ended Day 3 with||1,839,000||1 / 45|
|Ended Day 4 with||1,675,000||6 / 16|
|Ended Day 5 with||2,400,000||6 / 8|
This deep run is a dream come true for 26-year-old amateur player Krisztian Gyorgyi who qualified to his first EPT Main Event for only $5. He is guaranteed to take home a six-figure prize after navigating to the final table. Gyorgyi hails from Hungary but moved to Stuttgart, Germany where he works in the metal industry.
Gyorgyi likes to play online tournaments, mainly the knockout format. He is also often seen in sit- and-goes, playing mostly small stakes. His best online was making the final table of the PokerStars Sunday Storm where he outlasted more than 34,000 opponents to earn just under $5,000.
Gyorgyi will face an incredibly tough competition on the final table but he's fearless. "I think I have an advantage, I know all the players because I always watched the EPT, but nobody knows me."
Hungary is yet to celebrate its first EPT Main Event champion. Denes Kalo had two close attempts but lost heads-up on both occasions and Marton Czuczor added another silver medal two years ago at EPT13 Prague.
Krisztian Gyorgyi in EPT Main Events:
Previous cashes: -
Previous final tables: -
Total Main Event winnings: -
Krisztian Gyorgyi's Main Event run:
|Ended Day 1 with||80,100||111 / 299|
|Ended Day 2 with||321,000||19 / 120|
|Ended Day 3 with||335,000||24 / 45|
|Ended Day 4 with||1,770,000||5 / 16|
|Ended Day 5 with||1,940,000||7 / 8|
Patrik Antonius is notoriously known as one of the main characters of the golden poker era. When the stakes raised higher than ever after the Moneymaker boom, he was in the perfect place. Mentored by Marcel Lüske and Jennifer Harman, Antonius reached the pinnacle of the high stakes cash game.
The world's best players were regularly gathering in the legendary online nosebleeds games on Full Tilt Poker. Using monikers such as "FinddaGrind" and "CryMeRiver9", Antonius was trading massive, sometimes seven-figure pots with some of the most iconic players in history. He was successfully competing with the likes of Phil Ivey, Tom Dwan or Viktor Blom in their prime.
Antonius, a former tennis player, coach and model, was one of the biggest winners in these incredibly tough games. Various tracking websites show Antonius' all-time online cash game graph well on the north side of a $10 million profit.
After almost a decade in the spotlight, Antonius stepped down in the past few years. He moved to Monaco and enjoyed flying under the radar and playing mostly in private cash games. Now, "The Finn" is back in full swing.
2018 has already been Antonius' best year on the live tournament circuit. He's racked up over $4 million in cashes through the first four months, including $3,153,551 for a second place in the inaugural Super High Roller Bowl in China. Antonius reclaimed the top spot on Finland's all-time money list, having pushed his live earnings over the $11 million mark.
And while he admitted he isn't an experienced tournament player anymore, the class is permanent. He returned to the EPT Main Event final table more than 12 years since he claimed his title in Baden. Now he's eyeing to become only the second two-time champion, following Victoria Coren Mitchell.
Patrik Antonius in EPT Main Events:
Previous cashes: 3
Previous final tables: 2 (1st at EPT2 Baden for €288,180, 3rd at EPT2 Barcelona for €117,000)
Total Main Event winnings: €423,500
Patrik Antonius' Main Event run:
|Ended Day 1 with||66,500||139 / 299|
|Ended Day 2 with||114,000||84 / 120|
|Ended Day 3 with||778,000||9 / 45|
|Ended Day 4 with||1,505,000||7 / 16|
|Ended Day 5 with||2,975,000||4 / 8|
While Ole Schemion hasn't made it to the exclusive EPT Main Event Champions' club yet, he's arguably one of the most talented players the tour has ever seen. He's still only 25 years old but has already become an EPT legend. Schemion burst onto the live scene as an 18-year-old wunderkind. He arrived at the Spielbank Berlin to play the EPT in his home city and his first notch was, unsurprisingly, a win. Schemion topped the €1k Event for €54,200 to kick off his groundbreaking career.
One of the true wizards of the game, Schemion has established himself in the nosebleeds events and has been constantly showing his prowess in the large fields as well. He's already knocked twice on the door in the EPT Main Event but he couldn't close it out when he finished fifth at EPT10 Prague and sixth here in Monaco back in 2015.
Now he has another attempt, and it will be again in the Salle des Etoiles tournament room where he's been exceptionally successful over the years. Schemion scooped three side event trophies at EPT9 Grand Final before conquering the high stakes scene, claiming the €100k and €50k Super High Roller titles, among other hefty cashes.
In all, he's cashed in 17 tournaments here (including five wins) for a jaw-dropping €4,736,856. With another final table ahead of him, Schemion needs a top-three finish to cross €5 million in total earnings from PokerStars live events held in the ministate. If he's ever due to lift the EPT Main Event trophy, no place in the world would fit the narrative better than Monaco.
Ole Schemion in EPT Main Events:
Previous cashes: 9
Previous final tables: 2 (5th at EPT10 Prague for €218,300, 6th at EPT11 Grand Final for €233,500)
Total Main Event winnings: €608,080
Ole Schemion's Main Event run:
|Ended Day 1 with||104,900||74 / 299|
|Ended Day 2 with||285,000||25 / 120|
|Ended Day 3 with||714,000||13 / 45|
|Ended Day 4 with||2,630,000||2 / 16|
|Ended Day 5 with||1,160,000||8 / 8|
31-year-old Nicolas Dumont lives near Paris. He wasn't meant to play the Main Event but a serious of events led him to buy-in to the tournament and now he's leading the eight-handed final table. It started when Dumont's friend wanted to play but eventually couldn't so he offered Dumont a deal; if he could find a spare bed somewhere in Monaco, his friend would buy him into the Main Event.
And so the French driving instructor competes against some of the world's most prolific opponents, playing his first ever EPT. Dumont was the shortest stack on the final two tables but won all key all-in confrontations on Day 5, climbing all the way to the top.
His live tournament résumé reveals six previous cashes worth less than $25,000 combined. His best result to date was €9,500 in a €2,700 event that took place last month in Barcelona.
Dumont's Main Event run:
|Ended Day 1 with||116,100||59 / 299|
|Ended Day 2 with||483,000||3 / 120|
|Ended Day 3 with||341,000||23 / 45|
|Ended Day 4 with||500,000||16 / 16|
|Ended Day 5 with||5,255,000||1 / 8|
It's not easy to define where Honglin Jiang calls it his home. The 31-year-old New Zealander comes from Auckland but he's lived in London for the last five years. He's been studying there and working in finance "I'm kind of on my way back to that side of the world," Jiang said. He's moving back to Sydney, a city where his wife comes from.
Jiang recently resigned from his position and planned a few poker trips on his trip back to the Southern Hemisphere. He stopped in Barcelona last month to make the €10k Main Event final table, finishing ninth for €150,000. Now he's made it to another finale here at EPT Monte Carlo, securing himself another five-figure reward. He's only the second New Zealander to appear on the EPT Main Event final table, following EPT4 London fourth-place finisher Josh Egan.
While Jiang plays poker only recreationally, he's racked up more than $280,000 through six live reported cashes. He's guaranteed to move inside the top ten on New Zealand's all-time money list with his addition from the EPT Main Event final table.
But the recent success in poker doesn't shift Jiang's primary focus. "Family comes first," he said, noting that he will only play a few local events when he makes it to Australia as he doesn't aspire to regularly grind on the major live poker circuit.
Honglin Jiang in EPT Main Events:
Previous cashes: -
Previous final tables: -
Total Main Event winnings: -
Honglin Jiang's Main Event run:
|Ended Day 1 with||63,300||144 / 299|
|Ended Day 2 with||127,000||76 / 120|
|Ended Day 3 with||561,000||15 / 45|
|Ended Day 4 with||1,890,000||4 / 16|
|Ended Day 5 with||2,985,000||3 / 8|