Chris McClung, Mike McDonald In Top Ten At EPT San Remo

Christopher Mcclung EPT

The European Poker Tour stop at the Casino San Remo in Italy has proven to be a playground for Canadian players as two of them, Chris McClung and Mike McDonald, have battled their way into the Top Ten.

Of the 837 players that started this tournament on Friday, only 144 were left when the cards hit the air this afternoon (San Remo time). There were bound to be some unhappy players as, with only 128 spots paying out in the tournament, sixteen players would depart empty handed from their stay on the shores of the Mediterranean. It would take the entirety of the first level of play on Monday to burst the money bubble.

Just missing being in the money was David Costa, who was down to his last 30K and pushed it in with pocket fives. Unfortunately for Costa, he ran into Francesco DeVivo, who made the call and tabled his pocket Queens. Once no miracle came, David Costa was gone from the tournament short of the money bubble.

The bubble actually burst while players were on the first break of the day, with the honors being performed by McClung. In a hand against Christian Troger and the board reading 10-7-4, Chris check-raised Troger all in and Troger made the call. His A-7 was vastly outpaced by Chris’ pocket Kings and, once the turn and river brought no surprises, Troger was out on the bubble and Chris moved up the leaderboard.

Mike Mcdonald EPT

While McClung has been able to move up the leaderboard, he has been joined by a contingent of Canadians on the march. Joining Chris in the Top Ten is Mike McDonald, who has been able to move up to 640,000 in chips, good for eighth place. Two players, former chip leader Kevin Ayow and Tyler Bonkowski, are running a bit low on chips but are still in the tournament at this point. A player who isn’t – and who gave his chips up to a member of the Top Ten – is Kyle Johnson.

Just before the final break of the day, Kyle locked horns with World Series of Poker-Europe champion Elio Fox. With the board reading K-4-2-9-J (with the three low cards all spades), Kyle was looking at calling off the remainder of his chips against Fox and, to add to the pressure, a player not in the hand, Dennis Bejedal, called the clock as the rest of the table was away at break. Kyle eventually made the call, only to be disgusted by Fox’s pocket Aces and his elimination. The hand would push Fox into the Top Ten and Kyle out the door with an €8500 payday.

As the final level of the day is in action (with the blinds at 4000/8000 and a 1000 ante), here’s a look at the leaderboard:


1-  Giampero Tanzi (Italy),     890,000
2- Chris McClung (Canada),      880,000
3- Daniel Neilson (Australia),      850,000
4- Alessio Isaia (Italy),      775,000
5- Joseph Cheong (United States),    751,000
6- Elio Fox (United States),      721,000
7- Aleksandar Kostadinovic (Serbia),    708,000
8- Mike McDonald (Canada),     640,000
9- Pedro Piazuelo (Spain),      610,000
10- Maurizio Saieva (Italy)      604,000


There are other prominent names that have made a significant impact on this tournament, including Vanessa Selbst (who picked off a bluff attempt holding quad nines) in nineteenth at 478K, Barny Boatman just ahead of her with 480K, David Bach (512K), Kevin MacPhee (383K), John Duthie (330K) and Lex Veldhuis (295K). They all have a shot at moving up to the upper echelons of the leaderboard, as they have been playing excellent poker through the run of the EPT San Remo.

Even though the money bubble burst today, there is still a long time to go to determining a champion. The players are in their final level of today, with 77 players remaining, and the final table scheduled for Thursday afternoon. With all the play remaining, it may be a bit early to root for a Canadian to take home the crown, but several are setting themselves up for a great run at the championship.

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Earl Burton is a veteran journalist in the poker industry, having covered the game since 2004. He has played the game much longer, however, starting out playing in family games at a very early age. He has covered tournaments across the United States, including the World Poker Tour, the World Series of Poker and various charitable events. Earl’s background includes writing for some of the top poker news sites in the industry as well as other poker media outlets that include Poker Player Newspaper and Canadian Poker Player Magazine. Earl keeps an unblinking eye on the poker world, offering coverage of news from the industry, tournament action, player interviews, strategy and his opinions on the game. Whenever possible, Earl will also step to the tables to demonstrate that there’s more than just writing talent behind his poker game!


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