Day 3 of the PokerStars Championship Monte Carlo Main Event saw the field trimmed from 143 returning players to 45 survivors. It was a long day of laddering up the pay scale, as the event hit the money in Day 2’s closing hands, with Michael Kolkowicz topping the leader board with 1.445 million.

The top ten counts are some of Europe’s most successful players with Stefan Schillhabel, Davidi Kitai, Bertrand Grospellier and Sergio Aido finishing the day strong. Returning for Day 4 also are Manig Loeser, Jan Bendik, Remi Castignon and Dan Smith – who is the short stack with 99,000.

It was a brutal day for railbirds as Daniel Negreanu (51st), Fabrice Soulier (55th), Christoph Vogelsang (65th), Patrik Antonius (79th), Maria Ho (105th) and Liv Boeree (112th) won’t return for Day 4.

Negreanu’s final hand came against Hossein Ensan after they went to a raised flop of Js 6c 5h. They got in a raising war that saw Negreaun’s top pair fall to Ensan’s flopped set of fives. Soulier moved in pocket nines, found Peyman Luth’s ace king, which paired on the turn to end his day.

Ensan had another notable hand – one that sent Grospellier to the leader board. Grospellier opened on the button, Marius-Catalin Pertea called and Ensan put in a small re-raise. Grospellier four-bet, Pertea mucked and Ensan moved all in. Grospellier snapped him off with pocket aces, Ensan rolled over Tc 7h and Grospellier doubled up.

Day 4 sees cards in the air at noon local time and the field is scheduled to play five, 90-minute levels. All returning players have €15,420 locked up and depending on the pace of play tournament officials may cut the day short as the final table is scheduled for Friday, May 5.

Top Ten Chip Counts

1. Michael Kolkowicz – 1,445,000
2. Stefan Schillhabel – 1,380,000
3. Davidi Kitai – 1,087,000
4. Maxim Panyak – 921,000
5. Marius-Catalin Pertea – 860,000
6. Mortiz Dietrich – 821,000
7. Bertrand Grospellier – 766,000
8. Sergio Aido – 719,000
9. Hossein Ensan – 718,000
10. Alexandru Papzian – 670,000