The EPT tournament room in Deauville today was split down the middle with almost perfect symmetry. On the one side were the excitable, unreliable pretenders of the €5,000 Main Event, attempting gradually to fill their final table of eight. But on the other side of the tracks were the privileged heavyweights of the High Roller, required also to trim their field down to a last octet.
A lot was similar--they reached 16 players almost simultaneously, and they reached an unofficial final table of nine within minutes of each other too. But the High Rollers just seemed to do it all with what seemed to be much greater haste and élan.
Similarly, while the Main Event has assembled a table of very unfamiliar faces to play down to its winner tomorrow, the High Roller is stacked. In common poker parlance, we have one sick final table. In comparison, the main event is merely feeling a little peaky.
Here's how the $10,000 High Rollers looked when they were down to nine:
Seat 1 - Steven "zugwat" Silverman
Seat 2 - Kevin "ImALuckSac" MacPhee
Seat 3 - Alexandre Reard
Seat 4 - Tim Reilly
Seat 5 - Vojtech "Vojte_R" Ruzicka
Seat 6 - Martin Jacobson
Seat 7 - Bryn "brynkenney" Kenney
Seat 8 - Jonathan "World Champion" Duhamel
Seat 9 - Alain Goldberg
And just for good measure, they also played on longer so they could finish early tomorrow and get into the Sunday online tournaments. With such an awesome smattering of online poker legends, there had been semi-serious chat of taking a nine-way equity split and then chartering a helicopter to Monte Carlo to play the big online events.
Instead they played on until six of them were left at 1am. They will rattle down to a winner as quick as they can tomorrow.
If you click on the tabs in the top panel on the main High Roller page, you'll see precisely the chip stacks when they finished (the "CHIP COUNTS" tab), and also the identities of who has won what already (the "PRIZE PAYOUTS" tab).
Neither list includes the unfortunate Vicky Coren, who went out only just shy of the money. But creeping in with a min-cash was Spain's Adrian Mateos, who has almost certainly become the youngest player ever to cash in a High Roller event.
The youngest ESPT champion -- he won a couple of weeks ago, aged 18 and a couple of months -- but on the same hand as the bubble boy. But Mateos had more chips, so was given the 12th place money. We will see some more of him, I expect.
But no matter how many are left, or how ever long it takes, the final stages of this one with be superb. Join us for it on Saturday.
*Note: This post originally stated that Adrian Mateos had gone out before the money. It has been modified to correct that previous error.