There are 13 champions in today’s field. But instead of simply listing them, why not stop by to see each of them play a hand? Win or lose it’s a glimpse into their world, brief as it might be. It was a grand idea that would fizzle out quicker than I thought.
First up was Pieter de Korver (31,000 chips), the reigning Grand Final champion who last April stunned everyone with a career swing from pub poker player to EPT champ. He played a hand against Maria Maceiras, got to the flop and folded. That’s one.
While we’re at it, Maria’s brother, Juan of Team PokerStars Spain spoke to the video blog team earlier today…
A table along sits Brandon Schaeffer (85,000 chips), the poster boy of season one (winning in Deauville and coming second in Monte Carlo) and the definition of a world traveller, the Seattle native’s appearance here just one part of a month long jolly across Europe. He also made it to the flop, backing out after a large raise from the large man next to him. That’s two.
Pieter de Korver
Maxim Lykov (26,000 chips) was next, the freshest of the bunch having won his EPT silverware (moulded latex) just twelve days ago in Kyiv. He wears the same pink Ed Hardy t-shirt that he wore for the final two days in the Ukraine, either a fast laundry rotation or he puts on a new one every day, like I heard Andy Warhol used to do. He played a multi-way pot, made it to the river then folded to a bet. Three down.
Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier
Julian Thew (EPT4 Baden) and Constant Rijkenberg (EPT5 San Remo) are at the same table. Thew (38,000 chips) saw a flop then folded. Rijkenberg (55,000 chips), deep into a back massage, made it a step further, folding on the turn. Thew was still in that hand but I’d already decided it wouldn’t count. He folded anyway. That’s five. ElkY Grospellier next (31,500), still sitting next to Boris Becker: to the flop… fold.
The folding was getting repetitive now. Mike McDonald (EPT4 Dortmund), no longer the gap tooth kid he was 18 months ago, shares a table with Marcel Luske. He folded three pre-flop so I left him to it. Wait. Salvatore “El Bona” Bonavena (39,000 chips), the Prince of Prague (EPT5 Prague), would definitely get busy. He was busy, busy talking to people away from his table.
I could tell Jan Boubli (EPT2 Barcelona) wanted to help me out, but he folded too. Noah Boeken (23,600 chips) was head down in a massage so best not wait. Sandra Naujoks (EPT5 Dortmund) was up to 56,000 but I didn’t see how and I couldn’t find Jens Kyllonen (EPT5 Copenhagen) who is still out there somewhere. Peter Jepson is the last of them. He just busted.
Yep, a straight forward list would have been fine.
Pieter de Korver meanwhile caught up with out video blog team earlier today…