EPT Kyiv: The first fifteen minutes

August 20, 2009

“Seat open, table eight.” That was 2 minutes 4 seconds into the level and the eliminations didn’t stop there. It’s kind of a tradition now in tournament coverage to highlight how fast players can bust within minutes of the start. Well, we’re nothing if not traditional…

Arriving here third in chips is the player described yesterday as “the tall thin guy in seat five who bounces his leg up and down at 80 beats a minute” on Katja Thater’s table. It is in fact Jason Kudron, an American PokerStars qualifier who’s still tall and thin and wears a Minnesota Twins cap turned backwards and a pair of flip flops; the standard issue uniform dispensed at the kit room when new players step out of civilian life and into the poker world.

Kudron’s chips are coming in handy after some early hands didn’t exactly go his way. He loses an early encounter with Waldemar Kopyl in seat six who shows a pair of nines for a set on the flop and full house on the river. There’d be more trouble for Kudron soon after.

PokerStars qualifier Erin Sergil from day 1a is at this table in seat two, his dad not far off watching in the stands as his boy tries to work a stack of 11,000 into something more pliable. While at the other end of the room dealers keep on shouting…

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There’s a seat open on table 18 where someone has busted. Then a seat is vacated on table 13. It’s taken nine minutes to break the first table. Soon after Luca Giovannone in seat eight on table 17 goes, then Zhukov Vyacheslav in seat eight table 19 does the same and you start to wonder what’s going on with seat eight.

But not for Artem Litvinov, seat eight table 15…

“Come on!” he says in Russian English, quiet enough not to raise concern among anyone who might be watching. He drums several times on the table, restraining what might be an urge to stand on his chair and rip his shirt off when his ace-ten does something good, doubling up to show two fingers to this half-baked theory. Then Frenchman Marc Trijaud goes from seat eight table 14 and you start to wonder again.

It’s not all elimination. Yordan “Bani” Dimitrov from Bulgaria, who turned up today in a t-shirt with a silk-looking hood attached, covering his head like a pre-fight boxer, wins a big pot with a pair of queens to take his stack to 100,000. But times remain hard for others. Two players on table nine argue in Russian about whose blind it is. The dealer sorts the trouble in English but neither seem happy. Around them more players head for the door and ambient la-de-da music, normally reserved for Aquariums, is played over the loud speaker to fill the gaps in the atmosphere.

It may be to calm the defeated The test today will be a long and hard, one that some players obviously felt realistically was not worth the effort. I counted at least three bags of chips opened, with the chips on top, but without a player to use them.

One arrived 15 minutes in and rummaged around in his pockets for picture I.D. to prove he was in fact the owner of a meagre pile of chips. Not so for PokerStars qualifier James Creighton who opted to skip it today. Had 3,225 to return to but with blinds at 400-800 with a 75 ante he had only a few hands to show signs of life. But after a few minutes the reserves ran dry, the dealer switched off the life support and he slipped away.

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