What with high roller final tables, World Series main events finishing a few hours ago and countless side events already done and not yet started, it’s easy for forget that the real reason we’re tucked in on the third floor of the Hilton Metropole in London is for today – the start of the EPT London main event, London’s poker jamboree.
With a little time to go before things start there’s time to try and come up with some other way to describe a day like today – a day in which everyone is even on chips, everyone still has the same chance of winning and everyone still thinks they can. So why go any further than that? Let’s settle for a day of hope and optimism in another of poker’s natural homes and ignore the torment, devastation and bad luck that will strike down more than a few of those prize pool donors before the day is over.
A phone box
Which players fall on which side of the happy/sad divide will be known soon enough. It’s a day 1a list of players that includes the unknown and the mighty, each endowed with the £5,000 buy-in and the gladiatorial spirit absolutely essential for a day at the tables and a short walk along Edgware Road from the old hunting ground of the Vic. Among them Vicky Coren, fresh off her unlucky escape from the high roller final table last night, Victor Ramdin, Eric Buchman, Kevin Schaffel, Johannes Strassmann, Sandra Naujoks, Sebastian Ruthenberg, Luca Pagano, Noah Boeken, Johnny Lodden, Chad Brown and the all singing all flying Dutchman Marcel Luske.
There will be more, identified as cards are dealt and tables are filled. We’ll play nine levels, a break after every two, with a dinner break later tonight. Each player will have 30,000 chips to fondle and get to know at the start with the basic aim of fondling more of them as things progress.
London has yet to disappoint and there’s no reason to think this will be any different. So think of England; red phone boxes, buses and palace guards, and any other local cliché you can come up with that helps. We’re about to get underway.