The Salle des Etoire at the Sporting Club in Monaco has undergone countless transformations during its week as the home of the EPT Grand Final. On Tuesday, it was part iconic nightspot and part charity office as the stars turned out to Ante Up for Africa, then through the past four days it has been the most salubrious poker-tournament-venue-with-a-retractable-roof-and-panoramic-view of Monte Carlo that the world has ever seen.
Today, it has changed again, and we are now filling the role as extras on a television set. The curtain on the stage has been pulled back to reveal the EPT featured table, where eight of the remaining 31 players will have their every move scrutinised by the cameras, cynical commentators, forum-posters and bin-men of the peerless EPTLive. Table three has the honours as the first to be given the television treatment, with these eight having microphone wires shoved up their T-shirts even as I type:
Seat one – Alain Roy, France, 507,000
Seat two – Ludovic Lacay, France, 2,235,000
Seat three – Grigory Zima, Russia, 1,313,000
Seat four – Alexander Morozov, Russia, 1,202,000
Seat five – Annette Obrestad, Norway, 668,000
Seat six – Marc Naalden, Holland, 1,770,000
Seat seven – Amichai Barer, Canada, 578,000
Seat eight – Daniel Zink, Germany, 723,000
No one will be needing much introduction to many of those. Lacay is the Frenchman who reached a fork in the road at the age of about 18, one path marked rock-star, the other marked professional poker player, with him somehow managing to go both ways at once. Naalden is the EPT veteran, with one final table on season two kicking off a spectacular three years of high-level tournament success. Alain Roy won a million euros a few miles from here at a tournament in Cannes a couple of years back. Ami Barer has been in and around the chip lead here for three days, seeing off the likes of Sami Kelopuro and Luca Pagano along the way. And Obrestad is Annette Obrestad. Enough said.
At the start of the day, however, they are only one quarter of today’s whole. Each of the players listed below will jockey and shove for their chance to hog the limelight tomorrow, when we will play from a final table of eight down to a champion of €2,300,000. Filling those final table seats is today’s task.
Here is your cast of stars:
|Steven Silverman||USA||PokerStars player||1509000|
|Peter Traply||Hungary||PokerStars Qualifier||1449000|
|Alexander Morozov||Russia||PokerStars player||1202000|
|Alem Shah||Germany||PokerStars Qualifier||846000|
|Jason Somerville||USA||PokerStars Qualifier||845000|
|Christopher Rossiter||UK||PokerStars Qualifier||645000|
|Leonardo Patacconi||Italy||PokerStars Qualifier||578000|
|Pieter De Korver||Holland||PokerStars sponsored player||565000|
|Dag Martin Mikkelsen||Norway||553000|
|Jaime Vilela||South Africa||253000|
|Patrick Wymann||Switzerland||PokerStars Qualifier||225000|