As the chips were bagged up yesterday, after a day of carnage and capitulation, two names stood out, sneaking in under the radar as the big guns ceased fire for the night. They were PokerStars qualifiers Stephen Haughey and Peter Traply.
There’s nothing new to the story of a player making their EPT debut and doing well – it’s the cookie-cut poker fairytale that happens all the time. Regardless, that’s Haughey’s story this week and why should he care about originality when his ticket to Monte Carlo cost just 10FPPs. The 32-year-old carpenter, from Donegal in Ireland, has been playing online for four years but this is the biggest tournament he has ever played and stands to get the most return for his investment should he make the bubble.
Haughey, whose biggest win to date is €1,200, normally plays in pubs and clubs back in Ireland. The switch to this high pressure environment is something he’s managed quite well. “I’ve had no problem. I was a bit nervous on the first day but relaxed on day two.” It’s a spirit in Haughey that hasn’t changed this morning, back for day three with 431,500.
Traply, from Budapest, is the opposite, having had plenty of experience in EPT Grand Finals, being at the sharp end here 12 months ago. The 22-year-old, a pro for several years, held the chip lead during a memorable two hour spell of hand-for-hand bubble play in season four, eventually finishing in 26th place. Coming that close can leave a mark on a man. But his stack of 534,000 may be his best shot at redemption.