Time was when Team PokerStars Pros were like golden eagles: they were a magnificent sight but there weren’t very many of them. These days things have changed. On the whole, these players are still well worth watching as they circle through the fells of an EPT Main Event, but they’re hardly an endangered species. The sustained global expansion of PokerStars has been mirrored by the successful growth of the Team.
Each country across the ever-growing poker landscape is represented by its own flock of fighters, emblazoned both with the Team Pro standard and their country’s flag. This afternoon, it seems as though Team Pro Holland are among the best represented, with Marcel Luske, Pieter de Korver and Ruben Visser all within close sight of our row of laptops, and the distinctive curly mop of Joep van den Bijgaart clearly visible too at the other side of the tournament area.
Coincidentally, as those words were being typed, Thierry van den Berg dropped by for a quick chat with media row. Van den Berg, who is playing tomorrow (dodgy stomach permitting) then set off on a brief tour of the room, navigating his way neatly through those Dutch landmarks.
He will have found Luske kitted out in his characteristically impeccable tailor-work: suit, shirt and tie, and a table of Arnaud Mattern, Florian Langmann and Juha Lauttamus, among others.
De Korver, the EPT Grand Final champion, hasn’t played too many EPT events this year – he’s not got all that much to prove after picking up €2.3 million in Monte Carlo in April – but he’s back today and impressing.
Visser, meanwhile, is on good form, fresh from a deep run in Vilamoura last week. And Van den Bijgaart, or Pappe_Ruk, continues to crush online, only pausing from his internet domination to pick up the odd €50,000 at his home tournament – the Masters Classics in Amsterdam at the start of this month.
Each of that little posse are going strong as we approach the end of level four and the second break of the day. We, as ever, will continue to follow them closely.