Happy faces everywhere. Sure, they’re in the bar but the EPT Warsaw is cocooned by the sense that it’s been one of the most enjoyable on the tour so far. Excellent service, welcoming staff and the casino officials breaking tables to allow room for press and spectators alike.

The short day yesterday, which confused everyone at first, gave people normally used to late casino nights some free time to venture outside for the first time in several days. A short taxi ride from the Hyatt Regency hotel is the centre of Warsaw , sprawling around the Palace of Science and Culture that marks downtown, an ornamental ‘Proof of Friendship’ gift from the former Soviet Union back in the fifties.


The Royal Castle

Modernisation spread throughout the entire city, now a landscape of neon and skyscrapers not unlike those you’d see in London or New York. Contrast that with the ‘old town’ of Warsaw, postcard streets, colourful houses, bars and restaurants, built over several decades to replace sections of town destroyed after the uprising in 1944. The last part of the Royal Castle in Plac Zamkowy was completed in 1971.


The ‘Old Town’ in Warsaw


That was all yesterday, and on this the fourth day there is still a champion to find form the last nine, four of whom are PokerStars qualifiers…

Seat 1 — Trond Erik Eidsvig – Norway – 220,000
Seat 2 — Christian Öman – Sweden – 110,000
Seat 3 — Mehdi Ouakhir – France – PokerStars qualifier – 360,000
Seat 4 — Niclas Svensson – Sweden – 174,000
Seat 5 — Daniel Woolson – USA – PokerStars qualifier – 164,000
Seat 6 — Juan Maceiras – Spain – PokerStars qualifier – 437,000

Seat 7 — Michael Schulze – Germany – 1,162,000
Seat 8 — Ricardo Sousa – Portugal – 756,000
Seat 9 — Mathias Viberg – Sweden – PokerStars qualifier — 229,000

Back on day one 359 players started, each having paid PLN 21,000 (€5,750 approx) for the privilege. Yesterday 26 were left with nine surviving a day lasting just two hours six minutes, 54 second.

PokerStars qualifier Juan Maceiras had made it there as chip leader with 388k, a natural favourite to make it into the last night. The same could have been said for second place man Claus Nielsen but last night he may have had the worst night’s sleep of his life after he exited on the final table bubble; his early departure helped in part by a huge hand against Ricardo Sousa, on a blazing run of cards, that left Nielsen short stacked and with little option than to pick a hand and shove all-in.


Tenth place finisher Claus Nielsen

Amidst the blur Andy Black was eliminated, so too PokerStars qualifiers Ken Hicks Jr, Craig Hopkins and Willian Johnson. And PokerStars sponsored player Sebastian Ruthenberg narrowly missed a second final table appearance, busted in 13th place by Mehdi Ouakhir who as Sebastian left the room had chance to mention that it was the German who eliminated him in Dortmund.


PokerStars sponsored player Sebastian Ruthenberg

That brings us to today.

Among the last nine is Norwegian Trond Eidsvig making his third final table appearance in season four alone (an EPT record incidentally), having recently won the Scandinavian Poker Award for Rookie of the Year. He’s already helping his campaign for the sophomore of the year, although he starts today as one of the shorter stacks.


Trond Eidsvig, making his third final table in season four

German player Michael Schulze, who sent a few players to the rail yesterday, boosting his stack, starts as chip leader and the only player with over a million – he has 1,162,000. Behind him is Portuguese player Ricardo Sousa on 756,000 and at the back, in ninth spot, is Christian Oman on 110,000. He can take some heart though from the fact he has been a short stack all week.

A reminder of payouts…

1st – PLN 2,154,000 or €609,782
2nd – PLN 1,220,600 or €345,543
3rd – PLN 718,000 or €203,261
4th – PLN 538,500 or €152,445
5th – PLN 437,980 or €123,989
6th – PLN 344,640 or €97,565
7th – PLN 272,840 or €77,239
8th – PLN 201,040 or €56,913
9th – PLN 122,060 or €34,554

Play gets underway at 2pm local time.

Photos © Neil Stoddart


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