Not a lot has changed since yesterday. The first clue this morning was the weather. Warsaw has been snuggled beneath a thick grey cloud all week now, one that has kept the rain and cold temperature at ground level. The landmarks of the city, like the Palace of Culture and Science, and the surrounding tower blocks, remain obscured by mist, making touristic navigation through the city streets prone to 180 degree errors.
But this is central Europe, where grey architecture and busy streets go perfectly with a climate like that, just as cigarette smoke, a cramped casino floor and young kids in sandals talking about two-outers, suits our plans for today perfectly – 152 players back for day two of the EPT Warsaw which tournament officials reckon will last either five levels or until we reach 56 players.
Among those filled with youthful exuberance, milling around the rope line surrounding the tournament area eyeing a quick pop at the 1 Zloty roulette, is a line up we’re counting on to give this event as thrilling a finale as its season five incarnation a year ago.
Leading them into the fray is Carter Phillips, the 20-year-old American and EPT Barcelona winner. He finished on day 1a with 194,850, almost double his nearest challenger. His day 1b equivalent was the Frenchman Antony Lellouche, an EPT regular, skilled in the close quarter scraps that these middle stages of an event can feature. He still lags behind Phillips, despite a stack of 131,475.
Others include the Team PokerStars Pros Arnaud Mattern and Dario Minieri, both of whom made the final here last year. Thierry van den Berg returns, as do Sebastian Ruthenberg, Luca Pagano, Peter Eastgate, Alex Kravchenko and Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier, not to mention the home town hope Marcin Horecki who spent most of day 1a performing an escape job that involved everything except handcuffs and a tank of water.
Their opponents today are no less formidable. Shaun Deeb, Sorel Mizzi, Vitaly Tolokonnikov, Jeff Sarwer and Scotty Nguyen return today, as do Ludovic Lacay, Richard Gryko and Alexander Klimashin. Their prize for surviving today will be nothing, except for the right to return tomorrow for a shot at the cash.
So to the poker: Level eight, blinds at 400-800 with a 75 ante and 75 minute levels rather than 60. Keep up with the latest scores on the chip count page which we’ll be updating regularly throughout the day.