The EPT London Main Event is down to its final table, but the High Rollers roll on. Despite the higher buy-in, it is more relaxed in High Roller world where they decide their tournament format on the fly. They are into the money, but there’s almost no way they’ll make a final table and no one will force them. Tonight they will have a chat, consult the tournament staff, and wrap up whenever is mutually agreeable.
As ever, there are big names on either side of the red rope permitting access to the exclusive High Roller cashing club. While Tobias Reinkemeier, Erik Seidel, Paul Volpe, Phil Hellmuth, Eugene Katchalov, Jason Mercier and many others of the 159 who started were frozen out, the likes of Philipp Gruissem, Dave Ulliot, Dan Shak, Talal Shakerchi, Sorel Mizzi and Tony Bloom are yukking it up at the bar.
Right out near the front is the Team PokerStars Pro Ville Wahlbeck, who always tends to do his best work when the stakes are highest. He’s the player, remember, who made four final tables during the 2009 World Series, the cheapest of which had a $10,000 buy in. Wahlbeck is back in the zone for this one, even if the nosebleed tables on PokerStars are surely tempting him away.
Carla Sabini is in. The Canadian player, who is making her debut on the EPT, took her small cash from the Main Event and used it to buy straight in to the High Roller. She is enjoying every minute of her time with the players she admits to admiring usually via the television screen, and is in the top five at time of writing. It’s a great spin up.
Luca Pagano also made the money. Usually Pagano doesn’t get involved with the High Rollers, but this week opted to have a crack. He was the shortest stack in the room when the bubble floated into view, but successfully navigated it owing to Jonathan Duhamel’s elimination at the hands of Mizzi.
It was rough on Duhamel, who generally suffers no kind of anxiety at bubble time but today got massively outdrawn right at the death. Duhamel’s ace-king lost to Mizzi’s ace-jack. All in pre-flop, ouch.
It wasn’t so comfortable for Vicky Coren, who suffered genuine bubble anxiety.
Two London EPTs ago, I was out on the exact bubble of the High Roller. I admit, I'll be slightly bored if that happens again.
— Victoria Coren (@VictoriaCoren) October 11, 2013
But the good news for London’s favourite quiz-show host/newspaper columnist/poker player is that she too cashed here today. She was on a table with the man she called “Mr Gruesome” (better known to most as Philipp Gruissem) and somehow managed to survive. Gruissem, of course, is also still alive.
Take a look at the main High Roller page to see how this plays out as they do they best to get close to a conclusion. Don’t hold your breath. We will rejoin it tomorrow when they will discover their champion, a title worth £357,700.