The official capacity of the EPT television set isn’t known. It has never come up before. But while the rail around final tables typically features a handful of stragglers and some parents (who have a tendency to arrive just as their son or daughter gets knocked out), today it is bursting at the seams.
There’s a football-stadium like atmosphere in the tournament room today, with Swedes (supporting Robin Ylitalo), Slovaks (behind Stefan Vagner), Scots (shouting for Ludovic Geilich) and English (rooting for Leo McClean) going head-to-head in the din-making wars.
McClean’s fans probably have the numerical advantage (even though their hoodie-masks can muffle shouts); Swedes probably have the biggest bankrolls among them (boosted by Kent Lundmark in their midst); the Scots have the most passion (their “Ludo, Ludo, Ludo!” is loudest); and the Slovaks could almost certainly have them all in a fight. There’s not a single hair longer than a Grade 1 among them.
While it’s also fair to say today that the Connaught Rooms bar is doing brisk business among these rail-birds, the excitement hasn’t yet bubbled over into anything ugly. Football fans with long memories can likely recall an infamous visit from Scotland fans to Wembley stadium in 1977 when they poured onto the pitch and sat on a crossbar, breaking it. No one wants all-seater stadia in poker, so it’s good to see the chanting remaining polite. With the experienced players Tom Ward and Tom Hall both among Geilich’s cheering section, they will surely know to keep a lid on anything getting too extreme.
As it happens, it’s been the unsupported players who have suffered most so far. Kully Sudhu’s supporters did most of their bellowing last night as he ninja-ed a short stack to the final table. But they lost their voices as their man went out first today.
Jan Olav Sjavic likes to do most of his best work in silence, and the corollary is that he was knocked out in seventh without any more than a whisper too. So far, we have seen at least five or six double ups from short stacks, all of which have been greeted by bellows, and perhaps the old football adage is holding firm: the crowd is like a 12th man.
Follow all the action from the EPT London main event on the EPT London Main Event page, with chip counts and hand-by-hand reporting. Follow the High Roller event on the High Roller page. EPT Live is at EPT Live.