EPT10 London: The Brat makes his entrance as the High Rollers return

October 11, 2013

Clark Kent always looked ordinary when out in public. There was no hint of any powers, no sign of his athletic build, no suspicion that if anything the glasses he wore only magnified the destructive force of that eye-beam thing he had going on. But after a short stop in a telephone booth, or a quick dash down a deserted alleyway, he got the necessary lift to turn him into a superhero.

Phil Hellmuth has a similar transformative process, although he only needs to cross the threshold of a casino or tournament room to become something magnificent.

I saw him this morning on a trip to Starbucks. He had on his full battle regalia, dressed almost entirely in black, topped off by an Aria cap. But outside – out there – he looked distinctly ordinary. In fact, you might have thought, had you passed him on the street on the way to earning in a year what he was about to spend in a day, that he’d gone a little over the top in front of the dressing room mirror this morning (I often worry this is what the general public think when they see ElkY pushing a trolley in a supermarket).

But once inside, once he walked through the door of the Grand Connaught Rooms, the transformation was complete. In the blink of an eye he had changed from a tourist into a giant, a higher being, a kind of superhero.


Far from ordinary: Phil Hellmuth

The effect was brought home when he took up a position at the top of the stair case. From here he was able to see all the way into the tournament room, and peer down on all those he would face in the High Roller event coming up the stairs. He stood, arms outstretched and leaning on the balustrade, his eyes covered by black wrap around glasses, headphones in. Was it music he was listening to, or just a general rumbling sound? He was like a bird of prey waiting to swoop down from his position on high. One or two people waved at him, but he either didn’t see them or didn’t want to see them, and they walked on pretending to be adjusting their hair.

Then he came down from his perch, circulating among the ordinary to pop to the gents. Then he returned to take his seat. With his hands in his coat pockets he always looks like he’s ready to leave. He will leave you. In fact sometimes he won’t even arrive. He’s a heart breaker like that.

But he’s turned up here, and is about to be one of the main attractions in the High Roller event, which he just bought into, along with several others. It’s Day 2 and the field of 146 entries – a record – was slimmed to 74 last night. However many there are left when the new entrants are counted will play down to a final eight tonight. Plenty of time for superheroes.

Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.


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