People who think that poker has nothing to do with the money will have no interest at all to know that the winner of EPT London this week will take home £560,980. They won’t care that the top 87 players of a field of 604 will earn a return on their £5,000 buy in, and they won’t give two hoots that tomorrow is when we will send home an unlucky handful without a penny to show for their two-and-a-half days at the sharp end of this multi-billion dollar industry.
Every single player in the room today would very much like the EPT London trophy that will also come with being crowned champion at about this time on Saturday afternoon. No one denies that. But the only moment that every single one of them was silent today, barely even riffling chips, was when the tournament director seized the microphone to make the announcement of the prize pool. It was when everyone who will sometimes tell you that they don’t care about the money belied their gut instincts. They care. They care a lot.
Leading the way at this stage, as we remain a little way from securing paydays for anyone, is Tudor Purice from Romania, who bagged up 628,200 chips. That may sound like a lot, especially to non-poker followers, but as yet it is still not worth a bean. Had he lost the big flips that gave him that lead, he would be far further down the leader board, and maybe out. That’s poker.
Many stranger things have happened in poker than a chip leader going bust and today’s six levels at the Grand Connaught Rooms accounted for the likes of Daniel Negreanu, Luca Pagano, Dario Minieri, Liv Boeree, Vanessa Rousso, Tobias Reinkemeier, Luke Schwartz and Jake Cody. Indeed, one of the strangest things is that Dhru Patel and Max Senft, the leaders at the end of each of the day one flights, are both still battling on. Patel has 285,900 and Senft 251,400. That’s about 100,000 more than average at this stage.
The other big stacks this evening sit in front of Yngve “Sykoen” Steen (of whom more later), who has 576,400, Joey Lovelady (447,500) and Ludovic Geilich (436,000). The cash-game wizard Andrew Moseley bagged up 487,100.
Other notables still in the hunt include:
Sebastian Blom – 271,000
Steven Watts – 244,000
Paul Volpe – 217,200
Dave Ulliot – 210,000
Shannon Shorr – 202,200
Dan Smith – 179,300
Chris Brammer – 173,500
Henrique Pinho – 150,300
Tom Middleton – 141,100
Mike Watson – 124,900
David Vamplew – 123,900
Steven Silverman – 108,200
Gaelle Baumann – 108,600
Theo Jorgensen – 71,200
Davidi Kitai – 56,100
Frederik Jensen – 53,000
Our coverage this afternoon started by doorstepping Dhru Patel, the overnight chip leader and proto-wonderkid of the British poker scene. We also caught up with all those players who had discovered the only surefire way to make day two (register on day two).
Phil Hellmuth tends to register late on day one, but that can sometimes mean an early bath on the second day. He wouldn’t know the meaning of hard graft, unlike Yngve “Sykoen” Steen, who recently won the WCOOP leader board.
Tomorrow, levels last 90 minutes, we’ll burst the bubble, and someone will bag up close to a million chips. Join us then to find out who.
Until then, goodnight from London.