EPT champions Liv Boeree, Tom Middleton, Davidi Kitai, Martin Finger, Aaron Gustavson, Andrey Pateychuk and Aliaksei Boika are still in World Series of Poker Main Event. Meanwhile EPT stalwarts Max Silver, Marcel Luske, Peter Eichhardt, Ihar Soika and Jeff Hakim still have chips too.
But even adding together that wealth of European Poker Tour experience, there was a player in this tournament today who has sat for longer at the tables of the EPT than perhaps all of them put together.
Alexandra Janikova was only just knocked out of the Main Event in around 435th place, as Day 4 crept towards its dinner break. However, Janikova perhaps isn’t best known as a player. She is usually on the other side of the table, pitching the cards, dragging and pushing chips and keeping good order as a member of the PokerStars circuit’s dealing team–also known as the best set of dealers on the planet.
In keeping with a profession that demands its best exponents to be seen and not heard, Janikova is a reluctant interviewee. But there’s no getting away from the fact that plenty of poker fans, players and staff in Europe–including her native Slovakia–would have been willing Janikova on to great things.
Janikova is not exactly a completely novice. She has played in Australia and Macau, as well as played at the Wynn this summer before hitting the WSOP Main Event. She has friends among some of the best players in the world, and frequently uses the hectic travel schedule of a dealer to visit the spectacular landscapes.
Naturally, she can’t help watching the dealer skills while at the tables, and says she’s been quietly impressed by the team at the WSOP Main Event–at least in comparison with some others she has encountered in Vegas. “It’s not the EPT, but they don’t make too many mistakes,” she says.
She added that she’ll soon be back among her dealing friends at the PokerStars Championship Barcelona, which starts on August 15. She’ll take a quick trip to Boston and New York before heading back to Europe, and back to work.
When I spoke to Janikova, she was still in the tournament, ahead of the start of Level 23. She has since hit the rail, missing out on the chance of her $8 million payday, but further enhancing a reputation as one of poker’s all rounders and boosting her live career winnings total by $27,743.
And let’s look on the bright side. If Janikova had won the Main Event, the PokerStars circuit might have lost one of its finest. We don’t want that, do we.
WSOP photos by PokerPhotoArchive.com.