EPT London: Cards in the air

Hello and welcome again to the PokerStars.com EPT in London.

As is now customary, day one last for two days, meaning the field is divided roughly down the middle to play today and tomorrow, with the remaining players joining forces on Thursday. At last count, 178 were registered for today and around about 200 are estimated to join the fray later.

In a change to advertised information, players can still register to join the action. So check under the mattress for a few thousand quid and by Saturday night, you could be a European Champion.

To continue with the basic information, the buy in is £5,200, or $10,480, or €7,400. We're playing no limit Texas hold 'em, with one hour levels, and blinds starting at 25-50.

Among all those people paying all that money are:

Chris Moneymaker - USA - Team PokerStars
What's left to write about Moneymaker? In 2003, a 27-year-old accountant from Tennessee changed poker forever, etc, etc, etc. But Moneymaker is still a fierce competitor and fearsome force at the tables.

Dario Minieri - Italy - Team PokerStars
Making his debut as an official member of Team PokerStars, Dario Minieri has already established himself as one of the most aggressive and dangerous European players, belying his diminutive appearance.

Dario Minieri

Katja Thater - Germany - Team PokerStars
Two World Series cashes last year, then a final table on the EPT, before Thater won a World Series bracelet winner in Vegas this year. She followed up by making the money in Barcelona last month to cement her reputation among the best in Europe.

Katja Thater

Vicky Coren - England - PokerStars sponsored player
Journalist, broadcaster, poker columnist and - oh yeah - poker player. Vicky is the reigning European champion, having triumphed here at the Vic a year ago.

Luca Pagano - Italy - Team PokerStars
Not yet 30, Luca is nontheless something of an elder statesman on the EPT, with five cashes including two final tables. He's seen all this before but is no less a competitor.

Luca Pagano

Mark Teltscher - England
A former champion of this event during season two, Teltscher came second in Barcelona last month and so has both form and pedigree. One of several players in the field gunning to be the first ever two-time EPT champions.

Pascal Perrault - France
"Triple P" Perrault won in Vienna during season one and has been a consistent performer in European events for many years.

Christer Johansson - Sweden
Three cashes on the EPT, including a second place in Barcelona during season two. Also a former WPT champion.

Christer Johansson

John Kabbaj - England
A Vic regular and close friend of the Hendon Mob (often referred to as the fifth member of the London-based collective), Kabbaj has been a regular on the

Jimmy "Gobboboy" Fricke - USA
Online maestro making a name for himself on the live circuit, Gobboboy came second in the Aussie Millions in January and cashed earlier this month in the H.O.R.S.E. event of the WSOP Europe.

Dave "Devilfish" Ulliot - England
Arguably the best known British tournament pro, Devilfish is a WSOP bracelet winner and a WPT champion, meaning he only needs an EPT crown to be the first to claim the holy trinity.

Dave "Devilfish" Ulliot

Gary Jones - England
Another hugely popular and supremely talented British pro, Jones made the final table of the H.O.R.S.E. event at this year's World Series Europe. He was the top placed European finisher in the 2004 World Series main event, and if reputation isn't enough, he's also got green hair.

Gary Jones

Jonas Molander - Sweden
Molander has had three high-placed finishes on the EPT, including a seventh in Baden, a ninth in Dublin and 12th here during season two.

Scott Fishman - USA
With two World Series bracelets and a seven other cashes in Vegas, Fishman is among the most decorated players here in London. Yet to make the money on the EPT.

Liam Flood - Ireland
Tournament director and veteran of the European poker scene.

Liam Flood

Jani Sointula - Finland
Winner of the inaugural Monte Carlo Million in 2004, the distinctive Sointula (long blonde locks) also has a second place in a WPT tournament to his name.

Chris Bjorin - Sweden
Made three final tables at this year's World Series, Bjorin is among the most respected and feared players in Europe.

Mats Gavatin - Sweden
Another of the Nordic young guns, Gavatin won the Dublin EPT event during season two, as well as taking top spot in a Showdown Poker Tour event in 2006.

Nikolaus Jedlicka - Austria
The PokerStars SuperNova made the final table of last months' EPT event in Barcelona, following on from his victory in the Austrian Masters in June.

Marc Goodwin - England
Renowned pro on the UK scene, Goodwin has four World Series cashes, two on the EPT and a third place in the Monte Carlo Millions.

Johnny Lodden - Norway
Has cemented his reputation as one of the very best online players, Lodden has threatened to dominate the live scene without yet recording the huge result his talent unquestionably deserves.

Johnny Lodden

Brandon Schaefer - USA
Schaefer has one of the most envied EPT pedigrees: played four, won one, second in another. Was also going well in Barcelona last month before an accident with aces versus kings.

Brandon Schaefer

David Colclough - Wales
A former European Player of the Year, Colclough is always there or thereabouts in major European events. Has made six World Series final tables, and won leg four of the Grosvenor UK Poker Tour earlier this year.

Mats Iremark - Sweden
Another EPT champion (Deauville, season two), Iremark is among the PokerStars qualifiers here in London.

Mats Iremark

Barny Boatman - England

The only member of the Hendon Mob playing today, Barny cashed in the H.O.R.S.E. event at the WSOP Europe and finished ninth in the £1,000 no-limit event this week. Previous results too numerous to mention.

Mickey Wernick - England
Former European Player of the Year, Wernick is hugely respected on the European scene and has cashed twice on the EPT.

Jeff Lisandro - Italy
Six cashes in this year's World Series including one bracelet win and a second place.

Jeff Lisandro

Martin Wendt - Denmark
Another fixture on the EPT, with four cashes.

Willie Tann - England

Another WSOP bracelet winner in today's field, the Dice Man is among the best known and respected players in Europe.

Willie Tann

Michael Greco - England
The actor turned player, Greco has put together a series of impressive results - including a cash in Barcelona last month - to prove his worth at the forefront of the UK poker scene.

And, typically, with such a star-studded line up, there are some some tasty looking tables out there.

Among them:
Perrault, Jones, Moneymaker
Colclough, Thater, Kabbaj
Wernick, Ola Brandborn, Raymi Sanchez Thorn, Dag Mikkelsson, Paul Gourlay
Coren, Greco, Boatman, Fricke, Dennis Plejdrup
Lodden, Fishman
Ullio, Vos, Iremark
Shaun Deeb, Jedlicka, Donnacha O'Dea, Paul Testud

Update: The first high-profile casualty of the day is Katja Thater, of Team PokerStars, on the wrong end of a real cooler. All the money went in on a flop of A-A-4 and Thater's A-J had been outdrawn by A-4.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in