There’s a cocktail party mood at The Vic in these early stages, with waitresses forcing their way between tables with trays of canapés determined to feed people. It’s a truly decent gesture which would have gone down nicely were it not for a few hands to be played. When you’re facing a raise on your big blind the food has to wait, whether it’s the crab soup or the meaty lump no one can quite put their finger on.
That aside, in the traditional way the EPT London brings together PokerStars players from the four corners. One of those is Vijayan Nagarajan.
In terms of man most travelled Vijayan would be up there with the best of them. Lumbered with the early obligation of playing alongside Dave “Devilfish” Ulliott and Martin Wendt, the PokerStars qualifier from Malaysia is faring well, or was. Now he’s holding his own.
A raise pre-flop followed by what could only be called a wry smile as two re-raises followed. No use getting ahead of yourself - get out and fight another day. Vijayan spent a few hands like this, hiding his agony behind a look of peaceful ambivalence. Shouldn’t he look more nervous in his first EPT? He clocked up a fair few air miles to make it this far.
“I feel good. I was down to 6k then up to 11k and now I’m down to 10k again. I’m not daunted though.”
Worth the trip so far then.
Not so assured is William Franceschine, distinguished by an outdoorsman beard, a camouflage cap and a tattoo down his right forearm spelling out the word “Foreigner”, albeit in Thai. The online pro has hit the rough ground early despite reaching the clear air of 19k shortly after the start.
The 27 year old turned pro two years ago after a result at the Manadalay Bay, quitting the marketing world to travel to Thailand and live the carefree life of a tourist - a tourist with a laptop and a penchant for online poker.