EPT London: The story of day 1a

EPT London: bagging up

Day 1a started as a story of canapés after lunch and then a leisurely dinner at the table. A relaxed afternoon of poker you might have expected, but the reality was a pace much less enjoyable.

As PokerStars qualifier Vijayan Nagarajan found out the going can be tough when the big names are headed your way, but the Malaysian still managed to make it through the eight levels. Each time I spoke to Vijayan he answered in an unassuming manner - things were fine, he’d be happy to make it through the last hour, he’d said. That was one way of looking at it. He finished with close to 60k, more than enough to make day two an interesting one.

Another of the day’s stories centred around the dreadlocked Rafael Comas who started the day alongside the equally long haired Jani Sointula before bouncing around the cardroom to various tables, spending one period alongside Team PokerStar’s Chris Moneymaker (“I took 15,000 off him in half an hour”), on his mission to reach day two. Rafael, a former bodyshop owner, coasted to the end of play today as next to him Johnny Lodden move all-in on each hand played in the last ten minutes (Lodden went out on the last hand of the day).

Others were destined to fall by the wayside. As Team PokerStars’ Katja Thater fell in the first levels last year’s EPT Baden runner-up Ben Johnson followed and was out into the London touristic night before he could be joined by the likes of Victoria Coren, Donnacha O’Dea and the green haired (all done for charity we hear) Gary Jones.

But the night would belong in the most part to Chris Moneymaker. The 2003 World Champion built on his stack throughout the day (run in with Rafael notwithstanding) before he eliminated one of the stalwarts of British poker in Dave “Devilfish” Ulliott with 15 minutes in the day to play. “Lucky” Devilfish called it. Moneymaker may think otherwise.

That would be the last big hand of the night. Day 1a here in London comes to a close.

And if you're just tuning in, here's what you may have missed:

Cards in the air: introducing the players

Early stages: welcome to William Franceschine and Vijayan Nagarajan

Rafael Camos: making money from Moneymaker

Tournament firsts: Ben Johnson

Thinning the field: the dearly departed

Thinning the field: the dearly departed

Ryan Nathan: from a land down under

Pardon the nostalgia trip
Brad Willis
@BradWillis in