When the timetable was first published for this renewal of the EPT at the Vic, many commentators (this one included) were sceptical that the tournament playing time of 1 p.m. to 1 a.m. would be strictly adhered to. Anyone who's ever been to a major tournament knows that punctuality is not often a poker player's strongest suit, while they also seem reluctant to leave at the end of the night, short stack or no short stack.
But, I confess, we were all wrong. Although the tournament kicked off slightly late, the half-hour delay was, in poker terms, bang on cue. And, what's more, they're dropping like flies. We were down to 90 players when I checked up on Dario Minieri on table one and, unfortunately, we were swiftly down to 89.
I've watched Minieri in a number of tournaments, and if ever the phrase "live by the sword, die by the sword" applied to anyone, the Italian SuperNova is it. His out hands are usually something similar to the hands with which he accumulates a monster stack of chips, and this one was no different. Jack-three of diamonds ran into Dave Colclough's ace-king of clubs and that was that for Minieri.
The game's up for Dario Minieri
Slightly earlier in the night, we also lost his compatriot and fellow Team PokerStars member Luca Pagano. He ran ace-king into aces, and with a king on the board, it was always all going in. And Luca departed.
Victoria Coren also took the walk: her ace-jack couldn't overtake the ace-king of Dennis Plejdrup, the PokerStars qualifier from Denmark. Plejdrup wasn't satisfied with taking out just Vicky in that pot. The ace on the flop meant he also knocked out another player holding queens. Plejdrup is somewhere near the 25,000 mark.
Victoria Coren: no longer the Queen of the Vic
One other thing: we're playing ten-handed here in London in these relatively early stages, and that means that some real tables of death were always likely to occur. How about, for instance, Marc Goodwin, Andreas Hoivold, Jeff Lissandro, Ola Brandborn, Dag Mikkelsen and Jonas Molander, all on table six. Or Jani Sointula, Rayan Nathan, Dennis Plejdrup, Barny Boatman and Michael Greco all on table four.
Table of death one: Marc Goodwin, Andras Hoivold, Jeff Lissandro, Ola Brandborn, Jonas Molander, among others
Table of death two: Rayan Nathan, Dennis Plejdrup, Barny Boatman, Michael Greco,among others
Also, on table two, Johnny Lodden is playing into Rafael Comas (who just knocked out Mark Teltscher), and Chris Moneymaker is tangling Devilfish on table four. As mentioned above, David Colclough just despatched Dario Minieri but he's still got Pascal Perrault to contend with.
It's going to get nasty.