EPT Monte Carlo: Black out that noise!
by Simon Young
All was going nice and quietly here; soothing chit-chat at the tables and players taking their bust-outs without a loud fuss. Then Andy Black turned up, increasing the volume of the room two-fold... and he's not even playing today.
As so often happens, the bearded Irishman, who finished fifth in the WSOP Main Event in 2005, likes to pop into the poker room on his day off to see how his pals are doing. Two of them now sit together - Britain's Roland de Wolfe and Barny Boatman - and the banter started. All good natured, but Black has one of those voices that flies across the biggest of rooms, even one this size.
He then wandered off and started talking with Greg Raymer, teasing him about his green shirt that, so Andy thought, clashed alarmingly with the green 25 chips here. "I bet if your wife was here she would not have let you wear that shirt," said Andy. "No, you are wrong," replied Greg. "She would not have let the organisers use these green chips."
Compare Andy's entrance to that of Danish superstar Gus Hansen, who also just arrived on his day off, but who calmly walked the floor, then walked out again without a murmer. So too did Britain's John Gale, who walked away from Vegas last summer with a WSOP bracelet in the $2,500 Pot Limit event.
Greg Raymer seems to be enjoying his table in his usual calm way. He's up to more than 20,000, helped a short while ago when his A-A held up on a board of 10-4-6-5-4. His opponent mucked, but nodded like a man that was well behind. Still on Greg's table is our PokerStars qualifier Thiago Carrico from Brazil. He's far from daunted about playing the FossilMan as well as Season One EPT Grand Final winner Rob Hollink, from Holland, on his right.
Team PokerStars' Luca Pagano, from Italy, seems to have recovered a little after losing half his stack early on when his set was overtaken by a higher one. He is now back up to 10,000, but not looking overly happy with his day's work. Better luck for Victor Ramdin who has shot up to over 20,000.
Elsewhere Team PokerStars' Noah "Exclusive" Boeken is sitting at the same table as dangerous Norwegian Johnny Lodden. I have not seen the two of them clash yet, but right now Noah has the best of it with 15,000 chips compared to Lodden's 10,000.
Players are now on a 15-minute break after the end of Level 2. When they return the blinds will be 75-150. The structure is mouth-watering, but even so we have lost 22 players already, with 307 still in the fight.