EPT Prague: No lights, no cameras, but plenty of action
There may not be the cameras adding that touch of glamour to proceedings here but that does allow the final of the EPT Prague to take on a kind of old fashioned feel. Without the restrictions imposed by wires, cables, cameras and people with headphones, the rail is just a few feet from the table, making it a compact and probably cosy place to play.
The stage here in Prague is unique in that a steep bank of chairs overlooks the table, making for a pseudo- stadium backdrop. Even with the seats it’s standing room only up there and there’s an electric atmosphere each time a player moves all-in, with everyone standing and literally looking down on a player’s tournament destiny.
Talking of the players, each has brought their own particular style to the game.
Gino Alacqua, whose name would probably pass as a perfume, wears a slick suit and tie with black hair and beard neatly trimmed. Markus Golser is a step down from that in a more smart-casual mode, a blazer over a shirt, whilst the other three adopt the now traditional ‘poker-youth’ look. Juha in the hoodie, Arnand in a sports top.
Then there’s Kristian, wandering over to talk to the pack of Norwegians on the rail as a short break starts. He’s somewhere in between the two worlds; woollen hat, white-rimmed shades, black open neck shirt with the collar turned up vampire style. He wears a glistening silver cross around his neck, has thick shoulders and a toothy smile. Either the first or last signs of a blonde beard complete the rough look - a few moons away from a complete transformation from wolf back to human.
Five players left.
Juha Lauttamus – Finland – 1,460,000
Kristian Kjondal – Norway -- 1,200,000
Gino Alacqua – Italy – 763,000
Markus Golser – Austria – 420,000
Arnaud Mattern – France – 1,734,000