EPT Prague: Team PokerStars taking it to the opposition

555 is the total number of entrants, shattering previous expectations. But one player not headed towards ultimate victory is Thor Hansen. The Norwegian was sent to the rail by a young player who turned apologetic as Thor stood, perhaps overly so. Thor, the professional, put the boy at ease, wishing everyone good luck on his way out.

Austrian PokerStars qualifier Tobias Erath looked a little pensive during the break, appearing from out of the cloud of cigarette smoke with an update. “I still have average chips but I’ve played very patiently up to now.” His patience would soon ease as play resumed, out betting immediately, and last seen working his stack up with haste.

PokerStars qualifier Tobias Erath

We weren’t seeing things earlier on Luca Pagano’s table, he really was upping his usual tempo. A change of gameplan perhaps?

“A little bit”, smiled Luca. “I feel good, concentrated...”

I left him to it. But after the break things were a little different. An escapade with pocket eights cost Luca. The plan didn’t change any, and he looks to have picked up where he left off, an almost predictable process of raising and betting, a face of serious intentions, sitting up in his chair, hands clasped over his cards.

His friend and countryman Dario Minieri is a different sight altogether. Dario wears his well worn Roma scarf of maroon red and golden yellow – the colours of the Eternal City– around his neck like any mother would tell you to. His face relaxed, perhaps the riffle of chips sending him to sleep. He has a silver cross around his neck, a gold bracelet around one wrist and thick gold watch around the other. He looks suited to the clean air of the card room.

Team PokerStars pro Dario Minieri

Like Luca he’s had trouble early on, and sits with around 4k but shows no sign of easing off his trademark aggression, maintaining the pressure on opponents, taking the game to them until they get the point.

On the other side of the hall is Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier. He’s better off than his fellow Team PokerStars pros on close to 13,500. Silver sunglasses, silver headphones, silver watch (rather than Dario gold) and blond hair completes a kind of Bladerunner sci-fi look, like he’s constructed from titanium and powered by a substance not yet discovered by man.

He also seems to be pushing the envelope on his table, checking to see how far he can go before someone doubts his honesty. Another pot goes his way.

Powerful stuff from Team PokerStars as we head into level three.

Tournament update:

With the field confirmed tournament organisers have released the payouts for the EPT Prague.56 places will be paid with a handsome sum of €708,400 going to the winner.

1st € 708,400
2nd € 407,300
3rd € 235,300
4th € 182,200
5th € 151,800
6th € 119,000
7th € 93,600
8th € 63,200
9th to 10th -- € 39,200
11th to 12th -- € 27,800
13th to 14th -- € 20,200
15th to 16th -- € 15,200
17th to 24th -- € 12,650
25th to 32nd -- € 10,100
33rd to 40th -- € 8,850
41st to 48th -- € 7,600
49th to 56th -- € 6,380

Dario Minieri photo (c) Neil Stoddart

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in