EPT London: Shuffle Up and Deal



"Sir, are you coming into the casino today?"

The young man stood in line, his youth not telling the the real tale of his poker experience. I knew him, having first run into him in Vienna during Season 1 of the EPT. I knew he came from Duke University and that despite his age relative to his competition, he was no slouch at the poker tables.

The man at the front desk of the Grosvenor Victoria Casino was nonplussed. The rules at this venue are tighter than a rusted bolt. He was staring at the young man's feet.

"You can't come in like that," the desk man said.

The younger man, Jason Strasser, followed the desk man's eyes to his own feet.

"Like what?"

"With that footwear, sir."

A few minutes of discussion revealed that flip-flops, though comfortable, were verboten on the casino floor. If Strasser planned to come in and play, a trip to the shoe store would be in order.

Indeed, the rules here are, in anything, the antithesis of Las Vegas. Proper dress only begins the laundry list of requirements. A 24-hour advance membership is required before one can step foot in the casino without being the guest of a member (that rule is going the way of the Dodo soon). Further, if a player chooses to go out to the sidewalk for some fresh air in the moment before the cards are dealt, he stands a very good chnce of losing his seat. The rule, bitterly paraphrased, is simple: No ass in the seat at deal time means no seat.

Strasser went and bought shoes. Everyone found their seats. The cards went in the air and hit the felt. To be sure, the EPT event here in London was underway.



Jason "Shoes" Strasser (aka strassa2)

Here are a few things I laid out earlier, but bear repeating:

While the final number of players is still a matter of question, there is little doubt we'll hit very close to the 256-player maximum. Those players have been split into two flights, one of which began just a bit ago. The second flight of players will play tomorrow at 3pm.

As it currently stands, both flights will play until either 4am or until the flight is winnowed down to 12 players. Given that we reach 12 players each day (I'll concede to having my doubts), the final 24 players will begin Sunday at 2:30pm and play until there is a winner. The final table is scheduled be eight-players strong.

Each player will begin with 10,000 in chips. The blinds will begin at 25/50 and go up every hour or so. It appears at this point that the top 24 players here will be making the money.




After building a homebase for the PokerStars Blog (it is only coincidence that Blog HQ is now the casino bar), I was able to make a quick run through the tournament areas. Players have been split up into three areas. Theere are two tournament rooms downstairs. Upstairs, there is one tournament room and the featured table area where Greg Raymer is playing.



The feature table

Many of the room are very tight and the players frown on my sitting on their laps to get good pictures. I was able to snap a few of some familiar faces.



Mike Lacey of AntesUp.com who has brought along his Irish contingent


Ben "The Milky Bar Kid" Grundy", final table finisher at EPT Season One's Grand Final in Monte Carlo


Kirill Gerasimov, Russian heads-up champ, and WPT final table finisher


Simon Nowab, final table finisher at EPT Vienna in Season One


Team PokerStars grinning for the cameras

There are a ton of familiar faces in the room. I've seen John Gale, Willie Tann, a goodly portion of the Hendon Mob, Julian Thew, Alex Cooper, Simon "Aces" Trumper among many others.

Methinks it's time for more than a cursory look at the floor.

Back in a bit.
Brad Willis
@BradWillis in European Poker Tour