EPT Baden: Shuffle Up and Deal

The pianist has gone for a coffee break, just as well because the players have settled down in their seats. Tournament director Edgar Stuchly has announced "Shuffle Up and Deal", and the EPT Baden is under way.

A quick tour of the room sees several interesting clashes, not least table 11, which has two of Team PokerStars' finest - Luca Pagano of Italy and Elky (Bertrand Grospellier) of France - facing each other across the felt. They are all smiles now (well, Luca is, Elky is busy fiddling with his iPod), and let us hope no tears are spilt before tea time.

Luca looks happy...

... and Elky looks busy

Elky says he has been playing well of late, but admits he has had a disappointing EPT season so far. "I have been waiting to get my money in with the best of it, but it has not been happening for me," he said. Watch out Luca!

The players begin with 10,000 chips and the levels are, as usual at the EPT, a luxurious length. Click here for the tournament structure.

We have some interesting qualifiers in Baden, and I am delighted to say we have unearthed a PokerStars love story. Yes, Chris Roth (croth) from Wisconsin is here with his girlfriend Nikki, whom he met at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in the Bahamas.

She was there to support a friend who had won a seat, and met Chris at the PokerStars welcome dinner. They got on famously, and after a five-month online courtship, they became an item.

Chris plays full-time online on the 30/60 limit cash tables. This is his first trip to Europe, thanks to qualifying in a FPP satellite, and he is determined to make his mark.

Certainly Nikki, a student who also plays on PokerStars as br&_nevv, will stick around to support her man to victory from the rail. "This place is amazing," she said. Yes, you are not wrong there.

Chris (croth) Roth...

... and girlfriend Nikki

Simon Young
@MrSimonYoung in European Poker Tour