EPT London: Vroom!

Walking along the side street that separates the Grosvenor Casino from the Marriot Hotel this morning was a familiar figure clutching a PokerStars player bag and wearing a characteristic mile-wide grin.

This was Gualter Salles, and if the street had been in Rio de Janiero, it's unlikely that he would have been alone. In London, Salles is a PokerStars player enjoying his first cash on the EPT; in Brazil, he is a bona fide celebrity, having risen to prominence as an Indy Car racer in the United States, before returning to his native land and setting up a stock-car racing company. On the recent Latin American Poker Tour (LAPT), Salles was a star attraction for the assembled media, even as he was concentrated on learning a new trade: a tournament professional poker player.

th_MG_6504_Neil Stoddart.jpg
Gualter Salles

He's been a quick learner. Not only is he still in this event with just 17 players left, but he's also picked up some of the banter common around the tournaments. He had to get to the casino early for a photoshoot and was therefore heading back to the hotel about half an hour before the scheduled start of play. He passed one of his opponents walking in the other direction, ambling slowly towards the tournament room with all the time in the world.

"I saw him just walking to the casino, so I said 'Yeah, can you believe it? I was out first hand. Kings against jacks.'" Salles grinned. "And he says: 'What? They started already?' and he went running off to the tournament floor."

Salles beamed as usual and slipped back to his hotel room for that extra half-hour of rest. And it's done him good: he's still hanging in there as we await the elimination that will take us down to two tables.

The winners so far are listed here.

Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour