EPT Warsaw: Small but beautifully formed
With 99 players starting day 1a here in Warsaw, we were wondering whether at the end of the day we would already be down to a single table. Such is the carnage usually associated with the EPT that even with 10,000 chip starting stacks and one-hour levels, it's not uncommon that 90 players can depart.
As it turned out our fears were unfounded. When the tournament director called a halt to proceedings moments ago, 53 players were given plastic bags to store their chips until Monday's day 2.
Among them were some familiar figures on the EPT, including the Norwegian star Johnny Lodden, who has kept his rich vein of form running all the way from the banks of the Danube in Budapest earlier this month to here beside the Vistula in Poland.
Watch EPT Warsaw 08: Interview with Johnny Lodden on PokerStars.tv
Lodden was down to 5,000 at one point, before rallying dramatically - thanks in no small part to kings and aces in successive hands - to end the day in the handful at the top of the leaderboard. By the time the curtain came down, Lodden was lording it: tales of his raising seven hands on the bounce made their way to the press room. He's confident and back in contention.
We have also seen Antony Lellouche near chip leads before, and he was back on form very early on today. On the second hand of the tournament, Lellouche found kings and somehow got all his opponent's stack into the middle. The reason? His opponent had aces and was in terrific shape until a king turned and Lellouche never looked back. He built on that early double up to do so again during the day. He's another right up there.
The PokerStars qualifier Sergey Shcherbatskiy, from Russia, is also in the mix, as is his countryman Serguei Pomerantsev, who learnt that attack is the best form of defence on a table of bullies.
He and the PokerStars qualifier Richard Gryko sat beside each other all day, both nursing their growing stacks, and when they were joined at the same end of the table by Ilari Sahamies, Pomerantsev soon sent Ziigmund packing, with ace-king bettering ace-queen.
Not everyone could stay smiling all day. After a brilliant run from the World Series through Budapest, Kara Scott's hot streak was dampened in Warsaw.
Her aces just couldn't hold up against Arnaud Mattern's deuces. She was soon joined on the rail by the king of Hungary William Fry, who couldn't go back-to-back after his terrific debut showing in Budapest. He too was vanquished.
If rumours are to be believed, tomorrow will bring considerably more players to the coalface. After finishing up in Amsterdam, there will be a host of hot prospects jetting over to Poland for day 1B. But tomorrow is another day, and there's still plenty to read and see from this one. Click any of the links below for today's reports.
Poland braced for day 1a
Doubling up and going home
The stomach for it
Looking disaster in the face
Heavyweights – Gavin Griffin and Ilari Sahamies
A surprise evening off
Lodden loading up again
From Budapest to Warsaw
The celebrity table
Mattern pays overtime
Seven bets for seven pots
And don't forget, all of this is available in languages you can't even begin to understand. Unless you speak them. In which case you'll want to click through for Polish coverage, Hungarian coverage, Swedish coverage or German coverage.
And if moving pictures are more your thing, then PokerStars.tv is the place to go.
And once all that is done, return for tomorrow's action. In the meantime, goodnight Warsaw.