EPT London: The race to the exit door
There are days on the European Poker Tour that seem to last so far past midnight that you can walk out of the casino and straight into a bagel and an orange juice. And then there are days that pass in the blink of an eye. Mercifully for the press pack squeezed in serried ranks into the Victoria Casino's
staff training room and broom cupboard media centre, this day was a fast one: we went from 154 to 32 before the London bars even closed, and that happens at 11pm.
How it happened is not for the faint-hearted. There was murder out there. Before we had even properly set up our computers the flow of eliminations had started, and a member of the media burst through the door every couple of minutes to announce (in no particular order) that all these had busted before the bubble burst: Ramdin! Akkari! Bellande! Channing! De Wolfe! Fougeron! Kalo! Hansen! Cascarino! Chidwick! Jelassi! Kravchenko! Mercier! Watson! Mouawad! Thew!
We then had to hang around for about an hour as there was an extended period of hand-for-hand play as we went from 58 to the 56 who would be paid. The unlucky man was Hafiz Khan, a runner up to ElkY at the PCA in January, but here splattered with the membrane of the bursting bubble.
That sent us on a dinner break for 45 minutes but when we returned the pace had not slackened one bit. In fact, it sped up to one of the fastest sustained periods of bust outs we've ever seen. There were suck-outs galore, including the departure of the EPT Prague champion Arnaud Mattern, who was sent from hero to zero by his countryman David Benyamine in two massive chunks: Benyamine's 7-8 outdrew A-9 and then 4-4 outdrew Q-Q.
Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Rousso must have had some sympathy for Mattern after her A-K was no match for Max Pescatori's A-J when a jack flopped. That they'd got all their sizeable stacks in pre-flop must have hurt.
That left Vicky Coren and Marcin Horecki to fly the Team PokerStars flag. But Coren's slumped to half-mast just after the bubble burst and then was taken down entirely when she couldn't beat the kings of Anthony Lellouche with her pocket tens. So it is that one of the newest members of the Team - the Polish player Horecki - to stand alone into day three.
Horecki knocked out Julian Thew and Stephen Chidwick in the same hand and coasted into the money.
Also bagging up massive stacks of chips tonight are the PokerStars qualifiers Sorel Mizzi and Joe Elpayaa, better known perhaps as "Imper1um" and "bigegypt".
The full, official counts will be with us soon and you should click here to see them. But those two will be right up there alongside the aforementioned Lellouche and Benjamine. Also in that list will be Peter Eastgate, the Danish Million Dollar Man, warming up for his final table next month with a fine showing here.
Right at the top of the pile is the Canadian Philippe D'Auteuil, who has more than 400,000 to show for his day's work.
Tomorrow we will make those remaining 32 fit into the eight chairs of the final table. It probably isn't going to be quicker than this.
Take a look back on what happened today with our easy-click guide to EPT London day two.
Ready for day two
Getting serious on day two
No one ever said it was going to be easy
All-ins a plenty
Prizes and payouts
Change and fortunes
More chips for Marcin
PokerStars players prospering
News from the front and back
Day two – bullet-point bulletin No 1
Scratch two more
Mizzi mauled by monster pot
The rush to the door
The plot thickens
And you can alway kick back with some televised EPT action over on PokerStars.tv where you'll find this interview with Carter Gill, on how to qualify via PokerStars, among many others:
Watch EPT London 08: Carter on Qualifyinig on PokerStars.tv