EPT8 Madrid: Approaching the end of Day 1
When you enter the final level of a Day 1B there's always that creeping feeling the tournament is finally getting started. Thoughts of an overall Day 1 chip leader start to manifest, which is looking like Ilan Boujenah with around 190,000 in case you were wondering, and the disparity between those looking to take every edge and those that are simply hoping to make Day 2 really come to the fore.
McLean Karr sports a baseball-hunting cap fusion and sits a couple of seats to Boujenah's right with around 100,000. Dutchman Paul Berende looks, quite frankly, somewhat bored with his arms crossed behind a stack not far from his 30,000 starting stack waiting for Theo Jorgensen to finish playing a hand.
Dominik Nitsche, whose doppelganger was earlier spotted by Erik Seidel in Paris (you'll have to check out either of their Twitter accounts), is bobbling along on around 75,000. PCA third-place finisher Faraz Jaka is up past the 100,000 mark and, as per usual, is wearing a delightful shirt (a kind of aquamarine paisley). Anton Wigg sits opposite Jaka with somewhat less chips, perhaps less than 25,000, but seems to be in the zone nonetheless, headphones on and head bobbing up and down.
These are all players that are here to win, most with major titles to back up that philosophy. But it doesn't work for all. That peroxide wizard ElkY fell when his dominating ace failed to hold, Kevin MacPhee is short stacked with 10,000 and John O'Shea was also sent to the rail when his ace-king couldn't connect against Nick Yunis' pocket queens. Bagging and tagging will start shortly but there's a palpable sense that this tournament could be a special one. Stay with us for a wrap of the day's action and overnight chip counts. And while you're at, log onto PokerStars to watch Viktor 'Isildur1' Blom take on Isaac 'philivey2694' Haxton in the SuperStar Showdown. Blom is ahead some $36,000 at the moment, but Haxton's trying his best to pin him back.