EPT London: The morning routine

If you work in an office or restaurant or a shop or a warehouse or NASA or something like that, the chances are you arrive to work in the mornings and follow the same routine. Perhaps you swipe in through the barriers, dump your bag at your desk then go for a pee or a coffee. Or both.

If you work in the tournament poker industry, as a player or a dealer or a tournament director or a fire marshall or a security consultant or something like that, you will also have your morning routine. But it's not the kind of thing that many people could relate to.

There's a wonderful moment at the start of the first day of an EPT festival when all of the people in all of the many roles go through their morning routine at the same time. It creates a kind of choreographed chaos in the tournament room, where it seems everyone is going to collide with everyone else, but never do.

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The empty tournament room, place of work for hundreds

Play was well under way in the main event by the time several top name players arrived and began the average player's morning routine. Michael Tureniec and Alex Roumeliotis wandered into the tournament area clutching their buy-in receipts and seat assignments, which usually occupies the opening three or four minutes of the day.

This phase involves a wander through the ranks of tables in search of the empty chair assigned to your ass. Then when it's found, you exchange your ticket for a stack of chips, eye your opponents and receive your first hand. It'll go in the muck, 49 times out of 50.

But neither Swede seemed to notice that they nearly lost an eye each before they even got to their tables. A dealer was sat beside the dealer assignment desk sewing a button on to her waistcoat. Ensuring impeccable turnout is the first job for a dealer, but as she went through the motions of attaching this button, the needle in her right hand was flying far into the air, as a stream of players grazed past.

The dealers too need to know their seating assignments. They gather around their line manager, wait for their name to be called, followed by a number. It's like boring bingo, but it's all part of the routine. They then wander off to their own tables, pick up a deck and wait for players to arrive. The two routines then combine, and everyone knows the procedure from there.

If you happen to be a Super High Roller, and one who has made today's final table, then your day began today standing on the television stage, arms folded, pouting in front of the camera. The final table players were required to record the inserts you see at the start of the television shows, where they give their best changing-room face, their mean-eyed glance, then their awkward walk towards the camera and off the stage.

Over in another corner of the room, the massage therapists were setting themselves up for the day: Cream? Check. Oils? Check. Supple fingers? Check. They also equip themselves with a stopwatch with which they will time the massages. They check the batteries, check it works, then off they go.

Most, if not all, of these routines have now been completed and we are deep into the tournament proper. The starting stacks are 30,000, as ever. The blinds started at 100-200. They are now heading towards what for you or I is our lunch break, but they won't be going to the canteen.

Follow all the action from Day 1A on the EPT London Day 1A page, with chip counts and hand-by-hand reporting. Information about the Super High Roller event is on the Super High Roller page. EPT Live is at EPT Live.

Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour