EPT10 Prague: Caffeine and breakfast breaks with a long day ahead
There's an enormous feeling of anticipation today, reluctant perhaps, in anticipation of the marathon session expected and what could be the longest day in EPT history, following what was probably its shortest.
Yesterday those who work the tour talked long into the night about previous short days. Thoughts turned to Warsaw in Season 4, and the memorable final table in Sanremo, won by Jason Mercier. But Day 5 here seemed even quicker and there was a sense of "what the hell," as people made the most of the early finish. Amid that any suggestion that the final would be a long day was dismissed with "live for today!" Or, live for yesterday as that proclamation now means.
And so players are dug in, members of the press have fresh ink in their fountain pens, and the TV production team are poised to press the button that makes all of this go live. Whatever happens now we'll be something of a blur in 16 hours' time. As Hassan Peymani of the production team just said, "we may set precedents today."
Julian Track leads coming into the final table
The risk is that the length of the final could become more or a story than the final itself. Using the traditional back-of-the-envelope calculation (there is a fresh pile of envelope backs ready for such tomfoolery), a 40 big blind average stack at the heads-up stage means this final table could finish some time on Thursday morning. This could be the first EPT final to pause for a breakfast break.
Sixteen hours is about the length of time most people think this day will last. That includes the players, who last night sought assurance that there was no time limit to get the final table finished. As far as we're aware there is not.
Minds at rest, the players return today with a different thought, that of €889,000. That's what is ready for the winner, as well as the title and the honour of being referred to with a shudder by James Hartigan of EPT Live, as they replace the venerable Tim Vance as the Tour's slowest winner.
Let's not forget though, it is a fantastic line-up for a final, as the player profiles will attest. You may need to take the odd break, but we'd advise you stay tuned in to the end.
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.