EPT9 London Day 5: For the EPT, England and St George
The EPT London title was once an English thing. In the first three seasons of the tour there came John Shipley, the experienced pro, back in Season 1. Then there followed Mark Teltscher who swaggered his way, arms aloft, to become the new London champion. Then in Season 3, Vic local Victoria Coren won £500,000 in memorable, and tearful, fashion.
Since then though the English players have been absent from the winner's rostrum (David Vamplew is Scottish), and few have even come within a day of victory. No English players reached the final table in Season 5, Dominic Cullen made it to fifth place in Season 6, and Martins Adeniya reached seventh in Season 8.
But could there be a revival of old times this week, if the efforts of two players continue to prove successful. They are Tamer Kamel and Chris Moorman. England expects.
As if to show just how English he was Kamal used to sport a moustache, the type that used to go well with a bowler hat and an umbrella. Now it's just stubble, the kind traditional among top draw poker player. Kamel may not be in that bracket yet but he is beginning to look the part, and not just for the lack of a shave. His performance is increasingly convincing and it's put him on course for the biggest cash of his career.
Looking through his record is to see workmanlike progress, the type that often forms a solid foundation on which to build. Kamel posts regular results, enough to impress, and was up to more than 1.5 million chips earlier today. Supporters on the rail include Paul Seaton and Michael Piper, both keen to sing his praises.
Alas, despite that solid start (he was chip leader earlier this afternoon), two hands have set him back, one in which he doubled the Russian Mikhail Korotkikh and another, when his flopped full house against the all-in Christopher Frank, being topped by Frank's better full house on the river. He's down to around 500,000, but then, as Viscount D'Abernon once said, "An Englishman's mind works best when it's nearly too late."
Moorman on the other hand needs less of an introduction. The man from Brighton has turned the internet into his manor, where he lords it over with every major online title available except Google CEO. Moorman hardly needs a live win to authenticate his talents, but the best players instinctively seek a number one on their record, as many as they can.
Chris Moorman (foreground)
Moorman has a small one (an EPT Madrid side event in 2012), but not a headline one. In 2011 he repeatedly came close, starting off in January in Melbourne where he finished seventh in the Aussie Millions main event. Then he reaches two final tables in the summer World Series, finishing third and then an agonizing second, which he matched in the WSOP Europe four months later.
This may well be his best shot. Remarkably it's only his second EPT cash but it could be a major one. The cross of St George may yet fly over the EPT podium.
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter