EPT10 Grand Final: Gus Hansen arrives in time for lunch as Super High Rollers play on

It's the start of day two of the Super High Roller. It's also lunch time.

In the minutes before play started Richard Yong gulped down a burger, leaving behind him a trail of mayonnaise. Next to him Johannes Strassmann, with good posture, did his best with a Caesar salad. There are waitresses all over the playing area, bringing complimentary food to players who have staked six figures for a seat. Given that all the staff was busy here one man from the FPS event hopped the rail to place an order, but was sent away - a cutting reminder of his place this afternoon.

This opening phase was all about arrivals, and whether there would be new faces amid the field. Specifically this meant Gus Hansen. He was late to the party by a full day but the new boy in class was welcomed with handshakes and sat down with a brand new stack of a little more than 40 big blinds between Erik Seidel and Tobias Reinkemeier.


gus_hansen_ept10monaco_shr2.jpg

A little late to the party, but still welcome: Gus Hansen

When you're Hansen this process is straightforward. Tournament directors of even limited experience know who you are and provide an escort to your seat. Not so if you're Paul Newey. The British Super High Roller, who played in the televised cash game until 2 o'clock this morning, arrived ready for the day in a fresh shirt and smelling of aftershave, but couldn't find his seat.

He walked around the tournament area saying "Paul Newey? Paul Newey?" hoping this would alert someone to his situation before play started. Eventually tournament director Thomas Lamatsch, realising that he was not in fact an ordinary member of the public trying to get a better look at some of poker's super stars, pointed him towards his seat at the feature table.

On table two the defending champion Max Altergott took his seat to the right of two countrymen, chip leader Philipp Gruissem and Fabian Quoss. Quoss epitomizes what it means to look like a player in complete control. He manages this simply by using his hair, eyebrows and beard, all of which are immaculate. Altergott managed no such assurance and was among the first out today inside 15 minutes.


negreanu_gruissem_ept10monaco_shr2.jpg

Daniel Negreanu (seated, centre), talked to Philipp Gruissem (standing)

As Altergott's tournament was tailing off, Hansen's was coming to life. The Dane, playing his first hand, flopped a king-high straight against Isaac Haxton's pocket aces. Hansen was chatty before that pot but now seemed energised, and began telling stories about Phil Hellmuth. As a way of getting to know your table mates this is a good technique, given that everyone has their own Phil Hellmuth story. They told theirs as Hansen stacked up double the chips he'd arrived with just moments before.

Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.