EPT10 Grand Final: Wired up and ready to play, but first a toilet break
This has been a long stretch for those who started this trip in Sanremo 18 days ago. Today is just another day for the tired faces of the tour, perhaps with a small chink of light signalling the end of this very long tunnel.
Like any other day the poker day starts at dawn. It's just that dawn is slightly different on the European Poker Tour, taking place later than when you might notice it.
Dawn: 11.30am to Noon (this is when curtains are first opened)
Morning: Noon to 5pm
Afternoon: 5pm to the dinner break
Evening: Dinner break to the end of play
Night time: End of play to 11.30am
This might help explain why players and tournament staff will say "good morning" to each other at 3 o'clock in the afternoon.
The players, wishing each other good morning, arrive to be handled by the production team, who are always just one ego away from a ruined schedule. Thankfully, this has been largely averted this week, thanks to compliant, English speaking players, so the process has been simple, although every time a player says "sure, I'll do an interview, but I have to go to the bathroom first," is always a time of great career angst until he zips up and comes back.
Step one is the grab those players needed for a pre-match interview, mainly those who weren't tackled on their way out last night. Then each player is wired up for sound, with a cable passed underneath their collar and out at the waist. This is plugged into a receiver which is then stuffed into a pocket.
Meanwhile others go about wiring things up, taping things down, screwing things on, while the more publicity minded slap patches to those requiring them. By which point the players know where to put their cards (to be logged by the automatic detection system), the dealers know to pause in the event of an all-in, and the cameramen have their equipment tuned into the right shade of Kenny Hicks, who seems paler than everyone else. Only when everything is perfect is play allowed to start.
And so it does, with Steven Silverman rather predictably departing first. It's a bitter double blow for him - too early in the day for a big payday, too late to leap the rail into the High Roller. But at least he has the rest of the "morning" to himself.
All the hand-by-hand action, including chip counts, will be in the panel at the top of the main event page. We will have feature pieces below that.
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.