EPT11 London: A fight in a church car park. Sort of.

The bubble at EPT London this week did a very stealthy job of prowling up close unnoticed, but then rather ruined it all by hanging around far too long.

In scenes in the Grand Connaught Rooms that can only be described as "pretty standard", the tally of players ticked from 103 down to 97 and barely an eyelid was batted.

But having crept up on our shoulder like a svelte and efficient feline predator, the bubble then clattered into a dustbin lid/coughed up a fur-ball/invaded our personal space like a desperate ex-boyfriend loitering in the car-park at a wedding and, basically, got on everybody's wick.

There was only one answer for it, metaphorically speaking, and a posse of the best man's mates was hastily assembled to head out and "sort this ****er out". They got a bit rowdy for a couple of minutes, somebody mashed the wrong bloke's head off a bonnet, but eventually the lunatic got the message that he was to "do one" and we could all get on with the rest of our day.

To repeat: metaphorically speaking.


A grand setting for some unholy hijinks

To put some meat on these bones, the general gist is that EPT London is now in the money. Everyone still with chips will be earning at least £7,750 for their troubles, and possibly much more.

But to get there, they had to endure a bit of a slowdown that threatened to derail this fast moving express. With 97 players left, everybody knew that one more elimination would take us to hand-for-hand play and two more into the land of milk and honey. And that's when what had been a trouble-free cruise suddenly began to grind, with a couple of short-stacked players tanking shamelessly at every opportunity.

Mateusz Zbikowski, sitting next to Sam Trickett and Nicolas Chouity, was a particular culprit. He had almost no chips and resultantly no fold equity against many of the big stacks to his left.

Trickett was also short and openly told the table that he didn't mind Zbikowski's tactics. Nobody did, in fact - Chouity was happy just to raise every hand from his big stack and wait for the pay-day - and it became an amusing sideshow to hear Zbikowski's table-mates opting to rip into him verbally instead of calling the clock.


Mateusz Zbikowski, right, and his interrogators, Nicolas Chouity and Sam Trickett

"One of these times he's going to go all in and you're all going to have to say, 'Oh, sorry!'" Trickett said. Then a swarm of TV cameras descended to watch Zbikowski do nothing for a couple of minutes and Trickett added: "It's hard enough as it is, and now you've got a camera there. 'Leave me alone! I feel bad enough about this as it is.'"

Trickett continued: "You should be a boss and just jam it in now, show a deuce."

Zbikowski chuckled but declined the offer. He tanked and folded, tanked and folded and let matters proceed as they would inevitably do elsewhere.

Pablo Gordillo was all in with A♦K♥ and was called by Salman Behbehani's A♥Q♣. The board was scare-free for Gordillo and he doubled up, but got up from his chair and headed outside with his friend anyhow.

"Is he out?" somebody asked from another table. But he wasn't.


Salman Behbehani: Not out either

Paul Newey stood up from his chair and had a short stroll around the tables. At the PCA in January this year, Newey sealed the first major cash of his poker career, in the $25,000 High Roller event, and wasn't too proud to conceal his utter delight.

Having proven himself in business - Newey is one of the UK's richest financiers - he had been desperate to show his mettle at the poker tables and prove he wasn't just a rich whale buying into the big events.

Since then, Newey has made three final tables - ranging from a £20 re-buy at a local Birmingham casino to the $1m Big One for One Drop at the World Series. He has now secured his first EPT Main Event cash, which arguably says more about his increasing ability level than any of his previous results.


I'd fold that if I was you, mate

And, yes, he has indeed secured it. Because after that enormous slowdown, it all got terribly frantic terribly quickly. Jens Jose Obijn was all in with pocket jacks but ran into Marc-Andre Ladouceur's pocket kings.


Marc-Andre Ladouceur knocks out Jens Jose Obijn

That should have taken us to hand-for-hand, but it turned out that there was another player all in, and called, on a different table at the same time. Attention shifted over there to find Ignat Liviu hoping to get pocket eights to hold against Marco Caza's A♣Q♠.

It looked good for Liviu when flop and turn came J♠6♣2♥4♠. But then the A♥ appeared on the river, and that was the end of that.


Ignat Liviu bursts the bubble

The bubble burst without any need for the tortuous hand-for-hand period. It's just as well as we waited long enough to get there.

Other bubble facts:

All of the Red Spades who made it through to Day 3 are in the money:

Marc-Andre Ladouceur, Mickey Petersen, Johnny Lodden, Jake Cody, Liv Boeree, Eugene Katchalov, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier and Fatima Moreira de Melo.

All of the former EPT champions who made it through to Day 3 are in the money:

ElkY, Boeree, Cody, Petersen, Benny Spindler, David Vamplew, Nicolas Chouity.

All of the day-end leaders at EPT London made the money:

Anatoly Filatov (Day 1A), Georgios Zisimopoulos (Day 1B) and Raffaele Sorrentino (Day 2).

Leo McClean continues his campaign to have this room renamed the Leo McClean Suite. Last year's third-placed finisher remains in this year's field too.

Follow our coverage of the EPT London festival via the main EPT London page, where there are hand-by-hand updates and chip counts in the panel at the top and feature pieces below. And, of course, you can follow it all live at EPT Live.

Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour