EPT11 London: High Rollers cast into expensive purgatory, have fun anyway

It's that time of the week again when PokerStars Blog attempts to drum up some sympathy for a small group of millionaires. Pity the poor high rollers, we say, cast to the boondocks to play out their final table. There are no studio lights, there's no top billing in the main ballroom and there's almost nobody watching at all, save a live blogger and a tournament director.

Hold on. That sounds pretty good, doesn't it?

No, no. Pity the poor high rollers, we say, with only the prospect of £394,200 to keep them warm.

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The boondocks, Grand Connaught Rooms

That really is actually the size of it this afternoon at the Grand Connaught Rooms, where the final table of the £10,000 High Roller is taking place at the same time as the glamour of the Main Event.

With Jake Cody and Kevin MacPhee among the Main Event finalists, it was always going to be the case that their final table attracted most of the attention. But Tournament Room B -- up the stairs, into the bar, take a right -- is a hive of activity too, featuring many of the world's best.

Perhaps the best known two players at the High Roller final are Andrew Chen, a regular deep runner in the EPT's biggest tournaments, and Salman Behbehani, who has more than $2.2m in live tournament cashes. In fact, when you add Chen's $3.5m, those two could host quite a party.

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Yet another final table for Andrew Chen

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Salman Behbehani, in silhouette

Fady Kamar, who is also in the last six, has amassed $1.3m, even as he has largely flown under the radar, while Craig McCorkell might be tempted to flash a gold bracelet around a bit. He's the only player still left in the tournament who has beamed his big smile for the cameras at the World Series of Poker. (Jooryt van Hoof, currently chip leader in the WSOP Main Event, went out in eighth.)

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Craig McCorkell: Stripy scarfy

As can sometimes be the case, however, none of those has all the chips at the moment. A man named Leonid Markin, from Russia, has the biggest stack of them all and is in the box seat in the attempt to get this one locked up before the Main Event even loses a player.

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Leonid Markin: All the chips

I'd say that race is round about a coin flip. You can follow all the updates on the main High Roller page.

That's not where the fun ends in that tournament room, however. The last-day bonanza that is the £5,000 six-max turbo is also now under way, and there are some tremendous tables to choose from there.

One in particular is only five handed at the moment, but features Jason Mercier, Stephen Chidwick, David Peters, Simon Higgins and Ole Schemion. Another has Aku Joentausta, Mickey Petersen, Max Altergott and Daniel Colman.

For a short period, Frederik Jensen, Martin Finger, Ike Haxton and the aforementioned Van Hoof were table mates, but the latter knocked out Finger and the former sent Haxton out. I missed the details of the earlier bust out, but Haxton went when he three-bet shoved the button with 8♠[10s] and Jensen called with K♠7♦.

It's that kind of tournament.

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