EPT10 Prague Day 1A: Tiberu-Florian Georgescu leads all star and bumper field
There has been something in the air in Prague this week -- and I don't mean the EPT Live commentators, who were grounded in London by fog.
No, it was an atmosphere of something grand approaching: the Eureka Poker Tour hit record levels, Rafa Nadal was coming to town and all that remained was for the Main Event to weigh in with its customary bumper field.
This time last year we were delightedly surprised by a Day 1A player list featuring 336 names. This year, we showed an improvement even on that: there were 389 who parted with the €5,300 entry fee, and you can probably double that number for players arriving tomorrow.
Prague has once again staked its claim as the poker capital of Central Europe. Ramzi Jelassi triumphed from 864 players last year, and whoever takes his crown this time will likely have to go past a few more.
"I don't think I'm going to win again," Jelassi said when he dropped into the press room at the mid-point of the day. Maybe he will, maybe he won't. But he's still in after our eight levels, with 24,600 chips.
That is not the tournament chip lead, however. Right now, at this earliest stage in this long tournament, the little known Romanian player Tiberu-Florian Georgescu has the most. From a starting stack of 30,000 chips, he now has 191,100, with which he will return on Saturday.
Alongside him in that returning field, we will find the following:
Ari Engel - 172,800
Ronny Voth - 166,400
Lucas Reeves - 140,800
Jose Carlos Garcia - 138,500
Vinicius Barrel Teles, 121,500
Roman Korenov - 120,100
Tapio Vihakas - 105,000
Jonathan Little - 104,200
Yannick Wrang - 97,700
Walid Bou Habib - 91,300
Henrique Pinho - 73,900
Steve O'Dwyer - 60,200
Toby Lewis - 44,900
Jeff Sarwer - 42,800
But we have already bid farewell to these other bright lights.
Roberto Romanello, Pierre Neuville, Johnny Lodden, Dan Kelly, Jeff Rossiter, Jake Cody, Joni Joukimainen, JC Alvarado, Vanessa Selbst, Chris Brammer and Matt Perrins. Cody and Romanello both came attired in natty Christmas jumpers (yes, we call them jumpers in the UK) but they didn't help. And neither did Jeff Rossiter's ski mask.
Have a look at who else was playing today in our early big-game hunt around the tournament room. And there was more about those bizarre costumes. We even had a crack report on how poker terminology can sometimes get mistaken for Kentish geography. It really can.
That's it for today, but there will be more of the same tomorrow. Much more.