EPT10 Prague: The second flight is airborne
"Yes, yes, I am playing now," said Martin Kabrhel to whoever had dared to phone the Czech tyro at five-past-twelve on Friday, otherwise known as Day 1B of EPT Prague. Kabrhel was in seat eight, the button started the day in seat six, and that meant he was in the big blind for the first hand of the day. And Kabrhel likes to play.
Modern poker is all about putting players on a range. But it's very difficult to know what Kabrhel's calling range would be to a button raise on the first hand, when he is sitting in the big blind.
Actually, it's very easy. It's pretty much any two cards. Kabrhel does not like folding.
He got rid of the phone call, called a raise to 300, then a 350 continuation bet on an ace-high flop. Kabrhel ended up winning this one with a half-pot bet on the river, and so the action was under way for the day.
As has been written several times this week, the numbers for this festival in Prague have been sensational. The Eureka Poker Tour Main Event weighed in with 1,315 players, its High Roller paid down to 63 places, and Day 1A of the Main Event was bigger than this time last year.
We are already pretty clearly looking at a 900-strong field over the two opening flights, and the winner of this one will somehow need to combine the fearlessness of Kabrhel with the steely-eyed will to win of Rafa Nadal and a good run of cards. It'll be a good one to watch all week.
Daniel Negreanu is in today's field, fresh from his hobnobbing with the superstars yesterday. Even with the likes of Nadal, Shevchenko, Ronaldo and Tomba now departed, Negreanu still found himself the centre of attention before play started today. A young couple wandered over to him arm in arm and asked if they could take a photo. As ever, Negreanu obliged and, as ever, the camera was handed to the woman as the man now locked arms with the Team PokerStars Pro.
One of the hotel staff then offered to take a picture also featuring the female half of the couple of fans - and Negreanu seemed keen. But just as he was moving in the direction of the young woman, her boyfriend snuck in and grabbed his second chance to rub shoulders with the No 1 ranked player in the world. The male fan beamed out from the centre with his girlfriend on one wing and Negreanu on the other. Romance and bromance on either side.
Ryan Spittles and Dermot Blain took their seats. Right next to one another. They will have played together plenty in the card rooms of the United Kingdom and Ireland, and today they get to renew their acquaintance in the Czech capital.
Glen Cymbaluk sat nearby, beneath his trademark snakeskin stetson and white-rimmed shades. Joe Mouawad (not that one) shook hands with a few friends before shuffling to his seat.
Registration is open throughout the day and players will be arriving all the way until midnight. We will have all the coverage in all the usual places, so stick with us.
For Day 1B of the Main Event, head to the EPT Prague Main Event page. There's hand-by-hand coverage and chip counts in the top panel, plus feature pieces below the line. All the information about event can be found on the main European Poker Tour website.