EPT11 Prague: Friends and rivals
"Hello my friend," said Mustapha Kanit turning to his left to address Sorel Mizzi as the Canadian got his feet under the table. Both were grinning at the prospect of another day spent battling each other at the poker table, though they'll have to get Juha Helppi and Mike Watson to practice the art of folding to get a hands heads-up as the Finn and Canadian provide a buffer between the two.
Across the room it was a similar story, whilst Bryn Kenney sipped on an espresso, Connor Drinan, who was in seat four, didn't even have to turn left or right to say: "Good morning Steve," to Steve O'Dwyer who occupies the one seat at their table.
It comes with the territory that those who play in these Super High Roller events, in which 50 players is a large field, that you not only become friends with those who you share a ton of time at the felt with, but you also develop rivalries as you have more opportunity to build them given the smaller field size. That's certainly the case today as across most of the tables there are a few old scores to be settled and new ones to add to the list.
We can begin with Drinan and O'Dwyer. At the beginning of November they both made the final table of the 2014 ACOP 'Macau Billionaire Poker' Super High Roller. O'Dwyer took the title that day and on the way to victory eliminated Drinan in fourth place. The difference between fourth and first was a piddling $1.15M.
On table two another pair of players have a chance to reacquaint themselves only a couple of months after they last clashed in a big event. Andrew Chen and Leonid Markin both made the final four of the EPT11 London £10,000 High Roller. Whilst Chen went from worst to first to take the title, Markin went from first to worst finishing fourth and it was Chen who delivered the biggest hammer blow. There's also a Canadian rivalry going on with Chen, Mike Leah and Timothy Adams all at the same table.
And over on table six it's no surprise given the length of time that Ike Haxton and Mike McDonald have been playing high roller events that they have some history. Given that they're two of the most laid back players in poker a rivalry might be stretching it though. At the beginning of the year they both went very deep in the Aussie Millions $250,000 Challenge with McDonald finishing third and Haxton losing heads-up to Phil Ivey.
As players bust and tables break we're sure to see more intriguing line-ups develop throughout the day.
Full coverage of the EPT Prague Poker Festival is on the main EPT Prague page. Super High Roller coverage, including blow-by-blow updates in the panel at the top, is on the Super High Roller page. And the Eureka main event is into it's penultimate day and playing on. That's on the Eureka Prague page.