EPT11 Prague: If you can't take the heat...
It's hot in the tournament room. It's a clingy kind of heat rather than something you would describe as cosy. And this being the middle of winter most players dressed for cold weather as they prepared for the day this morning, or at least for a more forgiving air conditioner. That was fine earlier but not now. Instead zips are being undone, and the layers are coming off. The Christmas sweaters don't seem much fun anymore.
Well not everyone think that. Sometimes the job of poker player requires hardiness in the face of discomfort. The uniform cannot change just because you have sweat rolling down your face and are about to pass out.
Take Davidi Kitai for instance. The Belgian has an image to uphold, and so he keeps his black scarf wrapped tightly around his neck, oblivious to the conditions. But looking good often comes with a price, in this case weight-loss. But then Kitai, a former EPT Berlin champion, spent the first few hours on stage beneath the television lights. In comparison everywhere else must feel chilly.
Then there are those wrapping up against the heat for reasons of strategy. For the easiest way to cover up any facial tics and giveaways is to, well, cover up.
Take Victor Shuchleib for example. On his head he wears a wool cap in the colours of the Los Angeles Lakers. He also wears a green hoodie, the hood of which is pulled up over his nose, leaving only his eyes exposed. He's prepared either for anything, whether it's a call to his raises, or a sandstorm.
Kitty Kuo arrived in a wool cardigan and a thick scarf. They have now been discarded in favour of a light blouse, a transformation she was seemingly able to make without once looking up from her phone.
It feels like time has stopped--a Sunday afternoon at home feeling, albeit on a Saturday afternoon away. Progress feels slow. The clock has stopped ticking. "Seat open!" hardly registers. The start is now a long time ago. The money still some way off.
But the dealers arrive on time, the new shift marching in almost in formation, gathering around a clipboard to await instructions, before dispersing to tap their exhausted colleagues on the shoulder.
Then the last of the floor staff arrives carrying a box. It's one stuffed full of plastic see-thru bags which themselves contain eight more see-thru bags, the first sign that the end of another punishing day is nearly upon us, and then some respite in the cold outside.
Full coverage of the EPT Prague Poker Festival is on the main EPT Prague page.
Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.