EPT Copenhagen: The calm before the storm
The settle-in period has begun – that one hour spell where, unless something unusual happens, you glide through simply getting comfortable. Here that includes a ‘help yourself’ coffee service inside the rail and comfortable chairs. Even the dealers are enthroned in ergonomically sound contraptions with headrests, arms rests and fiddly handles capable of correcting the posture of the most severly twisted spine. So yes, all is well in the first level – it’s mirror, signal, manoeuvre poker - nice and easy - nobody gets hurt.
Peter Hedlund is on one of his walks. The Swede has had his triumphs on the EPT and is a vocal celebrator of all that’s good in his game - and quick to tell anyone who’ll listen. He talks to Mikael Norinder of Prague collapse notoriety, before returning to his table.
And it’s not a bad table, featuring Team PokerStars Pro Tom McEvoy and EPT Prague winner Arnaud Mattern in the mirrored sunglasses of the California Highway Patrol. It could have been an even weightier match-up had two other players been who their name suggested there were. Marcus Palm in seat one is not THE Marcus Palm known as a stand-up comedian in these parts. And Anders Rasmussen over in seat ten is not THE Anders Rasmussen who happens to be the Prime Minister of Denmark. Still, it was worth a second look.
McEvoy was involved in a scary looking pot with the Prime Minister of Denmark shortly after the start, when on a Q-Q-J-T board McEvoy was betting and Rasmussen calling. After a seven on the river they both showed Q-J for an anti-climactic finish to the hand, but a good warm-up nonetheless.
Across the railbird gangway two Danes, Theo Jorgensen and Rehne Pedersen, sit alongside each other. Beyond them is PokerStars passport winner Dustin Mele.
Whilst Dustin’s table features few of the names able to beckon the cameras at will it's still home to one of the most stylish players on the tour – Gino Alacqua. He sits opposite fellow Italian Dario ‘Bonzo’ Nittolo from Naples playing his first ever EPT. Like Trond Eidsvig and Thor Hansen yesterday these two are today’s inter-generational rivals - youth against experience.
The financial boost of a second place finish in Prague has freed up Gino to play a little more these days, a break from the no doubt cut throat business of antiquing. He mucks a hand to a raise from Sandor Hollaar who wears big black sunglasses, the type issued to soldiers for Nevada test blasts fifty years ago. No such paraphenalia for Gino, just the subtly expensive suit and open neck shirt.
No major movements, although one notable casualty at this stage is EPT Warsaw winner Peter Jepsen. Blinds now up to 50/100.
All photos © Neil Stoddart