EPT8 Berlin: Big names out in force

ept-thumb-promo.jpgA bumper field starts today with the likes of EPT champions Kevin MacPhee, David Vamplew, Ben Wilinofsky, Martin Finger, Arnaud Mattern, Jake Cody and Andrey Pateychuk all shuffling up, as well as other well-known players such as Team PokerStars Pros Jonathan Duhamel, Michael Keiner and Viktor 'Isildur1' Blom, and Martin Jacobson, Tobias Reinkemeier and Juha Helppi.

Having called the European Poker Tour a home away from home for some time it's easy to forget that some of these bright stars of the game may not be known or recognised by other people, even by their opponents. A timely reminder was served by Wilfried Harig, an Omaha cash game player who took down the €2,000 PLO turbo last night beating a final table which included EPT Prague champion Roberto Romanello and Omaha colossus Helppi.

"I think it was a Finnish guy," said Harig, trying to explain who he was heads up against last night.

You mean Juha Helppi?

"That was Juha?" asked Harig.

We determined that most likely it was.

ept berlin_day 1b_tv table.jpg

The TV table in action

Respect can be earned in poker and it can even be leant on but it can never, ever be relied upon. On paper Helppi would book the win adding to his $4,327,708 in tournament wins but as we all know you have to let the cards and chips do the talking. Harig bust the bubble guaranteeing Roberto Romanello a decent foot up in his last ditch scramble towards Ondrej Vinklarek and the Player of the Year title and himself a chip lead into the final six players.

"I know that he's on the leader board but I didn't know that the side events give points. That's why he played," said Harig.

After the German's flopped top set held against a nut flush draw Romanello had leant across the table and thanked him for winning the hand.

"I wondered why he said that. I thought it was because he is not the guy that has to go out on the bubble."

Well, it was probably a bit of both. Romanello bust in fifth for €7,520 and Harig went on to scoop the €34,780 first place prize. Far more than that will be up grabs in this main event but quite how much will only be known later after registration shuts after the end of level 2. We'll bring you the final numbers, payouts and prize structure when we have them.

Tournament snapshot
Level 1: blinds 50-100
Players: tbc (in excess of 450 for Day 1B)
Click here for live coverage and more features.

Rick Dacey
@PokerStars in Berlin