EPT8 Berlin: Six days start here


The moments before a big tournament kicks off one can tell a lot about a player. Are they sat in their chair nervously counting and recounting their stack or perhaps burying their head into a smartphone, piling their first big event anxieties into cyberspace? Barny Boatman, a player who's seen more felts than most, sits with his right arm slung back over his chair talking up to the lanky rangy EPT Live commentator James Hartigan. He is far from nervous. The pair are talking about poker tours in the UK with Boatman coming from a background of sawdust experience, Hartigan fluffing off from a theoretical standpoint but is doing well to make it sound like he knows what he's talking about. It is his job after all.

Four seats to Boatman's right is Scott Seiver an American with $4,272,749 in live winnings. Siever, who comes in off the back of a televised TV triumph, is looking for the third leg on a poker pedestal of glory* having taken a WPT title in May last year and a WSOP bracelet 'way back' in 2008. He's yet to cash in a EPT main event (although has made some good scores in PCA side events). Another highly rated American, this time with EPT experience, is also at the same table, albeit arriving late. Olivier Busquet put in a powerhouse performance at EPT Campione, the last stop of the EPT, finishing second to Jannick Wrang after an incredibly tough final table. All three players are experienced and dangerous. The likes of Barry Greenstein and Vanessa Selbst are scattered elsewhere.

*Yes, I am aware this sounds like nonsense. Go with it.

ept berlin_day 1a_trophy.jpg

The EPT trophy, just six days away...

Tournament director Thomas Lamatsch stood next to EPT president Edgar Stuchly and a top dog from the Spielbank Casino, whose name I failed to catch as I was ushered to one side of the trio after it was pointed out that I was ruining a nice clean shot of the 'shuffle up and deal' moment. Thankfully I wasn't the only one. Both PokerStars Blog colleague Stephen Bartley (hurried, ashamed) and PokerNews video reporter Lynn Gilmartin (unaware, unabashed) both made the same mistake. While Bartley dashed around the back, Gilmartin brazenly wandered in front of the camera crew ushered in by the encouraging beckons of Seiver, who in contrast seemed to be well aware that he was pulling Gilmartin into shot and appeared to be enjoying getting the Australian into trouble.

The next table along Bill Chen sits twisted in his chair, looking back over his shoulder as the announcements take place. He's been here many times before but looks like he's taking it in for the very first time. Today is the just the first step of a six day journey for some. For others, the trip will be significantly shorter. Today and tomorrow - the collective Day 1's - will play out ten one-hour levels with a 75-minute dinner break after level six. Stay with us to find out who stays the distance, both today and come Saturday night.

Tournament snapshot
Level 1: blinds 50-100
Players: tbc
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Rick Dacey
@PokerStars in Berlin