EPT9 Berlin High Roller: Not your average bathroom break

There's a coarse phrase used among the proles of Great Britain (ie, me and my ilk) which reminds them (ie, us) that even Her Majesty is made of flesh and blood. I'll paraphrase for the readers of a family blog, but it goes something like: "Even the Queen's effluence is fragrant."

The poker royalty has turned up at EPT Berlin today, readying for a crack at the €10,000 High Roller event. And during the first break of the day, they seemed to decamp en masse to the bathroom on the first floor of the Hyatt Hotel, closest to the tournament room, where I can confirm that...Actually, let's not go there. We've had enough observations from the bathroom this week after yesterday's revelation that there was a dealer using the urinal and brushing his teeth. Simultaneously.

What was interesting during that break, however, was if you glanced around the lobby just outside the bathroom and tried to tot up the combined wealth of the crowd standing there. To all intents and purposes, the little gathering could have been in any bar or on any street corner the world around, but the average income was a good deal higher than the norm.

There was Dan Smith for instance. Yeah, that one, the guy who won two High Roller events last year (in Australia and Barcelona) plus three side events in Monte Carlo. The player who finished second in the Barcelona event, JC Alvarado, was also chatting away among his friends, as was Justin Bonomo, who won a €10,000 Super High Roller at the Grand Final for more than two million bucks.


Dan Smith, High Roller beast

Faraz Jaka was chewing the fat. Likewise Martin Jacobson and Steven Silverman. About this point, your average PokerStars Blog reporter tends to buckle at the knees, slump into the nearest chair, bury his head in his hands and ponder for the umpteenth time where it all when wrong.

But head held high, we wandered with the small posse back into the tournament room, where they sat themselves down again to play another couple of levels. Jake Cody was being interviewed by EPT Live; Artem Litvinov was slipping his lucky coin back in his pocket, having got it out on the last hand of the first level to decide whether to call a river bet from Benny Spindler.


Artem Litvinov's antics start early

The coin said he should call. Litvinov called. His top pair nines was better than Spindler's air. Spindler chuckled and walked away. We have never seen the coin called into action so soon.

This High Roller event is scheduled to go through three days, with the final on Saturday. Organisers have learned their lesson after initially scheduling these as two-day events earlier in the season, only to see the bumper fields push it into a third.

We're getting close to 100 players now, and I think it's pretty much certain that the century will be breached. I mean, we're in Germany and haven't seen Phillipp Gruissem nor Tobias Reinkemeier yet and I'll be amazed if they give this one a miss. Those High Roller beasts are on home turf in more ways than one.

We'll dip into the High Roller as it gets close to its business end, but in the meantime keep abreast of all the action via the live updates panel at the top of the High Roller page. There are chip-counts and hand-by-hand stuff there too.


Just your average High Roller trio: Paul Berende, JC Alvarado and Mike McDonald

Howard Swains
@howardswains in High Roller