EPT9 London High Roller: A fresh start
At the kind of festivals we have grown accustomed to attending, held in small towns like Deauville, Sanremo, or the Atlantis, Paradise Island, it is difficult to go more than a few steps without seeing a familiar poker player. The tournaments manage to take over the place and relegate everyday life to a sub-plot.
However London is an enormous city, where even the most popular people who live here would be surprised to bump into someone they know on the street. Indeed, you can go weeks without even seeing your next door neighbour, only popping round once you see more than 12 milk-bottles and newspapers on their doorstep. It's not that we're unfriendly, it's just that we don't care.
Hauling this back to a poker context, it means that although the usual faces showed up on Sunday for the start of the EPT Main Event, since then the poker-playing populace has dissolved into the mass of the metropolis. There have been events down at the Hippodrome, events running into the night after the main event wrapped, and a whole host of alternative entertainments removing the players from our gaze.
All of that meant that a recent walk of the tournament floor, where the £10,000 High Roller has just started, felt like the opening day of a new festival. Ah, so there's J.C. Alvarado. Hello, Andrew Chen and Todd Terry. Haven't seen you in a while, Scott Seiver. How have you been since the last stop?
Those players have arrived to the tables today fresh of face and ready to rumble, recovered from whatever misery afflicted them in the main event. There are also some players who are, I think, making their first appearance of the week for the high roller, having opted on sitting out the paltry £5,000 buy in entirely.
Adolfo Vaeza, the high roller specialist from Uruguay is here. Likewise Mark Teltscher, the EPT London champion from season two, who only emerges on special occasions these days. I'm fairly sure I saw Talal Shakerchi, the hedge fund manager, playing the £10,000 8-Game, but he didn't play the main event. (He's obviously in this one tonight.) Then there's Govert Metaal, Dori Yacoub and Dan Shak, who wouldn't dream of missing a High Roller event, even though the latter has been playing almost everything all week. (He just came second in the 8-Game.)
At the other end of the spectrum are the handful who are playing the rush. Many of the High Roller field have jumped straight into the mix having only recently been eliminated from the Main Event. That's Jason Mercier, Steven Silverman and Mike McDonald.
As you would expect, the field is large (and getting larger) and the tables are tough (and getting tougher). How would you fancy playing on a table where, in a row, you'll find Marvin Rettenmaier, Olivier Busquet, Mercier and Yann Dion?
It's a £10,000 entry with a single reload for busted players, which is available until 11.45am tomorrow. Some players have already gone broke: Max Silver lost with set under set; Bryn Kenney vanished early; Yacoub will be looking for another £10,000 already.
Follow live updates on the main High Roller page. This one will play long into the night.