EPT9 Sanremo: High Rollers play it out away from the limelight
No matter how long a poker festival goes on, there will still be players with bricks of cash ready to buy in to the later events. Some are looking to play the rush, others to haul out of a hole, the majority simply completing a well-prepared schedule decided long in advance.
It seems a little ridiculous that a tournament costing €10,000 to enter is a "side event", but with the high drama of the main event now elevated to the main theatre, the High Roller may seem slightly marginalised.
But that's not likely to trouble the players one bit. They are chasing a first prize of €288,000, the result of 74 buy-ins and ten reloads, all ponied up yesterday.
When day one wrapped late last night, it was the young American Brandon Barnes in the lead. Barnes has won more than a million dollars in online tournaments, playing as TheMatadorCC on PokerStars, and he has a couple of six-figure scores in live tournaments too. He is yet to trouble the payout clerks on the European Poker Tour, but has 211,700 overnight and is in with a shout.
There's still a long way to go - 45 players of the original 74 remain - and there are some huge names still in the hunt. Justin Bonomo hopped straight out of the main event into the High Roller and is now in the top three. Meanwhile Luca Pagano, who doubled up with aces in the first level yesterday, has maintained a top-five stack.
Joseph Cheong, Michael Watson, Jonathan Duhamel, Philipp Gruissem, Bryn Kenney, John Duthie, Michael Tureniec, Eugene Katchalov and Vanessa Rousso are all still alive. Those last two have the short stacks, but the structure is good.
You can follow full live reporting from the tournament floor on the dedicated High Roller page. Play begins at 3pm and we will dip in with some colour as play progresses. Main event coverage is on the main event page.