EPT9 Sanremo: High rolling to the final table
The contrast between the main event and the high roller is pretty stark. While the main event rumbles on in the theatre, with beams of bright light illuminating the central stage and the final table, the high roller event plays on in relative obscurity, beneath the mural of a savage boar hunt that includes at least one dead dog, in a quiet corner of Casino Sanremo.
It's here, upstairs, in a part of the tournament area reserved for overspill, that the high roller play on. There remain some 18 survivors from 84 buy-ins. They each stumped up €10,000 for a shot at the €288,000 first prize.
Before that though comes another long day at the tables. The plan is to play down to eight tonight, or call it a night at 2.45am. It sounds late, but players who gladly hand over ten grand tend to be happy to play all night.
No riff-raff: The High Rollers in action
There's a club type atmosphere to the event, what with a long bar close by and exclusive entry requirements, a pleasant world of past success that means you don't have to work as fast and cheap as friends in the €300 Turbo at the other end of the room.
Brandon Barnes led coming into the day was still among the leaders going into the dinner break. He's was up to nearly half a million after sending, among others, Andrey Bondar to the rail.
It didn't take long for the shape of the event to change.
Back at the start Vanessa Rousso was the first to depart, quickly followed by Torsten Brinkman and Tobias Reinkemeier. McLean Karr had busted Brinkmann but was himself eliminated by Michael Tureniec a short while later.
Others since departed include the Joni Jouhkimainen, dusted off by joseph Cheong. Bryn Kenny was also said goodnight thanks to John Duthie who then took chips from Jonathan Duhamel. The former World Champions was then crippled by Govert Metaal, who later delivered the coup de grace.
In happier times: John Duthie
Benny Spindler, who won the EPT London main event a year and four days ago, has been up and down all day. Helped by eliminating Mike Watson, Spindler sits close to the lead at the break. Philipp Gruissem, who won the EPT London High Roller a year and four days ago, is also thriving. This is after all his natural environment.
The same cannot be said for Luca Pagano who goes back to his organisational role with Pagano events after departing this evening. He stumbled before the break, finally crashing out to Igor Kurganov moments before John Duthie followed.
Luca Pagano earlier this week
Expect things to continue in the same way.
Keep an eye on the live tournament reporting from the EPT Sanremo High Roller for all the news from the tournament floor.