2009 PCA: Random? Rigged more like

Some players around a single poker table this afternoon: Johnny Lodden, ElkY, Victor Ramdin, Dario Minieri. And around another one: Andre Akkari, Gualter Salles, Thierry Van Den Berg. And another one: Hevad Khan, Gus Hansen, Layne Flack and Orel Hirshiser.

And then there's Boris Becker and Chris Moneymaker on another.


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Boris Becker and Chris Moneymaker

And how about: Phil Ivey and Brandon Adams. Then there's Ivan Demidov, Andrew Li and Redmond Lee.

And when the first table broke, Minieri joined Noah Boeken and Alexandre Gomes in his new home.


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Dario Minieri and Alexandre Gomes

Lodden, meanwhile, skipped off to join Eli Elezra and Joe Sebok. Elsewhere the EPT Prague champion Salvatore Bonavena sits a couple of seats away from EPT London final table player Eric Liu.

The "random" table draw seems to be anything but at the PCA today, but with such a star-studded field, these things were always likely to occur. As tables break and players are eliminated, expect the concentration of talent to become even more extreme.

As yet, the big guns seem to have been steering wisely clear of one another - the odd Minieri v Gomes clash notwithstanding. (That one went to Minieri with a strong bet on an ace-high flop after some pre-flop jousting.)

We have just entered level two after the first 15-minute break of the day. We also still haven't yet seen the World Champion Peter Eastgate, although his chair on Carter Gill's table remains. It's difficult to know whether his future table-mates know who is coming to join them, but at the moment are simply enjoying picking off the undefended blinds.