PCA 2014: High Rollers assume their positions
There are 80 players registered for the high roller event so far. None of them sits at Eugene Katchalov's table.
The Team Pro listens to music through his headphones and looks around occasionally as the rest of the field gets stuck into the first level. It's like he's booked a table for eight, laid on chips and everything, but nobody has shown up.
Seconds later a big man takes the chair from his table, dragging to elsewhere to sit and talk to a friend. Now, not only does he have no one to play against, but one of them won't have a chair to sit on.
Eugene Katchalov, with company, in the Main Event earlier this week
But it's not uncommon for this first level to take a little time to get going. Across the playing area there are gaps at each table, but a few familiar faces are already in position.
Team Pros ElkY, Andre Akkari and Jonathan Duhamel play, as does Team Online's Mickey Petersen. This being a high roller the usual cast of Americans and Germans are taking their seats, including Scott Seiver and Philipp Gruissem. Dan Smith arrived slightly late, wandering around with a backpack on like a tourist coming to look around a local attraction. In many ways it is.
Others in play include Pratyush Buddiga, Noah Schwartz, Steve O'Dwyer, and Govert Metaal.
The plan today is to play for ten levels, with a 75 minute dinner break after level six. It means they'll finish for the day at about midnight, hopefully freeing those left in for a spell at the party tomorrow night, to be held outside (that decision was made today despite the threat of rain).
Registration will be open until the start of day two, but already numbers are swelling, up now from 80 to 105, with more expected as the day goes on. Happily, Katchalov's guests have arrived.
Follow full coverage from the High roller event on the PokerStars Blog.
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.