WSOP Main Event: European day at the WSOP
by Howard Swains
Flight 1C. Everything that can be said about the opening moments of the opening days has already been said several times. We are used to it: there are a lot of people, a frenzy of excitement, a buzz of anticipation and a clatter of chips. There are also these qualifiers and notables, among countless others, representing Europe and PokerStars this afternoon, evening, night and tomorrow.
Stuart Beaton (Scotland) - a second-time PokerStars qualifier, he qualified through a field of 180 runners in a $33 tournament. Last year's World Series was his first live event and after 12 hours made a set on the flop with pocket eights. Runner-runner straight sent him packing.
David Flusfeder (England) - a novelist from London, David is playing in his first World Series but is a habitual final table finisher in various tournaments in the casinos and clubs of the south of England.
Bertrand Grospellier (France) - a former pro-gamer turned SuperNova extraordinaire. Needs little introduction to anyone at PokerStars; he won the SuperNova race at a canter and is one of the biggest online players in the world.
Neil Channing (England) - among the best-known and most popular London-based professionals, this former bookmaker, part-time writer and full-time raconteur is playing in his umpteenth World Series and has five cashes in various series events over the years.
Arshad Hussain (England) - last year's PokerStars qualifier is this year's sponsored player. And why not. Ash capped a spectacular year on the European circuit by placing second in the EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo. He has been a consistent high-placed finisher and is currently No 1 in the European rankings.
Christian Grundtvig (Denmark) - Fierce and fearsome Danish pro, with a freshly gleaming WPT title to his name. Grundtvig triumphed in the main event at the Aviation Club de Paris in June to claim the $900,000 first prize. A serial PokerStars qualifier, he also finished fourth in the EPT Baden event last October.
Eirik Kolaas (Norway) - Had a final table finish on the EPT last year, as well as a cash in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in January. Fresh-faced but dangerous at the tables, Kolaas is another of the Scandinavian contingent with every chance to transfer European domination to the United States.