The first five levels have thinned the field a little, from 198 to 123. The hour may have taken its toll as well as it gets late here in Dortmund and the effects of jetlag adds weight to heavy heads. The pace has definitely slowed on table five.
Here sit a few EPT regulars and a few PokerStars qualifiers to boot. Tommy Pavilicek, a PokerStars qualifier from Edmonton, Canada, has been nursing a short stack for some time now. The shaggy-haired Canadian is spending the winter skiing in France but breaks up his time on the slopes with EPT action, be it Prague or Dortmund.
Along from him is Marcel Baran. The German pro was buoyed by his third place finish at the EPT London this season and has been a feature on the EPT ever since. His stack is healthier than Tommy’s but not by much. Like Frenchman Thomas Fougeron next to him, Marcel has raised a few and settled for the blinds.
Fougeron will have fond memories of Dortmund. Last year the Parisian finished eighth – not a bad result in itself made even more spectacular by the fact that on the first day he had been half way to the door carrying a bag of expletives when he thought the miracle draw his opponent hit had sent him out. On closer inspection it turned out Thomas was left with one chip, enough for a never say die rally of chip-and-a-chair legend. First one double up, then another, all the way through until he was eliminated via the TV table.
That was then, this is now. Thomas rests his head on his hand as another hand is dealt. Next to him is Jason Hackett, the ninth place finisher in London, looking equally tired and along from him are PokerStars qualifiers Roberto Monte and Ville Mattila back in seat one. Two elderly gentlemen have pulled up chairs on the rail to watch in comfort, although there’s not much to see. This is the table that people walk passed to get somewhere else.
Another hand, another tired slow closer to the end of day 1a. 113 players now left…
Tournament update –
I arrived on the tournament floor to first hear Lex Veldhuis going out, unhappy presumably at the guy who knocked him out, and then further up the room Alex Kravchenko exiting is near silence, except for the hoots and hollahs from Thomas Ermas who sounded quite pleased with himself.