Half an hour in and 13 players are already on their way home. One of them is Passport winner Dustin Mele.
Fair’s fair Dustin had the work to do. He came ready to turn his 4,600 into a colossus, one that would guarantee the PokerStars passport winner a handsome payoff to take back to New York. But things don’t always go according to plan. He was out within minutes of the start, but his experience here is only the start of a year long adventure – not bad for someone who had never travelled outside of the United States before last weekend.
But, with his American and PokerStars passport well and truly in his back pocket it’s up to him where to play next. Copenhagen? San Remo? Monte Carlo? This is not the last we’ll see of Dustin.
The redraw has paired off some key players. Team PokerStars Pro Katja Thater has been drawn across from Brandon Schaeffer; two French players Pascal Perrault and Paul Testud sit side by side and Annette Obrestad shares a table with Nicolas Levi.
Daniel Negreanu? He was late again. A quick dash to his chair and he’d be in business in no time. “This is me? No?” Wrong table. He’d find his place eventually, to polite applause… “No problem.”
Another key match up involves Marcel Luske and Mats Iremark. These two represents the complete opposite ends of the poker way. Mats, who won the EPT in Deauville back in season two, is something of the archetypical poker geek. Perhaps he leaves his computer screen sometimes, possibly to by designer clothes, but you suspect EPTs are Mat’s forced ventures into the outside world. Marcel on the other hand, well, I’m not convinced he owns a computer. Always in a suit, today with a salmon coloured tie, he talks freely with players, press and anyone who happens to walk by.
These are only superficial differences for their track records nail them down as world class players. So you’d expect them to keep out of each others way.
Not so. They both tangled, all be it with kid-gloves on in a pot. Mats had re-raised a bet which Marcel ultimately called before they both check-checked their way to a showdown, as if they’d accidentally found themselves in a hand together. Tangling with the wrong man can end in grief and long explanations. MArcel took the pot with a jack on the river pairing the one in his hand. Sixes for Mats but both seemed happy to let the hand go.
Tournament update –
Noah Boeken who began day1b with 10k started day 2 with exactly the same. But that made today a much taller order. He went out in the first level of play leaving just Katja Thater and Daniel Negreanu flying the Team PokerStars flag.
Photos © Neil Stoddart