The first level is typically a cautious one; few big hands, no point getting carried away, take things easy. It’s the way to stretch the day out a little.
It’s not an approach everyone agrees to. One player busted first hand, attempting a hero call on the river with top pair, only to be getting his coat when his opponent showed a straight.
While the likes of Team PokerStars Pros Chad Brown and Marcin Horecki get comfortable and Tom McEvoy, complete with Hemingway beard, examines the faces at his table, a few players are shifting up a gear. Johannes Strassmann is getting busy, so too Greg Raymer and Chad Brown.
Brown sits alongside Almira Skripchenko and Christophe Gross and from the small blind calls Gross’s bet of 225. Skripchenko does the same for a flop of 3♠5♦5♠. Using auction type gestures that only the dealer is tuned into, each of them checks for a turn card 10♠. Now Brown makes it 350. Skripchenko calls while Gross gets out of the way. More checking after the river card 3♣. Skripchenko shows 10♦9♦ to take it down.
Another player walks past carrying their coat as the clock ticks towards the end of level one.