Two tables get the attention in level five. First, what can only be described as the ‘stress table’. Thierry van den Berg at one end having the tension massaged from his shoulders; Mads Andersen at the other end getting the life massaged back into his. Duelling pros. Duelling masseuses. We’re only short a banjo.

The other table is making cheery noises but has perhaps the toughest roll call of any right now, featuring as it does Thomas Wahlroos, Andy Black and Arnaud Mattern (in that order) sat line abreast and facing the dealer. On their right flank sits PokerStars qualifier Michael Dunn.


Thomas Wahlroos and Andy Black

An intimate hand had developed as I arrived; Andy Black reaching over, his hand on Thomas’s, on a full K-A-T-4-Q board. This was Black’s attempt to get a little information. Thomas though was zoned out, music pulsing through his head, leg bouncing up and down with a 1,700 bet at stake – he was letting the Irishman do the talking.

“Jack-nine?” asks Andy. Nope. “You win” says Andy, mucking his card. Still no words from Thomas, although by now he’d stopped bouncing his leg.

Michael Dunn’s was next to get the Andy treatment and he could only hold onto his hat as Andy turned up the speed, rapid bet after rapid bet, an all-in over a Dunn raise taking the pot.


Andy Black

“I got worried when you looked at your watch…” said Andy, but this hand was always going his way, restoring the karma from the last hand perhaps, or the application of brakes before things started spiralling out of control. All done pretty quick regardless. Andy on 23k now, with Wahlroos and Mattern on 10k.


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