The stories during this part of a tournament tend to be polarised: the players that bust and the stacks making a run at the chip lead. In some ways this is doing a disservice to all those grinders in between for they are the future heroes and villains of this tournament. Let’s take a quick look.

Belgian Koen De Visscher sits in the corner of the tournament room, the epitome of the get-it-quietly strategy. The third-place finisher of EPT Snowfest (€147,000) barely says a word opting to speak in actions instead, a policy that has seen him chip up to more than half-a-million, comfortably ahead of the 398,000 average stack. De Visscher has proved to be a calm lingering threat before, he could easily make a run at the final table here.

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Koen De Visscher: speak no evil…

Simon Taberham is a player at the other end of the scale, not painfully short stacked but certainly in a shove or fold situation with around 100,000. He just shoved for 81,000 and showed 10♦10♣ after forcing a fold out of Nikolaus Teichert who had opened for 16,000. The Australian appears to be well equipped for shoving; he’s loaded up with a large Heineken and a nice pair of PokerStars branded headphones.

“Pair?” asked Taberham a little too loudly due to the headphones.

Teichert neglected to answer at which point Taberham showed the tens: “The pairs are working,” he added before taking another slug of beer. That’s some good Aussie poker for you, right there. Taberham’s scored a deep run at the PCA last year; 32nd in the main for $38,000, and a fifth place in a side event for $59,750. He’s a player that would be good for the EPT Live lite broadcast should he manage to get back closer to average.

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Illya Kuryakin Artem Litvinov

Artem Litvinov is a regular face on the EPT but this is likely to be his best run in a main event. He’s scored two cashes before; 51st at EPT Tallin, Season 6 and 87th at EPT Barcelona, Season 7. Litvinov looks much like Illya Kuryakin, the Russian spy that co-starred alongside Napoleon Solo in The Man from U.N.C.L.E., or rather a version of Kuryakin had he decided to pack in his career in espionage to play the international poker circuit with all the associated trappings that come with it: lack of sun tan, man bag, headphones, etc. Litvinov is on around 250,000.

These are just a few of the players in the middle of the pack, others such as Mick Graydon, Julien Ehrhardt and Vadzim Kursevich could just as easily have been picked out. Anyone can make a dash for it when there are 67 players left and one level left to play.


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