There are a handful of early birds at the Prague Hilton, four or five dedicated spectators soaking up the early action of the day.
The arrival of another onlooker took that tally to six. He’s conspicuous in a baggy black tracksuit, belly and pumps. From this outfit the shoes look the most expensive, the result perhaps of a recent win that kitted him out with new Scooby Doo’s but left nothing for anything north of the ankles.
He sniffed around one table then sloped over to look at the second, standing, pelvis thrust forward, with his hands on his hips. Then, with an unpleasant clearing of his nose, he rolled away to win enough money for a shave.
This image is in stark contrast to the players. It’s a curious phenomenon in events such as this that as the business end approaches the standard of dress increases, with several players smartening themselves up. The presence of the television cameras is undoubtedly a catalyst, but there’s also a sense that the occasion deserves a little extra effort. Departing on day one merits only the most relaxed of clothing choices. If one must depart today then it will at least be done while wearing a pressed shirt and a collar.
One player adopting this approach is Diego Gomez . The Spaniard has shown flashes of excitement this week. This is his first EPT cash and with live tournament earnings of just €3,800 this is obviously a big deal to him. He’s celebrated a few hands with wild exclamations, yelling words that are difficult to decipher while throwing his arms in the air. For the most part this is tolerated by his opponents, although he won no friends while loudly celebrating his win against a player’s ace-ten yesterday when his own ace-ten made a flush.
Today though, he’s the image of respectability wearing a collar, neat jumper and a spotted bow tie, the likes of which have never before been seen on the tour. Sadly the elegance is undone by a pair of holographic lizard-eye glasses.
Diego Gomez Gonzalez
The same could be said for Mikhail Petrov. The Russian selected a plaid sports jacket this morning to go with the pair of massive sunglasses, an affect made more prominent by the throng of hooded tops surrounding him.
Chips certainly help, but a sense of propriety puts these two way ahead.