Italians pretty much invented passion and they certainly bring it to the poker tables too. We’ve grown gradually accustomed on the EPT to raucous celebrations whenever a pot is won; so much so that we joke in the press room about what is indicated by a particular tone of celebratory whoop, judging it on a sliding scale. Was that a suck-out? A flush-draw hitting? A big hand standing up? Or perhaps all that bellowing, high-fiving, hand-clapping and hugging was the result of a beautifully executed blind-and-antes-stealing operation.

All this has been cooking along nicely for three days, and yet today we’ve somehow found a way to ramp it up even more. The flames have been fanned by the start of a €2,000 side event in the tournament room, which was sold out almost as soon as registration was open, and is rapidly encroaching onto the space previously allotted to the main event.

As eight players depart from the €5,000 tournament, a table is broken and its remaining players scattered into vacant seats elsewhere. All the better for the alternates in the side event, who are quickly ushered in their ten-full to get cracking on their tournament.

Maybe it’s related, maybe it’s not, but this has been a startlingly quick day of eliminations from the main event, even by the standards of the EPT. As the players take their second 15-minute break, at the end of level 19, only 51 remain. We’ve squeezed out more than 70 already so far and the queues at the cash-out desk are snaking between the tables.

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Dragan Galic

Dragan Galic remains the overwhelming chip leader. He recently knocked out Greger Larsson in a hand that will amuse and anguish the Scandinavian contingent. Galic raised pre-flop — with more than a million chips, that’s been happening a lot — and and Larsson re-raised all in for 160,000. Galic went into the tank, then decided to ask Larsson a few questions, including the simple: “Where are you from?” Larsson didn’t reply until a few minutes later when the question was posed again, and he admitted that he was from Sweden.

With that information processed, Galic snap called and showed Q-10. Larsson must have been happy with his J-J, especially after a jack flopped. But from there it only went downhill as Galic filled a four-flush to his queen.

Moral of the story: Never admit you’re a Swede.

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