There may not be the cameras adding that touch of glamour to proceedings here but that does allow the final of the EPT Prague to take on a kind of old fashioned feel. Without the restrictions imposed by wires, cables, cameras and people with headphones, the rail is just a few feet from the table, making it a compact and probably cosy place to play.
The stage here in Prague is unique in that a steep bank of chairs overlooks the table, making for a pseudo- stadium backdrop. Even with the seats it’s standing room only up there and there’s an electric atmosphere each time a player moves all-in, with everyone standing and literally looking down on a player’s tournament destiny.
Talking of the players, each has brought their own particular style to the game.
Gino Alacqua, whose name would probably pass as a perfume, wears a slick suit and tie with black hair and beard neatly trimmed. Markus Golser is a step down from that in a more smart-casual mode, a blazer over a shirt, whilst the other three adopt the now traditional ‘poker-youth’ look. Juha in the hoodie, Arnand in a sports top.
Then there’s Kristian, wandering over to talk to the pack of Norwegians on the rail as a short break starts. He’s somewhere in between the two worlds; woollen hat, white-rimmed shades, black open neck shirt with the collar turned up vampire style. He wears a glistening silver cross around his neck, has thick shoulders and a toothy smile. Either the first or last signs of a blonde beard complete the rough look – a few moons away from a complete transformation from wolf back to human.
Five players left.
Juha Lauttamus – Finland – 1,460,000
Kristian Kjondal – Norway — 1,200,000
Gino Alacqua – Italy – 763,000
Markus Golser – Austria – 420,000
Arnaud Mattern – France – 1,734,000