Jan Heitmann heads for the door, eliminated by Dag Palovic on the feature table, and Bart Wetsteijn from Holland followed him in fifteenth place.
That happened under the TV lights but a few feet away sit the ‘other’ table players – a whole new world much darker and altogether more intimate than the one under the spotlights. The differences here are many but the main one is that the spectators at the feature table sit down, here on the floor they stand, including Johnny Lodden looking heavily sunburned – the price you pay for busting early.
It might not be long before the tables switch over with the prospect of Anthony Lellouche, William Thorson, Eric Koskas and Marcus Bower being miked up a tantalising one for production staff. But here the play has seemed less cut throat, with pots won without any major moves, no brash celebrations, no extravagance. This really is life in the shadows of TV table.
The railbirds stand, so too does Frenchman Eric Koskas who has the chip lead and the right to do as he pleases. He walks a few steps away from the table between hands, returning to play his cards from a standing position, like a guy waiting for a bus filling in time with a quick spin on roadside three-card monty.
William Thorson on the other hand hardly moves, sat as he is hunched forward behind shades, headphones, stubble and a beer, his arms resting on the table, his hands moving only to check his hand.
Of all these guys though it’s PokerStars Sponsored player Johannes Strassmann looking freshest by virtue of having found a razor this morning. He still takes notes on the hands he plays, written he says, so he can review his play and try to improve. It’s a plan that may already be working as he holds his course for a second final table of the season.
An all-in on the TV table disrupts the calm (a double up for Dag Palovic) as a hand develops between Eric Koskas and the Filipe Ramos, the first player from Brazil ever to cash in a PokerStars.com EPT.
The flop brought three kings which both players checked for a turn card five. Here Koskas bet 30k which Filipe called and the river came a seven. Koskas again came out betting, 45k this time. Filipe thought for a second, turning his baseball cap back to front, nodding quickly and calling. Koskas reluctantly showed his pocket deuces whilst Filipe turned over aces.
“Thank you… thank you very much….” said Eric. “If you bet all in I call…. thank you.”
Still 14 players remaining as the tables switch around and blinds reach the 8k/16k level.