Its boundaries are always changing, thanks to a flexible rail. Certain levels are trickier than others. Smooth periods are easily managed until suddenly, and from out of nowhere, you find yourself trapped in a dry patch wondering what the hell happened, struggling to get out. Take the wrong turn and things get worse, but choose well and your hopes pick up with greener fields ahead. And all the while you sense this huge mountain to climb on the way to the final, always in the distance, hard to ignore.
That could also be a walk from one side of Poland to the other. Historically its boundaries have always been changing, most recently in 1945. In the south is the Beldow desert, not something you expect to find in Eastern Europe, whilst further south stand the Tetras mountains, part of the Carpathian ranges. And finally, running like a main artery through the country’s lush countryside is the Vistula River.
And what kind of world would it be if you couldn’t link two descriptions together to form some kind of shaky analogy? Regardless of that it does raise two points – that not only is Poland a beautiful country, but that until the two flights of day 1 are completed, things are still wide open.
So what happens today? Well, the same as yesterday. Another close to 200 strong field playing eight levels with a dinner break after four. The only change in the tournament area will be the faces, beyond that day 1b offers a chance to try the cheesecake at dinner rather than the chocolate mousse. A further 52 PokerStars qualifiers play today with that option, accompanying not only Luca Pagano of Team PokerStars but WSOP 2004 World Champion Greg Raymer.
Greg is one of the great analysers of the game, at least until Irishman Andy Black turns up. The two met over drinks last night as day 1a was in full swing. In terms of poker strategy we’ll let you decide who came out tops…
And what happened yesterday? Well it was Sweden’s Robert Flink ahead of the surviving 71 on 113,300, a long way ahead it seems with second placed Anio Alcarez of Spain on 78,000. In fourth place was Joseph Serock, a PokerStars qualifier from the United States who had an equally good start a few weeks ago in Copenhagen.
Whilst we lost Team PokerStars Pros Dario Minieri and Katja Thater, as well as EPT presenter Kara Scott, we hung on to former EPT winners Julian Thew, Magnus Petersson and Prague runner up Gino Alacqua along with 28 of the 76 PokerStars qualifiers who started.
Among those playing today…
Liz Lieu – United States
The Californian made the final table of the APPT in Macau last November and did the same again three days later in the high roller event. Liz makes her first Warsaw appearance.
Andy Black – Ireland
Popular Irish professional who came fifth in the WSOP main event back in 2005 as well as final tabling in 1998 when Stu Ungar ran out as winner. He has EPT cashes to his name but remains in pursuit of an elusive EPT title.
Arnaud Mattern – France
Winner of the EPT Prague last December and an established French pro based in London. One of several former EPT champions playing today.
Soren Jensen – Denmark
The runner-up in the recent EPT Copenhagen. Known for his extravagant big pot celebrations which made for a noisy tournament room two weeks ago.
Theo Jorgensen – Denmark
One of the best chip rifflers in the game, Jorgensen has made two EPT final tables. He has a bundle of WSOP, WPT and other cashes to go with it.
Thor Hansen – Norway
The legendary Norwegian who started out in Vegas over 30 years ago. Well respected and well liked there would be few more popular winners should he be successful this week.
Ed De Haas – Holland
Possibly the tallest player on the tour Ed stands close to seven feet, dwarfing everyone else. An excellent player also, looking for his at least his second EPT cash in a row.
Rolf Slotboom – Holland
Former press man Rolf is an author of books on Omaha as well as an established hold’em player. He finished on the final table of the Master Classics in Holland in 2006 and cashed last month in Copenhagen.
Thierry van den Berg – Holland
Season four has been good to Thierry who has cashed three times, two of which coming from final tables in Baden and Dublin.
Mel Judah – Australia
Old time pro Mel has played against all the greats for over 20 years. He has two WSOP bracelets, a WPT title and over $3million in tournament winnings.
Mads Andersen – Denmark
Another former EPT winner from Copenhagen in season three, with a couple of close calls in the WPT including a fourth place at the Five Diamond in 2006.
Greg Raymer – United States – Team PokerStars Pro
Fossilman won the World Series main event in 2004 securing his place in the history books. An approachable fan of the game as well Greg has nine WSOP cashes since his championship year including four final tables. He was also part of the winning USA team at the PokerStars World Cup of Poker in Barcelona last year.
Luca Pagano – Italy – Team PokerStars Pro
A familiar member of Team PokerStars Luca, along with Julian Thew, holds the records for having eight EPT cashes to his name.
Sebastian Ruthenberg – Germany – PokerStars Sponsored player
Sebastian made the final table in Dortmund last season and narrowly missed out on a second final table in Baden this year, eliminated in tenth.
Pascal Perrault – France
A winner in season one in Vienna Perrault is one of the most respected players in France as well as in European poker.
Johnny Lodden – Norway
A perennial EPT cash finisher over the last two seasons, Lodden has yet to make an EPT final table since he made the switch from internet to live player. Normally spotted with a lot of chips.
William Thorson – Norway
An incredible tournament record, most recently punctuated by a 9th place finish at the PCA. Before that came numerous cashes in WSOP and WPT events and finished 13th in the WSOP main event in 2006.
Chip counts from day 1a in Warsaw…
Robert Flink — Sweden — 113,300
Anio Alcaraz — Spain — 78,000
Alp Okumus — Germany — 62,100
Jospeh Serock — USA — PokerStars qualifier — 55,000
Andreas Torbergsen — Norway — 53,000
Daniel Hofmeister — Germany — PokerStars qualifier — 51,900
Jean Claude Perrot — France — 50,100
Tyler Netter — USA — PokerStars qualifier — 42,600
David Burn — Uk — PokerStars qualifier — 41,700
Kenneth Hicks Jr. — USA — PokerStars qualifier — 41,200
Willian Johnson — USA — PokerStars qualifier — 40,900
Christoffer Sonesson — Sweden — 39,800
Victor Escudero — Spain — 39,100
James Honeybone — New Zealand — PokerStars qualifier — 38,700
Fredrik Haugen — Sweden — PokerStars qualifier — 36,800
Anton Smolyanskiy — USA — PokerStars qualifier — 35,800
Andrea Benelli — Italy — 35,700
Jari-Pekka Juhola — Finland — 34,400
Trond Erik Eidsvig — Norway — 34,400
Dennis Bejedal — Sweden — 33,900
Roberto Nateri — Italy — PokerStars qualifier — 32,500
Magnus Petersson — Sweden — 30,100
Woody Deck — Lithuania — 29,700
Cristiano Blanco — Italy — 28,800
Robert Lipkin — USA — PokerStars qualifier — 28,800
Niclas Svensson — Sweden — 27,800
Aleksandr Gorelik — USA — PokerStars qualifier — 27,200
Derek Montgomery — Canada — PokerStars qualifier — 26,600
Jean François Rigollet — France — 26,600
Juan Manuel Pastor — Spain — 25,700
Ulrica Skönnemark — Sweden — 24,900
Johan Storakers — Sweden — 24,800
Mats Rahm — Sweden — 24,000
Johan Lund — Sweden — 24,000
Antonio Gomez Ribera — Spain — 23,800
Jacek Ładny — Poland — 22,500
Jeffrey Petronack — USA — PokerStars qualifier — 21,700
Christos Kravaritis — Sweden — 21,600
Hans Eskilsson — Sweden — 21,100
Daniel Carter — UK — PokerStars qualifier — 20,800
Daniel Ryan — USA — PokerStars sponsored player — 19,800
Julien Boue — Germany — PokerStars qualifier — 18,800
Marc Goodwin — UK — 18,700
Daniel Woolson — USA — PokerStars qualifier — 18,400
Stewart Chantler — Canada — 18,300
Janusz Petlic — Poland — 18,300
Dino Dinler — Finland — 18,300
Daniel Mangas — Spain — 17,900
Hans Ritburg — Holland — 17,500
Mark Hirleman — USA — PokerStars qualifier — 17,200
Casey Kastle — USA — PokerStars qualifier — 17,200
Antti Ropponen — Finland — 16,900
Kosta Anastasyadi — Holland — 16,700
Christian Öman — Sweden — 15,700
Kim Öfverström — Finland — 15,500
Nikolaj Fabricius — Denmark — 15,400
Morten Holm — Denmark — 15,300
Craig Hopkins — UK — PokerStars qualifier — 15,000
Jorund Soma — Norway — 14,700
Joel Gunnarsson — Sweden — 13,800
Łukasz Wasek — Poland — 13,500
Patrick Arba — USA — PokerStars qualifier — 11,500
Stephan Thiele-Bolivar — Germany — PokerStars qualifier — 10,500
Julian Thew — UK — 8,900
Marek Piecha — Poland — 8,700
Kai Leurer — Germany — PokerStars qualifier — 8,600
Gino Alacqua — Italy — PokerStars qualifier — 8,000
William Olivieri — Italy — PokerStars qualifier — 8,000
Eugeniusz Licznarowski — Poland — 6,900
Mirko Kirner — Germany — PokerStars qualifier — 6,700
Sami Leino — Finland — PokerStars qualifier — 6,300
John Gibson — USA — PokerStars qualifier — 3,900