At the start of the day, we made a prediction. We said that day two of EPT San Remo would be utter carnage, citing a few years of experience as evidence, coupled with numerous relative short stacks among the 400-plus remaining players, plus an innate tendency among the indigenous to gamble.
And you know what? We were right. By the time the bagging and tagging started at the end of seven levels today — the tournament’s 15th level — we had a mere 124 players still in the hunt. That means we had lost nearly 90 percent of the biggest field in European Poker Tour history inside of two days, with the cash bubble already floating ominously into sight.
Naturally there were some very familiar patterns adhered to. Small stacks shoved with any ace and were busted by big stacks making mandatory calls. As those drifted away, others managed to go through that remarkable succession of double ups to keep them with something tangible to chase. And those blessed with obscene mountains of chips played bully: none more so than our overnight chip leader Dragan Galic, who will need a suitcase to store his 560,000 chips.
Galic, from Croatia, started the day with 30,000 more than his closest rival, and was the first player through the 100,000 barrier. He did that on day one. Today he was seemingly in every single pot and won them all, bursting past half a million at around about the dinner break. Most EPT final tables feature three or four players with that much, and many of them go on to win the tournament. Galic has got there with three days to spare. Now we need to see if he can keep hold of them, or whether anyone is brave enough to mount a serious challenge.
If anyone is, it could be Constant Rejkenberg, the Dutch player who has amassed close to 400,000 at day’s end. His countrymen on the rail were encouraging media representatives to write simply: “He’s lucky,” but there’s been something, well, constant, about Rejkenberg’s progress through this tournament. Yesterday he had a more than healthy 70,000; today he’s right up there with the leaders again. That type of consistency takes skill.
It was a day of mixed fortunes for Team PokerStars Pro. Luca Pagano, who this week has reassured everyone that he has a prosperous career in event management should this crazy poker dream of his ever go sour, was one of a number of players who couldn’t make it through the day. He went down, he doubled up, he went down, he went out. That’s the way things go. It was a similar story for Katja Thater and Isabelle Mercier, who vanished into the night, leaving the eastern European duo of Marcin Horecki and Alexander Kravchenko in the team’s livery at close of play.
We all need friends and PokerStars has some good ones. For instance, it has Bill Chen and Tom McEvoy, both of whom are also still in the hunt. They have both gone about matters with their characteristic integrity and according to their pre-determined game plans.
Chen analyses, plots and figures before making the precise and perfect mathematical play. McEvoy remains patient and subdued, drawing on World Series winning experience and 30 years at the top of the game before feeling out his correct play. There is more than one way to skin a cat, and here are perfect exponents of two of them.
As the day progressed, the action became so heated that some of our wires at Casino Sanremo melted away, leaving us with some distinct difficulty in accessing the internet. We couldn’t post, but we were still writing. Here are a few nuggets from late in the date:
- Elimination is bad for everyone but Florian Langmann seemed to feel it most when his all in with pocket tens was called by the EPT London runner-up Michael Tureniec with K♦4♦. “How could you call?” asked Langmann, helpless as a four hit the flop and turn. While Langmann gathered his things and went for he door Tureniec then busted James Akenhead, queens against fives sending the Englishman home empty handed.
- Joe Elpayaa went deep today, but he couldn’t make it to the money. He had Ramzi Jelassi to thank for sending him to the rail, the Swede’s king-queen the responsible hand.
- The Team PokerStars Pro Marcin Horecki’s mood has gone from one that measured 101,000 to a 30,000 one, three bad hands responsible for the fall. And it could have been much worse for Horecki. He made a disciplined fold to an all-in four bet from Malte Strothmann sometime in the penultimate level, and then rallied late in the day back to 64,500.
- Several players were forced to shove many times as the day progressed but remained at the end of the day. Joao Barbosa was one of them, looking to make his seventh cash of the season and still clinging on with about 35,000.
Big things are promised for tomorrow. A new router for the internet connection for one. But even more importantly, the money bubble will burst when another 12 players bust tomorrow, then we’ll be looking at getting down to 32 players for the following day’s recorded action, to be broadcast on EPT Live as well as a television near you soon.
But don’t wait until then. Get it here first, in almost real time, as it progresses through the day. Until then, goodnight.