You can be assured that there will always be something going
on in Leicester Square whether it be film premieres, TV broadcasts, people on
stilts juggling bananas, yet the arrival of the WSOPE to the Casino at the
Empire has taken even the hardened Hollywood star spotters of Soho, a little by
As I wandered over to the casino from the media suite early
this evening, I was struck by the amount of people who had more than a vague
interest in staring at the casino, like it was about to do something. Others
have been more inquisitive, “What’s going on in there?” The truth is that the
majority of people do know what’s going on, as for the past month or two the
WSOPE has been gracing the facades and interiors of London’s taxis, tube
stations and advertising hoardings. This is a big deal, and the people of
London know it.
The players know it as well. Only the WSOP attracts the
biggest names in poker, and that is why they are all in London this week. There
has been genuine excitement in the professional ranks at the prospect of having
a WSOP in Europe, having spoken to Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu and Greg
Raymer prior to the tournament. Now it is here, the players are focused on
taking down the last of the available bracelets here in Leicester Square.
And so to the evening session of day 2b which has been a
pragmatic affair, and whilst the atmosphere is businesslike at the tables,
behind the rails it is relaxed and jovial as our attention switches between
potential action and the odd sighting of content players (Gus Hansen) on their
day off. Downstairs Patrick Antonius, who is now second behind Gus Hansen on the overnight leaderboard, and Jimmy Fricke
share a table, in amongst some quite serious body massaging, as seems to be the
trend these days. Over on the TV table, Adam Junglen is quietly but aggressively
going about his business, just as he did to reach the recent EPT final table in
Barcelona, but is facing the daunting task of keeping tabs on Daniel Negreanu,
who finishes the day on $31,700. However, it wasn’t Negreanu that would be his
undoing, but Aleksander Vathne, whose Aces against Junglen’s Ace-King, saw the
young American miss day 3 by 11 minutes. It also propelled Vathne to fifth place overnight with a $231,200 chip stack.
So we’re at the business end of the main event, and it’s
time for the big players to get serious. Remember, it’s a big deal!