For a tournament so heavily populated with Scandinavian players, supposedly the fastest and loosest in the world, we saw a surprisingly tight start to this event, especially today. The first few levels of Day 1b went by with fewer than 20 eliminations, a slow pace by any standard.
The beginning of Day 1a saw a similarly slow beginning as players felt each other out and got accustomed to the way poker is played here in Poland. Once the blinds began to rise, however, they had no choice but to step up their games in an effort to get a hold of some chips.
The action during the later stages of today's play more than made up for what was lacking early in the afternoon with a few tables in particular taking up much of the spotlight.
The table that was inhabited by Andy Black, John Duthie and Kristian Kjondal all sat down for a friendly game of 250/500 (Polish Zloty) No-Limit Hold'em. The blinds weren't exactly astronomical, but it wasn't long, by the virtue of re-buys, before the money on the table totaled in the hundreds of thousands.
Stacks of $1,000 chips were complemented by the $10k square-style markers usually reserved for James Bond movies and only the highest of cash games. Most of the spectators in the room soon gave up on the EPT main event to secure a spot at the rail to watch this high-stakes action.
Photography of cash games is a no-no here in Warsaw - a very unfortunate policy for all, because a shot of these four players, barely visible behind mountains of chips, would have been unbelievable. Between running back and forth from the media room to the tournament floor I was able to catch a few glimpses of the table, and it looked like Andy Black and an unknown player were controlling the action and laying claim to the majority of the chips in play.
Getting back to the tournament - the real reason we're all here - it was the Scandinavian contingent who, as usual, controlled most of the chips today. Norway's Age Spets, with his trademark ear-to-ear grin, was a force, accumulating chips quickly and remaining active throughout the day.
Seated at the same table was Peter Jepsen, someone we first saw at last year's Caribbean Poker Classic in St. Kitts. Although I seem to remember Peter going by a slightly modified moniker a few months ago at the CPC, it was definitely the same man, ridiculously hot massage-therapist girlfriend and all, who took on the role of chip leader late in the day today.
The official chip counts haven't been released just yet but it looked like Jepsen had control of the field with somewhere between 70 and 80 thousand during the last level of the evening. If this is accurate it would put him neck and neck with yesterday's chip leader Henning Granstad who finished the first Day 1 flight with $80,800.
The action's slated to get underway tomorrow at 2 p.m. local time when we will merge the two halves of the field and attempt to play down the final table of eight. Exact chip counts will be posted at that time on our Live Updates Page so tune in for the second stage of the EPT3 Polish Open, live from The Hyatt Regency Hotel and Casino here in historic Warsaw.