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Showgirls dominate Dortmund Day 1a
On a day nearly devoid of action, the showgirls were the stars at PokerStars.com EPT Dortmund Day 1a.
To celebrate the European Poker Tour's third venture onto German soil, the host Casino Hohensyburg spared no expense on glitz and glamour, creating a unique burlesque that nearly overshadowed play at the tables.
With the bulk of the recognizable pros - including defending champ Mike "Timex" McDonald and the majority of the PokerStars.de Shooting Stars - booked to play on Wednesday's Day 1b, the first day in Dortmund was memorable mainly for the sideshows.
Scheduled for 2 p.m. Central European Time, play kicked off instead shortly after 3 p.m., an unheard-of delay in a land where a late train is a myth.
The cause: an unusual musical interlude, featuring a bevy of feathered-up Vegas-style showgirls, a triumvirate of folk dancers and a singer blaring Germanic adult-contemporary.
The fun didn't stop there.
The 15-minute intermission between levels 4 and 5 featured the highly unusual return of the entertainers, singer and dancers both, with the latter performing a traditional French can-can number as well as a racier cabaret piece involving black bodysuits and chairs.
The poker players, it must be said, viewed the entire spectacle with glaring indifference, if not annoyed impatience.
But there was poker played on Day 1a.
Following the premature eliminations of PokerStars-sponsored Florian Silbereisen (Best Choice magazine's "Worst-Dressed Man" for 2007) and Arnaud Mattern, Swede William Thorson seized the day.
Thorson took a big pot against hometown hero Benjamin Kang early, kings against jacks, and rode the wave to near the top of the chip leaderboard while rivals like American Casey Kastle were falling asleep at the tables.
Meanwhile, EPT5 Barcelona champ Sebastian Ruthenberg joins Alexander Kravchenko, Johannes Strassmann and Soren Kongsgaard among the survivors.
All told, 121 of the 306 starters made it through the day and will have Wednesday off while Day 1b's star-studded field takes to the tables for their own eight levels of action.
Play begins at 2 p.m. CET and you can catch it all in the PokerListings Live Tournament section.
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