The tournament officials at Casino Copenhagen tinkered with the schedule today. We were originally intended to play down to 32 players, which would probably have taken about eight levels, but they decided at the last minute to make it 40, perhaps fearing we would be here all night.
Had they forgotten where we were?
Outside terminal one of Scandinavia Airport there is a sign that reads: "Wælcøme to the Höme of Åggressivæ Pøker". And ain't that the truth. We tore through the field in fewer than seven levels, reducing the 184 returning players to the requisite 40 in next to no time, with a bubble bursting to boot. The unlucky player to depart in 41st, one off the money, was Andrew Feldman, the young Englishman seeking his first EPT cash. Feldman has youth and talent to burn, however, and is already likely to be over his disappointment. He will definitely be back.
That means that everyone still seated when Feldman took his leave will be in the black from their visit to Copenhagen. They include the major EPT forces Ramzi Jelassi, Thor Hansen, Andreas Hoivold and Martin Wendt, all of whom are chasing the runaway leaders Anders Langsat, Rasmus Nielsen and Peter Hedlund, conveniently representing Norway, Denmark and Sweden, respectively.
Langsat is playing his first major tournament in Copenhagen, and was accompanied here by his father who was anxious yesterday to get a photo of his son with Gus Hansen. Today, Mr and Mrs Hansen should be anxious to get a photo of young Gus with Langsat Jr because while their son is back home preparing for his boxing match on Saturday, Langset is preparing for a serious assault on this title.
Hedlund, meanwhile, is enjoying one of his most successful EPTs. He's been his usual vivacious self at the tables, remaining quiet for approximately 7mins 23secs of the day, shaving four minutes of his previous best. But he's also been magnificently focused throughout, the result of some proper rest and relaxation in the weeks before the tournament. "You're looking good for it," said a friend of Hedlund's in the player lounge this evening. He is.
Nielsen, meanwhile, has been relentless, allowing his chips to do most of the talking as he progressed steadily through the field today, never having anything less than a mighty stack and using it to terrifying effect, re-raising with abandon and thundering onwards. He's looking good for a second consecutive final table at EPT Copenhagen, and possibly a finish even higher than his fourth of last year.
It wasn't so great a day for Team PokerStars Pro, who lost Isabelle Mercier and Marcin Horecki early on, then watched Noah Boeken and Luca Pagano also perish, some way deeper but still before the cash.
Marcin Horecki and Isabelle Mercier. (Note the daylight)
The esteemed likes of Annette Obrestad, Arnaud Mattern, Trond Eidsvig, Ilari Sahamies and Danny Ryan also fell by the wayside. There's no shame in that company.
But the gone are now also the forgotten and we turn our attentions to the final table. That will be decided about this time tomorrow. Return here for the full story of how we get there.
Until tomorrow, good night.