Thursday, February 17, 2005

Putting Day One of the French Open to bed

It has to be beautiful to wake up at lunchtime and find your chair waiting for you in a big tournament like this. Moreover, it has to be certainly brilliant to wake up and find 10,000 chips waiting for you.

Ten thousand chips and a chair.

If only there were such a guarantee that one could go to bed with the such good fortune. The nature of these things--these tournaments where one mistake or a day full of cold cards--means quite simply that more than a hundred people who awoke from restless dreams to a 10,000 chip reality are headed back to bed or out to Deauville bars with neither a chip, nor a chair.

We could all cry in unison for them, but we would be singing without hundred or so people left in this contest. They are people who will retire back to their restless dreams and return Thursday afternoon to their chair and chipstack.

We were not without dreams, though. 'Tis better to have dreamed...oh, you get the idea.

Those who've read these blogs before know, while I keep an eye on the big-name players like I'm supposed to, I'm a sucker for a Cinderella story. I thought I'd found one in Bill Munley. Bill joined us from Pennsylvania. He used 15 Frequent Player Points on to win his entry into the EPT's French Open. What's more, he wasn't even sure he could come. He'd been trying to sell his seat and realized when he returned from a Las Vegas trip (just a couple days before this tournament) that he was going to play here. He scrounged up a passport on the quick and made the trip. Alas, he couldn't get anything going today and left with about 145 players remaining. With a few more days left in the festival, he's hoping to make good in the Sit-n-Go tournaments that are running most nights.

Scandinavian Open champ Noah Boeken found himself out early in the day, just moments after his mentor Marcel Luske busted out with two pair vs. a rivered set. Boeken is leading the way, running over the one-table freeze-outs. Word on the street is he's already won enough in those tournies to cover his trip.

It takes a poker player's heart to handle the swings in this room. As the final level of the day began, I watched a poor soul with a desperately short stack call an all-in bet on a 99Q board. When he desperately needed to hit a flop, this particular hand answered his prayers. He held A9 for flopped trips. What's more, his opponent had pushed him all in with JT, an open-ended straight-draw. When a queen came on the turn, it killed all but two of his opponents outs. And it happened...a queen came on the river to build a bigger boat and the man who was expecting to double up ended up chopping the pot. He muttered a word in French that I understood, but, in the interest of good taste, will not publish here.

It was quickly becoming that time of day when the short-stacked either chose to cling to life or push on a prayer. Fellow poker blogger, Mike Lacy of poker blog Lucky Blind was a survivor turning a 3000-sized stack into 33,000 after the dinner break, hitting the board with J9, 88, and 67. By the end of the day he sat with around 55,000. Who says writers can't play poker?

Mike "Lucky Blind" Lacy

Also maintaining the writers' cause is writer and poker player Keith "The Camel" Hawkins. Late in the day he controlled one of the biggest chip-stacks in the room.

The Camel holding his water and a big chip stack

Here are a few of your other big stacks.

Thomas Mathiesem (aka clarkaoo) from Norway

Dave "Devilfish" Ulliott, who replayed his James Bond impersonation at the end of the day, broadcasting his cell phone's 007 theme over the public address system

Peter Eichhardt, from Sweden, who reluctantly gave up his online screen name...FoxyLisa. Incidentally, he was a cash qualifier on Stars

Jeff Duvall, an EPT final table finisher in London

John Gale, PokerStars Caribbean Adventure champion

Indeed it is a hearty field that retires to bed or hits the taxis for a night/early morning on the town.

After a long session of hard work by poker guru Thomas Keller, we have the chip counts as they stand at the end of Day One. On his behalf, I'll apologize in advance for any misspelled names.

Orams Sam 101,975 Britain
Steffen Dam 78,175 Denmark
Gale John 71,025 Britain
Hawkins Keith 67,850 Britain
EichhardtPeter 62,500 Sweden
Mathiesen Thomas58,750
Duvall Jeff 56,050 Britain
Lacy Mike 54,575 Ireland
Galston Ezra 53,225 USA
Fariolo Julian 50,100
Bonomo Justin 49,500 USA
Leumi Mike 46,000
Zerbib Jerome 43,450
Chow Howard 39,575 USA
Nassif Gabriel 38,075
Lofthouse Melanie 37,750 Britain
Nilsson Henrik 36,775
Ulliott Dave 36,750 Britain
Vandenbourg Erik 36,000
Leibgorin Michel 35,125
Pagano Luca 34,950 Italian
Henning 34,425 Swedish
Petroli Jean- Pierre 34,325
Schaefer B. 33,525 USA
Lellouche Anthony 32,575
Liffey Rory 31,800 Ireland
Baston Frank 30,450
Coonbes Bob 30,450
Westberg 29,875
Creagh Adrian 29,175
Poulain A. 28,700
Giles Haddad 28,625
Dalhuijsen 26,775
Kakaoun 26,625
Wenzel Todd 25,800 USA
Perera Jean- Claude 25,075
Sindelar Eric 24,725
Mercier Isabelle 24,450 Canada
Dalby Eric 24,325
Torbey 23,700 France
Davidsen Peter 23,675 Denmark
Barnay Patrick 23,625
TuckmannJeremy 23,250
JerlstromJonas 22,750
Abouaf Dan 22,725
Coldwell John22,125
Falk Daniel 21,100 Sweden
Lemercier 20,775 France
Wraith Mark 20,775
Ilja Hony 20,675 Holland
Resewhr Charles 20,525
Boutilliere Jerome 20,475
Donev Ivo 20,475
Chicheportiche 20,375
Ristine Mark 20,250
Arshad Wilhelm 18,325
Phy Pham 18,300
Mrejen Joseph 17,825
Zajdenberg M. 17,325
Francis Keith 17,275
Olson Carl 16,675
Wilhelm Janne 16,000
Thomas Jean- Mark 15,925
Choquet 15,325
Eskeid Fred 14,425
Pham Xujen 13,950 Britain
Albion Phillip 13,375
Peretti 13,250
Mortesson Patrick 13,100
Cascarino Tony 12,725 Ireland
David Amelie 12,675
Bebeaulox Ronnie 12,625
Carlson Peter 12,150
Lovas Christer 11,825
Audet Audrej 11,600
Bueno Patrick 11,375
Sonigo Franck 11,100
Hartigan James 11,075
Gregersen K. 10,675
Douieb Jerome 10,550
Metsa Aki 10,000
Tann Willie 9,475 Britain
Atheas L. 8,650
Kendall Tony 8,600
Sitbom Guy 8,025
Petit Emile 7,625
Scapula F. 7,500
Testud Paul 7,475 France
Sembach Morten 7,450 Danish
Xanthos Bambos 7,250
Mercado John 6,525
Stolzmann Steve 6,450
Aiken Michael 6,425
Champagnol Patrick 6,100
Tellef Aune 5,325
Svartback Jonatan 5,000
Quesada Renald 4,850
Vladdar Steve 4,700
Dumont L. 4,000
Furguson Andrew 3,825
Patel Jigher 3,750
Cummins Eugene 3,175
Fressenon 3,075

We start again at 2pm Deauville time on Thursday.