PokerStars Festival Dublin: Hendry survives the bubble, in the money in Dublin
One of the undoubted joys of watching top-level sportsmen transition to the poker environment is seeing their delight at securing a first major cash.
Not long ago at the PokerStars Festival Dublin, the PokerStars ambassador Stephen Hendry was one of the 79 players watching with glee as Paul Carr's pocket kings lost to Sacha Lebreton's pocket aces, meaning anyone still with chips was in the money.
That means that Hendry will now get himself an Irish flag on his Hendon Mob poker results page, and is off and running as a poker player. He has won a PokerStars media tournament in London, and won $500 in an invitational television event, but this is a real tournament against real players paying real money.
Hendry had a word for it: "Brilliant."
That wasn't actually the first word out of his mouth after securing his cash, however. "Stressful," was how he first described it.
When you remember that this is a man who stepped out at the Crucible Theatre, known as one of sport's most pressurised environments, at the age of 17, then won a world title in snooker at 21, it gives you an idea of how nerve-jangling the bubble can be in this game.
Hendry is now guaranteed a €2,310 minimum payday, but that's not the point. The point is that Hendry has made the money in the €1,100 Main Event here, and can now push on in the game that is occupying a lot of his time in the years after his retirement from snooker.
"It was actually easy today, as I've been card dead all day," he added. "I haven't had any tough decisions."
That's the part of poker you often don't see on the TV: the long grinds just waiting it out. Snooker players are perhaps better accustomed to this than many others, as long periods of that game also involve wars of attrition: safety battles from baulk or, worse, sitting in the chair while your opponent scores the points.
But having now successfully navigated a period where the rub of the green was against him, Hendry re-joins the fray with the deep stages now in sight.