PokerStars Festival Dublin: The natural imbalance of a tournament's business end
They have played one-and-a-half levels so far on the final day of the PokerStars Festival Dublin Main Event, and only one player of the returning 16 has been knocked out. Sacha Lebreton's pocket nines were no good against Gary McGinty's A♦K♠.
That's not to say other players haven't been getting it in, however. In fact, of the first seven all-in showdowns, six have resulted in the short stack doubling up. All of Alexander Bretherton, Edoardo Poggiali, Sean Bradley, Padhraic Mulligan (twice) and Virgilio Dicicco have been under threat but survived.
Although Lebreton's elimination has left the two tables slightly imbalanced, the tournament officials are keeping an eye on the number of hands being played on each. They report that the pace is still fast across both.
Sometimes in situations like this, tournament staff are forced to bring in what they refer to as "soft" hand-for-hand play. That's when they count the number of hands being played on each table, and perhaps halt play on one table for a little while to allow the other to catch up. While they're ready to do just that here, if necessary, there's actually no need at present.
So if the number of hands are roughly the same, what else distinguishes one table from another this afternoon? Well, there's a bit of a nationality divide to start with: of seven players on Table 1, six are from Ireland. Only three of eight on Table 2 are on home turf.
Over there, there are actually as many Italians as there are Irish, with Ivan Tononi, Antonio Merone and Dicicco representing the Azzurri. (That no doubt accounts for the fact that Table 2 has more scarves and hoods than Table 1 too.)
At time of writing, here's how the Main Event looks across Tables 1 and 2, respectively:
Players: 7 - 8
Irish players: 6 - 3
Italian players: 1 - 3
Headphones: 2 - 2
Scarves: 0 - 2
Caps: 0 - 2
Hoods: 0 - 1
Double-ups: 4 - 2
Short-stack double-ups thanks to a six on board: 2 - 0