PokerStars Festival London: Hunter becomes the prey as bubble bursts

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Jose Ruben Rubio Garnito: Knocked out Hunter on the bubble

Bubbles come and bubbles go, and as far as the PokerStars Festival London's went, this wasn't one of the most dramatic. "I've been done here," Marc Hunter confided as his fate seemed sealed. He was indeed done: quietly, ruefully and resignedly, tucked towards the front of the poker room and away from the usual baying crowd eager to dance on a bubble-boy's grave.

It wasn't entirely without complications, of course. With three rooms still in play--the main poker room, the cocktail bar and the lounge--they had to go hand-for-hand three from the money with action announced over the microphone being broadcast across the venue.

Bubble-Boy-Plus-One (BB+1) and BB+2 were knocked out simultaneously just before the 25-minute tournament break, leaving 184 players to come back for the stone bubble. And on the first hand back, there were three players all-in, all with calls. Hunter was the first.

In fairness, there was very little else he could do. He had 1,000 chips left, not enough to pay a blind (they were 2,000/4,000) and only enough for two antes of 500 apiece. But it could have been a whole lot worse. After Brett Kennedy limped from under the gun, Ibrahim Ilksoy also called from one seat along and Hunter looked down at T♠T♦. Obviously, his chips went in. Both of them.

However the limping epidemic wasn't over. Players on the button, small blind and big blind (Dominique Franchi, Jose Ruben Rubio Garnito and Eric Le Goff, respectively) were all in too. "I can't beat five people," Hunter said.

But maybe he could because the dealer delivered the 7♦9♣T♥. Top set! (Cards were still down at this point, but we know how it ended up.) Ilksoy bet 12,000 at this stage and only Garnito called.

Then the J♣ fell on the turn, which was when Hunter said that he thought he had been "done". It went check, check between the active players, taking them to the Q♣ on the river. Check, check again.

It may have been top set on the flop for Hunter, but he ended up third in the coup. Ilksoy showed his J♦J♠ for a turned set. But even that was losing to Garnito's 8♠7♣.

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Marc Hunter, far end, hits the rail on the bubble

There was, however, still a lifeline of sorts for Hunter. Those two other players were all-in too and so there was hope for a share of the 183rd place money of £1,370. (Actually, if they both went out then three people would share both the 183rd and 182nd place prizes.)

So over they went to Table 6, where Jack Sambrook was all-in against Clement Tripodi. There had been betting on every street of a board of 7♣K♦T♠8♠Q♣ before the last of Sambrook's money was in. His K♠J♦ were good against Tripodi's 7♦9♥, so there was no elimination here.

Over, then, to Table 10, where Oren Rosen, Ian Williams and Aamir Khan had built a pot between them too. On the turn, with the board showing 5♠J♥4♦6♠, Rosen checked, Williams bet 19,500 and both opponents called.

The river brought the A♣. Rosen checked again and Williams bet 33,500. Khan folded, but then Rosen check-raised all-in, covering Williams' 130,000 (approx) behind.

"Did you turn a straight?" Williams said. "I turned a flush."

Rosen offered nothing in reply, and Williams called. He duly showed his 6♥6♣. Rosen exposed his 8♠5♣--a gutsy play that didn't work. Williams made a big call to double up.

That left only Hunter harried out of town, the hunter turned prey. Everyone left was guaranteed a return on their investment, and the refrain of "Seat open!" soon began in earnest.

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Howard Swains
@howardswains in Live Poker