Baltic Festival: Deeb the vacuum cleaner and the globetrotting Ellis family
Shaun Deeb has been seen more of this tournament room than most, having had his table broken three times already in the first five levels of the first day. Everywhere he has gone, though, he's been picking up chips -- and he's an equal opportunities vacuum cleaner. Most recently, he's taken a spot on a table with his countryman Joe Bolnick, and the two of them have been chewing the fat. Bolnick is no slouch, having rubbed shoulders with the likes of Chris Ferguson, Annie Duke and David Benyamine at a World Series final table, but he's recently just been Deeb-ed.
Deeb raised to 700 from early position, and Bolnick called from the small blind. It's was only the two of them to a flop of 2♥4♥7♥ at which Bolnick bet 700. Deeb called and the turn came 7♣. Bolnick bet 1,300 at this one, and Deeb called again. The river was Q♦ and Bolnick slowed down. He checked to Deeb, which is usually a pretty dangerous ploy, and so it proved. Deeb bet 4,175 and Bolnick reluctantly passed.
Another player who has witnessed Deeb up close today is the British PokerStars qualifier Natasha Ellis, who is a welcome face back on the international scene. Ellis has been qualifying for major events on PokerStars for as long as I can remember, and she has gone deep in events in Costa Rica, the Philippines, the Bahamas, London and Dublin. After a brief hiatus, she recently decided she fancied another quick trip abroad, so got involved in a satellite to this event and duly qualified.
Catching up at the dinner break, Ellis said she slightly more than her starting stack, and was happy for that having originally lost about half of it in the opening exchanges. "But he brought me luck," she said, pointing at her traveling companion and father, Malcolm Ellis. "He came by and I picked up kings." That was good for a sizeable pot, and she was back and fighting.
Malcolm explained at the drinks reception last night how he taught Natasha how to play poker at home when she was only five or six. Back then, Malcolm explained, she had the worst poker face in the business, scowling as if chewing on a lemon if she didn't like her hand. But these days Malcolm is benefitting from that much more mature poker prowess, joining his daughter in such far-flung cities as Tallinn. "She's the real talent in the family," he said, as he prepared for a spin in a smaller side event later this week.
Natasha spoke to our video bloggers earlier today, the intrepid bunch who also interviews the poker manager of the Tallinn Olympic Casino, Priit Pajumaa. It's all for your delectation in this clip.
Watch Natasha Ellis and Priit Pajumaa in Tallinn on PokerStars.tv