EPT Barcelona: Down to the bubble
When you double up, saving your skin and your tournament chances for a few more hands, it's incredible how quickly you resort to the English even if it's not your native tongue. "Yes!" is as common an exclamation in the poker room as the call of "floor!" might be, and it seems the English version is the one of choice.
This applies to that tense time towards the bubble. The well stacked look relaxed, smiling as they steal blinds or casually sit out a few hands to check on their buddies. Whilst the short-stacked, they live an altogether different experience, nervously standing around as they wait for hand-for-hand to be begin.
The crowds move in as the bubble gets nearer
The table I happened to be near featured Thierry van den Berg, Jonas Klausen and an Italian player who could easily be the shortest stack in the room. Thierry pinches his blinds, making the Italian wince as he mucks his hand, looking over at his friends. Elsewhere an all-in is called. Pocket fives against Q-J. A set for the fives on the flop and that's a double up.
In all we've lost less than 20 players in the three hours since dinner. The bubble requires just one more.
The van den Berg table takes the blinds of the Italian player in the second hand, but his forlorn appearance would soon change. Another all-in called. A-K versus pocket queens with Felipe Ramos holding big-slick and all-in. A queen on the flop and it's all over.
The bubble-boy: Felipe Ramos
Two hands and the bubble bursts after a tense 11 minutes. Ramos is the last to leave empty handed. For everyone else, including Team PokerStars Pro Chad Brown, there are cheers of relief as the battle for the real money finally begins.