EPT London: What's your beef?

There are a few tough tables her on day 1a, but among the tougher ones is the current home of Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Rousso. Richard Ashby sits on her right, Isaac “WestmenloAA” Barron on her left. Filling the gaps are Alexia Portal and Irishman Donnacha O’Dea. This is no easy ride.

Into level 4 and the tournament takes on a surreal edge. To speed things up in such a confined space, organisers lay on food for players as they play, saving them a mad rush at the restaurant during the dinner break, and all served to them in the comfort, or discomfort, of their chair. So whilst the trays of food were dished out, a bet was called by Vanessa in the small blind and a heads-up flop was dealt.

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Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Rousso

Rousso acted first, carefully peeling off a bet of 1,400 which her opponent, complete with big black aviator glasses and an iron filing stubble, re-raised in a flash, making it 3,000 to go. As she pondered the call her opponent stared back, or at least it seemed that way. With glasses so dark he could have had his eyes tight shut holding back tears.

“How much have you got?” asked Rousso. The answer came 6,500.

Rousso continued counting out her chips, with something like 22,000 behind. Deep in thought she maintained a stoic face, head down, the tension mounting...

“One beef!”

A tray of food arrived with beef stroganov passed down the table to the seat four player, busy trying to keep his face free of giveaways, but now looking for a place to put the food.

The turn card came 6s. Rousso checked again but soon faced another bet of 2,500. Again she asked how much; 3,500 now. She stretched, sighed and resigned herself to folding, cutting her losses with a still healthy 19,000 remaining to her stack. Her opponent took down the much needed pot, tucking into the beef with 14,200.