EPT Deauville: Kaspars Renga, limpet mine
A silver foil helium balloon floats next to table five, tied by a thin piece of ribbon to the rail which separates the tables from passing traffic. There are no other balloons in the room, it must be marking something. Or someone.
Sitting beneath the shiny balloon are a few familiar EPT faces, namely San Remo winner Constant Rijkenberg and Italians Umberto Vitagliano and Sergio Castelluccio (who took down IPT San Remo for €200,000). If the balloon is there as a warning, it could well be for the player who is sat between them: Kaspars Renga.
The tall Latvian sits concertinaed in seat five, long brown cords leading to clean black dress shoes which hook around the front legs of his chair as if to anchor him to his seat. His locked in position seems fairly indicative of his style of play from what I've seen: whatever happens, do not let anyone budge you out of your seat. In fact, he's reminiscent of a limpet mine, he'll hang on until you've forgotten about him before picking an inopportune time to make a massive hand and blow a huge hole in your stack to scuttle your tournament ambitions. That's certainly how he played here last year.
Renga had cashed three times at the EPT - all relative min-cashes - in the lead up to EPT Deauville Season 7 which turned into a career highlight €200,000 payday. Despite having started the final table with just 470,000, less than half the chips held by the player in seventh place, Renga managed to ladder his way up into fifth place bagging himself considerably more than the €66,800 that was due for collection for eighth (as taken home by Ruslan Prydryk). It was less a display of frivolous artistry than you'd normally expect for someone spinning their stack up, more a workman-like performance of tenacity, an illustration of how a point blank refusal to get your chips across the line without the strongest conviction that you are ahead can actually pay. There was none of this shoving light nonsense for Renga who critically won key pots with aces (twice), rivered Brodaways (also twice) and a trifling royal flush against eventual winner Lucien Cohen.
Renga has just a little beneath his 30,000 starting stack at the moment oblivious of the balloon floating just a couple of arms' lengths away from his head. That balloon, perhaps it's how the French mark off mined waters. It seems unlikely but I'm going with it.