EPT8 Deauville: Away with the Fereys as the bubble bursts

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After a prolonged spell where the player count didn't seem to budge, the bubble bursts with two players departing on the same hand-for-hand hand, so to speak. Gone are Eric Nhouyvanisvong and Ilan Boujenah who will each share the €7,500 awarded for 128th place. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? We'll let them decide.

As usual the bubble proved to be one of the most dramatic stages of the tournament, albeit in a very non-obvious way.

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Bubble boy Eric Nhouyvanisvong

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And the other bubble boy Ilan Boujenah

To get a flavour of what it's like to endure the bubble of a major poker tournament like this you need only look at Julien Ferey, a PokerStars qualifier who seemed at times to be living on his nerves, and a few cigarettes.

Ferey's trouble was his short stack. Like everyone with only a handful of chips left and a bubble to get through, Ferey spent half of his time looking at the clock, specifically the number of players remaining, and the other half expending the nervous energy that has him fidgeting and flapping without pause.

The effect is almost like watching someone who has fallen asleep in a way so as to render their hands completely numb. Ferey seems able to control his wrists but nothing beyond them. In one hand, which he ultimately had to fold, his hands grasped at chips but seemed unable to grab any of them. All the while Ferey's legs bounced up and down and his body swayed back and forth. All this while the player count remained stuck stubbornly on 132.

Then, at 130, the tension disappeared from Ferey's face and body, the Frenchman securing his double up, making a flush on the turn. The "allez!" he yelled came out all croaky, but he didn't' care, and soon after, with enough chips to relax as play went hand for hand, he dashed off for a smoke.

The bubble was some way off but Ferey was free from his previous restraints, although his cluttered appearance (he wears jeans that you might wear when painting the spare room and his coast is slung on his chair half inside out) and cluttered stack remained a blur as his body jiggered, although he did pause at one point to use the edge of his player card to clean his finger nails.

The route into the money from then was standard. Several all ins passed by with double ups (including two for Romanian Iulian Ruxandescu), while it finally popped when two of three simultaneous all-ins marked the end for someone.