EPT8 Deauville: Huffing and puffing your way to a million
There's a man, one can only assume part of the EPT Live Lite team, disassembling a step ladder at the corner of the stage, folding it down ready to carrying it away. To anyone looking into the tournament room to see what was going on, that ladder is the only thing to stand out right now, the rest of the room existing in relative calm, blanketed by the riffle of chips.
The tranquillity is interrupted occasionally by players who subscribe to the "heart-on-sleeve" school of public expression, audibly reacting to every hand, won or lost. Sometimes not even played. You could compare them to the grunters in tennis, perhaps. Once you start hearing the noise it becomes a distraction, but to others it's part of the game and simply blends in like the riffling.
One of these players is Olivier Rogez. After showing a flush to beat Chris Brammer's rivered two pairs, Rogez banged the table and sighed loudly, hauling in another pot to take his stack up to more than four million. Brammer just smiled. He doesn't grunt.
A few feet away is another player in the mould of Rogez; Artem Litvinov.
Litvinov is the Russian who performs acrobatics when he wins a hand; the splits between two chairs and energetic displays of shadow boxing. After yesterday's displays he can only top that this afternoon by swinging from a chandelier.
The TV table
Litvinov is among the short stacks and looks like he's suffering for it. But then, Litvinov looks the same as he always does; three days beard, three days trousers, and a three yard stare. He would be involved in two hands in the space of a few minutes, one of which helped him in his quest for a place at the final.
In the first Nikolaus Teichert took him on, betting big on the river, the board showing Q♦6♣4♥2♣A♣. Artem checked first then tanked, soon folding, standing and walking over to his sweetheart on the rail. Teichert , perhaps looking to taunt Litvinov, showed his triumphant pocket eights. But Litvinov had already gone for a walk, rendering the display pointless.
Then came Litvinov's breakthrough.
After Rumen Nanev opened for 61,000, Yorane Kerignard called before Litvinov shoved his stack of 346,000 forward. Nanev called and so did Kerignard for a three way battle Royale. Litvinov, perhaps not believing his luck, said "wow" as he turned over his pocket aces; Kerignard said "wow" as he turned over his pocket kings. Nanev said nothing as he turned over his pocket tens.
There was nothing on the board to change anything, although the site of three diamonds on the flop got everyone interested briefly until each notice the other had a diamond. As the river card came Litvinov let out a yell.
For a second I thought he was going to find the step ladder to perform a victory swan dive, but instead he marched towards the rail and back. Funny how English is adrenaline's language of choice.
Litivinov moved up to around a million while Kerignard absorbed the side pot, leaving Nanev, who was immediately required to change table, as if his performance had not been worthy and wa being asked to leave, with around 100,000.