EPT8 Madrid: As the bubble approaches...
The build-up to the bubble was costly for some. Joao Barbosa and David Benyamine would bust before it, so too Rupert Elder. From then on the action was fast.
James Sudworth was among those moving all-in. Konstantinos Nanos tank folded to keep him alive. A table away Roberto Fernandez De Frutos, who looks like a young Bjorn Borg, stands, purveying the scene - the tell-tale sign that his stack is getting a little short.
Another player is also very short. He displays a tendency often seen at this stage of an EPT main event, especially by those unfamiliar with its passage. Despite having a very short stack he makes frequent visits to the rail to talk to friends, almost as if he doesn't trust his own ability to fold anything below aces and kings. His friends meanwhile send him back as the dealer shuffles, then look knowingly up at the screen, and the €7,500 for 72nd place.
At the same table one player has his shoulders rubbed by a friend. It's either not a good shoulder rub or he's not a good friend, as the player shrugs him off.
Underneath the scoreboard is Ilan Boujenah, face obscured by some sunglasses and a massage cushion, hoping to get through the bubble with a little more headroom than he did in Deauville, where he was first to bust in the money along with another player who split the prize with him.
Igor Sharaskin adopts another short stack technique, keeping himself busy by reading live coverage of the event on an iPad. He skims through the comments section but, finding no mention of himself perhaps, quickly changed pages.
As Ebony Kenney departed, her ace-jack toppled by a suited eight-three, Tommy Bondergaard moved in forcing a tank-fold from Kevin MacPhee. It was a good choice with Bondergaard showing pocket aces.
Somebody somewhere smells herbal.
Efren Garcia walks around the tournament room with a white earphone wire dangling from one side of his head. In a cap, scraggy black hair and three days beard, it's as if organisers requested Jason Mercier to arrive but were asked to settle for a cheaper model. At the same table Joao Ribeiro moved all-in, getting no callers. He showed an ace the way others would show pictures of their first grandchild. He's still on 35,000.
Susen Petr is another player in trouble. His stack amounts to two rounds of hands, which he tries to communicate to his family on the rail with a series of wry grins. Petr looks a little like lyricist Tim Rice would in a parallel universe had Jesus Christ Super Star not been much of a hit. He stares at the board urging the number 75 to drop to 72, at which point he'll get paid. The number doesn't budge.
A table along is Olivier Busquet, whose stack earlier measured seven big blind high but which is now above average. On the table next to him Rice/Petr is all-in, turning over ace-jack against MacPhee's nine-seven. His family rushes forward, with one loved one chanting "eh-or" on every street. He doubled, alive for a couple more rounds at least.
Back on Busquet's table Fraser Macintyre knocked Jose Rodriguez out with aces against kings. "Sorry mate," said Macintyre. Rodriguez took a while to accept his new condition.
Finally, down to 73, hand for hand play began. It didn't last long.
McLean Karr, all-in and out
On the first hand McClean Karr moved all-in with pocket fives and was called by Javier Etayo with pocket tens. The flop and turn brought him straight possibilities but the river sent him to the rail. Everyone was happy, including Rice/Petr who explained the situation to his family. They felt relief earlier. The new message seems to be to win more. He went back to his table, they went for a cigarette.
We're in the money.
Level 17: blinds 2500-5000, ante 500
Players: 68 of 477
Average stack: 210,500
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