EPT8 Monaco: Passing the bubble, and the discomfort that involves
Bubbles have popped without too much discomfort in the back end of the EPT season (Madrid, Campione and Berlin); this awkward gas Windeze'd away with little discomfort or delay, allowing the tournament to continue with a smile on its face.
Then there are those other events, with a bubble made of leather that simply will not burst. Four seasons ago, that was here, when the bubble in the Grand Final then (it was not yet then known as the PokerStars Monte-Carlo®Casino European Poker Tour Grand Final) took two hours and 40 minutes.
Obviously you never know it will last that long, so every all in called raises hopes that it will be the last and that the tournament will be able to again stretch its legs. Instead it went on and on, reducing some players to sleeping wrecks, and rendering camera teams unable to move.
The tournament room this week
Then Surinder Sunar busted and everyone was suddenly able to get on with everything, except for Sunar, who looked miserable.
The bubble can have a profound effect on a game, much further than the effect it has on the player busting for nothing.
A long bubble slows the game down dramatically and it's not uncommon to hear players protesting that hand-for-hand play costs them the best part of a level. It's a fair point. Suddenly, with the bubble bursts, your stack isn't worth as much as it was before the bubble, changing the whole dynamic of your play. Conversely a quick bubble has the opposite effect.
Regardless, one basic element remains true, as PokerStars Live Poker Specialist Neil Johnson said as Bruno Launais successfully doubled up with kings through David Sands; "How come no one clapped when Bruno doubled up?"
It's a brutal moment, the bubble player departing to the echo of a round of self-congratulatory applause. That same ambivalence towards a fellow pro also extends to those doubling up ("bubbling up"), extending their own private agony.
That's the last bubble of the season now done. Things now return to normal.