EPT9 Prague: Expressions tell the story as Rasmus Agerskov bubbles

It's said that Annette Obrestad once won a tournament online without actually looking at her cards. The point being that there was a lot of information to be had from betting patterns and the behaviour of your opponents.

Bringing that theory here it's interesting to watch bubble play without seeing any cards, using the expressions on people's faces to determine how things have played out.
It's not as straight forward as you might think, with happiness and tongue biting frustration being two sides of the same coin. Some blurt out their feelings like children.

Others, like Jeff Sarwer, often look the same win or lose, Sarwer being one of those exceptions whereby he prefers to choke down any disappointment rather than cause a scene.

Elsewhere the scene is not exactly a pretty one.

The most memorable element of the bubble is not the hand itself, nor the departure of the bubble boy who left the main event empty-handed, but the tomfoolery of particular players.

The tournament room before the bubble

Much has been made recently of the issue of stalling, the habit of some players who take as long as possible to make a decision (usually not a decision) in the hope that some other poor beggar will be eliminated before them, landing them in the money. All that was on display today.

One would suspect that if Dmitry Gromov came upon a river flowing with honour and glory he would build a raft from panda bones to avoid getting his feet wet. Aside from an ugly scene with a dealer earlier today, he prompted a floor person to arrive on several occasions, putting a one minute clock on the Russian who then stared back at that floor person until his time was up. The protestation of players such as Jonathon Driscoll got tournament director Theresa Nousiainen involved, who cut the clock to 30 seconds. Gromov simply let that time ebb away also while his friends watching grinned.

Trouble brewing with Gromov

It's one thing to pretend to have a decision, something else to make it clear you're deliberately wasting time. Hand for hand play put an end to his performance, whereby the behaviour of those remaining gave you every indication of what state their chips were in.

For instance:

Doing well earlier and still doing well: Deadly serious
Have started doing well: Deadly serious but one leg will be bobbing up and down
Doing well considering: Smiling a lot and talking to the player next to them
They were doing well, but not so much now: Quiet, and no longer answering the player next to them
Treading water: Out of their seat watching other tables
Treading water but struggling: Out of their seat watching the wall
Beginning to sink: Laughing nervously
Sinking: Laughing hysterically
Sunk: Rasmus Agerskov

The look of dejection was reserved exclusively for Agerskov who left the tournament room amid the self-congratulatory applause of everyone else who had made it into the money. It has been a long bubble, with flashes of poker at its best and worst. Now begins the race to make it through to Day 4.

Follow hand-by-hand coverage, plus latest chip counts, in the panel at the top of the main EPT Prague page.

Stephen Bartley
@StephenBartley in European Poker Tour