EPT10 Barcelona: Bring me the bag of Nuno Da Camara
It proved a sturdy rear guard, but Nuno Da Camera has departed the Main Event on the bubble today, leaving 183 players an appointment with the cash desk on their way home. It was not an impressive performance by Nuno Da Camara, nor was it spirited, but it was memorable. Chiefly because Da Camara did not show up to play today yet nearly made the money.
We should preface this with the sincere hope that Da Camara is in fact safe and well somewhere, perhaps a bit hungover, or of such a secure financial footing that returning for Day 3, to a stack of 83,500, just wasn't cost effective for him.
But despite there being an empty seat, with chip, in the room, players weren't shy getting their chips in, unaware that in a matter of hands Da Camara would precede them. The table to the right knew this, but not the table to the left, where a player had shoved on the bubble. Had it not been for the mass crowd of players and camera men shielding his view, he might have noticed his actions were a little hasty.
A chip, a chair, but no Nuno Da Camara
The rumour had now reached other corners of the room. Some asked themselves why he hadn't shown up. Could it have been a tactical choice? Was his playing style as such that showing up to play would be detrimental to his chances of cashing? Most, however, were merely delighted that they were guaranteed a pay day. Just to be sure more and more of them came to have a look for themselves, possibly making Da Camara more popular in absentia than when he was here in person.
But Da Camera - while not here - was going nowhere. No fewer than three all-in hands passed, each resulting in double-ups. Had any one of them provided an elimination Da Camara would have cashed, securing the biggest score of his live tournament career. The buzz was growing with every passing minute. In the excitement one man watching, who was standing on a chair, fell off the chair. Everyone laughed, even the man who fell, although you could tell he didn't want to.
By now anyone who was online could read that Da Camara was not here and that any moment neither would be the last of his chips. He was now just two seats from the big blind, which was comin' round the bend like the Wells Fargo Wagon.
With all-ins coming to nothing the camera crews moved into position around Da Camera. Someone asked "how does it work?" which was a good point. "What happened if he doubled up, or tripled up?" But all this was moot given that his hand would be declared dead and immediately mucked once dealt. In effect the cameras were in place to watch not an elimination but a hand being mucked.
The crowd around the table increased. Even the man who'd fallen off the chair limped over to take a look. The players were relieved that this martyr was about to profit them. But among non-players affection had developed towards Da Camara. We all wanted him to cash.
With time to spare the TV people instructed the dealer on how to play out his moment in the spotlight. He rehearsed a little until he was comfortable with what was required of him and then sat back to wait. At which point he was immediately tapped on the shoulder and replaced by a colleague.
Then, looking around, one of the camera men suggested that five cameras might be considered overkill. One team was relieved and sent elsewhere while another, also told to stand down, stayed in place to watch, drawn to this missing hero - a "Camara man" so to speak.
Cameras move into position
Hands played out without incident and Tournament Director Toby Stone gave the order to play on. At which point Da Camara's tournament came to an immediate and anti-climactic end.
And that was that. Several players stopped by to see for themselves, paying their respects to this most unusual of bubble boys. Stone picked up the seat card, Da Camara's abandoned buffet ticket, and the chip bag that had been left empty on the chair. We're in the money. Do check in when you get a chance Nuno.
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Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.