EPT10 Prague: Following poker's unwritten codes
It's not written anywhere, it's not universally known, and nobody knows the source of this wisdom, but it's generally thought that arriving first at your table is a bad idea. There's another thing we see at such an important stage as this, the phenomena of someone's clothing suddenly smartening up, be it a collar or polished shoes.
Both of these factors can play a vital part in your Main Event fate, and Tomasz Kowalski fell into both of these traps this afternoon.
Kowalski, was first to arrive at his table today. Instinctively he knew that taking his seat while alone would be inappropriate, one of those social codes men understand, like never using the urinal next to another man when others are free, or asking for directions while there's a woman in the car. And yet, on this, one of the biggest days of his poker career, he couldn't help himself.
Kowalski, admittedly one of the shorter stacks, would be the first to move all-in. He found A♠4♣, shoved and waited, standing up and giving us a good view of his rather nice blue shirt, neatly pressed, worn in readiness of the TV appearance he was practically guaranteed.
It's not uncommon for players to upgrade from an earlier outfit--often be mistaken for pyjamas or fancy dress--to something their mother would be pleased to see them wearing, and may even have bought for them. Although in Kowalski's case he'd been collared yesterday too.
Kowalski (standing) at the tables yesterday
But Kowalski didn't know that Jorma Nuutinen was following another code, the code that says that if by Day 3 only two Finns remain in the entire field, both will reach the final table. He found pocket eights and called. The board was dealt without any drama, and Kowalski was out.
Kowalski had played well all week but his Day 5 would be a short one. His last act was to comply with another code, the one that says never hang around the table after you've been eliminated. Kowalski headed straight for the pay-out desk, and then somewhere not here.
So a word of advice to everyone else--turn up late, wearing whatever clothes you found on your hotel room floor when you woke up. And try to be Finnish.
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.