EPT9 Berlin Day 1A: Cleavage and the art of concealment

Poker is all about the art of concealment. Players are always concealing something, whether it's their cards, the strength or weakness of their hand, the pulsing vein in their neck, or simply the ketchup stain on their shirt from the Hyatt burger scoffed earlier. Others take this even further.

Over on table 16 Huseyin Erbay conceals his hands. Not his cards, his hands, in a pair of quite obvious white gloves. You cannot jump to conclusions in these cases. What appears to be an amusing little quirk can easily turn out to be a skin infection or a dread of bacteria that they don't find as funny as you do. But it turns out that Erbay, from Germany, who also wears green trousers and purple suede shoes, has another reason for wearing them.

"My nickname is 'Magic Man,'" he said, with a broad grin, immediately changing my ideas of ridicule to those of admiration, given that he could potentially produce a dove at any moment, or saw an opponent in half.

Huseyin Erbay

Next to him is Liutauras Armanavicius, from Lithuania, who, owing to strictly indecipherable licensing laws, has a Spielbank Casino flyer pasted onto his baseball cap, covering up whatever logo it is underneath. Two seats from him is seated Gustavo Ferreira, his eyes concealed by a pair of black sunglasses, with the rest of his head wrapped up in headphones and a cap.

Not everything goes concealed, including, it seemed, the chest of a massage girl in the low cut top working the hip bone of a player on the neighbouring table.

No magic powers can conceal a very obvious gawp, whether it was from Erbay, Armanavicius, Marcin Kreft or anyone else who was doing their best not to make it look obvious. Kreft tried the old Action Man/ GI Joe "Snake Eyes" trick of moving his head but letting his eyes remain fixed in the same direction. Sascha Heymann in seat two, with his back to this distraction, held his head in his hands, presumably to stop it from instinctively swiveling around.

Don't look now, but...

Erbay meanwhile looked on, perhaps forgetting the rule Jerry Seinfeld once pointed out to George Costanza, that looking at cleavage is like looking at the sun: "You get a sense of it and then look away."

None of which deterred the players on table 16. At least Erbay's gloves stopped his hands from sweating. Like I said, it's all about concealment.

Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter