EPT9 Berlin Day 2: If nobody saw Markus Grewe leave was he really eliminated?
Markus Grewe knew that when he woke up this morning his working day would be difficult. The root cause was essentially financial, the 2,600 he would return to on Day 2, the shortest stack of any in play today.
To look at his chips from a distance would be to wonder what the problem was. Physically it was not a visually unimpressive sight, but close up, with the colours clear, the absence of blues (5,000) and reds (1,000), and the abundance of black chips (100) said a lot. Specifically they said why Markus Grewe has yet to turn up today.
Next to him Oleksii Khoroshenin had turned up, so too had Andreas Vlachos, who jokingly pulled Grewe's stack into his own as a "joke". But jokes that cause dealers to have heart attacks rarely catch on.
What's left of Markus Grewe
"Don't even joke about this!" she said, her panic made more pressing by the fact her arms weren't long enough to reach Grewe's chips to retrieve them herself. "If the floor sees you..."
Vlachos, a swarthy man, laughed and put them back. But he may simply have been thinking pragmatically, trying to save time, for as cards were dealt there was no sign of Grewe and his was not a stack you could arrive at late.
So the table got on with the business of the day without him. As each hand ticked by a single black chip would be taken from his stack and placed in the middle, as the memory of his EPT Berlin campaign passed slowly into history.
Watching this last ditch effort at recovery it was hard not to start resenting Grewe when he still hadn't shown 20 minutes later. It turns out you can hang on quite a while with 2,600 chips when you don't show up to play them. This last gasp holding on, this fighting against the dying of the light while the physical being was elsewhere, was getting boring.
When the blinds came round for Grewe, Vlachos unstacked his chips to make change. After his earlier antics the dealer watched every move wide-eyed as if any chip discrepancies would come out of her pay. She had a point. Vlachos seemed the wrong man to leave in charge of the Grewe estate.
But perhaps it's better to leave such scenes and let nature take its course. After all, he outlasted ElkY and Max Lykov, two heavyweights, both without the staying power of Grewe and now out. Leaving Grewe's empty seat would be to permit his name to live on at this EPT like a philosophical thought experiment: If nobody saw him leave was he ever actually eliminated?
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter