EPT10 Grand Final: Running rings around everyone

Every so often a camera is carried around each table getting footage. It's not your usual camera, not like those carried on shoulders to pick up the bulk of the action on the outer tables. This one is mounted on a metal frame and carried around by a camera operative who has very little say in what filming takes place.

The camera is called a Movi, and is operated by Frank, who has big shoulders and a sweaty brow. His job is the run rings around each table, carrying the Movi, while two (senior) colleagues get to control what the camera sees using a joystick. They also get to sit down while they do this.

A gyro keeps the lens steady and the images it creates the kind of footage that makes watching an event like this on television even better than watching it in real life.

It's not the easiest thing to manoeuvre, particularly with the tables positioned close together. Frank carries it awkwardly, two hands thrust out like a man carrying two pints of beer through a crowded bar. He wears headphones, presumably so the controller on the joystick, who Frank no doubt aspires one day to be, can direct him to places of interest. Sneaking a peak on the monitor the footage looks great. It's worth all the effort. So when you finally get to watch it on a TV screen spare a thought for Frank, who sweated tears to capture it.

He's not the only one running runs around the tables. Daniel Cates is doing something similar on table 3.


All smiles: Daniel Cates

Already chipped up, he recently got the better of Igor Kurganov. Holding nothing but ten-deuce, Cates forced a fold from Kurganov, a pot that cost him almost half of his stack. When Cates showed the bluff he couldn't help but grin. Kurganov on the other hand looked like he'd been publically humiliated in front of his family and friends. Those friends pretended not to have noticed anything.

Cates is an unusual character. For one thing he looks like he hasn't slept for 72 hours and constantly rubs his forehead and eyebrows. When the FPS main event paused between levels Cates looked around at the FPS players, and then then back at his own table wondering why he wasn't also going on break. Philipp Gruissem was kind enough to point to the super high roller clock positioned behind him. Only then did Cates remember that they'd just had their break and the FPS was a completely different tournament to his.

For these reasons the others seem to keep a polite distance, as though he were the younger brother of someone they knew well on another table. But Cates is no fool and while he may swagger it's probably inadvertent. When he laughs, like in another hand with Kurganov in which the German was put to the test, it's because he just can't help himself. And how do you play against someone who appears to be too busy giggling to care? Kurganov wasn't sure, and right now he could do with something to smile about.

All the hand-by-hand action, including chip counts, will be in the panel at the top of the main super high roller page". We will have feature pieces below that.

Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.