EPT10 Grand Final: Two sides to every story, just ask Merhej and Reardon
It's sometimes easy to pick sides when watching a hand play out, particularly an all-in. If I'm honest, from the point of view of someone in the press it's usually in support of the bigger stack, reducing the field by one. Other times though it's for the simple reason that you know or have written about one of the players involved.
Whilst it's not our plan on the PokerStars Blog to bok players we interview, I'm afraid this was the case for American Terence Reardon just now, who endured a brutal end. In fact the only silver lining was that it was over with fairly quickly.
Reardon plunged from a stack of above average to one significantly below that. A terrible thing to watch, starting with a hand against Chady Merhej. But watching it made it all too obvious that there are always two sides to a story.
For his part Reardon called Merhej's shove with pocket queens. Merhej turned over ace-queen. Both watched the flop come king-jack-king. The turn was a blank. Reardon needed only to fade an ace or a ten to put himself in a strong position. But then came the ten.
Reardon got up from his chair and walked away, this being the only thing he could do to stop himself from screaming. The floor person was concerned that he was leaving without an escort to the pay-out desk, but then realised he wasn't out, just looking for a hole in the ground to jump into. Eventually he returned.
"Nice hand, bro," he said with commendable dignity, now calm, but obviously devastated. His face was flushed red and he sought solace by tapping on his phone. He turned and shared a few words with David Yan sitting on his left. "That's poker," he agreed, and took a few more breaths.
From Merhej's perspective the whole experience was a lot different.
He didn't look optimistic as the cards were turned face up, and kept still as the river card saved his tournament. He would no doubt have noticed that Reardon got up from his chair and disappeared for a minute, but he didn't hint at it. Instead he kept his head down stacked his chips. He didn't speak except to say "thank you" when Reardon returned to congratulate him.
When his chips were stacked and his next hand folded, he got up from the table having spotted his wife approaching a few yards away with a smile on her face. They hugged and both said a few things. This was a hug of relief, mainly that he was still in and that the tournament wasn't yet finished. All the while she looked more nervous than he did, and he kissed her on the forehead before heading back to his table.
His wife stood where they had been and looked on for a bit - too far way to see any cards but close enough to see the expression on her husband's face. Merhej's went back to his seat and got on with things, neither triumphant or ignorant to Reardon's disappointment.
For Reardon though it was the beginning of the end. Only a hand or so later he got his chips in with a flopped ten-high flush, only to find his caller showing a king-high flush. Reardon did his best to hide his frustration as he paid off yet another player, delayed in doing so by the cameraman's insistence that there be a pause between flop turn and river.
Reardon had pushed forward all of his chips expecting that to be the end of him. He shook hands with everyone wishing each of them the best of luck, especially Merhej.
But Reardon was not out. He had been stripped of all but 50,000, which went in with ace-eight against ace-jack. It was almost funny when the flop came jack-ace-eight. Reardon now knew for sure that his time was up.
He has now departed. Mrs Merhej meanwhile watches anxiously from the side-lines.
All the hand-by-hand action, including chip counts, will be in the panel at the top of the main event page. We will have feature pieces below that.
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.