EPT10 Sanremo: Approaching the bubble with jangling nerves

Day 3 inevitably means bubble time on the European Poker Tour, and that in turn brings with it some anxious considerations among players with a short stack. Emmanuel Pariset, for example, bagged up 38,600 last night and headed to the casino restaurant to mull his options over a glass of red wine.

Knowing he would return with only 12 big blinds, he also knew more than 30 people still needed to be eliminated before he could bank a min-cash. Pariset is playing only his second EPT Main Event and his first since 2006 -- he usually plays cash games and/or smaller tournaments in various casinos in his native France -- and so would consider the €8,434 to be a triumph.


Emmanuel Pariset: A short stack, and few options

So, what to do? Nitting it up wouldn't really work, but he also doesn't have much fold equity, particularly with the near 300,000 stack of Dimitar Danchev to his immediate left. Poker players don't really like conceding everything to fate, but someone in Pariset's position has no choice but to place himself in the lap of the poker gods.

He finds a hand, he gets it in, of course. But if he doesn't, then he's probably going home empty handed. It's for reasons like this that poker can be a cruel game.

Actually, heading home isn't exactly on the agenda either way for Pariset. He lives in Geneva, but regularly takes a kind of triangular tour from home to Paris to the south of France. He said he wants to stay down in this part of the world to play the Grand Final in Monaco next week, and would happily add the extra €2,000 to a min-cash here to buy in.

But if he doesn't manage to sneak into the money, then it's off to Paris and the cash games to replenish the funds. The capital's gain will be Monaco's loss.

Paul Berende, the effervescent Dutchman, also returned to a relatively small pile of chips today (although his 71,100 must look enormous to the real shorties). Berende loitered around the casino after play ended last night, ostensibly to rail his friend in the EPT media tournament and have a few beers to take the edge off. But he too was thinking about his options for Day 3.

Berende has eight Main Event cashes on the EPT and so knows a thing or two about navigating through the bubble. But even he said that it's a tricky one here because of the number of players still to bust.

Day 3 usually begins much closer to the money than this, which means players tend to approach the early levels of the day with a particular mentality. However Berende said it was important just to play on normally. He's not going to be changing his hand ranges too much just yet.

(An hour into the day and both Pariset and Berende are still in their seats. The money is drawing closer.)

Full coverage of EPT Sanremo is on the main EPT Sanremo page. There's hand-by-hand coverage in the panel at the top and feature pieces below.

Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour