EPT10 Vienna: Has the bubble's bubble burst?
Bubbles just aren't what they were.
It used to be a moment of buzz and that kind of excitement you can feel in the air as a hundred or so players gripped their seats ahead of a nominal win. But these days the bubble provokes little more than a polite round of applause which fades quicker than it takes the bubble boy to walk through the exit door.
Today's bubble though may offer something by way of an explanation.
Everything happened in the usual way. As the clock ticked down to fewer than 140 players (135 players would be paid) the dealers were urged to call out any action. With just 136 players left dealers put the brakes on as action went hand-for-hand. No change at all from the usual plan.
Two hands on separate tables stopped play, with all-in players doubling up before the next was dealt. Then Ronny Kaiser moved all in.
Kaiser is a former EPT winner, having earned the Tallinn title in 2012, and has something like $1 million in tournament prize money. If nothing else his general demeanor suggests indifference when it comes to what players are actually here for - the money.
Ronny Kaiser (seated) with his cash game buddy Sam Trickett
So when Kaiser's ace-king failed to win the race against Artem Metalidi's pocket tens, he seemed to almost ignore the outcome. He simply left and got on with his day. So, it appeared, did everyone else.
And this may be why the EPT bubble has lost some of its drama. The players who go out on it, and many who dodge it, don't care as much, or at least prefer not to show it. And given that after nearly 100 events there have been so many success stories, the chances of one of these players - the kind that show interest only in a big win rather than a min-cash -- being on the bubble, have increased.
That's one theory. Maybe it's not that at all. Maybe it's down to the surroundings. Perhaps decorum isn't in fact dead - like humility and shame - and that nobody in fact wants to stand on their chair and yell like a soccer fan in a room in which hang paints older than some of the countries they came from.
Then again it could just be a blip in the general space time bubble continuum. As Kaiser's hand played out another took place a few tables away that resulted in a double up for Robert Zipf. Had he busted he would have shared €8,700 with Kaiser. But he didn't, and plays on into the money, on course for one of the biggest paydays of his career. Few people saw or heard him, but as he doubled up his lifted his arms in the air like he'd just won the world.
World beater: Robert Zipf
And despite all this it's worth remembering that it's EPT Sanremo in two weeks' time. The bubble there is usually nuts.
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.