EPT11 London: Game face time
The table getting the most attention in the Grand Hall is the first outer table. Here several members of the public have gathered on the rope line, oblivious to the fact that they're not really allowed to stand there and should instead be confined to the main stage. But why do that when the appeal of this table is so obvious?
It features Kevin MacPhee, in the middle of an improvised performance of Keith Jarrett proportion, one that seems to leave him looking permanently exhausted. He's worn a game face since about Tuesday, as though surviving on a diet of cigarettes and blue chips, of which he has several towers.
At the other end of the table is Pablo Gordillo who for the past two weeks has found poker to be, well, easy. None of that confusion on his face. If anything it's boredom. This game just doesn't pose a challenge to the Spaniard anymore.
Jake Cody isn't like that. Second in chips the Team Pro looks as serious as anyone can in a stiff brimmed baseball cap, angled up on his head. He looks focused, although he may simply be enjoying the relative peace of being at work rather than being a dad to a baby girl.
Sure enough though the spectators working all this out for themselves were soon moved on, invited instead to watch play on the main stage, just in time to miss a hand between Kevin MacPhee and Sven Wendt.
Wendt was performing that most graceful move, whereby a player thinks for a moment before taking pushing forward a tower of chips, of indiscriminate amount. No sorting, no peeling off one here and one there, just a slow forward motion of a convenient tower.
That said it looks better when you actually win with it. In Wendt's case it looked dreadful, particularly when MacPhee announced he was all-in, throwing a spanner in the works for Wendt who was forced to fold.
MacPhee should be a contender to reach the final, even though he trails many in the field for chips, short some of the yellow ones. He is a bundle of nervous energy and stands up from time to time, kicking his legs out like a runner, or like someone with a hole in his pocket shaking change down his trouser leg. Then he walks around the stage, looking for something.
As this hand played out new spectators arrived, immediately fascinated all they could see taking place before them. They were in time to see Cody take the last of Wendt's stack with pocket sevens, which became sevens over threes on the flop. That sent another player to the rail, while another departed on the other outer table.
Time for a redraw and another appearance from floor staff instructing these latest visitors that however exciting this was they couldn't stand and watch it.
Follow the action from the EPT London Main Event this week on the PokerStars. You can also watch live coverage on the EPT Live webcast between October 14-18 on PokerStars.tv.
Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.