EPT11 Grand Final: How does it feel when a champion falls?
Conversation about last weekend's marquee Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao match has finally begun to die down, but a memory inspired by it continues to linger, thanks in part to having been watching Main Event players slugging it out under the bright lights here today at the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo®Casino EPT Grand Final.
The undefeated Mayweather remained so after Saturday's bout. The memory concerns another title-holder who long, long ago did not win a match in which he was favored -- the great Muhammad Ali, who unexpectedly lost to Leon Spinks and thereby lost the heavyweight titles he'd held for nearly five years.
The next morning -- first thing -- a grammar-school version of myself faced a different sort of challenge after a strangely-inspired teacher gave all us kiddies an in-class writing assignment. The precise prompt has faded, but the gist was as follows:
"For the next thirty minutes, write what you think Muhammad Ali was feeling after he lost."
I was utterly baffled.
To that point my own fighting career had been pretty much restricted to bouts with a single opponent, my younger brother. With a couple of years on my challenger, I had a winning record, and as far as I was concerned there existed minimal threat to my title. (As yet, anyway.)
How did Ali feel? I got nothing. Can we play kickball today?
While watching the EPT Grand Final Main Event playing down from the 564 who started to the seven who now remain, the mind instinctively categorizes players as contenders, serious challengers, and possible champions. Like Mayweather and Ali, those who have often won before nearly always fall in the latter group, even on Day 1 when the chance of avoiding being knocked out before the final round is not especially high for anyone.
Few if any eliminated on Day 1 avoid being disappointed. Those making it further, perhaps getting close to the cash before being counted down and out, may well experience a wider variety of emotions. But the ability to estimate their state-of-heart doesn't seem an especially arduous challenge.
The deeper a tournament with a field as talented as this one goes, however -- like, say, right now following the ouster of Koichi Nazaki in eighth place, leaving the other seven one well-timed punch away from reaching tomorrow's final day -- it gets more and more difficult to guess what's going through players' heads and hearts.
The cost of these later defeats becomes greater, too -- both literally and otherwise. Well over half of the total prize pool will be going to the seven left. In terms of the payouts, it's a steep climb from seventh to first, starting at €174,300 for seventh and looking way up at €1,082,000 for first. Occasionally tournament players going out in seventh in this spot will describe the occurrence not as winning €174,300, but as losing €907,700.
If you're watching the EPT Live stream, when the next player goes out -- the last of the day -- imagine being assigned to take a half-hour to write out what you thought the ousted player was feeling. How do you start?
You don't. You can't.
Playing "What Lodden Thinks" is fun. But "What (Fill-in-the-Blank) Feels"?
Can we play kickball?
Follow all the action from the €10,000 Main Event is on the Main Event page. Also watch on EPT Live. It's also about time you downloaded the EPT app. There you will get all the latest news, chip counts and payouts. You can download it on Android or IOS.
Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.