EPT11 Malta: The deafening silence
Even when you're not looking for him your eyes are still often drawn towards Ole Schemion when gazing around a poker room. On this occasion there was a reason though, he was moving tables. That wasn't the only reason though, his attire also demanded your attention. He's dressed in the sort of outfit that wouldn't look out of place in a fashionable art gallery or a night out to the theatre. An outfit then that positively sticks out in the hoodie, shorts and sandals atmosphere of a poker tournament. Today Schemion is wearing a smart black suit, a white floral patterned button down shirt, a silky multi-coloured scarf and, if you scan far enough down, battered blue plimsolls.
As he sat down at his new table he had a brief exchange with PokerStars VIP Host Gary Gates about hotel arrangements and then turned to his table and asked: "How are we all doing?" there were assorted nods and a few responses of "fine" from the likes of Pratyush Buddiga, David Peters, Ivan Luca, Patrick Leonard and Mike McDonald who all now had Schemion to contend with.
For the next ten minutes the only further sounds that were emitted from a players lips were to do with how much they were betting, other than that there was silence. At least in the traditional sense, because some very intriguing hands played out and you know with 100% certainty that the cogs were turning and the inner monologues were turned up to a high volume.
As Ole was unracking his chips McDonald raised to 700 from the cut off and Buddiga smooth called on the button. Blinds were 150/300 ante 25 at this juncture, but despite getting a decent price both blinds folded leaving McDonald and Buddiga to it. A J♦T♦5♠ flop looked promising if you were hunting action. There then followed the usual stare from McDonald, who was wearing an olive green short sleeved t-shirt, before a soft tap of the table. Buddiga didn't even go that far, a gentle tap of his left hand on his right shoulder indicating that he wanted to see the turn for free.
The 8♥ turn went much the same way as the flop meaning they both got to the 9♥ river without investing any further chips. It would be a free showdown too and in total silence McDonald rolled over 8♦4♦, but Buddiga had him beat as he showed K♣8♣.
There was little respite for anyone watching as on the next hand Leonard raised to 600 from under-the-gun, Peters three-bet to 1,100 on the button only for Schemion to raise to 3,800, with a flourish befitting his outfit, from the big blind. No sooner had he done so then he turned to stare at Leonard, arms crossed as he did so as if he was daring Leonard to play back at him. After a think - those cogs turning no doubt - Leonard folded but Peters was going nowhere, he flicked in the call with a single 5k chip and we had another post-flop pot.
A 5♠Q♥7♣ flop appeared on the table and Schemion carefully laid out a bet of 4,000 into the pot, a short think from Peters and then a call led to the 7♠ falling on the turn. Schemion slowed down, checking his option, softly of course, and Peters did likewise. The 8♥ completed the board but there would be no further betting action. Again the showdown happened in silence, Schemion showing A♥K♦, whilst Peters took the pot with pocket tens.
The German wasted little time in recovering some of the chips he lost, as on the very next hand he three-bet to 2,800 from the small blind after McDonald had raised to 700 from under-the-gun+1. Schemion turned to his left to glare at the big blind, he folded as did McDonald.
The closest we got to any verbal exchange during a hand occurred during the next pot in which Leonard and McDonald played one of those curious blind on blind hands. They'd reached the river of a 7♣4♦Q♦8♠T♠ board with little action and it looked as if the pot would remain small. First to act Leonard bet 325, McDonald directed his stare at Leonard for quite some time, the Brit scratched his nose a few times, a perceived sign of weakness according to popular books on poker tells. We won't know if this played any part in McDonald's decision to raise, but the Canadian made it 1,800 total to go. Leonard took a look back at the board and then his stack before shoving all-in for around 37,000 total.
A little shake of the head and a smile from McDonald followed and although he looked like he wanted to say something his lips remained sealed as he mucked his cards.
And there you have it, the cogs were turning and the mental muscles twitching during an interesting passage of play, it's just a shame we don't get to hear much of it. Play continued, but the silence remained, broken only by the dealer preparing the deck for the next hand.
Follow all the action from the EPT Malta festival at PokerStars Blog. We have hand-by-hand action from the €25,000 High Roller in the panel at the top of the €25,000 High Roller page. Feature pieces are below. We also have a man on the IPT Malta stop. Unless you're a massive idiot, you should also download the EPT App, available on both Android or IOS.