EPT10 Barcelona: Not all Super High Rollers are created equal
You could be forgiven at first glance for assuming all poker players look alike. There's an even bigger case for this when a Super High Roller events takes place. Its players are predominantly young, well groomed (clean at least), wear comfortable designer clothing, and omit a kind of sparkle that denotes someone in the prime of life.
So when a player fails to conform to this photo-fit description they stand out a bit. Like Jean-Noel Thorel for example.
Little is known about Thorel, which makes him a particular kind of threat at the high stakes poker table, although his tournament record is peppered with convincing cashes. What one can tell from just watching him though is that he's wealthy enough to play and dress as he pleases.
In contrast to his more youthful and upright opponents, like Andrew Lichtenberger one way and Daniel Alaei the other, Thorel, sits awkwardly in his chair, arms crossed, his hair unrestrained, and looking at once either slightly cross or mislaid.
It made for an interesting picture (given his yellow polo shirt matches his socks) as he doubled up to keep his tournament alive.
First he'd come out fighting against Mike McDonald, who did his blinking thing to force Thorel into folding on the turn. Then a hand later he found pocket nines, flopped a set, and snap-called when Alaei shoved with pocket queens.
All of this did nothing to change Thorel's expression, still one of intense concentration, like a man given only one chance to memorise the procedure for getting the timer on the VHS to work.
And yet, amid this so-called confusion Thorel brings a touch of panache to the table - perhaps not the same sparkle, but in the prime of life nonetheless.
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Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.