EPT11 Grand Final: Schemion sent to rail after trial by fury

sammartino_schemion_1may15.jpgSchemion (mint green hood) waits while Sammartino agonizes

He didn't need to ask, given the look on Schemion's face, but it was just too hard for Leon Tsoukernik to believe that Ole Schemion was out of the Super High Roller. There had to be another explanation.

"It's a break, no?"

Schemion shook his head. It was true. He was out, cut down in the prime of life. It may be some time before he gets used to the idea.

It had all started ten minutes earlier in a hand against Italian Dario Sammartino. But preceeding that had been an extended period of typically glorious Schemion play.

If we're all supposed to benefit from a proactive life, living in the moment rather than drifting off until a time more convenient, then Schemion is a textbook example of how to do it at the poker table. Watching him closely, you get an idea of why he's currently ranked Number 2. on the Global Poker Index.

Maybe there's a technical way to describe all of this, but if there is I don't know it. Instead I'll just type what I wrote in my notebook, watching from the sidelines.

"Ole seems eager to take part in every hand, watching each player act and noting what they do with their cards, their hands, their chips. Fascinated by everything he sees. He's like a kid at Christmas watching everyone else open their presents first before touching his own. Then, with the action on him, he looks at his own cards. They fail him, and he hates it."

It's almost as though the anticipation is the best part.

He varies his bets, he even varies his checks, making his fingers flutter, sometimes tapping his forearm, sometimes doing the same after making a fist. On one occasion he even said "I check" out loud.

All of which combined to get him a stack of plenty, and with 14 players remaining almost certain of a place at the final, and in the money. Then that Sammartino hand.

The Italian opened from the button, which Schemion three-bet to 185,000. After a call they saw a flop of Q♥7♣J♦. Schemion made it 180,000 which Sammartino called for a 7♠ turn card. Another 382,000 from Schemion, called by Sammartino. Then, with the 4♦ on the river, Schemion paused before moving all-in for a little more than 1.1 million.

If you think poker is all about having a poker face then think again. It turns out there's room also for complete emotional collapse. It was like Sammartino had been given a cruel kind of non-fatal bad news. Gone was his composure, to be replaced by a wince, an audible groan and a flushed face. Pushing his chair back, he leant forward with his hands in prayer.

Dario_Sammartino_1may15.jpg Sammartino in pain

There was no staring from Schemion, who quietly turned his attention to the board. Sammartino couldn't help but squirm and the German did his best to ignore it. The immediate impression was that Sammartino couldn't do it. He couldn't call. But would he be able to talk himself into it?

Sammartino was desperate to get any information he could, leading to a bizarre scene when he began waving his hand in Schemion's face, who took it badly, having been heaved from his private meditation. There was only one way to end Sammartino's agony. Scott Seiver took it upon himself to call time.

Sammartino was then given his last rights by the floor. One minute from now, they said. Schemion just had to fade a few seconds. He was going to make it.

Then Sammartino called.

Schemion emerged from his trance, turning over aces. That was good right? Wrong. Sammartino had pocket jacks. The third nuts. Schemion couldn't believe it.

Actually a few people couldn't believe it. The German managed a grin, but it was all he could do to hide his anger. It was now his turn to lose the poker face. He looked around. Others tutted. Scott Seiver said Jesus.

Not that Sammartino minded much (and he later insisted that this was no slow roll). A pause in play followed but only to allow the dealer time to count out what was now the Italian's the chip lead.

Schemion looked up at the ceiling, replaying a bad dream in his head before accepting the reality. Left with next to nothing he made no further eye contact, watched no more players, no longer cared for the actions of anyone. He simply shoved next hand with jack seven, and was dispatched unceremoniously by Eric Seidel's ten-six.

He left, leaving Dodge as quickly as he could. That's when he saw Leon. This was no break.

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Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.

Stephen Bartley
@StephenBartley in Season 11