EPT11 Prague: Living hand to mouth after six levels
Standing a few steps from his chair, scanning the tournament room like a parked traffic cop, Micah Raskin sought answers. But as he watched the neighbouring Eureka Main Event players depart for a well-earned 75 minute dinner break, none were forthcoming.
He tried asking again, catching the attention of the floor person. But moving in a breeze, she simply told him not to worry, that she was working on it, and would be right back.
So he returned to his chair and tried to put it all out of his mind, strapping on his headphones but keeping one ear free, albeit squashed by the earpiece, to listen out for her return. He folded a hand and looked back out over the room.
What was it that distracted Raskin so, a player who typically exudes calm and focus? Did he need water perhaps? There were plenty of waiters nearby ready to take an order, but he looked straight through them. How about a 100k chip? A dealer carrying a rack of green chips asked if anyone wanted to colour up. Nope, he wasn't interested in that either, despite a good tower or red and blues mounting up in front of him.
No it was something more basic. Nothing to cause any discomfort, at least in the long term, but something any player has to contend in Raskin's position has to contend with when the structure, a straight forward eight levels of play, is as it is.
The same floor person returned carrying a hotel business card. Raskin thanked her, looked at the card and took out his phone. Then he stepped away from the table to resolve matters.
"Room service... room service" he said, more urgently the second time. "I'd like to order. Right away please. Yes. Rush."
Whoever was on the other end of the phone was left in no doubt that time was not on Raskin's side. Whatever carbs and protein was to be prepared it would have to be made quickly and expedited to his room.
For this was the end of level six; a long time since lunch, and still two levels to play until dinner. It may be to the delight of those looking to finish early, it's a twilight zone for the Super Hungry Roller, who with only 20 minutes to refresh between levels can only dream of ambling, Eureka style, to the buffet.
But what's the alternative? Play on hungry and spend the next two hours driven crazy to distraction? Or get as much food down you in as short a time as possible?
Raskin leaned towards the latter, a different but no less classic race situation. Could room service food be delivered to him during the 20 minute break? And would Raskin be able to eat it in time to return to his seat, with the big blind now 4,000?
Raskin was up to the task. With seconds left on the clock he made quick work of winning a small pot from the big blind, insurance perhaps for the hands he might miss while in his room waiting for a knock at the door. Then, energised, he took the most direct route, studied for the past few minutes, to the exit, the elevator, and his room.
Albeit while looking anxiously at his watch. It had to be said, it was a big ask and time was not on Raskin's side. Or, come to think of it, the chef's, whose job it was to whip up a plate of pasta in a little more than eight minutes. It'll almost certainly be al dente.
Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.