EPT Dortmund: A song in his head, hands on a fortune
Seeing as though Marcel Luske is a sponsored player for PokerStars here in Dortmund I figured I’d spend a few minutes watching him play a few hands. If nothing else he’d probably provide a song and the quality of play when he’s around never seems to tarnish.
With him at the table is PokerStars qualifier Mika Turpeinen and two Manfred’s - Manfred Bass and Manfred Hammer, and Andreas Sarling.
Marcel’s career has been a long and profitable one. A casual glance through his results shows consistent wins going back years, a resume you’d be hard pressed to find elsewhere, and one that has seen him in smart shoes for many years.
EPT London, season one, 2004. Marcel finishes seventh in one of the first EPTs out with K-Q against the pocket Jacks of Jon Falconer. His young protégé Noah Boeken finishes sixth.
The flop is A-J-A. Marcel bets, putting off anyone else from getting involved any further. It’s good for another 10k pot.
Done with stacking chips he readjusts his shades, a chunky looking combination of UV protection and built-in radio player with an earphone emerging from the frame like landing gear. It’s the kind of thing you’d expect to see in an 1980s innovation catalogue along with a gold ballpoint pen featuring a digital clock at the end. But this is Marcel and he has the knack of making the ordinary look cool and entirely appropriate.
Music is important to him, only his headphones don't seem to work…
He makes another pre-flop bet but again finds no takers - good for the blinds. Soon there’s action at the other end of the table. The player in seat six bets 8k and immediately covers his face with his hand, like he doesn’t want someone on the rail to recognize him. Andreas Sarling sitting on his left and next to act neatly pushes his stack forward, a neat shove often replaced by a gesture these days.
Compared to seat six Sarling is in full control, unashamed of the move and presumably happy for anyone on the rail to see him. His opponent goes through the motions of asking how much. Marcel looks interested as well, leaning forward to watch what happens next. Predictably the raiser folds, opting not to call the 48k move.
Another table breaks and Thor Hansen arrives, unpacking his chips and coming over to Marcel to shake hands.
“Marcel, play good okay?” he says, “I know you can.”
With that Sarling makes another per-flop bet. Sarling has the well crafted look of determined youth about him. A young player hoping to seize this EPT bull by the horns and make a Sarling shaped mark. He’s well on his way.
EPT Copenhagnen, season one, 2004. Marcel narrowly misses out on his second final table of the season when he finishes in ninth place – this time protégé Noah Boeken wins the event.
Barely seconds after Sarling bets Marcel leans to the dealer, vaguely points with a finger and tells him he’s all-in. A few seconds ago, noticing me standing alongside he said he’d hardly played any hands. Sarling might have been annoyed but didn’t show it. He mucked - Marcel showing him two black kings.
“That’s the minimum hand I show” he says and whistles another quick tune and then says something to Sarling. Maybe it was coincidental, maybe a deliberate attempt to sooth a wounded ego but Sarling breaks his stern face for a second to smile. Sarling is no different from a lot of young players sat opposite Marcel of trying to block out the chat – no attempts to fraternize at all. Marcel usually breaks them. Sarling seems happier now.
EPT Grand Final season two, 2006 - Marc Karam moves all-in from button with J-7. Luske calls with pocket eights. A harmless flop leaves Marcel ahead but he and hundreds of others watch as one of the most painful moments in EPT history unfolds. Karam hits runner-runner sevens, eliminating the Dutchman.
Marcel limps on the button and the big blind taps the table. They check the flop 6-2-3 to see a king on the turn. The big blind checks, Marcel spins six blue chips over the line, good for another pot and time to order tea.
“As your buying…” replied Thor Hansen, the look of an irregular tea drinker across his face. Just a few hands until the break… PokerStars sponsored player Marcel Luske up to 172,000.