EPT Monte Carlo: Perspectives in agony

Let's put this in perspective.

Imagine you're playing an online tournament. During this event, you can only get up to go to the bathroom every 90 minutes. You've started with 1,500 chips. After eight hours of play, during which you've likely played against the exact same opponents the whole time, the chip average for the entire tournament is 2,000.

It sounds rough, but it's still an unfair comparison to what happens in well-structured, but grueling events like the PokerStars EPT Grand Final. This is not a local tournament during which you can expect to double up three times before the dinner break. This is a deep-stacked, high-pressure contest against people who have proven themselves to be among the best in the world. At this hour in Day 1B, the players--each who started with 15,000 chips--have been playing for nearly nine hours. The blinds are still a rather paltry 150/300.

During this time, the players have had to maintain perfect focus and extreme discipline while still trying to find the courage to make the plays that will help them claw their way toward that chip average. Some run better than others. Out of more than 400 players who started today, more than 320 still remain. Whoever survives tonight will still have to meet up with the 189 players who finished Day 1A. Say it with us...you cannot win the tournament today, but you can lose.

That's where the agony comes in. Putting in the work, the concentration, and the sheer exertion it takes to make it in this world can sometimes mean absolutely nothing after nine hours.

Witness Betrand "ElkY" Grospellier who toiled throughout a tough afternoon and evening, only to find himself with pocket jacks up against pocket kings. The normally reserved genetleman stormed from the table with frustration dripping off his face.


ElkY -- © Neil Stoddart

Fellow Frenchman Frabrice Soulier suffered a defeat that was not quite so chilly, but still...it was KQ all-in against AK. He, too, worked for eight hours for something between diddly and squat. Even his smooth French words did nothing to dull the edge on his voice.

Finally, take a walk to the end of the room where Team PokerStars Pro Victor Ramdin looks like someone fed him poison at dinner. The board 83QJ6 when we walked up. His opponent had put in a bet that represented half of Ramdin's stack. He didn't want to call. It was evident. He smelled something ugly, but couldn't be sure. His call verified it. A set of eights for his opponent to best Ramdin's pocket kings.

At first, Ramdin was merely rueful. "You're running so good today, buddy. I've never seen somebody flop so many sets in my life." After that, though, it was something more. He stood, ran his hand across the back of his neck, and stared at the table.

It was agony...nine hours in and forever to go.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in EPT Monte Carlo