EPT8 Campione: It's not about the money (it is about the money)


There are some polite lies that are standard in poker tournaments, helpful little phrases handed out with player bags that allow the whole system to run smoothly, and without people falling out.

"Nice hand," is one of them, usually only used when on the receiving end of a lunatic play, by a lunatic. "Good game," is another, a polite sign off from an eliminated player which buys his vocal chords enough time before they spew hate in the privacy of the lift or a toilet cubicle.

Then there are the socially acceptable replies from questions that try to hurdle modesty. One of which is "I had good cards," used in response to any suggestion that a player used natural ability to succeed.

Then there's the old favourite. "It's not about the money."

To deny these niceties would sully the glossy veneer we use to paint the tournament picture every night. But looking around the tournament room the money is every bit as important as the title.

Take Piero Federici for instance. When his all in with ace-king held he banged the table several times then inadvertently reverse head-butted Candido Goncalves standing behind him, before giving himself a round of applause.

A table along is Nick Yunis, whose head dropped as he found himself in an aces versus kings versus ace-queen situation. He had the kings, swiftly dethroned by the aces, which sent Bryan Piccioli to the rail. Actually, Piccioli didn't seem all that bothered.

Nick Yunis

Before the bubble Panagiotis Gavriulidis had been the most notable example. After he doubled up the Greek stood, found his friend Konstantinos Nanos on the rail and started beating the hell out of him. Nanos, brutalized, knew to take this as celebration not provocation and laughed. Gavriulidis , who looks like he has the strength of ten men, did everything but beat his own chest.

Panagiotis Gavriulidis

The beneficiary of a hand perhaps, one player saw me, stood up with a broad grin on his face and, with arms outstretched, rushed towards me, then past me, to embrace Salvatore Bonavena who had stopped by to congratulate him on making the money.

A few tables along Fabrizio Leonardi was next to move all-in but found no takers, particularly from Ivo Donev, who tried to show an ace and nothing more before Leonardi got angry about it.

Ivo Donev

Donev hurried the card along to the muck, claiming to have folded ace-seven. The two argued in German for a while, then they started laughing.


This was Alessandro Minasi catching a card on the river to keep his tournament alive, his big Bernie Bresslaw grin commandeering the lower half of his face after a level of tension.

His relief sums up everyone's approach at the moment (even ElkY looks at the payouts on the tournament clock). To depart now is just the latest stage on the journey to disappointment that is standard in every poker tournament; disappointment not to make the money, disappointment in min-cashing, disappointment in not making Day 4, disappointment in not making the final table, disappointment in not winning the final table.

Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier

It goes on. Only one person leaves genuinely happy. But that was all down to a great run of cards.

Tournament snapshot
Level 17: blinds 2500-5000, ante 500
Players: 60 of 477
Average stack: 285,000
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Stephen Bartley
@StephenBartley in Campione