EPT9 Sanremo: None can catch Inge Forsmo as Norwegian bludgeons on
People in poker often use the word "polarizing", typically to describe a bet that represents either a bluff or the nuts. But EPT Sanremo can often be a polarizing tournament: either it is painfully slow as players Hollywood on every decision, or it is terrifyingly fast as they think: "Eff it, I'll take my min-cash, shove this stack in, and enjoy my four hours at the buffet."
Similarly after opening flights that stretched close to 14 hours apiece, we have just wrapped day three in a matter of four levels. We bundled more than half the returning players out the door to leave us with only 67 still alive, burst the bubble with characteristic drama, and yes, still had time for the buffet.
For all that, there were still plenty of complaints of stalling - players taking too long over their decisions in the hope others go bust while they are in their reverie (of which more tomorrow).
But predominantly we will remember today for its brevity, as well as the second day in succession that we have been marvelling at a young Norwegian player named Inge Forsmo.
Forsmo was at the summit of the day two leader board, having apparently cruised there with no more effort than it takes to crack the widest smile. It only got broader the longer the day went on, as Forsmo was an unrepentant bully during the bubble period, then was the first player through a million. He has 1,021,000 at this stage and does not appear to have any reason to look back.
If he was to peer over his shoulder, he would find Angelo Racchia (851,000) not all that far behind, and then Carmelo Vasta (844,000), Giuseppe Ottaviani (810,000) and Eric Nhouyvanisvong (763,000). The first three are all Italian players hoping to "do a Bonavena", while Nhouyvanisvong took a massive pot on the last hand of the night from Isaac Haxton, who had been challenging the chip leaders himself at some point before being pegged back to 488,000.
There are some other huge serpents in the grass too: David Vamplew (547,000), Justin Bonomo (350,000), Mike Watson (129,000), Shaun Deeb (402,000) and Roberto Romanello (145,000) are all still involved.
Liv Boeree made a winning return to Sanremo, picking up €8,000 for her 120th place finish. She was joined in the queue for a min-cash by Chris Moneymaker (116th, €8,000) and Ana Marquez (104th, €8,000), while Team Online's Luca Moschitta (289,000) battles on.
Spare a thought, though, for the people who perished before the money kicked in. Rupert Elder was one, unable to emulate Boeree and cash for a second time after winning this tournament. Jude Ainsworth was another, who ran ace-queen into ace-king two off the money and tweeted: "That bubble *&!@-ing hurt."
There were at least three double-ups on the stone bubble - or bubble-ups, to use the correct term - before Renaud Desferet was vanquished with ace-ten versus Michael Benvenuti's ace-king. (He hit the ten, but was rivered by a king.)
The tournament situation now leaves us with two days to reduce 66 players to the final eight, and one more after than to find a winner. Stick with us for all that.
In the meantime, look back on a bubble-themed day of coverage. We looked forward to it, as a day for excitable masochists. Then we looked back at the best bubble in EPT history. We then learned how best to survive this one. And when it was all done, our minds turned to restaurants. But no, people, not to Mare Blu.
Bon appetit and goodnight.