ESPT6 Barcelona: Money time
They say time is money. Waiting through a lengthy bubble period in a tournament -- especially a protracted one -- gives a person plenty of opportunity to think about both.
We report back from the Estrellas Barcelona Main Event shortly after having emerged from about an hour's worth of "bubble time." Bubble time isn't actual time, of course, what with stopped tournament clocks and the associated mental fog that can come over a person amid such stasis. Meanwhile, as time ticks by -- while weirdly seeming not to -- money becomes everyone's focus, in this case the €1,755 for min-cashing the event.
It took just under three one-hour levels for almost 500 players to bust the tournament this afternoon, at which point tourney directors brought things to a screeching stop in order to institute hand-for-hand play more than a half-dozen off the money. Perhaps they were recalling the conclusion of last year's EPT Barcelona Main Event when just one away from the cash no less than seven all-ins occurred on a single hand, with five players busting (and thus dividing the first four min-cashes).
Taking several minutes per hand, the number of players left crept slowly from 495 to 492 to 490. The target was 487, the number of players due to split the jumbo €3,193,240 prize pool.
Players filled the long pauses between hands socializing. After noting how start-of-day leader Pablo Gordillo had slipped back around 200,000, reporters spent the time scouting big stacks.
Jose Carlos Garcia, a.k.a. "TryToExploit" on PokerStars, we saw sitting comfortably behind a stack of about 500,000. With even more was Mikael Azoulay, who chatted with us about having just lost a pot leaving him with about 520,000.
Sitting quietly with even more was Team PokerStars Pro Online member Liliya Novikova, her 550,000 the most of anyone we'd seen.
Another hand was dealt. Time continued to stand still. Or go backwards. Or turn in on itself. It was hard to tell... things were getting even foggier in there.
Three tournament directors standing by three different tables provided a sign -- three all-ins.
The Dutchman David Hu was first up. And Hu was first down.
The came Julien Sichez's turn, and the Frenchman was likewise on the losing side.
We shuffled over to Luis Navas's table, where the Spaniard was at risk with ace-queen versus Peter Meuhlbeck's pocket sixes. A lot of deuces and nothing higher than a nine added up to an elimination for Navas.
Let's see... take three from 490, and what's left? 487. The goal had been reached.
There was no associated hubbub, however. That's because the special 487 were as yet unaware of what had developed. Just as the TDs had been manipulating time for the last stretch, so, too, were they manipulating the communication of the news that the money had been reached.
Finally it came over the public address, with the staff joining the players in a round of applause.
The clocks were restarted. Those manning the cashier's desk sat up in their chairs. We're there.
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Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.