Eureka3 Bulgaria, Day 1A: The many ways to exit a poker tournament
Much like the poker player who's played millions of hands and claims to have seen it all, we tournament reporters who've watched thousands, if not millions, of hands tend to think we've seen every which way there is to bust a poker tournament.
There's the aces into kings pre-flop cooler (interchangeable for any two premium hands), that's filed close to the the 'it just wasn't my day' set over set coup where you'll be asking friends for days if you could've got away from it.
At the other end of the spectrum you've got the players who sheepishly say: "I don't want to talk about it," when you ask them how they've busted. This is usually because of a bluff gone wrong, or sometimes it's actually down to genuinely being upset about having busted a poker tournament, grinders have emotions after all.
The 'craziest' exit I've witnessed today involved Yevgeniy Yermakov, he got it all in with pocket fives against the pocket nines of his opponent. Bad news until the five flopped but bad news often follows good news and his opponent hit runner-runner flush and he was gone. Ouch.
But enough of the actual hands from bust outs, as the cry of all-in and call and seat open goes up in frequency let's concentrate on the human element, which is much more fun,and look at the many ways in which players react in the moment to losing their tournament life, all of which I've seen here today.
The premature celebration: An absolute classic, this usually involves a pre-flop all-in encounter in which the player who is behind hits a card on the flop to take the lead and celebrates this fact. However, with two cards to come there can often be a re-suck and when there is the premature celebrator is left with a healthy dose of egg on his or her face.
The table thumper: Poker is, obviously a game where you're meant to give away as little physical information as possible. So when there's an all-in and call and the cards are revealed it gives the players a much needed mental break. They can let loose as their cards are exposed and they need no longer hide their emotions. However, this mental break can often lead to a player trying to break the table, usually when they get outdrawn on the river.
The I'll get my
coat beach towel: It's the oldest trick in the book, trying to fool the Poker Gods by standing up, collecting your belongings and preparing to leave the table before your fate has even been dealt. Wise sages reckon it can add as much chance to your hand winning as being suited versus unsuited*.
The I didn't see it: This one is particularly cruel but involves a player who thinks he won the hand celebrating only to be told by the dealer - or usually another player - that his hand is second best. Often occurs when a concealed outdraw hits the river, for instance if a player has a flush and a gutshot straight draw to get there and hits an off-suit card to complete the straight and his opponent was only concentrating on the flush outs.
The I don't believe it: The player stands hands on back of head, starring straight ahead at the five community cards, his two hole cards and those of his opponent. "How? Why?," and no doubt some more severe language clouds his head. His tournament is over but he's not sure how or why this just happened. It's yet to sink in. Perhaps it never will.
*We may have made this up.
Chip leader: Richard Larsen has 115,000 and appears to be the chip leader.
Eliminations: Martin Vasilev, Armin Eckl, Simeon Todorov, Veselin Petrov, Emil Eriksson, Adrian Marin, Kristian Krusharov and Georgiou Eftychios are all out.
Just 101 players are left in and the last level of the night has just started, blinds are 400-800 ante 100 and the average stack is 36,300.
All photos are copyright of Tomas Stacha