LAPT7 Peru: Poker teaches (again) we're only partly in control
Life is full of happenstance, endlessly influenced by chance meetings, unforeseen events, and other ephemera impossible to predict. We make our choices, often convincing ourselves we alone direct our fates. But such confidence is hard to maintain under close scrutiny, as so much of what affects us is beyond our control.
Poker tournaments dramatically illustrate this truth over and again. The first level today isn't over, and already seven players have fallen -- Pedro Idrovo (45th), Jose Rosenkrantz (44th), Oscar Maldonado (43rd), Jose Severino (42nd), Raul Huayana (41st), Jose Antonio Serrate (40th), and Edgar Troche (39th).
It might have been more. For instance, Guilerme Moura could easily have been one of the knockouts, if not for another's slip.
A hand had just begun, then a misdeal was declared. Having been dealt pocket tens, Moura expressed his dispeasure with enough emphasis to earn a brief respite from play in the form of a penalty. "Cinco manos," was the verdict.
As he stood to walk away, another player revealed he'd been dealt pocket kings in the hand. The misdeal didn't seem so mistimed anymore.
As the Brazilian waited out his penalty, his fellow countryman Ariel Celestino raised to 25,000 from middle position, earning two callers in Fernando Suaya (button) and Ricardo Lozano (big blind). A J♥9♦6♠ flop saw Celestino continue for 43,000, with only Suaya sticking around. Then came the 8♣ turn, a check from Celestino, and an all-in push from Suaya.
"ArielBahia" thought long and hard as Suaya had him covered, then finally committed his chips, turning over Q♠J♣ as he did. Alas Suaya had K♣J♠, and Celestino stood from the table disappointedly.
Then came the river, bringing with it yet another bit of chip-changing chance -- the [10d]. A winning straight for Celestino, who exhaled as he retook his seat behind a stack of more than 500,000, having been reminded again that our control over what happens to us is only really partial.
But he knew that. We all do, if we're willing to look at the matter closely.
Photography from LAPT7 Peru by Carlos Monti. Check out the start-to-finish live streaming coverage (in both Spanish and Portuguese) at PokerStars.tv. Click here for live updates in Spanish, and here for live updates in Portuguese.
Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.