LAPT8 Brazil: The thumbs up signal doesn't always mean what you think
It was clear something had gone wrong. You didn't have to speak Portuguese to understand the usual order of things had been upset somehow.
The first level of Day 2 of the Latin American Poker Tour Grand Final in São Paulo was nearing its end, with 190 players still vying for the title one hand at a time.
A crowd had gathered around one of the tables along the front edge of the tournament area.
Voices were loud. Cases were being made. And a ruling was finally being delivered.
At a glance it was easy to see the cause for consternation. The board read 4♠6♥A♠A♥Q♥, one player had J♣9♦, and the other A♦2♣.
But the pot was going to the one with jack-nine. That clearly was off.
And the one with ace-deuce, he kept holding his hand forward making the "thumbs up" gesture. Something didn't translate. Usually the gesture served as a kind of language-transcending signal of agreement, a positive review, that everything was absolutely ay-okay.
But no, that wasn't the case here. Not at all.
Finally the facts of the case became clear. With the thumbs-up gesture, the Brazilian André Eskinazi wasn't saying he agreed with the ruling against him. Rather he was reenacting the moment that led to him losing with the best hand.
Facing a big bet on the river from his fellow countryman Thyago Amador, Eskinazi had given the thumbs up signal while turning over his ace-deuce. Unfortunately for him, without a verbal declaration of a call, the action was ambigous, and was here considered a fold.
The back-and-forthing continued, but in the end Eskinazi grudgingly had to accept the loss of his chips as the pot was sent Amador's way.
About 190 remain as Level 12 begins. Stay tuned -- prize pool and payout information is on the way.
Photography from LAPT8 Brazil by Carlos Monti. You can also follow the action in Spanish here and in Portuguese here.
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Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.