PCA 2012: Stalling with 97 left
Marty Debruhl sat spinning a single chip between two fingers. Martin Jacobson had opened to 12,000 from the hijack and the action had passed to Debruhl in the big blind for 6,000 of his 31,000 stack.
The tall American kept looking back over his shoulder at the clock, which showed 97 players remaining. Jacobson, a tournament veteran of the EPT circuit, smiled. Arnaud Mattern, who had managed a comeback from 30,000 to more than 200,000, did not.
"Time, please," said the Frenchman.
Debruhl, neck frequently craning back towards the tournament clock to see if someone had gone in 97th to secure him another $2,250, waited until there were six seconds left of his one-minute countdown. He slammed in the call and then checked the 5♥Q♠2♠ flop over to Jacobson who instantly tipped in a stack of blue 5,000 chips. Debruhl waited some more and then passed leaving himself with 19,000. The American flashed the A♣, Jacobson showed the 6♣ in response.
"I wouldn't take so long if you didn't call the clock on me," said Debruhl to Mattern.
"You can't worry about waiting," said the French Team PokerStars Pro earnestly, his tournament sensibilities offended by Debruhl's dying stack.
Debruhl continued to fold as his stack carried on a countdown of its own:15,000, 14,000, 13,000, 12,000.
"You haven't got much left," said Thomas Laviano.
"Strategy, baby," replied Debruhl who passed again.
Jacobson smiled once more.
Now he was down to 11,000. "Three more hands," Debruhl called out to a friend on the rail. The big blind, now 8,000, was closing in fast.
Likewise I closed in on his friends, Joe Ryhne and his son Patrick, who were railing from a couple of tables away.
Debruhl, so Ryhne told us, owned his own railway construction firm and had bought into the event for the second year on the bounce. They'd known each other some 35 years since Ryhne had coached Debruhl and his family in the art of swimming, a very handy skill to have here in the Caribbean. All these years later they were in fifty-fifty for a $10,000 buy-in tournament and had already more than doubled their money to $22,500. But the outlook did not look good.
"Looks like this could be it," said Rhyne senior, "Marty is more of a craps player but his father, Big Max, was a great card player. He was larger than life. He would have been heading this tournament." Then Debruhl called over.
"I'm all-in," he said, now up on his feet.
Rhynes senior and junior edged closer to the table to see their friend's last 9,000 all-in under-the-gun. It did not look good.
Bill Chen had already raised from the next seat to 25,000 and had found another customer in Arnaud Mattern who had made the call from the button.
"We're in trouble," said Debruhl, looking a little relieved to finally have his chips across the line.
The flop fell 6♦5♥7♠ and Debruhl said: "Wooooh, hit me," possibly not realising that it was a breach of etiquette.
Chen check-folded as Mattern won side pot before quickly flipping T♣T♦ to challenge for the main body of chips. Debruhl tabled A♥6♠ for five clear outs, a solid chance to more than quadruple his stack to five big blinds. But there was no suckout.
Mattern raked in the pot as the Rhynes simultaneously congratulated and commiserated their friend for his $22,500 payday. No dream finish but a solid score to pay for the holiday and cover a Kalik or three.