Back at the PokerStars.com EPT San Remo Johannes Strassmann scribbled his way through day one, day two and was the last player eliminated on day three in ninth place, a fly’s wing distance from his second final table of season four. The notes, he told me, were because he wants to keep improving on his 23rd here in Monte Carlo last year, his sixth place at EPT Dortmund and ninth in San Remo.
It seems the notes are working then and he’s doing the same here. It’s no piece of scrap paper or back of a napkin. This thing is a leather bound folio… and a nice pen.
Today he sits opposite Team PokerStars Pro Isabelle Mercier, fingers loaded with sparkling rings, decked as she is in black clothes and black cap emblazoned with the word “Faith”, blond hair flowing from it.
She’s in a hand when I pass by, a board fully dealt that shows four diamonds. Isabelle made it 2,500 on the turn with the player to her immediate left to act. He called. When a fourth diamond came on the river, she checked and waited, a Blue Gin (the name of the bar at the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel) plastic ice cube as her card protector flashing blue lights in front of her.
There’s a bet now from her opponent now, a single 5,000 white chip on the felt. Her foe quietly annouces his bet, putting the focus back on Isabelle. But Isabelle is a top player and knows her options are limited. Her opponent cas committed himself to the pot. She folds, looks up into the rafters for a second and mouths a few words to herself, with 10k or so left in front of her.
A few tables away the words “Ivey’s done “pretty much sum up Phil Ivey’s day. A few minutes earlier he’d been getting a massage, now he was settling the bill, picking up his coat and leaving the tournament room.
Johannes makes a bet pre-flop bet, gets called by the player in seat nine and they see a flop of 7-4-T. Johannes makes it 1,200, called, and both check the king on the turn.
Johannes stays still through all this, each time he places his chips in the pot he leaves his hand there for a while. Then he makes it 2,200 after the river brings a nine. Again no movement and his hand stays in front of him, half in, half out of the pot.
Johannes shows his pocket queens and watches his opponent for some sign of victory or defeat. He knows the longer that takes the more likely this hand to have a happy ending. It does, he back up to 14k and has a few more lines for the notebook.