It’s a place of quiet reflection, of peace and of solitude. It’s also known as the theatre in Casino Sanremo where the final three tables of the Main Event play on. It’s short on audience members, that much is certain, but for the six of us watching the action from the comfort of plush burgundy seats, on a screen positioned too far away to make any sense of, it’s a pleasant place to pass the time. Poker is more enjoyable when watched in comfort.
It’s also more enjoyable when you have chips, as Jeffrey Hakim would confirm.
“Having chips always keeps you in better spirits,” said Hakim. “It gives you confidence and that little extra bit of motivation. With a short stack you’re feeling like you’ve got to get something going, you’re maybe a bit more under pressure. So, it’s more of a relaxed feeling.”
Jeffrey Hakim in action yesterday
The Lebanese pro, who normally cleans up online, is still trying to clean up on the EPT. He’s not exactly short of live results, or EPT cashes for that matter, but to players of his calibre the figure “1” on your Palmares is all that counts, and this is the best chance since he finished eight in Deauville two seasons ago. A final that was an opportunity missed.
“It was a dream final table, that’s the way I would put it,” said Hakim, who recalled a lack of experienced pros in the last eight that day. In comparison the field in Sanremo is somewhat tougher.
“Right now at the final three tables I see and know a lot of the names,” he said. “I recognise them either from online or knowing a bit about their game, so it’s relatively tough.”
Hakim may appear laid back and relaxed, and he is. But you also sense his will to avoid a repeat of Deauville.
“Anything besides a win I want to say top two or three is going to be a disappointment. I’ve got close several times, I just have to make sure to try and get to the finish line.”
And so, watched by an audience of six, the last three tables play on.
Full coverage of EPT Sanremo is on the main EPT Sanremo page. There’s hand-by-hand coverage in the panel at the top and feature pieces below.
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.