EPT11 Grand Final: Savouring a moment the Plimpton way

May 06, 2015


ept_main_event_6may15.jpgMemories, bad and good, being forged on the feature table today
The author, editor, and participatory journalist George Plimpton became famous for writing about the experience of the professional through the eyes of the amateur. His point — usually shown through his own incompetence – was to demonstrate the enormous skill required to be an athlete, a ball player, a musician, actor, even a trapeze artist. What looks easy from the rail, is always much harder in practice.

Arguably his most famous work was Paper Lion, the account of his time with the Detroit Lions, and his disastrous attempt to play quarterback during a training scrimmage. Plimpton, who walked away humbled and bruised (but with notes for an excellent book), had envisaged things going much differently.

“The pleasure of sport was so often the chance to indulge the cessation of time itself–the pitcher dawdling on the mound, the skier poised at the top of a mountain trail, the basketball player with the rough skin of the ball against his palm preparing for a foul shot, the tennis player at set point over his opponent–all of them savoring a moment before committing themselves to action.” — George Plimpton, Paper Lion: Confessions of a Last-String Quarterback

Plimpton never managed such moments with the Lions, unless you can count lying beneath a pile of line-backers in the same way. But I wonder if he might have enjoyed similar pauses in poker?

That instant before you push forward a re-raise for example, or the moment prior to that when you ask an opponent “how much?” Then there’s that pause, puffed up with relief, granting the dealer time to check how much your double up will cost the other guy.

Actually Romain Paon just enjoyed this one.

The Frenchman had got in a raise on the river with the second nut flush, and then lured Hady El Asmar into moving all in with a lesser one. Paon won the hand, sat back, and let the dealer do their thing.

Of course, most pauses today will be those brought on by failure, not success: the look back at the table at the hand that sent you to the rail; the awkward wait for the TV man to remove your microphone; stepping outside the tournament room for the last time this festival, knowing that it’s all over for another season.

For most players that will be the enduring pause they recall today as the field is whittled down even more. It’s one that Plimpton, who never got around to giving poker a try, would have grown familiar with too.

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Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.


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