Even a deal worth more than 1.6 million is written on a scrap of paper torn on one side. The numbers are scribbed down using a hotel biro and after it’s passed around between the three players it gets a little tattered.
You might have noticed, through EPT Live, and our live coverage, that the deal discussions took more than an hour and resulted in no agreement with the main obstacle being demands by David Boyaciyan which ultimately proved too rich.
“These are numbers, don’t get emotional,” said Boyacayin. But he hadn’t counted on an emotional Sotirios Koutoupas. Koutoupas was getting emotional. The qualifier, who’s not a pro, was being asked to give up too much and didn’t want to.
The scrap of paper on which all this depended
Boyaciyan was using his experience as a bargaining tool, insisting that he was only a double up from changing the nature of the final. But Koutoupas had more than ten million, twice that of Boyaciyan (and even with Jelassi) and wanted chips to count.
“It’s one pot,” said Boyaciyan again, very calm. Koutoupas was agitated. Meanwhile Jelassi left the stage to talk to friends. “I play three heads-up in one year.”
Jelassi returned to the table but you could sense he was having doubts. Then Boyaciyan made one last bid at a favourable deal.
“This is my best offer,” he said. “440. The rest is up to you. 440, final number.”
Koutoupas took a long look at the scrap of paper. Boyaciyan projected power, waiting for the other two who were deep in conversation, with Koutoupas struggling.
“Don’t think ‘if I win'”, Jelassi said to him, before pointing at the numbers. “Think of what’s here.”
Koutoupas then took to talking with his friends. An hour had passed, and both TV and tournament staff wanted a decision. Jelassi talked on the phone, while Boyaciyan riffled chips.
Suddenly Koutoupas came back, defiant, and said: “Ramzi says no, so I play. Let’s play. Let’s gamble.”
And, after considerable time, a dinner break was called.