“Who is that sitting in the nine seat with all the chips,” said PokerStars Blog to a media colleague, stalking through the High Roller tournament area.
“What, Marvin Rettenmaier?” said the incredulous reporter. “The two-time WPT champion?”
“So it is,” replied a chastened PokerStars Blog, before making excuses based on the fact that Rettenmaier was receiving a massage at the time and had his face slightly hidden.
The fact is, for all its big-name players and poker being played at a standard way higher than you or I could ever hope to play, the High Roller tournament doesn’t really seem to warrant the kind close attention lavished on the main event. It’s hard to see the wood for the trees sometimes.
High rollers just seem to get on with it, play through the various stages at somewhere close to optimum strategy and then emerge at the end with a more-than-worthy winner. Rettenmaier is only one of around 22 players left, and there’s not a fish among them.
Opposite Rettenmaier sits Jason Mercier, with a chip-leading stack of about 500,000. Andrey Gulyy is also on that table, and he is maybe second overall with about 450,000. One table along, Eugene Katchalov sits in complete silence with a very similar-sized stack, while most of the noise is emanating from the third tournament table, featuring Olivier Busquet, Sorel Mizzi and, until very recently, Philipp Gruissem.
Gruissem was the “victim” of some table chatter earlier, focusing on his outrageous barren run of late. “You haven’t won one in a long time, though,” said Mizzi, after the table had been discussing his sensational series of victories in High Roller events.
“It’s been at least six months,” added Busquet. Gruissem chuckled along, but the laughing stopped soon after when Gruissem four-bet jammed over Busquet’s opening raise and was then clinging on for dear life after Busquet called.
Gruissem’s suited five-six couldn’t beat Busquet’s king-queen, and off went Philbort, continuing this “dreadful” run. The higher-profile victim of this elimination was a waitress, who was left a little confounded after she arrived to the table with a single sausage on a plate to fulfill Gruissem’s recent order.
The German had vanished before he had a chance to plough into his hot dog, and after the waitress offered it around the table, she was dispatched back to the kitchen still clutching the banger.
So Gruissem departs, leaving us with 20 players – and the faintest whiff of sausage in the air.