Watching Jeff Sarwer play, you realise he’s a man who likes to put on a show. Resembling ever so slightly (when he grins) the Hooded Claw/Sylveter Sneakly, who caused Penelope Pitstop all that trouble, Sarwer likes to talk. There’s no trash, no goading, just happy chit-chat as he enjoys a good spell and enjoys talking about it (“Hyu-Hyu-Hyu-Huh-Huh-Huh”)
When I passed by, Sarwer had just shown pocket jacks to win another hand. It had taken nothing more than a raise at a queen-high flop which Ivar Vendelin in seat nine decided wasn’t worth the risk. “I’ll give you some respect, you’ve earned it,” said Vendelin.
“A pair of sevens?” asked Sarwer cordially.
“Pocket eights?” asked Sarwer, now nodding sympathetically. “Could have been costly.”
Sarwer raised again on the next hand. “Jacks again?” asks Vendelin.
“This time it’s sixes,” says Sarwer turning them over after finding no takers, “I keep running into monsters!”
“It’s the dealer,” says Vendelin.
“I blame the dealer too!”
But the dealer didn’t deliver all of the 228,000 Sarwer currently has, the result of a spell of domination by the Canadian that saw him bolster his stack largely uncontested. It’s not his first good run in an EPT. Sarwer cashed in Prague last season and has cashes in events in Estonia, Finland and Spain.
Next up to take him on: Sergey Antonenko.
“How much is that sir?” asks Sarwer, checking the amount and then peeling off the call from his own stack.
Sarwer checked the 2♣K♥Q♣ flop before Antonenko made it 4,500 to play. After confirming the amount Sarwer called before checking the 5♥ turn. Antonenko does the same for a 5♠ on the river. Sarwer now makes it 6,500, spreading the bet with a sideways motions, like he was revealing chips which a few seconds ago he’d made disappear inside a top hat. Antonenko then made it 20,000.
“Wow,” said the Canadian smiling and then rubbing his chin. “I’m going to think this one out a little bit,” he says, tapping some yellow chips together and staring into the soul of Antonenko. But as every back page mystic has demonstrated before, looking into souls is tricky business…
Antonenko showed pocket aces. Oh well…
“Nice hand,” said Sarwer (“BLAAASST!!!”). Antonenko said nothing.
Sarwer still among the leaders but down to 185,000.