I’ll admit it was hard to believe. After all, since this afternoon, Isabelle Mercier had looked in literal pain. Her chip stack was afflicted with such stasis, I feared some sort of Monte Carlo mold might grow on it. And yet, before the last level, Isabelle Mercier looked me straight in the eye and said, “I have 2000 chips, but I feel like the chip leader.”
I said the only thing I could summon at the moment. “Well, if you’re happy, I’m happy.”
But, I’ll admit, it was hard to believe. With the blinds at 150/300, a 2000 stack didn’t offer much in the way of moves. But, as Isabelle is sitting just a few feet from my work station, I kept a close eye. When the crowd formed, I knew she was all-in. I jumped to my feet. The opponent folded.
Seconds later, she was in another hand. I jumped up again as she put three yellow 1000 chips in front of her on the flop. I looked at her stack and the message was clear: I’m just as committed to this pot as I was the last one. Call me or get the hell out of my way.
Her opponent folded and the dealer pushed the chips to Mercier.
For the first time all day, she showed some emotion. She laughed a bit and moved up in her seat. She looked in my direction and said, “Chip leader.”
Indeed, she is still far from that goal. Still, in one level she quintupled up and now has in the neighborhood of 10,000.
One hour and twenty minutes remain before we break for the night. Seventy-four players remain, which means we have almost cut this flight in half over the past ten hours.
And, of course, we’ll do all of this again tomorrow.