Ivan Demidov has a problem. He’s trying to sleep but at least two things are stopping him. First there’s his PokerStars patch which, stuck to his right lapel, is rubbing against his face as he leans on his forearm. Then there’s the dealer, who insists on asking him for an ante every few minutes, putting an end to his forty winks.
In terms of keeping track of the game, apropos playing well, sleeping is perhaps the only thing less efficient than watching Game of Thrones on an iPad. There’s little chance to gain information when your eyes are closed, whereas when you’re watching television on your lap someone will feel more inclined to nudge you when it’s your turn to act. No one likes to wake a sleeping giant.
But then Demidov wasn’t actually asleep. On closer inspection he was reading someone on a tablet device, resting his head on his arm to do so, far better than being out cold.
Alert and awake: Ivan Demidov
When it comes to players sleeping during the game Demidov has marked himself out as one of the best. He’s spoken of this habit before, 18 months ago during EPT Barcelona. Back then he explained that it stemmed from his reluctance to get too excited in the early stages.
“Live play is pretty slow,” he’d said. “People can think for ten minutes and do nothing, so there is no action. I tend to get bored. I start feeling tired. That’s just the way live games are for me. That’s why I don’t play live cash games because it’s too slow for me.
“But tournaments are different. The first hours are pretty boring but you still have to look and notice how your opponents play. But, there’s still a lot of free time. You can browse online, you can sleep! Do whatever you want.”
Demidov has a point. His nap came during a hand between Natalie Hof (watched over by the now bearded Pius Heinz) and Matas Cimbolas of Lithuania. It was one of those slow, thoughtful hands during which you have to be careful as a spectator not to nod off, let alone as a player. Hof, who is in form right now, took the pot, but in doing so was unable to shake Demidov to life.
So instead he read on, his stack looking untouched from when he sat down, and short only the blinds he’d missed. But Demidov is happiest like this, leaving the strain and the worry to everybody else, if only for a day or so.
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.