Roger Hairabedian is not the kind of man to run around a tournament room without good reason. He favours finding his seat and staying there as long as possible, frequently deep into the money. You won't find him in the corner doing press-ups, or jogging around the car-park during breaks. When Roger Hairabedian sits he stays sat.
But earlier this afternoon, something was not quite right. Hairabedian had ants in his pants. Still in the main event as it played through the bubble, Hairabedian was nonetheless getting up at every opportunity. He was scuttling away from his seat and over to the €2,000 side event. There, he was sitting down in another chair.
After playing a couple of hands, he was off again, heading to the €1,000 side event, where he had yet another place to park himself. Hairabedian was multi-tabling in the EPT Prague tournament room. There was no two ways about it.
The reason for Hairabedian's restlessness, it turns out, is the small matter of €100,000. After winning the French live poker rankings leader board in 2009 and 2010, Hairabedian proudly proclaimed that no player would be able to repeat the achievement and win it two years on the bounce. He was prepared to put his money where his mouth was, and offered €100,000 to anyone who managed back-to-back leader board success.
Most people in poker have learnt by now that you overlook Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier at your peril. Because although it doesn't even really seem to be all that important for the Team PokerStars Pro, ElkY duly topped the charts in 2011 and is now leading in 2012 with less than a month to go. He could end up claiming Hairabedian's hundred big ones, almost by accident.
It's a close thing at the top of the charts. ElkY has amassed 1,278 rankings points so far (the points are determined using a fairly complicated, and French, coefficient system) but second place is occupied by none other than Hairabedian himself. He has 1,257 points - and his destiny in his own hands. In order to save €100,000, Hairabedian has to win the leader board, and he'll play just about any event he can find to do so.
He may just pull it off as well. Hairabedian, who has about $520,000 in tournament winnings for the year, cashed in the €2,000 and is still in the main event. He has about 166,000 chips and fewer than 90 players left. ElkY also cashed the main event but busted in 100th place, initially stating that he would play the High Roller this week and nothing else.
But moments ago, ElkY was seen returning to the tournament room with a cashier's receipt in his hand, obviously considering this was a gift horse it would be foolish to look in the mouth.
"Just late Regged the 1k event at #EPTPrague trying to get those points to catch roger lol," ElkY tweeted. "Guess i'll have to multitable live! #rankingbitch."
We'll try to keep an eye on this intriguing sub-plot as it develops over the coming couple of days. One suspects this is far from over.
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