EPT Barcelona: Double Deutsch

September 04, 2009

The EPT Barcelona is one of the most popular stops on the tour and it’s not hard to spot why. It’s early in the season, when everyone is keen and theoretically wealthy, it’s late-summer-warm and the beach, with the restaurants along it, are just beyond the revolving door at the entrance of Casino Barcelona. Then again I’d guess Sebastian Ruthenberg likes it because he won €1,361,000 here twelve months ago.

It was a memorable final that day, featuring Jason Mercier, Davidi Kitai and runner-up Fintan Gavin. Today, as if to celebrate that injection of bankroll wealth, Ruthenberg wears a t-shirt featuring a large dollar sign and a slogan using words that would cost TV networks thousands of dollars in fines if used before 9pm, expressing ambivalence to the credit crisis.

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Sebastian Ruthenberg

As I stand and watch Ruthenberg folds a hand.

Florian Langmann sits on table seven alongside. Langmann cuts a more imposing jib, tracksuit top zipped up to the neck and the aura of fitness around him, like he ran here from somewhere this morning or is lifting weights under the table. His EPT track record doesn’t have the same easy to spot spike that his countryman has. Instead Langmann has been tormented by a second place in London back in season four and a ninth place in Dortmund in season five.

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Florian Langmann

There’s a raise. Langmann folds.

Langmann leans forward in his chair, Ruthenberg leans back. They may be different in appearance but they’re both keen folders, sitting patiently through half an hour of it. Ruthenberg folds another from the small blind and then types text messages into a tiny cell phone, an old one you’d only keep because the contract still has time to run. Meanwhile Langmann watches intently as the action goes on around him, taking it all in like some giant memory game. Then he folds.

By now i’m starting to stand out having watched nothing happen for twenty minutes. It’s the kind of hanging around that can get you labelled creepy. So to avoid that I change table and watch Katja Thater fold a few hands instead. Then I realised that the title I’d come up with for this post wouldn’t work with three Germans, so I quickly left.
Ruthenberg, noticing I was suddenly back, folded a hand and stood to watch Langmann play his.

Langmann is easy to watch; an urgent expression with no time for distractions and unspoken conviction that he is the best player at the table. He usually is. Earlier this year he won the Poker Olymp V in Hamburg, defeating Moritz Kranich and cashed twice at the World Series. But like many of the best you suspect he won’t rest until an EPT trophy is in his hands and instead will do push ups to relieve the tension; a powerful force at any table.

Langmann folds.

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