You turn up, you pay your fee, you take your seat, you play a hand and then you leave. It’s the poker player’s lifetime refined into one sentence, with all variations such as pleasure and pain removed. But right now it’s the fate of Polish player Pawel Chmiel who also goes by the name of “unluckiest man in Barcelona,” right now; at least until the next unluckiest man comes along.
If we said aces versus kings you could probably write your own ending. Chmiel had played it well according to onlookers, appearing to have the weaker hand and enticing a call from Elfterios Simieonidis pre-flop. The usual “whoa!” noises followed as the dealer dealt the formalities. Then 8♣10♥9♥3♥K♣. Cue more “whoa!” noises as Chmiel stood up and left, returning briefly to check he was covered, and maybe to say his private goodbyes, before departing for good.
Had he lasted a little longer Chmiel would have been listed among the following notables appearing on day 1a, a list that includes a couple of early features. Roland de Wolfe, Arnaud Mattern and Dragan Galic sit a beam of each other; Leo Margets, Adrian Schaap (of Kyiv final table fame) and Marc Goodwin share a table, as do Team PokerStars Pros Marcin Horecki and Jason Mercier. Other faces you wouldn’t struggle to pick out of a police line up include Freddy Deeb, Katja Thater, Carlos Mortensen, Johnny Lodden and last year’s victor Sebastian Ruthenberg. There will be others, but for now a moments silence for Pawel Chmiel.