“The pressure is released.”
So declared Bahram Chobineh, moments after becoming the first elimination of Day 5 from the EPT Deauville Main Event.
We’ve shared already the unusual story of Chobineh’s journey to Deauville. It resulted from a home game bet in which the participants agreed the first eliminated would play, and when Chobineh was that player he lived up to the terms, traveling to France to play with the “big boys” as he told Laura Cornelius of PokerStars.tv.
But the journey kept going day after day, into the money for the player who’d never played an EPT before. Day 4 then began with a remarkable hand that saw Chobineh fold pocket queens before the flop, then getting to see his opponent table aces. Fans of off-the-beaten-path tourney tales were starting to believe in Bahram.
He made it through to Day 5, beginning today 16th of 16. Chobineh’s stack of 327,000 meant he had but 13-and-a-half big blinds with which to try to continue his unlikely adventure.
He settled in his seat at the feature table, sunglasses and blue scarf in place. Team PokerStars Pro Eugene Katchalov, he of the bulky chip stack and biceps, sat at Chobineh’s right, with JP Kelly a couple of seats to his left.
Amid the big boys, indeed.
Thanks to the button starting in Seat 2, Chobineh began play having to give up one of those big blinds right away, and after folding that hand and the next three he was down to 276,000.
The next began with the table folding to him in the highjack seat. Chobineh checked his cards and slid his chips forward, all collected in a single column. But the trip from table edge forward was less than steady, and the top half of the column tumbled back toward Chobineh as though they didn’t want to leave his side.
As no verbal declaration had been made, the dealer explained how Chobineh’s bet couldn’t be considered an all-in — only the bottom half of his stack, a number a gray 5,000 chips, had made the trip successfully,
Having already folded his hand, Katchalov said he thought the all-in should be allowed, but the Iranian held a hand out and nodded, seemingly content with the accidental nature of his raise to 60,000.
After all, his entire tourney trip had been an accident, in a way.
All folded to Chun Ho Law in the big blind who called, then following a 7♥4♥10♦ flop Law checked, Chobineh shoved, and Law called right away.
Chobineh had A♥7♦ and had hit his kicker, but had run afoul of Law’s 10♠9♠ for top pair. A run out of 4♦ and 6♦ spelled a short day for Chobineh, and he smilingly wished all luck as he departed.
As he has been all week, Chobineh seemed perfectly content with how his last hand had gone.
“That was funny because my chips dropped, but then I told the guy I said, okay, ‘you wanna come, then come,'” said Chobineh, referring to the slip of the chips. “Anyway he was going to call me, I’m sure. I did the right thing… I catch an ace, and that’s it.”
Would he be playing more tourneys after his first EPT went so well?
“At the moment, I don’t think so. I had a blast, and there’s nothing compared to this,” he added.
It’s true — while there are other EPTs in which to play, there will never be another first one. Or likely another for which Chobineh would have to lose his way in.
As he explained, his friend, Amir, who’d flown in mid-week from Hungary to rail him, picked up the tourney bug as well, entering a PLO side event here and finishing fourth last night.
So the pressure is no more. Chobineh slept very well last night — “I was relaxed because I had the short stack” — although earlier in the week his tummy had been all a tumble with nerves.
“Oh… I had a piña colada that one night, that was the biggest mistake!”
Perhaps Chobineh will enjoy his next drink a little more. After all, going from being the first out in a home game to one of the last out at EPT Deauville is something worth toasting.
As Chobineh collects his €27,680 cash, the pressure continues for the remaining 15.
Follow our coverage of the Main Event at EPT Deauville by heading to the main EPT Deauville page. There’s hand-by-hand coverage in the top panel, plus chip counts, and feature pieces below. Follow the High Roller on the High Roller page. EPT Live is also on, so tune in there for a close-up view of the action.
Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.