There was something very ordinary about the bubble today, something very British. No need for anything dramatic, nothing to cause too much of a fuss, or trouble anyone.
Instead, Steven Lewzey moved in with ace-ten – certainly respectable enough – and then gave two other players every opportunity to knock him out, waiting politely as they played a flop, turn and river. Lewzey had played with a straight bat. Now he would sit and wait.
The reason for this was the usual one. On the bubble each all-in called must be kept face down until other tables have finished he hand, minimizing the opportunity for others to take advantage. So Lewzey waited.
An honourable discharge: Steven Lewzey (seat 2) departs on bubble
Soon enough Toby Stone arrived to ask for the name of those involved so he could announce the hands. Steven gave his, like the man brought on stage by the magician to take part in a trick. Then the cards were turned over. He showed his ace-ten. ‘Respectable’, you could hear people muttering. But one of the two players taking him on showed pocket aces. Lewzey looked over at them. Were there two aces? It was time for him to leave.
But wait. It wasn’t quite time to go. As one of the floor staff explained, there was another all-in on the next table along, offering Lewzey a tantalizing escape from his financial purgatory. If another player went out he would split the £9,000, for a loss of £500. But sometimes a £500 loss is the best you can hope for in this game.
The crowds gathered to watch while Lewzey sat chip-less, a lame duck, looking around for someone who might be able to tell him when to leave. The hand played out, and the crowd dispersed as they do when nothing fun has happened.
The writing was on the wall for poor old Lewzey, particularly as Stone announced over the loud speaker that everyone had made the money, which signaled to Lewzey that he was no longer welcome.
Toby Stone, probably wandering exactly how to put it, decided to rip the band aid off in one go. “No one was lost from that table,” he said into Lewzey’s ear. He understood. It was all quite all right.
Tournament director Toby Stone
Lewzey got up slowly as the cameras got a good view of their man. It must be an unusual feeling to be cast aside, empty-handed in such a way, and have given so much pleasure to others with your own demise, getting nothing to show for it – not even £500 of debt.
Instead Lewzey took his jacket from his chair. He struggled momentarily to find the arm hole and wore it as a cloak for a few seconds until he’d solved the problem. Then, to cement the ordinariness, he picked up a white plastic shopping bag and made his way to the door.
Meanwhile Laura Cornelius talks bubble strategy with Barry Greenstein…
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.