As you no doubt know by now, PokerStars Blog tracks these EPT tournaments from Day 1 until the bitter end, and it is our intention to remain largely impartial throughout. However every now and again, we find an accidental favourite in unlikely circumstances — and on one memorable occasion, we ended up finding a player who would go on to win more than $4m.
In Sanremo this week, we have ended up with two horses on the final table, which is a new record for us. The first is because we met Jordan Westmorland a few years ago in Macau and beckoned him to come to the EPT. The second is Emmanuel Pariset, because we ended up sitting on the same table with him at the buffet after Day 2, when he had a tiny stack and was in fear of busting before the bubble.
At that point Pariset promised us he could still make the final, and he told me yesterday that his first thought when he was all in and behind was that he was going to “lose that bet with the British journalists”. But he hit his outdraw then, and then found aces to Jorma Nuutinen’s jacks late on, and all of a sudden he was in the last eight. We continued to cheer him on.
As you’ll now be aware if you’ve been watching the EPTLive stream of the final, or looking at the hand-by-hand updates on the main EPT Sanremo page, Pariset’s remarkable run came to an end in eighth place. He perished in a pretty bizarre hand against Andrea Benelli where Pariset ended up shoving all in out of turn and running into pocket kings.
Pariset was bitterly disappointed — busting tournaments sucks, no matter what your expectations — but his actions for the next hour were kind of admirable. He had been asked to keep spoilers off of social media, so that webcast viewers can see the action “as live”, and said he also didn’t want his family to have their enjoyment ruined, so he didn’t even call them with the results.
That left Pariset in a strange purgatory. He had one hour of misery during which very few people close to him had any idea of his plight. (His family was watching from afar.) So he did what any respectable player should do: he went to the bar and bought a bottle of champagne to share, and then he came and sat in the press room with his new friends to watch the last hour of his tournament play out.
I’ve covered a lot of EPT events, many of them with the cards-up final table, which demands the hour’s reporting delay. However, I’ve never before watched that hour alongside someone still “in” the tournament on the screen. It was a peculiar experience for all of us.
Pariset, of course, was able to “predict” precisely what cards were about to come on the flop — causing him much consternation on two hands in particular. Firstly, he had to watch again as a second over-card came to his pocket eights and Westmorland bet from a big stack, forcing him to fold. (Westmorland only had fives.) Just after, Pariset on the screen found pocket aces, flopped a set, turned a full house, but couldn’t get any value from Bruno Stefanelli’s jack-high. Pariset in the press room winced again.
Throughout all this, Pariset was talking us through his week, which started with low expectations but then took him through some pretty peculiar stages. There was, of course, the meeting over dinner with us reporters, where he made his bold declaration, and there was also the moment a couple of nights ago where he simply couldn’t get to sleep at 3.30am and so ended up setting up a Twitter account in a bid to cure insomnia.
He talked about his attempts to secure himself a sponsorship deal — he was rebuffed, but then simply insisted he’ll go and win in Monaco next week and negotiate double the terms he would have accepted today. And he also talked us through the phone calls home to his Dad, whose birthday was on Friday, which was also the first time he told his family where he was. (He could ward off their fears about him losing the house by telling them that he already had some money locked up.)
As he continued talking, it seemed to be sinking in that this had been a really good week for Pariset. As disappointed as he was to go out today, he seemed to come quickly to the conclusion that congratulations were more in order than condolences. By the time the hand came up with Benelli, he was chuckling away at his own mis-steps. He said he had found it very hard to play against Benelli in particular this week and that he was slightly put off by the long delay the Italian took before acting after what turned out to be his final flop.
“I expect they will be calling now,” he said, looking at his phone and expecting the barrage of congratu-dolences to flood in.
Pariset now says he will be off to Vegas in the summer — having also claimed he’ll be World Champion by the age of 35 — and corrected our assumption that it’ll be a difficult thing to do on his debut. He said he’s actually got two chances, this time and next year, before he’s 35. Ah, in that case it’ll obviously be a breeze.
Suffice to say, we’ve not seen the last of this Frenchman, who will now take a few days in Paris before returning to the Riviera, and Monaco, for another crack at this. We’ll be there too, of course.
Bon chance, Emmanuel.
Full coverage of EPT Sanremo is on the main EPT Sanremo page. There’s hand-by-hand coverage in the panel at the top and feature pieces below. The €10,000 High Roller is also under way. Coverage of that is on the High Roller page.