Most players will look disappointed to be out. Some will even look disappointed to be still in. Others though must handle the conflicting need to be both out and in at the same time.
This latter group includes the smokers. They at least have access to an open air smoking area, albeit via a door tucked away in the far corner of the room. This was all right for Daniel Smith (no, not Dan Smith) before he was eliminated, but Bruno Stefanelli’s need seemed more acute. His method is to dash to the smoking area, light a cigarette, draw on it deeply, and then run back as fast as his now-gassed lungs can carry him. Then, with the next hand folded back at his table, he rushes back to the cigarette he left in the ashtray nearest the door.
Poker hasn’t always presented these problems to the smoker. Back in Season 4, Warsaw held one of the last smoking events of the tour. It wasn’t that smoking was permitted – far from it – but the casino allowed it in the area beyond the rope line. It was hardly conducive to a fresh air policy for the tournament. Players simply inhaled on one side of the rail and exhaling on the other.
No such luxury (or agony) is permitted here, but at least the likes of Stefanelli are getting some exercise, albeit at a cost of about 400 to 800 chips per cigarette, depending on the antes.
This afternoon has been heavy with people making their way to the rail. Pratyush Buddiga was among them. It’s the worst time to bust out. You put in all the effort to get this far but you’re leaving empty-handed. The best you can hope for is an inconspicuous departure away from this place, and better times elsewhere.
Some enjoy themselves…
Buddiga tried this, standing, gathering his things quickly and quietly before leaving, only for his bag to catch on the seat behind him. It wasn’t a lengthy delay, but anything that adds a few painful seconds to your exit is unwelcome.
…others not so much
Tapio Vihakas’s departure was without incident, although he too ensured that feeling, always experienced alone, or wanting there to be something more to mark the significance of his own demise. There is no poker equivalent of a funeral. He was just roundly ignored by the people he’d been sitting with for several hours. He grimaced, and they talked about something else.
Michael Telker is still in the tournament, but looks like he’d rather be anywhere else. Sporting a scraggily beard and unkempt hair, he looks like a man who has been lost in the forest for two years. Or perhaps he walked here from Vienna. Either way he looks exhausted. Perhaps the look of indifference has caught various other players off guard as right now he has plenty of chips, nearly 200,000, to nap behind.
From out of the wilderness: Michael Telker
Then there are the outright happy players, such as Yordan Georgiev of Bulgaria, who grins his way through every hand. That also includes Davide Magnan, from the United Kingdom, an animated figure at his table who wears the patch of a poker website that closed its doors in acrimony some years ago. It’s a dash of poker retro, like wearing an Expos jersey.
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.
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.