LAPT6 Colombia: Controversy erupts

June 07, 2013

Team PokerStars Pro Leo Fernandez finds himself at an outer table after dinner, embroiled in controversy. He played a hand against a similarly-stacked player. On the river of a Q-4-2-2-4 board, the other player bet. Fernandez pondered his call.

It’s well known that poker players try to “psyche” each other out all the time. It’s a ploy to see if an opponent will give away a tell as to the strength or weakness of his hand. Sometimes players talk to each other, sometimes players cut out chips as if they are going to call, sometimes players make small motions to either fold their cards or put chips in the pot.

All of those actions are well within the acceptable bounds of the game. It’s when a player’s action goes right up to the line of what’s acceptable that problems occur.

In this particular hand, Fernandez moved chips forward from his stack, but the chips never passed his cards. According to the dealer, the chips moved right beside Fernandez’s cards – a legal “non-calling” maneuver. Fernandez’s opponent, however, believed that Fernandez had called and opened two 4s in his hand for the stone cold nuts. Fernandez then folded.

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Toeing the line

You can imagine the ire of Fernandez’s opponent when that happened. There was a fair bit of yelling. Some gesticulating. Lots of pointing. Two floor supervisors were summoned to the table, who got the story from Fernandez, his opponent, and the dealer. Finally they ruled that Fernandez’ fold would stand, but each player was given a warning to conduct themselves within the bounds of the rules.

Meanwhile, you may recall that before dinner I wrote a post about German Arias, who had accumulated 700,000 chips. His post-dinner stack has somehow climbed all the way to 1.3 million chips as we wind down the 3000-6000 level. When I told him “Keep up the good work and good luck!” earlier I didn’t expect him to take me quite that seriously. He has become the monster stack that many in the media thought would come from the chip-laden feature table.

I don’t know what Arias had for breakfast this morning, but if I were him I’d eat the exact same thing for breakfast tomorrow. It seems to be working.

31 players remain as the 4000-8000 level begins. We’ll stop when 24 are left. At this rate, it is likely to be only another hour – so long as the controversy remains at a minimum the rest of the way.

Dave Behr is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

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