It was clear something had gone wrong. You didn’t have to speak Portuguese to understand the usual order of things had been upset somehow.
The first level of Day 2 of the Latin American Poker Tour Grand Final in São Paulo was nearing its end, with 190 players still vying for the title one hand at a time.
A crowd had gathered around one of the tables along the front edge of the tournament area.
Voices were loud. Cases were being made. And a ruling was finally being delivered.
At a glance it was easy to see the cause for consternation. The board read 4♠6♥A♠A♥Q♥, one player had J♣9♦, and the other A♦2♣.
But the pot was going to the one with jack-nine. That clearly was off.
And the one with ace-deuce, he kept holding his hand forward making the “thumbs up” gesture. Something didn’t translate. Usually the gesture served as a kind of language-transcending signal of agreement, a positive review, that everything was absolutely ay-okay.
But no, that wasn’t the case here. Not at all.
Finally the facts of the case became clear. With the thumbs-up gesture, the Brazilian André Eskinazi wasn’t saying he agreed with the ruling against him. Rather he was reenacting the moment that led to him losing with the best hand.
Facing a big bet on the river from his fellow countryman Thyago Amador, Eskinazi had given the thumbs up signal while turning over his ace-deuce. Unfortunately for him, without a verbal declaration of a call, the action was ambigous, and was here considered a fold.
The back-and-forthing continued, but in the end Eskinazi grudgingly had to accept the loss of his chips as the pot was sent Amador’s way.
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Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.