I had been standing around doing nothing and it had started to look conspicuous. I was waiting for the break to talk to Shannon Shorr, one of the more highly decorated players still in the Main Event. But there was a catch. I needed him to avoid being eliminated for another 52 minutes. At that point players would go on a break and I could ask him some questions.
This bit is usually straight forward. “How’s it going today?” is a useful opener, before you get them talking about something more significant – in this case the point at which Shorr decided to ditch all the basketball gear and wear collars and jackets instead.
But with 50 minutes to go Shorr was in the tank in a hand against Spaniard Javier Etayo and, in his own words, about to “hero call off” his stack.
The tournament room – former home of Shannon Shorr
The board read Q♦J♦8♠4♠K♠ and Etayo moved in on the river. From a position in the press room, watching the hand unfold on the monitor, I begged Shorr to call with the nuts. But he didn’t. Instead he tank-called with a queen. Only then did he see Etayo’s straight.
Shorr had his microphone removed and left the tournament room without much delay, walking straight past the High Roller event which, had he decided to enter then and there, could have saved my post. But he kept on walking, and we may never know what happened to all that basketball stuff.
With Shorr gone I looked instead to Jan Sjavik for salvation. The Norwegian pro enjoyed his most memorable moment on the European Poker Tour back in 2006 when, but for an unlucky hand against Victoria Coren, he could have won the London title. Instead, he finished third; while Coren went on to delight the crowds.
Sjavik had a good season that year. A few months after London he finished tenth in Copenhagen, with a third place in the Master Classics in Amsterdam tucked in-between.
TV is king: Jan Sjavik
Since then he has drifted away from the EPT. The results have still come in, notably in the United States, but not on the tour in which he made something of a name for himself. Why was that?
I was about to ask that very question when a member of the TV crew stepped in to request his presence in front of the camera for the kind of images that will make everyone look dark and edgy when shown on television. So I waited. But when Sjavik was done with his close up he had already lost enough of his break, and insisted on there being other things he needed to do in the time he had. All perfectly reasonable, I thought, except that I was now short of copy.
So I left him to it, wondering if what he had to do was work out where he’d been for the past seven years. Alas no.
I was also going to say that Sjavik could well go even deeper this year. A talented player no doubt, making a welcome return. I wonder if he would have agreed.
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.