It’s amazing what you see on your commute. We’ve seen the lot on the EPT. Political protests, scuffles, a failed suicide bid. We once nearly came to blows with a Monegasque taxi driver who got picky about where he wanted to drive. But none of this really compares to stumbling across an outdoor water polo tournament, in a pool in downtown St Julian’s. It’s the type of fun you want to stand and watch.
Then the first game started and the excitement eased a little.
The blue team, their players at least a foot taller than the white team, set about demolishing their opponents. Within seconds it was 1-0. Moments later it was two. Every time the blue team got the ball they scored, leaving the kid in the red goalkeeper hat a sinking feeling. 3-0. Every time the whites had the ball they gave it away, their only let-up being a penalty, when a member of the blue team was sin-binned for what a layman might term “trying to dunk the opposition player”. That didn’t matter though. 4-0. At that point we left them to it.
Games lose some of their appeal when one team is out of the reach of the other. Interestingly enough the same theory doesn’t apply to poker. Here, when you find a player who obliterates opponents with apparent ease it has an almost magnetic draw. It’s what reputations are built on. It’s what Ole Schemion’s reputation is built on.
There was a curious moment at the close of play last night when Schemion, and others, gathered around the last table to finish playing in the high roller. Dan Smith was there, so too Fabian Quoss and Philipp Gruissem. They were each admiring Schemion’s latest outfit, a sports jacket with floral shirt, with a pair of Chuck Taylors. One observed that it was the first time he’d dressed in accordance with the local the climate, obviously recalling events past. Prague was mentioned.
“What were you wearing in Prague?” asked Gruissem.
Schemion, who up to this point had simply smiled as others discussed his appearance, was enjoying himself too much to speak for himself. “Ask him,” he replied, nodding in the direction of Fedor Holz.
Holz said something along the lines of “a patchwork waistcoat”, prompting laughter given that it was freezing cold in Prague. But Schemion loved this. He’d said nothing and yet he was the centre of attention. But then he’s always the centre of attention.
As if to make doubly sure he turned up today in a bobble hat. His scarf was still wrapped tightly around his neck, but the short sleeved shirt suggested he didn’t truly believe it was as cold as all that. But Schemion deals only with the image, others take care of his reputation.
But in the reverse to the water polo scenario, watching someone dominating the game is exciting, but watching them depart is a little anti-climactic. And yet even in defeat there’s something charming out Schemion, who, when his kings were dethroned by Davidi Kitai’s aces, simply grinned and gave a thumbs up before putting his jacket back on: immaculate on arrival and immaculate on departure.
Somewhere a voice said “phew!”
Apparently not everyone was sorry to see Ole Schemion go. But most people are sorry to see him go.
Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.