Let me be clear, Lisawad has not been eliminated. He’s not even close, with a stack of more than 300,000, he’ll be here for a while yet. But when he started to drift off at the table, it made the prospect of elimination not so bad.
Clear of the bubble Lisawad ordered a massage. He turned his chair around in the usual way, leant against one of those enormous cushions shaped to make room for his head, and let the massage therapist get to work. He did the same.
Then came a hand he had to play. By this point the massage had moved up his back and to his scalp. I’d imagine a head massage at the worst of times is a pleasurable experience, so what it’s like when you’re already guaranteed a pay day I couldn’t say. But Lisawad seemed to be enjoying it.
At first, the therapist pushed his head forward, and Lisawad did his best to keep his eyes on the other guy, who had bet. Lisawad wanted to know how much it was. But with his face partially buried in a cushion it came out as “How meh?”
Regardless, he folded, possibly too comfortable to bother with a silly old card game. Then his blinks became longer, and longer, and longer, until his eyes closed for a second, then two, then a little longer until…
Well, he dropped off. He wasn’t out cold or anything, but for ten seconds or so he’d figured what the hell, I’ve got chips, I’m going to take a little nap.
He wasn’t out for long, no more than five or six seconds. But it was long enough to convince a man at the business end of the biggest ever EPT to perhaps fight the dying of the light, rather than race towards it wearing pyjamas.
He turned to the massage therapist. “Can I sit upright?” he said. That might be the best call he makes today.
Still, I can’t help thinking it’s the perfect way to ease the pain of elimination. A head rub, sending you into a glorious deep sleep, with “call” being the last words you hear before dreamland.
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Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.