At the first main event table you arrive at from the PokerStars press desk there was an empty chair. The absent player seemed to be doing pretty well, columns of grey 5,000 chips and a single tall red 25,000 stack contributing to a 1,700,000 stack. A couple of yards away stood an irritated Chris Brammer. There seemed to be a match. Brammer was serving the first half of an orbit-long penalty, annoyed as much about having to leave his chips in an unruly mess as to the ruling itself. A punitive one-orbit sit-out was a bit much for a simple mistake, he felt.
Brammer had just been moved to the table but hadn’t had a chance to stack has chips as he’d like when Martins Adeniya had moved all-in from the button, pushing a stack of 204,000 across the line. The small blind called all-in and Brammer announced the call as well and tabled ace-king. As it turns out, Adeniya was not all-in, he had approximately 40,000 back and passed on the A♠3♠2♦ which Brammer had smashed. Brammer won the pot, taking him up to 1,700,000, but also claimed a one-orbit penalty. He was not best pleased but rules are rules.
Toby Lewis wandered over from the High Roller to see what was going on expressing more than simply friendly interest – Brammer is Lewis’ horse – and made a half-hearted attempt to relax him. Realising that Brammer actually wasn’t in too much of a flap, or perhaps that his next hand in the €10,000 was about to be dealt, Lewis departed back to the other half of the tournament room.
It took in all twenty minutes for the penalty to be served at which point Brammer had to get himself seated in the small window of opportunity between the previous hand finishing – you’re not allowed to be seated at the table while penalised – and the next hand being dealt. If you’re not in your seat when the first card is dealt then your hand is declared dead. For a game that is primarily a cerebral pursuit this is the closest thing to a sprint finish you’ll see.
Irishman Mick Graydon sat a few seats to the Englishman’s right said with a grin: “Back with us? You going to be better behaved this time?”
Brammer decided to see the funny side and smiled back before quickly posting his blind and getting to work, stacking his chips as he likes them.
We picked out Brammer early on as a threat in this tournament. We could have just as easily spotted Graydon for you. A quiet Irishman, there’s an oxymoron for you, Graydon goes about his business in a calm, controlled manner. His stack always neatly built into a tower guarded by his Alsatian card protector.
The Irish Supernova Ellite had the unpleasant situation of being seated to the right of Martins Adeniya yesterday when he was chipleader and Graydon significantly shorter stacked. He dealt with that situation well, doubling through with aces to Adeniya’s flopped top pair to break the half-a-million mark and hasn’t looked back since. Adeniya on the other hand is out.
Yesterday morning I’d seen Graydon tearing away from the tournament floor towards the exit and naturally assumed that he had bust the first hand. He had not. He was racing back to his hotel to pick up ID.
“I got here early and was eating a ham and cheese sandwich fifteen minutes before play began but they wouldn’t let me sit down. I had to run back, get my passport and then get a new wristband,” explained Graydon pointing at the green bit of plastic hanging off his wrist that we all get branded with once or twice a month.
It was now Graydon’s turn to sprint back to his chair to avoid missing out his hand. He also got there in time. Graydon plays on with close to 900,000. The Irishman had a deep run at EPT Tallinn but was brutally unlucky to bust in 24th in the first orbit of Day 4 having run his top ten stack into Ronny Kaiser’s chip leading stack with kings failing to hold against ace-king. Had he won that he would have had the chip lead and likely made the final table. He has a golden opportunity to remedy that situation here in Deauville.