As play reaches the critical stage in a competitive atmosphere like this it’s only reasonable to allow players certain allowances. Or at least that’s true in almost every other competitive atmosphere. In poker’s competitive atmosphere it just annoys people and then they start to get cranky and a whole stable full of high horses is let loose.
In this case it’s not altogether unreasonable. Two players in the field could most charitably be described as showing signs of lethargy. Those with no concern for the nature of charity would call it slow playing, gamesmanship, deliberately taking a long time to make a decision in the hope of advancing their own cause.
Slow playing is hardly uncommon, put into practice at times such as the bubble, where the longer you can hang on the more likely you are to cash (even if it is only a min cash), and also now, where the allure of the TV lights, and being able to sit at home watching it with friends and family shouting “There, look! There I am! There!” is too tempting to pass up.
The TV table
The current culprits are Alex Mostafavi (listed in your programme as Reza Mostafavi Tabatabaei) and Georges Dib (listed as Barbara T. Merman*). The two of them are sitting alongside each other and represent the molasses end of the second outer table.
The tell-tale signs were obvious yesterday. Both players developed a habit of waiting until the clock was called before acting. For Gib this meant an elaborate display of chip readjustment before actually looking at his cards. Then, as the floor man ticked down yet another minute Gib would use his best thinking-really-hard face. At which point his hand was declared dead. At which point he would turn over their hand to reveal a low pair.
Players were getting irritated by it, so too the floor staff, who took to hanging around the table waiting for one of the other players to think the word “clock”. No amount of eye-rolling could stop it and signs are it’s continuing today.
*This isn’t true.