A late great poker writer once told me that if nothing seems to be happening on the tournament floor stick around for a while. Well on a table like Luca Pagano’s you don’t have to stick around for long.
His table is nothing short of ferocious featuring as it does former EPT winner John Shipley, former EPT finalist Ludovic Lacay, Luca Pagano, Isaac Barron and another Team PokerStars Pro Grant Levy, not to mention Australian cricket legend Shane Warne.
One tough table
The last hour at the table has been dominated by one hand, started by a pre-flop bet from Pagano to 1,600 which was called by Barron and Lacay. The flop came 7♥9♠7♠. Lacay checked and Pagano bet again, 3,500 this time. Barron called but Lacay backed out.
Now a Q♠ on the turn. Pagano checked before Barron took over the betting, making it 5,700. With careful movements all the way Pagano peeled off a raise and made it another 11,000 on top. Barron called. Now there was some meat on the bones.
Pagano and Barron slog it out
Now the river card J♥. Pagano had been dead still throughout the hand, making bets by moving just his right hand. He now added another 17,000 to the pot in the same. In contrast to Pagano’s calm Barron is all movement, shaking his head and squirming in his seat, the focus now on him. He leans back to evaluate what could be an awkward scene. With just two orange chips, a tower of yellows and change in his stack, Barron was vulnerable to crashing out. He looked over at Pagano, still not moving and then, with a ‘what the hell’ flourish, threw in the call and showed 5♦7♦.
Whatever Pagano had he couldn’t beat it.
“Nice hand” he said before leaning back, removing his glasses to show just how exhausting this hand had been. “Almost there?”
“Yeah, I was pretty close to folding” replied Barron. Pagano’s was the bravest of faces but the hand had winded him. This is the reason poker doesn’t allow kids to play the World Series because moments like this would make them cry.
Some tables make a lot of noise, all talk or laughter. This one just went quiet. A tough hit for Pagano, who took three more hands to get back to full speed, but he keeps 60,000 to fight on.
FUTILE JOURNEY OF THE HOUR
— My trip to the now-deserted Brasilia Room. The entire day 2a field is now in the Amazon Room.
READING MATTER OF THE HOUR
Neighbour of Billy Argyros on table three: “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell. (Book about the nature of genius.)
DWELL OF THE HOUR
After raising from the button and getting reraised from the big blind, Ivo Donev took approximately five minutes to: (in order) cut his chips into small piles, re-tower them, move chips forward slightly, move chips back slightly, pick up water bottle, lift visor, rub water bottle across forehead, open water bottle, drink water, remove headphones, wring hands, stand up from chair, look over shoulder across tournament room, un-stack chips, re-stack chips, fold.
OUT OF CONTEXT QUOTE OF THE HOUR
“I’m giving him a butt massage. I tripped over him the first time.”
POKERSTARS QUALIFIERS OF THE HOUR
— Jeffrey Mathis, with about 170,000, and Sorel Mizzi, with about 140,000.
ELIMINATION OF THE HOUR
— Lex Veldhuis has departed. He had an open ended straight draw with his 2♣4♣ but it missed against top pair, top kicker, when all the money went in.
JOE GIRON’S PHOTO HOUR
A line of dealers in the Amazon Room
TOURNAMENT INFO OF THE HOUR
At the end of level seven players are going on a 90 minute dinner break.