Friday, February 18, 2005

French Open Day 2 Wrap-up--18 remain

There were high hopes that the French Open would wind down to eight players tonight. Alas, the play was too tough and there will be no day off for the players tomorrow.

Chip counts for the final 18 can be found at the end of this post. In the meantime, a brief recap of the day's events.


"Someone call time," the player said. "Someone."

He had reached pleading and was on his way to begging. We'd been waiting for nearly five minutes for the bet to be called. What made the pleading all the more remarkable was that the pleader was the one who was making the decision. He begged someone to call the clock on him and no one would. One player flipped a chip like a coin, but since the chips look the same on both sides, it was no help.

Finally, the player pushed all-in and his opponent folded.

It was not the hand, but the sheer desperation that made the drama so rich. These times when we we're playing down to the final eight are lousy with high-drama and suspense that can break hearts as quickly as it shoots spirits as high as Deauville clouds.

It seemed as we reached 40 players that the tables were breaking and condensing faster than hands were being played. But the drama continued. Poker-playing writer Tony "Tikay" Kendall turned desperation into a money finish, doubling up with jacks versus chip-leading John Gale's pocket nines.

Tony "Tikay" Kendall

Shortly thereafter, PokerStars Frequent Player Point qualifier Brandon Schaefer rocketed toward the chip lead after calling with the two pair he made on the turn and river against his opponent's all-in king-high bluff. He woudn't hold the chip lead, but he would make it to Friday with a strong stack.

Brandon Schaefer

We were nearing the dinner break when we reached the bubble. I chronicled the hand a bit earlier in this fashion...


This is Jean-Claude Perera, a man who, under the gun, came in with a small bet

And this is Keith "The Camel" Hawkins, a man who put in a big enough raise from the button to put Jean-Claude all-in. Jean-Claude, after a few seconds thought, called...forcing Hawkins to show...

It was perhaps the only thing Jean-Claude did not want to see...for he turned up...

Folks who read these blogs know I call this match up the OOH! That's "Only Online Hand" for the uninitiated. And it makes all the railbirds go "OOH!" But wait...the flop!

The crowd again went "OOH!" But wait...the turn and river...

It's dramatic any time you see it happen. But when it happens on the bubble and to poor Jean-Claude, it's simply heartbreaking

It was 10pm when the 27 remaining players returned from the dinner break. Some of them came back with full bellies, while others chose not to eat. I watched one player eat crackers from the bar while another stood in a corner, quietly bobbing his head to the music on his iPod. While all of the players knew they wouldn't leave the ornate ballroom empty-handed, they all knew that they had serious work to do if they wanted to make it to the big money.

The carnage started quickly with Finland's Mika Tapio getting all-in pre-flop against AK. Two kings on the flop ended Tapio's run.

England's Jeff Duvall who had held on to a strong stack for two days lost most of it one hand, getting all-in with QQ against countryman Bob Coombes aces. The loss didn't kill Duvall, but it crippled him and elevated Coombes to chip leader. A couple of hands later Duvall left in 27th place.

American Ezra Galston went out next in 26th, offering a hearty hello to his parents back home. Then, Denmark's Morten Sembach pushed in with AT on an 839 board and Bob Coombes called with, 67s. Coombes made his open-ender on the turn and sent Sembach home in 24th place.

Two Frenchmen left next. Jean-Pierre Petroli and Joseph Mrejen left in 23rd and 22nd respectively.

Fellow poker blogger Mike "Lucky Blind" Lacey hung on until just before the end of Level 16, then got all in with England's John Gale on a king-high flop. Lacey outkicked Gale's K6 with K9 and doubled up. It would not be the first time. By the end of the day he was in third chip position, just a few thousand off second place.

Mike "Lucky Blind" Lacey

Everyone's favorite nice guy busts out

John Gale had maintained a good lead most of the day, amassing a big chip stack and using it to his advantage. After getting involved in his last hand, he simply remarked, "That's poker."

With the big blind at 8000, Gale raised in early position with AQ to 20,000. Peter Eichhardt called the raise from the big blind. The flop came down 283 with two clubs. Eichhardt immediately announced all-in and Gale called with ace-high and no clubs. Eichhardt turned up 75 suited in clubs. A four on the turn gave Eichhard the gutshot draw to go with his club draw. The king of clubs on the river gave Peter the hand and substantial chip-stack to Eichhardt.

Gale later said he felt like he made the right read and right play. Now, he's looking on to the EPT event in Vienna.

When the day ended, these were those we left behind, but with money in their pockets.

2700 Euro

19--Frank Bastow, England--PokerStars online qualifer
20--John Gale, England
21-Ivo Donev, Austria
22--Joseph Mrejen, France
23--Jean-Pierre Petroli, France
24--Morten Sembach, Denmark
25--Ezra Galston, USA (he says 'Hi' to his parents)
26--Jeff Duvall, England
27--Mika Tapio, Finland

The final 18

It's a strong couple of tables leading into Friday. Here are the final chip-counts for the day.

Bob Coombes, England--345,000
Peter Eichhardt, Sweden--249,000 (PokerStars online qualifier)
Mike "Lucky Blind" Lacey--246,000 (PokerStars online qualifier)
Brandon Schaefer, USA--205,000 (PokerStars online FPP qualifier)
Keith "The Camel" Hawkins--191,500, England (PokerStars online qualifier)
Peter Dalhuijsen, Holland--172,000
Luca Pagano, Italy--138,000
Sam Orams, England--134,500
Eric Vanderburg, Holland--133,000
Justin Bonomo, USA--105,000 (PokerStars online qualifier)
Jerome Zerbib--99,000
Sami Torbey, France--91,000
Carl Olson, USA--87,500 (PokerStars online qualifier)
Jeremy Tuckman--60,000
Melanie Lofthouse, England--57,500
Tony "Tikay" Kendall, England--55,500
Mark Ristine, USA--52,000 (PokerStars online qualifier)
Willie Tann--51,000

Play starts at 2pm Friday, when we'll play down to the final eight.