After all, this is a four-day event and there would have been plenty of time to quit for the day and play down to the final table of six tomorrow. However, I doubt there is anyone here, myself included, who will argue with the prospect of having a day off tomorrow to enjoy the sun and sand.
We began today with only 58 players and it didn't take long to make a significant dent in that number. The low blinds and big stacks haven't stopped anyone from playing loose and putting their tournament lives on the line with marginal hands. For example, we saw one player, I won't name any names, call an all-in with Ace-6 and suck out against Ace-Queen.
The logic this player used to defend his call, which he explained to the crowd of incredulous onlookers went something like this: If he (my opponent) had a bigger ace then my six would be live, if he had a big pocket pair then my ace would be live. Now the call alone is forgivable, the situation can sometimes call for a move like this, but when it's logic like this that is used as the basis, it's a move that shouldn't be rewarded with a suck-out.
I don't mean to imply that the players here are un-skilled, far from it, but the pace has been blistering and no one's been waiting for premium hands to start pushing chips around. The fact that the field is almost 100% European may have something to do with it. Could the average player from overseas actually be more aggressive than the North Americans we're used to seeing? Maybe the players just want to get back out on the beach so badly that they're willing to risk their tournament life to do so. Whatever the reason, we've certainly seen more than the usual amount of action in the first few days of this tournament.
Another thing we've seen a lot of so far is bad beats. Not that this is an uncommon occurrence in poker, but today it's been commonplace. On a flop of A-Q-Q we saw a betting war begin between Jonas Danielsson and Fredrik Haugen. By the end of it they had all their chips in the middle and it was time for a showdown. Haugen flipped over A-K which surprised Jonas. "I was sure you had a queen", he commented as he flipped over Q-T for the set. A few seconds later the dealer turned the next card, an ace. Not a word was said by anyone at or around the table. A bad beat which sent Jonas to the rails, dejected.
Another horrible turn of the cards occurred not long after but this time it was Haugen who was on the losing end. With four cards on the board, 2♣ 7♣ T♥ J♣, Haugen was betting and raising against Martin Wiklund and ended up getting all his money in the pot. They flipped over their holdings, both of which were surprisingly weak. Haugen had the lead with K♣ J♥ for top pair with a club flush draw against Martin's J♠ 9♠. With just one card to come, it looked like it was the end of the tournament for Wicklund. Unfortunately for Haugen though, it wasn't over just yet. The 9♥ hit the river and gave Martin the win and the chip lead. With the club in Haugen's hand it meant Martin was drawing to just five cards, any eight or nine that wasn't a club.
Bad beats and questionable calls aside, this has been a thrilling event to observe so far. If we keep up the pace for the rest of the night we may just get down to the final table of six players a full day ahead of schedule. This would be okay with me since it would mean one last day to enjoy the beach, the sun, and of course a few ice-cold beverages.