Bubbles burst and bubbles burst. Some mean handshakes and a round of applause – a salute to those who have made it this far – in Italy though they party like it’s 1999, creating scenes reminiscent of the NASA control room after men in ties bring their boys home safely.

To add a splash of extra interest the bubble in San Remo was a two hand affair.

It started with PokerStars qualifier Pierre Neuville moving all-in, getting a call from Marco Vailati. We were hand for hand so the showdown would have to wait until all other hands had been finished. Evidently one hadn’t; a massive one that featured Denmark’s Joakim Hall and a player who can only be identified by the cheering as an Italian. As Thomas Kremser weaved his way over to preside over that hand, Neuville sat and waited. What he heard was this…

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Pierre Neuville awaits his fate

On a flop of 7-2-6 the money went in. These were not the short stacks you’d expect to be making plucky moves, but the bigger ones. Hall had 110,000 and a pair of kings. He was looking good. His opponent had ace-nine so would need the ace. It missed the turn but hit the river. The noise was incredible. Suddenly the most part of 112 men release a primal scream of joy. We were in the money.

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Joakim Hall

There was still the other hand to play which would either send Neuville out in similar fashion. In contrast to Hall his all-in was for just 14,000. This meant that should he be eliminated it would be he who would leave here with nothing, being the shorter stack. Double up and he could leave that misery to Hall and join in the fun.

Neuville had been waiting, allowing more than 40 people to gather around to watch, half of them holding cameras, giving Neuville the appearance of a man about to face questions after some horrific ordeal.

But his 10♠10♥ would be good against Vailati’s A♥Q♦. The board ran out a painless 5♣K♥4♣4♦5♠. He lived on to play another hand. We’re in the money.

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