If you put your mind to it and made a list you could probably think up dozens of things that make Sanremo different to any other stop on the European Poker Tour. There are easy ones like the food, the weather, the hospitality. Then there are those relating to the tournament itself: the prevalence of lucky shirts, for instance.
Last year Artem Litvinov rode to third place in the Main Event on the back of a lucky shirt, or perhaps that should be the other way around. The Russian wore a pale blue shirt each day last season. By the end of the week only the sweat two days under the TV lights was holding it together. But, as Litvinov would probably say, it worked. So who are we to judge?
It’s possible that it’s this belief in a power much stronger than say pocket aces that prompted Miguel Gurrea to wear his yellow shirt each day this week. No doubt it started as just the shirt of choice for Day 1. But, as he progressed safely through those early levels it took on a greater meaning and has been worn ever since.
Gurrea has been playing out of his socks, which presumably he changes. Yesterday he very proudly folded ace-king pre-flop. We know this because he told everyone who would listen. It was a good fold and perhaps one that he wouldn’t have made in a previous incarnation.
Miguel Gurrea kissed the ace of diamonds, ushering in a deck change
As far as lucky shirts go there’s good reason to make it a yellow one, a colour that surely absorbs stains and spills better than many others. For Gurrea though none of that matters, not even the gradual fading of its white collar. For as long as he’s in the Main Event that yellow shirt is also in the Main Event, and right now that shirt has 300,000 chips.
It seems though that his lucky shirt wasn’t quite lucky enough to survive the time it took to write and publish this post.
On the last hand of the level, as players left the table for a 20 minute break, Gurrea got his chips in on an ace-high flop. As Eros Nastasi at the other end of the table put in a raise, Gurrea could hardly contain himself as he lumped handfuls of chips forward and then turned over ace-queen. Nastasi though showed ace-king.
Gurrea shortly before he was eliminated
Gurrea made a kind of growling noise before accepting his fate. Now defeated, he untied his bag from his char and packed his headphones away, his face showing a mixture of regret and pride. A trip to the pay-out desk beckoned, then perhaps a shower and a change of clothes.
Full coverage of EPT Sanremo is on the main EPT Sanremo page. There’s hand-by-hand coverage in the panel at the top and feature pieces below.
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.