It's getting a little drafty in here. We're starting to see more jackets and pullovers, with fewer content to remain in short sleeves. Unlike the last two days when there were nearly 20 tables full of poker players, plus dozens more milling in between them to follow the players' progress, we're now down to just four active tables and thus a lot more free space here in the Mantra poker room. And with less people, there's less heat.
The 28 who remain appear to be doing reasonably well as far as keeping themselves warm is concerned. They're all occupied, of course, each focused on the task at hand. Each trying to keep his composure as we near that final table and the big money awaiting those making it that far.
My blogging partner Dave Behr was just describing Team PokerStars Pro Angel Guillen's calm demeanor at the tables. Guillen's not the only one still battling here who appears exceedingly capable of keeping cool amid the mounting pressure.
For instance, Ivan Luca has stood out all afternoon as a player who like Guillen has something serene about him.
Just now we saw Luca pushing out a turn bet on a [9d][Ad][8c][9h] board and awaiting the response of his fellow Argentinian, Leandro Rubinsztain. As Rubinsztain pondered what to do, Luca sat quietly, headphones in place, glasses on, utterly motionless. Rubinsztain leaned forward, shooting Luca a look to try to glean something, anything. But Luca offered nothing beyond the chips he'd pushed in front, content to let his bet speak for him.
Eventually Rubinsztain folded, and Luca stoically added the chips he'd won to his stack. He sits with about 340,000 at present, no longer in the top spot as he was to start the day, but still near the head of the counts.
Juan Garcia of Uruguay has a little more animation to him than does Luca, but he, too seems especially focused after ending Day 1 as chip leader, returning today with a still healthy stack, then pushing back up the counts during the afternoon to move back up close to the top.
Just now we were watching Garcia when a big hand developed on the feature table, one involving Fabio Baduy of Venezuela. A shout of elation came from Baduy after winning a big pot, causing just a brief over-the-shoulder glance by Garcia before he returned his gaze to the table, concentrating anew on an ongoing hand involving two opponents.
Garcia has built up to about 320,000 so far today. But it's clear he's focused on adding more.
Meanwhile, Argentina's Eduardo Santi has continued his unflappable ways since that huge aces-versus-kings hand on the bubble to eliminate Bolivar Palacios earlier today.
Santi alternates between wearing a somewhat grim-reaperish-looking black hood, his eyes darting back and forth from underneath to watch the goings-on, and removing it to reveal a bright bald head looking like a sun shining down on the felt.
Just now we saw Santi claim a small blind-versus-blind hand versus the energetic Carlos Mironiuk sitting to his left. A hand with considerably less drama that that earlier blind-versus-blind one with Palacious, during which you may recall Mironiuk had shown a little bit of emotion himself.
Mironiuk engaged Santi afterwards in conversation, forcing Santi to remove his hood and dislodge an earbud momentarily to hear what his opponent was saying. Santi responded, the fellow countrymen shared a brief laugh, then it was back to business. Earbuds back in, hood back on. Focus. Composure. And above all, keeping cool.