Monday, August 24, 2015

EPT12 Barcelona, Day 6: On Repetition, Patterns, and Learning

I’ve been living in a hotel room here in Barcelona for over a week now, and have nearly a week to go. It’s very comfortable, there’s a nice view off the balcony, and the breakfast buffet is quite good. It’s located close to the casino as well, which for me on these trips is probably the most important quality-of-life factor as I don’t have too worry too much about carving out time to get to and from my workplace.

Every morning I sleepily stumble into the bathroom, slapping the wall on my way in where three different light switches are location. A couple of them control lights in the bathroom -- I can’t remember which ones.

My first move, generally, is to turn on the shower. There are two rotating knobs on either side of a long cylinder. One of them switches the water flow from the shower head located above to the hand held one on the side, while the other controls the water temperature. I can never remember which controls which, nor which direction of twisting gets me hot or cold. Trial and error gets me to where I want to be, though, and I ready to step inside.

That’s when I invariably realize the floor mat -- new, and neatly folded each day -- is for some reason sitting inside the shower and thus has become soaked through. This I’ve now done every single day, failing over and over to learn the routines and procedures of those who maintain the place in which I am living.

There are other examples of my stubbornly refusing to learn about my habitation, knowing that it is temporary even though two weeks in the same place should be long enough to start absorbing information to help prevent repeating the same mistakes or general awkwardness. But really, I’m helpless. If I counted up the light switches in this room, I’d probably get to 15 at least. I still couldn’t tell you what half of them do.

Of course, I’m spending more time away from the space than inside of it, my workdays having lasted around 13-14 hours each day so far. Looking at being able to carve that back once the Estrellas Barcelona Main Event concludes today and I move back over to other events happening as the festival plays out.

They went from 98 all of the way down to eight last night, with the young, aggressive Polish player Jose Carlos Garcia being the center of attention for much of the day. Garcia was actually born in Spain, though moved to Poland as a child. He’s easily one of the more exciting players to watch, thanks both to the fact that he gets involved so frequently and the relentless pressure he puts on opponents when he does.

Garcia mixes up his play, too, though, making it hard for players to pick up on patterns and respond accordingly. But some have been able to teach themselves how to play back at him, demonstrating a greater capacity to learn than I have each morning in my hotel room.

Garcia got caught a couple of times today making big river bluffs and getting called, in both instances having made big bets on the end that required players to call off entire stacks. Once it was the Austrian, Jonn Forst, making the big call with two pair, and as a result he has the chip lead to start today’s final table. The Argentinian Mario Lopez -- whose LAPT win in Chile I covered a year-and-a-half ago -- is also still in the mix.

Go to the PokerStars blog to read updates of today’s finale. But you knew to do that. I mean we’ve been at this for more than a week now, right?

(Photo up top from the Casa Amatller in Barcelona.)

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