A quiet nod. That's the only acknowledgment that Team PokerStars Pro Angel Guillen gave his special lady, PokerStars host Lynn Gilmartin, when she passed behind him a few minutes before the last break and rubbed his back. Gilmartin is a "head-turner", but in the cityscape of tournament poker players populating the room at LAPT Punta del Este, Guillen is a study in minimized energy.
His trademark pose is to sit quietly at the table, sunglasses covering his eyes, one hand covering his mouth, with one white ear bud in his ear and the other dangling into his lap. In those few instances when Guillen announces his action, he does so quietly. In a battle of the blinds towards the end of level 16 against Francisco Neto, both players quietly rapped the table all the way to the river, K♣6♣8♦7♣7♠. On the river Neto tried to grab the pot with a small bet of 6,000; Guillen wordlessly tossed a matching 6,000 into the pot. Neto's pair of 6s, J♥6♥, fell to Guillen's trip 7s, 7♥4♠. Guillen collected the pot without a sound.
Going into the second break of the day, Guillen's stack of about 225,000 placed him just in front of the tournament average of 208,000. His eight-handed table has become difficult. Day 2 overnight leader Ivan Luca is to Guillen's left; Neto, who was fifth in chips to start the day, is to Guillen's right. Each one has about 280,000 in chips. Guillen is also playing against the 275,000-chip stack of Leandro Rubinsztain and the 300,000 chips claimed by Pablo Melogno, who was 7th in chips to start Day 3.
It's a tricky table for the Team Pro to navigate. Yes, there are plenty of chips there for the taking, but it also means that almost any pot Guillen plays could be for his tournament life, despite having a stack of more than 40 big blinds.
Guillen's the last Team PokerStars Pro in the field. He's carrying the hopes of all who wear the Red Spade after the elimination of Jose "Nacho" Barbero just after the money bubble burst. Guillen's been in Barbero's position before, trying to squeeze onto one side of the bubble or the other, most famously at the 2010 WSOP Main Event. 747 players were being paid in that event. Guillen shoved pocket aces with 749 players left and was called by a player with pocket jacks. Guillen stood up for that hand, then turned to someone at a different table after the flop came down and crooked his finger into the shape of a "J", signifying that the dreaded jack had come.
Today, however, Guillen is already two-and-a-half tables into the money, with another three-and-a-half tables of eliminations separating him from his first offline final table in about a year. If Guillen does make that final table, don't expect him to get too excited about it. If Gilmartin can't get enervate Guillen's calm demeanor, likely nothing can. Judge for yourself in the Day 3 intro video: