Search Laboratory Social: Swapping PPC for Poker and Ping Pong

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February's social saw the annual renewal of the Search Laboratory poker tournament. Twenty-four players swapped AdWords and outreach for flushes and three-of-a-kinds, as former champions aimed to re-live past glories, while those more recent to the Laboratory dreamt of making away with the considerable pot on offer.

Like PPC, poker is a game of mathematics, statistical probability and strategic planning – plenty of which was required simply to divvy up the chips.

The game was set up for two hours, with blinds being doubled every 10 minutes. Professional dealers were hired to give the night an added air of authenticity and with short stacks the game was fast paced and thrilling. Several tables suffered early casualties after just a few quick hands, none more so than table three where the first hand brought two full houses and a four-of-a-kind to the felt.

The incessant blind raises and short stacks – and no doubt the refreshments on offer – resulted in a steady stream of players exiting the game and after just two hours the final table was set.

The final table threw together three members of the multilingual team, Patrick Vazquez, Sarah Tramm and Davide Tien along with former professional poker player and pre-tournament favourite Pete Whitmarsh, Head of PPC. James Armstrong and Mychal Whittle were the sole representatives from the SEO Off-Page and Sales and Marketing teams respectively.

Four players were knocked out leaving Davide and Patrick. Chip leader Davide recounted the final action: "Patrick and I on the multilingual team had obviously been hot on the tables.

"Since we had reached the final and everyone was eager to see a winner, there was a mutual understanding that only large bets would fit the situation.

"The hands were dealt and both players were ready to bet it all. In my hand, I held a King of Hearts and an Eight of Spades – Patrick went all in and I followed.

"In a very intense showdown Patrick was dealt a pair of Aces on the river and just as he was about to be declared winner for the night, I realised I had a flush. I couldn't believe it - I had won!"

Away from the card sharks in the Nave meeting room there was also a ping pong table set up. Asides from providing an outlet for those players knocked out of the poker to vent their frustrations through the medium of paddle and ball, the table was the scene of numerous talented exchanges.

Everyone would like to thank the Social Committee for arranging this months activity and their continued efforts towards providing a diverse range of activities for all the members of staff to enjoy each month.