“I’ve heard rumours of an exit,” said a member of the press to the PokerStars Blog just 10 minutes into play. In the opening level of a deepstacked tournament such as the EPT Main Event news doesn’t get much bigger than this. At a time when witnessing a chunky pot go to showdown is star material, this sort of revelation was priceless.
The PokerStars Blog had been on the floor since the start of play, we’d witnessed the familiar dimming of the lights, the playing of the EPT video (specific to each stop) and Edgar Stuchly welcoming the players to the wonderful island of Malta. It’s always amusing to watch players enter the tournament room at this time, most don’t know what to do or where to head. Not Team PokerStars Pro Jan Heitmann though, he knows the lyrics and, like a pro, expertly navigated his way to his seat and dispatched with his backpack before Stuchly was done with his pleasantries.
We’d also seen EPT8 Campione champion Jannick Wrang score a decent early win in a pot against Finnish player Sami Shetta. The latter has the word ‘freedom’ tattooed into the right hand side of his head and check called bets of 350, 700 and 2,500 from Wrang on a A♥8♦Q♥J♠5♠ board. Wrang showed 10♥9♦ for the turned straight and was off to a good start. They were playing three handed at the time, which is more than can be said for table 12 where no one had yet shown up.
Still word was that we’d had an elusive exit so the PokerStars Blog approached a member of floor staff. “Sorry I’ve only just come on the floor, but he’ll know,” he said pointing at a colleague. Said colleague informed us: “There was an all-in, but it wasn’t called.” Bah, so this rumour of an exit was all lies.
So no exit but plenty going on, Paul Newey is at the same table as Oleksii Khoroshenin, he’s part of Team Ukraine in the Global Poker Masters that is happening in the same building. He’s not been selected as one of the three players who’ll play heads-up for the team but may well be needed for the semi-final and definitely needed for the final should Ukraine make it that far. He may well be multi-tabling later on then.
Across the other side of the room another player who participated in the Global Poker Masters is settling in for what he hopes will be another long day of poker. Simon Deadman is a rare breed, a player in his twenties who makes his living almost entirely from playing live poker tournaments, something the number crunchers would have you believe is impossible. He manages it just fine though and was philosophical about Team UK’s exit from the Global Poker Masters. “It’s a bit embarrassing but we played fine and there was nothing we could do. The whole team ran really bad.”
Despite most tables being only four or five handed at this stage there were some interesting match ups already taking shape. Nick Petrangelo – who finished fourth in the €25,000 Special Added High Roller – is sat to the direct left of PCA9 winner Dimitar Danchev, in the same row of tables Dani Stern (fifth in that same high roller) has immediate position on Kimmo Kurko and Shyam Srinivasan and Daniel Dvoress (third in that high roller) will be competing for the same chips.
Throw in the likes of Stephen Chidwick, Jeff Rossiter, Barny Boatman and Antonio Buonanno and it’s shaping up to be an exciting Day 1a. One notable whose stay was brief was Michael Tureniec. The EPT7 Copenhagen champion has the unwanted distinction of being the first player ever to be knocked out of an EPT Malta Main Event. As you’d expect, given that a player of his calibre had dusted off 300 big blinds, it was a bit of a cooler that did for him. Both he and Ryan McEathron flopped a set on the 7♣3♦2♣ the majority of the chips went in on the 9♥ turn, with McEathron’s set of sevens staying ahead of Tureniec’s set of threes on the blank river.
So, there was an exit after all, just 15 minutes after the rumour started. They’ll be plenty more throughout the day as the blinds rise.
Whilst the Main Event has just started there’s plenty going on elsewhere. There’s a panel at the top of the EPT Malta Main Event in which you’ll find hand-by-hand coverage and chip counts. Below that, there will be feature pieces.