EPT Prague: Poker at Maximillian speed
The cardroom at the Prague Hilton
Early levels can be tense as you get into the swing of things, or relaxed with blinds low enough not to concern you that much. Your approach to this can be influenced by many factors, from this being your first live event, a spell of bad form, the absence of anything resembling a hand and the fear that will be the main feature of your short and sweet EPT Prague experience.
PokerStars qualifier Maximillian Bassil
Norwegian PokerStars qualifier Maximillian Bassil has opted for the relaxed approach, in the laughing and having a good time mode which spreads to some at his table but not others.
But it’s easy to be relaxed when you’ve hauled in a big pot to help your tournament along - a big hand against Spaniard Marga Gonzalez; the 25 year-old Norwegian making a great call on the river, his two pair beating Marga’s top pair.
A happy hour period followed for Maximillian who chatted with Team PokerStars pro Katja Thater on his right and the well dressed and altogether more serious Ken Lennaard on his left, who brought him back to earth with ‘English only’.
Things seemed to get better for Maximillian who, as the break loomed, found aces in the hole. Ordinarily it’s a nice sight but the hand grew complicated when the big Hungarian Richard Toth, a finalist at EPT Copenhagen last season, started re-raising on a flop of 2-4-Q. This ruined everything. Play stopped at the end of the level with players and press told to clear the tournament area. They did, leaving just Maximillian and Toth playing their hand in their wake.
Now the dealers wanted in on the break but at least one would have to stay at their table as Maximillian went into the tank, first asking Toth for a count then counting his own chips like pocket money. Toth sat quietly, headphones on, chewing gum, wearing a white cap with a wallpaper pattern across it, he’d waited over five minutes but took the pot when Max folded.
“I shouldn’t have used so much time” he says to Toth, “But...”
He got up for what was left of the break only to be interrupted by Marga Gonzalez, she of the earlier hand, who speaks to him in Spanish for a full minute before he interrupts her, “no comprende”; he hasn’t understood a word. Her intentions are well meant though. It all adds to a good start for Maximillian, looking good in the early levels.