ANZPT6 Melbourne Day 1a: Phones down
Playing Day 1 of a Main Event can, at times, be an arduous affair. The limits are small, the stacks are deep, and the levels are long. The pathway to survive eight levels of play can look a little murky as you get dealt rags after rags after rags, folding patiently, waiting for the right moment to strike.
It's hard to play the waiting game. It's hard to avoid the temptation to get involved. I mean, what else is there to do during eight hours of grinding?
You have to wonder what they did at the tables back in the day before the smartphone was invented. Talk to each other perhaps. But nowadays, if the conversation is waning (and let's be honest, it probably is), then entertainment is merely a button click away.
At some venues around the world we see a lot of iPads and tablets at the tables, with players unwinding between hands with a movie or TV show. In Australia, that's not so common, but the smartphone use rivals anywhere in the world.
Aussies just love their phones and players love nothing more than to post on Facebook, send a tweet out on Twitter or distract themselves with the plethora of apps and games out there. Or maybe they are even multi-tabling on PokerStars?
However recent changes to Government regulations has caused a bit of a hiccup in the Crown Poker Room. Most players are aware of the mobile phone rule here - texting and Internet use is fine at the table while you're not in a hand, but you must stand away from the table to make a call. All good. But now there's an additional rule in place - you must not physically have your phone on the table. At all. Yes, they mean it. You can have it in your pocket or on your lap, but don't put it down on the table, otherwise you'll be whacked with an instant five-minute penalty. A blanket warning was given at the start of the day, so there are no exceptions.
It's worth noting that this is now a casino-wide regulation, not just in the poker room.
Fortunately we've yet to see anyone suffer the consequences of this rule... Scrap that. Just as this piece was about to go live we caught a cursing Steve Topakas wander past our blogging desk. It seems that "The Big Show" was distracted by the flashing of his phone, but when he took a peek while sitting in the big blind, he was whacked with a five minute penalty.
"Another penalty! I'm the Dermott Brereton of the poker world!" sighed Topakas.
However staying focussed might actually be helping a few of our ANZPT Melbourne Day 1a players. Benn Skender is a known mobile game crusher, but the phones down rule has allowed him to climb to 50,000 in the early stages of Day 1a to narrowly trail current chip leader Tristan Bain on 60,000. We're not sure if Bain is a heavy mobile phone user, and I'm sure his fifteen Twitter followers are keen to see him add to his thirteen tweets, but he does have a bit of a cult following on YouTube.
Registration is now locked out for today with the official number coming in at an impressive 242 players. We're playing eight levels today with play set to wrap up around 10:40pm tonight. Let's hope the batteries last that long.
Heath "TassieDevil" Chick is a Freelance Contributor for the PokerStars Blog.