Baltic Festival: Lasting longer

Baltic-blog.pngPoker has never much respected reputations, not even those as towering as that of Martin Müürsepp, the giant NBA star who is the only Estonian ever to play in the game's most prestigious league. He joined the poker party here in Tallinn but it has already been pooped: he got it all in with a set of nines, but ran into an up-and-down straight draw that got there on the river.

While that's a profound disappointment to the ranks of media, there's one man who is visibly delighted. Müürsepp is friends with the Estonian television presenter Mart Mardisalu, with who he had a last-longer bet in this tournament. For the two players, it's more of a gentleman's agreement than a financial one -- pride only was at stake -- but that hasn't stopped an Estonian bookmakers opening a market on the outcome, with several bets being placed.


Mart Mardisalu

Most people backed Müürsepp, unsurprising since he's been playing poker for several years with a number of decent results. Mardisalu, on the other hand, only learnt the game about two months ago (trained by Imre Leibold, who is also playing today) and contested his first live tournament last Thursday. It was only a €78 tournament, but Mardisalu went and won it, proving that he's in good form despite his inexperience.

Mardisalu presents the local TV coverage of the European Poker Tour, so has obviously been learning from the best in the world who play on that tour. He's already succeeded in his first aim, to outlast his friend. How much further can he roll?

Watch Last Longer bet Won by the TV Presenter against the NBA Basketball Hero on

Tournament housekeeping:
We are now on a 60-minute dinner break. It's only 3.30pm, but that's dinner time for us. See you in an hour, when we'll be playing another five levels.

Howard Swains
@howardswains in Baltic Poker Festival