EPT10 London: The "stay loose" Trickett system

You can never be too loose. That seems to be the career motto of Sam Trickett: "Nusquam tibi nimium laxa." At the tables he has used this approach to cultivate a style that has earned him somewhere in the region of $20 million.

By loose, of course, we mean well massaged. When on the EPT, Trickett is typically undergoing a perpetual one, and every hand, won or lost, is followed by a pat on the back.

Trickett is not exactly on an easy table. Igor Kurganov sits directly opposite, while Gaelle Bauman and Tom Middleton sit between them. Give or take, they all look fairly loose too. But Trickett is never too careful and undergoes a very thorough routine.

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Sam Trickett, with Dana

It's actually very simple. Dana, the massage therapist, first scratches his chest and then works on his shoulders for an hour until they turn red. Then she rubs them again until they turn back to skin colour. With that process complete she then literally starts again from scratch.

Kurganov on the other hand doesn't look like he needs this kind of handling. Instead, he has an NLP book under his chair. This, one imagines, has dual purpose. In moments of doubt he can read a few pages, perhaps to convince himself that he doesn't really need a massage. If that fails he can balance it on his head to make sure he's sitting up straight.

But not everyone is at east with things. Were a poll to be taken the massage therapist might found herself working the rigid shoulder bones of Mateusz Zbikowski.

Zbikowski just played out a tense hand against Russell Thomas. Play reached the turn before it sent Zbikowski into a very rigid tank, during which he gripped his modest stack of chips between his thumb and middle finger, squeezing it until it turned to dust. He eventually folded and as the tension left his face he began to smile; his shoulders easing back from the right angle they had formed at his spine.

Zbikowski, listed as from the UK, spoke a few words, but it came out in Polish. Trickett replied, because he can, being all loose and everything.

Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.