EPT9 Monaco Day 1B: Keeping pace with nanonoko and mement_mori, online friends and live rivals

It is difficult to the point of impossible to estimate how many hands of poker Mickey Petersen and Randy Lew have played against one another. Or, to be slightly more accurate, how many hands their online alter egos mement_mori and nanonoko have contested.

Both are members of Team Online and both redefine volume when it comes to online play. Although mement_mori (Petersen) tends to favour tournaments and nanonoko (Lew) cash games, both play so many tables at once (including the various brilliant freerolls and bonus tournaments hosted by Team Online) that they are friends as well as colleagues and rivals, who have crossed swords on countless occasions.

"I don't play tournaments all that much, but when I do he tends to be there," said Lew, a statement proven beyond doubt at EPT Monaco today. Both Lew and Petersen have come to the Grand Final this year, picked up their seat allocation, and -- wouldn't you know it -- landed themselves in chairs right next to one another.

Lew tweeted:

And @mickeydp confirmed it, adding his own gloss on the situation:

The common complaint among online players in the live environment, of course, is that it is simply too slow. You can only play one hand on one table any one time, and there might be others alongside you who want to play too. Worse, they may take an age over their decisions and slow everything down another notch.


Mickey Petersen and Randy Lew, with "nanonoko hands" ticking down behind them

But if the average online grinder finds their patience tested playing live, imagine what it's like for these guys. According to the "robot", Lew plays about 2,000 hands an hour online, which means that in the time it took Petersen, Patrick Naxache and Niklas Asplund to play a recent hand that went to the river (about five minutes), nanonoko could have played 166 hands. Instead he folded pre-flop and waited his turn patiently, staring forwards like a man in the final hour of a trans-Atlantic flight, who has run out of books and magazines.

"Nanonoko hands" is actually a pretty efficient alternative unit of time in the poker environment. For instance, in the time it takes Lew to walk from the Monte Carlo Bay Hotel to the tournament room (about seven minutes), nanonoko could play 233 hands. ("My room is 233 nanonoko hands away," you could say.) And imagine if Lew gets invited out to drink at the Irish bar in the centre of Monte Carlo with the dealers. It's a 1,500 nanonoko hand walk.

Let's assume he makes it to the final table, which usually begins about 25 levels into EPT events. That would mean 34 hours of play (14 x 75-minute levels; 11 x 90-minute levels), or 68,000 nanonoko hands. To take the whole thing down, he would probably need another eight hours or so, bringing his total investment to about 74,000 hands. Is it worth it?

Well, "yes" probably, and just because he doesn't play many live tournaments, it doesn't mean he can't win them. Indeed, only weeks after Petersen won the biggest tournament of his career -- EPT Copenhagen last season -- Lew was inspired to win APPT Macau. Both have plenty of pedigree in either live or online domain.

They are also silently exerting their influence on the table here in Monaco. In the very earliest stages of the day today, either Lew and Petersen was involved in just about every pot, but not as many as their neighbour Andrey Andreev, who was involved in literally every hand, as well as fielding calls on a cellphone.


Petersen, Lew and Andrey Andreev: fast company

It is a lively table for sure, and also features Ami Barer, another online beast who goes by the name UhhMee. We are still about 41,000 nanonoko hands away from any of them making the money, but it's going to be worth the wait and the grind.

A quick note on how to follow our coverage of the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo® Casino European Poker Tour Grand Final. Head to the main EPT Monaco page, where you will find hand-by-hand coverage from the tables in the panel at the top of the page, which also includes current chip counts.

Our feature coverage can be found below the panel, including the latest from the side events. And don't forget EPT Live, which starts at 4pm CET at PokerStars.tv.