EPT11 London: The perils of poker

A poker tournament is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get. In most forms of entertainment when you pay your money and get your ticket you know roughly what to expect and if you're getting value for your hard earned cash. And for those who play poker for a living, you never know what sort of pay cheque you'll get from month to month.


Chips are one of the few guarantees in a poker tournament

Here's what some other forms of entertainment will set you back:

- A top-tier Saturday night ticket to the Book of Mormon, yours for £150, two hours of belly laughs guaranteed.

- A Diamond Hospitality package to the Dallas Cowboys versus Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley next month can be had for £449. For that you get a champagne reception, a pre-game three course meal with wine in Wembley's Bobby Moore room, a complimentary bar, VIP entrance to the Stadium a premium seat and an official Game Day Program. Oh and you get some football too.

- If you've got £1,200 in your sky rocket you can bag yourself an eight day safari tour of the Serengeti where you'll take in the wildlife wonders of the Serengeti National Park. A trip of a lifetime with memories that'll last as long.

All of these things cost considerably less than the £4,250 it costs to take part in the EPT London Main Event, although of course with the wonderful satellite system on PokerStars many players will be in for considerably less. Who can forget Leo McClean turning £82 into nearly £250,000 last year for instance?

Those who've been in the game a while know that when approaching an event like this you shouldn't have any preconceptions about how far you might go in the tournament, no pre-determined strategy about how to approach the tournament and to just to play the table as it comes. But equally even in a particularly pessimistic player's mind you don't expect your main event to last less than 10 minutes. You expect to at least get your seat warm, to finish your coffee, to get your feet under the table, to find out the player on your left's online screenname. These are givens.

However, the reality is that for one unfortunate player his main event lasted for less time than it takes to walk from the Grand Connaught Rooms to The Hippodrome Casino, where certain side events are taking place and cash games are running 24 hours.

Robert Black was the first man out today, after just seven minutes of play. He committed his chips on the turn of a [10h]2♠J♥K♥ board holding Q♥[10s]. Holding a pair and an open ended straight flush draw and a royal flush draw he would've no doubt expected to be in ok shape, if he was behind he probably had a ton of outs. But if he was expecting Rococo Chocolates, he ended up with a Curly Wurly as his opponent, Leo Nordin, held A♥5♥.

It all meant Black was drawing to just one out - the 9♥ - on the river. He missed his 2.27% shot and that was that. He was gone before most of his table mates had shown up as just Nordin, Jamie Burland and one other player were there to witness the hand.
Black took it well to be fair, no histrionics, no kicking up a stink, no hands on head, just the acceptance that as anything can happen in poker it probably will. Poker, it's a funny old game but, after all, that's why we love it.


If the poker goes bad, there's always time to see the sights

Follow our coverage of the EPT London festival via the main EPT London page, where there are hand-by-hand updates and chip counts in the panel at the top and feature pieces below. You can also watch live coverage on the EPT Live webcast between October 14-18 on PokerStars.tv.

Nick Wright
@PokerStars in European Poker Tour