EPT12 Malta: The Malta Poker and Social Club. All welcome
There's a sort of pleasing element to the start of the High Roller event. With only a couple of tables in action, alongside the busier IPT Main Event, it would be easy to miss. For right now it doesn't look like a poker tournament, more like a social club, albeit an exclusive one.
Come and meet old friends and make new ones!
In aid of the high roller "money to play more high rollers" fund
That said its members are familiar and it's hard to think of another group of people who are prepared to pay so much to enjoy each other's company and get close to those considered the best in the business. A political fundraiser perhaps, with five figure fee for a "plate" and a handshake with the candidate? Or maybe court side seats in an arena somewhere.
But there's something appealing about this small corner of the EPT Malta tournament room. For while this event starts slowly, with fewer than two tables full, it will soon come alive. Already there are four tables. A fifth is on the way.
Standing alongside and watching, the reasons for its appeal seem obvious. For one thing it looks like a fun, pleasant place to be (seriously, it makes the IPT field look like a room full of grown men sitting a math exam). But there's something else, a kind of magnetic pull. If you're poker player without a capped budget you have to play. Who could bear to be left out?
Sure, the social element might fade at some point (although it never completely evaporates), and thoughts will turn to business. But not today. Instead this is a day to play what at least looks like care free high stakes poker. So care free in fact that a single re-entry will put right any mistake you might make, and takes those cares away.
So come along and join in. There's a seat waiting for you. Maybe even tea and cake.
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Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.