EPT11 Malta: Delivering a table for the ages, and a muffin for a snapper
If the entrance policy for Portomaso Casino was a bit more lenient, Danny Maxwell wouldn't have a birthday muffin.
In the chaos theory that dictates what happens at poker tournaments -- namely, that if a butterfly flaps its wings in Indonesia, you get one-outered sitting in your pants in your front room playing on your laptop -- today's congestion outside the front door at the casino meant that there was a 15-minute delay to play starting. It gave Max Silver the chance to spot the Poker News cameraman and hand him a birthday cake.
Maxwell is 33 today, celebrating it by photographing Day 2 of EPT Malta, while Silver, who is 24, is sitting second overall of the 517 players remaining at the same tournament.
Silver had come well-prepared to the tournament room, stacking a tub of pineapple and mixed fruit salad by his feet. He also had a bag from a local bakery, but soon transferred the saturated fat to a man who will be doing a lot more running around today than Silver will.
Silver's plan, like everyone in the room, is to sit around for 75 minute levels and build a stack to make a run at the money tomorrow. Silver has the pedigree to get there -- and further too.
Speaking of pedigree, the EPT Live feature table is today among the most stacked it has ever been so early in proceedings. There are three members of Team PokerStars Pro there -- Vanessa Selbst, Jake Cody and ElkY -- plus Vitaly Lunkin, the two-time bracelet winner and EPT Barcelona Super High Roller champion. Sotirios Koutoupas, who won EPT Deauville, is there, plus Jorma Nuutinen, the fearless Finnish pro.
Only five players have completed the Triple Crown of EPT, WPT and World Series bracelets and two of them (Cody and ElkY) are on that table. Between them, there are three EPT titles, seven World Series bracelets, four EPT High Roller wins and one Super High Roller title. It must have been some wing flap to conjure a table like this.
Spare a thought, then, for Leo McClean, who made the EPT London final table a couple of seasons ago on what was his debut at a major event. McClean has subsequently shown that was no fluke with a string of decent cashes across the UK and beyond, but this is a line-up from another level.
McClean had a deep run in the Italian Poker Tour event here last week, during which he was jubilant at the craziness of some of the play in the early stages. It's suddenly got a whole lot more difficult today, but McClean, eager always to improve, has the chance to go toe to toe with the best.
The other big news from the earliest proceedings today was the decision of Dzmitry Urbanovich finally to enter the Main Event. Having already picked up three side event titles this week, Urbanovich was the last player to pony up the €5,300 entry fee for this tournament before registration closed.
Cody, ElkY, Selbst, etc., you're all now playing for second.
Stop press: It turns out that the muffin, while "delicious", according to Maxwell, was also a gift shared between Silver and another friend. "Max must be really broke if he has to chop the price of a muffin between him and Nick Abou Risk," Maxwell, the ingrate, said.
Follow all the action from EPT Malta on the main EPT Malta page. There's action from the Main Event on the Main Event page, and information from the Italian Poker Tour event on the IPT page. It's also about time you downloaded the EPT App, available on both Android or IOS.