EPT11 Malta: How on earth is Martin Jacobson good*?

*in this specific situation

How is it possible that at the same time, in a four-way all in pot, one player wins the absolute maximum while the others lose the minimum? Don't be expecting this post to give a satisfactory answer to that, because I don't really know. But I've just seen a very weird pot in the €25,000 tournament and that seems to be precisely what happened.

It's a shame I only got there halfway through, because I'd quite like to know how we got to this point. But no matter, here's the information I have. See if you can work it out.

We were in Level 5, where blinds are 200-400 (50 ante) and there was a four-way pot under way. It wasn't a bad line-up involved either: Martin Jacobson, Philipp Gruissem, Vanessa Selbst and Paul Klann were the players with cards, and the flop was already out: J♣T♣4♠.

Jacobson, in what would have been the small blind pre-flop, had moved all in for a total 11,475 (he had started the hand with 12,400, he said later). Gruissem, who would have been under the gun, had the decision to make, but had Selbst and Klann behind him, with 4,000 each already on the table. (Presumably Jacobson had checked post flop, but I'm not sure who originally bet 4,000 - maybe Gruissem, maybe Selbst, with Klann calling behind. Regrettably, I also don't know what happened pre-flop, but one suspects there had been considerable action.)


After a little while, Gruissem opted to call. That put the decision on Selbst, and she called too. Then Klann also called, offering a potential quadruple up for the World Champion, but leaving betting on the side between three players with decent stacks.

Selbst and Gruissem had only recently sat at the table - Selbst playing her first €25,000 bullet; Gruissem his second - and each had a stack just shy of 50,000. Klann had them both covered, with about 85,000.

The 9♣ turned, and the three active players all checked. Then the 5♣ came on the river, and they all checked again.

"It's an all in, everyone has to show their hand," Dani Stern, not in the hand, reminded the table. The dealer confirmed it, by which point Jacobson had already flipped his over: J♠T♠ and was preparing to leave. He had flopped top two, hence the check-shove, but had been disgusted at the sight of running clubs.

Gruissem sheepishly tabled A♠A♦. And then a stunned Selbst behind him tabled K♦K♥. I didn't catch what Klann had, but he clearly didn't have a club because Jacobson began chuckling and discovered that his two pair had remained good throughout.

Somehow, the blue touch paper between Selbst and Gruissem, with their exalted reputations and their two premium hands, had not been lit. And somehow none of three players had a club in their hand to flush Jacobson out of there.

We've talked a little bit about this in the media room, and are not sure how to calculate the chances of Jacobson's hand being good on the river against three other players. If anyone can tell us, fire away. We're @PokerStarsBlog on Twitter.

As it is, Jacobson's hand was indeed good and his quadruple up puts him back in the game with about 50,000 - back to his starting stack.

Follow all the action from the EPT Malta festival at PokerStars Blog. We have hand-by-hand action from the €25,000 High Roller in the panel at the top of the €25,000 High Roller page. Feature pieces are below. We also have a man on the IPT Malta stop. Unless you're a massive idiot, you should also download the EPT App, available on both Android or IOS.

Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour