EPT11 Malta: How to fill a scheduled yet unscheduled break

Redraws when there are 24 players and 16 players left in EPT tournaments are part of the fabric of the rules and are in place to 'even out the luck' according to tournament staff. The theory goes that if there wasn't a complete redraw at that stage of a tournament the disadvantage for the participants from the one table that breaks would be too great and unfair at this stage of the tournament. They'd be reassigned to a new seat and have to get fresh reads, get used to the dynamics and so forth whilst the rest of the players would not.

When there are 24 players left in an EPT Main Event we're well inside the money and approaching what most would call a significant return of their investment. For instance 24th at EPT11 London paid £14,800, which was just over 3.5 buy-ins. In high rollers, where the fields are much smaller this isn't the case, indeed as we reported earlier just 13 players will cash, but the perceived disadvantage is still there so rules are rules and when we got down to 24 players this created a scheduled, yet unscheduled break.

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Rack them chips up, its redraw time

Not only that but of the four tables - that were about to become three - 75% finished their final hand well ahead of the fourth and final table. Add to this the fact that tournament staff had to bring chip racks to the table and dish out the new seat assignments and it all meant the break was quite lengthy. There were varying techniques utilised to fill this gap in time, it meant players had time to:

Celebrate: Upon hearing that there was to be a redraw Team Pro Online's Ike Haxton celebrated out loud, exclaiming "yes," when he heard the news. Did he not like his current table draw, one that contained Philipp Gruissem and Salman Behbehani. Not at all, it was all to do with the fact that Haxton was due to be the big blind on the next hand and would likely save a big blind for at least a few hands. They all count and indeed at his new table he would start in the cut off.

Chat about hands: A few players took the opportunity to discuss hands that they'd played today, Haxton wandered off to talk to Dan Smith, whist Martin Finger and Connor Drinan had a whispered conversation, perhaps about the big pot that had just occurred, which involved Drinan.

Take a bathroom/smoking break: Philipp Gruissem and Salman Behbehani wandered out of the tournament room - quite some distance as the players are in the back left hand corner of the room - in search of a smoke, coffee or something else.

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These two ducked out during the break

Eat: This high rolling lark takes a lot of energy, mental or otherwise, and so several players took the opportunity to eat during this break, meaning they could focus completely on the cards when play restarted.

Chat to friends at other tables This was a decent time to see how your mates are getting on.

Check their phones: A popular pastime and many took the opportunity to text, or check up on what's going on in the world.

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His other active window is the PokerStars Blog of course

Strike a prop bet: A favourite amongst our high rollers (see McDonald, air squats) and as the redraw commenced a bet began to brew principally between Ike Haxton and Sorel Mizzi, although Sam Greenwood was also involved. This was a intellectual prop bet though, as the bet revolved around the word 'wane' and when it was first used in the English language. Haxton explained that the origin of the word came from when the moon decreased in size. There then followed some disagreement as to what constituted use in the English language and the likelihood of a bet diminished.

"Am I ok to look this up," asked Haxton to Mizzi. "I assume we're not having a bet?"

"I'll take the over on 16th century and you're laying 3-1" said Mizzi to Haxton. The two had been drawn to different tables.

"I'm not laying 3-1," replied Haxton although perhaps he wish he had as a while later he said: "I'd have had you Sorel, first use was in the 12th century."

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'I can't believe he wanted the over on 16th century!

Mizzi didn't reply, not because he was being rude but because he was involved in a big pot against Daniel Dvoress. The former had opened to 9,500 (big blind 4,000), Dvoress had three-bet to 25,000 but then mucked his hand by pushing it over the line because he'd heard all-in. But, the all-in came from the table behind him.

His cards had not gone anywhere near the muck and he'd only just pushed them over the line meaning his cards were easily identifiable. The floor was called and it was ruled that Dvoress's hand was live. Of course Mizzi now had far more information to work with and he moved all-in. This forced Dvoress off the pot and Mizzi said: "I did actually have a hand," and showed A♥Q♠.

They'll be another redraw at 16, we'll be sure to keep an eye and ear out for any potential prop bets at that juncture!

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. You can also download the EPT App, available on both Android or IOS.

Nick Wright
@PokerStars in European Poker Tour