EPT12 Barcelona: The tanking epidemic

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John Juanda and David Yan seek extra protection from the epidemic

Everyone wants to make the money in a poker tournament, it might not be the only goal when entering a poker tournament but it's up there as one of the most important if not the most important.

It's certainly at the forefront of most of the players left in the Main Event here in Barcelona as we're now just three off the money. It could've been two but Pedro Lamarca's pocket jacks held up against Liviu Ignat's A♥K♥ and the Spaniard survived.

With 15 minutes of level 16 remaining it was touch and go whether the bubble would burst before the break but suddenly there was fewer minutes left in the level than there were eliminations needed and it became clear it was going to be a very uncomfortable break for a few players.

None of that really explains what was going on over on table 31 where the floor had been summoned and the clock had been called. "He's tanking every hand and he's not even a short stack," explained Sebastian Tejada, who was in the big blind. There was less than minute left on the level and he looked anxious to get his break started ahead of the pack.

Indeed a cursory glance around the table revealed there were two stacks shorter than Mikhail Blomlie's, the Norwegian was below average yes, but he had a stack of around 100,000 (25 big blinds) in front of him. The dealer explained the situation to the member of floor staff and it was ruled that Blomlie had already had sufficient time to make his decision and the clock was called. Around half of the allotted time had elapsed by the time Blomlie elected to fold.

If you recognise the name then you're not alone as Blomlie has won three WCOOP titles, a WCOOP Player of the Year title and has almost $500,000 in lifetime earnings, including a 10th place finish at the PCA in 2013. But here he was tanking on the bubble and it seems it was an epidemic that was spreading throughout the room.

With Blomlie out the way action quickly folded round to Daniel Carlsson on the button. The Swede was one of the aforementioned players who had a shorter stack than Blomlie. It totalled about 85,000 and he moved all of his chips across the line. Carlsson is no stranger to cashing in the Main Event, he made a very deep run at EPT11 Deauville, finishing 15th, to top off a festival where he also won a €500 pot-limit Omaha side event. Both blinds folded and Carlsson raked in the chips.

As the room emptied one player lingered at the table chatting to the dealer, he saw me looking at the chip stacks and then motioned to his own stack which numbered less than 30,000. "Can you help me?" he said jokingly. The player in question is Marius Irimia and as we discovered yesterday he qualified to this tournament for just €2 after spinning that into a €27 satellite ticket, then advancing to a €215 qualifier and then winning his seat to Barcelona.

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Irimia - looking for a big return on his investment

You could perhaps forgive him for tanking a little to secure a €8,800 cash but he did nothing of the sort and the good news for the Romanian is that he was just in the small blind so when he comes back he's got an entire orbit before the blinds hit him again.

With all this tanking that might take a while.

You can follow all the action from the various tournament floors on PokerStars Blog. The Main Event action will be on the Main Event page. And everything from the side events is on the side events page. It will be busy over there today. There's also EPT Live for your video-based needs.

You can also begin plotting your own bid for EPT glory by downloading the PokerStars client and having a crack. Follow this EPT event via the EPT app. There you will get all the latest news, chip counts and payouts. You can download it on Android or IOS.

Nick Wright
@PokerStars in European Poker Tour