EPT12 Malta: All the fun of the Flipouts, a player's-eye view


A player's eye view of the Flipout spectacular

Dara O'Kearney had time to kill before the Malta Cup got restarted this evening. In the spirit of any poker player with some time to kill before a poker tournament gets restarted, O'Kearney played some more poker--specifically a few of the €100 "Flipouts" that were scheduled in 45-minute intervals from 5.30pm through 7pm.

There's nothing all that remarkable about that. Poker player in playing poker shocker. But O'Kearney decided to marry one of his passions with another: poker met social media as O'Kearney filmed the entire flip-out phase of the tournament to share via Periscope. This was a rare chance for a player's eye perspective of an entire tournament.

If you're au fait with neither "Flipouts" nor Periscope, this will likely need some explanation, not least because the use of electronic devices--video-capturing devices in particular--are prohibited if one has live cards. Periscope is a live-streaming platform, allowing short video clips to be shared in real time (YouTube meets Twitter), so a video-capture device is certainly required.

But in truth, there's very little danger to a game's integrity to film the opening stage of a "Flipout" tournament. Players get only two chips, one of which he or she is obliged to gamble on the first hand, regardless of cards, and the second of which must be gambled on the second.

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There are no decisions to be made, no strategy to be applied. In the vast majority of cases, ones tournament lasts precisely two hands (ie., as long as it takes to lose those two chips) and then it's off to find something else to do.

(The winner of each table in a "Flipout" tournament then goes through to a final and plays some proper poker to declare an overall champion.)

I first got wind of O'Kearney's Periscope/Flipout intentions via a tweet that landed in PokerStars Blog's Twitter timeline. Twitter said that the tweet had been sent 25 minutes ago, and after clicking on to it, it quickly became clear how successful O'Kearney's tournament had been. The landing page for the particular Periscope clip said the broadcast had finished 24 minutes ago.

Yep, O'Kearney went whiff, whiff and the tournament was done within a minute, despite a slightly wishful comment appearing in Periscope's live chat box from someone identifying himself as "DKLappin" (rumoured to be O'Kearney's friend and countryman David Lappin) saying, "Get there." He didn't.


Dara O'Kearney, pictured in Cork on the UKIPT (Lappin in background)

Approximately 44 minutes later, O'Kearney was back at the felt and again the camera was turned on. The result, however, was something very similar. Whiff, whiff, out.

The third tweet was as plaintive as it was inevitable. "LIVE on #Periscope: Last chance in the flipouts at EPT Malta." Sorry to say that not even a live-action Lappin on the rail, sticking his thumb up on cue when the camera swivelled in his direction, could rescue O'Kearney. He lost both hands again.

"I've never even had a sweat," O'Kearney said soon after, once he had settled back into the Malta Cup field. "I've lost 12 from 12."

The final three "Flipouts" of EPT Malta are played tomorrow, at 5.30pm, 6.15pm and 7pm. Can O'Kearney complete the clean sweep? Fifteen from 15? Tune into Periscope to find out.

Everything about EPT Malta is on the main EPT Malta page. More specifically, all the hand-by-hand coverage of the €25,000 High Roller is on the €25,000 High Roller page and everything from the IPT Main Event is on the IPT Main Event page.

No really, 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

Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour