EPT12 Malta: Four tournaments, four blinds, plenty of action

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There's a mouse clinging on to life in the €2K

The shrinking of the EPT Malta Main Event means more space available in the tournament room. And when EPT tournament directors see empty tables, they endeavour to fill them as soon as possible.

Today in Malta, there are opportunities to suit all players with all bank-rolls and the chance too to try out a brand-new format. The €5,000 PLO is under way alongside Day 2 of the €2,000 hold'em, abutting the Stud Hi/Lo & Omaha Hi/Lo event. A few paces further is the debut of the "four-blind" hold 'em which, as the name suggests, is the familiar game with the addition of two more blinds.


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Let's take a walk around the room.

To start with that €5,000 PLO: this is the favoured format of plenty of top players and they have duly flocked to give it a crack. Ilari Sahamies, Andrew Chen, Ole Schemion, Vladimir Troyanovskiy, Christopher Frank, Jooryt van Hoof, Anthony Zinno, Juha Helppi, Scott Seiver, Stephen Chidwick, Connor Drinan and Jason Mercier are in the field.

Actually, Troyanovskiy is now out. Having lost a decent-sized pot to Schemion, during which the two of them stared at each other so intently from the seat next to one another that it felt a bit indecent, Troyanovskiy was seen scuttling out the door soon after.

In the "staring" pot, the two of them stare-checked the river looking (when staring permitted) at a board of 5♣8♠2♣8♥J♣. Schemion turned over A♥A♠6♠3♥ for aces up and Troyanovsky mucked. Schemion chuckled, but as he was still stacking chips, a tournament floor-man came over and told him that he had to move to another table.

"Hit and run, as usual," Mercier said.

Schemion found his new seat, and Troyanovskiy departed soon after.

The €2,000 event is getting incredibly close to its bubble. They pay 31 and, at time of writing, there are 33 still involved. Olov Jansson has taken over at the top of the counts, with about 220,000, but Fedor Holz, the overnight leader, is going strong still. He has about 200,000.

Justin Bonomo (145,000) and Dominik Panka (138,000) remain well stacked, while ElkY is clinging on with his 29,000, and has his mouse for company. There was no sign of Kevin MacPhee or Simon Deadman, who appear to have been eliminated short of the money.

The Stud Hi/Lo & Omaha Hi/Lo event is just getting started, with Simon Trumper, Joao Vieira and Adam Owen among those settling down for a day of chopped pots.

So, back to the four blinds event: it really is as simple as that. There are now two players posting small blinds and two players posting big blinds, which means the player under-the-gun would actually be the fifth to act post flop.

It also, of course, puts more money into the middle pre-flop, which has slightly adjusted how much a standard opening raise should be calculated. Jeff Madsen is in this tournament and I watched him open to 1,700 pre-flop, with blinds at 300-600.

The player in the second small blind had actually put out the size of a big blind -- old habits dying hard, and it's just so normal to be posting a big blind in that seat -- but he took back half of it before folding. However, the player in the second big blind, Antonio Leotta, moved all in over Madsen's raise.

Leotta had A♠J♣ and Madsen A♦5♥. But a five appeared on the flop proving that no matter how many blinds you have, the prospect of a bad beat remains.

Everything about EPT Malta is on the main EPT Malta page. More specifically, all the hand-by-hand coverage of the Main Event is on the Main Event page and everything from the side events is on the side events 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