EPT12 Malta: Irish diplomacy brings early resolution to €2K issues

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Nick O'Hara, left, holds court among the tournament staff

Nick "Big Nick" O'Hara has carved himself a reputation on the European Poker Tour as the very definition of safe pair of hands. In case you don't know who Nick "Big Nick" O'Hara is, he's the softly spoken Irishman in the suit who is usually found tournament directing during the late stages of the bigger events.

He is firm but fair in his decision making; sympathetic and confident in what he does. It's why he often finds himself approaching the poker tables when things might be getting volatile. He can calm things down and make everybody see sense.

There was nothing quite over-spilling when O'Hara approached the €2,000 IPT High Roller tonight, but the news he was there to impart was not certain to be to everyone's liking. With seven players still left and no real end in sight, O'Hara was there to suggest the players agree on a time to end it for the evening, then to broker negotiations as to when they might want to come back and play it out.

"We don't like to do these things but we can't stay here til 10am either," O'Hara explained to the table. The proposal was to play to around 4am tonight and then to bag up, regardless of the number of players still left. Whoever was still involved would then come back at about 9pm on Day 3 of the Main Event (that is Wednesday in real terms) to play to a winner.

At least one interpreter was also in attendance, adding the requisite sharp edges and gesticulations to translate soft Irish brogue into Italian. But most of them around the table spoke English and could do their own arguing, with two loose factions gradually appearing.

Some wanted to play for only a short time tonight and go long on Wednesday. Others wanted to play long tonight and maybe not play at all later in the week. The most vocal supporter of the former suggestion (although far from being too aggravated either way) was Shola Akindele. The most vocal supporter of the latter suggestion (although far from being too aggravated either way) was Ondrej Vinklarek.

O'Hara, of course, listened to both sides and eventually the seven players decided to play on for a bit--until 4am--then reconvene on Tuesday or Wednesday, a detail that would be decided among those who were left.

"If we make this arrangement, you cannot change it," O'Hara said, but nobody was aggrieved. They had reached a fairly contented quorum.

Michael Tureniec, who remained silent throughout all the chat, then got the last of his chips in on the first hand after the break. He had K♠5♠ and was knocked out by Daryll Goh's A♦K♣. No wonder Tureniec didn't mind what was decided: he had no intention of hanging around anyway.

Goh added Tureniec's chips to what amounts to a considerable chip lead. The Irishman has about 4.4 million, which is well clear of Agshin Rasulov's 2.5 million. Akindele is third, with 1.7 million.

There are six left heading into the late evening shift.


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