EPT12 Malta: P.B.W.A.N.G.O.T.S.A.T.T.F.O.W.T.F.I.G.O.

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Gregor Abmayr: You don't have to wear a spangly hat to play this event...but it helps

Welcome to the mid-afternoon side event update from EPT Malta, the latest in a series of posts that may as well be called "PokerStars Blog Watches a New Game on the Schedule and Tries to Figure Out What on Earth is Going On"--or P.B.W.A.N.G.O.T.S.A.T.T.F.O.W.T.F.I.G.O. (and that's not a typo).

Today's edition focuses on the so-called "Splitsville" format, presently being played in the lower tournament room. There are 20 players involved playing a rotation of ten poker variants, all of which share in common the fact that they offer split pots by routine.

That's not split pots in the "let's sing a song on EPT Live" manner, but split pots as in the high hand wins half the pot and the low hand wins the other half, provided it qualifies. That also brings into play the glorious possibility of pots being chopped into quarters and further increments, depending on how many players are still involved.

The ten games, since you're asking, are Texas hold em hi/lo, pineapple hi/lo, crazy pineapple hi/lo, 4-, 5- or 6-card Omaha hi/lo, five-card stud hi/lo (no qualifier), seven-card stud hi/lo, super stud hi/lo, Badacey, Badeucey and Razzdugi. And they might even have advertised this as 12 games, given that there's actually three types of Omaha on offer there.

Another quirk is that it's dealer's choice, meaning the choice of which game will be played is also on rotation. There's a keyring on the table, on to which are clipped ten cards displaying the name of each of the games, and this moves one spot around the table after every six hands. The player with the keyring in front of them chooses the game.

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Game choice in the Splitsville

This was a shame for Viatcheslav Ortynskiy, who joined his table late, and discovered that the keyring had just passed him by. It meant he would have to wait for its full orbit before he could choose what games they were going to play--and it completes its orbit six times more slowly than the regular button, like pluto to the button's earth.

Ortynskiy also asked for a bit of a run-through on some of the rules, which was a fine idea given how complicated all of this was. He wasn't immediately aware that the betting was limit-style, rather than no limit, which ruled out the possibility of just shoving all the chips in and getting out of there to save a mind from being mangled.

Actually, they were playing four-card Omaha hi/lo for the few hands I watched, which is comparatively simple to follow. A pretty big hand played out between Evangelos Bechrakis, Christoph Koenen and Gregor Abmayr, which ended in the latter scooping.

By the end, he was able to declare "Full house!" looking at a board of 7♦K♦4♦4♠J♥ and tabling 2♥4♥K♠6♣. Koenen had folded on the turn but Bechrakis was there at the end and mucked what he said was a flush. There was no low hand.

Kenneth Po is also at that table, and he has been playing a few events this week with an exercise book on his lap. I'm not certain if the notes he is jotting relate to poker or not--it may just as easily be study for an exam--but if so, it's going to make for confusing re-reading.

As has been the case all week with some of the new variants, the bonhomie among the players is excellent. They are all exceptionally tolerant of mistakes in posting blinds or antes or mis-sized bets or incorrectly read hands. It's as though they are all hostage to the same captors and have grown close.

According to the tournament officials, razzdugi has been the most commonly chosen game. This is the game that plays out like razz but with half the pot at the end going to the best razz hand and half to the best badugi hand. I think the players are only choosing it to make sure absolutely no blogger is going to attempt to cover it.

Over the other side of that room, the first flight of the €300 no limit hold em is under way, which is a far more sedate affair. Natalie Hof is in the field there.

Upstairs in the main tournament room, they recently burst the bubble in the €1,000 two-day hold 'em event. Dietrich Fast has taken over the chip lead in that one and is sitting with about 280,000, but he is being tailed by Frederik Jensen (200,000) and Daragh Davey (190,000) with Ari Engel and Neil Ryder with decent stacks too.

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