EPT12 Malta: Pushing past the half-century

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Quan Zhou: Among a small contingent of Chinese at EPT Malta

The €25,000 High Roller field is up to 50 players and it continues to move in that direction. Ivan Luca sat down and one of his new table-mates said, "You're the first one here off that plane."

He was referring to the poker-player jet express -- a succession of them, actually -- presently making its way from Berlin to Malta. As Nick Wright mentioned earlier, numerous players will today be trading the WSOPE for the EPT as the festival in Germany winds down while this one gets into full swing. The €25,000 High Roller is the carrot dangled to get the game's biggest names to the airport.

Luca is indeed now in the field as is a small contingent of Polish players, including Piotr Franczak and Jose Carlos Garcia. They were seen in the casino lobby with Dzmitry Urbanovich, but the defending champion is yet to take his seat. (He almost certainly will at one point, though.)

The new contingent also includes Stephen Chidwick, whose friend Kevin MacPhee is chip-leader back in Berlin. One assumes Chidwick would have been railing his mate had this event not intervened. But one also assumes that MacPhee will forgive Chidwick's absence. These are the sacrifices one makes given the nature of their career.

Not all of the new players are especially familiar on this side of the Atlantic. They include, for instance, Justin Liberto, who has a string of cashes over the pond including a World Series bracelet earned this summer. But he has never to our knowledge played on the EPT. He won a live satellite to earn his passage into the tournament.

Similarly Rasmus Vogt and Smain Mamouni prevailed from a super satellite and are among the less familiar players involved. There's also a number of Chinese players who have been persuaded to Malta -- Quan Zhou, Huidong Gu and Yingui Li -- while the likes of Sean Winter and Chris Hunichen, both familiar in the US, also make rare European forays.

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.

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