EPT12 Malta: The crazy pineapple gets its crazy, aka 'Living on the Esh'

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Esh Hadaya: Putting the crazy in the crazy pineapple

Rhetorical questions are not meant to be answered, but it turns out I got a response to the query of how crazy can a crazy pineapple tournament be.

In the hours since that question featured on the Blog, the €200 Crazy Pineapple event at EPT Malta has reached its final table. And although he has only the second-biggest stack, Esh Hadaya is attracting by far the most attention.

Hadaya is pretty well known around the poker rooms of Europe, where he has amassed tournament winnings of close to $200,000. But he's also often seen in the halls and lobbies, putting on impromptu musical sets with his guitar.

Ever the showman, he is leading conversation at the table too, a massage therapist working his shoulders and his lungs engaged in non-stop chitter-chatter. In the brief period I was watching, Hadaya knocked out Arvin Golrang in eighth place and then turned his attention to his other neighbour, Aleksandrs Margolis.

The hand that proved to be Golrang's last played out as follows. Action was folded to him in the small blind and he moved all in. "Oh no," Hadaya said, before opening the box of cliches and finding, "Show if I fold?"

Golrang stayed quiet, but Hadaya said, "Oh, I've got to go with it." He called.

The unique quirk of crazy pineapple--ie, that one of three hole cards is discarded after the flop--means that cards are not immediately shown down when a player's all-in move is called. They had to wait until a flop of J♣J♦7♣ appeared and they each threw one card away.

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Esh Hadaya spends his break at the table

The 5♣ turned ("I folded a five," Hadaya said.) and the J♥ came on the river. Hadaya's A♠T♠ was enough to take it against Golrang's ace-nine.

On the next hand, Hadaya was in the small blind and action was folded to him. He announced a raise and then said, "Good call, sir," when Margolis defended his big blind.

"Let's bet in the dark here," Hadaya continued and put some chips out in front of him before the Q♠K♠9♣ flop even appeared. Margolis wasn't going to hang around and folded just as quickly.

This tournament attracted 34 players and the winner will get €2,240. "Just give me the trophy," Hadaya said.

Stop press: Rene Velli, our photographer, went down to get some photos of Hadaya in the crazy pineapple, and actually ended up watching him eliminated. The five remaining players when Velli got there went on a break but Hadaya stayed behind to talk to the dealer. After the break was over, the other players returned and Hadaya was knocked out almost immediately. He took fifth for €600, and the Crazy Pineapple lost its crazy.

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The end of Esh Hadaya

The €330 NL Turbo, which played over three flights, is now also entering its final stages. Well, it's down to its last 38 players from a field of 325. Quentin Laught has the biggest stack, of about 240,000 (they're in level 13, with blinds of 1,200-2,400) with Giorgio Bellanca closest behind, with 166,000.

Natalie Hof is nursing a short stack of about 50,000, but they are into the money now with €18,400 up top. And you have to be in it to win it.

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 €10,000 High Roller is on the High Roller page.

The side event details are 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