EPT12 Malta: The Pain of Four

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Count them: one, two, three, four blinds

On the face of it, there is nothing massively complicated about the four blind tournament. It's simply that instead of one player posting a small blind and one player posting a big blind, two people post each of them. Clockwise around the table it goes: button, SB1, SB2, BB1, BB2.

However, if you think a little more deeply and imagine actually running one of these tournaments, you'll quickly realise that there are a few things that need to be figured out. For instance, when taking a player from a table to balance the field, do you take the player in BB1 or BB2? And what about when the tournament goes three handed? What on earth happens then?

At time of starting this post, we were very close to the moment in the tournament when the latter situation was no longer only hypothetical. They were four-handed, with Makram Saber, Jerome Corcia, Blazej Przygorzewski and Jiri Horak still involved.

It's not even straightforward what should happen at this stage. Intuitively, I thought this would be the stage at the tournament where everybody is posting a blind and BB2 is also the dealer. That would also mean that the player in SB1 acts first both before and after the flop, probably the only game in poker's gamut where this is the case.

In the attempt to clarify if this was indeed true, something of a discussion ensued among the tournament staff both supervising the specific tournament and overseeing the festival. Should that actually be the case, or should the player on the button actually be one of the SBs, as he would be heads up?

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What about when they get to three?

As it turned out, the game was played as described above. The dealer was BB2 and acted last both before and after the flop (ie, before the flop he got the chance to check his option). However, when they went three handed, which happened during all the time spent researching all this, that other issue came up.

Should it be one small blind and two bigs? Two smalls and one big? Or something else entirely?

In this case, they went for option C. The original plan, according to tournament staff, was to revert back to regular hold 'em and have one small blind, one big blind and one player not posting anything. But the players, who had already grown rather fond of the format (Stockholm syndrome?) immediately noticed that this would mean half as much money in the middle to play for pre-flop, so asked if they could introduce an ante.

The tournament officials agreed to that, so the played with one small blind, one big blind and everybody posting an ante.

This is the first time this particular format has been spread on the EPT, but it seemed to go down really well. They're heads up at the moment, I believe, and we'll have winner news when we know it.

In the other side events still going on, Anthony Zinno has emerged as chip leader in the €5,000 PLO. He won a bracelet in this format, in a $25,000 buy in tournament, in the summer, so clearly has some chops. He had about 155,000 (blinds 600-1,200) at the last time of looking, with Stephen Chidwick, Ole Schemion, Christopher Frank and Sylvain Loosli among the short-stacks of the 12 remaining. The prize-pool information is not yet confirmed.

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Anthony Zinno: Leading the PLO

Over at the €2,000 NLHE event, Yingui Li has taken the lead. He has 280,000 just into the 2,000-4,000 level. Olov Janssen has something very similar, while Justin Bonomo is close behind, with 270,000.

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Yingui Li: Li-der, more like

Dominik Panka is sitting next to Fedor Holz, but there's a gulf between their stacks. Panka has 90,000 and Holz 240,000. Andras Nemeth has 230,000 and is another of the big stacks.

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Fedor "Crusher" Holz and Dominik Panka

They are in the money now, with ElkY having sneaked through the bubble with five big blinds. But he's out now.

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