EPT12 Malta: Trialling the four-colour deck

Four colour decks have been around for a few years now. The two-colour version is still used almost exclusively in the live arena but one can choose to have the four-colour version in the table display options on PokerStars.com.

Neil Johnson (Head of Live Poker Operations Europe) sent out this tweet earlier:

The PokerStars Blog sat down with Johnson to find out more about the decision to trial the new deck in a couple of events here at EPT Malta.

"It's been an option on PokerStars for a number of years now. There was someone who tweeted to myself, the World Series (of Poker) and the WPT asking if we could get a four-colour deck to use live. I asked a few people around, got some good feedback and one of the things I like, in the silly tournaments like Irish, Deuces Wild and all those games, is having a bit of fun, as poker is a game.

"We were able to get Copag, our official card sponsor, to make a 1,000 decks - 500 to us and 500 to Danny (McDonagh) at PokerStars Live Macau, so he can try them out there as well. We're going to try them in a few events here and a few in Prague. Luca Pagano is also going to take some back to the Pagano Events Live Room in Saint Vincent, so they can try them out there as well.

"There's going to be some positive and some negative feedback but I'm not suggesting we put them in the Main Event or something like that. There's been no final decision on their long-term use, we've got 500 decks and I'll imagine we'll keep using them until they're gone. By that point we'll have plenty of feedback and when we come to order our decks for Season 13 we'll know whether or not to order 500-1,000 decks for further use."

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So that's the organisers point of view but what about the players and dealers, they're the people who actually have to use cards all day long.

Kenny Hallaert is a tour regular who played and busted the €1,000 NL Holdem Turbo, one of the events that the deck is being trialled in today.

"We started with the green light on the table and that especially wasn't good. The green and the black cards looked the same. Then we switched to the white light and it was better but still tricky with the cards on the board due to reflection. Basically, there's no need for a four-colour deck when one-tabling a live tournament."

Hallaet's not a fan then but what about Dutchman Henry Broens, who was railing the Main Event.

"I don't play with a four-colour deck online but I understand it's easier for some people to use it as they can see the suits straight away, especially when they're multi-tabling. The only way I can see it working for live events is for it to benefit the players who are so used to only using that sort of deck online. For me, personally, I don't see the benefit to using it for live events."

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Jake Cody in the €1k turbo

Team PokerStars Pro Jake Cody is still in the Turbo event and has been playing with the cards for a few hours now.

"I play with a four-colour deck online as I think it suits it better. When you play a lot of tables, especially when the tables are tiled, it's easier to see when hands are suited or not. I'm more of a traditionalist live and I just love looking down at black aces, for example. Maybe if the colours were brighter than the ones we're using, the green and blue are quite light in colour and it can be quite difficult to tell them apart. Also, the light rim around the table makes it harder. I think it might work better for more complicated games though, like some mixed games."

Zoya Zipova has been dealing to Cody and others today and was happy to offer up her thoughts on using them from a dealer perspective.

"It's definitely something different and in the beginning you get a little bit confused with your eyes. The players' first reaction was of surprise but then we got used to it so it was like a normal deck. Personally, I prefer the other deck though would even prefer to keep that in games like PLO."

Not a lot of support so far from the very small sample size. Someone out there has to be a fan. Mike McDonald might just be that man. We spotted that he tweeted his support (see below) so we asked him to clarify his thoughts on a break from the Main Event.

"Online I always use the four-colour deck and I always use that feature. If you're multi-tabling and playing on a screen with a low resolution it's really helpful and the same goes for the idea of this live four-colour deck. The light isn't necessarily consistent across different parts of the room; sometimes it's dim; sometimes people are wearing sunglasses at the table and it can be difficult to tell club from spade and if it's particularly dark even a spade and a heart can look similar. Having bright green and bright blue colours will really help that."

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Mike McDonald (left) on the Main Event feature table

Everything about EPT Malta is on the main EPT Malta page. More specifically, all the side event coverage can be found here.

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


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Marc Convey
@The_Conv in European Poker Tour