EPT12 Malta: Why bother with the first eight levels?

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Jason Wheeler: Bounced back from four bigs

All of us here have covered poker tournaments for quite some time, both before and since registration periods were routinely extended until the start of the second day.

In that more recent period--the era in which players typically have more than ten hours to decide at which point to enter proceedings--we have often wondered whether or not it is worth even playing the opening day.

By that, I mean it can often be interesting to watch how the latest of late entrants get on, the folk who buy in with minutes to spare and try to spin up a 40 big-blind stack. Here at the €25,000 High Roller event in Malta, where the starting stack is 250,000 chips, a new entrant would have had almost precisely that at the beginning: 41 big blinds to be exact, as level nine had blinds of 3,000-6,000 (1,000 ante).

If we took this event as our one and only sample, we would likely draw some fairly odd conclusions. At the beginning of play today, Sylvain Loosli, Benjamin Pollak, Craig Varnell, Frederik Jensen, Jason Wheeler and Michael Rocco bought in for the very first time, the former three with cold hard cash, the latter three after winning a seat in last night's super satellite.


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And as the players have just entered level 15, two thirds of them are still involved, with only Varnell and Rocco having hit the rail. The overall field has been cut to 20 players--ie, less than a third of the players who entered are still involved--but our newbies are defying the odds.

Indeed, Loosli has spun his 250,000 into a stack of more than a million. Wheeler was down to four big blinds at one point, but is now sitting with 460,000. Pollak has something similar, while Jensen has close to 800,000.

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Benjamin Pollak: Late arrival, still around

However, before anybody gets the idea that Day 1 of these events is a total waste of time, it's worth a quick glance at the top of the leader board. Yesterday's two chip leaders, Quan Zhou and Dietrich Fast, remain at the summit, largely thanks to their good work on the opening day.

Blinds are now up to 8,000-16,000 in level 13, so it is far from certain that anybody is certain to make the money. Nine more players will need to be eliminated until the bubble bursts, and there's still a very real chance that the current statistical anomaly will be ironed out.


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.

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