EPT11 Malta: The best thing about a high roller event
The best part of a big buy in event is not really the payday at the end of it (although that's hardly a bad thing), it's something else entirely according to Mike McDonald. The best part is that everybody is at a level in the game where they're not afraid of talking. In a high roller event everybody talks.
It's easy to see his point. The general level of conversation in an event like this is much higher than, say, the main event, where a large percentage of the field are terrified of saying something wrong or stupid, especially to a pro who can then use that against them.
But in an environment like this everybody talks, not least at McDonald's table, the talkiest of all tables, where Bernd Vogelhuber is getting chatty, earning himself the affectionate nickname "entertainer" by those at his table.
Vogelhuber is a businessman, one of several who dips his toe into high stakes poker every once in a while. It's safe to say he's enjoying himself. "Chirpy chips", as Drinan put it. And why not? The others seated at his table, the likes of McDonald, Connor Drinan, George Danzer and Jorryt van Hoof, are doing the same.
Van Hoof got particular attention, notable for his heroics in the World Series Main Event last November. He explained, while enjoying a massage, that it had been a last minute decision to play, one taken after five years of skipping the World Series entirely. Vogelhuber cut to the chase.
"What did you do with the money?"
"He's giving it back to us," quipped McDonald.
"I'm trying," said Van Hoof, smiling.
But Vogelhuber was curious. "You didn't buy anything?" he asked. "A Bentley?"
"A four million dollar Bentley?" said Danzer.
"Why not?" said Vogelhuber.
Van Hoof didn't answer that. He'd bought a watch, that he admitted. But nothing else of note.
"I live in London," said van Hoof. "That's quite expensive."
"You travel a lot?" asked Vogelhuber.
"I intend to," said Van Hoof.
"High rollers?" asked Danzer.
"Maybe," van Hoof replied. "Depends how I feel that day."
Vogelhuber then turned to McDonald, talking about the business at hand, like McDonald's attitude to losing.
"Of all the professionals, I'm the one who hates busting the least," said McDonald. If it happened in this event he said, he'd simply head to the gym and then get back here for the turbo later tonight. Of course, on a point of order, Van Hoof pointed out there were a few other players in the room who minded even less if McDonald busted, a point the Canadian conceded with a laugh.
"How much have you earned playing poker?" Vogelhuber asked McDonald.
"Less than the Hendon Mob would suggest," McDonald replied.
By now Vogelhuber was conscious now of how much he was talking, a sure sign he was enjoying himself, all while holding his own against the elite of the game. But that's the point in high rollers. Besides, nobody minded, and everybody listened.
"Hey George," said Vogelhuber, turning to his countryman. "Maybe I should get a massage to be still (still being the German for quiet). "What do you think George?"
"You're doing fine," he replied.
Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.