EPT11 Malta: The final 18 in the High Roller aka the inbetweeners


McDonald's a veteran but far from over the hill

Trends come and go in poker. At one point under-the-gun was the new button, at another point in time it was thought you should defend your big blind very tightly and now it's the presumed wisdom that you should defend quite wide. And hey anyone remember the stop and go?

Around the time Chris Moneymaker won the WSOP if you were an online qualifier, the live pros probably considered you a fish, five years later this was completely turned on its head, if you were an online qualifier it most likely meant you were a strong player, especially if you were from Scandinavia!

One phrase that's remained in fashion though is old school vs new school or 'are you old school or new school? This phrase was first used to broadly separate live players from online players and as those two lines became blurred - you know when Phil Ivey, Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu started playing online a lot - it was used to separate players by age.

But, there's a problem with this now. Modern poker is no longer in its infancy, look in the rear view mirror and the poker boom is over 10 years back. Many of those who got into poker as 18 to 21-year-olds and are still playing are now, in poker terms at least, old. So if we take a starting point that in poker under the age of 25 is young and anyone over the age of 35 is old then the final 18 in the High Roller contain a lot of 'inbetweeners'

New School:
Charlie Carrel (21)
Ivan Luca (23)


Charlie Carrel - the youngest player left in the field

Old School:
Simon Higgins (38)
Daniel Ghionoiu (41)
Viacheslav Goryachev (43)
Nicola D`Anselmo (47)


Higgins - the baby of the 'old school' bunch

Artem Metalidi (26)
Sam Greenwood (26)
Sardor Gaziev (26)
Marc Etienne McLaughlin (27)
Ludovic Geilich (27)
David Peters (27)
Sylvain Loosli (28)
Nick Petrangelo (28)
Igor Yaroshevskyy (29)
Steve O`Dwyer (32)


O'Dwyer - not a young gun any more

On the border:
Mike McDonald (25)
Davidi Kitai (35)

Average age of final 18: 30.5

It perhaps the two players who're 'on the border' who best illustrate the fact that poker's tour de force is now the inbetweeners. Mike McDonald is, at 25, to all intents and purposes a poker veteran. He's one of only two players to have played every EPT Super High Roller (Jason Mercier is the other) and he bagged an EPT title aged 18. He's the all-time money leader in EPT Main Events and it's worth mentioning again he's only 25! What's more McDonald is quite often the de facto go to guy for a litmus test of what's right and wrong in poker. He's the patriarch of pokers twentysomethings. Timex seems to wait for this man.


Kitai - don't call him old school

As for Kitai, he might be bordering on old school but he sure doesn't play like it! He's often the most aggressive player at the table and can cold four-bet light with the best of them. As for his results, well they speak for themselves. Over six million in lifetime winnings, one of only five players to complete the live Triple Crown, three WSOP bracelets and a reputation and respect from other players which you can't buy, only earn.

The inbetweeners are taking over, you heard it here first.

Follow coverage of the EPT Malta Main Event on the EPT Malta Main Event page. There are plenty of side events going on, and the €10,000 High Roller is under way. Keep abreast of everything via the EPT App, available on Android or IOS.

Nick Wright
@PokerStars in €10K High Roller