EPT11 Prague: How to kill time and not do stupid things
What exactly is a player to do between hands? For instance, in the old days you would do as the expensive poker manual said you should do--pay rigorous attention to whatever it was others did at your table, and adjust your play accordingly, regardless of whether you could interpret their behaviour one way or another.
But these days, in an age of fractured attention spans and Ritalin, that's a recipe for disaster. You're more likely to get carried away, suddenly assume you know what you're doing, and blow the lot. For that reason another solution must be found. Forget what the books say-- there's no "you" in iPad--this is the tech generation.
Devices of some kind are almost mandatory in a high stakes tournaments, during which you'll spend the majority of your time waiting for another hand to replace the one you just folded. That's why Clash of Clans is so popular. As I patrolled the tournament room, no fewer than five players were at the same time patrolling the borders of their virtual Freemium villages. Child-like folly? No chance... this was pure strategy.
"It's a good time killing game," said Chris Moneymaker, as he positioned clans in defensive formation on screen. "It keeps you from doing a lot of stupid things."
Stupid things like playing too many hands.
Moneymaker was making a good point. The game has moved on from religious observance. There is time to fill and you need to keep sharp. Without these virtual crutches you can sometimes let the occasion get the better of you.
A table along was David Douglas, iPad-less and seemingly keen to observe what was going on around him, hoping perhaps that somewhere out there, amid Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier and the rest of his opposition, were clues that would bring him continued success. Continued, because 2014 has been a good year for the retired businessman, now living in Hong Kong.
After a lifetime of cash games he switched to tournaments this year. He struck out in the first two, but won the third, a €735 AFC Cup event in Paris in June worth €25,865. Winning the first event you play is usually the worst thing that can happen, but evidently not the third. He followed that up with a 12th place finish in September, also in Paris, then upgraded massively to play the $100,000 ACOP Main Event in Macau last month, picking up $34,815 for 20th place.
Now to Prague, and his first EPT Main Event.
Watching Douglas, there were signs that this was not his usual manor. In a tour dominated by youth, Douglas was the only player at his table who could likely remember the Reagan Administration. He dressed differently too, that is to say he dressed well, with a neat shirt, cords and polished shoes. His coat was practical, designed to withstand the elements, in a shade of blue that can be spotted clearly through six feet of avalanche.
Next to him though were the "old lags", each about twenty years younger and comfortable in their surroundings. Notably John Eames, who was having a massage therapist use her elbows to dislodge the tension he might one day get in his spine. To him, shirt sleeves rolled up, hair swept to one side and the merest hint of a tan, all this looked commonplace. But to Douglas, his hand pushing his cheek back towards his ear, less so.
But then, as Douglas was well aware, the EPT is a place of pressure. It should be uncomfortable, it should be difficult, and it shouldn't be as fun as you might think. And again, Douglas didn't have an iPad to distract himself. Like Chris Moneymaker.
Moneymaker may have won the World Series without his iPad, but he's not going to risk it a second time. Now, having switched games to Madden Mobile, he was trying to bring virtual glory to the Atlanta Falcons using a few taps on a screen, in between time-outs to play the occasional hand. From what I could tell it was working in terms of his efforts at the table, but not so on in the Georgia Dome. There was much punting.
But then I should have been watching the cards, not that game. Honestly though, I was just looking for something to distract me between hands.
Full coverage of the EPT Prague Poker Festival is on the main EPT Prague page. Super High Roller coverage, including blow-by-blow updates in the panel at the top, is on the Super High Roller page. And the Eureka main event is into the money and playing on. That's on the Eureka Prague page.
Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.