There are not many people that get to play poker on TV. There’s that rotating bunch of big name pros that play the high stakes cash games, you know the ones, and those that somehow manage to shoehorn themselves into those invite-only events. Other than that you need to go deep, like the final 24 of an EPT, to stand a chance to get your face and hole cards on the telly box.
There is a way to sidestep this process however and that’s to be lingering in the EPT press room at the time the EPT Live Lite producers come looking for a few stand-ins the day before they start their broadcast. Rounded up like a work-shy ASBO, I was stuck into seat 2 of the final table, Eric Ramsey of Poker News on my right, an excitable Spanish rail bird on my left and an assortment of other players whose name I may or may not be making up; Lucas Lithuania, Marc Convey, Jimmy McSpleen, Poley MacHotty and ‘The Irresponsible Dealer.’
The purpose of the dress rehearsal is to make sure that the cameras are in the right place, the audio levels are correct, the dealer’s card-calling can be heard and that all the back-end graphics are working correctly. To this end we were requested to play as if we were ‘playing for millions’ so as to replicate the speed with which play tomorrow will occur. It didn’t even last a single hand.
McSpleen raised 300 of a 2,000 stack from early position and ‘The Irresponsible Dealer’ instantly shoved from the next seat along. Snap-folds all the way round and an instant call from McSpleen. Pocket sevens for McSpleen and the mighty nine-ten offsuit for TID. The sevens flopped a set but TID rivered a straight. The next hand, before the producer had a chance to remind everyone that we’re meant to be playing this in a mock-serious manner, ‘The Irresponsible Dealer’ opened to 2,000. Great. Well done. A few mangled and mis-played hands later our job was done, the set was final 24 prepped.
Watch the live stream tomorrow from noon with James Hartigan, Matt Broughton and special guests. You’re guaranteed better action than the few hands I was forced to participate it, but while you do, remember us stand-ins and the sacrifices we had to make: we were playing with chips from EPT Season 1, who knows what gunk they were covered in.
Level 19: blinds 4000-8000, ante 1000
Players: 32 of 477
Average stack: 447,000
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