If you hang around on the European Poker Tour long enough certain things become clear. While the outsider may look upon a tournament and declare all poker players look the same, the insider knows that within this mass of chip riffling humanity lurk poker’s various breeds, each distinct in their own behaviour and patterns, some more rancorous than others but all convinced of their own supremacy. It’s an evolutionary stew that makes each new tournament interesting.
For those wanting to take their rail birding experience to the next level here’s what to look out for.
The “Home game hero”
These players are middle aged and wear baseball caps with a team name on it, or perhaps the name of a college. They’re quiet types, good for back stories when they go deep, with a family picture never far away. As opponents they will at least not celebrate in your face if they win and will likely apologise when sending you to the rail.
The “In bloom” player
This is a common sight. A player with few results will suddenly go deep, cashing well. In the space of a single event their wardrobe is overhauled from jeans and an old shirt to tailored polos, patent shoes and a man bag. As opponents they are not the most fearsome as they spend most of their time on the other side of the room reliving their last event with a friend, and ordering espresso.
They’re in there somewhere
The “Mass produced internet pro”
These are the young guys with club sandwich waistlines and a tonne of air miles who wear t-shirts and shorts designed to be hand washed in a hotel sink and shoes designed for the beach. As opponents they are to be feared as they’re rarely short of a maths degree. Even if they are bad they won’t care.
The tournament floor…
The “Unpredictable foreigner”
Usually wearing white trousers, these players are hard to feel safe around as they occasionally reach final tables, where they fold their way into fifth place.
The “He’ll never win an EPT” player
As their label suggests, these players will never win an EPT. It could be because of a shortage of natural talent but is most likely because he (for they are mostly men) simply doesn’t look the part. As an opponent they pose little threat and after elimination will watch steadfastly from the rail.
These players have been playing on the EPT since season one. They may not have won a title but they reached a final table back in season three. And yet here they are, still playing for high stakes. Sooner or later they’ll reach another EPT final.
The “incredible shrinking player”
Formerly a textbook “Mass produced internet pro”, there’s now something different about this prototype thanks to the best new diet Oprah never heard of – the “prop bet diet”. Having reached staggering proportions these players get involved in weight loss wagers, shedding 50 pounds and then grinning all the way to the Chinese poker table. As opponents they should be feared even more than their original designation, as their weight loss plan usually involves turning poker profit from burger money into wages for personal trainers and fitness coaches.
The chatty “home game hero”
This is the same player as above with the baseball cap with a team or college name, only now he has chips. Don’t do anything stupid.
They will arrive to play having travelled into town by wing suit or hot air balloon, taking in a 15 mile run before a breakfast of beluga caviar and kryptonite. They will play exceptionally and if they talk to you you’ll turn to dust. As opponents they will make you feel unusual and it’s advised you don’t spend more than 30 seconds in a hand with them at any one time.