Us reporters still frequently tend to make a distinction between online poker players and live scrappers, but the comparison grows more meaningless by the day. Anyone groomed in the bricks and mortar casinos in the pre-internet days has long since discovered the joys of playing in the comfort of their home. Likewise the young guns of intercyberwebworld have graduated in their thousands to the gripping live arena, chasing down the first-life glory of a major tournament win.
But once again let’s ignore that for the sake of a blog post. Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to think of an interesting way to say that here in Monte Carlo today, we have seen some of the leading lights of internet poker ante up the equivalent of a big blind in the nosebleed games to play in this festival of real life. From the United States, for example, we have Jon “PearlJammer” Turner, James “mig.com” Mackey and Joe “Ender555” Ebanks in the mix.
Also present is Jose Ignacio Barbero, known online as joseba, who has been living it up on the Latin America Poker Tour recently, and also took down a side event at the PCA. From closer to home, we have Illari “Ziigmund” Sahamies, from Finland, Laurence “rivermanl” Houghton, from the UK, and Ben Grundy, who may have a number of online monikers, but always takes them to the biggest games.
Of those, Ebanks has been impressing so far today, at least according to our spies* on table 15. He made a tough call for pretty much all his chips on board of A-K-Q-7-4, after he’d been check-raised by an aggressive Italian player. Ebanks had A-K for top two, and his opponent announced one pair and took the walk.
Barbera is also on the up. He just knocked out the French rugby star Sebastian Chabal – a pretty-much impossible task in real life, one would imagine, but easier on a poker table when you turn a flush to crack aces. The flop was 9♥ 7♥ 3♦ and Chabal shoved his last 7,000 into the middle. Barbero thought about it for a while before making the call with K♥ Q♥ . Chabal had aces, including the ace of hearts.
But the 6♥ turned and the 2♦ came on the river, ruining Chabal’s chance of a redraw. The rugby star is mauled.
Not so much luck for Ziigmund. He recently doubled up the Team PokerStars Pro Joe Hachem when A-J went up against A-Q in a battle of the blinds.
*The PokerStars qualifier Pete Birks.
Speaking of the internet, there’s a guy called ElkY who has been kicking around that arena for a few years. You might have heard of him. He’s quite good. Yesterday, he set a new world record of simultaneous sit and go play, something he discussed with the video blog team right here:
Watch EPT Monte Carlo S5: Elky’s MTT Challenge on PokerStars.tv