We’ve had some alerts through the years on the European Poker Tour: the occasional fire alarm, a tsunami warning in the Bahamas and that afternoon in Berlin. But an alarm just sounded around Casino Portomaso in Malta that was unlike anything we have heard before.
By rights, it should have been a siren howling and a red light flashing across the entire complex, the kind I imagined signalled an escape from Colditz. But as it was, it was actually Tid Sinclair, the EPT events manager extraordinaire, scampering into the press room and saying, “The €1,000 has hit!”
Sinclair was the early warning alarm system for the fact that the Spin & Go wheel installed here in Malta, in front of which a succession of players have been playing live-action versions of the popular online game, had landed on its jackpot segment for the first time in the week.
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Three players were now sitting down to play a €50 tournament with a €1,000, winner-takes-all first prize. It wasn’t quite the million dollar riches of the online equivalent, but was nothing to be sniffed at.
Our line-up in search of the top prize was Rick Bijkerk, from the Netherlands, Sergii Gondaruk, from Ukraine, and Kristiyan Trchyu, from Bulgaria, and they duly got on with the hyper-turbo (five minute levels) event that would decide the first Spin & Go jackpot winner of the week.
It wasn’t to be Bijkerk. He bluffed all in on a board of 9♠K♣5♥ holding only Q♣8♠. Of course, he wasn’t to know that Gondaruk had K♠9♣. Bijkerk was out.
Gondaruk was the big chip leader heads up, but Trchyu doubled quickly when his Q♦8♥ held up in an all-in, pre-flop coup against J♣8♣. (Just remember, there’s not a whole lot of skill to all this.)
That left Gondaruk short-stacked, and he too got his chips in moments later with J♣9♠. Trchyu called with A♣4♠ and the board ran 8♦2♣3♥K♥10♥, sending the grand back to Bulgaria with Trchyu.
The players waiting on the side-lines for their chance at the big time pointed towards the big wheel and suggested to the tournament officials that, “You don’t need to spin it. It’s OK.”
But the administrator of the Spin and Go section said, “I hope it doesn’t come up again. I’ll be fired.”
She then set the wheel of fortune back in motion and watched as it landed back on €100. One jackpot per hour is about enough.
Congratulations to Trchyu, the first live Spin-and-Go champion!
Everything about EPT Malta is on the main EPT Malta page. More specifically, all the hand-by-hand coverage of the €25,000 High Roller is on the €25,000 High Roller page and everything from the IPT Main Event is on the IPT Main Event page.
No really, begin plotting your own bid for EPT glory by downloading the PokerStars client and having a crack. Follow this EPT event via the EPT app. There you will get all the latest news, chip counts and payouts. You can download it on Android or IOS