Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Inaugural EPT Media tourney

The first online EPT Media tourney took place last night with only a modicum of violence and some first-class poker on show. Kicking off with 54 players (which beats the "live" record in Dortmund a couple of weeks ago by 10), the tournament included a huge number of top international celebrities such as Pauly "Tao of Poker" McGrupp, Mick McCLoskey, Rick "Big Blind" Dacey, Ms Kara Scott and both Siktilters.

I mysteriously found myself on the TV table - ie the one dominated by people from Sunset+Vine including our esteemed director Daniel Hudson and top cameraman Liam MacLeod. I knew from experience this gave me a fighting chance. Dan was obviously terrified of me (or possibly Kara) and immediately "disconnected" at the slightest sign of a raise.

This gave rise to substantial debate on the sidelines as to what was happening in the Hudson household.

With major names falling by the wayside - including Lina Olofsson, Dr Pauly, Tom Parker-Bowles, Alex Pinkett, Filipe Pacheco, Rury Mason, Martin Derbyshire and Al Laycock, I thought we were heading for another Dortmund situation .. ie despite playing really badly, I come 2nd.

Meanwhile, behind the scenes on MSN, Conrad and Benjo were providing their own insightful comments to keep up my morale. Con thought it helpful to write "tick tick tick" and then hit re-send every two minutes as my blinds got eaten away. Benjo just sent straightforward insults.

Nevertheless, as is my wont, I hung on grimly.

The chat livened up with detailed discussions about the highly-prized PokerStars PCA black velour tracksuit and the Canadians had a gripping conversation about how far away they all live from the nearest point of civilisation. An attempt was made from the rail to fuel an England v Scotland falling-out but luckily Liamski refused to be drawn in.

On other tables, identity was becoming an issue. Some players wanted to keep their user IDs free of blemish and barracking and were refusing to reveal who they were. I accidentally outed a few of those (sorry guys!) while others got outed by their colleagues. In my mind, playing without saying who you were, though, slightly ruined the fun.

The #1 mystery person was Ginsberg who silently and stealthily inched his way towards the final table. Rumours abounded as to Ginsberg's identity. Several people thought it must be Alex Van der Weyer, the mastermind behind EPT coverage who sits beside God/Dan Hudson in the TV truck and predicts what players are going to do with their hands. I tried to start a rumour that it was Conrad - playing illegally on PokerStars (staff can't play on PS except for play money) and only doing as well as he was because he could see all the cards.

Ginsberg remained stonily silent however and during the entire tournament only made one comment as below.


Unfortunately this wasn't enough to identify him.

At the end, it was Frenchman $kai, Ginsberg and Ricardo "Cacopt" Pinto from Portugal fighting it out. Ginsberg seemed sure to take it but the final hand saw a fabulous suck-out from Cacopt to take the $324 first prize and coveted PokerStars player bag. Cacopt had K4 against Ginsberg's AK. Flop K72. Ginsberg checks, Cacopt bets 3600, Ginsberg calls. Turn 9 - Ginsberg all in. Cacopt calls and hits 4 on river for two pairs.

Full results below and thanks all for playing.

1 Cacopt Porto Portugal $324.
2 Ginsberg london United Kingdom $216.
3 $kaï New York France $129.60
4 liamski glasgow United Kingdom $108.
5 Dashiell London United Kingdom $86.40
6 EPTLogger London United Kingdom $70.20
7 youngjezebel Charlottetown PE $59.40
8 Elgeekay London United Kingdom $48.60
9 robinse Hamburg Germany $37.80
10 Davina Darr Hannover Germany - Bubble girl – player bag!!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

EPT Dortmund - the main event

After days of impatient waiting and anxious thumb-twiddling, the EPT Dortmund main event - the EPT Media tourney - finally kicked off last night at 11.15pm. The record starting field of 44 players included some of the hottest names in European poker and created a record prize pool of 880 euros.

Among the international stars taking part were Henning Pohl of Hochgepokert (3rd at the PCA), Marc Convey of Gutshot (who had cunningly bribed the dealer to ensure Aces every hand for the first 80 minutes), Swedish blogger Lina Olofsson and Kjetil Flaten from Norskmagasin who superbly co-organised the event and came up with a structure which absolutely nobody complained about (a record in itself), some unbelievably good-looking guys from Ace magazine, Conrad Brunner (PokerStars.com Head of Communications, EMEA - 2nd at EPT Dublin), Benjamin Gallen - rising star of EPT Live (in French), a couple of cowboys, EPT official photographer Neil Stoddart, the legendary Barry Martin, Owen and Martin from PokerListings, Robin and Rikard from PokerNews, Julien Brecard, Pierre Barnasson, the super-guapo Linderoth brothers from near the Arctic Circle, Klaus from intellipoker and many many more.

Sadly two of the biggest names couldn't take part: Stephen Bartley, our PokerStars blogger, actually had to do some work, and Emanuel Adam from hochgepokert.tv has been posted on permanent laptop security detail in the media room and is never allowed out ever again.

Nevertheless, the field was so intimidating that Annette Obrestad asked if she could deal rather than play - this despite her earlier surprise victory in the 100 euro Heads-Up against Rury "I'm gorgous" Mason from siktilt.com (now planned as a regular EPT fixture). Plus, she's not a journalist, so WTF.

While random Germans looked on in an agony of envy from their fearsomely dull cash games, the EPT's media contingent then proceeded to order massive amounts of drinks as they fought it out for a 320 euro first prize. One by one, the big names fell by the wayside (or were violently pushed) and suddenly we had a final table.

To the amazement of the entire German nation, Mad Harper was on it. Players and railbirds alike were totally stunned. There had not been one single hand that I had played correctly - this being pointed out to me every single time I ever had to show my cards.

I was in the money, and the champagne was flowing. More players were keeling over, I busted Benjamin Gallen, a few more players faded away and then it was heads-up. By this point, neither I nor my lovely opponent Kjetil Flaten gave a damm who won. It was a bit like when Mark Teltscher played his best friend Sander Lylloff heads-up at EPT Barcelona but with slightly less garbling.

I played hand after hand in the worst possible fashion - over-raising, bluffing with nonsense cards in an nonsense fashion etc and grimly held for another 20 minutes or so.

Lina recorded some of my best quotes and more pics on her blog. These (apparently) included: ""Why is it so important who's first to act?", "It's all fine, I have my Swiss account" and "Im so good at heads-up, I have him in a bag". I don't remember saying of these things but Lina is a superb reporter and incredibly accurate so I guess I did.

Then with my 78th absurd bluff of the evening (Kjetil can read me like a book but one of those ones with lots of pictures), it was all over. Kjetil is the new EPT Media champion and I am ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY EUROS RICHER for second place.

Huge thanks to all those who took part and especially Casino Hohensyburg for letting the event take place.

Play resumes at 3pm (the EPT German Open final table, a side event that John Duthie has insisted on fitting into the schedule) and Dortmund has never looked lovelier (now it's covered in snow).

(Corrections to follow)