Thursday, October 20, 2016

Travel Report: EPT13 Malta, Day 1 -- Gambling with the Nuts

Day 1b of the Italian Poker Tour Main Event here in Malta was a busy one, with a big turnout of well over 500 players bringing the total field for the €1,100 event up to 775.

Work-wise the day was fun, highlighted by getting to reunite with the various folks who regularly help cover and run these European Poker Tour festivals. The Portomaso Casino is nice and the tournament room well arranged to make it easy getting around. We’re actually perched a couple of floors up from the players (see the shot above pointing up at the media section). That means we have some stairs to negotiate frequently, although escalators and an elevator help in that regard.

Not too much stands out as far as the poker goes -- it being a Day 1 flight, that’s typically the case. Probably the most memorable hand I saw involved William Kassouf getting knocked out when his pocket aces were cracked versus an opponent’s pocket fours, a four on the board doing him in.

“Gambling with the nuts,” he said (more than once) as a kind of punctuation mark on his tournament, echoing the phrase we’ve heard a lot during the WSOP coverage on ESPN.

I ended up talking to Kassouf sometime afterwards a little bit about the hand -- I’d caught part of it but missed a preflop step, and he patiently helped fill in what I’d missed. A friendly dude, as has come across at times on the shows and pretty consistently on the interviews I’ve heard.

As I was talking about earlier in the week, everyone is forming opinions about him right now, with most doing so on the abbreviated evidence of the ESPN coverage. Not to say my interaction wasn’t also very limited, but he seemed an amiable fellow.

Cutting it short as I’m still in catch-up mode as far as sleep goes. Go over to the the PokerStars blog to follow along with what’s happening in Malta.

Photo: courtesy Manuel Kovsca / PokerStars blog.

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