Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Travel Report: EPT13 Prague, Day 5 -- Finished

All poker tournaments have structures which in most cases extend out a few levels beyond where the event actually concludes. It varies, of course, but most of the multi-day, multi-table tourneys I’ve ended up reporting on over the years have by now settled into a predictable pattern which finds them ending somewhere in the early-to-mid 30s, level-wise.

Tournament directors have formulas they’ve internalized that give them a good idea what to expect when predicting when an event will end. A few of my tourney reporting colleagues over the years have similarly come up with their own ways of calculating when, say, the bubble will likely burst, when bustouts will slow down thereafter once in the money, and when a tournament will likely conclude.

Regarding the latter, one rule of thumb I’ve heard has to do with counting the number of big blinds in play once a tournament reaches heads-up, then figuring that once the two remaining players’ average stacks dips below 50 BBs (or 100 BB between them), the sucker should be ending not too long after that.

For instance if there are 10 million chips in play, you look for the level where the blinds reach 50,000/100,000 and figure that’s around the point things are going to end. That’s hardly a hard-and-fast rule, of course -- as Tuesday night’s final day of the Eureka Prague Main Event final table proved.

There were eight players to start the day at noon, and with the average stack at around 40 big blinds we knew it wasn’t going to be a super-quick day, but didn’t really think it would last all of the way to midnight as it did. In fact I don’t think anyone did, given that they never even took a dinner break, in part because they’d whittled down to four players by the dinner hour, then got to three not long after that and so it seemed like things might be ending sooner than later.

But three-handed play went on for a long while, protracted further by some attempted deal-making that didn’t work out initially, then finally happened. They got to heads-up a little after 10:30 p.m., with Hubert Matuszweski sitting with about 32 million and Vladas Tamasauskas with just over 18 million to begin. (I was mentioning those long names yesterday -- as it happened, two of the longest lasted the longest.)

The pair made it to the end of Level 39 in which the blinds were 500K/1M, meaning there were just around 50 big blinds total in play. When the tournament clock reached the end of that level, we could help but laugh at how rather than go on to Level 40, it simply read “FINISHED.” Which is exactly how me and my blogging partner Jack were feeling right about then.

“We’re through the looking glass now,” I joked in the blog. “Uncharted territory. Your maps are no good here.”

They soon got a Level 40 programmed in there, and many more small, checked-down pots followed. Somehow they got all the way to Level 41, where the blinds were 800K/1.6M -- i.e., just around 32 big blinds total between them. Soon enough Matuszweski -- a.k.a. “The Hube” (our delirium-inspired nick for him) -- won the thing, and we really were finished.

More exciting for me, though, was the fact that Vera arrived in Prague during that long endgame and will be sharing the next week here with me! Looking forward to enjoying the city some more with her over these next days, when people aren’t carrying poker tournaments deep into the nights.

Am moving over to help with the EPT Prague Main Event, which is already and running. Visit the PokerStars blog to follow that one all of the way to the end early next week.

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