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EUROPEAN POKER TOUR

Let’s discuss the hands Frank played in Europe. We shall take you from late Night Poker; this was shot in Wales, telecast on American fox TV; through EPC (the poker EM), a major Seven-Card Stud tournament on Earth; it takes place in Baden, Austria, in the month of October every year; so also the Masters Classics of Poker Tournament, which takes place at the Holland Casino in Amsterdam.

THE POKER EM

The European Poker Tour, which takes place in Baden, Austria every year, this place is roughly thirty miles south of Vienna. The tournament could have taken place at any number of places in Europe, but it takes place in a small town in Europe where Frank had spent more than week earlier on. Frank had accompanied a friend whose family lived in Baden; this was after he’d won the WSOP in 1988.

Actually, before it became the location for the European Poker Championship, Frank played poker for two days at Casino Baden in the year 1988. Frank was disturbed by the fact that they levied a 5% charge on the kitty! They took away 20 schillings for a 400 schillings kitty! This means the Casino fills its treasury with all that money.

Frank still remembers that trip for his offensive presentation to the word Strasse (pronounced as STRASSsaa, it means ‘street’ as well as ‘poker straight’). While Frank was playing Seven-Card Stud, he would have Aces up and he’d be full of gusto, only to find four opponents gunning him down by calling him. Then Frank would show his hand with conviction and say ‘Aces up’.

They would be bewildered when they saw his hand and yell, ‘Strasse!’ and go on to laugh at him and show him a five-or six-high straight. Ever since that time, the mere mention of the word strasse made him dizzy and brought up dreadful memories of bad beats. In the side games in Baden, Frank had to put it out of his mind that he would have a winning session in 1988, and exactly ten years later, was unable to win even one kitty in the side games!

(He was lucky he didn’t have to play for longer than forty-five minutes in the side games that year.) The limit Seven-Card Stud European poker championship, which took place in 1998, was strangely organized. Three events were played to meet the criteria, and the best 24 out of 432 players would play in the final (the same process would take place on the first, second and third day), which meant 72 players in all would participate.

Poker would be played until six tables remained each day, following which they would cut down from eight to four players on each table (four each from six tables makes 24). This was a 3,000 schillings (roughly $250) buy-in for the three qualifying events for 1,200 units of chips (the chips are called units).

Also one could buy 1,200 in chips for 3000S, which was optional, plus and add-on for ‘double chips’ at 3,000S for 2,400 in chips. However, if the player exhausted his buy-in and additional 1,200 chips before making it to the fifth level, then the player would be eliminated from the qualifying event (the add-on wasn’t allowed).

If a player had already exhausted his rebuy then the player would have to get rid of some big hands on the fourth and fifth levels, so the online poker player could make it to the sixth level and the ‘double-chip add-on, which was extremely vital. Actually, a player should throw away a ‘rolled up’ hand before the add-on if he’s already had his rebuy, else there was the possibility of being busted in only one hand!

Picture this: The first hand a player has is a pair of Aces in the hole and an Ace in the community – this is the best hand in Stud – and then you have no choice but to quit. Frank is fascinated by some of the ridiculous things that one has to do in poker tournaments!

Although the operators would provide good unlimited food to the players during the time the Casino was open, the player had to pay a compulsory food charge of 4,500S to the Casino. Also, the players had to sign up with a credit card way before the first day of the tournament so that he or she would be certain to get a seat.

Several players were rejected for not having signed up previously, since they’d already filled their 432 players quota. The first qualifying event took place on Thursday, October 7, 1998, at 7:00 p.m., the second event was on Friday at 3:30 p.m., and the third event, on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. The final event took place on Saturday night at 8:00 p.m., immediately following the third qualifying event.

It was pretty inconvenient for Johnny Chan and Kenny ‘Seahawk’ Flaton, since they played their qualifying round on Saturday afternoon, which meant that they’d have to continue playing, for the main event on Saturday night. Johnny Chan had to face yet another bit of bad luck because somebody informed him that Friday’s qualifying event would be held at 7:00 p.m., whereas it actually began at 3:30 p.m.

Jack Fox and Marsha Waggoner were two of the final five at that table at which Frank was on the second day. As luck would have it, Frank ended up in fifth position, whereas only four players could make it to the main event. Ted Forrest, Kenny Flaton, Marsha Waggoner, Ross Lichen, Johnny Chan and Frank were some of the Americans that reached the finals.

Having finished at the ninth position, Frank was truly flustered. Frank's was aware the final eight participants would be telecast live on the Internet in audio as well as video. Therefore Frank had previously called up his relatives (and John Bonetti) to let them know that they should look out for him on the live telecast, since he was quite positive he would win. Unfortunately, he ended up in ninth position.

If that weren’t enough, the player at the eighth position was paid three times the sum that the ninth player was paid ($13,000 as against $5,000). Anyway, someone had to end up in ninth position. The atmosphere at the tournament was very good. Envision an exquisite casino where the people are dressed well and the massive hordes watching the play yelling ‘England, England, England, England!’

Aside the fact that the ninth ranking player got a considerably small sum of money as opposed to the eighth ranking player, the ninth poker hands ranking players’ name is not published in Poker Europan magazine! Despite this, Frank would have been just as dismayed as if he had ended in the second position, the only difference being he would have won $100,000 more than he did now. (The money isn’t as important though; as he enjoyed winning.)

Frank was pleased with the manner in which the event was organized. The events started once more with 432 players on the first, second and third day, and 24 players made it to the finals each day. That is to say 72 players would advance to go into the finals. The prizes were huge, since three qualifying events were organized to establish which players would make it to the final. In point of fact, the first ranking player would receive $210,000.

As was mentioned earlier, a minimum 6 of all the players who advanced to the finals were American: Marsha Waggoner, Johnny Chan, Ross Lichen, Skyhawk Flaton, Ted Forest, and Frank. Of these Americans, three players made it to the 18 finalists; they were Forrest, Flaton and Frank.

Later, when 13 players remained, this particular hand happened between Englishman Paul Alterman and Frank. The limit was 3,000-6,000 units, while the ante was 800 units, and the low card brought it in for 1,500 units. At the onset of this hand, six players were at the table. The low card was three, the next player quit with a five, while Paul had Queen of clubs up and he opened with 3,000 units.

Frank’s pocket cards were the nine of diamonds; the ten of clubs and the up card was the nine of clubs. Since it was Frank’s turn to move, he checked the up cards of Skyhawk and the other poker players who were still to play. Frank determined his pair of nines was the strongest hand because his up cards was higher then all the players after him.

Frank instantly reckoned Paul had a weak hand. So Frank increased the Paul’s bet up to 6,000 units to go. This led to Paul to increase his bet to 9,000 to go. Frank inquired how much money Paul had, to which he replied that he had 1,800 units left, or 10,800 in all. Paul certainly wouldn’t increase his bet if he couldn’t beat Frank (at least he must have a solid hand, as in a Jack, Queen and King), since Paul knew Frank would definitely call his 5,800 units.

Therefore Frank simply called, because if Paul’s up-card Queen was paired, then Frank could quit and save 1,800 units. The next card to turn up was the King of clubs, which appeared ominous, to make his board Queen of clubs and King of clubs. Then a three came up, which didn’t help Frank in any way, so he called his 1,800 unit all-in bet.



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