Good luck to our Team32Red players who are playing today in the Main Event. As usual with the MPN Tour, it can be a particularly challenging task to force your way through the jungle to reach the welcoming clearing that is Day 2, especially with the added complication created by the gradually narrowing window afforded those who factor rebuying into their strategy.
49 players made it through via Day 1a, including a handful of Team32Red players, and we can expect more than that number emerging with their stack intact later tonight, not least due to some who didn’t survive yesterday’s marathon coming back for a second bite at the cherry.
Of course, this wouldn’t be a 32Red blog report without something entertaining that has nothing whatsoever to do with poker and, sure enough, the ‘other’ news features yet more hidden talents of our players – this time in the world of 10-pin bowling (obviously). The now traditional MPNPT party, after being hosted in Sofia, for example, at a nightclub that required its clientele to kindly leave their guns in the cloakroom, was held in the more conventional surroundings of the bowling alley that is a couple of floors down from the casino in one of the great domes of this unique Gasometer mall. Much fun was had by all, with the free drinks no doubt providing extra confidence to the players as they took aim for the distant pins. And it wouldn’t be the same without either a competitive flavour of some sort, or prizes at the end of it… So, let’s hear it for Bruce Shannon – not satisfied with ‘only’ bagging himself a Main Event ticket in a satellite earlier, he also proved himself a bit of a ringer bowling-wise, emerging top dog to claim the first prize of a €200 MPNPT satellite ticket. Shout also to Simon Millard and Joel Holmberg for finishing 2nd and 3rd, winning a €80 ticket and a €22 ticket respectively.
Despite the fact that January is the coldest month of the year in Austria, it doesn’t feel like that (unless you’re used to the climes of Gibraltar, of course), which makes exploring the city for players considerably less hazardous than the treacherous conditions allowed the last time the MPN tour hit the Austrian capital.
The roulette wheel at our info desk has proven to be a hit once again, and augurs well for Team32Red’s growing presence at tour events… As for the Main Event itself, most of our players will be going into battle in today’s Day 1b, but yesterday did see a few team members chancing their arm.
The star of the day was Artur Yarovoy of Russia who managed to turn his initial starting stack of 25,000 chips into a eye-watering 256,000! Given that a number of the 49 who made it through the grueling 13 levels hadn’t even seen their stack size double, a ten-fold transformation is all the more impressive.
David Lappin delivered once again, amassing 142,000 chips, while Phill Huxley decided, as proceedings finally drew to a close well after the witching hour, that an all-in punt with A4 would be a pragmatic strategy, leaving him with either a healthier looking stack or the ‘luxury’ of being able to plan the days ahead. As luck would have it an ace magically appeared on the flop and he heads into Day 2 on Saturday with 50,000 chips. It goes without saying that Dara O’Kearney went through to day 2, with 69,000 chips…
Meanwhile, the result of an enormous and exciting family pot of various stack sizes left Angus Dunnington wishing he’d ignored his inner voice to heed the advice of the old adage that ‘discretion is the better part of valour’ and instead turned it on its head, the decision to hold back a chunk of his stack denying him the opportunity to win a tournament-changing side pot. He then what he described as the as the comical ‘embarrassment’ much later of his table breaking up and having to withstand the almost pitiful looks of the whole table as he set down his tiny amount of chips (‘stack’ would be a misnomer). Fortunately he bobbed and weaved his way to Day 2 with a comparatively proud stack of 32,000.
Today is the final table of the Main Event and, while no Team32Red players remain in the hunt (last man standing was Declan Rice from Ireland, who finished in 31st place to win 13,000 Dirhams), it’s still been an exciting Sunday at this amazing venue.
After the very popular Go Kart racing yesterday came another special event which the winner will be invited back for more luxury poker in the sun (in the shape of a Deepstack Poker package) – and this time the challenge was to emerge victorious in a Paintball competition!
Meanwhile, Christmas came early last night for David Lappin when he won the High Roller event to the tune of 67,000 Dirhams, and Angus Dunnington managed to survive to the money in the MPNPT Mazagan Poker Cup despite a seriously depleted stack in a tournament that seemed to go on and on (and on). And there’ll be more opportunities for Team32Red today thanks to a Doubles event, where the players of each ‘team’ change over at each new level, and a Hyper Turbo Freezeout that promises to end the festival with a bang…
We all know poker is a cruel game, but it’s always worth mentioning because this truism will, inevitably, help describe the manner in which a few Team32Red players met an untimely end as Day 1B drew to a close.
The numbers were significant yesterday, with over 200 entries being more than double what we saw on Day 1A. The organisation has been as impressive as the surroundings – both inside and out. Certainly, nobody can use the venue – including the spacious, airy playing hall itself – as an excuse to add to the usual bad beat stories.
Even the dinner break provided those players who were savvy enough to avoid the mad rush to the buffet with some welcome entertainment. It’s not often during a poker tournament that a belly dancer appears and rattles off a fantastic routine – as you get stuck into a tasty stew – within a couple of metres of your table! This happened to Angus Dunnington who, suitably inspired, returned to the tournament after earlier being down to 4K, to be all-in heads-up with QQ v JJ… Alas the first card to appear was a dreaded J but, as we said at the beginning: poker is indeed a cruel game.
Meanwhile, a quick update as a long Day 1B ended and Day 2 begins (* Team32Red):
|Ayoub Khlifi Hajji||276,300|
|Daniel El Keslassy||Morocco||121,200|
|Abdelmajid Es Safi||112,500|
|Houcine El Othmani||93,300|
|Said El Youssi||Morocco||90,000|
|Fouad El Mouhajir||Morocco||88,400|
|Mohamed Ali Houssami||Morocco||76,000|
|Mohammed Mechiche Alami||41,200|
|Abdellah El Ghrari||Morocco||35,100|
|Jukka Olive Ylinen||Finland||24,900|
|Gaspar Diogo Regerio||Portugal||24,200|
Sun’s out, guns out, as they say, and here at the palatial Mazagan Beach Resort – Morocco’s playground for the rich and famous – we’re getting ready for Day 1B of this special MPN Poker Tour installment, and hoping that our Team32Red players will make the most of their ammunition today.
Play starts at 2pm and the field is expected to be bigger than the 90+ from Day 1A, thanks to the influx of hopefuls arriving yesterday. Poker fans are here from across the globe, with Team32Red being no exception – as well as coming from England, Ireland and Scotland we have players from as far afield as Canada and Ukraine, which must have been quite a journey…
It’s been pointed out that there was quite a lot of unconventional strategy being used yesterday, which is indicative of the first day at these events being typically more heavily represented by ‘local’ players. Today is likely to be quite a contrast, and with the tour now well established, a number of players will have built up a mental database of the opposition that will help in navigating their way through what promises to be a tough competition.
Whoever thought poker was for middle aged men in dark, smoke-filled rooms hasn’t qualified for live events at 32Red. Here’s the view our Team32Red players will wake up to for the next few days – the luxurious surroundings of the Mazagan Beach Resort, set behind a few miles of private beach a little south of Casablanca.
This promises to be one of those festivals where the poker itself feels almost like a distraction which, of course, is a good thing. Among the numerous activities on offer are horseback riding on the beach to the backdrop of the amazing Atlantic Ocean, go-karting or – at the other extreme – spa facilities…
Someone is going to be inspired by the amazing conditions and emerge the winner of the €125,000 Main Event, and we’ll keep you posted with updates – poker and otherwise – throughout. Many of our players won their €1,500 MPN Poker Tour package for the price of a beer; some for free – so while you’re keeping up with the action, remember to also keep an eye on our satellites for future festivals.