MPNPT Tallinn 2016
The changing face of Online Poker
Online poker has come a long way since the early days, when socially inept games fanatics who had never set foot in a traditional bricks & mortar casino would sit at home in their underwear, contemplating the implications of a check-raise in a Fixed Limit cash game… Of course, exploiting the absolute privacy afforded us by playing within the safe confines of our own walls still means that the modern online poker player has, at some point, enjoyed the game in various stages of undress (yes – we’ve all done it).
However, times have changed, and poker itself has moved on considerably such that, as its reputation as a pastime has allowed it to assume an air of everyday respectability, so the aims and expectations of the typical poker enthusiast have evolved. Not only are the games far more varied and exciting than they used to be, but whereas players used to deliberately place themselves in the ‘online’ camp, it’s now completely normal to take part in the numerous qualification quests that provide us with the opportunity to win all-inclusive packages to ‘live’ events around the globe for as little as 25 cents.
The rise and rise of the MPN Poker Tour is perfectly indicative of the changed face of online poker, the numbers speaking for themselves. In just a couple of years the popularity of using bankroll-friendly online satellites to qualify for player-friendly international poker festivals in such places as London, Vienna, Sofia and, recently (after a successful first time as host), a return to Tallinn, is reflected in both actual entries at the events and the snowballing in size of the numbers representing 32Red. As far as the latter group is concerned, what started as a few players being spotted sporting the 32Red logo has ballooned to a veritable invasion of what has become known as Team 32Red players, a proud band of typical poker fans simply enjoying a poker holiday that has the added bonus of a potentially big payout! And nearly all have won €1,500 MPNPT packages in a cheap satellite tournament, or even by virtue of a single hand by hitting a royal flush in 32Red’s nightly Flush Royale tournament, where the buy-in is a mere €3!
And therein lies the changing face of modern day online poker. It’s not necessarily all about number-crunching, robotic, multi-tabling bottom line accounts keeping! It’s about having fun, enjoying the game, whether it’s cash or a few Sit & Go tournaments or the thrills and spills of a multi-player event with juicy prizes, jackpots and the prospect of sitting down to play ‘live’ in an interesting faraway place, in the company of fellow poker fans.
Read on to see how some of our Team 32Red players enjoyed their time in Estonia’s picturesque capital, Tallinn, in August.
Old City, Young Country
When you first arrive in Tallinn’s Old Town it’s not surprising to learn that it dates back to medieval times. Moreover, the first mention of the city dates back to 1154. Yet Estonia itself – at least as an independent nation – could be described as one of the world’s youngest if we consider that it came into being in its current form only as recently as 1991.
No longer part of the former Soviet Union, it didn’t take long to thrive and, while the Tourist Office blurb that refers to the zoo ‘boasting the world’s largest collection of mountain goats and sheep’ can be rather misleading, such a description belies the forward-thinking nature of Estonia.
You might be surprised to learn that Estonia has one of the planet’s highest internet penetration rates, for example, and was the first country to use online voting for political elections.
Quite fitting, then, that Tallinn has the enviable distinction of being the first city to act as a return venue for an online-poker oriented international tour in the form of the MPNPT.
Back for more
Even a one-table home game can be problematic for its organiser, so hosting a few hundred players from around the world over a few days is a major undertaking. Inviting large numbers of the poker community to come back for a second instalment is another matter entirely, not least because previous success has already set a benchmark that organisers must endeavour to match. One of the attractions in Tallinn’s case was that the first time Team 32Red players joined fellow competitors in this colourful capital city was during winter, whereas this latest edition of the MPN Tour gave players the chance to explore what Tallinn has to offer in the summer (although, of course, good weather can’t be guaranteed!).
It’s the taking part that counts…
It’s testament to the underlying theme of poker that we can report that a ‘good time was had by all’, as the saying goes, without – this time around – any of our qualifiers succeeding in winning a significant prize. That would have been a nice bonus, but the atmosphere amongst Team 32Red players was fantastic throughout the festival.
Once the proverbial dust had settled it was a home win for the host city to celebrate, as Estonian Ranno Sootla added to what is already an impressive tally of results by winning the €500 + €50 buy-in Main Event to the tune of €31,000.
Running between August 12-14, the tournament totaled 338 entries, thus seeing the prize fund exceed the guarantee to reach a juicy €163,930. Sootla entered the final, heads-up phase of the marathon against Roland Luik with a 7:1 chip lead. Luik had been the erstwhile leader, at one point possessing half of the total chips(!), but he was unable to turn around such a deficit and soon succumbed, his 88 losing to AT to leave him having to ‘settle’ for the €24,000 runner-up prize.
The highest placed Team 32Red member in the Main Event was Mahala Roche (alias: Irish_Aces) of Ireland who qualified via a Sunday Package Final. After ducking and diving for so long and with her hands almost touching one of the 44 paid spots, Mahala suffered every poker player’s nightmare by finishing on the ‘bubble’ in 45th place… However, her first MPNPT event won’t be her last because, as a consolation prize for her efforts, the organisers rewarded her with the €550 buy-in for the next leg of the MPNPT in Morocco (10-13 November). Her overall view of her experience summed up in a few words: “Had a ball… loved the homely feel of 32Red…”
Double trouble (not…)
Kevin Greathead (Kevathallam), from Doncaster, teamed up with fellow Team 32Red player, Julie Whitworth (alias: Ladydriver) for a collective effort that saw them finish in 5th place in the ‘doubles’ side event! Between them these two popular 32Red players have notched up a number of Tour trips, and they epitomize what today’s game is all about.
Meet the Team…
Next stop: Morocco!
Satellites are already underway for the next leg of the MPNPT, which will be held in Morocco, 10-13 November. Win a €1,500 package for this €125,000 Guaranteed event for pennies – go to Tournaments > Satellites in the Poker Lobby and we’ll see you in Morocco!