Macedonian Poker Federation Update

The Macedonian Poker Federation has started their own tournament competition 3 times a week at their online poker room just for registered members (Macedonian Citizens over 18 years old). 10 days ago a new set of Macedonian ranking tournaments for all registered members began and will be conducted 3 times a week – every Sunday, Monday and Thursday! Start with 2000 chips 15/30 blinds increasing every 10 minutes. This competition will end on 19 march following a short break for the New Year from 29th December to 11th January. The winner of the competition will take his/her place in the Macedonian national team for the IFP World Cup in Berlin next year.

At the moment only 3 places have been confirmed in the Macedonian national team.

1.Aleksandar Trajkovski (captain of the team)

2. Ljupcho Manevski (Macedonian player of 2013)

3. Suzana Al Salkini (best female player for 2013).

2013 European Nations Cup: Day 1 underway

Check back to this page throughout the day for regular updates, the latest of which will appear at the top of the page.

Play ends in the first session

That concludes the first session of play, with a revised number of 66 hands played rather than the originally scheduled 100.

As you can see from the chart below, France leads by 40 points over second placed Serbia, having scored 205 points, the most of any team in the second half of the session. Serbia’s 191.5 points was enough to move them into second place, making it the most improved team in the second half of the session, climbing seven places.

It’s the top six where teams want to be and the United Kingdom, led by Barny Boatman, can claim to be entrenched in the middle of it, never having slipped further down than fourth and resting in third place at the break.

Bosnia and Herzegovina which, let’s not forget, features not a single player with a live tournament cash, holds on to fourth place after leading earlier today. Denmark, who moved up four places, and Ireland who moved up an impressive five places, make up the rest of the top six.

Other teams are making moves, although not necessarily in the right direction.

Poland moved up three places but that was not the case for Hungary, down five places, Spain down six places and Russia — a team made up of bracelet winners, EPT and WPT champions and which collectively tops the list in terms of earnings — are currently rock bottom in 14th place, 154 points off the pace.

With the first session now complete it’s time for a break. Players are pausing for lunch and so are we before the next session begins shortly. When it does you can find all the action in a brand new post on the website.

The scores after 66:

PositionNationScoreNew PointsChange
2ndSerbia423191.5▲ 7
3rdUnited Kingdom422179▲ 1
4thBosnia & Herzegovina400.5147.5▼ 2
5thDenmark400.5172.5▲ 4
6thIreland400.5196▲ 5
7thLithuania394.5154▼ 1
8thHungarian390.5141.5▼ 5
9thCyprus372132.5▼ 2
10thPoland353170▲ 3
11thSpain353110.5▼ 6
13thNetherlands330.5164▲ 1
14thRussia30995.5▼ 4
Photo gallery

The movers and shakers

3.10pm: After ten more hands the lead has slipped away from Bosnia and Herzegovina and switched to France. The French team scored 88 points in the past ten hands, 21 more than Bosnia and more than another other team.

Also performing well is Hungary, which scored 87 points in the past ten levels, up five spots into third place. The hosts Cyprus move up two places, scoring 80 points while the biggest fallers are Denmark, who dropped from third place down to ninth place having managed to tally just 55.5 points in the past ten hands.

Worst though were the Netherlands which managed only 49.5 points, dropping into last place as Poland, which has begun to turn things around, moved off the bottom into 13th place.

The scores after 30 hands:

PositionNationScoreNew PointsChange
1stFrance25888▲ 4
2ndBosnia & Herzegovina25367▼ 1
3rdHungary24987▲ 5
4thUnited Kingdom24371=
5thSpain242.562.5▼ 3
7thCyprus239.580▲ 5
8thSerbia231.562.5▼ 1
9thDenmark22855.5▼ 6
13thPoland18375▲ 1
14thNetherlands166.549.5▼ 1

If it was all about the money

2.30pm: One thing that the European Nations Cup has demonstrated is that it’s not always about the money. Some of the best players in the world have gathered here for nothing more than national pride and the honour of representing their team.

But what if it was about the money? Which team has won the most and earned the most? Here’s how the top six should stand it if was all about the money.

1st. Russia – $12.3 million

2nd. UK – $11.3 million

3rd. Ireland – $7.3 million

4th. Denmark – $6.27 million

5th. Holland – $4.5 million

6th. Serbia – $340,000

For information, it’s worth pointing out that current leaders Bosnia and Herzegovina have no combined live tournament prize money. The same goes for bottom of the table Poland.

Bosnia and Herzegovina on top after 20

2.20pm: The surprise to everyone outside the borders of Bosnia and Herzegovina is that it is Bosnia and Herzegovina who lead in the early stages, after 21 hands of play.

The Bosnian side, consisting of Alija Sabanovic, Adnam Subasic Kepac, Danijel Kucurski, Igor Tapic, Stojan Prodanovic, Nela Rudovic and Dorde Lovric are unlikely to be heard of on the bigger poker stage have stunned everyone to top the table with 186 points, ahead of Spain, featuring the likes tournament big hitters Juan Maceiras, Ana Marquez and Juan Manuel Pastor, in second place with 180 points.

Denmark and the UK, both featuring players who you would expect to thrive in this competition, are in third and fourth with. At the other end of the counts is Poland, bringing up the rear with 108 points.

Of course, it’s still early, a third of the way through what is only the first of four sessions.

The scores after 21 hands:

 1st Bosnia and Herzegovina 186
 2nd Spain 180
 3rd Denmark 172.5
 4th United Kingdom 172
 5th France 170
 6th Lithuania 169.5
 7th Serbia 169
 8th Hungary 162
 9th Cyprus 159.5
 10th Russia 152
 11th Ireland 149
 12th Estonia 138.5
 13th Netherlands 117
 14th Poland 108

Making sense of the table draw

1.50pm: A look through the seat draw shows the number of big name players representing their countries today.

Andrey Pateychuk of Team Russia

Andrey Pateychuk of Team Russia

Looking at the field in the traditional way there are a few interesting combinations. Lars Bonding and Dara O’Kearney share a table, as do Jorryt van Hoof and Jerome Bradpiece. Ana Marquez and Konstantin Puchkov face off against each other, so too Ben Roberts and former World Series of Poker main event runner-up Ivan Demidov.

Perhaps the most enticing match up features Jesper Hougaard, a double WSOP bracelet winner, Dermot Blain who has an APPT title to his name, and Russian pro Andrey Pateychuk, one of the most successful players in the competition as a former European and World Poker Tour title holder.

However, all is not as it seems. In Match Poker it is about taking on unseen opponents, playing in the same seat at different tables. When you look at the seat draw in this way you notice some pretty fearsome seats.

Seat one includes Ana Marquez, Ben Roberts, Cat Taylor and Rob Hollink. Seat three features Lars Bonding, Andrey Pateychuk and Barny Boatman. Barny’s brother Ross is in seat four, with Jorryt van Hood, Simon Ravnsbaek, Ivan Demidov and Eoghan O’Dea. And a seat along the likes of Juan Maceiras, Dara O’Kearney, Konstantin Puchkov, Jesper Hougaard and Koen de Bakker fill seat five.

These are the matches that will prove fascinating when the details are published later on. It’s all very well beating the players at your table, but a bigger threat lurks just around the corner.

European Nations Cup: Live

view-live-stream1.15pm: A reminder to those not content with just words, the live stream from the European Nations Cup is now available to watch online.

Joining Jesse May in the commentary box is Team Ireland captain Padraig Parkinson, who played in the last Nations Cup in 2011, with the feature table taking place out on the balcony.


Making it official

Introductions complete, time to play

1pm: Most players arrived in Paphos yesterday, undergoing an introductory session before enjoying drinks and canapés at a welcome reception on the deck of the Annabelle Hotel. As the sun set over the Mediterranean players were greeted by the mayor of Paphos, Savvas Vergas, who expressed his pleasure that an event like this, the first of its kind, was taking place in Paphos which will be a European City of Culture in 2017.

Mayor Savvas Vergas

Mayor Savvas Vergas

Mr Vergas was followed by Tony Theo, vice president of the Cypriot Poker Association who expressed his joy that Cyprus, one of the newest members of the IFP, was now the centre of the poker world. Also saying a few words were President of the IFP Anthony Holden and Director of IFP Patrick Nally, who made a stirring reference to “the Grannies”, the group of elderly poker players who were famously arrested last year for playing a small stakes private poker game. It made Cyprus an even more fitting destination.

There were more speeches this morning as players finally settled down to play. “At last it happens,” said Holden, who welcomed the players, all eager to take their seats after the build-up. He refrained from wishing them good luck, pointing out once again that poker is a mind sport, dependent on extreme skill. “So I wish you ‘good extreme skill’”. Awkward perhaps, but fitting.

Holden, a journalist by trade, was forced to coin more text for the poker lexicon. He famously opened play at the last Nations Cup in 2011 with the order “Whatever you do don’t shuffle up and deal”. This time things were different again and, after much deliberation, he instructed players to “Boot up your devices, and proceed.” What it lacks in finesse it makes up with precision. Most importantly, play is under way.

Who’s that guy?

12.30pm: As players take their seats (remember this is based on the liver stream) check out the seat draw here.

For those keeping score at home

11.55am: Play is about to start on the live stream. A reminder that you can watch all the action yourself on our live stream, which you can find at this link, and by clicking on any of the live stream icons dotted throughout this (and future) posts.

For those keeping score at home you can also find a detailed explanation how that side of things works by visiting the website. There you’ll find all the finer points of how it’s all calculated –automatically – which will ultimately determine which six teams advance to the grand final later this year.

Dealers wanted: I.T. experience preferred

11.45am: It takes a variety of talents to be a poker dealer: dedication, attention to detail and a thick skin. At the Nations Cup the dealers require something else though, and that’s a little I.T. knowledge.

Much of what makes the European Nations Cup so fascinating takes place behind the scenes. It’s not just the hands that are played and the players that play them which are worthy of note, a hat tip ought to go to the dealers who yesterday attended an introductory session to how the Nations Cup will be played.


Chip and a chair (and a handset)

The most obvious difference is what makes this event so unique. It’s poker, but there are no cards. Instead, all cards appear electronically. Each player is seated with a hand held device on which their cards will appear for each hand. By simply tapping on the screen players can glimpse their hand. IF they fold they simply push their device forward.

The flop, turn and river is not dealt into the middle of the table, instead it appears on a screen alongside the dealer, who enters all the action on another hand held device, which records every move every players makes.

All of this was of course new to the dealers who had their introduction to the new system yesterday. There are 14 dealers in total, from Cyprus and across Europe, and tournament director Robert Huxley took them through the details of what is likely to be the most unusual event they’ve ever worked. “Hux” eased them in gently.

“You don’t need to do much as a dealer,” he said. “This is a vacation.” Somehow all the paraphernalia on view was enough to deter much smiling.

The "Hux" in action

The “Hux” in action

Hux, a tall Australian with spikey hair that makes him look a little like actor Matt LeBlanc, first talked through the specifics, explaining the intricacies of dealing match poker. Essentially the dealers will play the exact same role they would in any conventional tournament. They are in charge and must keep the action flowing. Crucially rather than handling chips and cards they will be pressing buttons.

Fool proof, right? Well, nearly. Hux has only one major concern. If a dealer “deals” a flop, turn or river before the betting action is complete there is no way back and the hand at that table, as well as at every other table, is in effect ruined.

Maris Naglis (right) handling the situation

Maris Naglis (right) handling the situation

But Hux seemed sure the dealers would be ready for it. There may be no cards but they will still “rap and tap” the table prior to each street (or pushing the button on the next street to be more accurate). Overnight the technical people also inserted another button on the console, adding another layer of confirmation just to be sure. A reserve chute if you like. That moment’s pause should give players time to sound the alarm if action is still live.

That technical mastermind is Maris Naglis, from Latvia, whose infectious optimism makes it hard to imagine there will be any kind of glitch. The whims of the world’s internet certainly don’t faze him.

Naglis, who look to be made up entirely of right angles – cheeks, chin, grin, shoulders, elbows, knuckles, even the parting of his hair – reassured dealers left terrified by the prospect of bringing down the whole system, that it wasn’t that bad. They were the “rabbits” being used to test this new way of playing before, he joked, before Hux corrected him: “guinea pigs”.

“The ‘undo’ button is your friend,” said Maris, in a thick accent. He then ran through various scenarios, all of which seemed to make sense. For everything else he’ll rely on crossed finger (more right angles). Somehow I don’t think he’ll need it. We’ll no doubt find out at some point today.

Watch the action on our live stream

11am: You may have noticed that earlier we said play started at 10am local time. Well, it was more like 10.30am, but then when did a poker tournament ever start on time?

We also said that you can watch all the action yourself on the live stream, and you can – just not yet. The live broadcast starts at 12 noon, reporting the action as if live in order to maintain security and avoid any unfair advantages. The man behind the microphone will be none other than “the voice of poker” Jesse May, who brings his unmistakable flair to the booth once more, reporting on the first hand through to the very last.

Watch for yourself by visiting our Facebook page. Alternatively click on the live coverage image you’ll find throughout this post.

What is this “Match Poker”?

view-live-stream10.20am: To those already familiar with Match Poker it’s perhaps the most intriguing format of Texas Hold’em there is.

Each table consists of six players, one from different national teams. Crucially each table of players is dealt exactly the same hands, so the player in seat one receives the same cards as all the other players positioned in seat one, as do the players in seats two, three, and so on.

It means that in effect the players positioned in seat one at each table are competing against each other, as well as those at their table.

Freed from the capricious nature of the shuffled deck of cards, each is given the same opportunity to win. It’s not about getting good hands; it’s about playing every hand to the best of your ability, whether it’s a pair of illusive aces, or a meagre seven-deuce off-suit.

It’s the purest test of poker ability, and grants skill the edge over chance, with points allocated at the end of each hand based on performance.

All of this takes place over two days of play. This afternoon there will be two sessions of 100 hands (although that may change depending on how the first progresses), with the first starting at 10am and the second at 3pm. Each session of play is expected to last around three hours. Tomorrow a further two sessions will be played, at the end of which the top six teams will emerge.

Along the way a detailed analysis of every single decision made over the course of each hand will be logged, with teams able to examine in great detail the performance of their own players and those of rival teams. The IFP is not just changing how the game is played, it’s changing how it will be talked about, with vast reams of information – a treasure trove for poker players and fans alike – to be made available.

Time to make history

vid-thumb-nations-cup10am: It took a little longer than expected, but the 2013 European Nations Cup is now about to begin. Some 14 teams have gathered here in Paphos, Cyprus, to compete in this unique event at the Annabelle Hotel, perched on the island’s sun burnt southern shores.

At stake is a place in the Grand Final to be staged later this year. For some it will be a simple matter of winning and losing. For others, toiling away back stage, it’s about the development of a fascinating format for Texas Hold’em. For everyone though it’s about making history.

Aside from the advancement of Match Poker, today stands as a significant day in the history of Cypriot poker, it being the first live poker event to be legally allowed across the country.  Since its formation in Lausanne in 2009, the International Federation of Poker has sought to promote poker as a mind sport around the world, easing outdated legal restrictions and allowing the millions of poker players around the world to play without fear of prosecution. This event is, in many ways, proof that that work is paying off.

Among the 14 teams enjoying the spring sunshine are among some of the best players in tournament poker.

As a breed poker players are renowned for a mercenary pursuit of the money, the big prize pools that keep the wheels of the game turning, drawing players to each corner of the globe. But the cynics should take note. The bracelet winners, champions and jobbing pros that make up the teams this weekend found the idea of representing their nation enough of a draw, not to mention being among the first to play this new format. Details of that will be coming up shortly.

What’s more the television cameras are here to capture every hand played, broadcast via our exclusive live stream on the website. It means as well as reading regular updates you can also watch the action yourself when the broadcast, delayed for security reasons, starts at 12 noon. Two sessions of 100 hands will follow, with a further two sessions tomorrow.

It promises to be an captivating couple of days, a spectacle unlike any other poker tournament. We’ll be introducing the teams and the players shortly. But first, you may want to know how it works…

Live updates from the 2013 European Nations Cup, written by Stephen Bartley.

Standings at hand 100

PositionNationScoreNew PointsChange
2ndIreland682281.5▲ 4
3rdLithuania671276.5▲ 4
4thBosnia & Herzegovina668.5268=
5thUnited Kingdom663.5241.5▼ 2
6thSerbia648.5225.5▼ 4
7thSpain645.5292.5▲ 4
8thCyprus643271▲ 1
9thHungary640.5250▼ 1
10thDenmark629.5229▼ 5
11thRussia616.5307.5▲ 3
12thPoland603250▼ 2
13thEstonia581.5238.5▼ 1
14thNetherlands547216.5▼ 1

2013 European Nations Cup: Day 1, session 2

Check back to this page throughout the day for regular updates, the latest of which will appear at the top of the page.

Ireland excel to lead at the halfway stage

As play ends on the first day of the 2013 European Nations Cup, Team Ireland has the provisional lead at the halfway stage, clocking up an impressive score of 972 points tonight.

stack_01Traditionally at this stage of a major poker tournament players would be bagging up chips ahead of their return tomorrow. Here things are a little different. When the teams return tomorrow everything will look exactly the same as before. However, Ireland, and the teams closest to them, will walk back into the tournament ball room with things feeling a little more serious – with a place at the Grand Final just hours away.

Dermot Blain

Dermot Blain

In short Ireland’s performance today was nothing short of outstanding. Counted among the favourites as play began, Ireland, a team made up of big names such as Dermot Blain, Eoghan O’Dea and Dara O’Kearney, got to work with gusto, their captain Padraig Parkinson looking on from a convenient seat alongside Jesse May in the commentary booth.

At the early check points they were perched some way down the scoreboard in 11th place, before an end of session surge moved them into sixth place at the break. But it was in Session 2 where they came to life, scoring 572 points. Their standings at various points showed a team working well: “fifth, third, second, fourth, first.” There is still plenty of play left, but there may be no stopping them.

That’s among the many factors that will be analysed in the coming hours and days. So too will be the current plight of Team Holland under the leadership of Rolf Slotboom.

“As you may have already noticed,” said Slotboom with a wry smile, “we’re not doing very well.”

Actually it’s hard to find a weak spot in the Dutch team, but as the scoreboard suggests something is not working, something that Slotboom and the entire Dutch team will be thinking about tonight.

For others there were good days and bad. The second session wasn’t earth moving for all teams — six of which held the same place they’d had at the half way stage – but others struggled to keep up their momentum. Serbia dropped four places in the second half of the day, down to sixth. Spain moved up three, as did Russia, who had a terrible start but seemed to rally late on. Hosts Cyprus had hoped to soar and had been as high as fourth this afternoon before they slumped to 13th place.

Andrey Pateychuk

Andrey Pateychuk

At times today it felt like there was more to talk about off the table than on it, with so much technology and the possibilities associated with it being too tempting not to discuss. But there was still time to catch sight of hands that will be the talking points in the coming days. Jasper Hougaard’s straight against Andrey Pateychuk’s flush for instance. Poring over that will be one of the resulting pleasures of the ENC.

Jesse May’s enthusiasm in the commentary booth was well-placed. The “Voice of Poker” even coined new terminology. Get used to the notion of “a 14-pointer,” a useful definition of a hand likely to score maximum points for one particular player, a potential game changer for their team.

Tomorrow we start again at 10am, with the live stream showing everything “as live” from 12 noon onwards. The two sessions of play will determine which six teams will advance to the grand final later this year.

We hope to have detailed statistics of Day 1, together with a highlight reel of the day. As I write technicians are pouring over the machinery to empty them of all relevant statistics, and possible a few that aren’t relevant at all. We’ll post those on this page as soon as we get them, so check back here for more details.

In the meantime it’s time to look ahead to tomorrow. It should prove essential viewing. See you then.


The final standings after Session 2

PositionNationScore2nd Session PointsChange
1stIreland972571.5▲ 6
2ndFrance965.5502.5▲ 1
3rdUnited Kingdom965543=
4thBosnia & Herzegovina944.5544=
6thSerbia922499▼ 4
8thSpain901548▲ 3
9thHungary900509.5▼ 1
11thRussia847538▲ 3
13thCyprus842.5470.5▼ 4
14thNetherlands795.5465▼ 1

Ireland leads at close of Day 1

Play ends after the second session with Ireland in provisional lead on 972 points. Officials are now double checking all the scores, which will be coming up shortly, along with a full recap of the day’s play.

Heads down, chins up as play continues

7.45pm: The hands tick by and with them the energy levels of the players. The tournament room itself, a glittering ballroom befitting an event that demands attention, is heating up after the air conditioning, previously capable of freezing burning coal, was shut off.

It makes for a dozy environment, with several players showing signs of fatigue, something that could prove disastrous where points are concerned. A bad decision now could ruin hours of hard work over more than 100 hands. Nobody wants to be the one to let down their teammates.

Cesar Garcia of Spain is among those struggling. He rests his head on the table between hands, arms wrapped around his neck, trying to catch what can only be 25 second power naps. Is that possible? He seems to think so.

When he plays a hand he does the opposite. Rather than leaning forward he leans back, looking at the phone in his hand to see his cards as if they’re stencilled on the ceiling. Then he falls forward again to either play or fold.

Everyone looks tired on table one, with heads resting on hands, while on the opposite side of the room Dutch pro Rob Hollink balances his forehead on the table edge, jolting upright as if hoping nobody had noticed. There’s certainly less noise in the room now, perfect for a few minutes shut eye.

Ironically one player not falling asleep is the one known to play high stakes poker in what appears to be a permanent state of exhaustion.

Ivan Demidov, who famously finished second to Peter Eastgate in the World Series of Poker main event in 2009, is alert and sharp as his table plays on. Team Russia is on the rise from their former position in the doldrums. This new look Demidov could be partly responsible.

The Russian is one of the big hitters at this year’s European Nations Cup and is the highest earning player of all those competing this weekend. Earlier today he talked to Felicia Field at the half way stage.

At the feature table

Who’s up, who’s down, who stays the same?

6.55pm: Looking through the latest standings and it is Team Ireland in the ascendant, led by Padraig Parkinson, who currently offers his expert insight from the commentary booth. They move into second place, up four spots having scored 281.5 points since the last count, the third best total. Lithuania is also up four places, into third place.

The best total belonged to Russia, who started rock bottom in 14th place but scored 307.5 points, moving up three places to 11th.

The Netherlands continue to struggle, being slightly more than 100 points off of sixth place. They are the new occupants of 14th place and in need or some major inspiration when play ends later tonight. Bosnia and Herzegovina, one of the underdog teams, doggedly hold on to a top six spot while neighbours Serbia slide down the standings.

Scores at 100

PositionNationScoreNew PointsChange
2ndIreland682281.5▲ 4
3rdLithuania671276.5▲ 4
4thBosnia & Herzegovina668.5268=
5thUnited Kingdom663.5241.5▼ 2
6thSerbia648.5225.5▼ 4
7thSpain645.5292.5▲ 4
8thCyprus643271▲ 1
9thHungary640.5250▼ 1
10thDenmark629.5229▼ 5
11thRussia616.5307.5▲ 3
12thPoland603250▼ 2
13thEstonia581.5238.5▼ 1
14thNetherlands547216.5▼ 1

Play continues in Session number 2

5.45pm: Session two is now under way with France looking to shore up their lead. After 16 hands they have held on to that lead, with the top six places as follows:

1st. France – 563.5

2nd. United Kingdom – 547.5

3rd. Lithuania – 526.5

4th.Serbia – 524

5th. Ireland – 523.5

6th. Denmark – 505.5

As viewers watching the live stream will notice there are a new cast of players out in the sunshine, including three of the stand out players in this year’s European Nations Cup.

In seat three is Andrey Pateychuk. The Russian is one of the most exciting players on the tournament scene of late. In 2011 he won EPT Sanremo in impressive style, actually denying English captain Barny Boatman a first EPT title (Boatman went on to finish sixth).

Then a month later he did it again, winning a World Poker Tour event in Prague and cementing his name among the players of the year. Needless to say he also cleans up online, although right now his opposition is tough, with Jasper Hougaard from Denmark, and next to him Irishman Dermot Blain.

It’s a mouth-watering line-up well worth the attention of the cameras and all of which can be see on the live stream.

Anyone already watching will have just seen the type of hand perfect for this type of event that encourages analysis in great depth back in the club house.

Pateychuk found ace-jack of clubs while Hougaard got creative with jack-ten of hearts. The ace-high flop put Pateychuk way ahead. Hougaard might not have liked the flop too much but banked on showing strength and continued to raise on the turn, an eight. Pateychuk, still strong called and watched a queen hit the river.

As both Jesse May and Padraig Parkinson in the commentary booth said: “whoa.”

The queen made Hougaard a straight, but crucially it was the queen of clubs, giving Pateychuk the nut flush. Remarkably Hougaard didn’t lose the lot, but it was still a significant chunk, and it will be fun to see how other players in the same spot played the jack-ten.

Team meetings commence

The Dutch and Lithuanian teams enjoy lunch in formation.

The Dutch and Lithuanian teams enjoy lunch in formation.

5.05pm: Of the many scenes you’ll find at the poker tournament they’re not normally as colorful as those seen during lunch, between sessions at the Annabelle Hotel. It’s not every day that poker players look like a field of tulips. Here the Dutch and Lithuania teams take a break.

Coming up when play restarts shortly will be another session of 66 hands with the seat draw being identical to that of session one earlier this afternoon.

To recap the event is played in Match Poker, using a cumulative scoring system which rates each player’s performance in a hand, compares that to all the other teams and then awards points, 14 through to one, depending on position. For a more detailed analysis of that check out the scoring page on the website, while you can catch up on the events of Session one from earlier this afternoon by clicking here.

Coming up is another session of play lasting approximately three hours. The scores will continue to be tallied to those from the previous session. So far France lead Serbia by 40 points, while the United Kingdom trails Serbia in third by a single point.

By the close of play we should get an idea of who the teams will be challenging for a spot in the Grand Final. Can France extend their lead? Can Russia, the highest earning side when combined, find their way out of the basement?

And don’t forget you can follow all the action yourself on our live stream, featuring Jesse May in the commentary box.

Live updates from the 2013 European Nations Cup, written by Stephen Bartley.

2013 European Nations Cup: Day 2, Session 3

The standings at the end of the third session

7thUnited Kingdom1438
What type of player are you?

3.45pm: Using mobile phones has inserted new a level of behavioral analysis into the game, notably how players are looking at their cards.

Of course, there are no cards in Match Poker. Instead they appear digitally on a small mobile phone kept in front of each player. But, just as some players have unusual ways of checking their cards (almost to a point where no two players are the same), so they also do when it comes to checking their phone.

There are various ways of doing this it seems. There are the texters, like Ana Marquez for instance, who look like they’re sending messages instead of checking their cards.

Then there are the star-gazers, like Cesar Garcia yesterday, who hold their phone above their heads as though checking the structural integrity of the ceiling.

Others hold them at arm’s length, like they’ve left their reading glasses behind, while others cannot disassociate the device with their own mobile and, like all of us, cling to it like a safety blanket (The “OMG-ers”?), fondling its edges waiting for it to bring good news.

Green shoots of recovery?

2pm: Has the damage been done to the UK team? After keeping within the top six ever since the start yesterday the team, led by Barny Boatman, who has proved himself to be among the most analytical captains, has dropped to tenth place in the space of 30 hands.

Boatman, who picked his team specifically for their suitability for the Match Poker format, looked to have got the balance just right. Alas this has been a bad spell. Can they turn things around ahead of the break?

There are green shoots of recovery for the Dutch. Having started the day in last place they scored 104 points in the first 20 hands of the day, more than any other team. It didn’t move them off the bottom, but started their revival, for in the next 20 hands they scored 127 points, the fourth highest of any team. That added enough buoyancy to reach 13th place. More importantly, they’re now only 36 points behind sixth place Poland.

Top six after 167 hands

1st. France — 1,124.5 points

2nd. Ireland — 1,107.5

3rd. Estonia — 1,093.5

4th. Bosnia & Herzegovina — 1,087.5

5th. Serbia — 1,077

6th. Poland — 1,071

Dutch courage

1pm: On the live broadcast a short while ago was Rolf Slotboom, captain of the Dutch team which currently rests in last place.

The Dutch came into the European Nations Cup as among the favourites with more than $4.5 million in combined live tournament earnings, not to mention players such as Rob Hollink, an EPT Grand Final winner, and Jorryt van Hoof, who is in a run of form having reached three final tables in the past six months.

But something didn’t work for the Dutch team yesterday. They invested significant time in analysing how they would play but all they could conclude was that it wasn’t working.

But there’s a spirit in the team that will prove harder to dislodge. They intend to put right the mistakes of yesterday and redeem themselves. They know they should be doing better. Today is their chance to show that.

This morning they were once more huddled around a laptop analysing the latest statistics made available to all captains. As Slotboom pointed out, the new scores tightened things up a little in the Dutch’s favour. They are now only 90 points away from sixth place, much better than the 120 points they expected to trail. Of course Slotboom went even further. It may be 90 points from sixth place but that means only 108 points to second. As Slotboom put it, with renewed determination, eyeing a miracle comeback: “Second place is the place up for grabs!”

The current feature table

All to play for as Day 2 gets underway

12.30pm: Welcome back to Day 2 of the European Nations Cup. Yesterday 14 teams played two sessions of Match Poker, the intention behind to position themselves as high up the leader board as they could, leaving themselves the best chance of reaching the Nations Cup Grand Final later this year. To do that they need to secure a top six place, and as the scoreboard below suggests no team is out of it yet.

4thBosnia & Herzegovina891.5
6thUnited Kingdom882

As you’ll notice from the scoreboard, there have been a few overnight changes from the provisional scores published at the end of Session 2.

The reasons for the changes are technical. At the heart of the Nations Cup is the technology that tracks every hand, every decision made. The occasional drawback is that slight errors can skew results, which is what happened on one table in the first session of play yesterday. Rather than discount hands that were effected, organizers took the decision to award the affected players the average score for their particular seat.

The result of that was not that significant, no more than a 3 per cent swing (better than most opinion polls). However, it does mean a few changes.

The most obvious one is at the top where the top two teams, Ireland and France, switch places. The United Kingdom, which had originally been in third place, drop down to sixth, while Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, and Hungary fill the other top six places.

view-live-streamAt the bottom the situation is still the same for the Netherlands, who remain in 14th place. However, all may not be lost for the Dutch, as you can read about here later.

The teams now have two sessions to turn all that around. The most important aspect of the new scores is that the difference between top and bottom is much less, even more so when you consider the difference between last and the all-important sixth place. With that new lifeline in place it might not be unreasonable to expect a few surprises today.

It will culminate with a results ceremony later tonight where the winning team will be announced along with the other qualifying sides. There will also be awards for the Most Valuable Players.

That, however, is some ten hours away or so. First there’s some poker to play. Don’t forget, you can watch all the action “as live” on our exclusive live stream, available at this link, or by clicking on any of the live coverage icons throughout this and subsequent posts.

We should have a great day of poker ahead of us. For anyone who missed what happened yesterday, check back through the news coverage of the day for Session 1 and Session 2. You can also watch this…

Live updates from the 2013 European Nations Cup, written by Stephen Bartley.