The Tallinn leg of the 888Live series is underway with a small but intense field intent on making their trip to the Baltics an even more memorable one.
At the end of registration on Day 1 today there were 130 official entries, some of which were re-entries, to set a €52,000 prize pool.
€12,000 of that will go to the winner.
27 of those players - almost a quarter of the field - qualified via online freerolls with all-inclusive packages that included an extra day filled with a “travel through time” tour. See the pictures here.
In addition to that there are extra bounty tournaments, parties and more so players get a lot for their money - if they even spent any.
Seven Minutes for a Royal Flush
7 mins to iPhone6
The 888Live series consists of €440/$550 buy-in tournaments with an added day of cultural or sports activities.
888poker always adds a couple of extra prizes to the event as well - the most valuable being an iPhone 6 for a Royal Flush.
Usually this hand doesn’t occur even in events much longer than this one, but today it was different.
Seven minutes into the tournament Daniel Hanson from Sweden flopped a Royal and took down the iPhone 6, just like that.
888poker also introduced a rule that is not perfectly new but rarely seen in European tournaments – the voluntary re-entry.
The voluntary re-entry allows you to abandon your stack by the end of the re-entry phase and buy-in again with a complete stack.
Let’s say level 8, which is the last re-entry level in this event, draws to a close and the blinds are 300/600/75. If you have only 2,500 chips left that means you’ll come back with three big blinds after the dinner break.
You might now want to blind shove any two in the hope of a double up. With this new rule you can just as well let go of the 2,500 and buy another 25,000 stack without giving your chips to someone else. Is that better then shoving blind? You decide.
We talked with some of the players to find out who they are and where they come from.
Manta, 24, Lithuania
"I come from a small town about 100 km away from the capital Vilnius, but I live in Rotterdam, Netherlands now where I’m studying Finance and Economics.
"This is my first live event. I won an online freeroll satellite, and I simply got lucky. I also live in England before, but to be honest, it feels good to be back in the Baltic.
"I consider my style smart-aggressive, which goes very well for tournaments. But then there’s a lot of luck involved in these, so we’ll see how it goes.
"Also, you should visit Lithuania. It’s the country with the cheapest beer and the most beautiful women."
Ciprian, 38, Romania
"I won a freeroll to get here. When I play live, I usually qualify online. I also went to the 888Live event in Cyprus last year and I played the first two Battles of Malta.
"I missed it last year but I’ll try to come back for 2015. I’m trying to make a living on poker.
"If you live in a small town in Romania, like me, life isn’t that expensive.
"However, they’re regulating the market in Romania now so I’m not sure what’s going to happen.
Carlos, 30, Canada
The guy who probably had the furthest trip to Tallinn considers it as a win on several levels even if we’ve only just passed level 8.
“It’s my first time in Eastern Europe and I won the whole trip in a freeroll. I love traveling and meeting new people, try their food, explore their culture.
"This event with the cultural city tour is perfect for me. We spent a whole day around the city, and now I get the chance to play live for the first time.
"I need to get lucky to win something here, but who knows, I got lucky to get here, too.”
Slava, 38, Ukraine
Slava won his ticket through a €30 steps satellite and this is by far not the first live event he satellited into.
“I’ve been to the Battle of Malta, and I’ve already qualified for the one this year. I’ve also been to a lot of 888 events and I like the different concepts.
"At the BOM I was very focused on poker and I was playing several events. Here in Tallinn, I like the idea of having something outside poker, something I can bring my family into.
"The city and boat trip yesterday were perfect for that kind of family excursion.”
Daniel Hanson, Sweden
The man who picked up the iPhone has already made almost as much money as you get for the first payout level.
“Poker is a hobby of mine”, he says. “I have a regular day job and I play poker whenever I find the time.
"I only play on 888poker. Somehow this works best for me. I used to play a lot of push & fold tournaments.
Nowadays, I’m also playing to qualify for live events. I’ve been to maybe three or four, in Dublin, in Riga, several places. It’s just a nice break from everyday life.”
Marius, 31, Poland
“I play in live tournaments maybe every two months. I won the ticket to come here in a freeroll, top seven out of about 1000 players. But the value is very good, I would recommend them.
"It’s actually the third time I’ve come to Tallinn. I tried to qualify for this one because I really like Tallinn.
"I enjoy the concept of having this event but also something on the side. We had a very interesting day yesterday with the time spent on the tour and the boat. I like this very much.
"I’m also trying to qualify for the Battle of Malta. I’ve been there, too, and I like it there. I played in the Battle of Malta and I want to go back.”