The "cards up" coverage of live poker tournaments on EPT Live is a relatively new addition to the multi-media experience. It means that viewers at home can actually learn more about the tournament than the players involved in it; they see all the cards all the time and there's not much more you can actually know.
But gain for spectators at home can make it an incredibly confusing business actually being here in Monaco. In order to maintain the integrity of the game, it is necessary that the "live" broadcast actually goes out an hour after the action takes place. You can't have cards up coverage live unless you want to put the players in an exclusion zone and keep them there until everything is done.
It means that being here in Monaco is like existing in two time zones simultaneously, with only a short walk dividing the two. We have the live stream on our screens here in the press room, from which most of the text reports are being compiled, but it is also possible to take a walk into the future by just nipping down the stairs and into the Salle des Etoiles.
That, however, is a double-edged sword: we have knowledge just around the corner but are not allowed to share it. I mean, I'm writing this now in the full knowledge that Jason Mercier is bust. But I also know that you don't know that. However, you will know it the time I'm actually permitted to publish the news, so I am experiencing a particularly futile smugness. It's the worst kind.
Our concerns are considerably less important than the players', of course, and they too are finding things a little confusing. Mercier didn't seem to realise that he was under the same reporting restrictions as the rest of us and was quickly forced to delete a tweet in which he revealed Grant Levy's elimination in eighth. Oops.
And Daniel Negreanu also didn't seem to realise that this was a cards up broadcast. He tweeted:
Ok twitter friends since we are on a one hour delay I may be asking those of you watching eptlive.com for hand info soon!— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) May 12, 2013
We have been joined in the press room today by Arnaud Mattern, who is watching the stream (as, surely, are all top poker players). Mattern was a little surprised that Negreanu didn't have a team of trusted friends assembled already, the best minds he could find, to analyse the feed and talk through hands.
One suspects that the likes of Andrew Pantling might have that kind of back-up, but even Pantling realised some time after the start of play that the dynamics change when there's a cards up broadcast. Early in the final table, Pantling, on the button, called a Jason Mercier open with queen-five. He then shoved Mercier off the pot on the flop and picked up a nice pot. But when he did it again, calling on the button with king-eight suited, Negreanu four bet from the blinds.
Negreanu had kings, but Pantling wasn't to know it. He folded, and as he did went to his phone, saying something like: "Oh yeah, this thing is being streamed." He seemed to be suspecting that Negreanu was squeezing him light from the blinds, realising that his tactic of a loose call on the button may have been sprung.
As commentators said in the press room, this could actually represent a really significant moment. Pantling has been playing utterly superbly this week in Monaco, but this could represent the blunting of one of his sharpest weapons.
So just remember as you're enjoying the coverage: your gain can be plenty of others' pain.
A quick note on how to follow our coverage of the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo® Casino European Poker Tour Grand Final. Head to the main EPT Monaco page, where you will find hand-by-hand coverage in the panel at the top of the page, which also includes current chip counts and payouts so far.
There is also hand-by-hand coverage of the €25,000 High Roller event on the High Roller page.