The Italian Poker Tour is one of the liveliest poker tours around, both in terms of players and action. Italy has embraced poker with open arms, taking on board the theatre of the game enthusiastically. Under the stewardship of Team PokerStars Pro Luca Pagano, poker and the IPT has become huge in Italy, not least of all because of the introduction of Pagano's accumulator format where you can play up to three Day 1's - and take all those chips through to Day 2.
How the accumulator format works
* You can buy into any and all of the three Day 1's, each entry costs €770.
* Each day is played out as a freezeout: no re-buys are allowed.
* At the start of Day 2, you get to combine all your Day 1 finishing stacks into one mega-stack and the rest of the tournament plays out as normal.
* Players are able to enter until the end of level 6 each day.
"It's a great for formula for everyone," says Pagano. "It's is a great way for occasional players to spend as much as they feel comfortable with (one, two or three times the buy-in) with the opportunity to play in one of the most prestigious event of the year, which has one of the best structures ever. For professional players particularly, it's is a great way to reduce variance during Day 1."
Despite a reduced buy-in, the IPT has moved its entry from €2,200 to €770, the prize pools remain huge because more of more players and more entries. The IPT in October registered more than 1,000 entries. And if you want to shoot for less than that, there's also a €200 Mini IPT starting on April 4, just before the EPT festival kicks off.
Players can approach the accumulator event with different strategies, which makes for an interesting new dynamic in the tournament, so Pagano tells us in these following four strategies:
1. Make Day 2
The aim of tournament poker is to still have chips at the end of each day. One accumulator strategy is to aim for that. If you make it on your first attempt, that's great. You have a foothold in the second stage of the tournament. You can then play more aggressively on the other days to build that stack.
2. Going for the win
Many players like to play for the win and by playing all the Day 1's you'll have more chips and opportunities to build up a huge stack. Given that some players will be playing one bullet players, it can pay to play aggressively from the start and try to accumulate as many chips as possible. If you bust then you come back for Day 1B, then Day 1C. It's very possible to win more chips in one day playing aggressively than across all three playing very tight.
3. Slow and steady
Do you know the story of the tortoise and the hare? The hare races ahead, but the slow and steady tortoise wins the race. You can opt to let the aggressive players build up a big stack on Day 1C, because they may well have nothing from Day 1A and 1B, where you managed to bank a close to average stack at the end of play. Three Day 1 average stacks will combine into a big stack for Day 2, at which point you can start to apply some real freezeout pressure.
4. Keeping an eye on your budget
You can just play one or two days of the event, which saves you money on your buy-in, but still gives you a good chance to go deep and, should you make the money, you'll be getting an even large return on investment! Trapping players who are playing all three starting days can get you paid off.
The IPT Main Event and Mini IPT take place at the start of the festival, just before the big money EPT Sanremo Main Event begins. The Mini IPT starts Friday, April 4 with a €200 buy-in and up to three accumulator starting days on April 4-6.
Check out the full EPT Sanremo schedule here.
Rick Dacey is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog. Luca Pagano is a member of Team PokerStars Pro and has reached a record seven EPT final tables.