EPT Kyiv: Poker in the dark

August 19, 2009

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You’ve heard of Poker After Dark, well, EPT Kyiv has just introduced us to Poker In The Dark. A power cut within the past hour at the Palace of Sports plunged the tournament cavern into pitch black. There are no windows in this huge hall and the total blackout, interrupted only by cellphone screens, camera flashes and the flickering flames of cigarette lighters, reminded us of our dubious histories in soft rock. It’s the final song at a Scorpions gig: a vast arena, hundreds of people gathered in front of a stage, lit only by flames waved aloft.

“New chip leader!” declared one press-room wag, suggesting that a few players might take the chance to pilfer from their neighbours. Being of the circumspect kind, several players lifted their stacks from the felt. Others did not have the opportunity: they were already in hands with their chips in the middle. There was at least 30,000 in a pot on one central table, but no one could see the cards.

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Shaun Deeb ponders the blackout

Elsewhere, Dario Minieri had raised pre-flop and two other players were waiting to act. “I can’t get a tell, Dario,” said Andrew Malott, to widespread chuckles around the surrounding area.

The interruption was apparently caused by a construction company nearby cutting the power to this entire section of Kyiv — I shudder at the thought of the streets if traffic lights are out — and the building maintenance company eventually found the switch for the back-up generator as the lights buzzed back on.

Before that, though, the tournament staff had also found their back-up generator: Alen Babic with a flashlight. The ever-reliable member of Thomas Kremser’s officiating staff went round one table at a time providing the illumination for players to finish the hand they were on.

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Alen Babic’s tie (pink) illuminated as its owner keeps EPY Kyiv going

The spirit of the London blitz was very much in evidence as players joked their way through the 15-minute interruption. There was no more harm done than the odd media representative’s laptop battery draining, and play is now underway once more.

NEIL STODDART’S BLACKOUT GALLERY

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