Forum Files: Trouble in Barcelona

Alex Weldon : August 31st, 2015

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The EPT Barcelona is all over now, but controversy remains, as it has in the past. In previous years, we’re heard stories of hotel rooms being broken into and laptops compromised for online play. This year, we learn that the the EPT stops here apparently have no cameras, that chip discrepancies during color-ups in the tournaments are not uncommon, and that the higher-ranked floor staff in the adjoining Casino Barcelona will enforce the letter of house rules even when doing so assists a player in a blatant angle-shoot.

These scandals are of course lighting up the forums, and the timing is particularly unfortunate, as the EPT Barcelona saw a record turnout this year. Will attendance be down next year as a result, or will everyone have forgotten about it by then? That remains to be seen, but in the meantime, you too can get on board the outrage express in this week’s Forum Files.

Break-ins, trojans and background reading
Thread: My unbelievable EPT Barcelona story. Hotel rooms in arts barcelona broken into to plant trojans

This story is not a new thread at all, but dates back to the 2013 EPT Barcelona, when Jens Kyllönen, who goes by “Jeans” on the forums, reported that his room at the Hotel Arts, where the EPT is held, had apparently been entered several times by persons unknown. He’d come back to his room to find his laptop missing, left to report it, then came back to find it replaced and apparently tampered-with. It then went missing a second time, only to reappear in the hotel lobby.

Hotel security were first unhelpful, claiming that their cameras were not working and that there was little that could be done. Later, when the casino and PokerStars became involved, the official story became that Kyllönen’s roommate and friend was responsible, but Kyllönen has never accepted that story. The whole saga is ridiculous and disturbing, and well worth a read, especially as the thread has been rekindled today in the wake of the other complaints, with a new poster going by “Scusi” coming forward to report that he and his roommate have had weird and suspicious laptop troubles since staying at the Hotel Arts during this year’s EPT.

Freeroll for local angleshooter
Thread: Cheated out of €18k at Casino Barcelona

Dani Stern, who goes by Ansky on the forums, took to Twitter and the forums late last week to report that he’d been taken for about €18k,000 by an angle-shooting scheme in a high-stakes Pot-Limit Omaha cash game at the Casino Barcelona. Stern had gotten his chips in three ways on the flop, with his set of Kings up against one player’s wrap and a local player’s overpair of Aces. All three players agreed to run it twice; the AAxx player hit his Ace on the first runout, while Stern’s set held for the second.

The player with the wrap had the fewest chips, so both the main pot and the side pot would ordinarily be split. However, the player with the Aces suddenly began insisting that running it twice is only allowed for heads-up situations, so only the (much smaller) side pot should be split. Everyone involved insists that he’d agreed to run it twice for the entire pot, so if he knew the rule and only brought it up afterwards, it’s a clear-cut angle-shoot. Ordinarily, floors would rule against such a scheme, and, in fact, the first floorman consulted did rule in Stern’s favor. A second floorman came over and overruled the first, however, and would not discuss the matter further.

The combined facts that the angle-shooter is a local regular and the overruling floorman refused to identify himself or allow photographic evidence to be taken have only thrown additional fuel on the fire, leading to suggestions of bribery and conspiracy.

No cameras?!
Thread: missing chips/no security at ept barcelona main event

As we reported last week, Jason Mo has also had trouble in Barcelona with a general lack of security and unsympathetic staff. Prior to a regular color-up during Day 3 of the Main Event, Mo counted his chips carefully, then went on break. When he came back, he found that most of his chips had been swapped for other denominations, not just the 500s which were scheduled to be colored up. Upon recounting, he found himself short and complained.

Mo was told that they only double-check that the total number of chips at the table is the same before and after coloring up, but individual players’ totals are not checked. He asked if they could check the cameras to ensure the color-up had been done correctly, and was told that there are no cameras, because cameras are too expensive, and dealer supervision is sufficient.

In order to demonstrate the absurdity of this, Mo says he then stole chips from his neighbors repeatedly, whenever the dealer looked away, then gave them back after asking whether anyone had noticed. No one had.

Alex Weldon (@benefactumgames) is a freelance writer, game designer and semipro poker player from Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

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