EPT London: A round with Daniel Negreanu
It's a fairly safe bet that most PokerStars blog readers have played the occasional hand of online poker. And it's highly likely that they've watched one or two television shows where some of the top names in this game have riffled a few chips.
But it's not quite so certain that everyone has actually witnessed one of these major live events in the flesh; perhaps you haven't bumped and slithered your way through a throng of observers to a temporary rail beside a clutch of densely packed tables, where two hundred or so slouched men and women are grumbling a small vocabulary of acknowledged phrases in the pursuit of half a million quid. Or something like that.
So, in a bid to translate some of this to your living room, office, study, or wherever you read the PokerStars blog, please join us for the first in an occasional series of "Round with..." where your reporter stands stock-still for an entire orbit of a day one table and absorbs exactly what's really going on on the EPT.
Today's table was not, I confess, selected at random. While television usually only shows the final table of these major events, the real winners first know how to get themselves there. And that means navigating through all the early levels, where there are considerably more hazards. And seated on the same table today are two real winners: Daniel Negreanu and Roland de Wolfe, sandwiching Liz Lieu, who also knows a thing or two about poker tournaments.
Kid Poker on the EPT
So, welcome to "Round with Daniel Negreanu". Here's how it panned out.
Hand one - Roland de Wolfe in the big blind
Liz Lieu calls under-the-gun and Roland checks his option. The flop comes jack-high and Liz takes it down with a pot-sized bet.
Hand two - Roland de Wolfe is in the small blind; Liz Lieu big blind
Daniel Negreanu calls under-the-gun. Liz checks her option and they see a seven high flop. Check. Check. The turn is the ace of hearts, and Daniel bets 700, which is enough. Liz folds.
Hand three - Roland de Wolfe is on the button; Liz in small blind; Daniel big
It's folded round to Liz in the small blind - including a rare decision not to raise from the button from Roland. Liz makes up the blind and they see a flop of 3-4-4. Daniel bets and Liz calls. The turn is the seven of clubs and this time Liz leads out for 1,000. Daniel calls. The queen of diamonds came on the river and Liz bet 1,600. After much anguish Daniel called and was shown aces from Liz. "I bet you wish I'd have raised from the button," said Roland, and Liz's giggles were assumed to be in the affirmative.
Hand four - Liz Lieu is on the button; Daniel in the small blind
It's folded to Daniel, who makes up the blind. He then bets on a jack high rainbow flop and wins.
An early position raise is then re-raised from one seat along. Roland de Wolfe, who hasn't been paying a great deal of attention, suddenly blurts out "Raise! Re-raise!" and folds. Liz Lieu then says "This is my chance to triple up," and then also folds. As the play continues between the two early raisers, a controversy breaks out between Daniel Negreanu and ... the waitress. She offers a choice of beef, chicken or salmon for tonight's table-side dinner and Daniel, a strict vegetarian, says: "I thought I could get falafel." The argument rages for a moment, before Daniel is placated by the promise of falafel.
The flop, meanwhile, comes Kh-2h-Ac and one of the early raisers puts 3,600 into the pot. The other one folds, but no one really notices because another dinner-centred brouhaha erupts on a neighbouring table. This time, the wait staff delivering cutlery to the players knocks a drink over Stuart Nash's trousers. The result is censored for readers of a family blog, but Ian Frazer, sitting next to Nash, giggles sheepishly at the expletive-laden reaction. So does Roland de Wolfe, who has a tendency to giggle sheepishly at quite a lot.
The dealer shuffles up and gets on with...
Roland calls, as does Daniel Negreanu in the cut off. The big blind checks his option and three of them see an ace-high flop. The big blind checks and Roland bets 700 (blinds, by the way, are 150-300). Everyone folds and Roland says: "I've got ten-seven," which he duly shows. That's no pair, nor no draw, but it takes it down.
An mid-position raiser is called by the big blind, who gets out the way when the original raiser slips in a continuation bet on a queen-high flop.
The player under-the-gun limps, and Daniel Negreanu raises to 800, which is called by three other players. The flop comes 3d-Jc-9c, which is checked by all. The turn is the Ah, which is checked round again, before the 3h falls on the river. This brings a bet of 1,500 from the big blind, and everyone folds.
The big blind gets a walk.
At the start of this brief odyssey, Daniel Negreanu had about 17,000 in chips, as did Roland. At the end of it, they had about 17,000 in chips. Liz had 11,000 at the start and increased her stack by about 1,000.
As you can see, it's not always queens against ace-king, all in pre-flop.