PokerStars Festival Bucharest: An orbit with Sam 'TheSquid' Grafton

If there's one thing we've learned this week at the PokerStars Festival Bucharest, it's that the Romanian's aren't here to mess around.

Based on what we've seen from the side-lines here, play has been fast, aggressive and a certainly a tad unpredictable. Today alone, we lost half the Main Event starting field just two 60-minute levels into play. And the unpredictability of play here even led Chris Moneymaker to take to Twitter by sharing his first experience of poker in the Romanian capital:

But had it really been all that crazy? Sure, we'd seen some stuff, but could it really be all that nuts?

As we moved deeper into Day three, I assumed things would have calmed down from the earlier stages of the tournament. But I wanted to see for myself. I also wanted to use the opportunity to check in on how one of the more recognisable faces running deep in the tournament was getting on.

So with that, I ventured over to Sam 'TheSquid' Grafton's table to watch a few hands with the British pro and see if play was just as ferocious as it sounded...

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Here's the line-up and how it all went down:

Blinds: 6,000/12,000 (2000 ante)

Seat 1: Patrick Bueno (France) - 211,000 chips [button]
Seat 2: Daniel Nietrzebka (Poland) - 1,436,000 chips
Seat 3: Mircea Alexandru Flutur (Romania) - 521,000 chips
Seat 4: Sam Grafton (U.K) - 375,000 chips
Seat 5: Marian Costache (Romania)- 84,000 chips
Seat 6: Yzhak Poor Rafi (Israel) - 88,000 chips
Seat 7: Silviu Petrica Togui (Romania) - 840,000 chips
Seat 8: Massimo Caratelli (Italy) - 409,000 chips

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Hand 1: The Madness Begins

I arrived at the table to see an all-in and call with the Togui holding Q♠9♠ on a King high board, against a flopped set from Flutur. It looked like a bluff gone awry from Togui, who only held Queen high. At this point Togui was shaking his head and stacking chips to hand over to Flutur. The pot was about 250,000 chips - or half of Togui's stack. Hmmm...

Hand 2: The Squid scoops

Action is folded all the way round to Patrick Bueno in the cut-off, who raises it up to 28,000. It's then folded to Sam in the big-blind, who defends.

The flop of 6♥4♠9♣ prompts a check from Grafton. The pre-flop aggressor however continues to pile on the pressure by betting 32,000. It causes a quick 3-bet from Grafton and a snap fold from Bueno.

Hand 3: All in numero uno

This time, action folds to Mircea Flutur on the button, who opens it up to 35,000, putting pressure on the short stacks of Costache and Rafi in the blinds. Both the button and small blind give it up, but Costache elects to wager the rest of his chips by announcing all-in.

And he gets called.

Flutur flips over K♦J♥ and Costache shows the A♥5♥. It was looking good for Costache to double on the 3♠J♣A♦ flop, but then the K♥ landed on the river to give Flutur two pair and send Costache home.

Hand 4: All in numero dos

This time it was the turn of the next shortest stack to hit the rail.

Following a min-open from Patrick Bueno, Yzhak Poor Rafi shoved over the top with his remaining chips. It was snapped off quicly by Bueno who revealed A♣A♠ to Rafi's A♦J♠. The board ran clean for Bueno to scoop a big pot and send Rafi home.

"I'm scared to play a hand now" half-jokes Grafton at this point as Rafi stands up to leave the table.


I can understand his point - and Mr Moneymaker's now. It's certainly been an action-packed few hands, and an action packed tournament here in Bucharest, as we move deeper into Day 3 on the Main Event.

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Dan Jones
@PokerStars in Live Poker