EPT9 Barcelona: Super duper Dan Smith, Super High Roller champion
When the European Poker Tour went to Vienna in season one, try to guess how much the buy in was for the first event of the festival. Go on, have a stab.
If you said €80 then you almost certainly cheated. But you were also right. It's true: you could buy yourself in to an EPT festival curtain raiser for about the cost of a dinner for two (wine is extra; we're not made of money).
Things have changed. This week in Barcelona, the first major event of the EPT stop proper cost €50,000 to enter. That's not just a typo from a drunk or weary reporter. Fifty. Thousand. Euro. To enter.
They called it the Super High Roller event and it attracted some super high rollers.
Moments ago, Dan Smith, 23, was confirmed as the most super of them all. He won the tournament and earned €962,925 in the process, taking his career earnings to around $4m, three quarters of which have come this year. Not to mention the Super High Roller Shamballa bracelet.
Although Smith wasn't out of high school when the low rollers of Vienna were scratching around for their €80, the prize he won today is 75 times as much. Put another way, he can re-buy more than 12 thousand times if he ever fancies playing that event himself.
But even that is the tip of the iceberg for Smith. This year, he has developed a very healthy habit of winning EPT side events. He won three on the spin at the Grand Final in May, won the High Roller at the Aussie Millions and could treat today's tournament as a home game among friends. "We were just shooting the breeze," he said.
Here is what else he had to say:
Smith beat JC Alvarado (pretty super himself) into second place today. And before that, in reverse order of super-ness, were Mike Watson, Ilari Sahamies, Mike McDonald, Erik Seidel, Talal Shakerchi and Jim McCrink. Yep. Super.
Here is how it ended up:
1 - Dan Smith, €962,925
2 - JC Alvarado, €788,674
3 - Mike Watson, €399,500
4 - Ilari Sahamies, €291,900
5 - Mike McDonald, €215,100
6 - Erik Seidel, €153,600
7 - Talal Shakerchi, €138,300
8 - Jim McCrink, €122,960
It is one of the charms and vagaries of poker that sometimes even the best players in the world find themselves entirely at the mercy of fortune. After seeing off six of the final table players, Alvarado and Smith went to dinner, with the former holding a six-to-one chip lead.
Almost immediately after they returned, Alvarado may have thought his fortune had changed. He was all in, called, with A♣3♠ against Smith's A♠4♠. But when a three came on the flop, they were playing on.
For about three hands anyway. All of a sudden all the chips were once again in the middle, with Alvarado this time holding K♥K♣ and Smith A♠K♦. And when an ace came on the flop, the scales tipped decisively in Smith's favour. It was over once and for all.
Prior to that, it really had been milk and honey for Smith anyway, who must have sold not only his own soul to the devil, but also those of his family. He won the High Roller event at the Aussie Millions in January, those three €5,000 buy in side events in Monte Carlo, squeezed in a third place at the World Series and now this.
It is an extraordinary run by anyone's standards and tomorrow he plays the main event. Watch out.
Super duper. Goodnight.