EPT10 Grand Final: Lucky hands and lies as the Super High Rollers play for a million

The prize pool for the €100,000 Super High Roller was revealed during the last level, but it was pretty much silence and then business as usual, even as Thomas Lamatsch informed the players there was €1,804,000 for the winner.

Players in this event tend not to be too strapped for cash and therefore don't greet the news of the prize pool with too much excitement. Even if they are impressed by the figures it's not the done thing to start whooping and hollering. There's a mighty long way to go.

"Some live tournaments pay 1.6x," Dan Smith said, referencing the fact that a min-cash is worth €241,000, more than twice the buy in. "I think doubling it is appropriate," he added, to the general agreement of the table.

This table was one of the more animated in the room, with Negreanu yukking it up in the one seat, Olivier Busquet joining conversation from his left, Dan Cates sitting alongside the aforementioned Smith, Jeff Rossiter one chair further around and then two of the Asian contingent, Chun Lei Zhou and Paul Phua, in the seven and eight holes. Only Talal Shakerchi was relatively quiet, and even he joined in when necessary in chatter with Smith and Busquet.


Chun Lei Zhou, left, and Paul Phua

Chun opened from late position, making it 16,000 to go. Shakerchi called in the big blind and it was those two alone to the flop. It came 3♥2♣2♦. Shakerchi checked and Chun continued, which was enough to fold out Shakerchi. Chun flashed his cards to his neighbour, Phau, and was then instructed by the dealer to show the rest of the table. He flipped over 4♠6♦.

If you were following our coverage yesterday, you'll have seen Chun sitting with six-four before. On that occasion it was suited in diamonds, and the result was somewhat different. Chun bluff raised all in on the river for what at the time was about 200 big blinds. He slammed into Philipp Gruissem's royal flush and was forced to go looking for a second bullet, costing €100,000.

I've spent some time in Asia, in Macau in particular, where poker has really taken hold. Action there is breathtaking to watch, and many players have "lucky" hands, which they play in any position, for any stakes, and accept any consequences. It seemed for all the world that six-four was Chun's lucky hand, so I asked him about it at the break.

"I never lose with four-six," he said, happily confirming that it was indeed his lucky hand. "If I play it, I get a straight or something with it. If I have nothing, I just bluff or something."

I put it to him that yesterday's royal flush incident somewhat undermined the theory. He didn't seem perturbed. "Yesterday?" he said, then moved on. "I never lose with four-six."


Chun Lei Zhou, pictured yesterday

Negreanu was enjoying playing with both Chun and Phua and had position on them both. On a hand soon after, Chun raised Negreanu's big blind and the Team PokerStars Pro raised to 45,000, stating, "I have very pretty cards."

"Me too," Chun said.
"Really?" Negreanu said. "Mine are prettier."

Chun called and they saw a 4♣3♠K♦ flop. Negreanu fired 30,000 and Chun called. "I want to show you pretty cards," Negreanu said, turning over his A♥K♥. "Same suit, pretty right?"

Cates and Negreanu now began chatting. "I see you've been playing some mixed games online," Cates said.
"Yeah," Negreanu confirmed.
"I didn't know you played mixed," Cates said.
"I grew up playing it," Negreanu said. "Before poker was big."


Daniel Negreanu in talkative mood yesterday

Duly put in his place, Cates stopped the line of questioning, but returned to the game and Negreanu opened to 18,000 from early position. Dan Smith called in the cut off and Cates made it 75,000 to go from the button.

"Folding is boring," Negreanu said, throwing in the calling chips. "I don't like to fold."
"You can't win if you fold," Phau said, despite having already folded.

Smith went into the tank, then folded too.

"I thought you were going to re-raise bro," Negreanu said.
"Sorry," Smith said.

The flop came A♣J♥Q♣ and Negreanu said, "Check to that guy." Cates bet 65,000 and Negreanu folded. "That was a bad flop, I had a pair of nines," Negreanu said.

"I had the other two nines," Smith said.
"Did you?" Negreanu asked.

After the tittering subsided, the conversation shifted to Phil Laak and his habit of mis-representing his hand, in the way Smith just had.

"He might literally believe that he can change his cards," Smith said.
"If he has sevens, he says he has eights," Negreanu said. "He's so used to lying."

Maybe eights are just his lucky hand.

All the hand-by-hand action, including chip counts, will be in the panel at the top of the main Super High Roller page. We will have feature pieces below that.

Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour