EPT10 Grand Final: Playing a different game

You hear it all the time among low-limit players: "I do better when I'm playing against good players." The implication is that a game for measly stakes doesn't allow for folding and doesn't respect skills. These "experts" think they are better suited to the big games where the everyone plays "properly".

There's so much wrong with these claims, it's not even funny. But two things stand out in particular. Firstly, the suggestion that a low-stakes amateur could really mix it with the Super High Rollers is utterly absurd. They're playing at a level so high that most of us will only understand a fraction of it, and only then if we live to 138 years old. Secondly, the notion that people play "properly" in a Super High Roller event is also laughable. Just take a look at some of the hands that played out during the early stages today.

If you've been reading the hand-by-hand coverage on the main Super High Roller page, you'll already know about this one. But if you haven't, don't look there just now. Instead try to put these players on a hand.

By the time Chris Hall, one of our crack team reporting the event, arrived to the table, there was already a flop, turn and river exposed. The board read J♠A♠9♣K♣[10s] and Philipp Gruissem had led the action throughout, called on every street by Chun Lei Zhou.

chun_lei_zhou_ept10_grandfinal_shr1.jpg

Chun Lei Zhou: Try putting him on a hand

Gruissem, who is to the manor born when it comes to Super High Roller events, bet 55,000 on the river. (Blinds were 1,200-2,400 at the time.) That put Chun in the tank, and he thought about it for a minute or so. Eventually, he opted neither to call nor fold, and instead moved all in for 240,000. Gruissem called instantly.

What are they playing?

There's no way we can turn this into a genuine competition, but I'd love to hear some of the suggestions as to what might be in their hands. The reveal is that Gruissem had rivered a royal flush -- yep, they do happen -- with his K♠Q♠ and would, of course, win the hand.

But what kind of hand could Chun be calling with on every street and then shoving, after a dwell, on the river. That's right! You've got it, Mr Low Stakes Pro. It was the 6♦4♦ that accounted for his first €100,000 bullet. No one gets out of line here.

philipp_gruissem_ept10_grandfinal_shr_2.jpg

Philipp Gruissem: Royal flush

Chun's elimination left only six players at the table, and they played like that for a while. Gruissem assumed the big stack, but Martin Finger, winner of the last Super High Roller, was there, as well as Mike McDonald, ElkY and Dan Colman, among others.

That little lot played another few hands between them that only served to confound this tournament reporter on the rail. It's almost impossible to know how or what these guys are playing, and the vast majority of times you never find out.

We were into the 1,500-3,000 level when McDonald opened to what looked like 7,000 from under the gun (it was three chips, so could have been 6,000) and Finger called from one seat to his left. Gruissem, in the cut off, made it 28,000 and it was folded to ElkY in the big blind. The Team PokerStars Pro cut out 50,000 in chips and tossed them in the middle.

McDonald, Finger and Gruissem then let their hands go one by one. Who knows what any of them had.

On to the next hand. Finger was under the gun this time, and he opened to 6,000. Gruissem then three bet to 14,000 and it was folded back to Finger. He called. The flop came J♠[10c]8♣, which they both checked, and then the 2♣ came on the turn. Finger bet 12,300, which Gruissem called, and they saw a K♥ river.

Finger went to his stack and bet 64,000, a polarising over-bet if ever there was one. Gruissem took a little while to ponder his options the flicked his cards in the muck. What did either of them have there, then, Mr Low Limit?

Who knows, huh. Who knows. The point is, you may think you could play in the Super High Roller events, but you really couldn't. Not only do these guys have more money than you and I, but they play an entirely different game.

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