EPT11 Grand Final: Never say never

The number of people who make up the player pool of the Super High Roller tournaments is fairly compact. This event garnered 62 runners last year (52 unique entries) whilst the equivalent event at this season's PCA attracted 46 unique entries. So when someone new enters the fray those who've been there, done that and got the t-shirt (or trophy) are quick to pick up on this.

When the €100,000 PokerStars and Monte-Carlo®Casino EPT Grand Final Super High Roller kicked off at a little past 12.30 CET we knew of at least five débutantes in the field, two of whom were sat at the same table. Whilst Team PokerStars Pro George Danzer and UKIPT champion Max Silver have got plenty of poker accolades to their name - Danzer is the reigning WSOP Player of the Year after all - this is the first time that either have put up €100,000 to play a single event. That's also the case for Anthony Zinno, Dario Sammartino and Mikita Badziakouski although the latter two won their seats in last night's satellite. It's fair to say Max Silver drew a pretty tough table.

Scott Seiver often plays the role of entertainer at the table and the American, who won the EPT9 PCA Super High Roller and cashed in the $1,000,000 Big One for One Drop at the 2014 WSOP, was playing the lead role in playfully ribbing Silver about this being his début as the tournament began.

Silver took this in good spirits and after he won the first two pots he said: "It's easy so far," that's some statement given he was sat at a table with: Seiver, Mike McDonald, Ike Haxton, Pratyush Buddiga, Ole Schemion and Danzer. On the third hand Silver was in the big blind and as action reached Seiver on the button he said: "We're just going to give him a walk," before pitching his cards into the muck. Mike McDonald is the only player to have participated in every PokerStars Super High Roller event and he didn't get where he is today by giving walks. He limped in from the small bind but folded when Silver raised it up. The Englishman showed the 2♠ as he took the pot. "Now he's comfortable," joked Seiver.


Silver's put up more gold than ever before

Indeed he was and he soon showed he could play post-flop too as he took a pot against Scott Seiver on the very next hand and Silver - who had the end of Day 1 chip lead in both the Main Event and the High Roller at EPT11 Malta - was now once again in a familiar position. As Silver was stacking those chips a member of tournament staff arrived to tell him that he was on the move to a new table. It was a fresh new table and when Silver arrived only Dan Smith was already seated (it never rains, but it pours) and Silver had chance to catch his breath for a moment.

This reporter first encountered Silver when he was playing in £500 events on the UKIPT in 2010 and it's been a steady rise for Silver, who in the past was coached by Team PokerStars Pro Jason Somerville, since then. He's no shark bait that's for sure, he has almost $2,000,000 in lifetime live winnings and has a WSOP-E, WSOP and EPT final table on his résumé. Asked if he ever thought that back then he'd one day been playing in events like this he simply said: "Never." Before adding: "solid hit and run so far."

His new table slowly filled up and if he felt he'd dodged a bullet by moving from one tough table, his new table wasn't any easier, although in €100,000 events that's par for the course. One by one Leonid Markin (EPT11 Prague Super High Roller champion), Martin Kabrhel (EPT6 Deauville High Roller champion), Max Altergott (EPT9 Grand Final Super High Roller champion) and David Peters (EPT11 Malta High Roller champion) took their seats.


David Peters - pictured after winning the EPT11 Malta High Roller

News also reached us of Danzer scooping a big pot against Schemion and thus it's so far so good for the débutantes.

Follow all the action from the EPT Grand Final on the main EPT Grand Final page. Follow the Super High Roller or the France Poker Series. To get all the latest news, chip counts and payouts, don't forget to download the EPT app on either Android or IOS.

Nick Wright
@PokerStars in European Poker Tour