EPT12 Barcelona: An orbit with Mikhail 'innerpsy' Shalamov and Marc-Andre 'FrenchDawg' Ladouceur

The random seat draw today conspired to throw together two of Team Pro Online's finest. You may not know their faces but you most likely know their names, or more pertinently their screenames. Whilst both Mikhail 'innerpsy' Shalamov and Marc-Andre 'FrenchDawg' Ladouceur, are Supernova Elites on PokerStars they don't spend all their time holed up in their bedroom clicking buttons. Ladouceur makes frequent appearances on the live circuit - he has over $1,700,000 - in live earnings and when Shalamov isn't making moves like this he's indulging in his favourite hobby or using poker as a conduit to travel the world.


Team Pro Online's FrenchDawg

When the PokerStars Blog arrived at their table both Shalamov and Ladouceur had slipped below their starting stack whilst Michel Leiggorin was off to a fantastic start as he had nearly quadrupled his. We decided to stay for an orbit to see what happened.

This is how the table shaped up at the start of the orbit, the blinds were 150/300 ante 25 throughout:

Seat 1: Mikhail 'innerpsy' Shalamov, Russia, Team Pro Online, 22,000
Seat 2: --Empty--
Seat 3: Ali Amelipour, Germany, 17,000
Seat 4: Robert Askarov, Russia, 60,000
Seat 5: David Lappin, Ireland, 26,250
Seat 6: Michel Leibgorin, France, 110,000
Seat 7: Per Wikstrom, Sweden, 13,000
Seat 8: Marc-Andre 'FrenchDawg' Ladouceur, Canada, Team Pro Online, 17,500
Seat 9: Roberto Morra, Italy, 30,000

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The arena for the orbit

Hand one: Button is with Mikhail Shalamov
It looked like it was going to be one hand, one walk, but Ali Amelipour limped from the small blind and Robert Askarov checked his option from the big blind. A bet of 500 from Askarov was enough to see him bully Amelipour off the pot.

Hand two: Button is with Ali Amelipour
A three-way dance in this one with the action started by Michel Leibgorin when the elderly Frenchman raised to 850 from under-the-gun. He is visually impaired in some way and so he has two magnifying glasses on the table to help with this issue. One is a static one through which he peers as he looks at his hole cards, the second is your more standard circular magnifying glass which he uses to look at the community cards.

He would need that on this occasion as Morra, Shalamov and David Lappin (big blind) all called his bet. They then all folded when he bet 1,600 on the Q♠4♦8♦ flop.


Leibgorin's 'eyes'

Hand three: Button is with Robert Askarov
From under-the-gun Per Wikstrom opened the action to an unknown amount, although it was less than a 1,000 as he used a 1k chip from which he received some change. His raise was called by both Amelipour and Lappin and the three of them saw a K♥5♦6♦ flop hit the felt.

The action was checked to Wikstrom, the Swede bet 1,400 and both players stuck around to see the 2♠ hit the turn. There was to be no betting on this street though and the 8♥ rounded off proceedings. First to act was Lappin and the Irishman led for 4,400. There then followed a swift fold from Wikstrom and although Amelipour tanked he too let his cards go.

"Show the bluff," said an opponent at the table and Lappin obliged by opening 7♠6♥. "You bluffed," said Leibgorin before adding. "Ah no, you have a pair!"

"I was bluffing though," said Lappin to Leibgorin.
"You had me beat," replied Wikstrom.
"I'm not sure I had you both beat though," said Lappin with a smile. Did he? We'll never know.

Hand four Button is with David Lappin
Team Pro Online's Mikhail 'innerspy' Shalamov was back in the action again in this hand as he opened to 750 from middle position. His only caller was Leibgorin and after the Frenchman called he said: "check in the dark," and looked on as the 3♠7♥J♦ flop hit the felt. Shalamov threw out a bet of 1,100 and Leibgorin reluctantly folded his hand.

Hand five: Button is with Michel Leibgorin
Congratulations if you've got this far! You're about to be rewarded with the two biggest pots of the orbit. In this hand action folded to Askarov in the hijack, he opened to 700, Lappin called only for Leibgorin to 'squeeze' to 3,100 from the button. It folded back to Askarov and he was not for budging. Instead he bumped the price of poker up to 7,200 total, Lappin looked at his cards and folded but Leibgorin then asked the dealer if he could tell him how much more Askarov had.

The dealer said he wasn't allowed to do that and he's quite right that is ordinarily the rules. However Leibgorin is - as previously mentioned - visually impaired and said "It's allowed because of my sight, call the floor!" David Lappin then stepped in to ask if he was allowed to tell Leibgorin how much Askarov had back (50,000), Askarov didn't seem to mind and with all that resolved Leibgorin made the call.

So there was already around 16,000 in the pot by the time the dealer fanned a T♦K♠4♠ flop. First to act was Askarov, the Russian bet 7,500 and Leibgorin dwelled all the time looking at his cards. He then pushed them over the line one card at a time saying. "This is a good hand I'm folding."

"You got me to fold tens in the middle there," said Lappin to Leibgorin so Askarov - or possibly Lappin - potentially had a lucky escape.

Hand six: Button is with Per Wikstrom
It had been a quiet orbit so far for Marc-Andre Ladouceur but he got involved in a hand at last. Leibgorin, who had been very active in this small sample size opened to 800 from the cutoff, Ladouceur flatted from the small blind and Morra did likewise from the big.

On the 9♥4♣3♥ flop Ladoucuer led for 1,600 and it was enough to win him the pot.

Hand seven: Button is with Marc-Andre Ladouceur
Another meaty pot to tell you about and it was a three way dance between Lappin and the two members of Team Pro Online. Lappin was the pre-flop aggressor, he raised to 650 from middle position and Ladouceur (button) and Shalamov (big blind) both called.

The 5♣4♦6♣ flop was checked to Ladoucuer, the Canadian bet 1,300 and both Shalamov and Lappin smooth called. The T♦ fell on fourth street, Shalamov checked again but this time Lappin took the lead, he bet 1,725 and only Shalamov called.

The K♠ fell on fifth street and again Shalamov checked, Lappin fired again this time for 8,925 and once more Shalamov called. Lappin immediately rolled over 8♣7♣ for the flopped straight, whilst Shalamov showed T♥6♥ for two pair. That pot boosted Lappin to around 45,000 and dropped Shalamov to 11,200.


Shalamov's stack is slipping

Hand eight: Button is with Roberto Morra
After all the excitement of the last few hands the orbit ended on a damp squib with a simple raise and take with Wikstrom winning the pot.

A good orbit for Lappin and a bad orbit for members of Team Pro Online but it would soon get better for Ladouceur

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Nick Wright
@PokerStars in European Poker Tour