EPT12 Barcelona: Reg on Reg violence

The significant pots in these Super High Rollers can often take longer to play out than they perhaps would in events with a lower buy-in. We're not suggesting the size of the buy-in should dictate how long the average decision should take but it's safe to say there's often more to mull over in a tricky spot in a €50,000 event than in a £10 freezeout at your local club. If you don't believe us then check out this explanation from Igor Kurganov about an interesting hand he played against Sorel Mizzi in the 2015 PCA $100,000 Super High Roller, its six minutes well wasted.

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Kurganov - a deep thinker

A pot between two Germans in a Super High Roller is hardly front page news, but Kurganov was just involved in another headscratcher but this time it was fellow German Tobias Reinkemeier who was having to stretch his little grey cells to their limit. With blinds at 1,500/3,000 ante 400 the action folded to Reinkemeier on the button and he opened to 8,000. The small blind folded and Kurganov, who's one of the board members of the Raising for Effective Giving charity (REG for short) made the call from the big blind. A 4♦9♣Q♦ flop hit the felt after Kurganov checked Reinkemeier continued for 9,000 and Kurganov called. So far this was a pretty run of the mill pot but all that would change on the turn.

That turn was the 8♥, again Kurganov checked and once more Reinkemeier bet. He placed a single orange 25K chip on the felt and relaxed back into the massage he was receiving. This time Kurganov didn't smooth call, instead he slid out a tower of blue 5k chips with a cherry on top consisting of three yellow chips worth 1,000 each. Whichever way you cut it, and the chips were cut down, Reinkemeier was now starring at a check-raise totalling 78,000. So, 53,000 more to Reinkemeier and he had about 210,000 behind. It all meant that should Reinkemeier call he'd have less than a pot sized bet left. We're not a Super High Roller so don't know what factors he was considering but eventually he settled on a call.

This pot was now very bloated and the 8♦ river both paired the board and completed the diamond flush draw, this dealer clearly didn't have a future in the bricklaying industry. Kurganov, hand on chin, was now the one to take his time over his decision. He finally settled on a bet size of 68,000 - slightly over a third of the pot - and the big decision now passed to Reinkemeier. He went deep into the tank, but this wasn't a motionless, emotionless decision, Reinkemeier wasn't exactly animated but neither was he stoic as the masseuse kneaded his lower back. He held three 25K chips in his left hand and began twirling them between his fingers. The two players know each other's game well and even lived in the same building in West London at one point and who knows how much of that history was factoring in to this decision.

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Testing times for Tobias

Kurganov, for his part, did remain still all the while staring intently at Reinkemeier who now put down the higher denomination chips and leaned forward whilst taking a sip of some kind of hot beverage with his right hand. He wasn't talking out loud but his lips were moving as he worked his way through the hand, his options and possibly what he wanted for dinner. What he wanted to do right now was fold though as he pushed his cards towards the dealer.

Pot to Kurganov who climbed to an impressive 380,000 whilst Reinkemeier dropped to around 160,000.

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Nick Wright
@PokerStars in European Poker Tour