EPT12 Malta: Antonio Buonnano back among the bullies

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Grand final champion, Antonio Buonanno

No one has ever accused Antonio Buonanno of a reluctance to get involved. Part of the reason he won the EPT Grand Final a couple of years ago was because he was fully prepared to take on the noted bullies at their own game, refusing to back down even when the stakes were at their highest.

Buonanno has found himself a tough spot on Day 1 of the €25,000 High Roller here in Malta, on the same table as Shaun Deeb, Chris Hunichen, Isaac Haxton and Patrik Antonius, among others. But far be it from Buonanno to sit back and fold.

In fact, it's quite the opposite, even though results have not been wholly successful. I watched only about five minutes of play at Buonanno's table, but he was involved in almost every hand.

The first time, in early position, he called Deeb's betting on every street on an ace-high board, losing with ace-six to Deeb's ace-nine. But the same two players were first into the next pot too--and Deeb again picked up some chips.


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On this hand, Deeb opened to 5,500 (blinds are 1,200-2,400) from the cut-off and Buonanno almost immediately three-bet to 15,000 from the button. Perhaps sensing that these two were on the brink of getting a room, Hunichen, in the small blind, thought this was a good spot. Hunichen four bet, announcing a raise to 39,000.

Action folded back to Deeb and he wanted to see how much Hunichen was playing. Hunichen moved his hands away from in front of his chips and then Deeb wanted clarification of how much the four bet was.

The dealer said, "Thirty nine" but Deeb pointed out that only 35,000-worth of chips were in the middle. Hunichen flicked in the extra. Satisfied that everything was right, Deeb announced that he was all in.

Buonanno might have been forgiven for thinking that he had been forgotten about. He was still in this pot after all. But after carefully counting his own stack, making it about 250,000, he folded and watched his three bet dragged into the middle. Hunichen folded soon after too.

On to the next one, with Deeb again opening from the hijack and again making it 5,500 to play. Buonanno this time opted for a call, but Hunichen wanted to earn back some of the chips he surrendered last time. Hunichen made it 18,500. Deeb folded, Buonanno folded.

A lesser man may have decided it was time for discretion. But after Deeb folded pre-flop on the next hand, Buonanno opted for an opening raise. He made it 5,500 to play. It went fold, fold, fold all the way around and the former Grand Final champ was, finally, hauling in a small handful of chips.

Everything about EPT Malta is on the main EPT Malta page. More specifically, all the hand-by-hand coverage of the €25,000 High Roller is on the €25,000 High Roller page and everything from the IPT Main Event is on the IPT Main Event page.

No really, begin plotting your own bid for EPT glory by downloading the PokerStars client and having a crack. Follow this EPT event via the EPT app. There you will get all the latest news, chip counts and payouts. You can download it on Android or IOS

Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour