EPT12 Malta: The mysterious leader of the pack

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Zhou still leads on Day 2

We've a confession to make. We don't know a great deal about the chip leader of this event - although we're learning more level by level. Quan Zhou held the lead at the end of Day 1 and almost 40% of the way through Day 2 he's still looking down on the rest of the field. He's the only player to have more than a million chips to his name and subsequently he's also the only player with over a 100 big blinds (the big blind is currently 12,000).

A quick google will uncover a bit more about his poker prowess and inform you that he's won just over $420,000 in tournaments since his maiden cash in June 2011. A quick scan will also uncover a reason why we don't know too much about him, 18 of his 23 cashes are in tournaments held in Asia. All of this doesn't though give us any more information on how he plays poker or what sort of style he employs at the table.


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However a hand he just played against Paul Newey gave the PokerStars Blog - and his opponent's - an insight into how he approaches some situations in poker. In the hand in question Newey shoved for 143,000 from under-the-gun+1 and action folded to Zhou who was in the small blind. With blinds at 6,000/12,000 ante 2,000 it meant that the Chinese player was facing a shove of right around 12 big blinds.

It soon become clear that he had a fairly close decision to make as he got a count of Newey's shove and slipped his headphones off so he could think more clearly. He took out the 137,000 more he needed to call and stcked them in one tower. He then stood up and stared at Newey, puffed out his cheeks to exhale and sat back down.

The biggest chip in play right now is worth 25,000 and Zhou has a lot of them. They were stacked in one columnand comprised the last tower on the left of his chip stack. He took them in his hand and slid them to the far right so he could cut them down. They totalled 675,000 and were soon rehoused from whence they'd came. We can assume Zhou is right handed, not just because around 90% of the world are, he was stroking the tower of chips that totalled 137,000 with his right hand and suddenly looked up to once again try and get information from Newey. He smiled at the Englishman and Newey smiled right back.

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Zhou has plenty of chips to play with

Another 10 seconds passed and Zhou then pushed his cards towards the muck, no sooner had he done so then Charlie Carrel, who had a stack of around 435,000, folded from the big blind and said: "I've folded, don't muck I want to see what you were thinking about calling with."

"Can I show?" asked Zhou as he went to retrieve his cards from the muck but only one was easily identifiable and so he could show just the A♣. "I had ace-ten suited," he said to Carrel, who assured Zhou that with that holding it really was a close decision and his tanking was more than justified. Newey was game too as he turned over the 6♠ indicating, so the table believed, that his other card was also likely a six.

And with that the game continued, on the next hand Newey raised and when it got to Zhou he mucked his cards with zero fanfare and went back to doing something on his phone.

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.

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Nick Wright
@PokerStars in European Poker Tour