EPT9 Grand Final High Roller: Can the squeezed high roller wake up with aces?

Players have been squeeze playing in poker for as long as anyone can remember, and certainly for longer than the term itself has been used. It means, loosely defined, putting in a chunky three-bet after one opponent has raised and another has called, putting both opponents in a tight spot.

The re-raise puts anyone without a premium holding to the test: the original raiser is terrified of the player who has called, and so finds it hard to continue with two others behind him. Similarly the player who has just called is now fearful of the three-bettor, with what is possibly just a speculative holding that wants to see a cheap flop. Everyone is "squeezed" from both sides.

Dan Harrington famously did this at the final table of the 2004 World Series (even though no one was actually calling it a squeeze play back then).

What we're seeing here in Monaco today is a squeeze play being made between tournaments. The main event got us started, the opening raise, and then the €25,000 High Roller started yesterday, which is the flat call. We know, however, that the €100,000 Super High Roller is due to kick off on Monday, which will represent an almighty three bet.

The thing is, the main event is shaping up to produce one of the all-time final tables, which could squeeze the High Roller event even more. That would be a four bet. It means that the flat caller -- ie, the €25,000 High Roller -- is in a massively unenviable position. Despite the fact that an enormous field of exceptional quality has been assembled for it, it is finding it incredibly difficult to win anyone's attention.

Perhaps that's why Artem Litvinov has showed up today in the kind of clobber that would get you noticed in pretty much any environment except for one in which garish Ed Hardy is the unofficial uniform. Litvinov is wearing beach-shorts and bare feet and he's carrying a tennis ball. But it's his top that is something special: it has one pink sleeve with grey cuffs, another with blue, olive and black stripes. It has a a grey hood, a green back panel and a front divided in two. On the left are black blotches on a white background, like a Fresian, and on the right are some olive-coloured swirls. It's quite a number.


Artem Litvinov in this year's styles

Vanessa Selbst is not frightened of anything or anyone, not even Litivinov's top. But if she was to have an attack of the nerves, today might be the day for it to happen. She is on a beast of a table. Up the other end from her is the chip-leading Igor Kurganov, as well as the 2012 Player of the Year, Marvin Rettenmaier. Dominik Nitsche, also there, is kind of short stacked, but he is no walk in the park either.


Igor Kurganov and Dominink Nitsche

As you might expect, it's still a staggering line up in this event, as they play through day two. Toby Lewis has a lot of chips, likewise Philipp Gruissem and Antonio Esfanidiari. There's Benny Spindler and Davidi Kitai. Oh yeah, and ElkY.


Philipp Gruissem

Despite the squeeze play, this event could still wake up with aces. They are also playing for a first prize not much lower than the main event. The payout structure is as follows:

1 - € 1,211,600
2 - € 677,400
3 - € 406,400
4 - € 290,300
5 - € 232,400
6 - € 193,500
7 - € 154,700
8 - € 116,100

9-10 - € 85,400
11-12 - € 77,400
13-14 - € 69,600
15-16 - € 61,900

A quick note on how to follow our coverage of the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo® Casino European Poker Tour Grand Final. Head to the main EPT Monaco page, where you will find hand-by-hand coverage from the tables in the panel at the top of the page, which also includes current chip counts and payouts as they happen.

Our feature coverage can be found below the panel, including the latest from the side events. And don't forget EPT Live. How could you? It's live now on PokerStars.tv.

Also we have the €25,000 High Roller going on, which we'll dip into throughout the day. Hand-by-hand coverage of that is on the High Roller page.

Howard Swains
@howardswains in High Roller