GDAM Day 1: Shaun Deeb and the fold he couldn't quite make

Some time last week, Shaun Deeb was commentating on an online hand between Sami 'Lrslzk' Kelopuro and mrGR33N13 in the semi-final of the $21,000 SCOOP High Roller heads up event. Kelopuro folded middle set -- middle set! heads up! -- and was right to do so after mrGR33N13 river a bigger set of his own.

"That really should be talked about as one of the greatest hands of poker... those hands you always hear about," Deeb said of the hand. "That is poker on a level I've never seen."

It's a shame for Deeb that he couldn't draw inspiration from Kelopuro here in Macau. Deeb was just presented with the chance to match that kind of fold, which would have been one of the biggest plays I would have ever seen. "He wanted to," said JC Alvarado, who was also in the pot. But, crucially, Deeb didn't fold. And that's why Deeb is now out of the GuangDong Asia Millions.

There was a whole load of chips in the middle and a frightening board exposed on the felt. It was 7♣5♣8♣K♣[10c] and it was just Alvarado and Deeb in the pot. They are friends, have played together plenty, and know one another's game very well. Alvarado checked, Deeb bet 532,000, which seemed to be about half his total stack.

Alvarado thought for a while but then announced that he was all in, which covered Deeb. Deeb didn't like this at all.

"I'm not slow-rolling," Deeb said. "But I do have the ace-high flush." Silence all around. "Every combo just hit," he said. "I'm not slow-rolling. Wow."


Shaun Deeb: A decision for his tournament life

If Deeb says he is not slow-rolling, he is not slow-rolling. And if Deeb says he has the ace-high flush, he has the ace-high flush. He span his baseball cap around so that its peek now pointed down the back of his neck, better exposing a face that was painted with torture.

"I'm not slow-rolling," he said again, as if anyone was in any doubt. And then he called, putting his tournament life on the line.

Alvarado showed J♣9♣ for the flopped flush and rivered straight flush. Deeb tabled A♣3♣ for the flopped nut flush which had been rendered second best. "Jesus," said Alvarado.

Deeb came around the table to his buddy and said, "Win the tourney now." They stood for a while talking it through as everyone else filed off for their break. I could only catch snatches of the conversation, but Deeb said: "You're never bluffing" and "You can only ever have that exact hand." (He would later tweet: "i suck", which seems exceptionally harsh on himself.)

Alvarado didn't seem to know what to say, and stacked up the chips sheepishly. He told me that he knew Deeb would bet on the end, explaining the river check, but didn't know that he was facing an ace-high flush. "Jesus," he said again.


JC Alvarado: Clear instructions to win this tourney

Deeb also wandered away, perhaps pondering the fold he couldn't quite make. Alvarado, meanwhile, now has clear instructions to "win this tourney" -- and has the chips to do so.

A quick guide on following the action here at the GuangDong Ltd Asia Millions. Hand-by-hand coverage is available in the panel at the top of the main GDAM page. Feature posts will come in below that. You can also watch the action from the feature table on

Howard Swains
@howardswains in PokerStars Macau