Dusting down the “A Round With…” concept when a tournament is four-handed represents a level of indolence even beyond me. But we still want to see how these guys are playing, right, so here are the first ten hands of the post-break period. That’s A Round With… times two and a half. (And there was loads of action too.)

They returned from the break to the following approximate stacks:

Seat 1 – Philipp Gruissem – 1.3m
Seat 2 – Igor Kurganov – 1.4m
Seat 3 – Daniel Negreanu – 2.75m
Seat 4 – Justin Bonomo – 1.2m

They were going into level 25, with blinds at 25,000-50,000 (5,000 ante), and before this round got under way, Igor Kurganov had a question for the tournament officials. “Can we just keep this blind level until the end of the tournament, if we all agree?” he asked.

It started a small discussion, in which most of the players gave the impression that they would be amenable, but that there was no way it would actually be permitted. “Then the tournament could never end,” Daniel Negreanu said. “The staff need to go home.”

After that was largely agreed, the cards came out. Here’s how the first couple of orbits went down:

Hand one – button with Justin Bonomo
Negreanu opened to 100,000 under the gun and it was folded all the way round. Negreanu said that he had a pair, and no one challenged him.

Hand two – button with Philipp Gruissem
After a deck change because of what looked like a small mark on the 8♦, Negreanu got a walk in the big blind. He looked at his cards anyway and saw A♠10♦, which he threw down face up in mock disgust. They should be worth more than just the blinds.

Hand three – Button with Igor Kurganov
Philip Gruissem opened to 100,000 from the cut off (also under the gun) and Negreanu made it 220,000 from the small blind. After Bonomo folded his big, Gruissem announced that he was all in, and that persuaded Negreanu that he didn’t like his hand quite so much anymore.

Hand four – Button with Daniel Negreanu
Folded to Negreanu on the button, the Team PokerStars Pro made it 100,000 to play. Gruissem called from the big blind and we saw our first flop since the break. It came 6♣5♠8♠ and Gruissem checked. Negreanu’s bet of 130,000 was enough.


Daniel Negreanu

Hand five – Button with Bonomo
Before the hand began, Justin Bonomo had a question for Gruissem and Kurganov, who are friends and countrymen. “Do you have a percentage of one another?” Bonomo asked, then after a quick nod from the other end of the table, followed up with “Can I ask how big?”

“He has more of me than I have of him,” Kurganov said. “But it’s small.”
“If it was 50-50 it would be kind of a big deal,” said Negreanu, but no one seemed to mind the small arrangement. Those two certainly hadn’t been doing anything untoward.

It was folded to Gruissem in the small blind and he raised to 125,000, which took Kurganov’s blind.

Kevin MacPhee then appeared and asked Negreanu for his approximate chip-count, in relation to the others at the table. Negreanu said that he had slightly less than half the chips in play, and that seemed to please MacPhee. “I’m taking Negreanu against you guys,” he said, referring to a side bet with others away from the table.


Kevin MacPhee visits the High Rollers

“He’s crazy,” said Negreanu, horrified that someone would back him.

Hand six – Button with Gruissem
Folded to Gruissem on the button, he raised to 100,000. Kurganov, as if to prove that these two were more than prepared to tangling with one another, three bet to about 235,000 and Negreanu folded his big blind. Gruissem asked Bonomo for a quick count of his stack (“Little bit less than one-point-two.”) and them moved all in.

Kurganov quickly called.

Kurganov: Q♠Q♣
Gruissem: 8♥8♠

The board came 2♣J♣10♠3♦7♦ and Gruissem was cut right back. Kurganov moved closer to Negreanu’s lead.


Igor Kurganov

Hand seven – Button with Kurganov
Reader, I didn’t see it.

Hand eight – Button with Negreanu
Kurganov opened to 100,000 from under the gun and after Negreanu folded his button, Bonomo announced that he was all in from the small blind. Gruissem, who only had about 350,000 at this stage, announced that he too was all in. Kurganov had a chance to knock them both out, but decided against it, and folded.

Gruissem: 7♣7♥
Bonomo: A♦Q♥

The board blanked. It came 3♦K♥4♦6♥9♥ and Gruissem doubled up.

Hand eight – Button with Bonomo
Bonomo opened with a shove from the button. No one called.

That’s the end of that short passage of play, although Justin Bonomo would double up soon after. And then bust. And then Guissem would bust too.

Don’t forget you can click here for live updates, chip counts and payout information from the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo® Casino EPT Grand Final High Roller, and I suggest you do that to find out those finer details.


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