The £10,000 High Roller event is taking up the largest section of the tournament room today, but it is garnering approximately five per cent of the attention. The Main Event remains such a humdinger that almost all eyes are fixed squarely there: at time of writing, the O’Dwyer, Jorgensen, Chouity, Visser, Moorman final table dream remains alive.

But let’s have a look at the High Rollers for a moment, and not just any old look. Let’s put one table in particular under the microscope and bring you an “A Round With…”, our patented hand-by-hand forensic examination of an orbit in a poker tournament.

PokerStars Blog offers no guarantees about this. This is not a highlights reel. This is precisely what happened for one round of the table, starting from the moment Luke Schwartz wandered over from a broken table and took a seat.

Here’s the table line up, with approximate stacks at the start of the orbit:

Seat 1 – Jason Lavallee – 66,000
Seat 2 – Johan Van Til – 159,000
Seat 3 – David Boyaciyan – 45,500
Seat 4 – Eric Sfez – 170,000
Seat 5 – Kevin MacPhee – 69,000
Seat 6 – Faraz Jaka – 235,000
Seat 7 – Luke Schwartz – 95,000
Seat 8 – Fredrik Jensen – 50,000

We were in level 12, where the blinds were 1,200-2,400 (300 ante).


The table in question

Hand one: Button with Jason Lavallee
Eric Sfez, who had recently doubled up his stack and was playing particularly actively, opened from under the gun. The short-stacked David Boyaciyan shoved for about 45,000 from the big blind and Sfez called.

This was a race, of sorts, and it swung both ways. Sfez showed A♦K♠ and was only just behind to Boyacian’s 2♠2♦. But the 2♣ in the window gave Boyacian what he thought should be a decisive lead.

Not so. The 3♦ and Q♦ completed the flop, then the 5♣ and 4♦ completed not only the board, but also the wheel for Sfez. Off went Boyacian, wheeled out.

Hand two: Button with Johan Van Til
Faraz Jaka, the big stack at the table, opened to 5,500 from early position. Jason Lavallee shoved for 66,600 total and that was enough to persuade Jaka out of it.

Hand three: Dead button (Boyaciyan’s empty chair)
Luke Schwartz opened to 5,400 from early position and Johan van Til three bet to 12,000 from the cut off. “How much did he make it?” Schwartz asked the dealer, in a tone familiar to anyone who has seen Schwartz play. After getting his answer, Schwartz gave Van Til a long stare down and then said, “Nineteen.” He tossed out the corresponding chips.

Van Til called, which meant a flop. It came: 6♣Q♦10♠. Schwartz checked and Van Til began counting out a bet. Before it got over the line, Schwartz folded his hand with a frustrated flourish.

Hand four: Button with Eric Sfez
This was the rarest of beasts: a walk. Faraz Jaka was the beneficiary, in the big blind. Throughout all this, Sfez had been getting a massage and now added a further accessory to his poker-player’s armoury: an electronic cigarette. He emitted a big old plume that drifted and dissolved into the massage therapist’s face.

Hand five: Button with Kevin MacPhee
Faraz Jaka was fiddling with his chips, raking in the blinds and antes he won without context from the last hand. “Whoa, whoa, whoa!” said Luke Schwartz. “That’s my big blind, yeah.” Jaka apologised for his error – he had raked in Schwartz’s blind. He quickly returned it.

Back to the action, and Jason Lavallee made it 5,000 from early position to play. “You look, yeah?” said Schwartz as he tossed his cards in the muck. He was the last to do so and the blinds and antes went to Lavallee.

Hand six: Button with Faraz Jaka
Kevin MacPhee opened to 5,000 from the cut off and both blinds got out the way.

Hand seven: Button with Luke Schwartz
It was folded to Schwartz on the button, who opened to 5,400. Quick as a flash Frederik Jensen shoved from the small blind, and neither Jason Lavallee nor Schwartz needed a count before folding.

Hand eight: Button with Frederik Jensen
Eric Sfez made it 20,000 to play from under the gun, and his reputation seemed to precede him. Faraz Jaka called two seats to his left and Johan van Til called from the big blind.

The three of them saw a flop of Q♥3♥8♣ and Van Til checked, Sfez checked behind, allowing Jaka to bet 7,500. Both players called.

Sensing this might take a while, Luke Schwartz got up from the table and wandered away, checking out some of the other competition. The three players remaining saw a turn of 2♦. Check, check, check.

The 6♠ came on the river and they all checked again. Van Til showed K♥8♥ but Sfez had him beat. He showed J♠J♥. It was also clearly better than Jaka’s hand. He mucked.

That’s the end of the orbit, in which we could only muster one elimination I’m afraid. Eric Sfez was the big winner, knocking out Boyaciyan. By the time I returned to the press room, however, there was this tweet in our timeline from Kevin MacPhee:


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