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It looked to be the year of the raider from Macau, but it turned out to be business as usual in the Super High Roller event, won in the early hours of this morning by Daniel Colman after nearly 12 hours of play at the table.

Colman overcame the unpredictable Dan “Jungleman” Cates heads-up to take a first prize of €1,539,300 (reflecting a three-way deal) and secure the first major title of his career. For Cates, whose reputation is as large online as it is in the live realm, it was a near-miss after three days of near faultless poker.


Super High Roller champion Daniel Colman

It brought to an end the opening thriller of this season’s Grand Final festival in the Salles des Etoiles in Monaco, leaving the Main Event and the High Roller still to come.

As play began it was Macau cash game player Rono Lo who held the lead, with Igor Kurganov, who would eventually crash out in third, bringing up the rear with by far the shortest stack.


The final table

It would not be Kurganov out first, but Busquet, who found his star waning as Kurganov’s ascended. Busquet, immaculate in appearance, had his final table suit on, but graced the television stage for only a short time before departing in eighth place ($241,000) when his straight lost out to the full house of Cates.

Soon after, Busquet had company on the rail in an unlikely form when Ole Schemion, who these days need only register to ensure a deep run, left in seventh. On the eve of the Super High Roller the German phenom had qualified for the event in the first satellite of its kind. His exit in seventh meant he’d turned €10,000 into €307,000. He dazzled yet again in the process.


Watching his star ascending: Ole Schemion

It was Colman who sent Schemion out, and sent his own stack into the lead. That started a period of fierce play between Colman and the resurgent Kurganov, who was attempting to pull off the “Coren Mitchell” move of last to first. Kurganov snatched the advantage back finding queens against Phua’s pocket jacks.

It wasn’t until after the dinner break that Phua departed in sixth place (€385,000). He got his chips in with eight-seven and ran them into Colman’s ace-jack. Rono Lo followed shortly after in fifth place (€493,340). His chip lead at the start had been boiled down throughout the day, much of which he’d been forced to spend as a spectator as others seized the momentum. Lo was dispatched by Kurganov who found top pair and faded Lo’s variety of draws.


Not exactly a wasted trip: Rono Lo

It left only Richard Yong from the list of Asian raiders fresh from Macau here to take on the Europeans. Yong, who showed an admirable reserve when it came to the final details of how much was at stake, was sent to the rail in fourth place (€637,600) when his king-jack failed to improve against Colman’s pocket fives.

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Richard Yong with Dan Cates (foreground)

Three-handed they talked numbers, with the chip counts as follows:

Colman – 7,270,000
Cates – 4,430,000
Kurganov – 3,800,000

It was a lengthy process, but one which produced a three-way deal with extra for first and second.

Colman – €1,298,300
Cates – €1,168,300
Kurganov – €1,128,300

Left on the table was an extra €115,400 for second place and €241,000 for first. But any suggestion that this would speed things up were soon quashed as the final three settled in for an extended period of play.

Kurganov was once more the player in jeopardy, but he managed a double up through Colman to extend his stay. It would prove only a temporary delay. His tournament would end in third place, brought to an end by Colman, whose rivered two pairs to out-do Kurganov’s flopped ace.

For his part, Kurganov looked disappointed, but only briefly, as he turned to his rail, where the likes of Fabian Quoss, Tobias Reinkemeier and Liv Boeree were waiting to congratulate him and rub his head.

The rest was down to Colman and Cates, both unusually pale after three days indoors. Cates in particular looked tired, fumbling his chips once or twice as the heads-up duel went Colman’s way. His two-to-one advantage became even bigger, before Cates finally crumbled, leaving the honours to Colman. Perhaps that winning session in the televised cash game session at the end of Day 1 had stolen some precious sleep away from Cates. He’ll settle for big wins in both.

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Colman shows off his new Shamballa Jewels bracelet

It brings to an end the first of the major events at this Grand Final festival, with the Main Event and High Roller still to come.

You can catch up on all the action from today, which has all the fine detail and small print of how the day panned out, on our live coverage page, which also has all the details of the pay-outs. You can do the same with the Main Event coverage via the Main Event widget.

EPT10 Grand Final Super High Roller
April 25-27, 2014
Buy-in: €100,000
Game: NLHE Super High Roller
Players: 50 + 12 re-entries
Prize pool: €6,015,240

1. Daniel Colman (United States), €1,539,300*
2. Dan Cates (United States), €1,283,700*
3. Igor Kurganov (Russia), €1,128,300*
4. Richard Yong (China), €637,600
5. Rono Lo (China), €493,340
6. Paul Phua (Malaysia), €385,000
7. Ole Schemion (Germany), €307,000
8. Olivier Busquet (United States), $241,000

*denotes three-way deal

Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.

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