Dan Smith made the final table of today’s PokerStars Championship $100,000 High Roller here in Macau, and I observed the high-roller specialist in the action as play kicked off.
As I watched over the table it’s Smith’s presence on the felt that I notice first. He comes across as both outgoing and reserved at the same time. It’s a paradox that sees him move quite quickly from making jokes and laughing out of a hand, to coming across as coy, almost shy when in one. He’ll flash his opponent a friendly smile, and when he asks for a count he’ll always give a polite “thanks”.
It creates the presence of a player who to the untrained eye could be easy to push over – it’s a deceptive quality, and one that’s clearly served him well over the years. A quick glance at his HendonMob profile show’s his lifetime live cashes sit at just shy of $16 million, which puts him in 10th on the US all-time money list.
Over the years, the charitable high-roller (who raised $1.7 million for various causes in 2016) established himself as one of the best and most consistent high roller specialists in the game. His biggest payday came last summer after a second-place finish at the WSOP One Drop High Roller where he took home a cool $3,078,974 for his efforts. Not a bad result.
Today he arrived at the table with hopes set for another high cash in mind. And he started the day positively.
After an open from Dan Lai to 35,000 (with blinds at 8,000/16,000) Smith defended his big-blind. Lai continued on the 9♥6♦3♣ flop for another 30,000 and Dan check-raised to 100,000. After a call, action was checked to both players on the 7♣ turn and 7♠ river. Smith’s Q♦3♦ ended up being good enough to scoop the pot.
But then he took a couple of big hits. The first saw him fold on the river to a big bet from Raghav Bansal on a J♥8♣6♥4♥6♦ board. “You have an ace high flush” predicted Smith before folding, as Bansal flipped over the A♥ to confirm his suspicions. The second saw him get it all in with 10♥10♣ on the flop of against Sosia Jiang’s Q♣J♠ on a J♥10♠9♠ board. Bizzarely it wasn’t the straight that saved Jiang – she ended up hitting a backdoor flush draw after 6♠ and 4♠ hit the table.
Smith’s final hand saw him shove over the top of Jiang’s open for his remaining 566,000 chips. Jiang called with 7♠7♦ which was good enough to hold against Smith’s K♠Q♠. It saw Smith head for the exit to collect just over $116,000 for his efforts.
We’re now down to four in the High Roller (after Ben Lai’s bust a short while after). Stay tuned to find out how the remaining players get on as we play down to crown the winner later on today.