Reminiscing on the second day of action at the Season XI World Poker Tour stop in Barcelona, it can be summed up in just three hands. In a day that saw a 148-player field reduced to 42-quicker than a fat kid eats cake, we had guile & cunning, we had a complete lack of awareness and total utter madness. All of the necessary ingredients to make a poker tour worth watching, and certainly worth participating in.
The Global Poker Index (GPI) proves that the best live multi-table tournament players in the world are American, with 50% of the top 300 belonging to the country that would rather you owned an Uzi-Nine Millimeter than an online poker account; and Americans love coming to Europe to clean house with Tahiri Hassani one of the reasons why. But the beauty of an amateur, having fun, is the deck sometimes helps them out, and when it does, it sets up an interesting and exciting set of circumstances. Take this hand that involved Tahiri Hassani as an example.
Hassani looks down and sees the woeful looking [8c] [6s]. He is in early position facing players who dominate him in skill and holds a trash hand. So you should just fold right? Not Hassani, who opens and then calls a three-bet against the Swede Andreas Berggson. Kids…don’t try this at home. The deck then plants a huge kiss on the lips of Hassani, not once, but twice. First it lays [Td] [9h] [7h] on the flop, like golden cement, to give the Moroccan a straight; and if that wasn’t reward enough it then turns a [9s] to give Berggson trips holding [As] [9d]. Hassani then does the worst thing possible by make a huge over-bet shove on the turn. Fortunately, Berggson was so confused – and he thought he was ahead – so he made the call. Hassani became the most unlikely chip leader in the room one community card later.
Anaras Alekberovas likes playing his poker in Barcelona as his fifth place finish at Season 9 European Poker Tour (EPT) Barcelona proved. He is the epitome of loose aggressive. He has more moves than a bowl of jelly and is proof personified that crazy players often receive crazy results. I mean you are never going to see a strong professional nit five-bet jam for more than 80BB with pocket Treys, and yet that is exactly what the Lithuanian did in a hand against Yigit Aktulga who woke up with aces. Once again the deck acting like the Red Cross as it deliver not one but two additional Treys to send a confused and angry Aktulga to the rail.
But it wasn’t all-dumbfounding decisions that ruled the roost, and neither were those quad three’s the only quads we saw on Day Two. Benjamin Pollak, Ognjen Sekularac and Morten Mortensen showing anyone who needed to know that poker is still a game based on skill, and not random luck, in this amazing hand.
Sekularac raises to 1,800 in the cutoff, Pollak flats in the small blind as does Mortensen in the big (all three players are pretty deep-stacked at this point). The flop is [6c] [4d] , Pollak leads for 4,100, Mortensen calls, Sekularac raises to 15,000, Pollak calls, Mortensen raises to 33,000, Sekularac folds and Pollak makes the call.
The turn card is the [3c] and Pollak makes very small bet of 14,500 and after checking his cards Mortensen makes the call. The final card is the [5s] and Pollak checks to Mortensen, the Dane moves all-in and Pollak snap-calls. Mortensen confidently flips over pocket sixes for the flopped boat but Pollak had pocket fours for quads.
“Sick,” says Pollak.
“Sick,” says Mortensen.
The day ended with the threesome of Hassani, Pollak and Alekberovas in the bag for the Day Three draw with Alekberovas holding more chips than anyone else in the field on 467,000. That field also contains the youngest-ever WPT Champion, and Season X Barcelona winner, Lukas Berglund, IveyPoker Pro Kevin Vandersmissen and the American pairing of Steve O’Dwyer and Bryn Kenney.
Day three starts at 14:00 (CET) where we will probably see the field condense to around 16-players before stopping for the day.