The European Poker Tour (EPT) Barcelona was a successful event, with Simon Brandstorm beating 1,988 players and taking home the first place prize of €1,290,166 ($1.4 million). That’s not what everyone is talking about though. The topic of conversation is Quan Zhou, who got everyone talking about his antics on Day 3.
On the play in question, Zhou, the WSOP 2017 Main Event’s bubble boy, opened the betting with a 6,000 bet. Ponomarev, sitting to Zhou’s right, three-bet him to 18,500. Then after some thinking, this happened:
Zhou’s motion to seemingly fold, and then take it back, is being criticized throughout the poker world. The going theory is that Zhou ran an angle, an unethical poker play if you will. If you watch the play as many times as the poker community has, it’s pretty obvious that Zhou gets a peek at Ponomarev’s hand and quickly decides against folding. However, as the flop helped Ponomarev, Zhou ultimately folded the hand, making it inconsequential to the tournament.
As Pokertube notes, what Zhou did here was technically not illegal. They write, “it’s not against the rules to fake a fold if he keeps his hands on the cards – unlike forward motion with chips, for example, which generally constitutes binding action.”
Twitch.tv’s commentator of the event, Joe Stapleton, agrees that it doesn’t appear to be cheating, but won’t mince words either. “I am happy to question the motive and say it sure looks like an angle-shoot,” he said. “But I genuinely believe it was not cheating and difficult to tell if it was premeditated or he just changed his mind in a very shady an uncool way.”
That expert commentary won’t sway the poker masses though. Twitter is full of amateur analysts who believe Zhou should have been penalized for the instance of angle shooting. Many memes have been posted to mock his actions, and atleast one person has done the forensic work to prove his guilt.