If poker is a game of skill rather than luck, then Igor Kurganov skilfully rode his luck to, first of all remain in the EPT London Hi-Rollers Event, and to then take the lead in the £20,500 buy-in tournament.
The German-based poker player, who finished second to Bertrand Grospelier in the EPT Madrid Hi-Rollers, secured his place at the top of the leaderboard by crippling James Bord in one of the final hands of Day 2, however prior to that had experienced some remarkable good fortune.
River, River, Hold Does the Trick
Kurganov had started the day down among the “also-rans” with little chance of becoming competitive unless something spectacular happened. Even when he doubled up against Rob Avery´s flopped set of fours with a rivered straight draw, Kurganov´s stack was not looking too healthy, but a rivered flush against Phil Collins´ pocket Queens improved his position and it was further enhanced when his 7♠ 7♦ held up against Byron Kaverman´s A♦ 10♣ – Kurganov finishing the day with 854,000 ahead of Rob Akery on 622,000.
Talking of Tricks …
Sam Trickett, the second of two UK poker players in the final eight, also enjoyed some good fortune inasmuch as nobody wanted to play with him. Three times Sam took big pots with air having bet through multiple streets and having his opponent fold after Sam´s post-river all-in shove. Sadly Sam lost a substantial amount of chips in a three-way hand against Michael Watson (K♠ Q♠) and Byron Kaverman (A♠ K♥) when his A♥ 7♥ failed to find the seven or five it needed for double elimination on a board of 8♣ 4♦ 6♠ / 4♠ / A♦, but Sam still remains in a good position for a final day onslaught.
… Busquet is Double Trouble
American Olivier Busquet was another player who enjoyed the run of the cards of Day 2. Starting the day with less than 50,000 chips, Busquet doubled up through James Bord when his K♣ K♠ flopped a set, doubled up again when he made a rivered straight with a dealt hand of J♠ 5♠ and was also third time lucky against Michael Tureniec when Tureniec missed his diamond flush against Busquet´s turned set of Aces. Tureniec got some back when he out kicked Busquet on a doubly paired board, but overnight Busquet holds a handy position in third with a chip stack slightly above the average.
Final Table Chip Counts for the EPT Hi-Rollers Event
When play resumes today, blinds will be 4,000/8,000 with a 1,000 ante. None of the remaining players are particularly short-stacked, so we could be in for a long night!