My friend Dean knows eff all about horse racing, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a “system”. Whether or not he is at the track, and whether or not the race is even between horses, Dean’s “tip” is always the same. “Bet on the one in the red hat,” he’ll whisper conspiratorially, as if he’s just shared a Coke float with an old man in a DeLorean, with a Grays Sports Almanac in its glove box.
It is fair to say that Dean has not retired on gambling winnings. Indeed this summer’s “success” among the red-hatted started and ended with a couple of bronze medals in the Olympic swimming pool. But all is apparently not lost. At yesterday’s €50,000 Super High Roller tournament in Barcelona, only one player sat down in a red hat. That was Dan Smith, and he had a day to be lauded by the scarlet capped across the world.
Smith finished as chip leader going into today’s final table, already guaranteed €122,960 and almost certainly looking at far more. Smith is perhaps best known for his outstanding hat-trick of €5,000 side events at the EPT Grand Final in April, but he also happened to win a A$100,000 buy in event in Melbourne, Australia, in January (worth US $1.1m) and came third in a World Series $5,000 event in June. That added another $370,000 to his coffers.
It is a scintillating line up at the final table today, with seven of poker’s best known faces, including Smith. There are bracelets and titles in both online and live environments, plus some serious high rollers from the world of business. We will no doubt keep an eye on all of them.
Somewhat less known, at least so far, is Jim McCrink, from Las Vegas, whon has already guaranteed himself his biggest single tournament win. McCrink is a 63-year-old retired businessman, who plays poker a couple of times a week, primarily as a hobby. He plays in all kinds of games, sometimes high limit stuff, but came to Barcelona mainly as a holiday with his wife, Violy.
They are travelling around for two weeks, but have spent the first two days entirely indoors, which is the price you pay for grand success on the poker stage. He has played at the PCA a few times but otherwise this is his first event on the European Poker Tour. Not a bad way to start.
Play is due to get under way at 1pm, which in television time means the very stroke of half past. Stick with the hand-by-hand coverage in the panel at the top of this page, and keep tabs lower down with all the colour from main and High Roller events.
Here’s how the Super High Rollers start the day:
Dan Smith – 5,108,000
Mike McDonald – 4,650,000
JC Alvarado – 3,116,000
Erik Seidel – 698,000
Ilari Sahamies – 685,000
Talal Shakerchi – 670,000
Mike Watson – 604,000
Jim McCrink – 500,000