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EPT12 Barcelona: It's a skill game but luck doesn't hurt


A familiar face sits at the top of the chip counts

Over the past few years - and you suspect in the next few as well - countless hours have been spent in numerous offices, taverns and court rooms debating whether poker is a skill game or a game of chance - read luck. Exhibit A in the former's case could well be Daniel Negreanu's deep run in this year's WSOP Main Event, as the most successful tournament player of all-time - in terms of money won - tore his way through a field of thousands. But, you could equally use it in the latter's case too, after all Negreanu got it in good but the turn of a card saw his hopes dashed.

The exact percentage of skill and luck in this card game we love fluctuates depending on the example used, but what we can't deny is that hidden luck can often play a cameo role in the outcome of any one tournament. We're talking seat draw, a misdeal changing the course of a tournament or simply picking up a monster hand at the same time as someone else.

As we reported, when the 21 remaining players returned from dinner break Jason Les was the only non-German in the top five chip counts, he didn't even had time to get his seat warm before he was unceremoniously bounced from this tournament when he got the short end of the stick in a hand against some guy called Dzmitry Urbanovich, who as a result is now the chip leader. You might remember him from such Super High Roller final tables as the last one, where he finished runner-up to Erik Seidel. It was a result that secured him the EPT11 Player of the Year award, which he'll receive this week in Barcelona.

The hand in question was one of those set-up scenarios containing a large dose of hidden luck, but the pertinent details are that Les held pocket queens in the small blind and Urbanovich pocket kings in the big. JC Alvarado's opening bet from the button was the kindling that created a massive fireball of some 3,600,000 chips which all ended up in the middle preflop. Such was Les's bad luck that Urbanovich even had his suits covered. No queen, or unlikely straight emerged and Les was left with fumes which evaporated in the very next hand when he was eliminated by Max Altergott.

Urbanovich was still stacking chips at this point and now looks well placed for another remarkable result and is in a great position to attack the bubble. We'd say remember the name, but it's likely you already do.

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