The number five continues to feature prominently for Dan Smith in 2012. Smith won three consecutive €5,000 side events at the EPT Grand Final in April, and he just notched his fifth win of the year in the €50,000 Super High Roller in Barcelona.
Smith notched his second $1 million High Roller victory of the year Sunday night in Barcelona, topping a field of 64 players, the last being JC Alvarado, on his way to the €962,925 first place prize. To top it all off, after less than two weeks out of the top spot in the BLUFF Player of the Year race this win pushes Smith past Marvin Rettenmaier and back into the overall lead.
He took the chiplead into the final table of eight, but it was no easy task ahead of Smith when play began Sunday afternoon. Jim McCrink was the first to go, at the hands of Smith himself, and it would be the first of several strong runouts for the eventual champion. McCrink was the shortest stack at the time with less than 10 big blinds, with the unfortunate circumstance of being in the blinds with Smith. Smith put McCrink all-in with K 8 and McCrink woke up with pocket nines, but Smith had McCrink drawing dead by the turn with a flush to send him out in eighth place.
Talal Shakerchi already had a victory to his name this year, taking down the €10,000 Turbo Six-handed event at the EPT Grand Final, but there would not be a repeat performance for Shakerchi in this event. He shoved with an open-ended straight draw into Ilari Sahamies’ top pair on a Q J 7 flop and could not get there, eliminating Shakerchi from this High Roller event in seventh.
There was a time when Erik Seidel was seemingly invincible in High Roller events, but a bit of that luster has worn off in 2012. While he had four wins in events with buy-ins of $25,000 or more in 2011, Seidel would have to settle for sixth place in this instance. Seidel got shortstacked and also ran into Sahamies, with his A T unable to outrun Sahamies’ A J with the last of his chips in the middle.
Mike McDonald accomplished more on the circuit before the age of 21 than most players could hope for in an entire career. but he did not have enough on this day to stop the Dan Smith Express. He went out in exactly the same fashion as Seidel did, with the A T against A J, but it would be Smith doing the dirty work in this instance. McDonald logged his eighth career live six-figure cash with his performance in this event.
Sahamies managed to clear things out in the early action at this final table, but it was essentially a case of the haves vs. the have-nots. The top three stacks, Smith, Alvarado, and McDonald, each had more than four times as many chips as their nearest competitor. While Sahamies and Mike Watson each outlasted McDonald, Smith and Alvarado simply had too many chips to overcome. Sahamies got the last of his chips in good with A Q against Smith’s A T, but the T on the flop gave Smith the lead and eventually the pot, knocking Sahamies out in fourth place.
Alvarado got involved with three left, taking what was left of Watson’s stack. Watson was all-in preflop with A 8 against Alvarado’s K Q, but the board ran out Q 5 3 5 7 to give Alvarado the edge. Watson was the second shortest stack entering the final table, but outlasted more than half of his opponents and greatly increased his eventual payday.
When Smith and Alvarado got to heads-up, a new rule on the WPT came into play. From now on, deals made at the final table have to occur while players are sitting down at the table, and in this instance the world got to be informed as to how things would go down. In accordance with their chip stacks, Smith took €862,925, Alvarado got €788,634, and they’d play for €100,000 and the title.
Alvarado would briefly grab a slight chiplead, but Smith started to take over the match fairly quickly. A severely shortstacked Alvarado caught a break, doubling through Smith with A 3 against A 4, and looked poised to get back into contention with a cooler heads-up, picking up K K against Smith’s A K. But the A 6 4 flop changed everything, leaving Alvarado with just one out, one he would not hit, and Smith would hoist the trophy in victory shortly thereafter.