23 AUGUST 2017

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hen a terrorist got behind the wheel of a minivan and rammed into a crowd of people, killing 14 and wounding dozens of others, PokerStars Team Pro Daniel Negreanu sat fewer than two miles away in his hotel in Barcelona.Unaware of what was going on, the Canadian peeked at his phone when he received some texts and realized something must've beeen afoot."I started getting texts that said, 'Are you OK?'" Negreanu recalled. "I was like, 'Why? That's weird, mom.' I didn't understand what was happening."Then I heard sirens because it was only a mile and a half away. I turned on the news and saw what was happening. It was surreal to be that close."Even more surreal, Negreanu had been walking those very streets of Barcelona mere hours earlier and thinking about how there hadn't been any major attacks in the city in recent years. Unfortunately, after the initial shock of being in such close proximity to a brazen act of terror, Negreanu realized that he wasn't all that surprised.That's because, the way he sees it, the situation is just a continuation of what's happening in the world. Terrorist attacks. Mobs supporting white supremacy marching in a United States college town, a place typically a haven for progressive thinking in even the most conservative of locales. Military and even nuclear tension escalating around North Korea."It's what's been happening in the world," he said. "It should have woken a lot of people up. I don't know that it had that effect. I don't think it had that immediate effect because we've become somewhat numb to it."For Negreanu, everything comes back to the situation in his adopted home in the U.S. A reality TV host with little to no formal political training and knowledge ascended to the office of president.Anyone who follows Negreanu on Twitter knows how aggressively he railed against the eventual election of President Donald Trump. When Trump prevailed over Hillary Clinton — to the shock of many, including a betting market that once pegged Trump as roughly a 10-1 underdog — Negreanu didn't slow down. In recent weeks, he has only ramped up the political commentary on his Twitter feed, with poker often taking a back seat.The recent clashes in the U.S. in Charlottesville, Va., between groups of protesters — one faction supporting the removal of a statue of Confederate idol Robert E. Lee and the other opposing it — has further highlighted the issues Negreanu sees."We're facing a time in our culture where we have actual f****** Nazis marching," Negreanu said. "I warned people, this is exactly what would happen. I think it's important for everyone — white, black, green, purple — everyone that is anti-racist and anti white supremacist evil Nazi, we should all speak out."He emboldens them to be brave. It's vile what's happening. They're not even wearing hoods. Why? Because they feel emboldened by their president that they don't have to live in shame. They're proud."Michael Jordan once supposedly — and famously — said that Republicans buy sneakers too, when he was asked why he didn't speak out in support or opposition of various issues.By the same token, plenty of poker players and fans likely disagree with Negreanu's often left-leaning beliefs and wish he would mute his political and social commentary in favor of more poker. Like any celebrity with a platform who chooses to use his or her voice, Negreanu gets targeted by his share of trolls and their "stick to poker" barbs.Negreanu reiterated that he won't be listening. In fact, it'll likely be just the opposite. As things continue to unravel the world over, Negreanu will continue to let it be known where he stands.For one thing, he said he feels a social responsibility. Given his platform and his reach — he has north of 440,000 Twitter followers and is likely the most recognizable player in the poker world — he feels a responsibility to educate people as much as he can, although he's well aware that it's nigh impossible to flip people's opinions with the push of a retweet button or the posting of an article, no matter how well reasoned or sourced.And ultimately, this is who he is and it would be against his very personality to do any different."That's not the kind of man I've ever been and that's not the kind of man I want to be," he said when asked if he was concerned about turning fans off. "If I have followers hate me because I disagree with their political beliefs, they can go. I'm not trying to be apolitical, where I have no opinions. I've always been somebody who lived by my opinions."You don't like my opinions, and as a result, you don't like me? I probably don't like you either. So, get out of my face."

He plays the biggest games in the world, but his name didn't ring a bell for most poker fans. That has changed a bit this summer in Las Vegas. While he cashed in three WSOP events, it wasn't a deep run, final table, or win that secured Chinese poker player Quan Zhou a moment in the poker spot light. It was him bubbling the WSOP Main Event that was seen by the entire poker world.Zhou is a regular in the Super High Roller tournaments all over the world, not backing down for anyone or any buy in. Here in Barcelona, he's playing the €50,000 Super High Roller to give you just an example of the level of buy ins Zhou is accustomed to.We talked to him in one of the breaks on Day 1 about the hand that will go down in history as one of the craziest on the bubble of the world's biggest poker tournament. With the help of an interpreter, we got some of the reasoning behind the monster pot that went wrong for Zhou.The bubble in the WSOP Main Event usually starts around the end of Day 3. In most years, multiple extremely short players eye each other while the blinds keep passing by. Some survive with nothing but an ante left, some are forced to make moves earlier. This year, though, the bubble ended up being a huge bluff in a pot worth 162 big blinds.Playing 3,000/6,000 with a 1,000-ante, Belgian three-time bracelet winner Davidi Kitai opened under the gun for 14,000."He opened a lot during the bubble; I think he opened like 90 percent of his hands," Zhou said. "He really played every hand. I didn't think he had a real handDespite it being obvious that Kitai was using the bubble to his advantage, not many players were doing anything about it."He opened for just like a min-raise," Zhou recalled. "No one was doing anything, so I felt I needed to do something back. I think I have a lot of fold equity there because his opening range is so wide. So I three-bet."From middle position and with , Zhou made it 32,000. Action folded around to Kitai who called out of position. The flop came  and Kitai checked. Zhou opted to check behind. "I check big hands behind there as well. Even tens I check behind, and those are in my range as well. If I triple barrel, he will pay a lot. So I checked because the board is quite dangerous."As both players checked, the pot remained 82,000. The  hit the turn and Kitai led for 27,000."I thought that if he had a ten, he would bet more or check-raise," Zhou said.Zhou chose to raise, making it 70,000 as he saw Kitai still as weak. Kitai wasted not much time calling, growing the pot to 222,000.As the  completed the board, Kitai checked. Zhou shoved for a massive 376,000 (62 big blinds) into the 37-big blind pot. Kitai snap called. The two had to wait for the cameras to show up before the cards would be revealed. Zhou already knew what time it was, though, he knew he was out on the bubble of the biggest poker tournament of the year, in a monster of a hand.After some other hands completed, tournament director Jack Effel moved over to Zhou's table, followed by a small battalion of ESPN cameras and poker media from all over the world. The red lights turned on; lights, camera, action!Effel, never afraid of some spectacle, played showman and asked the players to turn over their cards. Zhou, who was already standing up, showed his , Kitai tabled . Zhou had nothing more than the tens on board and ace-high. Kitai had rivered a full house with kings, and Zhou was out.""I thought about that hand a lot," Zhou said, "I think I made a small mistake. Even though it's bubble time, and the guy's open range was very wide, I should've bet smaller. I overbet but I think a smaller bet would've been much better. I made a mistake. I regret it right now."The money wasn't on Zhou's mind. Missing out on the $15,000 min cash wasn't the end of the world for Zhou who regularly plays in games where the buy in is much higher than that. Still, Zhou isn't happy with his play.As the cameras started buzzing and tournament director Effel announced the hands over the speakers, all of the attention was on Zhou all of the sudden."The guy snap called, so I was a little bit shocked," he said. "I had never experienced that. I don't care about the money, I'm just disappointed in myself because I made a mistake."To determine who would finish in 1,086th place (nothing) and 1,085th (a buy in for the 2018 WSOP Main Event), Zhou had to play Roger Campbell who was also eliminated on the bubble. Zhou won the blind hand, so he'll return to Vegas for sure next year to try again.For now, he's concentrating on making his presence felt in the big tournaments at PokerStars Championship Barcelona."Now I just focus on the Super High Roller and after that I'll play the Main and the two single-day €25,500 tournaments."Quan Zhou and Roger Campbell played a single hand to determine who got the 2018 WSOP Main Event seat. Zhou won.Unfortunately for Zhou, he busted the €50,000 Super High Roller on Day 1 and didn't buy back in. You can read the entire WSOP bust out hand in the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event live reporting blog on PokerNews: Quan Zhou Bubbles the 2017 WSOP Main Event, Gets $10,000 Seat for 2018 WSOP.

The cards are up in the air at King's Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic, for the second of the four Day 1 flights on the schedule of the 2017 PokerNews Cup Main Event. Players are avidly taking their seats to fight for a chunk of the €200,000 guaranteed prize pool. With the usual field of King's regulars, wannabe pros, and amateurs looking for a chance to discover what professional tournament poker tastes like, our PokerNews-branded tournament series promises once again to be one of the hottest low buy-in events of the season. "It's really good to be here," Lithuanian poker pro Vytautas Milbutas (pictured above) shared with PokerNews. "I love when you can get good poker going in a premium location like this one and with a field that is soft and fun to play with at the same time." In Rozvadov after a trip to Bulgaria where he joined the Cash Game Festival crew in Sunny Beach, Milbutas entered the PokerNews Cup hoping to add a Czech flag to his page on the Hendon Mob. Sitting 23rd in Lithuania's all-time money list with tournament cashes for more than $175,000, Milbutas is on the right path to reaching his goal as he crashed the first starting flight not only by closing the day with the largest stack and 696,000 in chips, but also by being able to predict the board with an impressive level of 'accuracy'. "It was funny to do that then [but] I just got lucky. For me it was pure fun," Milbutas commented on the hand."For the last three years I've played so many tournaments. I like how I play, but the big thing is that I'm really talkative at the tables. Because of that people tend to underestimate me, or overestimate themselves," Milbutas continued as he unveiled and important part of his poker strategy."I Feel Pumped! I Loved The Event!"Although she did not stay in play long enough to survive Day 1a, German qualifier Sarah Hamid had only positive words about her debut in the world of tournament poker and a fantastic location like the King's."I never played live poker at this level before and to be completely honest I was a bit afraid of all the mistakes I could make," Hamid confessed as she sipped a post-bust but well-deserved glass of prosecco."I spent the last few days asking for advice to all the people I met and I tried to learn as much as I possibly could.Everyone I asked for tips here at King's has been great with me. The other players really made me feel welcome, even as a total beginner."Speaking about the action at the table, she confessed to have loved it. "I am a competitive person and I loved the way the game went on. I also really liked the way people live this event and this incredibly beautiful casino.""The chatter, the jokes…I don't know if this happens only here in Rozvadov, but I know that I love it and I know this is certainly not going to be the last live event I play."Unfortunately for Hamid, her adventure in the PokerNews Cup ended when the only other lady at her table, Tonybet Poker qualifier Paulina Rimkute cracked her king-queen right when the tournament clock marked the end of the ninth level of play."A bad all-in at the wrong time," Hamid concluded.Only a few levels later, it was time also for one of the tournament's most familiar faces, Timothy Weltner, to see his Day 1a come to an end.A true regular at all the past PokerNews Cup events that took place in Rozvadov - where he also won the NLH Opening Event in 2015, Weltner ended his run when an unstoppable Milbautas pushed him out of the Main Event together with local businessman and King's regular, Israel's chiKKita banAAna.The Day 1a ended at the closure of fifteen levels of play, with only 15 of the 87 entrants still in playand with a seat secured for Sunday's Day 2.Three More Starting Flights to Go, More Great Tournaments on The Schedule!While the Day 1a gave everyone a taste of what the PokerNews Cup Main Event can be, there are three more starting flights to go with Day 1c and Day 1d starting Saturday at 13:00 and 17:00 respectively.Those who want to join the action but don't want to pony up the €250 buy-in to the Main Event can also try to qualify for close to nothing in the €45 Turbo Satellite to ME 1c kicking off at 11 a.m. local time and with ten entries to the Main Event up for grabs.As usual, the Main Event is not the only tournaments the players in Rozvadov have their eyes on. While the jumbo-sized guarantee on tap makes the Main Event the most popular tournament on the schedule, everyone seems to be waiting for Saturday - when the festival will reach its peak and the Europe's largest poker room promises to be packed.Right alongside the two final starting flight of the Main Event, King's will welcome the start of other exciting events like a €5,000 GTD pot-limit Omaha tournament at 15:00 and the €20,000 GTD. King's Local Championship accessible for as little as €100 at 19:00.Things will continue also on Sunday, when another tournament to keep under the radar is the €5,000 GTD. TonyBet OFC Progressive Pineapple, a crazy event that will be reported live here on PokerNews and that is sure to offer a good dose of crazy and fun poker action to all the participants.To know everything about the action on the tournament floor and to discover all the juiciest hands 

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