Good players take big risks which seem to go against all the conventional rules of poker. I saw two instances during the final rounds of the European Open Championship at the Grosvenor Victoria last week, when the risk-takers got away with it. The game was No-limit Hold 'em, which is of course a "slam dunk" game, when players will bet their entire stack in one move. That is why you always seek to do it when you have the best, not the worst of cards.

Surindar Sunar, from Wolverhampton, who has a reputation as the best tournament player in the country, went all-in on the incredibly bad hole cards 9-5 off suit. Why? "I was on the small blind, trying to nick the blinds, so I don't need a hand," he explained. "I reckoned my opponent would fold." However, he did not. He called, on A-Q. This hand was close to 2-1 favourite. But down came a five which was enough for Sunar to survive.

At the other table Dave "Devil Fish" Ulliott from Hull (a nickname bestowed by Chinese players) faced an all-in bet from Simon Trumper, who had been dominating the championships and was brimming with confidence. Betting first, Trumper obviously had a very good hand. Everyone folded round the table. Ulliott called on K-Q suited. He reckoned that with everyone folding, there were plenty of high cards in the deck.

Trumper was all-in, so there were no more bets. He showed the all-star hand A-A in the hole, which made him 9-2 favourite. And down came K-Q- K to give "Devil Fish" a full house.

Why did he take the worst of it? "I put Simon on ace and a low kicker, he had been beating me all week and I felt it was time for me to get one back," Ulliott explained. "If I had known he had aces, of course I would not have called." In the end Ulliott and Sunar divided second and third places, for a handsome pay-out of pounds 22,062 and pounds 13,250. The winner and new European Champion was Liam Flood, the Irish player. He took home pounds 44,125. How did he win all their chips? "I just couldn't help it," he explained.

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