Roberto Romanello is not nicknamed ‘The Welsh Wizard’ for nothing. The man normally has his opponents under a spell at the poker table, though in this particular partypoker Big Game V hand, he needed a bit of magic from the deck, not to mention some mystical deal-making skills, to come out on top against Tony G.
Kristijonas Andrulis started things off by choosing not to straddle, instead raising to £125 with seven-nine offsuit. Fredrik Keitel three-bet behind him to £375 with suited connectors, after Mike ‘The Mouth’ Matusow gleefully reminded Andrulis that the only thing he had achieved by not straddling was losing his option to re-raise.
The Welsh Wizard wasn’t having any of it and four-bet to £775 holding pocket tens. Tony G, always happy to get involved, flatted the four-bet on the button with Qc Tc. Both blinds got out of the way, with Andrulis following suit.
Keitel flatted and there was a tasty three-way pot in the offing. The dealer revealed 7h 2c Qs, putting Tony G well out in front with top pair. Keitel and Romanello both tentatively checked. Tony G took the opportunity to fire, betting a sizeable £1,600. Keitel instantly folded, but Romanello wasn’t going anywhere.
Now, both the Lithuanian and the Welshman are well known for being very talkative at the table, and they didn’t waste the chance to have a little chat here.
Tony G said: “You can pay me one street.” Romanello wasn’t sure what Tony meant. Tony told him he would fold on the next one, and Romanello should hurry up and just give him the £1,600.
The affable Romanello responded by offering Mr Guoga a deal. “This is the deal I’ll do with you, OK? I’ll call you one bet, as long as you promise me it goes check-check on the turn and then we go from there. Is that fair?”
The rest of the table tried to chivvy the pair along, reminding them that the Big Game was, after all, only 48 hours long. Tony G, after seeking assurance that Romanello would keep to his word, agreed. Romanello made the call before they both checked in the dark as the dealer slid out the ten of hearts, putting Romanello far ahead with a set.
The 2d peeled off on the river, making a full boat for the Welshman. He quietly checked and Tony G nudged forward a £3,000 bet. With Matusow cackling in the background, Romanello peeked at his cards and began stacking yellow chips behind the line.
Romanello made a huge re-raise, pumping it up to £13,025, leaving Tony G looking bemused. “Really good job”, he muttered as he leaned back in his seat, looking exasperated. “You really think I can fold this hand?” he said with a smirk to Matusow, showing his two-pair to the rest of the table as he did so.
“Incredible. Why would he offer that to me? Because there’s nothing on the board. He would only offer it to me if he had a set. He’s got…a full of sevens? Must have a full house.”
Guoga resignedly threw his cards into the much, making a terrific fold. The big Lithuanian is not normally associated with making big laydowns, but here he was excellent.
The Welshman gave a wry grin as he pulled in the pot, leading Matusow joyful at the prospect of Tony G getting bluffed. Romanello took pity, however, and quickly assured Tony that he had indeed been holding a full house.
Romanello asked Tony to pay him £300 for the dealer to show his hand, which he agreed to after Romanello said it was a tip for the dealer. When the tens were revealed, the table groaned in disappointment that the loudmouth Lithuanian hadn’t been bluffed. Tony G was back to his exultant, boisterous self. “How good do I play?!” he crowed.
It was a hand that showed Romanello’s talent for table talk, earning him a pot that he might otherwise have folded on the flop. It also showed Tony G (who would eventually finish as the Big Game’s biggest ever winner, a massive £150,000 to the good) to be an astute reader of unusual situations at the table, a quality that sometimes gets lost in amongst all his bravado. In other words, it was another vintage hand of cash game poker.
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