Many top bridge players are also keen poker fans, and when a poker star infiltrates their backyard there is a definite ripple of excitement. So it was at the hugely prestigious Euro Cavendish, held last week in Monaco, when Poker Champion Gus (the Great Dane) Hansen turned up to play. No one was more excited than my teammate Nick Sandqvist, who sat down to play him and asked for his autograph! ‘It’s for a boy I know at home,’ he explained unconvincingly. Gus, of course, obliged and they got down to play. Unfortunately, Gus was now in poker mode, and decided to bluff. He psyched a spade overcall with two, got raised to game by his partner who held King to five, got doubled, ran to his five card diamond suit at the five level, got doubled again and went for 1,400!
The event was won by the Polish superstars Krzysztof Buras and Grzegorz Narkiewicz. Here’s one hand that helped:
West led the ♠Q. Only about half the field of world-class players found a way home in this 3NT contract, and you can see why, as it’s impossible for declarer to develop the ninth trick under his own steam.
On such hands, it’s important to realise the value of having the opponents on lead, and Buras showed the way. He won the first Spade, went to dummy with the ♦10 and called for the seven of Clubs, clearly intending to run it to West, but it was covered by the nine and King.
He now cashed his two top Diamonds, and the King of Spades, before leading a Club to the eight. East won, but was forced to play back a Club or open up Hearts.
A masterclass from a worthy champion!