It’s one thing busting out of the largest high roller tournament in history. It’s another getting coolered with kings versus aces preflop. And it is yet another thing getting slow rolled, by a another Platinum Pass winner from your home country, for almost two minutes.
But that’s exactly what happened to Franz Ditz, who got it all in pre with KK on Level 17 (4000/8000) on the bubble during Day 3 of the PokerStars Players No Limit Hold’em Championship in the Bahamas.
He opened for 16,000. Was three-bet by fellow German Michael Robionek on the button to 35,000. Ditz shoved for 250,000. Then Robionek went into the tank … for two minutes. When he finally called, he flipped over aces.
Ditz was understandably perturbed. The PokerStars Blog at the time said they had “some private and inside information we can reveal later that will make this seem … well, not as bad as it does now.” That information has now been released. Apparently, Robionek was genuinely considering a fold.
“My strategy to start the day,” Robionek said, was, apparently, “to not be dealt aces before the bubble.” $25,000 is—as it would be to most people both in and outside the poker world—a lot of money to the German. He had to borrow money to fly here, he said (the Platinum Pass does cover travel costs and expenses, but possibly not ahead of time).
Robionek went on to say that he lost his job two years ago, and had struggled to find a steady income since. He’s not much of a poker player—in fact, he’d never made a deposit on PokerStars before winning his Platinum Pass through a “human lie detector” competition run on social media.
As the PokerStars blog elaborates: “So, there he was … on a $25,000 bubble and wondering … could he actually afford to lose with aces when waiting just a little bit longer could mean literally life-changing money for him? So, he thought. And he thought some more. And ultimately he decided that if he couldn’t call with aces there, he probably shouldn’t be playing anyway. And so he did. And hence … the slowroll. “
He didn’t want PokerStars to talk about this before the money bubble burst because, quite understandably, he didn’t want the other players knowing just how much scared money there was in his stack.
So, knowing what we know now, does that excuse his slowroll? With this mix of players in the field, everyone would do well to relax the usual norms and expectations at these high roller events and try to assume the best intentions against their fellow players.
For Ditz, that’s not going to take any of the sting out of the tail. For Robionek, his incredible story and run continues. He’s going into Day 4 with 720,000 chips, one of ten Platinum Pass winners among the 38 to make it through. It’s a small stack, but he’s guaranteed a life-changing $86,400, and if he can hold for a few spots he’s going to take home a cool six figures.