Days after the European Poker Tour Barcelona finished, people are talking about Quan Zhou almost as much as about Simon Brandstorm, who defeated 1,988 contestants to become the winner and take home staggering €1,290,166. However, Zhou is a subject of many debates for much less celebrated reason—a possible angle-shoot on Day 3 of the Main Event.
Zhou Moved to Fold… and Then He Didn’t
The possibly unethical move that has the poker community on their feet happened when Zhou suddenly changed his mind about folding his cards. The play started with Zhou opening with a 6,000 bet and Ponomarev on his right responding with a raise to 18,500. Zhou took a moment to think and then made as if to put his cards down but then decided to continue. The video footage from the game and many upset voices suggest that his change of heart was caused by taking a peek at his opponent’s cards.
While it has not actually changed the outcome of the game because the flop turned out to be more favourable for Ponomarev and so Zhou ended up folding anyway, many poker fans feel outraged with his action and Twitter is full of opinions that he should be penalised.
Joe Stapleton, who was commentating on the event for Twitch.tv, has expressed reservations about whether the issue should be taken that far.
“I am happy to question the motive and say it sure looks like an angle-shoot. But I genuinely believe it was not cheating and difficult to tell if it was premeditated or he just changed his mind in a very shady an uncool way.”
Pokertube too pointed out that looking purely at the technical side of the issue, Zhou’s move was not actually illegal.
As an explanation, they stated:
“It’s not against the rules to fake a fold if he keeps his hands on the cards — unlike forward motion with chips, for example, which generally constitutes binding action.”
On the other hand, the masses that watch and love poker are not that forgiving. Screenshots have been taken and posted all over the internet of the crucial moment when Zhou’s eyes are set on Ponomarev’s cards, turned into memes and mocked by public. So while he may not be facing any official penalties, he will have sure lost a fair bit of respect in the eyes of the wide audience.