Chun Lei ‘SamRostan’ Zhou: An Online Enigma

January 3rd saw an impressive session from Chun Lei ‘SamRostan’ Zhou as he took on notorious players such as Viktor ‘Isildur1’ Blom, Alexander ‘joiso’ Kostritsyn, ‘spaise411’, Ben ‘Sauce123’ Sulsky, and Matt ‘MUSTAFABET’ Ashton at the $1K/$2K 8-Game tables. 

He won that day $123,665.

He gave a dominant display of skill in what was far from being the first high stakes game he had played against illustrious opposition. His recent results suggest that he perhaps now belongs in such esteemed company, but it hasn’t always been an easy ride for this online enigma.

Chun Lei Zhou (Photo Kenneth Lim – PokerStars)

2016 success for Chun Lei Zhou

Chun Lei ‘SamRostan’ Zhou is by no means an unknown player, having put in serious volume at the highest stakes online. He took 3rd in the rankings of biggest winner for 2016 with USD$748,018. One very interesting statistic which underlines his enthusiasm and work rate is that he played 166,228 hands last year.

This made him one of the most active players online at the highest stakes. He was one of the main reasons that the action flowed regularly last year, and proved himself by emerging as one of the big winners. To add an extra layer to his accomplishment – most of this money was won playing 8-Game which is a true all-round test for poker players. Deep understanding of all 8 games is required to excel in this format.

Chun Lei ‘SamRostan’ Zhou Painful Start

Chun Lei ‘SamRostan’ Zhou has been playing high stakes poker for several years, and his early attempts to make financial progress online were defined by damaging losses and knock-backs. The online community simply saw him as one of the losing regulars at the highest stakes and as someone who was out of their depth.

The ‘Panda’ as he is known, was always happy to engage in chat at the tables and often joked with players about his losses. He joked about jumping off the Macau tower after bad sessions and frequently made light of his dismal record. He would often play sessions lasting up to 16 hours, but his results were mostly numbers in the red.

More than $14M lost online

Chun Lei Zhou’s losses on PokerStars total $2.06M under the name ‘patpatman’ and he has also lost $2.61M as ‘patpatpanda’ on Full Tilt. His other Full Tilt account however, is where his most damaging losses were incurred. Playing under the name ‘Samrostan’ he is down almost $10M.

Samrostan – Full Tilt Poker

Zhou currently plays under the name ‘Samrostan’ on PokerStars and is up $460K with that account. He has a long road ahead if he wishes to recover everything he has ever lost online, however.

There are many aspects of Zhou that remain enigmatic, and his recent turnaround seems remarkable given his previous losses, but one thing about him is clear:  his passion for the game and commitment to work on his game are absolute. He claims to have played 40 hour sessions and continued to play astonishing numbers of hands even through his biggest downswings.

When asked about his favourite poker variant, he replied “all of them”, “I like all games – Omaha, 8-Game, mixed games. I don’t want to just play no-limit Holdem”.

Article by Craig Bradshaw