Tuesday, October 16, 2012

€50K Specialist

The WSOP happened again this summer, and while my HendonMob page wouldn't indicate I was there I can assure you I was. My plan to play less events didn't really happen either. What that means in real words is that I played a whole lot of poker tournaments in Las Vegas this summer and lost 100% of the money I invested into them. I took a month off before heading to Barcelona for the first event of this year's EPT schedule. Barcelona is an amazing city but this trip was mostly business. The one amazing thing I got to experience was watching the first leg of El Clasico, the huge soccer match between Barca and Real Madrid. The first event I played was the €50k high roller, and as the title would indicate, it went well.

After building a big stack on Day 1 I fought my way to the final table on the 2nd day as one of the short stacks. It was all I could do to sit back and watch my roommate Dan Smith decimate player after player. Coming into the final table, three of my friends had the vast majority of the chips: Dan, timex, and JC Alvarado. The other five players including myself were relatively close in chip count, but all the money was in the top three places so it didn't make much sense to just sit around and try to wait people out. Unfortunately, my cards dictated that was my only choice for the first few hours of play, and no one was busting. As I was so short nothing interesting happened at the final table, I just managed to win a few preflop all-ins in a row. I was briefly in contention to make a run at the title but I lost my next all-in and was eliminated by JC in 3rd place for €400k. Dan went on to win again (obviously)! I also ended up finishing 10th in the 2k side event, which didn't pay much but at least broke my streak of three consecutive live cashes where Dan had finished higher than me.

I went home after Barca and grinded WCOOP online, and while I managed to win a 2nd chance event for around $35k it was still easily a net-negative series for me. It was immediately back on the road after WCOOP as I took my talents to the southern beach town of Cannes, France for WSOP Europe. My more loyal fans (hi mom and dad) would recall that I very nearly won a bracelet there last year, and then followed that up with a win in the turbo side event, cashing around a quarter million euros combined. It was the beginning of the great run I've been on in European tournaments, so I was feeling confident. This confidence showed as I screwed up my French less often in my brief interactions with taxi drivers and at restaurants.

I also played fine on the felt and I min-cashed the €10k mix-max event, but had no luck in any of the other bracelet events. I was planning to leave early and go to Sanremo for the €5k IPT high-roller event, but then I heard that the €50k side event in Cannes was actually going to attract a lot of more casual players than I would have expected. I was able to get the money together to play, and you should have a pretty good idea how this turns out. I doubled up with aces the first hand I played and it was smooth sailing from there. Actually the first half of that sentence is true but the rest is anything but. I struggled to get anything going again on day 2, and by the time we reached the final table of 9 players with 8 spots paying I was the short stack. Much to my dismay we ended play for the night still on the bubble and I got to stew all night on the fact that I was probably going to be the bubble boy.

Obviously, that didn't happen. Once again I went on an incredible heater after folding all the way down to starting stack for the tournament! I won a series of coin flips, doubled when I flopped top pair with a weak hand out of the big blind, and then decided coin flips were too easy and won AJ vs AK all-in preflop twice in a row to take the majority of Richard Yong and John Juanda's chips 3-handed. The win was good for €1 million, my second ever 7-figure score and first in over four years!

After Cannes was Sanremo where I tried to go back-to-back with a deepish run in the main event but ended up 59th. I also cashed another €5k turbo event, just to make sure people know those are still my domain too. Next up is ACOP Macau, followed by WPT Montreal and EPT Prague most likely. I'm really enjoying traveling and playing live right now so for the time being I'm going to keep playing the rush!

Mike

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