Ready for the ACOP
I have long wished for a tournament series like the Asia Championship of Poker (ACOP) ever since I first came to Macau in 2007. It's the kind of big buy-in event that truly makes Macau the center of poker in Asia.
Years of waiting finally ended after the first ACOP took place last year. To my surprise I found myself at the final table of the very first ACOP Title Event - the Deepstack Championship. The event drew 192 entrants and the final table was a tough one as it featured Vladimir Geshkenbein and fellow Team PokerStars Pro Vivian Im.
I entered the final table with an average stack and didn't really feel much pressure. Whenever I'm at ease, that's when I end up with the best results. Anyhow, the short stacks started falling and I was relieved to see Geshkenbein bust as he posed a major threat to the title.
When the play became 3-handed it was down to Vivian, myself, and a player named Iqbal Ahmed. I eliminated Vivian thanks to a preflop cooler and was heads up against Iqbal. It didn't take me long to recognize that my opponent was uncomfortable playing heads up with me. I've played a huge amount of heads up online and Iqbal clearly lacked a lot of experience. I chipped away at small-to-medium sized pots while frustrating him with lines that he was unfamiliar with. Finally, he had enough and bluff-shoved me on the turn with ace-high (AQ) when I had AA and he was drawing dead. It's very rare to be allin for a title (I covered him by just 3,000 chips) without a sweat!
The rail was really great in their support and I had the first look at the ACOP Title Event trophy - a beautiful silver spade design. The win came out of nowhere and really lifted my confidence after a dry spell for most of 2012. With the confidence and momentum, I almost made the final table in the main event as well but busted 4 places short. But still a great two weeks of poker.
For the past month or so I've been working a lot on my poker game in preparation for the upcoming ACOP which starts on October 18. I've been using game theory and many will find my style to be quite different. I am well prepared technically, mentally, and physically for the upcoming series and with the addition of the PLO Championship, I am determined to have another strong run.
Since Celina (Lin) beat me to become the first ever two-time Red Dragon Main Event winner in the Macau Poker Cup series, I'm looking to make my own mark in the ACOP. I want to be the first to get to two ACOP Title Events and stay on top with more than anyone else. All the championship events are great to win but let's just say my silver trophy is looking for his gold buddy (the main event trophy).
See you all at the ACOP and good luck!
Raymond Wu is a member of Team PokerStars Pro