Second place forever

At this point, it's fair to say the Sunday Warm-Up is my favorite tournament on PokerStars. I made the money three times in July including a deep run where I made the final three tables. Unfortunately that time, I was in a situation where I was flipping for the chip lead and lost. It seemed like I couldn't win in that spot until August 11th, when everything finally went right and I finished in second place for over $76,000.

The key hand of this tournament for me happened on the final table bubble. I had the chip leader at my table and he was playing very aggressively, opening almost every pot to put pressure on the shorter stacks. One time that he opened, I found ace-ten and shoved, but that time he had a real hand and snap-called with pocket queens. Fortunately I flopped an ace and I went to the final table with a very healthy stack.


When five players were left, we started talking about a deal, but couldn't get everyone to agree. It was kind of a funny situation because every single time, the player who rejected the deal ended up being the next to bust out. I didn't discount the possibility of a deal, but when I got heads-up, it didn't make sense to chop it anymore. I had some history with PokerSavage1 and knew he was a tough, experienced regular. He also had a four to one chip advantage, so a chip chop would have awarded me $79k with $10k still in play. My choice was either to lock up slightly more than second place money or give myself the chance to win the whole thing. I opted for the latter, but was unable to battle back one more time.

Still, $76k is a huge sum and it represents my second-best online MTT score. Although it's a great accomplishment, it seems like I'm always stuck in second place! My biggest online score came when I finished second in a WCOOP 2nd chance High Roller event for $92k and my biggest live score was at the 2010 EPT Vienna, where I was the runner-up.

Since I made such a nice score, I decided to take a vacation with my family. We stayed in the Czech Republic and went to a nearby lake to relax. And for me, relaxing means fishing. Fishing really helps me stay calm and turn my mind off. I can let go and just enjoy the beautiful natural surroundings. I don't live too far from a river and I try to get out there to fish every couple of weeks.

Now it's time for WCOOP. In the past, I've mainly stuck to hold'em and Omaha events, but this year I'm going to put some mixed events on my schedule, like deuce-to-seven and five-card draw. I've put in the time learning these games and I'm ready to give them a shot in a bigger buy-in event, and the WCOOP is the perfect place to do it. The prize pools are simply too juicy to pass up.

Martin Hruby is a member of Team PokerStars Pro

Martin Hruby
@PokerStars in PokerStars news