From League of Legends to the PCA big leagues
It's not easy to see a route through a field of 3,200 players, especially when each of them are intent on winning a PCA package. So, it's probably best not to even try. Instead, play, play some more, and then see how things stand if you survive the first few hours.
That comes close to describing Dutchman Ivo "dommylol" Smit's plan of becoming one of the lucky ones. Go as deep as you can before getting panicky. Then get panicky.
"Once we were with 200 left I thought to myself; Damn I might even take this down," said Smit, 24. "The tension was rising on all players and barely any hands were played. Then when we only had 120 players left I opened all tables to take a look when others went all in. Every time someone lost an all in the dream of going to the Bahamas got more real."
So, there he was, anxiously tracking the plight of players in even worse shape than he was, with little more than a couple of big blinds. Fortunately for him there were plenty of short stacks, and when three of them busted Smit's trip to the Bahamas, the biggest win of his poker career, was secure.
All of which took a little while to sink in.
"The first thing I did was call my girlfriend who fell asleep way before the tournament ended. I shouted to her: WE ARE GOING TO THE BAHAMAS!"
It's a milestone in Smit's poker career, one that grew out of anther passion of his.
A lot of players reach poker through gaming. For Smit, it was from League of Legends, the multiplayer online battle video game, which he played to semi-professional level, and streaming on Twitch (as dommmylol) as he goes.
"At first I was just playing League of Legends with my friends. The more I played with them the better I got and at some point I wasn't able to play with them anymore because I was too high on the ladder. Not much later I got scouted for a team and from that point we dominated the Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg) League of Legends scene.
"I decided to start streaming instead of only playing tournaments. I've been doing that for the past 4-5 years and still do it but now on a smaller degree since I'm busy with my university. This weekend I play the finals of the ESL Benelux with my team Echo Zulu."
Smit was driven by his desire for competition and found his way to poker.
"When there is a competition no matter how small or big it is. I want to win it. Nothing more nothing less I want to be the best at everything that I do."
Smit started playing poker with friends in €1 sit & go's, and found winning, just as in League of Legends, was quite the draw. It wasn't the only similarity.
"There are a lot of similarities between poker and League of Legends. Both are strategic games where you have to think a few steps forward and calculate your chances to win. Of course with League of Legends you need some fast reflexes and gaming mechanics but besides that the strategic play I use in League is comparable to poker.
Which might prove useful when he boards a plane to Nassau in the New Year (along with his girlfriend) and takes a seat in the PCA Main Event, an event he's dreamed of playing for years.
"Now that I'm qualified for the PCA main event this dream I coming through. Playing the 10k main event on the Bahama's or in Vegas is basically the same idea, this might even be better considering that I'm going to the Bahama's. Who doesn't want to go there with the love of your life. And playing the Main Event as well?"
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Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog. Follow him on Twitter: @StephenBartley. What did you think about this post? Let us know on Twitter: @PokerStarsBlog.