PokerSchoolOnline veteran hits biggest win in huge freeroll
If you regularly read the PokerStars Blog it may seem that huge tournament wins are easy to come by. Another day, another Super High Roller winner or a Sunday Million champion sees their happy, smiling face land on the front page alongside a large trophy and an even larger bankroll boost.
However, for most poker players winning a huge tournament like this is nothing more than a pipe dream. The majority of action on PokerStars is at the micro stakes or on play money tables, where the main prizes on offer may just be a few dollars or, just as important, bragging rights over regular Hold'em foes.
However, sometimes one of these players strikes a winning moment that is just as exciting as shipping a six-figure score - and that's exactly what happened to long-time PokerSchoolOnline member Brian 'rolo834' Lowe. The Stockport native joined PokerStars, via PokerSchoolOnline, six years ago and played in play money games exclusively for a while before moving to micro stakes sit & go's and tournaments.
Lowe is also a frequent player in freerolls and promotions put on by PokerSchoolOnline and it was one of these, the Scratch & Match Jackpot Freebuy, that led to his biggest ever win. At the weekend Lowe took his seat as one of 6,460 players. Nearly seven hours later and Lowe had outlasted the entire field for a career-best score of $732.85.
PokerStars Blog caught up with an ecstatic Lowe to get his thoughts on an unexpected win, how he's improved his poker game and how you can follow in his footsteps...
Can you give us a brief history of your poker playing career?
This was by far my biggest win and I usually play micro stakes and freerolls such as this. I tend to play most days but not long sessions - although just lately I seem to be going deeper in tournaments - I know this because I'm always behind with my TV viewing and my bankroll is growing too!
What were your reasons behind joining PokerSchoolOnline?
I wanted to learn and they also have great promotions such as this one [Scratch and Match Jackpot Freebuy]. I really enjoy the live training on the site and on Twitch, plus everyone is very friendly and willing to help each other out.
Do you think newer forms of poker strategy such as Twitch are a good way to get better at the game?
Well, I may prove a bit controversial here as I don't tend to learn much on Twitch actually! Time seems to fly by but I view the streams more as entertainment and fun rather than as educational (except for some live training sessions on PokerSchoolOnline).
[Twitch also helps to] build a strong community amongst the regulars and it's not a closed group - everyone is welcome.
In a tournament like this with over 6,000 entries did you have a strategy to try and build a stack early on?
For the first 30 minutes I tried to get reads and stay out of trouble. Once I felt my notes were reliable I took any +EV spot as it was a freeroll and some players seem to not take them too seriously [and gamble too much]. I got off to a slow start and was down to just 4 big blinds for a very long time!
At what point in the tournament did you realise you had a chance of making it very deep?
I don't have a big ego which tends to help me - maybe I have a slight lack of confidence - so to be honest I only thought I had a shot of going deep when I was [already] quite deep! In tournament poker I take nothing for granted.
What were you thinking when you made the final table?
I remember looking at the payout structure and thinking that 7th and above paid over $100so let's try not to bust before then! I was thrilled to reach the final table, in fact I couldn't believe it.
Were there any major hands early on?
The very first hand on the final table I nearly busted! I got it all-in with pocket fives against Q-Q but I flopped a set and then rivered quads! Looking back that five coming on the flop made me an extra $700.
After that you made it all the way to heads-up. How did that battle go?
It was England versus Uruguay and it seemed to be a very long match at the time but it was probably only 30 minutes looking back. I tried to make a deal but my opponent didn't understand English very well so we both said 'play'!
The lead then changed at least five times with both of us coming back from fumes. Then the final hand came as the blinds were huge - there was 1.4 million in the middle and only 20 million total chips in play. I had A-8 and he had A-9. I thought he was likely to get another double-up but an 8 came on the turn and that was it!
How did you feel once the tournament was over and you had won?
Exhausted and on Cloud 9! I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep for quite a few hours due to the excitement. Honestly it's hard to describe. It was not about the money, it was more about knowing that getting first out of 6,460 players doesn't happen every day!
If you want to follow in Brian 'rolo834' Lowe's footsteps you can join PokerSchoolOnline.com for free now. You'll find great value bonuses and promotions with big prizes, alongside one of the largest collections of free poker strategy found anywhere online.
Learn. Play. Win.