Ryan "Diidums" Davies and a perfect $118K Sunday Million dream
Life can be hard sometimes, as Ryan "Diidums" Davies, a 20-year-old from Cardiff, Wales, knows all too well.
In the space of about 48 hours last weekend he had to contend with the following:
• Convincing himself that, having been awake for 28 hours and playing the Sunday Million for 18, he had reached the final table, and wasn't dreaming.
• He had to process the fact that, while expected at work at 9am Monday morning, he was still discussing a three-way deal at 8.55am.
• On top of that he had to contend with his mother shouting at him for not being ready for work at 8.56am.
• He then had to reassure his mother, at around 8.57am, that he had a really good reason.
• Then he faced the hassle of reassuring his bank that the six-figure sum about to be wired to his account was perfectly legit.
• Then to top it all off, he had to try not to freak out in public too much when he was Tweeted at by Daniel Negreanu while he celebrated with friends in a nightclub.
It's a tough life. But that's just what happens when you finish second in your first ever Sunday Million, having won your seat for $8.80.
When we spoke to Ryan earlier this week what we got back was a textbook example to new and old players alike, of what can happen when you play on PokerStars and take a shot. It's a dream for sure, but not an impossible one.
"Sunday's are my favourite days to play just like most people because of how great value the tournaments are and the magnitude of the fields," said Davies. "So, I woke up planning to play things like the Sunday Storm, etc. but saw a satellite for $4.40 to the Sunday Million. At first I only loaded it up as a table filler before some of the other usual tournaments I play started. Obviously, it turned out to be a lot more than just a table filler!"
Not only was it the first time Davies had tried to satellite into the Sunday Million, it was the first time he'd ever played it. The $215 buy-in was more than his biggest online cash to that point, a win worth $205 in the $3.30 Bubble Rush a few weeks ago.
"I've had a few live cashes for a bit more but never anything major all three figure scores."
So, Davies, who started playing poker in £5 pub leagues in his home town of Cardiff, found himself playing the Sunday Million for this first time, on what appeared to be a normal Sunday.
"I woke up really late that day, it must've been around about 3pm before I even got out of bed! I do remember thinking to myself before I loaded up my laptop to play that in 24 hours someone is going to be over $100,000 richer because of the Milly, and how life changing that spot must be."
Then that dream started kicking in.
"Well, I mean, after not sleeping for 28 hours and playing for almost 18 hours straight it definitely felt like I was dreaming."
Like a lot of people we talk to who find themselves in a similar spot, Davies didn't let the occasion get to him. Instead he focused on what he knew.
"After I made the cash and the pay jumps started happening I set myself the goal to just get my first four figure score so I could boost my bankroll, Top three honestly never even crossed my mind until we were like final six/seven.
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"I started off playing off extremely cautious. Actually, I had my tournament life on the line in the first hand after picking up aces and getting it all in on the turn. So that was obviously nice to get a double up and gave me some space to manoeuvre. But honestly I just tried to play my normal game, as much as I did try different bluffs/plays against certain players I knew were thinking on a high level, I tried to stick to my normal game, play the same as I would in a $3.30 tournament and not let the money affect my decisions."
But then when you're 20, living at home and with a new job to get to, life comes knocking on the door. In this case literally.
"So the final table finished around about 8:55am and I was actually scheduled into work at 9am. I was on facetime to my friend when we were making a deal because he had woken up and seen I had made the final three. Then my mum came in and wasn't happy about the fact I wasn't ready for work or anything. My friend responded by telling her I was in the process of winning over $100,000.
"She obviously didn't believe me at first even when I showed her the figures. After everything had finished and my parents had found out a group chat with all my close friends in started blowing up because they had seen what had happened, so I was answering calls for about an hour.
"Honesty it didn't hit me at all in the first few hours. I just went to the bank and gave them a heads-up about the large sum of money being wired into my account.
"Obviously, the reaction I've got off twitter is absolutely insane - being tweeted by people from around the world congratulating me including some of my favourite poker players and streamers. My phone hasn't stopped going off since I posted that tweet so the support I've been getting is amazing.
Davies got one last surprise before the day was out.
"Daniel Negreanu found my tweet and tweeted at me last night congratulating me. Me and my friends were out in a nightclub celebrating so the whole club got to witness me freak out in the middle of the dance floor when I saw the notification."
Boom! Nice score. https://t.co/78IWNI1Qza— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) August 7, 2017
Results like this can transform a player, bringing a confidence boost as well as the obvious bankroll one. In Davies's case, it was good timing, given that along with a new job he'd begun to increase the amount of poker he was playing. This result opens new doors to Davies, and not just in the poker world.
"The independence and opportunity this win is going to bring. I'm looking at moving away for a couple of months to and taking the time off to just experience different things and grow as a person."
"There are the obvious short term plans like materialistic things and definitely a bigger bankroll! But honestly, the first thing I'm going to do with that money is pay my parents mortgage off and make sure they're all set up because as cliché as it sounds that's the least I could do for them in return for everything they've done for me over the years."
It's an attitude worthy of the result, and of a great story.
If you want to do what Ryan Davies did, then it all starts with a PokerStars account. You can get one of those here. In the meantime, check out details of Sunday Million satellites in the PokerStars lobby. Look out for the username Diidums.
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.