Semi-pro O8 specialist Thomas Duevel wins the first ever No-Limit Omaha Eight or better tournament on the European Poker Tour.
When you suggest running a €1,100 No-Limit Omaha-Eight tournament for the first time on a tour you don't necessarily think that you're going to get a lot of runners, but then again you don't factor in players like Duevel.
"I came here only to play this event. I'm an 08 player only," said Duevel, who was one of 54 players that bought in.
Indeed he is. Not only did he get past a field that included players such as side event maestro Dan Smith, EPT Omaha Player of the Year Khiem Nguyen, and John O'Shea, who was runner-up in the that same award at the end of Season 7, but the 31-year-old from Lower Saxony also has the credentials of finishing third in the NL08 WCOOP event just a few months ago winning $17,983.80 for a $215 buy-in under the User ID of 'Macr0s'.
Event #9, 10 December
Game: NLHE '8-handed' turbo
Prize pool: €52,380
1. Thomas Duevel, Germany, €16,450*
2. Igor Bavshin, Russia, €14,400*
3. Ari Engel, Canada, €7,350
4. Paolo Compagno, Switzerland, €5,250
5. Rudi Johnsen, Norway, €3,700
6. Vincent van der Fluit, Netherlands, €2,900
7. Nachman Berlin, USA, €2,330
*Denotes a heads-up deal.
So what happens when you introduce a less frequently played form of poker to the tournament floor? You get a lot of confused faces and plays that could only be described as non-optimum. Here's an example. Among the successful grinders and - as it happens - 08 specialists who come specifically to play this event are plenty of faces that you could put on a poster beneath a sign stating, 'Never gonna win an EPT'.
Ari Engel was not one of those having more than competently made the final table here in the Main Event last year, but his opponent, who later told me that he "can't remember" his name, quite possibly was. In a three-way pot Engel led 4,500 into a J♠J♦6♦ flop and was min-raised to 9,000 by the man who later developed amnesia. Engel called and checked the 2♦ turn card . Mr Forgetful shoved all-in.
"How much do you have?" asked Engel.
O'Shea, quicker than dealer or player, answered, "Fifty-three point eight."
Engel's demeanour was rapidly shifting from that of someone on the verge of snap-calling to that of making a pained fold upon weighing the over-shove into the pot.
"How can you have it?" asked Engel. "I have three outs."
"We split, I think so," said his opponent.
"I can't get away from it. You win," said Engel, who was still yet to call.
"Of course, I win. Make a decision," said the amnesiac, who obviously hadn't forgotten it was a turbo.
Engel made the call: J♣2♥3♦T♥ for the second nuts.
"Difficult but good call," said his opponent tabling Q♣J♥9♠A♠.
The river didn't give deliver one of the nine outs to suck out on Engel's boat and the American moved up to 195,000 and into the chip lead, more than two-and-a-half times average with 15 players left. Engel, who Duevel described as his "toughest opponent at the final table," ended up third.
The lesson to be learnt here, perhaps, is that if you can't remember your own name then playing a four-card split-pot game might not be the best idea.
Rick Dacey is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.