Tim Reilly wasn't a known face on the European Poker Tour before the start of EPT Deauville but, after some fine performances on the EPTLive webcast and the small matter of being heads-up in the €10,300 High Roller, we expect to see a lot more of the 30-year-old.
Hailing from Boston, Massachusetts (that's in the USA, just in case you didn't know) Reilly started playing tournaments in anger about a year-and-a-half ago and has racked up some modest scores totalling $131,671. He's already smashed that here after a 90th place finish in the Main Event for €9,700 and the guaranteed €180,000 that second place pays out in the High Roller. It's €313,000 for the win. Not bad for someone who is relatively new to tournaments. You can check the live updates here.
"I started playing tournaments about a year and a half ago. I played cash recreationally for a few years and then started playing for a living about a year-and-a-half before Black Friday happened in America," said Reilly, who bears more than a passing resemblance to Ryan Gosling.
Like many others he made the switch over to live poker shortly after and now faces Vojtech Ruzicka heads-up for the EPT Deauville €10,300 High Roller title. Things, you could say, have gone pretty well on that front but Reilly won't find his Czech opponent easy to overcome. Ruzicka is a highly regarded player who chopped the 2011 WCOOP Main Event. He'll be no pushover.
The American almost busted in third for €105,700 when he got it all-in with A♣K♣ against Frenchman Alexandre Reard's pocket eights. Reilly flopped a king and held. Reard went to the rail shortly after, guaranteeing Reilly a minimum additional €75,000. That's a hell of a coin-toss.
"Yup, I've lost some pretty big flips but that's definitely the biggest one (I've been in)," Reilly told the PokerStars Blog during the last break.
And he's not just talking about the money either, that flip could literally be life-changing.
"Right now I'm kinda travelling. I moved out the country to Amsterdam to get relocated and set up on PokerStars. I was actually talking about where I'm going next last night and I decided to wait for the next couple of days because I figured a lot could change. I was six-handed in this and it could change my trip massively, you know.
"I might actually - not take time off - but not grind so hard and just play the bigger tournaments. After Sanremo I started getting a little more selective and not playing everything. I like the deep stacked good value events, I'm not so good at the turbos. I like the chips to be deeper," said Reilly.
His claim certainly seems to be credible. In the earlier days of the EPTLive webcast here Reilly really impressed and was involved in arguably the most fascinating hand to have played out all week in a clash between him and Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Rousso (which you can watch and read Vanessa's take on the hand here). Reilly's heard plenty about it.
"Yeah, I've seen it. I like Vanessa a lot, she's a great person but I thought it was absolutely suicidal of a bluff, which is why I folded because when she flats almost 5k with less than 13k back if she doesn't have two kings in her hand I don't... her line was so polarised... I think that she had king-five, that's what I would suppose, and turning that into a bluff.
"I don't expect her to expect me to fold very often and when she calls out of position as much as she plays she has to have it. She was trying to rep so thin it's almost good-bad. It's bad but in this spot it was good because I could read that she was saying, 'I have two kings, nothing else.' It was two kings or not and at that point she's got to be crazy to flat this bet without it. I don't know, I've been getting a lot of shit from my friends," said Reilly with a smile.
Win or lose heads-up Reilly should be smiling a lot. Not only has he bagged some €200,000 - and possibly more - but he's won a lot of fans here this week. We certainly hope to see more of the boy from Boston on the EPT.
Reilly also scored a couple of entries on The EPT Quote Board.
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Rick Dacey is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.