SCOOP 2015: Mike "SirWatts" Watson on one, make that two SCOOP wins
SCOOP may have come to an end but there are still some stories to tell, like that of Mike "SirWatts" Watson.
Actually our original interview with Mike Watson was ruined by, well, Mike Watson. We'd first talked to him after his win in Event 29-M, which to our surprise turned out to be his first ever SCOOP win.
So with a finger hovering over the "publish" button I happened to scan the morning's results. That's when I noticed the name "SirWatts" back at the final table, this time in Event 37-H. Hang on, I thought, this man is about to ruin everything.
It was no lock mind, with opposition in the form of Naoya "Nkyeno" Kihara and Kosei Ichnose. But looking at the table, and then back at my interview, it seemed prudent to hold on for a while. I was right. Nkyeno and Ichinose couldn't stop him, and SirWatts had SCOOP title number two.
Sometimes you send questions to a player and figure a reply is unlikely given the tight schedule serious SCOOP players live by (and thanks to all those players who graciously explained this when we got in touch), but Watson, a familiar sight at some of live poker's biggest games as well as those online, found a few minutes to send us his thoughts on both his first win and then the second.
So here's a transcript of sorts with the Super High Rolling double SCOOP winner. The man's a maddog. He says so himself.
PokerStars Blog: Can you talk me through that first event and the final table itself? Were there any moments you would pick out as defining ones?
Mike Watson: I had a very big chip lead for much of the middle stages of the tournament but came back to the pack before regaining the lead again with two tables left. Just before we reached the final table I fell back to the middle of the pack and then quickly to the bottom as we lost a few players quickly. So I certainly had been feeling optimistic throughout most of the tournament and when we got four and three handed it was the first time I'd faced a lot of adversity in later stages of the tournament. Fortunately I kept playing my game and caught some lucky hands when I got very short three handed to turn it around in a hurry and take home my first SCOOP event!
PSB: How did the second title differ?
MW: Well this time I was very short stacked coming into the final table and at the beginning play was a little slower until some of the shorter stacks bust. As we got more shorthanded the action really picked up, as ricestud had a lot of chips and was really trying to push the action on the shorter stacks. I was lucky to win or 3/4 some big all-in pots and then three and four handed play was particularly aggressive. I think everyone was tired and wanted to play some big pots and get it over with! That suited me just fine and I was obviously the luckiest at hitting boards in these big pots to take it down.
PSB: How does winning a first SCOOP win compare in terms of other titles?
MW: A first SCOOP title is a great accomplishment but it's hard to compare it to some of the results I've had in major live events. However any time you beat a field of that size it's very satisfying, all the more so as I've had a lot of close calls over the years at SCOOP final tables where I failed to close the deal.
To win two big events in a few days is a pretty great feeling. It was much smaller field but also much tougher and a game I'm less experienced at, so it was still obviously very satisfying. I guess an awful lot of things are going right! Certainly I feel confident that I've been playing well but you have to be pretty lucky more than anything else to have so much success in a short period.
PSB: Tell me about your approach to SCOOP. Is this something you in some ways prepare for? What expectations do you have at the start?
MW: I really look forward to SCOOP every year as the premiere online poker event for me. It's great action on its own and also a perfect tune-up for the WSOP, especially when it comes to getting the rust off my limit and mix game skills. My only real preparation is trying to find some time to put in a few mixed game cash game sessions before SCOOP starts, but with the EPT Grand Final right before SCOOP begins it's often difficult to find much time.
PSB: You've been in the game for a while. Do you still get a buzz out of winning events like this?
MW: I definitely still get a buzz winning events like this. If I'm being honest it's one of the few times in poker that I still get that feeling so it's always a big deal. These major final tables don't usually around as often as we would like.
PSB: What do you do when you're not playing poker?
MW: I run regularly to keep myself in shape, and watch a lot of TV shows and movies. My other major passion is sports, both as a fan and somewhat serious daily fantasy player. Unfortunately I don't play them as much anymore. The rest of my time is spent trying to make it up to my girlfriend for all the time I spend gambling and watching sports.
PSB: What's been going on in your life over the last year, good and bad?
MW: I guess three major life events outside of poker in the last year are meeting my girlfriend, becoming addicted to DFS, and running my first half marathon.
PSB: And what's made you the happiest in the past year?
MW: Well I'd be pretty stupid if i didn't say my girlfriend wouldn't I? Luckily it's true!
PSB: In the hours after you won your first title, what did you do? How did everyone react?
MW: After I won the event it was pretty late so not too much happened. A lot of my poker playing friends were already sweating it and cheering me on, so I left my girlfriend a message for when she woke up and tweeted it so other friends and family who were interested would see it in the morning. Then I drank a celebratory beer and got some sleep to try to do it all again the next day!
PSB: Finally, feel free to tell us anything of interest that we might not have asked.
MW: I'm a maddog.
Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.