Main Event champ Dinesh "NastyMinder" Alt on karma and TCOOP success
So what's the single best quality you can have to ensure success in the TCOOP Main Event? Easy according to Dinesh "NastyMinder" Alt: Karma.
Well, sort of.
Last Sunday Alt did what 4,076 other players tried to do. But while they fell short Alt went all the way, winning a first prize of $396,691 in about five and a half hours - somewhat more than two big bets an hour.
But Karma, really? Where's the beef?
"I started being completely vegan since I watched Cowspiracy (I can recommend this movie to everyone, even if you don't wanna be a vegan/vegetarian). So I guess my karma was the one factor why I won!"
Alt was kidding, just in case we were about to put anybody off their Happy Meal. The real reason was perhaps more poker orientated.
"I'm playing many tournaments online and pushed my volume a lot in the last couple months," he said. "It's important to stay focused and be patient in poker to finally have a success and bink something big. Meditation definitely helped me with my patience."
The extent of that effort was significant. The TCOOP Main Event is one of the jewels of the online calendar, and the finale of the first of three 'COOP series on PokerStars. These wins can make a player. TCOOP involves a lot of energy, and a lot of effort, all condensed into a much shorter period of time.
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As Martin Harris's report explained , the action in the Main Event was intense. First there was the field of thousands to outrun, then a volatile final table, plus the paper work, in this case Alt's attempts to protect his profit with a deal. No easy task.
"Turbo tournaments, especially when the blinds are huge compared to the stack size, are very swingy," said Alt. "One single bad beat, mistake or losing a flip could cost you some 100k at the final table in this tournament."
It meant Alt was the vocal proponent of a deal during the final.
"The money jumps are also too big in my opinion," he said. "I personally would prefer a flatter pay-out structure in general in any poker tournaments. That's why I proposed to make a deal at different stages of the final."
It wasn't until heads-up when Alt got his way (ironically in such cases, benefitting him), with runner-up KungKroon agreeing to numbers, or as he put it joyously: "Agreedio!"
The win was the biggest of Alt's career, (he's had four other six figure wins) and came with the prestige of a COOP title, something not lost on the Swiss. "It was the nicest and fastest score I had!"
His approach, going into TCOOP, had been a positive one. Like many players, Alt can't help but love a Turbo, and has played plenty of them over the past few years. His series started well, with some deep runs, including a runner up finish in TCOOP-11, a heads-up event, a source of pride according to Alt who has less experience in that format.
This all seemed to put Alt in a positive mental state.
"Having hopes is one of the most essential things in poker, especially in such a large turbo tournament," he said. "The Variance is definitely higher in these structures than in slow tournaments. That's why my expectations weren't too big for the main event."
He did, and whether that was down to a vegan diet or meditation (performed during every five minute break) only he really knows. Either way it was cause for celebration.
"I just told it to my family and some close friends. I'm not the kind of human proclaiming loudly my winnings, because I know how hard variance and swings in poker can be. I just needed some hours to realise that I really won such a huge amount of money in such a short time. Besides friends I also got many congratulations from people around the world which was really nice."
Looking ahead 2016 could be a big year for Alt, who has yet to decide between another year on the poker circuit, or the start of a degree in medicine in Switzerland.
"I will still play poker trying to get another coop title this year and playing some live circuits events," he said. Although after such high profile success - and arguably such good karma -- he can be forgiven for not wanting to leave the game just yet.
Read the full story of Alt's TCOOP Main Event win on the PokerStars Blog.
Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.