TCOOP 2016: buzzard1881 on his TCOOP title... make that two
The following is a little late. Our interview with buzzard1881 was supposed to be published last week. He'd just won TCOOP-06, a 6-Max shootout tournament with a first prize of $17,539. He'd told us about it, and we were all set, only for the plan to run into a problem five days later. What happened exactly? buzzard1881 won a second TCOOP title, that's what.
It means that if you look carefully at this page you'll see the tire marks where we rammed the brakes, swerved, and the story in another direction entirely. We wanted to hear about the second win too. And while we may have permanently ruined our suspension, it makes for some interesting reading.
The first time we spoke to buzzard1881 he'd explained his fondness for shootout events. The fact you can take one step at a time had an appeal, he'd said, a more comfortable scenario than the pressures (if profitable pressures) of playing heads-up, for example. Then he won a second title in Stud hi/lo.
"Stud Hi/Lo is my all-time favourite and probably my best game," he said. "I love Stud Hi/Lo and it continues to reciprocate my love. Everyone should play it!"
Maybe any event you win immediately becomes a favourite. But then as buzzard1881 admitted even that was hard to say.
"The tournament was really a blur, being a turbo, but I think I remember going on a good run on the last two tables where I had a buried pair I think 3-3-4 and was able to hit a three on sixth street to win a really big pot and give myself the chip lead. I had pretty good control of the final table and got some crucial holds to take it down."
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He wasn't kidding, as the results show. And in hindsight perhaps it's not that surprising. Buzzard1881 considers himself a Stud player first, a hold'em player second, something that gave him an edge over less practiced opponents.
"I just had to hope the cards came to me. I'm really happy that they did."
All of which came shortly after the shootout win. You can read the full report of the final table HERE, which details some of the key points in buzzard1881's win. That includes a hand buzzard1881 played with ace-nine, one that would prove pivotal.
"It was definitely the key moment," he said. "Throughout the tournament, when I got to the point where I had doubled my starting stack, I knew I was going to get to the last three players and give myself a good chance to win. Anything can happen though so I didn't think I had it won, but I continued to run extremely well."
There was also the deal. It's not normally a stage considered appropriate for generosity to make an appearance, but buzzard1881's approach was described by some onlookers as just that. Did he agree with that?
"It was going to be my biggest hold'em score regardless," he said. "But when you don't win the tournament it has a bittersweet sting. I guess I was just going to soften the blow if things went badly. I also put a bad beat on one of them so I thought I'd toss him a pork chop. I think it relaxed both of them enough where I could finish them off."
As a plan it worked. Buzzard1881 credits getting lucky earlier for his success, along with being able to execute well in the late stages. It seemed to be a strategy that worked well throughout TCOOP, and one he'd planned to adopt coming into the series.
"I keep expectations low and try to take it one tournament at a time. In tournaments for me it's really hard to not look ahead and get excited too early. You have to keep your head down and play as best you can."
That best meant buzzard1881 would finish the series with six cashes in all and two titles, good for joint sixth place on the Leader Board.
Buzzard1881 didn't really do much by way of celebration (nobody ever does), other than the traditional act of jumping back into a game somewhere. None of which takes anything away from the achievement itself.
"For myself though this definitely feels like the most satisfying win because it's been like nine years since my last hold'em tournament win and for it to be a big event like this it's awesome."
Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.