WCOOP 2014: From grinder to double bracelet winner. Aggro Santos on a remarkable week
No tournament series ever transpires without a few key moments that stick in the memory and define the championship. It can be one of many things: a quote, a single hand, or just a name. Then there are those players who stand out for their remarkable performances. Such as Scott "Aggro Santos" Margereson, who earlier this week became the first player to win two titles during WCOOP 2014.
Perhaps it says something about those of us on the rail that it takes two WCOOP wins to get our attention, as if winning the first wasn't a monumental achievement enough. But while we instinctively know that one title is close to impossible, two takes on an almost supernatural quality--thousands of opponents brushed aside with apparent ease, and all in the space of three days.
It may be too early to say that Margereson's two wins will be the thing we remember most when we look back on WCOOP 2014 (at the time of publication another player had just scored their second title), but it will certainly be one of them. We were all witness to a rare achievement by a player at the start of their poker career.
We spoke to Margereson about his incredible week, one which had an understandable effect of shock on the 21-year-old from Chesterfield, who only a few years ago was sacked from his job washing dishes in a restaurant. It turns out that was probably a good day, leading him to pursue his love of poker. As he put it himself "I haven't looked back."
Q. Two wins in a handful of days. Do you have a "can't lose" feeling at the moment? Should you now just be playing everything you possibly can?!
A. Thanks, I'm extremely happy with both results but I'm not sure the reality has set in for me yet. I didn't even plan on playing that much of WCOOP but now I think I have to play pretty much every event to try and lock up the leader board.
Q. Can you talk a little about the two wins? How did each tournament play out for you? What were the high points and low points?
A. The first win was a lot more swingy, as it was a turbo. I went into the final table I think second of nine? Quickly gained the chip lead, but then was on the losing end of kings vs. aces which was a low point at the final table, and I think with six left I was in sixth place. I remember being pretty mad at the time, which is understandable as it was one of the biggest final tables I had made in my career. From then a few players made some ICM mistakes to allow me to jump up a couple of spots. I then won a few all-ins and got really lucky to come out winning the event.
The second WCOOP was more smooth sailing. I remember being short around the bubble, and then doubled up a couple of times one way or another after it burst and finished day one coming back with roughly 25 big blinds. As day two started I lost a couple of pots and was down to 15 big blinds straight away, but managed to double up and then cooler another player to double up again, and I was back in it.
From then on I just held in every all-in pot, and was also able to get steals through a lot of the time as most the players were inexperienced at being in this position and were just folding too much.
The final table started badly for me, as I lost half my stack before any bust-outs, meaning that now I had to sit tight and wait for other players to bust. It started to get shorter and shorter stacked and I inevitably coolered come AA vs AK to win a decent sized pot and give me the chip lead, and with the short stacks around this put me in a great position and luckily I was able to close it out.
Q. Can you describe the feeling you got with the first bracelet and how that compared with the second?
A. The feeling of winning the first bracelet was great. I was overjoyed that I had finally got that six figure score, and also leading up to that I was having a bad year in MTTs, so it was a confidence boost as well for me. After winning the second I didn't really feel much, it just didn't feel like real life. Twelve hours later its beginning to sink in. I'm just really fortunate to have somehow managed to win two bracelets in one series, particularly in NL hold'em.
Q. For your first win you had a pretty active final table - taking the lead after knocking out two players, then dropping down to the short stack before rallying to win - albeit after nearly losing the heads-up. Is that an accurate description? What was it like to play such a volatile final table?
A. The description is pretty accurate, when you're at a final table of a turbo you just have to accept that the variance is really high, and whatever happens happens. Even if you're short in a turbo you're still not out of the tournament.
Q. You were second in chips for the first final, and chip leader for the second, but they appeared to be two completely different experiences. Is that an accurate way to describe it?
A. Yes the experiences were totally different. I felt much more relaxed at the second final table, as after winning the first event anything was a bonus, and also because the stacks were deeper which suits my game a lot more than when the stacks are shallow.
Q. You must have felt pretty confident heads-up with such a big lead. Is it easy to lose concentration in those spots, or are you still so zoned in until the job is done?
A. I actually feel like having a commanding chip lead going into a heads-up adds pressure slightly. After the deal was made I had received a lot of messages from friends congratulating me, and I kind of lost my focus at the start of the match. It took one of them to tell me to focus as there was still 20k left to play for to really zone in again.
Q. You're now top of the WCOOP leader board. Will you now be paying close attention to that is it is something you don't really think about as a player?
A. I think at this point after winning two events almost halfway through the series and being top of the leader board, it would be a huge mistake to not go for the win in it. So you'll be seeing me in some games which I'm pretty bad at!
Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.