WCOOP 2014: What it's like to win two titles, from the other side of the screen
As we reported earlier this week, two players became double WCOOP winners in the space of a few days this week. Just as thousands of players were coming to terms with how hard it is to win one, these guys were making it look easy.
Assad91 was the second player to do so, winning Event #28 ($320 Mixed hold'em) some five days after winning Event #9 ($1,050 Super Tuesday Special Edition). It was an incredible feat, and one which in Assad91's case transformed a professional grinder into a two-time WCOOP champion, turning a few heads in the process, including that of Assad91.
We caught up with Assad91 a few days after his WCOOP win to find out what ti was like to win one, then two titles, his thoughts on how he played, and whether or not the shock had worn off. He was kind enough to give his point of view, essentially explaining that it may look easy to win two titles, but in reality it's a pretty big deal.
Q. Talk me through the two tournaments you won. What were the high points and low points. Was it an easy route to the final or a hard one?
A. Before WCOOP I was totally bust and had quite some debts. So I choose to get a stake-back deal for the series. This meant I only had 20 per cent, but didn't risk anything if I lost. If I had played for 300k myself, I think it would affect me differently, even though I like to think not.
Getting to the ST final table there were times I really felt I was crushing and played A-plus. But so many times I felt that I miss-played and that I was a horrible player.
It was not an easy route at all, specifically with stack sizes as regard to ICM on the final table. The second final table was so much easier. The low points were all the horrible lines I took, basically what you see on the replay show.
The high point was when I won with aces vs. Sam's 6-3 off-suit. I usually get people to spazz vs. me and it feels damn good :)
Q. When you won the first did you ever think, well, whatever happens now I've achieved something great. Were you even thinking of a second one at that time?
A.Nah, it hasn't really sunk in yet, and no I had no thoughts about that. When I was at the mixed final table, and realised it was way harder than the ST final table, it did something to me though.
Like on the ST final table, I was really scared of Sam, until we got heads-up and I realised "this is kinda easy".
On this final table I felt I had way more control, and even though I was short at times and misplayed some hands, I was super confident in my game and not scared of anyone, even though they were all sickos.
First place in the Mixed was under 1/10 of the ST, so that could definitely have had an impact on my confidence, and how well my opponents played.
Q. At what point in the second event did you think you might actually be able to win a second title?
A. Hmm. Not sure, I will know when I watch the re-player, right now I don't remember. Think it was around 4-6 players left, but I didn't think so much like "title", more like "I can do this, I can win this MTT".
I try to not think about all that stuff, like the money, bracelet, leader board, etc. It's just not good at all while in a game. I think I'm able to block out those thoughts really well. It's just a MTT, and I want to win it.
Q. Did you have a strategy going into each final table? Is that something you think about or do you just wait to see what happens?
A. My strategy was to keep up my aggression to a maximum, take good bluff spots. This was way easier in the second final table than the first one, especially because of ICM.
Q. You dominated for much of the second final table. What were you thinking then when you lost the lead heads-up? Was it difficult to stay focused on recovering?
A. Nah, I made a bad bluff three-handed I think, but I just stayed focused on playing my best and I was kinda happy either way. I had already achieved more than I could expect.
Q. Your heads up opponent Phil Huxley is a player with an obvious track record. What was he like to play against?
A. I've lived like six months last year with heads-up players and feel my heads-up game is getting really good, so I didn't think much about who he was or that he's very good.
I didn't find the heads-up game very challenging, but I obviously ran really well and he was probably card dead.
Q. The two wins, plus a 15th place finish, put you on top of the Player of the Year leader board. Will you be changing anything in terms of how many WCOOP events you now play?
A. I didn't have plans to "go hard" on this series, but now I've definitely gotta try win the leader board so will grind every day, and most likly play all events except the 10k heads-up. I was probably going to play 80-90% of the events otherwise, so not a big change.
I've been grinding hard core most of the year, so what I'm really looking forward to is a nice vacation and some time away from the PC.
Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.