"Gieras" and "hangoverdose" on recent WCOOP success
When all is done with WCOOP 2015 there will be 70 new bracelet winners. Some have been there and done that before, but for others, the experience of winning a major title is a new one, as two players explained after their recent success.
"Such deep run feels awesome," said Gieras, who found himself second time lucky after reaching and winning his second WCOOP final table, in Event #39. "Winning it was so far the best moment of my life."
The 29-year-old from Poland, won $26,000 in the NL Omaha hi/lo event last year, which was all the incentive he needed to get more involved in WCOOP this time around.
"I assumed that even if I won't satellite into particular main event, I'll spend big part of my bankroll to attack a bracelet," he said. "I've played few tournaments and didn't even cash, therefore 2-7 triple draw supposed to be one of last events to play."
Like most players who find themselves the last players standing, looking back there were moments that had they gone differently, could have changed everything. The deep structure, the fixed limits and experience worked in Gieras's favour, but not all the time. There were coolers
"After few first levels at day 1, I got down to 4 big blinds. I doubled up, got good run and ended day 1 at 2nd place. And - what was most important - I got great run when playing heads up.
"At the beginning of final table, I was certain I can take it down. Of course after each elimination I felt like being one step closer to winning it, but when I was short stack with 3 players left, I knew I had to hit few draws in order to stay alive and outplay my opponents later.
"I must say I stayed calm for most of the tournament. However, getting few coolers at important moments, lead to few "whys" and f-words."
Also winning his first bracelet was Manos "hangoverdose" Halkiotis from Greece, this time in Event #43.
"When we reached final three my goal was the bracelet and I can't describe how happy I was to win it."
As far as Halkiotis was concerned, this was a change from his usual routine.
"It was like taking a day off from work because I almost exclusively grind no-limit hold'em, and playing mix games is entirely different.
Halkiotis, who created his username while suffering the effects of a night out, jumped into some satellites, bubbled some and then won a seat.
"In general in WCOOP I play outside of my roll because it is a fest and I don't want to miss it. So I go up to $215 events with direct buy-in and try to satellite my way to bigger ones. I think I was pretty calm in the final table. When I make it to the Sunday Million final I'll let you know if something is different!"
Equally there were key moments that turned things in his favour, on the bubble and at the final table.
"With 65 remaining (64 were paid) the game was razz at that time I was around 45th in chips. I was dealt three wheel cards and hit another wheel card on 4th street but bricked in 5th and 6th. I was priced in so I couldn't let it go, so the eight I hit on 7th was pretty magical. It was the only hand in the tournament I played for my tournament life.
"Then at the final table, three or four hands before the finish, the game was stud and I defended my bring-in with ace high, but bricked in 4th and 5th. I decided to check raise, because I thought the scary card could make my opponent fold the small pair I expected him to have.
"So I barrelled in 6th and also in 7th, where he let it go. I'm waiting for the replay to see whether my opponent actually folded a pair."
It was a great win for Halkiotis, who turned pro just a couple of years ago. But he's left in no doubt about how hard it is to survive in such a difficult environment, one that seems to get tougher each year.
"I think that I chose poker as a way of making a living because it gives you a lot of room to evolve, which is really important. I am struggling to find my way as a poker player in today's games. I am always asking why God didn't I discover it earlier. I hear the games where so soft!"
Two new winners for the WCOOP archives. There's still time for you to join them before WCOOP ends this weekend. Visit the WCOOP homepage to find details of the remaining events and satellites. And if you're still new to all of this and want to try it yourself, you can open a PokerStars account in minutes by clicking here.
Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.