Going close in London
It's been an exciting few weeks. You might have heard I played in an EPT event recently. It went pretty well.
Just before that I had been in the Isle of Man for a week, playing the UKIPT there. Then I went straight to London to play the UKIPT Main Event. I felt like was playing well but didn't have any cashes. Then came EPT London and eventually the Main Event.
As soon as the EPT London Main Event started I felt like I was in the zone the whole time, continuing to play well but this time running well, too. Every bluff was getting through, and every time I had a hand people were playing back at me. Things kept going great, and by the time we'd gotten to the next-to-last day there were 15 players left and I was the joint chip leader.
I lost a few annoying pots after that, then with nine players left I lost quite a big flip for about 1.3 million which knocked me back down to about 2.2 million. A short stack busted right after that, and so going into the final table the chip leader had about six million, second had about 2.4 million, sixth had 2.1 million, and the other two were very short. In other words, there were five of us right there bunched together in the middle. I was in fifth, but basically tied for second going into the final table.
At the start I was pretty much handcuffed. The chip leader, Sebastian Pauli, was playing very aggressively, and I also had Kevin MacPhee and Artur Koren on my direct left. Koren in particular was going after every single spot, and with the two short stacks still around it would have been ICM-disaster to bust right there. So I had to open tight and fold all but my strongest hands.
Early on at the final table I did win a fake flip to get up to 4.8 million and second in chips. I 4-bet all-in vs. Koren and he snap called with ace-king. I flip good! Or so I thought...
After that Kevin MacPhee and I ended up getting it all in loads of times, and he won most of them. I doubled him up once in a blind-vs.-blind hand in which I opened with K♦Q♦. He shoved with A♥3♥, I called and his hand held.
A little while after that one we played another hand that provoked a lot of discussion. We were down to five players, and I had about 3.4 million. I min-opened from the button for 200,000 with Q♣J♣. Kevin then shoved from the small blind for a bit more than 1.7 million (17 big blinds). Then, back round to me, I had a big decision.
In this situation there aren't many hands I'd have to tank over, but my read on Kevin was that he was uncomfortable and didn't want a call. I probably took three or four minutes, which was very unusual for me. I felt I could take away the top part of his reshove range -- [J][J]-plus, [A][K] maybe even wider-- and with five left the next two pay jumps were relatively small. The combination of factors, and how my hand played against my perception of his range equity-wise, made it a very close decision.
Ultimately I decided it was a good spot to try to bust arguably the best opponent left and give myself a great chance to go on and win the tournament, so I called. He had A♥8♥ which I was happy to see, but he ended up holding and winning the hand.
On the very next hand I was all in with K♦J♣ against Kevin's 6♣6♠, and after a jack flopped it looked like I was about to get those chips back. But the flop was all hearts, then the turn and river were hearts, too, putting a flush on the board. We chopped the pot.
Two hands later Kevin was raising under the gun and I defended my big blind, calling with K♦T♦. The flop came K♣K♠J♥, and after I check-raised all-in Kevin called. Again, it looked good for me, but the Q♥ fell on the turn, and just like that I was out in fifth.
That ending was a disappointing for sure, I'm always striving to better myself as a poker player and anything other than first will always be frustrating. It was also great to have a lot of friends there to see me. We wanted to bring the baby down for the final table, too, but since we were in a licensed casino we couldn't do that.
I won a WPT in London before, so it would have been nice to win an EPT there, too. I'll have to try to get back to another one now, and maybe next time get a few spots further and join Vicky Coren as a two-time champ.
Jake Cody as a member of Team PokerStars Pro.