APPT Cebu: A Steicke wicket
The first APPT event I ever covered was back in Season 2 at Macau. At the time I was working for PokerNews. That event was remarkable for any number of reasons, and you'd certainly have to include a bubble hand played by David Steicke among them.
On the bubble, in the 1200-2400 level, Steicke took over the chip lead by winning a pot worth 350,000 chips when he called all in against the chip leader, Kenny Hicks, on a K♦9♣K♣T♣9♥ board. That Hicks had a total airball and that Steicke correctly picked off a bluff wasn't what made the hand remarkable. What made it remarkable was that he found the stones to make the call, on the bubble, for 100,000 chips (a definite cashing stack), with A♣T♦ on a paired, straighting, flushing board.
Steicke just missed the final table in that event, finishing in 10th place. Since then, however, he has gone on to earn more than $2.5 million playing tournament poker. He's among the chattier players that you'll find at a poker table, having no compunctions event chatting about his own recent play - as he spent part of the day today.
Steicke flew to Cebu from Manila, where he recently played in an Asian Poker Tour event. He made a ten-handed final table there but finished in 10th place after making what he thought was a questionable re-raise shove with ace-ten over a min-raise after folding for two straight orbits.
"Everyone says it was reasonable," Steicke explained to the player on his right. "They said the play was standard. I guess that's why I don't like it." As evidenced by his Macau call, standard play has never been the line that Steicke has preferred to take.
He stopped chatting long enough to open a pot to 2,400. The player on his left three-bet to 6,100, folding everyone else out of the hand. That's when the Steicke magic began. Steicke cut 3,700 in chips off of his stack, and squeezed them back and forth between his hands. After a minute of thought, he grabbed another 6,000 and four-bet the pot. His opponent called.
The flop came 8♣J♦K♠. Steicke stared at the board, pondering his action. He leaned forward in his seat a bit and craned his neck to eyeball his opponent's stack before setlling on a bet of 9,900. After throwing the chips into the pot, he turned around to a side table, saw me, stuck his tongue out as if to say "yikes!", and then poured himself a cup of tea. When his opponent folded, Steicke uttered just one word.
We've been saying that about Steicke for four years. And as his stack crests 60,000, to right around average, we're hoping that we get to say that about him again later on in this event. His unusual style of play, and the success it brings him, is a delight to watch.