EPT8 Madrid: Beaten Busquet gives lesson in short-stacked play


When we reach the end of the day we'll be talking about the best players of the day, and by default that means the 24 who will be returning tomorrow. But that doesn't always tell the full story.

Olivier Busquet just crashed out in 34th place having put in a superlative performance with a short stack, the type of display that is easily missed amid the bustle for places. Without chips (he had been down to 3,500 in level two of day two), or the paraphernalia of the modern poker player in need of distraction, Busquet simply grafted hard all day, against bigger stacks at this table and a stubborn deck, ultimately succumbing when his pocket tens were silenced by pocket jacks.

"I actually got a little bit lucky because I was all-in with the same hand, tens versus jacks, earlier in the day, for about half of my stack, and I hit a ten," said Busquet. "That was pretty lucky, obviously."

Olivier Busquet

Still, Busquet had manoeuvred himself away from harm using the traits we hope exist in the very best players; talent, guile and intelligence. "There are just certain spots where I thought theoretically it's probably a mistake - I was too short to open raise with my stack- but I just thought that the particular blinds that I was attacking were so predictable and so tight that I could make a mistake [not to] in the circumstance.

"I just found a couple of spots like that to keep my stack afloat and was just honestly very patient," said Busquet. "I didn't actually get very many hands today but I was able to just stay above that danger zone of eight or nine big blinds where people are now forced to call your all-in. So even with ten, 11, 12 big blinds, and then obviously a little bit more, I was just able to hover and to survive."

It wasn't all gloom. "There was a small time when I was right around the average, but that didn't last that long!" joked Busquet, who sited heads-up matches online as a means to coping with tight spots.

"I play heads up sit and goes online all day so I'm used to having various smaller stacks whether it's eight, ten, 12 or 20 big blinds," said Busquet. "So I'm very aware of my stack size, how many blinds I have and what my ranges are against particular opponents.

"So when get down to those types of spots there aren't many difficult spots. There are some re-shove spots where my range could be much wider than otherwise but besides that a lot of the hands play themselves. So it's not the funnest poker to play but it's one that I'm pretty decent at and used to."

Tournament snapshot
Level 19: blinds 4,000-8,000, ante 1,000
Players: 33 of 477
Average stack: 433,500
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