EPT8 Monaco: Buddiga looking to maintain Berlin form

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Has anyone ever brought their coach to a poker tournament? Has anyone ever had a coach for a poker tournament? I'm not sure the answer to either of those questions, and Pratyush Buddiga hardly brought his coach, Mike McDonald, along with his to play the EPT Berlin main event. McDonald was going to play it anyway. It just so happened that when he was eliminated he was able to rail Buddiga all the way to protégé's eighth place finish.

It's been a remarkable month for Buddiga who cashed for the first time outside the United States, picking up €72,000 in Berlin. He showed form beyond that expected of a newcomer, and exactly a week later Buddiga is showing the same form that almost took him all the way in the German capital.

"I definitely feel pretty comfortable live right now," he said at the last break. "Berlin was only my third EPT. I wasn't even going to go here until my result in Berlin. I definitely feel pretty good about how I'm playing right now."

Buddiga arrived with a stack of 164,500 this afternoon, and it's still around that into the money.

"Today was kind of weird," said Buddiga. "I got up to 200-220k pretty fast and then I lost two all-ins versus short stacks to (drop) back to 150,000 on the bubble. I wasn't afraid to bubble or anything but I didn't really pick up a hand."

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Pratyush Buddiga

"Then immediately after the bubble I won a bunch of pots without showdown and won a flip, ace-king to jacks. I lost another pot ace-jack to ace-king but after that I just won some more hands with showdowns, so it's been pretty good I guess."

Buddiga looks and speaks like a player enjoying his poker right now, prepared to accept defeat while trying to maximise his opportunities for victory. It's a constantly evolving process for Buddiga who as you would expect credits his coach for much of his recent development.

"Mike is obviously one of the best no-limit tournament players in the world, you can definitely say he's top five or top ten. So someone like me who is basically a mid-stakes online player, having the expertise of Mike helps me so much.

"Understanding every spot, I've been able to go over so many of my tournaments with him, watch him play, go over his hands histories and stuff like that. That's just invaluable. I would be nowhere near where I am today without him."

The result has been obvious but with another potential deep run, Buddiga would be loathe not to keep learning and improving with McDonald's help.

"Even if I won I'd still get coached by him," he said. "He's amazing. I always want to jeep improving and even winning just one tournament, no matter whether it's this or a five dollar re-buy, there's always more to learn, so hopefully I can get coached by him for as long as I play poker."

That was a short while ago. Buddiga now up to 700,000.

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