EPT9 Berlin Day 4: Once more with feeling for Pratyush Buddiga
When you've worked the EPT circuit for so long it's not always easy to find a unique spin to place on an event. More often than not the tournaments playing out before you feel similar to a previous tournament, and only the names have been changed. It certainly doesn't help when one of the players involved does exactly the same as they did the year before. For that we have Pratyush Buddiga to thank.
Buddiga was in this room a year ago, thoughtfully flinging chips around on his way to a first ever final table, watched from the rail by his friend and coach Mike McDonald. Some 12 months later and the picture is almost exactly the same. Well almost. Buddiga and McDonald are now roommates.
McDonald is not his only coach. Buddiga has recruited Grayson Ramage to his corner also, two players of distinct playing style, both of whom have helped Buddiga to flourish as a new talent on the world poker circuit.
But, it's an on-going project, as Buddiga has come to realise since his last appearance in Berlin.
"The funny thing about poker is that you always think you've got it figured out, and then you go through a bad stretch and you have to re-evaluate everything," he said at the break earlier today.
"I remember when I got to Berlin (last year) I felt semi-confident coming in. But that run and then Monte Carlo, getting 16th there last year, after that I was 'okay, I've figured out poker, I've arrived, I'm going to become one of those EPT reg's, blah, blah, blah.'"
Indeed, things did go well for Buddiga for a few months afterwards, including cashes as the World Series of Poker. But then came the inevitable bad patch, which Buddiga says lasted for three months at the end of 2012.
"It made me re-evaluate a lot of things," said Buddiga, who realised on reflection that he hadn't figured everything out. So he got back to work, focusing hard on his game.
"It's not like I was arrogant and thought I was one of the best," said Buddiga. "For a lot of guys, the Bryn Kenneys and the Mike McDonalds of the world, they have figured it out. They can make small improvements to their game. But someone like me in the second or third tier, there's still so much improvement to be made."
It's a humility rare in many players, but one that has Buddiga back on the last three tables of the EPT Berlin main event.
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.