The amenable Mr Chen
Speak to Andrew Chen some time and you'll quickly see why he and Mickey Petersen are such good buddies on the poker tour. They are - and I mean this quite sincerely - the most amenable poker players you could possibly find.
This does not mean they are pushovers at the table. Both may be super easy going, but it's indisputable that they're big winners in the game. Nice guys can win. You can spit and curse as much as you like, chances are that Chen and Petersen will slowly hoover up your chips while you're working yourself up into a vitriolic overdrive about a mysterious missed ante, or that it's taken five minutes - five minutes! - for the overworked waitress to bring you a cup of coffee.
When Chen final tabled EPT Berlin he called upon Petersen to do his backroom anlaysis via the EPT Live stream. I spoke to Petersen at the time about Chen, which you can read here. Chen finished second in Berlin behind the irrepressible Davidi Kitai for €613,000, while scoring his third EPT final table.
Chen's laidback nature belies the level of his success. He's won more than $3m in live tournaments and more than $1.6m in online tournaments, where he plays as "achen", but 2013 has thus far been pretty slow with just $226,152 recorded - the lightest of his career. It's someway short of his $1,049,758 haul in 2012. Why does he think there's been such a disparity? Has he played less or not played as well?
"I'd say a little of both. Where did I play? It started with the PCA, then I did... ahhh, I guess I did play a decent amount. PCA, Berlin and Monte Carlo after that. I didn't play the World Series except for the Main Event because of taxes being Canadian. Then I did Barcelona, London, Amsterdam, and then here. Maybe that's a little less than I would normally play but that's not en excuse. You know, whatever, I've run really good in previous years and this one hasn't been so good," said Chen.
Coming into today with a solid 650,000 meant there was a good chance that he would add a healthy chunk of change to his 2013 tally. Now, with 33 players left in and more than a million chips to his name, that's looking more likely than ever. Chen's climb towards the top of the counts has been in thanks to the eliminations of Vit Blachut and Julien Jean-Paul Brulet. Blachut's elimination was straightforward and pre-flop, Brulet's less so. Brulet held 2♥3♣ in the small blind and Chen had called down from the big blind with A♥3♥ on a 2♣2♠5♥J♥9♥ board until the river, which he raised all-in on. Brulet made the call and was shown the nut flush. If you will play deuce-three...
At the last break Chen had €18,600 locked up (now €21,200) but given his experience, skill and unlikeliness to blow up unnecessarily you'd expect the payout chit to be for something somewhat larger. I put it to him, what would he currently be satisfied finishing with.
Chen gave it some thought, sucked some air through his teeth and said, "I guess the fairest and most boring answer would be at the time someone asks me that question would be whatever my stack is worth. So, let's say it's probably worth, I don't know, €80,000 I'll be... happy... I guess with eighth? It sounds kinda of stupid. I'm usually pretty realistic about this kind of thing. Whatever happens happens."
We did mention that he was laidback, right? It could well be time for Chen to chalk up EPT final table number four.
Rick Dacey is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.