EPT10 Vienna: Vamplew and Trickett, the auld enemies get knocked out

Even if your only reference point is Braveheart and pseudo Australian-Scottish accents then you'll know that the Scots and the English haven't always been best of friends. If you're ever in doubt of that then just try petitioning against Scottish Independence around the East End of Glasgow at 1am on a Friday night. Bottle meet head, head meet wall. Thankfully play at the table seems to be a little friendlier than that. In the lead up to this afternoon's bubble the two leading poker protagonists from either side of Hadrian's Wall found themselves navigating to the money, rather than jostling for the chip lead as normal.

North of the border on table 13 sat Scotland's number one David Vamplew ($3,088,846 in live tournament winnings), while at the other south end was England's number one Sam Trickett ($19,968,750 in live tournament winnings), both of whom seemed to be in a little trouble.


Sam Trickett, in better stacked times

Things had been going well for Trickett yesterday. He'd been up above 300,000 and cruising along near the top of the chip counts for some time and he ended up bagging a very respectable 290,000. Now, with two players to bust, Trickett was down to his last few big blinds after flopping an under-set. Vamplew came into the day the poorer relative with 84,400, which, in theory, still looked good to make the money and stand a chance to spin up a big stack for a player of his quality. Or rather, it would have been at most tables. The problem was that Trickett, a player with $19,968,750 in live tournament cashes, wasn't his only concern. Who had he been concerned about when looking at the draw?

"Errrmm, like most of them?" said Vamplew with a grin. "I guess Trickett, Julian (Herold) and Marco (Neumann). I don't know too much about Ryan Spittles or the Estonian guy, Madis Muur, but I know enough to know that they're competent at least. They're not going to make any blunders. And that's just because I haven't played with them at all."


Neumann, Vamplew, Muur, Soulier (l-r)

It's never an ideal situation when you look at your draw and the players that you have pegged as being of least concern are still being labelled as 'competent at least'. It was a pretty brutal table draw. As much as we hate to use that much peddled poker cliché 'The table of death', there was something particularly fatalistic about it. Not to mention it bearing the unlucky number 13. It's obviously going to hurt the likelihood of you winning a tournament but, we wondered, by just how much?

"I don't really know how to work out how much it affects my chance of cashing, that would be very difficult to estimate, but the chance of building a big stack I'd say is reduced to almost zero," said Vamplew, who later proved himself correct by busting out. "In order to do that I'd just have to get coolers against people and... I'm going to be playing that much tighter so I have to be dealt a good enough hand that I'm going to play it. No one's going to make any big mistakes."


EPT London champ David Vamplew

While Vamplew was happy to say that he'd be nitting it up until he'd locked his EPT nut -"I'll certainly be playing my cards more than usual." - he said that wasn't the same for Trickett.

"I think that on the bubble of a 5k Sam's just got too much money for some situations to be playing totally correctly. He'll just say 'Oh, f--- it, I'm not gonna let this guy take advantage of me,' and go for it and play looser than another very competent player, who's perhaps not quite as rich, might play with his stack. After he doubled once, and had about six blinds, he put it in with ace-six. I'm not sure whether I'd go with that at that point. When you have six bigs most of your equity is from retaining your last chips until you're in the money, so getting it in with ace-six when you're at best sixty percent and probably less isn't that good of an idea."

But when the buy-in is just a small fraction of your stack in a Macau cash game, and you're looking for a ninth-place finish to break even, then the same rules simply don't apply.

Trickett doubled twice, first with ace-king all-in for just a few big blinds then again with ace-six beating pocket queens, both times hitting an ace on the river. Fortune favours the brave, they say, and Trickett joined Vamplew into the money, but both shortly after. Vamplew held on until 117th (€9,550) while Trickett was one of the first to go, chalked up 133rd (€8,700).

Winning doesn't come by birth right or by divine providence, both Vamplew and Trickett know that, but talent and confidence can help you to go far. Having won an EPT on his second attempt - EPT Tallinn was his first on the tour - did Vamplew ever have a false impression of it being easy to win one of these big live tournaments?

"I think I had that false idea while I was doing it," said Vamplew. "You're in Day 5 of the tournament with twenty left and you're not 'Holy shit, there's twenty left in an EPT,' you're just, 'This is fun, maybe I'll do this again sometime.' I think it probably helped in terms of not being nervous."

If those nerves have developed since for Vamplew or Trickett then they both hide it well. Neither show any nerves of being toppled from their respective number perches either, and for good reason. Vamplew's almost $2.3m ahead of Gordon Huntly and Trickett close to $13.7m ahead of Dave "Devilfish" Ulliott.

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is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.

Rick Dacey
@PokerStars in European Poker Tour