EPT11 Grand Final: Pratyush Buddiga, the most popular man in the room
Phil Hellmuth has a lot to answer for, you see not all poker superstars show up fashionably late for poker tournaments as Phil Ivey showed earlier this week. One of the first players to show up today for Day 1a of the Main Event was none other than Pratyush Buddiga.
His luminous green headphones provided a stark contrast to the dark blue felt of the poker table and he took up his position in seat one and waited. He didn't have to wait too long for another player to arrive. "Not you again," said Michel Pomaret with a smile as he approached the table and sat down in seat four. The two obviously have some history together, although Pomaret's winnings of $139,481 are dwarfed by Buddiga's $3,862,562.
"How is life," asked Pomaret to Buddiga.
"Life is good and for you?" replied Buddiga.
"I've worked a lot on my game and am leaving for Vegas in two weeks," continued the Frenchman. "Compared to travelling around Europe I think it's better to go to Vegas. I can play everyday in the same city."
Buddiga broadly agreed with Pomaret but their conversation ended when Andras Nemeth approached the 2002 National Spelling Bee champion. They chatted for a while until Nemeth moved on to his table but Buddiga had little time to sip on his glass of coke as Fedor Holz then sidled up to him. Holz was waiting to play the €100,000 Super High Roller Final Table and had to arrive early for a pre-game interview and now obviously had some time on his hands.
It was a tournament that Buddiga had busted yesterday, he's the more experienced of the two when it comes to Super Higher Roller events and it sounded like the two were having a strategy conversation: "Don't bluff...with his stack...even though he's the shortstack...I was thinking like 370,000 but that's too small...I think theoretically you're meant to check the river..." could be heard. That was all we caught as further conversation was then drowned out by the welcome video which blared out of the speakers.
Action was now under way in the Main Event and EPT rules state that three players must have stacks for play to start and a third player had arrived at Buddiga's table but he'd wandered away from the playing area. This meant Buddiga and Pomaret could get in some heads-up play against each other earlier than expected. "EPT heads-up challenge!" said Holz to the two of them as he watched on.
It's meant to be the young kids who dominate the 'old guys' in short-handed play but Pomaret, who has cashed in the Seniors Event at the WSOP, was the one who would gain the early ascendency. He took the only two pots that the pair would play heads-up. The first with A♥T♣ on a K♦3♣5♥9♣T♠ board and the second with A♥K♥ on a 8♥J♠6♦K♣7♣ board. Combined they were worth around 2,000 in chips for Pomaret. "You have to raise the turn," said Holz to Pomaret about the second hand before pointing to Buddiga and saying. "He's tricky."
At this point Pomaret indicated to Holz that he thought he'd played against him before too. "Maybe in Vegas?" he asked, to which Buddiga replied. "Not in Vegas, he's only just turned 21," indeed this year will be the WCOOP champions first time at the WSOP. For now though Holz has the small matter of a €100,000 final table to contend with. The coverage of which is about to get under way on EPTLive.
Edit: The table only got trickier for Pomaret as both Dani Stern and Daniel Colman are now both seated at that table.
You can follow all the action on PokerStars Blog: the Super High Roller is on the Super High Roller page, the Main Event is on the Main Event page and the France Poker Series event is on the FPS page.