EPT10 Barcelona: The Oracle O'Dwyer talks predictions and Grand Final weirdness
This time last year Steve O'Dwyer was the chip leader in the Super High Roller. With typical understatement he'd put his progress down to some luck, at the same time pointing at Dan Smith, walking by, as the man most likely to win.
Smith promptly won the season opener, and a first prize of more than a million dollars, adding to the three EPT side event titles he'd won just months before. Meanwhile O'Dwyer had to settle for a spectacular EPT Grand Final win, just three months ago.
But undoubtedly the most impressive element of all this was O'Dwyer's knack for picking a winner. More than enough cause to get "The Oracle's" predictions for this year.
"At the Beginning of the day I saw Fabby (Fabian Quoss) had a lot of chips and he had a very favourable table draw," said O'Dwyer. "I wish I'd swapped with him."
Steve O'Dwyer in the Super High Roller
Just in case he's wrong about Quoss though O'Dwyer, hair back in a warrior-style ponytail, wisely plays on. His afternoon is going much the same way as his yesterday - good numbers in the deposit column off-setting those listed under expenditure. And, aside from a few awkward pots with Vitaly Lunkin ("I'm having a tough time with him today") all is well for the Grand Final winner, the most non-believing-of-his-own-talents winner of that crown.
So what was the after effect of that win? A warm glow? A compulsion to pick up every bar bill, perhaps? I asked him this and O'Dwyer thought for a moment before answering. The overall impression it left on him: weird.
"It's hard to enjoy because it's so weird," said O'Dwyer. "It's very strange. Getting recognised here and there more often in random places. Kind of uncomfortable with that, a little bit."
This is the flip side of winning $1.6 million. Strangers shout "hey!" at you in the street and you're lumbered with a degree of celebrity. Hardly the natural environment for a man like O'Dwyer.
"I like being anonymous," he said. I said that he might have picked the wrong business. "Yeah, I did."
Still, if you're going to pick a business you may as well excel in it, and O'Dywer does just that. That goes for today also, with the adopted Irishman (O'Dwyer opted for the Irish tricolour for his Grand Final triumph), among the last three tables as play continues, stopping only when there's a final table of eight late tonight. O'Dwyer must be among the favourites to feature.
We'll be keeping tabs on his progress, not least so we can ask for his Super bowl picks at the next break, and for who he rates in the Woodward Stakes at Saratoga later tonight.
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Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.