EPT Warsaw: Faces to names
In the course of reporting on an EPT you might not notice a player’s name. You may even read over it the second time when he plays another EPT a few weeks later. Shame to admit it, but you might pay no attention to it the third time either. This stops right here though for Ken Hicks Jr.
Ken’s story is not that different to a lot of other young guys on the tour, now making their living playing poker, who often play in Europe, qualifying with tidal consistency on PokerStars. We can now put a name to a face.
From West Virginia in the United States, Ken has been playing for two years having dropped out of a business course at Marshall University as his game reaped a more healthy income. Warsaw marks Ken’s fourth EPT with his best result coming in Dublin earlier his season where he finished 13th for €20,420.
Right now he has 41k and the level nine table he finds himself at consists almost entirely of fellow PokerStars qualifiers, including World Cup of Poker Team USA player Tyler Netter, Jeffrey Petronack, Mirko Kirner, Azem Elezaj, Rene Gisbertz and Robert Lipkin. It would be weird not to mention the other player – Italy’s Antonio Battisti.
Azem Elezaj was first to move all-in, cursing when Battisti called with good reason on a 9-7-T flop. Battisti showed two pairs, to Azem’s pocket queens, sending him out inside the first ten minutes, leaving quickly and quietly.
Next to move was Rene Gisbertz, pushing for no more than around 5k. Ken Hicks pulled out his earphones - the poker equivalent of bouncing the ball a few times in tennis before a serve - and called from the button. The small blind folded but the big blind, Jeffrey Petronack, moved all-in too, a few grand more. It’s not much so Hicks called, showing A-K, whilst Gisbertz had pocket nines, Petronack pocket eights.
The first card out was a nine, but the second and third cards were aces - a nice leap frog over the others for Ken. The turn was a six leaving both Gisbertz and Petronack looking for help. The river made both players a full house, but it was an ace, giving Hicks quads - a hand that garnered a few “ooooofs” from the rail, including a nearby tournament official. Two gone in one hand and a nice pot for the West Virginian.
Elsewhere our PokerStars qualifier Mark Hirleman, who featured in the video blog yesterday on a stroll around Warsaw with Kara Scott, will go no further into day two. He moved all-in with A-4, only to be called by A-T. Also, EPT Baden winner Julian Thew has gone inside the first few minutes having started with a stack of around 8k.
30 minutes played, close to 20 players gone...
Photos © Neil Stoddart