EPT Berlin: Chen truckin' towards final table number three
Last night Andrew Chen was called the working man's poker player, a grafter who keeps an oily rag in his back pocket and always has a box of nuts and bolts to hand, you know, 'just in case'. Chen is a calm presence at the table. None of the Geshkenbein one-liners and vodka shots or the MacPhee facial furniture and dark glasses for Chen. The 24-year-old Canadian plays in a relaxed manner, the last player to leave the feature table at the break as he counts, stacks and re-counts his 2,350,000 haul.
Chen is the kind of guy you'd want as an air-traffic controller or, if the plane did go down, as one of your fellow survivors, not least of all because it doesn't look like he eats much. Thoughtful and intelligent with what appears to be a cheery demeanour, he'd be a good guy to have with you on the set of LOST.
As we approached the bubble at the end of Day 2 Chen was one of the shorter stacks but, despite him knowing it might be in his interest, he refused to stall even joking that he was a little happy that someone else (Greek player Iliodoros Kamatakis), who had more chips than he, was doing it for him.
Chen, who plays on PokerStars under the name 'achen', is an undisputed but understated talent of the EPT and is quickly closing on his third final table with 22 players left: his stack currently puts him in second place. Chen was 3rd at EPT Prague in Season 5 for €257,000 and then 5th at the EPT Grand Final the season after for €400,000. A runner-up finish in the $10,000 six-max high roller at this year's PCA for $191,984 also highlights his talent and contributes to his $2,016,064 in winnings.
Does coming so close make him want it any more than others? Does it add any additional pressure?
"I don't think the fact that it would be my third EPT final table adds any pressure, there's just pressure at any big final table. I'd say that being at the two others definitely helps being more comfortable on TV and being able to gauge which players are affected by the spotlight and who can't pull the trigger in front of the camera. I'm not 100%, you know, saying that you can say 'this guy could never pull the trigger' but every little bit helps. It's just another factor. In my opinion it helps me because a lot of people haven't played on TV," said Chen.
Facing the field
Chen's played and beaten the best and was seen as one of the favourites to win the EPT Grand Final in what was remembered as one of the less tough final tables. The same is unlikely to be said that same here with three former EPT champs still in the field (Kevin MacPhee, Anton Wigg and Vladimir Geshkenbein).
"There's twenty-two left and at my table at the moment I'm pretty lucky to have a really good seat in a really good draw. The better players, I'd say, are on my right. Cesar's pretty good and got some chips but he's three to my right and Kevin MacPhee lucklily is short. He's also pretty good and two to my right. Mario 'Pokerccini' (Puccini) has some chips but so far - I know it's only been twenty hands - but he hasn't really done anything out of line yet."
That must make life easier for Chen. Puccini has $3,258,515 in online tournament winnings at PokerStars.
Level 23: blinds 10,000-20,000, ante 3,000
Players: 22 of 745
Average stack: 1,016,000
Click here for live coverage and more features.