EPT9 Barcelona: All too easy for second chance O'Dwyer


It's easy to wonder if in some ways the Super High Roller event isn't just a professional poker player's life dramatized in a single event. It's life at its most pleasant, where being able to re-buy means essentially you can't lose, and even if you do lose you don't really lose, provided you don't wince at the prospect of sucking another fifty grand from the ATM. At least that makes the €2.95 transaction charge good value.

Besides, it's hot outside, really hot, and the main event doesn't start until tomorrow. In terms of filling your day this is it, unless you want to walk fifty yards to the taxi rank on asphalt that will melt your shoes. I was exhausted descending three floors in the elevator.

So, with your Kryptonite Visa card in your back pocket and figuring it's better to keep playing than risk heat stroke, your only real opponent, the only one that can force you to the rail, is time itself which, as it ticked past the official start time a short while ago, closed the door on re-entries. From now on no more second chances; out means out.

That will suit Steve O'Dwyer, just as the format on day one did the same.

O'Dwyer leads today, but he was the first to bust yesterday. Explain that to the layperson. But, in the spirit of attention deficit video gamers feeding the machine more quarters to play on, O'Dwyer jumped back in.

Steve O'Dwyer

"I was the first one to reload," he said, with a dash of pride. "I just had a set of tens against philbot with a pair and flush draw and we got it all in on the flop. He turned a flush and I was sent back to the cage."

If it's inherent in great players to downplay their own talent, then O'Dwyer has a talent for downplaying it. The sardonic American gives the impression that he's merely strapped himself to a bingo hopper and is reading out his own winning numbers. But perhaps the casual approach he has towards his own success is his best chance of making sense of the game in which he has earned more than $2.6 million in tournaments alone.

Despite starting the first day badly he finished it well, bagging-up the lead with 1,249,000 chips at the close.

"It means I was the luckiest one yesterday, that's for sure," he said.

His day turned around as the end of play approached. With eight hands to play O'Dwyer won four of the next six hands. Then a hand later he found aces, just as everyone else found something that looked pretty. Eventually, with a huge pot in the middle, he was winning against ace-king and queens. Sounds easy.

"It was very easy," joked O'Dwyer. "Very, very easy."

Now Super High roller O'Dwyer, who brings his own tea bags with him to dodge the bill for four euros, returns with twice the chips of second place Erik Seidel, who looks about half as happy. It's rightly difficult to win a Super High Roller but right now O'Dwyer does look like it's easy, as though it's a friendly game for a few bucks in a bar, in some place where playing in a bar is legal, probably along with smoking.

"They're just tougher, but I've played in a lot of tough tournaments. It's probably the toughest one I've ever played. I don't even know. Whatever" he said, switching on the irony. "They're all playing for second place right now."


Tournament update:

  • What is likely to be a long day just got an hour longer. There were a few technical hitches arranging the buy-ins, re-buys etc. and that meant that play did not get under way precisely on time. Cards were in the air about an hour late, so it will be a long, late night tonight. We play down to eight.

  • Players re-buying at the start of day two were Phil Ivey, Philipp Gruissem, Daniel Negreanu, Sorel Mizzi and Ilya Bulychev. All of them are in for €100,000. Jonathan Duhamel also re-bought, but for the second time, bringing his investment to €150,000. Chris Moorman joined the fray for the first time.

  • There were 64 total entries into the event, which were spread around about 52 players.

    Stephen Bartley
    @StephenBartley in Day 2