PCA 2014: Mike "goleafsgoeh" Leah wins $119k in career-best performance
Mike "goleafsgoeh" Leah last night won Event 18: $5,300 turbo for $119,770 in what he rates as his best tournament performance in years. The 39-year-old Canadian had other intentions on his mind when he entered the Imperial Ballroom at the PCA yesterday. Leah was still cruising along in the $10,000 Main Event.
"It was a strange day," said Leah. "I went into the Main Event with almost average chips and lost a horrible hand where I lost with a flopped set to a rivered over set to bust. That was pretty crushing."
Leah took some time off. He regrouped and re-entered the PCA arena of battle.
"Usually the first event I play after I bust an important event I'm going to spew pretty bad," said Leah, chuckling with a wide warm smile. "I decided not to play the $2k deep stack, because I knew that I wouldn't play it very well, so I played the $1k HORSE to unwind and relax. I was the first out of that event."
Things were not exactly going to plan. Leah laughed again, dusting off a thousand bucks seemingly a laughing matter, but levity is easy when you consider what happened next.
"That gave me enough time to late register the $5k turbo half-an-hour after it started," he said. "I jumped in and played perhaps the best tournament I've played in years. I don't know why or how. I was just in a great zone.
"All the way through, right from level two where I played this ridiculous hand where I five-bet raised with ace-eight and bet a couple of times and got this guy to fold queens on a ten-high board. I was four-betting light and it was working every single time. It was one of those days where everything I did was working. You could feel the rest of the table staying away from you and making comments. It gives you that good feeling and I continued that throughout the entire tournament."
The perfect strom
We spoke to Scott Seiver during the Super High Roller tournament who explained that it's more important to focus on performance than results, but it seems for Leah that perhaps it was the perfect storm of both: he wasn't all-in for his tournament life once.
"I won a huge hand off Timothy Adams with ten players left," said Leah. "We were maybe first and third in chips and got invoved with my top pair against his open-ended straight draw in a three-bet pot. That busted him in 10th and gave me a huge chip lead going into the final table. Then another one of my good buddies, Jonathan Jaffe, with eight left, we got into a huge hand and got five bets in on the flop with my top pair top kicker against his no pair no kicker."
Leah stopped to chuckle again. "He's creative."
That gave him a monster chip lead and Leah closed it out.
PCA 2014, event #18
Date: 10 January 2014
Game: NLHE turbo 8-handed
Prize pool: $451,050
1. Mike Leah, Canada, $119,770
2. Ariel Celestino, Brazil, $83,220
3. Alexander Venovski, USA, $55,020
4. Tyler Cornell, USA, $43,080
5. Simon Higgins, UK, $34,740
6. Michel Dattani, Portugal, $27,060
7. Aleksandr Denisov, Russia, $21,420
8. Aleksandr Tulaev, Russia, $16,680
Last night's result will take Leah up close to $2m in career live cashes, which is closing in on the $2.45m he's racked up in online tournament winnings. Leah, despite being affable face-to-face, is perhaps not the kind of person that you'd want to mess with. He wrestled during and after leaving high school. Not the make-up and odd back story kind of wrestling, but the forms that you might see during the Olympics. If in doubt, just five-bet jam into him with no pair and no draw, that always seems to make him smile.
Rick Dacey is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.