David Vamplew. Nick Abou Risk. Max Silver. These were names that you’d be forgiven for mistaking for a glam rock three-piece two years ago. Not so now. The three have become regular fixtures on both the UK and European poker scenes with Vamplew’s heads up victory over John Juanda at EPT London Season 6 for £900,000 the trio’s crowning glory.
While Vamplew’s success has helped him onto a live winnings total of $1,884,770, which easily pushed him up to the top of the Scottish all-time money list (his closest rival, Tony O’Hagan, has a smidgen over $350,653), his partners in crime are no slouches at the table either.
Partly thanks to making three UKIPT final tables, one win, North London boy Silver has $540,738 in live winnings – to which €23,280 can be added for coming out on top in the UKIPT Galway €2,000 high roller yesterday. Top that off with a prodigious staking record and you can see that it’s been an incredible couple of years for Silver. Despite that, all eyes, Ireland focussed at least, were looking at Abou Risk this morning. He holds the most modest winnings of the three, just $187,727, in live tournaments but was in line to score a record third UKIPT win, a title defence no less.
Abou Risk started today on the final table of UKIPT Galway as the defending champion and was looking to spin up a short stack to claim a domestic triple crown. The Canadian, who now lives in Dublin, booked a £50,000 win in Edinburgh in August 2010 shortly followed by a second title in Galway. Best laid plans would have dictated that we would have linked to our blog coverage of the UKIPT Galway final table showing that Abou Risk had pulled himself back into contention. Alas, it was not to be. He bust in 7th for €14,700, but we caught up with Vamplew to find out how Abou Risk consistently goes deep in those fields.
“I think that against a lot of the amateur players and UKIPT online qualifiers Nick’s aggression levels will definitely reap results, Obviously he runs really good as well, which helps. He wins every all-in.* He does pick up a lot of chips without showdown which helps you a tonne and is the key to winning tournaments,” said Vamplew.
*Okay, not ‘every’ all-in. Abou Risk three-bet jammed K♠J♥ into Emmet Mullin’s K♠J♥ and failed to outdraw.
Now then, EPT blog reader, don’t go thinking that playing the UKIPT is like going back to the late 90’s where any consistent aggression will see you make deep runs, there are plenty of good aggressive players (as well as plenty of value) but Vamplew believes that Abou Risk sets himself apart by balancing rampant aggression with knowing exactly where he is in the hand: “He does it at the right time rather than mad blind aggression. He knows what other people think of him and he’s aware of his image. He has a sense of when they’re going to play back and when he should six-bet all-in with ace-five. And if he does get it wrong he gets there.”
As back up plans go the ‘always get there’ policy is a solid, if not entirely reliable, safety net to have. Unfortunately for Abou Risk that play didn’t work at today’s final table
Vamplew is up over 42,000 today here in Copenhagen and, along with fellow young British EPT winner Rupert Elder, is now an ever-present on the tour, which is a long way from when he met Abou Risk and Silver: “I met them in April or May 2010. Andrew (Ferguson) knew Max through the internet and said to me that he’s go to the monthly Dusk Til Dawn comp, a £300 buy-in. Max brought Nick along and I went with Andrew, who chopped the main £300 and Nick won a £150 side event to kick off his Hendon Mob cashes.”
The oft talked of EPT double is certainly up for grabs for Vamplew (and Romanello, Baekke, Elder etc) but now here at the start of the 79th EPT main event we’re beginning to think that will never happen. Prove us wrong. Please someone prove us wrong.