He’s yet to reach the winner’s circle, but one of the stars of this year’s World Championship of Online Poker has no doubt been Mike “SirWatts” Watson.
With more than $12 million in live tournament cashes and millions more online, the Canadian is currently in the hunt for the overall WCOOP Player of the Series.
This week Watson joined James Hartigan and Joe Stapleton on the PokerStars WCOOP live stream to talk about all things WCOOP.
Deep runs and near-misses so far for SirWatts
Watson had a fantastic SCOOP this year. SirWatts collected three titles in May — a $1K no-limit 2-7 single draw, a $2K no-limit hold’em, and a $1K no-limit hold’em six-max NLHE. That brought his overall total to six SCOOP wins in his career.
As noted, as good as Watson’s WCOOP has gone, titles have eluded him to this point. He’s put himself in position to win many times already through the first couple of weeks of WCOOP, including making the top four no less than four times already.
Check out these highlights among Watson’s 2020 WCOOP results (so far):
- Event #2-H ($10,300 NLHE 8-Max, PKO Sunday Slam) — 2nd of 136 for $198,463.11 (incl. bounties)
- Event #33-H ($5,200 NLHE 8-Max, High Roller) — 4th of 155 for $75,469
- Event #34-H ($2,100 8-Game) — 3rd of 89 for $25,073
- Event #36-H ($2,100 NLHE, Midweek Freeze) — 3rd of 192 for $47,804
There have been other deep runs, too, including a pair of 11th-place finishes. All those near misses inspired Stapes to offer his “congratudolences” to start the conversation.
“Thank you… that’s a great expression,” said Watson. “I don’t know if Joe stole that from me. But it’s definitely one I use it a lot.”
Dimitar Danchev won that Event #2-H after outlasting Watson heads-up, meaning the final two spots were filled by former PCA Main Event champions (Danchev won in 2013, Watson in 2016 as pictured above).
“I’m certainly always happy to get a big score in a big buy-in event like that to start a series,” said Watson of his runner-up.
“It definitely takes a little bit of pressure off and makes you feel a bit more confident going forward. It was a tough final table, a tough match-up. I would loved to have closed it out with all those bounties — they really add up. But it was a good match, and congratulations to Dimitar.”
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Managing expectations, emotions
While near-misses can be disappointing, having realistic assumptions about tournaments and the variance that inevitably happens at final tables helps Watson stay cool.
“I mean it’s hard to go in expecting to win a bunch of these tournaments,” said Watson. “Even if they are smaller fields in some of the high buy-in events, I don’t necessarily expect to win any of them…. But [I’ve had] a lot of final tables and deep runs and I think I should be happy with it, and hopefully the best is still yet to come.”
When pressed to lay odds on his chances of winning a WCOOP this year, Watson said he thought he was probably an underdog to grab a title, “but we’ll see.”
“Maybe I’m only like 3-to-1 or something against?” he ventured. “I have no idea.”
The middle two scores listed above actually occurred simultaneously, with both final tables playing out at once. When in such a spot, Watson’s experience again helps him avoid getting distracted by emotions.
“In a situation like that with two final tables, I’m definitely very focused,” he says.
“When you are at two big final tables like that, you really just need to have that extra level, that extra gear of focus where you just really try to get in the zone and play your absolute best — no sloppy mistakes, nothing.”
Final tables = comfort zone for ‘SirWatts’
Being able to adapt and adjust has helped Watson handle the strangeness of 2020 as well, a year when live events have largely disappeared and the online poker schedule has been busier than ever.
“Yeah, I’ve kind of enjoyed playing all the online poker that’s been going on,” said Watson. “There’s been a lot of action.”
“Just getting up and going to the computer, not having to deal with all the travel and all the jetlag, and a lot of the other things that come along with it is actually kind of nice,” he added, “As long as this doesn’t carry on too too long, I’m fairly okay with the online grind.”
Watson’s results have been quite a bit better than fairly okay. We’ll keep a watch to see if he manages to get any golds to go with the silver and bronze medals he has collected so far.
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