Monday, November 17, 2008

World Famous TV Star

So once upon a time I actually did pretty well in a major poker tournament, the 2007 EPT event in Baden. The final table, along with some feature table action from forty players on down, was televised. No American station shows the EPT, but you can watch it on pokertube. The final table starts here as EPT S04 Baden Ep03 1/4. Look below the tube for parts 2/4, 3/4, and 4/4.

I didn't show up much in the coverage until the final table, but I was the big mover on the last day so they showed me quite a bit. Other than needing a haircut, a painfully forced smile during player introductions, and my voice sounding like Kermit the Frog's, I think I came off pretty well.

They only show a small percentage of the hands. Many of my best were not shown and there were a couple of hands I was dying to know about that did not air. They did show:
  1. My suckout with 77 against Vlad's JJ (part 2 0:47). This was a standard play considering my stack and how often Vlad was raising, I got unlucky he had a hand and I got lucky to win of course.
  2. A hand where I limp with ATo after Vlad limps (part 2 3:03). I think this was a good time to limp because Vlad was likely on tilt and raising with AT would do nothing productive other than get it heads up where I would probably need to make a hand to win.
  3. I make a big laydown against Vlad (part 2 6:25). I'm glad they showed me making a fold as I am the self-proclaimed King of the Laydown. This one wasn't really hard considering how Vlad had been playing; I thought about it a long time but I was pretty sure I was folding the whole time.
  4. The feature portion of me (part 2 9:15). Everyone hates seeing themselves on television I've heard. This makes me cringe and wish I could do it over.
  5. What Arnaud Mattern called a "technical" play where I have AK (part 2 9:57). This seemed pretty standard and obvious as it developed. Vlad was giving off some tells and I hoped he wasn't acting and trapping. From Vlad's perspective, he is drawing dead if I do have a higher pair. I showed the hand because I wanted to tilt Vlad further, I wanted to show the table I was playing good starting hands because I planned on opening tons of pots now that I had chips and everyone was playing scared, and I wanted to eventually trap someone down the line thinking I might not have it when in reality I almost always have it in the big pots.
The dinner break hit right after that hand. I believe I had taken the chip lead at this point. I went with Julian, Arnaud Mattern, Nicolas Levi, and Elky to a nice place in the hotel. We sat around talking about how much money we were going to make and should we make a deal and sometimes the French guys talked and laughed with each other in French and mostly I was just having the time of my life eating my second to last Austrian dinner of the trip, the first one that was accompanied by someone other than Stephen King.

Julian had his cell phone out and at one point I looked over and saw a picture of his kids on it and I almost lost it right there. I was so thrilled to be there feeling like I had finally broken through in a big tournament but this day's significance was little for me compared to Julian. He had been a pro for many years accumulating cashes throughout Europe (he is the all-time leader in EPT cashes) but had never made a huge score and had a family to worry about. I was shocked when he told us he was 40 since he looks so young. At the end during Kara Scott's interview, Julian loses his bearings and goes "over the moon" as he puts it. You can see how much it meant to him and it is a wonderful thing to see. So sitting there eating and drinking a glass of wine I was overcome with emotion, so happy to be there in Austria playing for all that money hoping it would come down to Julian and myself (at that point it appeared likely) and we could work out a win/win deal and end the night rich and happy.

After dinner I ramped up the aggression and won a lot of small pots that weren't shown. Then came the Big Hand which determined the tournament (part 3 2:00). I considered a preflop reraise here as most of the donkament pros would do but reading Vlad in position was so easy it made no sense to do anything but play small pots and own postflop. When Julian checkraised me on the flop I was almost certain he had a big draw, so certain I thought about just calling and waiting to stick the rest in if a club didn't hit. But the pot was so big I would have been priced in to draw for the full house even if a club did hit, and there was a chance he had KQ, so I stuck it in right there knowing he was going to call.

It was a unique feeling after the hand ended, as my dreams of winning the tournament were all but dashed and it would have been hard to finish worse than second if I didn't get in a big pot with Julian. But I was legitimately happy for Julian and he was now poised to take it down and square away his life at the age of 40. I think you can see all of this in my expression as the turn and river hit the table.

Since then I've thought a lot about that flush draw hitting, about how I would likely have won the tournament if it hadn't, about how my life would be different. I try to think of everything from a utilitarian standpoint. In the end it was probably for the best, and we already know it was meant to be. I just hope someday to know what it feels like to win a major poker tournament.


Blogger TheGraveWolf said...

Best part of all those clips...

Rando Reporter Chick (in post bust out interview): Well do you think your friend deserves a cut of you?

Thomas Fuller: (Looks over with Surprise) Umm, No! Uh, I, maybe he should be paying me!

Pretty ridiculous question - good job dude. Enjoyed watching you at the table.

3:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...



3:33 PM  
Blogger Nappy said...

Tom, knowing you, I don't think you're a utilitarian, more of an objectivist, I'd say.

12:58 AM  
Anonymous Tru said...

Nice post.

10:02 AM  

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