Thursday, 26 April 2012
... I won another EPT tournament! This was the €5000 Heads Up event at the Grand Final in Monte Carlo. I won’t write much about it now because it’s 2 o’clock in the morning here and I’ve got the main event to play later on today - though God knows how my fevered brain will go back to early-level, nine-handed poker after the fast & furious battle of heads up.
I feel pleased with myself because they were tough battles (I had to play 11 matches to get to the final, beating Basil from France, Juha from Finland, Dori from Dubai and the fearsome Annette Obrestad) and then a best-of-five final match against brilliant Melanie Weisner from New York, which I finally managed to take 3-2. And I think I played really well. I had some good luck along the way, but I also had some terrible luck, which is pretty much how it should be in a long and best-of-three or deep-stacked poker tournament.
I also want to add that it was really fun playing the final with Melanie. We were both taking it extremely seriously without taking it too seriously, if you see what I mean. We played poker very hard, but stopped for breaks when we needed them, shared a bottle of red wine, and spent the best part of match 3 talking about boys. Readers of my book might remember how disconcerting I found it when I played the World Series of Poker ladies’ event in… oh it was ages ago, maybe 2002?... and found my opponents chatting about life and love at the same time as playing cards - it was so different from the Vic, my head spun and I couldn’t concentrate. I’m a little more comfortable with poker tournaments these days and can now do both once; this wasn’t specifically a gender thing (I chatted a lot to Dori Yacoub, my round 4 opponent, as well) but it wasn’t completely irrelevant either. Obviously we were both amused, as the whole room seemed to be, at the idea of the last two players standing in a tournament both being women, which is still very unusual (maybe even unprecedented?) in a major international mixed tournament - it made the event feel a bit special. Rather sci-fi, in fact. I’m sure (or at least hopeful) that it won’t be such an unusual sight 20 years from now. Melanie, a heads-up specialist and very crafty professional player, is extremely bright and very funny; five matches is a long time, and I really enjoyed spending them in her company.
Mainly I’m happy because I LOVE Heads Up tournaments and I have a sick history of always finishing on the bubble (ie. winning the first two rounds, then losing 1-2 in the third match for the money) but I feel like this vindicates my determination to keep trying. AND it means I’ve won another EPT tournament, after my distant main event victory in London 2006! And the €58,900 prize money is pretty good news as well.
I’m very very happy and am now going to try - I suspect in vain - to get some sleep.
UPDATE, Tuesday May 1st: ... and I came second in the women’s event! God, I’d have loved to win that one as well, for a double Monte Carlo victory - and I would have done, if my AK had beaten Leo Margets’ QJ, or my QQ had beaten her KJ - but hey, can’t have everything, and she played brilliantly and deserved the win. And I have to be happy with second. What a very good week in Monte Carlo, and thanks very much for all the support on Twitter.