Over the weekend, P5s Training instructor Ben Wilinofsky aka NeverScaredB took down EPT Berlin. First prize was €825,000, but he got heads up with Max Heinzelmann aka HotKarlMC and the two worked out a deal. It was Ben's first big tournament win, and he shared some thoughts with the P5s Training Blog.
Before this win, how many EPTs had you played? Were you starting to get frustrated with a lack of cashes?
I think I had played 7 or 8 EPT main events and about the same number of side events before this. It was definitely frustrating to have not cashed, but I knew objectively that I had run pretty bad up to that point. I wasn't worried or looking to change my game.
You and Max are friends - did that factor into the HU match at all? What did you guys talk about at dinner?
Max and I are good friends. We shared a room in San Remo last year and talk lots online. We mostly just discussed dividing up the prize pool based on the chipcounts rather than playing a high variance battle for a huge amount of money.
Was there anything that guided you or inspired you as you played out the final table -- people, emails, music, etc.?
People tried. I got a nice message from Mike "Timex" McDonald and another one from Vanessa Selbst, basically telling me to do exactly opposite things. Mostly I had too much adrenaline going to think things through carefully and the things I did were trained and ingrained in my game.
As for music, there were no headphones allowed at the FT, but before I came back from every break I listened to "Two Words" by Kanye West. It's my final table song.
Will this impact how many events you play at the WSOP this summer?
I don't think this will impact how much I play at WSOP unless I am legitimately in the Player of the Year race at that point. I was planning on playing a small schedule and spending most of my summer back home in Vancouver, because Vancouver is beautiful city, and Las Vegas is...not. Obviously, I have more flexibility to play more if I want to, but I also have the flexibility to play less if I want to. So I'm going to do whatever will make me happiest and not worry if it leaves some money on the table.
Did anyone in particular help you out with your game leading up to this EPT?
I think the two people that have helped me most with my game are Vanessa Selbst and Scott Seiver. They're both very very smart people and it's nice to have players who are used to having a crazy image to talk to about the best ways to manage it. They're also both very imaginative players, which helps them approach the more "outside the box" hands I ask them about with an open mind.
Who are your poker mentors, if any?
I think Vanessa has been the closest thing I've had to a mentor. I think I remind her of herself when she was younger and a little stupider, so she takes an interest in me. When we got HU I texted her for advice and told her I wouldn't have been there without her, which is absolutely true.
What have you found most helpful in improving your live game?
I don't think of live and online games as that different. Honestly, I'm pretty bad at getting physical reads and so-forth. I just try to play the cards as best I can.
What are some differences you find between playing live and online?
I think the biggest differences are that everyone is paying a lot of attention and stacks are a lot deeper at a live table. When everyone is one-tabling people are adjusting faster and dynamics are much more important than at an online table full of regulars all playing 10+ tables; and the dynamic is much more important when you are regularly > 50 BBs deep as opposed to 20-30. You can get people to make much bigger mistakes, or make a much bigger one yourself, because of the stack depths and the amount people are deviating from the norm based on gameflow.
Any plans for a new series after you finish the $44 4-max?
I have a couple of ideas for tournaments that would make good videos. I recently FTed a 100r where I thought I played very well and played some interesting hands. But I'd like to see the reaction to the 44 4-max first [Part 7 was released earlier this week], and see what the viewers would like most. Making videos is about them, not me, so it's more important that I can provide lots of learning (and hopefully a little entertainment!) than that I was happy with my play.
Take us through a pivotal hand from the tournament.
I played a very interesting hand with Max Heinzelmann on day two. I got moved to a table on his direct left with a very good German 25/50 player on his right, and then 6 weaker players at the table (although being a weaker player than the three of us isn't saying too much). I think I played one pot in the first two levels, and fired three barrels at the 25/50 reg only to muck at showdown. Then I came back from dinner and played a ton of hands and ran my stack up. The very last hand of the level, Max opened in early position to 6000 with around 150K at 1500/3K. I covered by a bit. He had been opening lots of pots, and I had 3-bet him twice this level. I looked down at the 9s9h. Normally I'd flat here but Max is opening a lot of pots and is very aggressive, and I think I can 3-bet/5-bet, both for value out of his range to call a 3-bet, and because he will four-bet/fold sometimes. I re-raised to 16.4K.
He called, and we saw a flop of Qsts8c. Max led for 22.5K. I don't think he is leading his one-pair hands like AQ, so that leaves us with sets of tens, sets of 8s, sets of queens, queen-ten suited, jack-nine suited, and draws. I was pretty sure he would four-bet tens and queens, so his range of made hands that beats me is fairly narrow. I am also in position and can bluff some cards when checked to, since he will have better with showdown value when he doesn't bluff scary cards, but often not good enough to call. I called.
The turn was the Td, and he led for 32.5K. This is a great card for me because it really narrows the number of value combinations he could have. There were only two combos of QTs now, one combo of tens if he didn't four-bet. He also wouldn't bet turn and shove river with a queen if he did lead flop with one. I called again.
The river was the Ac, and Max checked to me. I was quite sure that he would shove for value with straights and better, and probably bluff with total air like missed FDs. When he checked, I put him squarely on AJ for the flopped double-gutshot straight draw, so I moved all-in. I would not raise any of me tens on the turn (since the cards that improve his straight draws improve me to a boat very often with Tx that I 3-bet as a bluff), so I can represent those, as well as AQ and AA, and KJ. He ended up folding and I raked in a big pot that propelled me into the top eleven in chips to end day two.
Any big suckouts?
I think my biggest suckout was late in day 1, I four-bet 57s and got called by A8o, for about 25K at 300/600. Other than that hand I don't think I got chips in bad really.