When Ronan ‘Sw33ney’ Sweeney sits down to play his normal online poker grind on Sunday, there will be nothing normal about it. Sweeney, who sits at #6 in the Irish Online Poker Rankings, will be one of the thousands of grinders playing Day 1A of the partypoker MILLIONS Online in hopes of coming out on top and winning $2.5 million.
While he normally plays 40-45 tournaments on a normal Sunday, Sweeney plans to dial that schedule back significantly just for this one week.
“I think I will pay a lot less and I’ll still multi-table, maybe four to six tournaments, but it won’t be more than that for sure because this is obviously a huge event,” said Sweeney, who won his way into the MILLIONS Online from a $109 Phase 1 event. “I do think you definitely have a better chance of doing well if you’re playing fewer tournaments.”
While the volume he puts in this week will change, the former engineering student has no intention of messing with his normal routine.
“I think for myself specifically, I just want to sort of approach it like any other day because once you start mixing up routines, personally I feel that it doesn’t really work so well,” said Sweeney. “You almost have a lot of adrenaline, which you don’t really want in this sort of situation, you want to just stay calm and make as well decisions as you can.”
This is the second time that Sweeney is playing an online event with a $5,300 buy-in. In 2017, he played the PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker Main Event. After failing to cash in that event, he’s hoping for a different result this time around.
Most poker players will point to a big win as being a significant moment in their career. For Sweeney, it was actually a pair of runner-up finishes that let him know he was on the right path. After turning pro in the summer of 2017, Sweeney satellited into the partypoker Grand Prix Killarney in September where he made the final table of the €340 buy-in partypoker-sponsored event. He eventually finished second to Thomas Gallagher and walked away with $45,777 after chopping it three-handed. That wasn’t all he won though.
“Before the (2017) Caribbean event, (partypoker) did a Golden Chip promotion, where if you final tabled one of their live events, and you qualified online, they’d have this Golden Chip, which would award you a $12,000 package,” said Sweeney. “So, I final tabled (Grand Prix Killarney), and I finished second and I had this Golden Chip, so it was a $12,000 freeroll over there.”
Exactly one week later, full of confidence and playing with a little bit bigger bankroll, Sweeney decided to take a few shots online. One of the events he entered was the $215 PokerStars WCOOP Sunday Warm-Up Special Edition. After hours of battling through the 6,156-player field, Sweeney had a heads-up chip lead against Thiago ‘Thiago Wks.’ Wildener. That lead evaporated quickly and Wildener took the title. Sweeney earned $61,860.28 in what was a career-best online poker cash for him. It took some time for Sweeney to be able to fully appreciate what had happened to him.
“It was just incredible. It was so surreal, I remember at that stage as well. It was one of those things where you almost, you don’t believe it for like a week or week and a half. You’re like, ‘Wow, I’ve actually I’ve just won this amount of money,’ and this confidence against these players. It was a really, really good experience,” said Sweeney.
With an opportunity to win life-changing just some 16 months after turning pro, Sweeney has allowed himself to daydream about winning $2.5 million and how it would change things for him.
“I think if I won two and a half million dollars, I would definitely try and play the live circuit over the next year, maybe the next two years, and see how that goes. Travel to a lot of different areas in the world playing poker. That would be a fantastic goal for me, a fantastic way for me to use the money and maybe hopefully be successful there as well,” said Sweeney.