Virtual Felt: sexygee

Virtual Felt: sexygee

Monday, 1 April 2013

High stakes UK pro David Gent tells us about one surreal Sunday last month when he won $836,321.83 for second in the Sunday Million

Were you intimidated by the field size?

It really isn’t my sort of tournament at all. I’m planning on going to the World Series and playing the $25K six-max instead of the Main Event, just because the field size is less intimidating. When there are thousands of players, I can’t help but wonder how I’m ever going to get through them all, but the structure in this was so fast that virtually half the field had disappeared within an hour.

What did your tournament graph look like?

Chips were pretty easy to come by early on. I stayed on 60 big blinds for a while, and then fluctuated quite a lot in the last 100. I was never in any real danger until later on, but on the final table everyone was under pressure because the blinds were so big compared to the stacks.

At what point did you think you could win a big amount?

Unlike other tournaments, I’d glance at the lobby and there’d be a thousand players gone. It was a bit surreal. My aim was just to get into the top 100 and if I could do that with a decent stack, I knew I had a chance. Make the final and it’s game on.

How did you cope with playing for so long?

It was about 15 hours, which I’m not used to as a cash player. I was dead by the end of it. Someone advised that I make a coffee, but I figured I might be out at any moment and would struggle to get to sleep. As it happens, I probably could have done with one!

What were the dynamics on the final table?

Most players had around 15 big blinds, so there wasn’t much room for error. Even the chip leader had to be careful; he had 30 big blinds, and didn’t want to be doubling opponents up unnecessarily. A few were trying to play small ball, while others barely played a hand. There was a lot of folding and some were raise-folding off 10 big blinds which didn’t make sense to me.

How did the deal come about?

The fun and games began a few tables out, but getting that many to agree just isn’t going to happen. A deal was offered again at the start of the final, and also with eight left, but I declined on both occasions. I only had five bigs, but knew that if I could just double through I’d be in a strong position as everyone was so ladder orientated. Fortunately, I doubled up with 9-7 versus A-K and then it was a bit of a blur. Before I knew it, I was chip leader with three-left, at which point talks of a deal arose again. The ICM calculation gave me just over $836K, and there was $140K left to play for. I felt good, and perhaps could have asked for more, but it wasn’t about having an edge for me – I wanted a shot at a million. That was my target.

What happened post-deal?

I was super-comfortable before the deal but then I imploded. The German was just a passenger really, and he came third, then heads-up lasted just a couple of big pots. It didn’t really happen for me and I called off against second pair with an open-ended straight draw after betting the flop and turn. It was just one of those hands.

How did you feel afterwards?

I was shell-shocked and so tired that I could barely function. Part of me was disappointed not to have won, but it’s still an incredible amount of money and I’m not too focused on titles.

This was a rare tournament outing for you…

I mainly play cash these days. This one was just a bit of a gamble. Obviously it’s nice when you do well, but most of the time you’re left disappointed, and can grind for hours without reward. It’s not my thing. Cash has been going well for me, so I just don’t see the point.

You’re a bit of a veteran now. Has poker become a grind?

I'm always thinking about exit strategies now. We're not going to have another period like the last seven years, so I'm looking to invest my money in other avenues and become self-sufficient away from poker, so I can go back to enjoying it. The Sunday Million result aside, it feels like a nine-to-five at the moment.

Cash, in particular, has got tougher. How have you kept ahead of the game?

People have become so obsessed with bum-hunting that they’ve forgotten how to play poker. There are many guys who play $25/50 who are worse than a reg at $1/2, just because all they do is hunt fish rather than work on their game. I challenge myself in terms of who I play, and I’m perfectly happy sitting on a table of regs. I may win and I may lose, but I'll definitely improve.

Tags: David Gent interview