I’m a National Poker Champion!

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Past weekend there was a Slovenian National Poker Championship, which was held in our biggest poker room Perla. I usually play at least one event and this year was no different. Together with two of my friends Jaka and Nejc we decided to register for Team Event. And, if you can believe it, we actually took it down!

Team Event

Team Event was one of the six tournaments during the National Championship, other five being Mini Championship, PLO event, Ladies event, Turbo event and of course The Main Event. It consists of three players per team, who at the start play individually and then group their chips at a later level. At this point players rotate, everyone in the team playing for one level (20 minutes). There were 33 different teams, creating a prizepool of 4.257€.

It’s one of the most fun tournaments ever. Buyin is not too big, only 50€ per head which means people don’t take it super seriously. So what that implies is there’s lots of drinking, loose play, laughter and relaxed atmosphere altogether. And that’s exactly what our strategy was. Having fun and whatever happens, happens. Oh and it did happen all right!

99 players in 33 teams at National Championship Team Event.

Hollywood Story

The whole ride from start to finish was simply amazing, even Hollywood couldn’t come up with a story like this. We came into final two tables really short and we somehow survived until the last 10 teams, where we again were the shortest stack of all. We could have a healthy stack but I lost an all-in AK vs. J5 right before the final table. But teams did start eliminating each other quickly, until the bubble play.

6 teams left, 5 of them would end up in money. We survived until this point by stealing some blinds here and there and that was mostly it. We were still the shortest by far and everyone was just waiting for us to get knocked out. I didn’t believe it either, I was sure we were out next, just a matter of time. The first opportunity came with our K4o against KQo. Totally dominated but luckily we managed to split the pot on 86655 board. Next hand we could have doubled up with K7 vs. K5, but we split it again! Next round we somehow got a walk on BB, even though we had merely 2 blinds left or something like that. The most important hand came soon after that.

My team mates Jaka and Nejc looking super focused.

AJs hand seemed like the nuts 6 handed for a stack of only few chips, but not if Big Blind wakes up with two aces like he did. J44 flop gave us backdoor flush and another J for possible full house. Turn was blank, leaving us with only two outs. You probably see where this is going, right? River was actually one of the two jacks left. Poker room pretty much exploded at this point. Despite this win we were still super short and were hoping someone else would get knocked out.

There was a hand A5 vs. JT, where the big stack flopped trip aces against some other team and we started celebrating our “in the money” finish already, giving high-fives here and there. Well that was a premature celebration, if I’ve ever seen one. Runner-Runner K and Q and JT won with a straight. Poker room erupted once again. Hand even more improbable than our AJs and they say online poker is rigged! 🙂 Soon after that hand, my teammate Jaka was also rooting for a wrong team (how embarrassing 😛 !) that’s how crazy the whole situation was. What an incredible roller coaster of emotion, but then finally relief at the end when bubble burst.

Heads-Up For The Win

I was playing when we were 5-way and all the way down to two teams, but I didn’t play a single hand of heads-up. Thank god for that. And there was also no need as Jaka and Nejc did an amazing job. We were down 1:7 in chips and at the end, all we needed for a win were three all-ins. We got them, were ahead in all three of them and all three held. Praise the poker god(s)! At first I just thought that now we are “back in the game”, I thought we were more behind, but when opponent said “I think you guys have more chips”, celebration has started.

Still can’t believe we came back from this.

National Poker Champions

Oh yes! After more than a decade of playing poker, I can now say that I’m one of the national champions. We really couldn’t believe it what has just happened. How is it possible that we survived so many all-ins, that we kept going with such a small stack and even turned it around completely. Seemed so surreal. You obviously need luck to win a tournament like that and we did have quite a bit of it.

But at the end it doesn’t matter, all that matters are the trophies and we got one! 🙂 Also nice chunk of cash (about 500€ per head) and that’s going to be a nice bonus for month of November 😉 It was really a perfect ending to a really awesome day.

Have to thank my teammates Nejc and Jaka at this point. Couldn’t have done it without them, they were a dream team. And next year we will be back, defending the title!

Champions!
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