Sometimes in life you are making plans but end up doing something completely different that in the end was the better decision. We all know that kind of situation, don’t we? That’s exactly what 2019 was like, which I’m just realizing while I’m heading home to Vienna from Cyprus.

You might wonder now, why I was in Cyprus instead of being in Rio de Janeiro as I planned and told you in my first blog about my plans for this year. After an awesome time in Australia and New Zealand I recognized that travelling around for almost three months can be rather exhausting. So I decided to spend some time in Vienna with my girlfriend and play some online poker instead of taking the next plane to Rio.

After a short rest I decided to go to Cyprus as my next stop. Why? Well partypoker are going to have an event there in May 2019 and it was recommended to me to visit such a promising place. As you can see, it was a spontaneous decision but that trip gave me some great, funny and some odd experiences I’d like to share with you in this blog.


Day 1 – Arrival and start of the Main Event

Right after I arrived in Cyprus I headed for the Merit Hotel, which took me an hour’s drive but rewarded me with a beautiful complex right by the sea. The staff were overwhelming friendly all the time and I really enjoyed my stay there. So if you’re interested in a visit to Cyprus in May for the partypoker sponsored event the Merit Poker Classic, I really recommend you consider staying at this place.

The next day I started Day 1 of the $2.200 Merit Poker Top Guns Main Event for a guaranteed prize pool of $500.000. The field was a nice mixture of amateurs and regular players and I felt really comfortable, even with the smooth structure of seven levels each lasting an hour. In the end I finished the day a bit below average but was happy with the outcome so far.


Day 2 – The ups and downs of poker

After a one day break, I continued with Day 2 and was confident to have a good start. Late registration was still running when I tried to pull through a solid bluff that unfortunately failed. I didn’t waste much time thinking about that situation, re-entered, focused on my game again and made it to Day 3 with about 20 BB but still not in the money.

But I wasn’t done yet. After a short talk to the tournament manager I decided to play the $5.000 High Roller Event for a guaranteed prize pool of $250.000 the same day because I was told that the tourney would not overlap with the Main Event. After another almost six hours of poker in that event I made it to Day 2 there too with an average stack.


Day 3 – And here we go

Day 3 of the Main Event started with about 100 players and the pay-outs started at place 53 I think. Do you know that moment in poker when you’re fired up for no reason? That feeling of ‘Here we go!’? This thrill we all love poker for? Now imagine getting in that situation if you don’t have the biggest stack and prepared yourself for a tough session – that was me at the beginning of Day 3. Against all expectations I had an incredibly sick run during the first hour. I managed to spin up from 20 BB to over 100 BB and to make it not only into the money but into Day 4 with about 45 BB and 25 players left. That was a run I’m going to remember for a long time.

Right after a short dinner break, I had to play Day 2 of the High Roller the same day but I managed to play solid poker without any big highlights and I was able to bag an average stack for Day 3.


Day 4 – Expect the unexpected

It doesn’t happen often that you get in trouble with a tournament schedule at live events but at this tournament I had that unfortunate experience myself.

The Main Event was planned for four days only and was supposed to end that day – so far, so good. Except for that fact that I was the only player left still playing the Main and the High Roller Event. It was 7 p.m when we finally reached the final table in the Main Event and therefore quite obvious that it would be difficult to guarantee that we would be finished before the start of the High Roller Event Day 3 at 9 p.m.
The tournament management offered me the opportunity to play both events at the same time. My first thought was ‘Seriously guys? You really want me to play a final table with over $100.000 for first and a High Roller for $5.000 buy-in that would be starting right in the red zone of the bubble simultaneously? Stop joking please.’

I have to admit that the management were really accommodating and so were the other players left in the Main Event because after a talk we decided to stop the Main Event for that day and play the final table the next day.  I really appreciate that goodwill of everybody involved in that situation and it’s proof of the support for each other that exists in the poker community.

After having surpassed the first little ‘shock’ to some extent, I started playing Day 3 of the High Roller. Unfortunately, I didn’t reach the final table but cashed and finished 11th at the end of the day. After all I was quite satisfied with the result, my decisions and the outcome after that long and exciting day.


The run to the end – Day 5

The next day I could start Day 5 and the final table of the Main Event without any pressure because I still had about 30 BB. The chip leader was sitting immediately to my left having over 40% of the overall chips on his stack and three other players had stacks between 7BB and 20 BB so it was a tricky ICM-spot. However, I had a good start because the chip leader gave most of his chips to the player on my right, so the table was a bit easier to play for me. Meanwhile I took two shorties off the table and grinded my stack up.

With four players left we decided to make a deal and play for the remaining amount of $15.000 and the trophy. After that deal the whole atmosphere at the table seemed to be a bit more relaxed but still all players kept to their game.

After a while I was able to knock out the first player with 99 vs. A3 suited which gave me 50% of the chips left in the game. 3 Handed, the run continued. I open raised, called an all-in for 25 big blinds with 99 and my opponent showed QQ but luckily the turn brought me a set of 9’s and gave me a massive chip lead for the heads-up.

The final hand was J6 off…I limp the button, my opponent checks his big blind. The flop shows J,T,5 rainbow. My opponent check/calls a 1/3pot bet. The turn shows a 6 and gives me two pairs <3 – this time I go big and he check-raises, all-in. I call 😉 . He turns around T5 for flopped two pair but is now behind :). The river is a 2 and it’s done. Finally after five days I really shipped it – unbelievable! What a really sick run that was! But I also know that that’s exactly what is needed to take down and win a tournament.

So, I won a Main Event of a tournament I didn’t plan to play at a place I didn’t plan to be at that moment. Sometimes the best experiences are the ones you didn’t expect to happen – that’s for sure.

If I’d just followed my plans I would have missed a wonderful place, a great poker spot and that awesome experience of those two events. Of course, we need plans in life, but from time to time just follow your inner voice or your heart. You might be surprised and get rewarded for it.

I’ll definitely be back in Cyprus for the partypoker event in May and how about you? Will I see some of you guys there too next time? I hope so! And if you’re thinking of going, check out this great promo where the first 100 players who buy into the Merit Poker Classic Main Event using PP LIVE Dollars will automatically be given a free hotel room for three nights at the Merit Park Hotel. Nice!

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